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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!

    Demanding And Stupid In The Same Breath

    | MA, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Musical Mayhem, Top

    (We’re a bookstore, but we also sell some smaller toys from a popular company known for their hand-crafted products. I’m covering the register on a slow night. A customer I rang out a few minutes earlier who bought a $3 wooden kazoo comes storming back into the store. Another customer reaches the register at about the same time, but holds back when she sees how angry the other woman is.)

    Customer #1: “Why’d you tell my son he couldn’t return this kazoo? It’s defective!”

    Me: “Oh, I’m sorry. He just asked if he could get his money back, and I told him we couldn’t take it because it was opened already. It’s defective?”

    (I pick up the wooden kazoo that she’s slammed on the counter hold it near my mouth, and hum. It makes a kazoo noise.)

    Me: “Oh, maybe your son doesn’t know how it works. You have to hum into it, not blow like a whistle. Seems fine.”

    Customer #1: “What? I didn’t hear anything! It’s defective! I want my money back!”

    (I hold the kazoo near my lips again and hum louder. It makes a louder kazoo noise.)

    Me: “See? That’s what it’s supposed to do. You hum, and it makes that noise.”

    (I set it down in front of her, thinking the problem is solved.)

    Customer #1: “No way! I’m not taking that out of the store now! You’ve contaminated it with your breath! It has all your germs in it. Give me my money back!”

    Me: “Really?”

    (The woman tries to stare me down.)

    Me: “Ma’am, as I explained, you don’t blow into a kazoo. You hum. You can’t hum with your mouth open. None of my breath went into the kazoo.”

    (I demonstrate a humming noise without the kazoo, showing her my lips are firmly pressed closed.)

    Customer #1: “This is ridiculous! I’ve bought hundreds of things from here that were all defective, and I’ve never bothered to return them before. I just threw them away. Now, you won’t even take back this broken kazoo?”

    Me: “But, it’s not broken, remember? And I didn’t breathe in it, either. I’m not sure exactly what your complaint is at this point.”

    Customer #1: “That’s it! I want to talk to your store manager.”

    Me: “That would be me.”

    Customer #1: “Fine! Then I want to talk to a district manager! Is he here?”

    Me: “Yes. And he’s also me.”

    Customer #2: “This isn’t over. Not by a long shot! You haven’t heard the last of me!”

    (The woman snatches up her kazoo from the counter and runs out of the store. I turn to the other woman who’s been waiting patiently.)

    Me: “I’m sorry you had to be here for that uncomfortable situation.”

    Customer #2: “Oh, I don’t mind. That was pretty entertaining. I think you may have created a super-villain.”

    (Ten minutes later, one of my managers from another store location calls me, laughing.)

    Coworker: “Um, apparently, I’m supposed to fire you. Some crazy lady just called to tell me that you threw a kazoo at her?”

    Can Give An Inch In A Pinch

    | Edmonton, AB, Canada | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Rude & Risque

    (I’m a barista at a well known coffee chain. I only work the opening shift, which means I’m at the store at 5:30 am. This customer comes in around 6:15 am.)

    Me: “Morning. What can I get for you?”

    Customer: “Americano.”

    Me: “Sure. Do you need room for cream?”

    (I think he answers no. I make the Americano, and fill the cup to the top, leaving no room for cream.)

    Me: “Here’s your Americano. Have a great day!”

    Customer: “You call this room?”

    Me: “Sorry! I must have misheard you. I can pour some out for you, if you’d like.”

    Customer: “Yes, please. Pour out about an inch.”

    (I pour out a good inch of the beverage and hand it back to the guy.)

    Customer: “You call this an inch? Clearly men have been lying to you your whole life, dear.”

    (He immediately walks away, while I stand there, suffering from shock.)

    Manager: “Did he just say what I think he said?”

    The Slippery Subject Of Price

    | NY, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Food & Drink

    (A customer puts bananas on the conveyor belt at my till. I pick them up and type the

    number for the bananas in.)

    Customer: “Wait up. The bananas are [price] for one set of bananas, not [price] for one single banana.”

    Me: “No. We have no scales here so the price of fruit is per single item.”

    Customer: “You didn’t explain that fast enough so I’m not getting them.”

    Birthright Is Wrong

    | Australia | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Family & Kids, Language & Words

    Customer: “Oh! What an interesting accent! Which country are you from?”

    Me: “Thank you. I was born here, but my dad is Northumbrian, so I have a bit of his accent.”

    Customer: “So when did you arrive in Australia?”

    Me: “I never left. I was born here.”

    Customer: “No, that’s impossible. I don’t think you were. In fact, I KNOW you weren’t.”

    Me: “So, it’s impossible for my mother to have me in Australia with my dad, who migrated from the UK and has a strong accent that I picked up?”

    Customer: “Yes.”

    Me: “I was born here in Australia, ma’am.”

    Customer: “Oh, you keep thinking that.” *winks and leaves the store*

    Used And Useless

    | MT, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Technology

    (A customer is coming through my line with a series of energy drinks and several bags of chips. He is also holding a game with a receipt. I figure that he bought it in our game department.)

    Me: “Oh, [Game]! I have been waiting for that to go on sale. It looks like a good game.”

    Customer: “It’s okay. I finished the game in like a day though.”

    (I’m puzzled by this, as he is holding the game.)

    Me: “Really? Huh.”

    Customer: “Yeah. I just tried to return it. It was too short. I can’t believe you guys didn’t take it back.”

    Me: “So you bought a game and tried to return it because you finished it?”

    Customer: “I was really dissatisfied after I finished it. Do you know where I can take it to return it? Or do I have to file a complaint or something?”

    Me: “Well, it’s now a used game… so, [Used Game Store]?”

    Customer: “They’ll only give me used game price.”

    (We stand there for 10 minutes while he tries to grasp the concept of returns. He leaves in a huff. After, my boss comes over.)

    Boss: “Did that just happen?”

    Me: “Doesn’t it always?”

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