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  • September Theme Of The Month: Overheard!

    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!

    In For A Penny, In For A Pound Bag

    | Boston, MA, USA | At The Checkout, Math & Science, Money

    Boyfriend: “Baby carrots are $0.99 for a one pound bag and $1.99 for a two pound bag.”

    Me: “I need two pounds.”

    (My boyfriend grabs a two pound bag and a customer next to him does as well.)

    Me: “You know, it’s technically cheaper to buy two one pound bags—”

    (The customer next to my boyfriend suddenly SLAMS his carrots down, snatches two one pound bags from the display and SPRINTS away.)

    Me: “…by one penny.”

    Kitten Smitten

    | UK | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Pets & Animals

    (I’m working on the till at a charity shop when a woman walks in. She has a small handbag, and while it’s open, I can’t see inside. She comes up to me with a book.)

    Woman: “Just this, please.”

    (I ring her up and tell her the price. When she reaches into her handbag for her purse, I see she has a folded blue blanket with something furry and ginger inside. Naturally, I assume it’s a cuddly toy for a child.)

    Woman: *sees me looking* “Oh, do you like him?”

    Me: “Him?”

    (She takes the object and blanket out of her handbag to show me. To my astonishment, it’s not a cuddly toy, but a ginger kitten so small that its eyes aren’t open!)

    Me: “Why do you have a kitten in your bag?”

    Woman: *cradling the blanketed kitten gently* “He was pulled out of a burning building, and I’ve been hand-rearing him. I don’t go anywhere without him because he’s so small. At least he’s getting better after the fire!”

    (I finish ringing her up and take a moment to pet the kitten. She puts him carefully back into her handbag.)

    Woman: “Now to see if I can get him into [Supermarket]!”

    Me: “…good luck with that!”

    (Later, my manager scolded me for not calling her down. She wanted to pet the kitten, too.)

    That One Is A Bad Egg

    | PA, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Food & Drink

    (I recently started working at a local grocery store as a cashier. One of my duties is to inspect eggs to make sure they haven’t broken in their carton before the customer buys them. I do this as a woman is unloading the rest of her groceries. I pick one up delicately with my recently-washed fingers because I thought I saw a crack running to the bottom. The woman mutters something about needing to get more eggs and disappears. I think nothing of it until she comes back and hands me the new eggs. I open the carton to check them.)

    Woman: “I already checked them! You don’t have to do that!”

    Me: “Sorry, miss. Force of habit.”

    Woman: “Well, stop it! That’s the whole reason I went back to get another carton! I don’t like people manhandling my eggs!”

    (I become very embarrassed because I have impaired hearing in the ear that was facing her and realize I didn’t hear her asking me to not touch the eggs with my hands.)

    Me: “I’m very sorry, miss! I didn’t hear you. It’s policy for me to check—”

    Woman: “No! No one has EVER done that to me before! Where is your manager? This is unacceptable! I WILL NOT TOLERATE YOU MANHANDLING MY EGGS!”

    (She thrusts the first carton of eggs at me and instructs me to get rid of them. I finish the transaction as quickly as possible, apologizing profusely as I go, but nothing placates the customer and she continues to rant about how I’m “clueless” and “no one has ever manhandling her eggs like that before.” She leaves in a huff and my next customer comes forward. He gives me a good-natured grin.)

    Next Customer: “You can manhandle my groceries anyway you want!”

    Trying To Con The Family Business

    | Exeter, England, UK | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Liars & Scammers

    (I take a male customer’s order with him constantly asking about prices.)

    Customer: “Oh, can we have the family discount?”

    Me: “Excuse me?”

    Customer: “Yeah, I always get a discount here. The owner lets me.”

    Me: “He hasn’t told me anything…”

    Customer: “Yeah, the owner is my brother and he always gives me the family discount.”

    Me: “Okay, then… let me just ask him.”

    (I signal the owner over as the customer panics and goes bright red. His family also start nudging him.)

    Me: “Uh, your brother wants a discount.”

    (The customer sheepishly smiles as the owner explodes in happiness.)

    Owner: “Oh, my God, Jenny! I didn’t know you’d had a sex change. If you wanted to do that you could have at least kept your hair. Also you’ve put on a h*** of a lot of weight and lost over a foot in height! Why would you do that?”

    (The whole restaurant was looking and the customer’s family rushed him out quicker than the owner could continue talking. Some bosses are awesome.)

    Doesn’t Fit The Bill

    | Scotland, UK | At The Checkout, Money, Tourists/Travel

    (I work in a gift shop at a castle. A puzzled customer comes up to the till.)

    Customer: “How much are your postcards?”

    Me: “They’re 50 pence.”

    Customer: “So 50p means 50 pence?”

    Me: “Yep, they’re the same thing.”

    Customer: “Okay, so, I have a certificate for 5.”

    (We don’t do gift certificates to the best of my knowledge, so…)

    Me: “Sorry; when you say certificate, what exactly do you mean?”

    Customer: “It’s like a… bill?”

    Me: “A five pound note?”

    Customer: “A what?”

    Me: *baffled* “May I ask where you’re from?”

    Customer: “I’m from California.”

    Me: “Right, well, basically, our pence are like your cents, and our pounds are like your dollars. It’s 100 pence to a pound.”

    Customer: “OH! That makes so much more sense of all of your shops!”

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