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  • Had It Up To Their Neck With Bad Customers
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    Category: At The Checkout

    The customer has seemed normal and maybe even intelligent throughout the shopping purchase. But then they get to the checkout and as soon as human interaction is required it all falls apart. The checkout operators really are our first line of defense against the stupid customer!

    The Difference Between Father And Son

    | Los Angeles, CA, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Liars & Scammers

    (A customer comes into my video game store with his teenage son in tow.)

    Customer: “Hi, I bought this game yesterday. The guy who was here said that if I changed my mind, I could come back and exchange it for another game.”

    (I notice the game has not only been opened but actually played.)

    Me: “Okay, but you played this game.”

    Customer: “Yeah, so?”

    Me: “Well, usually exchanges are when the game hasn’t been played.”

    Customer: “Well, the guy yesterday didn’t say anything about that! I want to talk to the manager. He said I could just exchange it if we didn’t like it! I just want the other game.”

    Me: “Fine, just pick out the other game you wanted.”

    (The customer goes to shelf, pulls out the other game, and brings it back. I notice the game he’s returning is $15, while the other game is $20. I ring up the difference.)

    Me: “That will be $5.35, please.”

    Customer: “What? Why?”

    Me: “$5.35 is the difference plus tax between the two games. The game you bought yesterday is $15, while this game is $20. The difference is $5 plus tax.”

    Customer: “No! The guy yesterday didn’t say anything about paying MORE for exchanging the game!”

    (As the customer says this, his son looks down uncomfortably.)

    Me: “You can’t exchange a $15 item for a $20 item without paying the difference.”

    Customer: “I’m not paying extra! He said I could exchange this one for the other one! He didn’t say anything about paying more.”

    Me: “Sir, you can pay the $5 plus tax difference and take the new game, or you may keep the game you have already bought and played. Or, I can call mall security, and have you removed.”

    Customer: *hands over the cash and departs*

    Customer’s Son: “Sorry!”

    A Sudden Stamp Of Recognition

    | Seattle, WA, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Themed Giveaway

    (I work in a copy shop/shipping store. It has a modern all-glass front with two entrances. Currently, I am currently the only one on shift. A customer comes in.)

    Customer: “Hi, do you sell stamps?”

    Me: “No, sorry, we don’t sell postage. [Store across the street] has stamps, though, at every register, and they’re just down the stairs at the end of the parking lot.”

    Customer: “Oh, all right. Thank you!”

    (The customer leaves, but I watch her walk 10 feet to our other entrance, and enter our store again.)

    Customer: “Hi, do you sell stamps?”

    Me: “…I’m sorry, ma’am, we do not. However, if you go over to—”

    Customer: “See, that’s what the other girl said, and she told me to come over to this location!”

    Me: “Ma’am—”

    Customer: “You young people need to learn to be clear when you’re giving directions!”

    (As she says this, she looks around and the lightbulb goes off.)

    Customer: “I’m in the same store, aren’t I?”

    The Mother Of All Bad Parents

    | Adelaide, SA, Australia | At The Checkout, Family & Kids

    (My coworker, who is manning the registers, has been approached by a small girl, no more than three years old. The girl is crying and has lost her mother.)

    Coworker: *to me* “Can you please make an announcement over the PA? I’ll look after her.”

    (My coworker takes the little girl to the colouring-in table and sits with her, which leaves us one short at the registers. I jump on to cover her and continue to make PA announcements every few minutes, describing the child and asking for her parent to make themselves known to staff. Perhaps 15 or more minutes pass.)

    Coworker: “It’s been at least 15 minutes, and the girl is getting more and more frightened. I can’t distract her with colouring forever. I don’t think the mother is in the store.”

    Manager: “You’re right; it’s been too long, and not one staff member knows who the mother is. I’ve done the rounds and asked everyone. I’ll call the police.”

    (At this moment, a woman wanders over to the colouring-in table and grabs the child by the arm, completely ignoring the fact the girl is sobbing.)

    Manager: “Are you this girl’s mother?”

    Woman: “Yeah.”

    Manager: “We’ve been paging you for near 20 minutes. Have you been in the store this whole time?”

    Woman: “Yeah.”

    Manager: “Surely you heard the pages? All we asked was that you make yourself known to staff! Your daughter has been frightened half to death! We were just about to call the police! Why didn’t you come to the counter?”

    Woman: “And risk losing the service of the guy who was selling me a computer? F*** that. I ain’t risking having to wait for someone else to serve me. What if he served someone else while I was talking to you lot? It was pretty f***ing clear where my daughter was thanks to the PA system, wasn’t it? Not like I f***ing lost her or anything!”

    Thank God For Better Halves, Part 2

    | Huntsville, AL, USA | At The Checkout

    (We’re running a buy two, get one free promotion in our store, but you must have a membership to qualify. The membership is free. A customer and his wife approach the counter with only two games.)

    Me: “Sir, do you have a membership card?”

    Customer: “I don’t want no card.”

    Me: “The only reason I ask is because members can get—”

    Customer: “No, stop trying to sell me something.”

    Me: “Sure, sir, I just thought you might want a free game today with our free membership. Your total is [amount].”

    (Suddenly, the customer’s wife smacks him with her purse.)

    Customer’s Wife: “Will you shut your mouth and listen to her?!” *to me* “YES, we want a free game. Thank you!”

    Related:
    Thank God For Better Halves

    To Term A Contradiction

    | Nashville, TN, USA | At The Checkout, Books & Reading, Movies & TV

    (My coworker and I are discussing our avid distaste for the ‘Twilight’ books.)

    Me: “I mean… even if you look past the story line, the syntax is poor, and the vocabulary redundant. I don’t understand how it even qualifies as literature.”

    Coworker: “I know. What’s to gain from even reading it?”

    (A customer approaches, and I take her order. As I’m loading a box of plain glazed donuts for her, I suddenly notice a teenage girl standing at the other end of the counter. She looks quite shy as she waits for assistance. She’s wearing a shirt that I can’t help but admire aloud.)

    Me: “‘…and then Buffy staked Edward. The end.’ I love your shirt!”

    Teenage Girl: *shyly* “…thank you!”

    Me: “My coworker and I were just making fun of that series… what a coincidence!”

    Teenage Girl: *nodding enthusiastically* “I know! I like, totally love Buffy! But I like, totally love Twilight, too!”

    (I feel my smile freeze in place, and politely refrain from commenting further. The girl continues to chatter on about the vastly different vampire series.)

    Teenage Girl: “And I like, totally have this Cullen jacket and some jewelry… and I wore them with this shirt last week and I was, like… all… opposite-y…”

    Me: *smile still frozen in place* “I see…”

    (I finish the other customer’s donut order and ring her up. The teenager doesn’t take the hint and continues to wax poetic about her conflicting interests, trying to hold my attention. My coworker, who has been present for the whole exchange, assists the teenage girl with her order for cookies. After both customers leave, I turn to my coworker.)

    Coworker: “‘Opposite-y?’”

    Me: “I think the word she was looking for was ‘contradiction.’”

    Coworker: “Let’s blame Meyers for that.”

    Me: “Case in point. Not much of a lexicon.”


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