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  • Bigotry Comes In All Shapes And Sizes
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  • April Themed Story Giveaway: Creepy Customers!
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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!

    Spinning A Yarn About Being Sorry

    | Gaithersburg, MD, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Home Improvement, Money

    (A customer brings up a skein of yarn to the register. I see she is intending to use a coupon.)

    Me: “Ma’am, that coupon won’t work on the yarn because it is on clearance.”

    Customer: “Well, that’s not very fair. It’s only a few cents off from the normal price, anyway.”

    Me: “Actually, these are normally about $6, and it’s coming up for $2.64, so it’s cheaper than you would get using a coupon on a regular-priced one. Would you still like to buy it?”

    Customer: “It’s not fair! Why can’t I get my discount!? This is ridiculous!”

    Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way, but we don’t give discounts on clearance items.”

    Customer: “Oh, I bet you are.”

    (I am becoming both annoyed and nervous that the customer is going to have a full-on meltdown over this. I attempt to sound deeply sorry.)

    Me: “I cannot express how bad I feel about this, ma’am. There’s really just not much I can do here.”

    (The customer suddenly starts laughing and smiling.)

    Customer: “Oh, I’m sure. I still don’t think it’s fair, but thank you for having some humor about it!”

    (The customer pays for her yarn and leaves. The next customer in my line has been watching the whole exchange and is just as surprised as me that things didn’t turn ugly.)

    Next Customer: “Is your boss around?”

    Me: “Actually, I’m the boss right now; I’m the only manager here tonight.”

    Next Customer: “Oh, well I would like to compliment the crap out of you! I was going to say something pretty soon if she kept on like that!”

    Take Note Of The Note

    , | NM, USA | At The Checkout, Liars & Scammers, Themed Giveaway

    (A customer comes into the restaurant and buys a juice for $1.60 with a $20 bill. I’m a bit suspicious of people who pay small totals with much larger bills, as I had just been scammed that weekend and had to pay $19 to the store.)

    Me: “Thank you, let me just get your change.”

    Customer: “Wait, wait! I just found the change in my purse. Here’s $1.60.”

    Me: “Okay, thank you. Here is your $20 back.”

    (I stare at the bill I hand back to her for a full second before actually giving it back to her. I have to be sure I hand her a $20 bill, as that’s how the scam works.)

    Customer: “Hey, you only gave me back a dollar.”

    (As if to prove this, the customer waives a dollar at me.)

    Me: “Ma’am, I am absolutely sure I gave you a $20 bill.”

    Customer: “No you didn’t; take this dollar and give me my $20.”

    Me: “Ma’am, I know I gave you a $20 bill. If you’d like I can pull this drawer right now and count it. If it’s over by $19, then it’s my mistake, but I am sure I gave you back your money.”

    Customer: “No, no I’m very busy.”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am; store policy is that I pull and count the drawer, so I’m going to go ahead and do that. It’ll take a few minutes if you want to take a seat.”

    Customer: “No! I’m very busy; I have to get to work. I can’t wait for you. Just give me my $20.”

    Me: “There are cameras watching this drawer; I cannot do that. I have to pull the drawer.”

    Customer: “Well you do that! I’ll be back later!”

    (The customer ends up leaving the dollar she was waiving at me on the counter. My drawer was spot on plus the extra dollar she left. She tried to scam me and instead lost money! She never came back, of course.)

    Focusing On The Wrong Kind Of Cup Size

    | OH, USA | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Rude & Risque

    (I am a female in my early twenties, the only female working this particular shift with three burly male coworkers. I am on the front register taking orders and money, when a customer walks in. He is a sloppily-dressed old man.)

    Me: “Hi there! How are you?”

    Customer: “I’m doin’ great, sweetie. How ’bout you get me a big cup of coffee?”

    Me: “Sounds great. Do you need any room for cream in there, sir?”

    Customer: “I got some cream for ya!”

    (He winks lewdly at me. I try to shake it off.)

    Me: “Alright, here is your coffee. Anything else for you, sir?”

    Customer: “Nope. What’s my total so you can ring me up?”

    (The customer seems oddly eager to pay. I give him his total and he hands me a very worn credit card. I try to swipe through our machine once or twice before determining its magnetic strip is too worn to be read. I am about to start typing in the numbers, when he interrupts me, looking very flushed and excited.)

    Customer: “No, no, don’t type it in. It’ll work if you just rub it on your chest.”

    (I am a little creeped out, but I wipe the card off on the bottom of my apron and give it another shot. It still won’t run through.)

    Customer: “No, no, sweetie, I said it’ll work if you rub it on your chest. Actually, it’ll work best if I rub it on your chest for you.”

    (At this point, I’m done. I step back from the register without another word and call for one of my coworkers, a big, burly 33-year-old man whose other job is construction. He comes over as I am walking away.)

    Me: *to my coworker* “I’m going to the back because the man at the front is asking to rub things on my chest.”

    (My coworker walks up to the register and looks down at the customer. He is a good foot taller than the customer.)

    Coworker: “I heard you like rubbing things on people’s chests? Well, have at it.”

    (My coworker leans forward just as I go into the back room. I didn’t see what happened next, but my coworker told me the customer panicked and ran out of the store without paying and without his coffee. We never saw him again!)

    That Kind Of Behavior Is Just Not Cricket

    | London, England, UK | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Geography

    (I’m standing in line at a corner shop. The customer at the till is a typical 40-something skinhead, wearing an England football shirt. He’s harassing the cashier because of the difference between the display price of a packet of cigarettes, and what he’s being charged.)

    Customer: “THIS IS F****** RIDICULOUS! IT’S ILLEGAL!”

    Cashier: “I’m sorry, sir, but due to the changes in taxes, we’ve had to increase the price. We haven’t had time to change the signs yet.”

    Customer: “THAT’S BULLSHIT! YOU’RE NOT FROM HERE! WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!”

    (The cashier isn’t ethnically British, but he’s been working at the store for a few years now and is a pretty decent guy.)

    Cashier: “That doesn’t matter, sir. Could you just pay for your items?”

    Customer: “I SAID WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!”

    Cashier: *rolling his eyes* “Sri Lanka.”

    (The customer tries to think of an insult using the tiny amount of brainpower not given over to alcohol and rage.)

    Customer: “…yeah … well your cricket team is s***!”

    (The customer then storms off after paying for the cigarettes. I go up to the register.)

    Me: “Didn’t Sri Lanka just win the Cricket World Cup?”

    Extreme Foreign Interests

    | England, UK | At The Checkout, Geography, Language & Words

    (I suffered from a speech disorder as a child, and while I speak perfectly now, I have a slight twang in my voice. I’m on the checkout when a smartly-dressed customer approaches the till.)

    Me: “Hello! How are you today?”

    Customer: “…where are you from?”

    Me: “Excuse me?”

    Customer: “Where. Are. You. From?”

    Me: “Um, I’m local, if that’s what you mean.”

    Customer: “No, where were you born?”

    Me: “In [local hospital].”

    Customer: *sighs* “Where are your parents from?”

    Me: “They’re from [local town] and [local city].”

    Customer: *getting irate* “I just want you to tell me where you’re from! Explain your accent!”

    Me: “Oh! My accent! Yes, there’s an explanation for that; see when I was a kid—”

    Customer: “I don’t want to hear your life story! Why are you ashamed of your heritage? You are probably bringing shame to your family by denying them! I get that there are racists here, but you don’t need to deny who you are! I won’t judge you!”

    Me: “Sir, I don’t know what you want me to say.”

    Customer: “Tell me your parents were born in a different country!”

    Me: “Um… they were born in [other country]?”

    Customer: “Yes! See how easy that is? Why couldn’t you have just said that in the first place?!”

    (He grabs his bags and marches off. I turn to the next customer.)

    Me: “Afternoon!”

    Customer #2: “That was a lie, right?”

    Me: “Yep. How can I help you today?”


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