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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!

    Taking A Swipe At Common Sense

    | PA, USA | At The Checkout, Technology, Wild & Unruly

    (I am working as a cashier during Easter weekend at a popular retail shop. I have a long line but am getting people rung out quickly. A customer in her early 30s is next in line.)

    Me: “Hi, how are you doing today?”

    (The customer puts her items on the belt, and doesn’t say a word to me.)

    Me: *rings up her order* “Okay, that will be [total].”

    Customer: *swipes her card very fast* “Why isn’t this working?!”

    (She swipes the card back and forth quickly. All the while the machine beeps to inform us that it cannot read her card, because she is swiping it too fast.)

    Me: “Oh, you need to swipe it slower so the machine can read your card.”

    Customer: “Oh.” *continues swiping too fast, back and forth* “Your machine is broken! It won’t accept my card!”

    Me: “You just need to swipe it a little slower.”

    Customer: “I AM SWIPING IT! YOUR STUPID MACHINE WON’T TAKE MY CARD!”

    (She proceeds to keep swiping it back and forth just as fast as before and is getting a bit rough with the machine.)

    Customer: “SEE!? IT WON’T WORK!”

    Me: “Would you like me to try and swipe the card back here? Sometimes the front one doesn’t work but mine will.”

    Customer: “All right… Wait, you’re the store who got hacked, right?”

    (I get asked this a lot. During last year’s Christmas shopping season a bunch of credit and debit cards were hacked. People are still cautious about the security breach.)

    Me: “Yes, but we have taken care of the issue and your card is safe to use now.”

    Customer: “I don’t want my card hacked.”

    Me: “As I said, your card is safe.”

    Customer: “I don’t want my information stolen!”

    Me: “Yes, I understand, but we took care of the issue. I’ve used my card here plenty of times since it was fixed and no one has stolen money from me.”

    Customer: “Well, that is because you are an employee. They wouldn’t steal money from someone who works for them.”

    Me: “What?”

    Customer: “[Store] wouldn’t steal money from the people who work for them.”

    Me: “Oh, no. It wasn’t [Store] that hacked into people’s accounts. It was a hacker.”

    Customer: “But I bet you got a huge paycheck during that time when you were stealing money.”

    Me: “Yes, my paycheck was bigger but that was only because there were more hours to go around. [Store] didn’t steal any money.”

    (My manager comes over to see why I was taking so long.)

    Manager: “Is something wrong, [My Name]?”

    Customer: “I’m just making sure your employee doesn’t steal my card information. She asked to swipe it in the card reader behind her because the front one isn’t working. I don’t want my information stolen!”

    (I explain to my manger why I asked to swipe her card with my card reader and why she thinks I am trying to steal her information.)

    Manager: “As my employee said, [Store] didn’t steal anyone’s money. It was a hacker. I myself was a victim of the breach.”

    Customer: “But you work here! They couldn’t steal money from you! You’re just lying so you can get away with stealing more people’s money!”

    Manager: “I assure you, we are not trying to steal your money.”

    Customer: “But your employee is trying to take my card!”

    Manager: “Why don’t you try swiping your card again in the front card reader?”

    Customer: *swipes her card fast again, then a few more times violently* “See?! It won’t work! Your employee must have broken the machine so she could copy my card information into the database!”

    Manager: “Try swiping it a bit slower.”

    (My manager motions over the card reader at the right pace. The customer slides her card again and it goes through.)

    Customer: “It worked! Thank goodness you were here to prevent your employee from stealing my information!” *looks at me* “All you kids are thieves. I hope you get fired for this!”

    Me: “Er… have a nice day.”

    (I hands her her bags and she leaves.)

    Manager: “Don’t worry. You aren’t going to be fired for her ignorance.”

    Seriously Cheesed Off

    | FL, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Food & Drink

    (I work in the deli section of my store. We have only one meat slicer and one cheese slicer. Right now, we have a long line at the slicers. My coworker is slicing meat and I’m slicing cheese.)

    Me: *to the line of people* “Cheese? Cheese? Anyone getting sliced cheese?”

    (A customer puts his phone down and approaches.)

    Customer #1: “Hi, can I have a pound of turkey?”

    Me: “Okay. Any cheese for you, sir?”

    Customer #1: “No, I’m not getting cheese.”

    Me: “Oh. Well, I was asking about cheese. My buddy here is slicing meat. He’ll be with you in a moment.”

    (He gives me a disgruntled look and gets back in line.)

    Me: *louder* “Is anyone getting cheese sliced today?”

    (Another customer approaches me.)

    Customer #2: “Yes, can I get cooked ham, please?”

    Me: “Do you need any cheese, sir?”

    Customer #2: “No.”

    Me: “Then I’m afraid there will be a short wait. I’m only slicing cheese; my coworker is doing the meat.”

    Customer #2: “Um, okay.”

    (He gets back in line.)

    Coworker: *snickering*

    Me: *very loudly* “DOES ANYONE HERE NEED SLICED CHEESE?”

    (A little old lady walks up to me.)

    Customer #3: “I want to get some turkey breast, please.”

    Me: “Are you getting any cheese, ma’am?”

    Customer #3: “No, I don’t need any.”

    Me: *sighing* “I’m sorry, I’m only slicing cheese. He’s doing meat. I’m doing cheese.”

    Customer #3: “You mean I have to wait?!”

    Me: “We only have one meat slicer, ma’am.”

    (She throws her hands up in frustration and gets back in line. My coworker is now chuckling loudly.)

    Me: “Well, since no one needs cheese, I’m going to go clean up the mess in the cooler.”

    Coworker: “What mess?”

    Me: “The one that’s going to be there after I face-palm my brains all over the wall…”

    Not The Brightest Bulb In The Box

    | MD, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money

    (I am one of two department managers responsible for the front end in my store. My subordinate is on the register next to me, processing a return for a rather expensive LED light bulb. This is right after the most recent Target hack.)

    Customer: “I’d like to return this light bulb. It wasn’t the kind I needed.”

    Coworker: “All right. Do you have your receipt?”

    (The customer hands over the receipt, and she processes it quickly.)

    Coworker: “Okay, [amount of return] is going back to your card. Is that all right?”

    Customer: “Yes, that’s fine.”

    (The coworker hands over return slip for him to sign. He stares at it for a moment and compares it to a credit card in his hand.)

    Customer: “This is the wrong card. It should be returned to this card. *shows my coworker the card*

    Coworker: *looking at original receipt* “Sir, that’s not the card that was used. The card used to pay for the light bulb ended in [last four card numbers].”

    Customer: “Yeah, but I don’t have that card anymore. It was replaced because of the Target thing. Let me speak to your manager.”

    (Coworker calls me over. I’ve heard nearly everything, but she explains the situation briefly.)

    Me: “Hi. What can I do for you?”

    Customer: “Yeah, I need this returned on to this card.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but you didn’t use that card to pay for it. We can only process a refund to the original card, or a store credit. But as the return has already been processed, you’ll have to contact the company who handles your account. As long as it’s in good standing, they’ll issue a check for the amount of the refund.”

    Customer: “Of course my card is in good standing! It’s a prominent bank that deals with veterans and their families. It’s the same account. I just have a new card number. So, you can’t refund my purchase?”

    Me: “We already have. If your card is linked to the same account, then most likely, they’ll credit your account. I’ll call for you right now, if you like.”

    Customer: “It’s Sunday! They’re not open! I just want my money back.”

    Me: “Sir, we’ve refunded your money back to your card. At this point, it is out of our hands. You can call your bank and they can issue you a check for the amount.”

    Customer: “You haven’t given me my money back. It’s not the right card.”

    (I show him the return slip.)

    Me: “As far as this company is concerned, we have. The money is now in the hands of your bank. You may call them on Monday, and they can credit your account, or issue a check.”

    Customer: “So, you’re not going to refund me?”

    Me: “As I said, we already refunded—”

    Customer: “No, you haven’t. Is there something wrong with you? You haven’t refunded my purchase.”

    (The customer grabs the light bulb off the counter.)

    Customer: “I’ll just go to a store where they know how to do a refund correctly. You are all obviously too stupid to do this!” *begins to walk out the door*

    Me: “Sir! You can’t take the light bulb. We’ve refunded that!”

    Customer: “No, you haven’t! I’m going somewhere else!”

    (He stole the light bulb. No other store would be able to refund his money back to the new card. Our system isn’t set up that way. Three days later, I got a call from another store asking about the return. They contacted his bank and they had credited his account. That store took the light bulb from him at that time.)

    Sorry Doesn’t Seem To Be The Hardest Word

    | AK, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Wild & Unruly

    (I’m ringing up a customer and giving her her bags. I forget to give her the light jacket she bought and don’t notice until she drives off. Hoping she’ll come back, I put it next to myself for safe-keeping and keep checking customers. Twenty minutes later, she returns.)

    Customer: “Where’s my jacket?!”

    Me: “Right here, ma’am.” *I give her back the jacket* “I’m sorry about the inconvenience, I—”

    Customer: “You should be ASHAMED of yourself! This is very poor service!”

    Me: “I’m very sorry, ma’am—”

    Customer: “I had to get out of my car, bring in my things, see my jacket missing, get my walker, get BACK in my car, and drive all the way back here, and it was very difficult! What’s your name? I’m calling corporate about you, and they’re gonna write you up!”

    Me: “I’m sorry about—”

    Customer: *wry laughter* “Oh, and of course, you never ONCE said sorry!”

    Me: “But I, just— I’m very sorry, ma’am.”

    Customer: “Oh, yeah, you apologize NOW, after I TELL you to!”

    (I return to my line, shaken and a little upset, and continue ringing up the customer I was helping earlier, who witnessed the whole thing.)

    Next Customer: “But you said you were sorry FOUR times. I counted!”

    The Warranty Comes Warranted, Part 2

    , | AB, Canada | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Technology

    (I’m selling a customer an iPad and introducing a new warranty which covers accidental damage, meaning you can replace your iPad for $50 rather than buying a whole new one. It’s a fantastic deal and, as the customer in question is buying the iPad for his eight-year-old daughter and wants the most expensive model, I am trying to convince him that the extra $99 for it is really worth it.)

    Me: “Sir, just to check, you’re getting this for your daughter, you said?”

    Customer: “Yeah. I mean, we’ll use it too, but it’s mostly for her.”

    Me: “I see. In that case, you really want to consider getting the extra warranty.”

    Customer: “But it comes with one that covers it for a year, right?”

    Me: “Yes, but it doesn’t cover accidental damage. If she accidentally drops it and cracks the screen, it’ll cost full price to replace without the warranty. With the warranty, it’s only $50 to replace it.”

    Customer: *considers it for a moment, then shakes his head* “Nah, we’ll be okay. I’ll tell her to be real careful.”

    Me: *gesturing to a nearby table where we have iPads set up for kids to play with* “Sir, I’m sure your daughter is really careful with her toys, but iPads are really fragile and kids sometimes forget they’re not as hardy as their other things.”

    (In perfect timing, a kid at the table then starts banging the iPad on the table hard. I grimace and the customer cringes slightly.)

    Customer: “Err, no, no. It’s okay. We’ll be careful.”

    (I get him to at least buy a screen cover and ring him up. He’s excited and happy at the end, so I figure everything’s all right and hopefully his daughter is as careful as he says she is. The next day, however, I see him come in with the iPad, case, and several small glass shards from the broken screen in a Ziploc bag. He sees me on his way to the tech counter and sheepishly holds up the bag.)

    Customer: “I guess you were right. I’ll get the warranty this time…”

    Related:
    The Warranty Comes Warranted

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