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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!

    Makes You Want To Hit The Bottle

    | CT, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Theme Of The Month

    (I am bagging groceries for an elderly woman.)

    Customer: “Now, don’t forget to pack those bags light, young man. I can’t carry like I used to.”

    Me: “Of course, ma’am. No problem.”

    (I have packed all her groceries in plastic bags, handing her each one over the counter.)

    Customer: “Young man! This bag is way too heavy! Please repack this.”

    (I look inside. There is a single two-liter bottle of soda in there.)

    Me: “Um, ma’am, I can’t split a bottle of—”

    Customer: “Just do it!”

    (I shrug, take the bottle out of the plastic bag, put it in another identical plastic bag, and hand it back to her.)

    Customer: “Ah, see? That’s much better. Why couldn’t you do that the first time?”

    A Bad Hair Day

    | FL, USA | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Family & Kids, Health & Body, Top

    (It is Christmas Eve. I have just finished a very difficult 13-hour shift, with a 2-hour commute to the small town I live just outside of. I am picking up milk. My hair is cropped short, and though I am very skinny, my uniform is shapeless except for the back brace I am wearing. As I get in line, a very drunk customer behind me turns to another customer.)

    Drunk Customer: “Can you believe this [lesbian slur]? Look at her! She can at least clean herself up before coming into our town! What a fat useless c***! She’s wearing a d*** girdle! Ha! That fat will melt right off when she goes to Hell!”

    (The drunk customer continues berating the way I look, and throwing insults over his shoulder. Finally I have had enough. I set my milk on the conveyor belt and spin around to face the man.)

    Me: “Let’s get a few things straight! First, this is a back brace, not a girdle! I wear it because I was born with a deformed pelvis and spine, and I can very easily paralyze myself with improper body mechanics. Secondly, I have been with my MALE fiancé for five years. But at least you are right about one thing. I would look a h*** of a lot better with my hair long. I used to have long, beautiful, full curls. So beautiful, in fact, my six-year-old niece would cry every time I visited her because she lost all of her hair when she started chemo for her leukemia. So for Christmas, I cut off all of my long feminine curls and have had them made into a wig so she doesn’t have to feel ugly when she goes to school. I just thank God she lives two towns over, because after what you’ve said about me, I can’t imagine what you and the rest of the people here like you would say to a sad, sick little girl!”

    (The next time I went back to pick up a few things, the manager approached me. It turned out the entire staff had donated to my niece’s cancer treatment!)

    Self Checkout Is Soul Destroying

    | MI, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Technology, Top

    (I am working the control center for the self checkouts when I overhear a customer having a conversation with the self checkout machine.)

    Self Checkout: “Are you using your own bags?”

    Customer: “NO. I’M USING THE SOULS OF SMALL CHILDREN. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?!”

    Self Checkout: “Please place the item in the bagging area.”

    Just Checking

    | OH, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid

    (An older customer comes through my line. She is paying with a check, and the register tells me to check her ID.)

    Me: “May I please see your ID?”

    Customer: “Oh, I don’t have one.”

    Me: “…you don’t have an ID?”

    Customer: “Well, I have a driver’s license. Is that an ID?”

    Sticking It Out

    | MA, USA | At The Checkout, Criminal/Illegal, Liars & Scammers

    (It is the late 1990s. I’m a cashier for a major home improvement store. We have been taught how to spot the various tricks people might use to try to pay less for merchandise than the actual prices. One night, an assistant manager came up to me about 10 minutes before closing time, as I was the only register open.)

    Manager: “Keep your eyes open. We’ve got a customer who’s up to no good.”

    Me: “You think he’s trying to make a grab?”

    Manager: “Yeah, and he’s not exactly being subtle about it. I’ve been watching him roaming the aisles. Just be on your toes.”

    (A few minutes later, said customer approaches the registers. I call him over.)

    Me: “Evening, sir.”

    Customer: “Hi. Just this, please.”

    (He hands me a utility lamp that I scan. Just by looking at my monitor I can tell what he’s up to.)

    Me: “Wait. That can’t be right.”

    Customer: “No. It says $4.99, then that’s the price!”

    (The price is one thing, but the monitor shows that I’ve scanned in a $4.99 house plant from the garden area.)

    Me: “Sir, you’re buying a lamp, not a plant.”

    (A quick inspection confirms what I suspected, that he’s taken the UPC sticker off a lower priced item and covered the lamp’s UPC with it. His mistake was what he took the sticker from. I peel the sticker off and re-scan the lamp, showing the correct $24.95 price.)

    Customer: “No. You’ve got to let me have it for the other price you scanned in!”

    (During training, we were also told never to confront or accuse a suspected shoplifter, to leave that to a manager.)

    Me: “Sir, even though the wrong bar code wound up on this by some error, I have to charge you the right price for the right item.”

    Customer: *sighs* “Fine. I’ve got to go check something out. Be right back.”

    Me: “Okay, but we close in a few minutes.”

    Customer: “Yeah, fine. I’ll put this back….”

    (The whole time, I’ve had my hand on the lamp in case he tries to take it and run.)

    Me: “No, sir. That’s okay. I’ll take care of it.”

    (The customer goes back into the aisle. The assistant manager has been nearby watching the whole thing, and follows him, but passes by me first.)

    Manager: “Nice catch. I’ll make sure your supervisor hears about this one.”

    (Less than two minutes later, he’s ushering the customer to the exit.)

    Customer: “Man, I didn’t do anything!”

    Manager: “Yeah, ’cause I have a cashier who knows what he’s doing!”


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