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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!

    Very Slow To Register

    | NY, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Time

    (I’m heading to the only open checkout lane of a supermarket. A man in his mid-thirties, visibly in a rush and carrying only a single carton of milk, gets there only a moment after a little old lady carrying a basket with only two items in it.)

    Old Lady: “Don’t worry, young man. I’ll be done very quickly.”

    Man: *fidgeting* “No problem. Take your time.”

    (The cashier rings up both items. The old lady whips out a coupon.)

    Cashier: “I’m sorry, but this coupon is for a different brand of this item.”

    Lady: “Oh, dear. Can you send somebody to switch it out for me?”

    (It’s a few minutes before a stock-boy shows up with the correct brand. The man is getting more and more antsy and frustrated as he watches the cashier void the previous item and ring up the new one.)

    Cashier: “That’ll be [new total].”

    Old Lady: “Oh, dear. I almost forgot. I have another coupon here.”

    (It’s a manufacturer’s coupon. It doesn’t go through and takes a manager to come and help the cashier ring it in. By now the man’s face is turning red and he’s practically gnawing on his wallet out of frustration from waiting.)

    Cashier: “I’m so sorry, sir. We’re almost done.”

    Man: “Yep, no problem.”

    Cashier: *to old lady* “Okay, the total is [newest total].”

    Old Lady: *looking through her purse* “Oh, dear…” (A moment later she produces a checkbook.)

    Old Lady: “Who do I make it out to?”

    Man: *screaming* “God d*** it!”

    (With that, he hurls the carton of milk at a wall, where it explodes and sends milk cascading all over the wall and the front of the store.  The man storms out leaving a stream of profanity in his wake. We all watch this in stunned silence. A few moments later the old lady pulls her hand out of her pocket.)

    Old Lady: “Oh, never mind. Here’s a $5 bill. Had it all along! Silly me…”

    Not Central To Their Understanding

    | CO, USA | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Geography

    (I am from Central America but have lived in Colorado all my life. People usually ask what part of Mexico I’m from and I just have to give them a smile and let them know I am in fact not from Mexico but a small Central American country. I am helping a customer check out.)

    Customer: “Wow you have no accent even though you’re Mexican!”

    Me: “I’ve lived in Colorado all my life but I’m actually from a small Central American country.”

    Customer: “Oh! Maria, my maid, is from Central America. Do you know Maria!?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, there are many Maria’s from Central America. Where is she from?”

    Customer: “Maria! You must know Maria!! My maid! MARIA!”

    Me: “Well, I’m from…”

    Customer: “Nooo. Maria! Maria. Maria! From Central America! You KNOW her! Mmaarriiiaa!”

    (This went on for a few minutes. Obviously we never figured out who she was talking about even though she kept saying the name Maria longer and louder.)

    Sorry, Please Chai Again

    | Olympia, WA, USA | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Liars & Scammers

    (I am working in a new coffee shop on campus that is very busy at certain times of the day. We start to notice a professor pulling a scam on us at our peak times. Every day she waits until we are really busy. She waits with her friend in line but does not order anything. Then, after ‘waiting’ a while, she demands to know where her drink is. Several students are pulling this scam as well. We put up a sign that says you have to present your receipt, and make sure we tell everyone that orders. All the scams stop, except one.)

    Professor: *slamming her hand over and over on the pickup counter* “Where is my chai!? Where is my chai!?”

    Coworker: “Do you have your receipt?”

    Professor: *indignant* “No.”

    Coworker: “Then you don’t have a chai.”

    (She never tried to pull the scam on us again!)

    In Line And Out Of Line, Part 5

    | Sydney, NSW, Australia | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

    (There’s a long line of customers with two staff members serving. The phone rings and my coworker answers.)

    Coworker: “Hi, this [Coworker]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “Do you have [item] in stock? I need to buy one.”

    Coworker: *runs to check, comes back to the phone* “Yes, we have it in stock. Would you like me to hold one for you?”

    Customer: “Yes. I’ll be in to pick it up. My name is [Customer]. Good bye.”

    (My coworker goes back to serving the line. She serves two customers and then gets to the third one.)

    Customer: “Hi, I’m [Customer] and am here to pick up [item].”

    Coworker: “You called me while in the line?”

    Customer: “Yes. I am in a hurry and didn’t want to wait while you went to get the item.”

    Coworker: “Really? Did you realise that I had to spend extra time with the last two customers apologising to them because they were irate that I took a phone call while they were waiting? You would have been gone by now if you had simply waited your turn.”

    Related:
    In Line And Out Of Line, Part 4
    In Line And Out Of Line, Part 3
    In Line And Out Of Line, Part 2
    In Line And Out Of Line

    The Sweet Taste Of Karma

    | Milford, CT, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Bizarre, Rude & Risque

    (I am a hostess at a restaurant. There is a regular who comes in with a woman, and the two of them seem to be in their 70s, although the woman seems more like his sister or caregiver than his wife. The man walks with a cane, and is constantly hitting on every woman he sees in the restaurant, to the point where a few of the servers get a little creeped out. On this day, the man has been hitting on everyone like normal, and right before he walks out, he stops at a jar of candy we have at the host stand near a sign that says, ‘guess how many candies and win!’)

    Old Woman: “Those aren’t for eating, they’re for guessing.”

    Old Man: *to me* “What do I get if I win?”

    Me: “You win the jar of candy.”

    Old Man: “Can I win the person who put the candy IN the jar instead?” *winks*

    Me: “… Well, if you really want to, sure.”

    Old Man: *gives me a huge, creepy grin*

    Me: “That would be our manager. [Male Manager's Name].”

    Old Man: *drops smile completely* “Oh. Never mind.” *leaves*

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