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!

Should Have Been Carted Away

| Cedar Hill, TX, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Money

(The woman currently being served has a shopping cart PILED with food, clothes and toiletries, but most of it has been rung up and bagged, so I think she is almost done. However, the next man in line, cart about 2/3 full, turns out to be her adult son, and his cart is added to her purchases. No problem, I think; only one payment to process instead of two, this will be even faster. Then the trouble begins.)

Cashier: “Your total is [nearly $900].”

Customer: “Okay.” *swipes card*

Cashier: “I’m sorry, ma’am, it’s declined.”

Customer: “Try it again!”

Cashier: *does so* “Hmm, declined. Do you have another card?”

Customer: “No, I know there’s money on that card! You’re not doing it right!”

Cashier: “I’m sorry, ma’am, sometimes the machine doesn’t read the strip. Let me type your number in manually… No, I’m sorry, it’s still declined. Do you have another method of payment, like a check?”

Customer: “Who writes checks anymore? I got this check CARD! That’s what it’s for!”

Cashier: “How about a credit card? Visa, Mastercard, Amex—”

Customer: “No, credit cards are a scam. Are you saying I don’t have any money? I HAVE MONEY!” *waving debit card*

Cashier: “It doesn’t tell me why it’s declined, ma’am, just that it is. There’s an ATM right there, if you’d like to step out of line and verify your balance while I ring up the next person—”

Customer: “NO! You’re helping ME! Don’t you move!”

(She has her adult son stand behind her carts so I can’t move up to the scanner belt. The cashier sighs, and shoots me an ‘I’m sorry’ look. The customer goes over to ATM and fiddles around for a few minutes, then gets on her cell phone to the bank but is stymied by the automated prompts. I think this surely can’t go on much longer, as we’re approaching the 15-minute mark for her transaction.)

Cashier: “Ma’am, if you can’t pay at this time, I need you to move aside and let other customers through. I can suspend your transaction so we won’t have to ring everything up again when you have your payment ready.”

Customer: “NO. I have money on this card! I always use this card here, and you always give me trouble about it!”

Cashier: “Do you have another card I can try? Or possibly you could remove some items from your transaction and try again with a lower total—”

Customer: “NO! I need all this stuff! And I always pay with THIS CARD! I’m not on welfare. I have money! Why won’t you take my card?!”

(The cashier summons a manager, who tells the woman the same thing; if she doesn’t have a working debit card or other form of payment, she will have to leave her two full carts of bagged items and come back when she can pay.)

Customer: “…and THAT is why I always carry cash!”

(She whipped out a huge roll of bills and peeled off the required amount, with plenty left over, then strolled out with her son and their two shopping carts as every employee and customer in earshot stood with jaws on the floor.)

More Taxing To Some People

| Austin, TX, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money

(A customer brings a pack of gum to the counter. The MSRP, 69 cents, is printed on it.)

Me: “Okay, that’ll be 75 cents.”

Customer: *practically yelling* “No, it says 69 cents right here!”

Me: “Yes, and sales tax makes it 75.”

Customer: “Tax is 8 cents to a dollar, and this is less than a dollar, so there isn’t supposed to be any tax on it!”

Me: “That’s… that’s not how sales tax works…”

(He left without buying the gum.)

Making Universal University Assumptions

| USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, School

(I am in college and working full-time as the receptionist for a car repair shop to pay my way. Because I don’t always have customers calling or coming in, the management allows me to bring my homework with me, provided I can put it down immediately when someone phones or comes in. I am 21 and look very young for my age. One older customer walks in and looks down at the book on the desk while I’m pulling her file.)

Customer: “Does your teacher know you’re skipping class?”

Me: “Well… this is just my homework. Now, about your car—”

Customer: “What? High schools don’t have class at night. Is it even legal for you to be here?”

Me: “Actually, I’m in college. I’m 21; I just look a lot younger than I am.”

Customer: “Do not lie to me, young lady. You should be ashamed of yourself. Skipping class and lying. Does your manager know this?”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I’m not in high school. And I’m working on my schoolwork here, so I’m obviously not trying to ditch schoolwork. Now, if I can get you to sign these papers here, we’ll get the estimator to come and—”

Customer: “Nonsense! You’re just trying to get out of responsibility, and now that I’ve caught you, you’re trying to distract me by talking about my car! You young people dropping out of school is what is causing the economy issues we’re having!”

(I quietly flip over the book to show her the cover, which lists the state university name, as well as a college-level class name.)

Customer: “What forms did you need me to fill out?”

Needs More Self-Help Than Self-Checkout

| Tucson, AZ, USA | At The Checkout, Technology

(I’m a customer at the grocery store using the self-check out. Another customer and his wife approach the self-check out when the husband suddenly stops and turns to his wife.)

Customer: “I’m not using self-check out! Those machines are smarter than I am!”

Paying Caesar’s Things Back To Caesar

| IL, USA | At The Checkout, Money, Religion

Customer: “Have you accepted Jesus as your personal savior?”

Me: “Nope. Your total is $7.00.”

Customer: “I don’t pay non-believers.”

Me: “Well, it’s a good thing you’re paying [Delivery Company], then.”

Customer: “Do you know any commandments, you Satan worshipper?”

Me: “Thou Shalt Not Steal. Seven dollars, please.”

(Then he threw a $10 on the counter and left. Three bucks for Satan!)

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