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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!

    Sweet Sixteen Is A Bitter Surprise

    | Chicago, IL, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Theme Of The Month

    (When I was sixteen, I was the only girl working at this particular hardware store. While I was scanning another customer’s purchases, and old man slides behind me at the register and whispers in my ear.)

    Customer: “I didn’t find what I wanted, but that’s okay.”

    (I jerk away from him, because he was quite close.)

    Me: “Oh… I’m sorry, sir.”

    Customer: *takes my left hand and caresses my ring finger* “Tsk, tsk. Boys don’t know anything these days. A girl like you should already be snapped up.”

    Me: “I’m 16.”

    Customer: *drops my hand abruptly* “Have a nice day.”

    Stripped Of His Confidence

    | USA | At The Checkout, Rude & Risque, Theme Of The Month

    (This conversation occurred between me and a customer buying shoes for a wedding. I’m a tall girl and rather busty.)

    Me: *after ringing up shoes and going through usual questions* “Okay, that will be [total].”

    Customer: “Just a second.” *pulls out wallet, digs in pockets, and locates two extra bills in another pocket* “Hey, I found extra money. That’s great!”

    Me: “Oh, yeah, I always love finding extra money at the bottom of my purse.”

    Customer: “Oh, from your job as a stripper?”

    (At this he freezes and his whole face is overcome with a look of absolute horror at what he’s just said. His tone isn’t insulting and in fact I got the distinct impression he must have a lot of female friends he casually jokes with without thinking. I’m standing there struggling between laughter and insult and settle on laughter as I’ve had a good day and he just looks like he feels really bad.)

    Customer: “Oh, my god, I am so sorry! I didn’t mean to imply—”

    Me: “It’s fine. It’s flattering to think I look good enough to be a stripper.” *poses*

    (The customer laughed though clearly still felt bad, He paid and left with his shoes. Another coworker walked over, having heard the exchange, and we stared at each other a moment before we burst out laughing.)

    A Significant Flight Risk

    | Honolulu, HI, USA | At The Checkout, Love/Romance, Rude & Risque, Theme Of The Month, Transportation

    (I work in a very touristy part of town and we have a lot of flight attendants who stop through the store. I see a guy and help him at the computer. This guy is close to 60.)

    Me: “So you just click here and it should be good.”

    Customer: “Oh, thank you. Say, where are you from?”

    Me: “The Philippines.”

    Customer: “Oh, my friend met his wife there. He basically waited outside of the college she was attending everyday and finally convinced him to go out with her. She eventually said yes. I’ve been there a few times since I’m a flight attendant. Beautiful women you know.”

    Me: “That’s nice. I’m gonna go help out some other people. Ask me if you have other questions.”

    (I loop around a couple more times around the store answering questions. He flags me down.)

    Customer: “Marry me and you’ll fly for free.”

    Me: “Ha ha. That’s the same line my friend’s dad used 30 years ago on his wife.”

    Customer: “Well, it’s a good line.”

    Me: “I think I’ll pass, but thank you anyway.”

    (I loop around the store again, and start demonstrating a product features. I see him lingering in the back waiting for me to finish.)

    Customer: “Thank you for helping me out tonight. You’re really sweet. Here’s my card.”

    Me: “Uh. Thanks.”

    (The card said, “You’re really charming and here’s my number. Let’s meet for drinks after work.” I never called, but he came back a few weeks later asking for help with his phone from my coworker. His phone background was a picture of some woman’s breasts. Gross.)

    Like A Dog After A Bone

    | USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Pets & Animals, Theme Of The Month

    (It’s about half an hour before closing time on a Saturday, which is jokingly referred to by the employees as ‘the creeper hour’ because of all the strange customers we get during that time. However, this night has been relatively slow and weird-free. Customer #1, a man, comes to my line and sets down two cartons of ice cream.)

    Me: “How are you today?”

    Customer #1: “Fine, thanks. My dog wanted to go for a ride, so I thought I’d reward myself for listening to him.”

    (I kind of laugh with the customer and ring through his order. After he pays, he still stands at my register, staring at me.)

    Me: “Can I help you with anything else?”

    Customer #1: “My dog is a real little dog. It’s probably tearing up my car right now. I can never get him to settle down.”

    Me: “Yeah, smaller dogs tend to have more energy.”

    Customer #1: “It’s because his parents are siblings.”

    Me: “Oh…”

    Customer #1: “I had the brother and sister dogs and they got together somehow. Had four puppies. One was born with heart problems and died. I gave two away.”

    Me: *trying to not cringe* “Okay…”

    Customer #1: “I don’t know how they did it. I don’t know why they did it. Why do brother and sister dogs f***? I caught them once. I couldn’t get the brother dog off his sister. You just never forget those kinds of things.”

    Me: “Sir, do you mind just—”

    (At this point, a second customer comes to my line. She loudly throws some soup cans on the conveyor belt.)

    Customer #2: “Oh, hello, sweetie! How are you tonight?”

    (Customer #1 glares at her and moves down a little, but still is at my register and opens his mouth as if to continue talking.)

    Customer #2: *loudly* “Boy, I can’t believe how great the sales are this week! Oh, do you mind putting my milk in a bag? I hate to be a bother, but it’s just easier to carry.”

    (Customer #1 finally seems to get that he can’t continue talking about his incestuous dogs and actually pouts as he walks away.)

    Customer #2: “Actually sweetie, I’m sorry. I’m not done shopping yet. I still need to get a couple more things. You just looked like you needed a way out.”

    Me: “Oh, my god, thank you so much. Here, I’ll unload the rest of your things and ring them through while you go get what else you need.”

    Customer #2: “But did I hear him right? Did he really say what I think he said? Who even thinks that that’s okay?!”

    Me: “Ma’am, I don’t mean to be crass but if you think that’s weird then you don’t want to hear the other stuff people have said to me.”

    (She laughs and gets the rest of her groceries. When she pays, she asks for $5 cash back and gives it to me for ‘putting up with the village of idiots.’)

    Doesn’t Want To Provide Proof

    | East Lothian, Scotland, UK | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Food & Drink, Religion

    (An elderly Muslim woman and her niece, who is in her 30s, are regular customers. They are both very nice people and are always friendly. Today the niece is in on her own and approaches the checkout.)

    Niece: “Is my aunt in?”

    Me: “I haven’t seen her.”

    Niece: “Is her car in the car park?”

    (I look as far as I can into the store car park.)

    Me: “I can’t see it.”

    Niece: “Good. Can I have a litre-bottle of [Cheap Brand] vodka, please.”

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