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!

That One Is A Bad Egg

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

(I recently started working at a local grocery store as a cashier. One of my duties is to inspect eggs to make sure they haven’t broken in their carton before the customer buys them. I do this as a woman is unloading the rest of her groceries. I pick one up delicately with my recently-washed fingers because I thought I saw a crack running to the bottom. The woman mutters something about needing to get more eggs and disappears. I think nothing of it until she comes back and hands me the new eggs. I open the carton to check them.)

Woman: “I already checked them! You don’t have to do that!”

Me: “Sorry, miss. Force of habit.”

Woman: “Well, stop it! That’s the whole reason I went back to get another carton! I don’t like people manhandling my eggs!”

(I become very embarrassed because I have impaired hearing in the ear that was facing her and realize I didn’t hear her asking me to not touch the eggs with my hands.)

Me: “I’m very sorry, miss! I didn’t hear you. It’s policy for me to check—”

Woman: “No! No one has EVER done that to me before! Where is your manager? This is unacceptable! I WILL NOT TOLERATE YOU MANHANDLING MY EGGS!”

(She thrusts the first carton of eggs at me and instructs me to get rid of them. I finish the transaction as quickly as possible, apologizing profusely as I go, but nothing placates the customer and she continues to rant about how I’m “clueless” and “no one has ever manhandling her eggs like that before.” She leaves in a huff and my next customer comes forward. He gives me a good-natured grin.)

Next Customer: “You can manhandle my groceries anyway you want!”

Trying To Con The Family Business

| Exeter, England, UK | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Liars & Scammers

(I take a male customer’s order with him constantly asking about prices.)

Customer: “Oh, can we have the family discount?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “Yeah, I always get a discount here. The owner lets me.”

Me: “He hasn’t told me anything…”

Customer: “Yeah, the owner is my brother and he always gives me the family discount.”

Me: “Okay, then… let me just ask him.”

(I signal the owner over as the customer panics and goes bright red. His family also start nudging him.)

Me: “Uh, your brother wants a discount.”

(The customer sheepishly smiles as the owner explodes in happiness.)

Owner: “Oh, my God, Jenny! I didn’t know you’d had a sex change. If you wanted to do that you could have at least kept your hair. Also you’ve put on a h*** of a lot of weight and lost over a foot in height! Why would you do that?”

(The whole restaurant was looking and the customer’s family rushed him out quicker than the owner could continue talking. Some bosses are awesome.)

Doesn’t Fit The Bill

| Scotland, UK | At The Checkout, Money, Tourists/Travel

(I work in a gift shop at a castle. A puzzled customer comes up to the till.)

Customer: “How much are your postcards?”

Me: “They’re 50 pence.”

Customer: “So 50p means 50 pence?”

Me: “Yep, they’re the same thing.”

Customer: “Okay, so, I have a certificate for 5.”

(We don’t do gift certificates to the best of my knowledge, so…)

Me: “Sorry; when you say certificate, what exactly do you mean?”

Customer: “It’s like a… bill?”

Me: “A five pound note?”

Customer: “A what?”

Me: *baffled* “May I ask where you’re from?”

Customer: “I’m from California.”

Me: “Right, well, basically, our pence are like your cents, and our pounds are like your dollars. It’s 100 pence to a pound.”

Customer: “OH! That makes so much more sense of all of your shops!”

Sunglass And Hit Station

| USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Criminal/Illegal

Me: “Hey there, what can I get you?”

Woman: “Oh, I’ll have [Lottery Game] and two packs of [Cigarettes].”

(As I get her items and ring them in, I notice her staring intently at some sunglasses that a regular had left behind.)

Woman: “Those sunglasses are so cute. What’s the deal with them?”

Me: “Oh, another customer left them behind. We’re keeping them up front in case she comes back today.”

Woman: “What if she doesn’t come back?”

Me: “Then it gets moved to the lost and found.”

Woman: “What if she never comes back for them?”

Me: “Uh, well, I think [Store Owner] either throws lost items away after a period of time or donates them.”

Woman: “So they’re just gonna get thrown away?”

Me: “Not necessarily. Most people who leave stuff behind come back for them, and this woman is in here all the time, so I’m sure—”

Woman: “I want them.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Woman: “I want those sunglasses.”

Me: “Well, I’m sorry, but I can’t give them to you. However, we have many styles of sunglasses on display just around the corner from the desk, so if you’d like—”

Woman: “No. I want those ones.”

Me: “Ma’am, they belong to someone else.”

Woman: “Well, what if I said that they’re my sunglasses and I forgot them?”

Me: “Okay, except we just had a conversation about how they’re NOT yours and how the person who DOES own them left them behind. So, no, you can’t have them.”

Woman: “But I don’t understand why I can’t have them.”

(This circular argument goes on for a while. Eventually my manager comes over because he’s noticed a three-item transaction has gone on for almost five minutes.)

Manager: “Is there something wrong, ma’am?”

Woman: “Yes, this little girl won’t give me my sunglasses.”

Manager: *looks at me* “[My Name]?”

Me: “Well, they’re not her sunglasses. [Regular] was here earlier and left them at register one.”

Woman: “No, she wasn’t. She didn’t! They’re mine!”

Me: “Ma’am, you just all but told me these aren’t your sunglasses and I saw

[Regular] set them down on register one when she was here earlier.”

Woman: *shrilly* “No! They’re mine!”

(She suddenly lunges forward and throws herself across the counter, trying to reach the sunglasses. My manager pushes me behind him and snatches the woman’s arm.)

Manager: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but you have to leave! You can’t assault the employees or steal from other customers.”

Woman: “I’m not stealing! They’re mine! THEY’RE MINE!”

(My manager had to forcibly remove her from the store. The true owner of the sunglasses came in the next morning and my manager regaled the story to her. She just laughed and told him to tell me she was sorry I had to go through that. All that fuss over a pair of $5 sunglasses!)

Lounging In The Line

| VA, USA | At The Checkout, Tourists/Travel

(I’m the customer in this story. The weather has been bad this day, resulting in a lot of cancelled and delayed flights, on top of being a holiday that is busy for flying anyway, so the check-in lines are overwhelmed with both people trying to check in and those trying to get re-booked. I notice that no one is moving in the check-in line while the desk agent is dealing with a customer. I walk up to the desk from about 20 spots back.)

Me: “Excuse me. I don’t mean to interrupt, but it seems that you’re helping this customer personally while no one is using the check-in screens. Can those of us in line to check in use the check-in screens while you handle this?”

Agent: “Sure! I’m trying to re-book her, so please step up and check in if that’s what you’re in line for.”

(I turn around to the line and speak loudly.)

Me: “If you’re just here to check in, please step up and use the check-in screens.”

(I go back to my original position in line, and it turns out most the people in line were there to be re-booked, so I reach the counter quickly as those waiting for assistance wave those of us just checking in forward. When I reach the screen and put my bag up to be tagged…)

Agent: “Ah, you again. Wait right here for a second.”

(I wait, thinking I upset them with my intrusion and am going to be kicked off my flight.)

Agent: *comes back, takes my ID, tags my bag, and then hands my ID and claim slip back to me along with another slip of paper* “Thank you for that. I’d love to hire you to stand here all evening and keep things moving, but this is the best I can do.”

(She comped me a lounge pass! Turned out that it was a LIFESAVER since MY flight ended up delayed by five hours!)

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