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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!

    Not Acting Their Sunday Best

    | IN, USA | At The Checkout, Books & Reading, Crazy Requests, Religion

    (I work in a shop that exclusively sells Christian books, music, and church supplies. The store is, strangely, open on Sundays.)

    Me: “All set? Did you find everything you needed today?”

    Customer: “I did. Thank you.”

    (She places a large stack of items on the counter. I’m halfway through ringing them up when she speaks up.)

    Customer: “I can’t believe you’re open on Sundays.”

    Me: “The owner believes it’s convenient for customers who can’t make it during the week, so it’s no hassle.”

    Customer: “You shouldn’t be open! This is the Lord’s day!”

    Me: “We do have reduced hours on Sundays so the employees can attend church. I came straight to work from a service at [local church] this morning.”

    Customer: “No! You should be closed today in honor of the Lord’s day!”

    Me: “Ma’am, if we were closed today, how would you get these things you’re buying right now?”

    (The customer blinks in surprise and stares at her purchases. Then she scowls and thrusts a credit card at me.)

    Customer: “It doesn’t matter! You should be closed on Sundays! Now do your job and ring me up!”

    Working A Double

    | Stuart, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Funny Names, Technology, Top

    (I work as a sales associate for an electronics store in a mall. Another sales associate gets a new job and peacefully quits this job, leaving his name badge behind. A couple days later, just for fun, I put his name badge on and begin helping customers normally. My manager gets a chuckle out of this, but lets me continue. Over time, I forget I have the wrong name badge on. The next day, a customer comes in that I talked to the previous day. I approach her wearing my name badge.)

    Me: “Hello. Welcome to [Electronics Store]. How can I help you?”

    Customer: “I was talking with [Former Employee] yesterday and I would like to get more information on a product before I buy it. Is he in?”

    (I look over at my manager standing at the end of the counter. He is listening to the exchange and looks back at me with wide eyes. I give him a smile.)

    Me: “Sure! I’ll go get him.”

    (I go to the office. I put on the former employee’s name badge, then go back to the sales floor.)

    Me: “Welcome back, ma’am! How can I help you?”

    (The customer begins asking me questions about a product as if I was a different person. I try to keep a straight face while my manager, now hunched over the counter, is erupting in laughter. Eventually, I answer all the customer’s questions. She buys the product and leaves, not once realizing I am the same person.)

    Understaffed But Not Understood

    | Greensboro, NC, USA | At The Checkout, Books & Reading, Crazy Requests

    (On the day before Father’s Day, with a huge sale going on, the coworker who is supposed to come in to work with me doesn’t show up. I am swamped and can’t answer any phone calls. I just stay at the counter ringing people up. We are so busy that I don’t have time to call any of my coworkers to see if they can come in to cover the shift. There is only about half an hour until two other coworkers are coming in, so I just do my best until then. With a line about ten customers long, a customer comes storming up to the register and interrupts the conversation I’m having with the customer currently at my register.)

    Customer: “I need some help! Where is the employee who should be working the sales floor right now?”

    Me: “I’m very sorry, ma’am, but no one else is here right now. If you’ll kindly wait in line, I’d be glad to help you shortly.”

    Customer: “What?! This is outrageous! You should have more than one person working! Everyone knows that is just good business!”

    Me: “Unfortunately, there was a scheduling mix-up. I’m the only one here right now.”

    Customer: “But I need one of you to help me find something! What am I supposed to do? That’s what you all get paid to do! I am very busy and I need to get my Father’s Day gifts bought! I don’t have all day! Really, on a holiday, you should have more than one person working!”

    (Since the customer isn’t listening to me, I just turn back to serving the line at the counter. I finish the next customer, and try to explain the schedule issue again, but she’s not having any of it. One of our regular customers is standing nearby at a sale table and finally speaks up.)

    Regular Customer: “Ma’am, what is wrong with your hearing? She just explained to you that her coworker didn’t show up! I think she’s doing a remarkable job handling all of this by herself. You are just making things worse!”

    Customer: “All I need is to see if they have these items in stock! Can’t she see I am in a hurry?”

    Regular Customer: “As are most of us. It’s a busy holiday at a popular store. What do you expect? When people don’t show up to do their jobs it makes it harder on the rest of their coworkers, especially when there’s only one other person working!”

    Customer: “But—”

    Regular Customer: “Now, I don’t work here, but I shop here often. In favor of giving everyone in line and this poor employee a break, I’m going to help you find what you need. But only so you leave us all alone!”

    (I thank the regular and the two disappear into the back of the store. The customers in line make some comments. A moment later, the original customer storms to the front and out the door. I turn to the regular customer as she returns.)

    Me: “What happened?”

    Regular Customer: “You didn’t have the item she wanted. Her sale flyer was for the bookstore down the street.”

    A Gross Grocery Error

    | Newark, NJ, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Health & Body

    (The customer in front of me is dropping off a prescription. She’s on her phone.)

    Customer: “…and then can you pick up [Name] from school, or do you want me— Hang on, I’m at the front of the line.” *to pharmacist* “Here’s my prescription, ID, insurance data. Need anything else?”

    Pharmacist: “Just give me a minute to read through this.”

    Customer: *on phone* “So, anyway, about the groceries. Why is taking—”

    Pharmacist: “Excuse me?”

    Customer: “Oh, hang on.” *to pharmacist* “Sorry, I know it’s rude to talk on the phone, but—”

    Pharmacist: “No, no. Your prescription. It says ‘cheese, yogurt, chunky peanut butter.’”

    (There is a pause.)

    Customer: *on phone* “I think I know why it’s taking you so long at the grocery store.”

    Going Bananas About Pajamas

    | AB, Canada | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Holidays, Theme Of The Month

    (It’s December 23rd. I have never worked a Christmas at my current job.)

    Me: “Hello. Are you finding everything alright?”

    Customer: “Um, no. I can’t find your pajamas.”

    (I’m really confused by this. We are a hardware store, and so do not and have never sold pajamas.)

    Me: “Sorry. Did you say pajamas?”

    Customer: “Obviously. What are you, deaf!? They are clothes that you you wear to bed. Do you understand now?”

    Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but we don’t sell pajamas.”

    Customer: “Well the very nice young lady across the street said you would have the pj’s I’m looking for. I came in last week and I couldn’t find them. So I went to the [Big Clothing Store] across the street. She definitely said you were getting a shipment of purple and pink flowered pj’s today.”

    Me: “Again, as I said, we don’t sell sleepwear. If you would like I can tell you another store which might have what you are looking for, or bring my manager to confirm we don’t have any pajamas.”

    (The customer is very visibly upset by this, and starts yelling and cursing at me.)

    Customer: “What kind of store doesn’t sell pj’s at the holidays! I am holding you personally responsible, you b****! Why dont you get your manager and tell him that!?”

    (As the customer says this she knocks over a whole shelf of Christmas ornaments and other decorations.)

    Customer: “I hope you have an awful Christmas!”

    (The customer starts hurling more insults and horrible names as she walks out. A coworker has observed all of the proceedings.)

    Coworker: “–and a happy new year!”

    Customer: “F*** you too!”


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