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!

Scratch-Off Your Name On The Pool

| CT, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Money

(I’ve recently been promoted from cashier to the customer service desk, where all lottery tickets and tobacco products are sold. The coworker training me has just stepped away when a middle-aged woman comes up to the counter and is staring at the scratch-off tickets.)

Customer: “Give me twenty $5 scratchers, please. I don’t care which kind, just give me a variety.”

(She opens up a thick envelope full of cash and gives me a $100 bill. I tear off two each of the ten different games we sell and give them to her, wishing her luck. She takes a quarter out of her purse, moves to the end of the counter, and starts scratching off all her tickets, throwing the losers away and setting aside a winner. She holds it out to me silently and I scan it through the machine.)

Me: “Wow, you won $50!”

Customer: “Okay, give me ten more $5 tickets.”

(I’m surprised but I do as she asks. She scratches off all of those, too, wins $20, and uses it for more tickets. This continues twice more until she has no more winners and no more tickets. She slams down the stack of losers, yells ‘d*** it!’ and walks away with nothing. My coworker is returning from break just as she’s leaving.)

Coworker: “Was that the scratcher lady? Awesome, your first encounter!”

(My coworker reaches under the counter and grabs a little notepad and pencil.)

Coworker: “How much cash did she give you?”

Me: “Well, she won a few times but she gave me $100 that first time. What’s her deal?”

Coworker: *excitedly writing in the pad* “Until a few months ago, she didn’t come in here much. But then, one day, she won $10,000 from a scratch-off ticket!”

Me: “Wow, that’s pretty cool. So I guess she’s trying for more, huh?”

Coworker: “Yeah, you could say that. She does this a few times a week and every time she goes through all the winners until she’s lost it all. We’ve been keeping a running tally and had a pool going over when she quits. I bet on 2,000 but got eliminated a long time ago. Let’s see…” *looking at the notepad* “Of the $10,000 she won, she’s now spent $9,200 of it on more tickets!”

(By the time she stopped showing up months later, everyone in the pool had been eliminated, because no one came close to guessing that she’d spend over $13,000 on scratch-off tickets without bringing home a single winner.)

A Diminishing Set Of Returns

, | Sydney, NSW, Australia | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Rude & Risque

(I am working the drive-thru pretty late at night. A man that seems to be in his mid-20’s pulls up.)

Customer: “I’d like to order [Item].”

Me: “Sure, would you like a drink with that?”

Customer: “A Coke.”

(He deliberately mispronounces it so it sounds like something a lot ruder and snickers.)

Me: “Ah, sure. What size?”

Customer: “I don’t know. What size do YOU think it is? What size suits me?”

(At this point I’m fed up with his poor attempt at innuendo.)

Me: “Well, sir, we don’t have an extra small, but I can give you a small. Please drive through.”

(He shut up pretty quickly, and didn’t even speak to me for the rest of the transaction. I served him a few times after that and he was always very quiet!)

Providing A Self-Service Service

| East Sussex, England, UK | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Technology

(We have two self-service checkouts and three normal registers. Younger customers tend to be fine with the SSC but our elderly customers prefer the manned registers; however, there’s often only two staff in so if there’s a queue then sometimes people who would normally come to a human will switch to the SSC queue. An elderly man switches out of our queue to use a SSC, and immediately starts having issues. The next SSC comes free and a mother starts teaching her daughter how to use it.)

Elderly Man: *puts his basket in the bagging area*

SSC: “Unexpected item in the bagging area. Remove item before continuing.”

Elderly Man: “THESE CHECKOUTS ARE A DISGRACE! They don’t make any sense!”

Mother: “Now, [Daughter], lots of people find these tricky, but if you remember a few things then they’re easy as pie!”

Daughter: “Okay, mummy! What do I do?”

Mother: “Well, put your basket on the left. The left side is just a shelf and the right side has scales which weigh our shopping so it knows we aren’t stealing. The middle bit is the scanner and we have to wave the barcodes at the glass panels there.”

Elderly Man: *picks up his basket and looks to the woman uncertainly*

Mother: “So, [Daughter], remember: leave ’em to the left and roll ’em to the right. You can’t go wrong!”

Daughter: *picks up a tin of beans and rolls it over the scanner glass*

Mother: “Now, hear that beep? That means it scanned it. You can look at the screen if you’re not sure.” *points to where the screen now says ‘beans’*

Elderly Man: *copies*

(It all goes well at both tills for about 30 seconds until…)

Elderly Man: “THESE PEACHES WON’T SCAN. THESE TILLS ARE A JOKE! YOUR PRODUCTS ARE ALL CRAP!”

Mother: *rips the corner off a ready meal barcode whilst her daughter is looking at the elderly man shouting* “Oh, no! Look, [Daughter], we can’t scan this one!”

Daughter: “Should I get another one, mummy?”

Mother: “No, that takes too long, but it’s okay. See that big button that says ‘Finish and Pay’?”

Daughter: “Yes, mummy.”

Mother: “Well, just above that there’s a button that says ‘Item Does Not Scan,’ so if you press that, you can put the numbers from the barcode in by yourself. If I read the numbers out, you can push the buttons.”

Daughter: *does this*

Elderly Man: *copies and then picks up a Danish pastry, and turns it over in his hand looking for a label*

Mother: *notices and picks up her own bakery items* “[Daughter], let’s do these next!”

Daughter: “But these don’t have a label on them!”

Mother: “That’s because we bagged them ourselves, silly! Now there’s two ways we can do this. If we press the ‘bakery’ button we can either select a subcategory like ‘pastries’ or ‘doughnuts,’ or we can press search if we’re not sure what category something goes into.”

Daughter: *puts all their bakery through*

Elderly Man: *copies daughter*

Mother: “Now, then. We’re all done. What button should we press now?”

Daughter: “Finish and pay?”

Mother: “Exactly right. Now, before we pay, mummy needs to scan her [Loyalty Card] so we can have the points for our shopping. Can you press the button for it?”

Daughter: *presses the button*

Elderly Man: *finishes scanning items and stands there looking at the till*

Mother: “Oh hang on, [Daughter]! I want to check if those crisps came up as ‘buy one get one free.'”

Daughter: “How can we check?”

Mother: “Well, the tills take the offers off at the end, so if you press ‘go back’ we can look at the bottom of the screen to check the offers. If it’s all good then we can just PRESS THE BIG FINISH AND PAY BUTTON ON THE BOTTOM RIGHT CORNER OF THE SCREEN.”

Daughter: *goes back to look if the offers have come off and then presses back to the payment screen*

Elderly Man: *presses ‘Finish And Pay’*

Mother: “Good, so now we just need to put the money in. Remember to check the notes are unfolded and that the corners aren’t bent. You can drop coins in this hole.”

Daughter: *pays*

Elderly Man: *copies*

Mother: “Right, [Daughter], our receipt comes out here, next to the scanner. Once it’s printed we can leave.”

Elderly Man: *snatches receipt and stalks off*

Manager: “Excuse me, miss? You forgot to take this!” *hands her a MASSIVE box of chocolates*

Mother: “Oh, I couldn’t!”

Manager: “No, please. That was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. I wish all our customers were like you!”

How Em-Bra-assing

| GA, USA | At The Checkout, Money

(I am working the customer service/returns desk when a customer approaches the counter. The customer has quite an attitude throughout the whole transaction.)

Customer: “I think I was charged wrong!” *thrusting receipt at me*

Me: “All right, let’s take a look.”

(She pulls two bras out of her bag and points at clearance stickers on each, one is marked $9 and one is marked $7.)

Customer: “These bras rang up wrong!”

(I find the bras on the receipt, and sure enough the one marked $9 rang up for its original price… however, it was also VOIDED OFF at the original price and not rung up again for the clearance price. In other words, she didn’t pay for the $9 bra.)

Me: “Well, this bra you didn’t pay for.”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “You can see here, it rang up for $12.94…”

Customer: “Right! It’s supposed to be $9! It rang up wrong!”

Me: “Yes, but if you look just below it, it was voided off… and not added again at any price,. Therefore, you have not paid for that one. Now, as to the other one, oh, if you’ll look here, it rang up for $5.”

Customer: “I told you! They are not ringing up right! The sticker says $7! They should be ringing up at the right price!”

Me: “Well. ma’am, I can re-ring this one and charge you $2 more if you really want me to, but this other one you haven’t paid for at all, so there’s not much I can about it except ring it up for you at $9.”

Customer: *mutters* “Ring it up.”

(I rang up the $9 bra and she paid for it without another word.)

Trust Is A Two-Way Street

| Aldergrove, BC, Canada | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers

(An elderly woman comes through my till and is writing a cheque to pay for her order, but is having difficulties with her shaky hands. I offer to write it for her.)

Me: “All right, so the total was $62.83. If you would like to check it over yourself and sign it for me, please?”

(She goes to take the cheque from me when a younger woman behind it snatches it from my hands and starts triple-checking the amount on the cheque and the computer screen, before handing it to the elderly woman to sign.)

Young Woman: *snottily* “You just can’t trust some people.”

Me: “Fair enough…” *to the elderly woman* “Here’s your receipt; see you next week!”

(I quickly run the younger woman through, who says nothing the entire time. At the end of the transaction she hands me a $100 dollar bill. I hold it up to the light and start checking all of the security features, the younger woman glaring the entire time.)

Me: “Like you said, you just can’t trust some people.”

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