October Theme Of The Month: Halloween!

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!

It’s All Fun And Games Until The Till

| Ashford, England, UK | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(Every morning, around 9 am, we have “Team Brief,” where the manager talks about the business issues of the day with the workers. The briefing takes place in an alcove near the lift, which is just off to the side of the main store. There is no door separating the customer area and alcove. The manager usually makes the briefings very informal. On this particular day, two colleagues remain on the tills to serve customers – one on a full sized till, and one on the “10 items or fewer” till. The briefing is going well and the manager has said something amusing, causing us all to laugh.)

Angry Customer: “Why the **** are you standing here laughing? I want to be served!”

(Everyone stops laughing, and the manager goes out to see what is happening. The small till is empty, but there are two customers waiting at the big till.)

Manager: “This till is available, sir.”

Angry Customer: “That’s not a proper till! I demand a proper till! If you were serving and not f****** around in there then I wouldn’t have to f****** wait!”

(Another employee opened another “proper” till and serves the man, who stormed off angrily after that. Nevertheless, we were all in a quiet mood for some time afterward.)

This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 42

| USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Money

(The customer in question is trying to purchase just under $300 worth of material. Their card declines.)

Customer: “Oh, I’m sorry. Let me go outside and call my bank.”

(Comes back in a few minutes later on the phone.)

Customer: “Can you take a check over the phone?”

Me: “Do you mean a credit card?”

Customer: “No, a check. Like if I give you all the information off it can you take it over the phone?”

Me: “…No. I can’t take a check over the phone, sorry.”

(His wife shows up 15 minutes later with a check. I run in through our machine just to be safe. It is also declined.)

Me: “Sorry, your check was also declined. I’ll only be able to take cash as payment.”

Customer: “I don’t understand why it won’t go through! We just deposited $30,000 yesterday!”

Me: *trying to hide my skepticism* “I’m sorry for the trouble. Sometimes banks can be troublesome. Maybe you should call them again?”

(They went outside to ‘call their bank’ but ended up leaving in their new SUV, and new trucking pulling their new trailer.)

This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 41
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 40
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 39

Set Up To Be Upset

| USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Food & Drink

(I answer our phone at work. A customer wants to place a catering order. After working with her to copy down her order, she asks for a total. I have to go through a longer process to actually enter the order into our system, so I call her back.)

Me: “Hi, this is [My Name]. I’m calling to let you know your total will be [price].”

Customer: “That’s not right. I got [price].”

(I look over what she had requested for her order. I realize that one of the things she asked for was a premium item that wasn’t the same price as the rest of the catering sandwiches.)

Me: “Oh, the two chicken veggies are a little more than the regular sandwich prices.”

Customer: “Well, that’s not right! I called yesterday and spoke to a girl who said that the chicken didn’t cost extra.”

Me: “I’m sorry about that, ma’am. I’m not sure why they told you that chicken doesn’t cost extra but it does. The veggies normally come without it and adding it adds an additional charge.”

Customer: “The girl I spoke to yesterday said they were just additions, so they didn’t cost extra!”

Me: “Well, they are additions. ALL additions aside from our basic toppings cost extra.”

Customer: “I’m really upset that you’re telling me the chicken will cost extra!”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but it’s always cost extra. Do you know who you spoke to?”

Customer: “No, I don’t remember her name!”

(I list a few females names that may have answered the phone. She doesn’t recognize any of them.)

Me: “I’m sorry about that, ma’am, but there may just have been a miscommunication. Perhaps she misunderstood your question or misspoke, because I can’t imagine any of our employees who you would have spoken to yesterday who would mistakenly tell anyone that chicken is a free addition.”

Customer: “I’m really upset that you’re telling me that the chicken is extra!”

Me: “…I’m sorry that there was a miscommunication about it, but chicken has always been extra.”

Customer: “I’m very upset about this! So, what, how much extra is it, what, two dollars?”

Me: “Yes, it would be two dollars total extra. It’s a dollar extra for chicken per sandwich.”

(The customer didn’t speak for a moment, presumably adding up the price again. We went over the prices twice and she asked for me to give her the total again. We eventually finalized everything. I didn’t work the next day, but apparently she sent someone else to go pick up the order. Apparently, she also wrote a customer complaint about how upset she was that chicken costs money!)

This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 41

| USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money

(I take a catering order over the phone.)

Me: “Would you like to pay tomorrow when you pick it up or would you like to give me a credit card number now?”

Customer: “I’ll give you my credit card number.”

(She gives me her number.)

Customer: “And could I have the total?”

Me: “Well, I actually have only written the order down. If you really need the total now I can ring in your order but it will take a moment. You’d have to hold or I’d have to call you back.”

Customer: “Yes, I’d like to have the total, obviously, if I’m going to be charged for it today. You know, I can’t just have charges to my card without knowing how much it will be.”

Me: “Actually, ma’am, the charge won’t go through until the day of. Your number will just be attached to your order in our system and the charge will be applied after we ensure that you get your order.”

Customer: “Oh, no, I don’t want it to be stored in the system. That’s not safe! Never mind, I’ll just pay for it tomorrow!”

Me: “…Well, that’s fine, too! It may just take a minute or so for you to be rung out tomorrow if it’s busy when you arrive to pick up your order, just so you know.”

(I decided not to bother clarifying that she had just given me her number which I wrote down, or that our systems were obviously designed to encrypt credit card numbers so that they could not be stolen, considering we were a business that dealt with thousands of credit cards daily, OR that every single credit card, including the one she would use the next day, was stored in our system anyway in order for us to receive customers’ payments because that’s how credit cards work.)

This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 40
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 39
This Is Why We’re In A Recession, Part 38

Code Red

| USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Technology

(A customer comes in with his son to purchase Xbox currency. At our store, whenever someone buys any DLC (downloadable codes) a screen pops up on our pin-pad that lets the customer know they cannot return DLC once it’s purchased and to verify that it’s the correct item for the correct system. We also voice what the pad says, to save the customer time from reading it. The customer must hit accept before we can continue the purchase.)

Me: “Okay! All that’s left is to hit accept on the pad, which is just letting you know once you purchase this item, you can’t return it.”

Customer: “But I haven’t swiped my debit card yet…”

Me: *confused* “No, this is for the currency that you are buying. We have a policy where you can’t return it since it’s just a code, and we just need you to accept that you understand that.”

Customer: “But… I haven’t swiped my debit card yet.”

(His tone of voice by this point makes it sound like he thinks I’m dumb and don’t understand what he’s saying.)

Me: “Right, we haven’t gotten that far yet. Before you can pay for it, you need to accept this message here, as I said.”

(He continued to tell me the same thing, until his son chimed in and told him what he needed to do. We were finally able to finalize the transactions. The kicker? He came back the next day trying to return the code saying it wasn’t working. After my manager called our customer service number, who told us the code had been redeemed, the son told his dad that they had already redeemed the code. The father looked pissed and left in a huff.)

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