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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!

    Christmas Jeer

    | Naples, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Holidays, Theme Of The Month

    (I work at an office supply store that also does computer repairs. We are open late for Christmas. I’m the certified technician. The cashier is taking a break, so I volunteer to take over her register. A customer has walked up to the customer service desk. This desk has no register, but there is a register about five feet to the right.)

    Customer: “Hey! I was looking for this pocket calendar, but for this year. This other brand has more space, but I can’t find this one.”

    Me: “Sure. Let’s go take a look so you can pick the one you want!”

    Customer: “I already checked all of them. You don’t have it! I’m NOT walking back there! That’s what I came up here for! Now GO!”

    Me: “Okay…”

    (I walk back, stunned, and check for the product. We are out of stock. I come back to tell the customer. My coworker has come back, and tries to check another customer out, but register #1 has crashed. She has already taken the customer to register #2 and is checking them out.)

    Me: “Unfortunately, ma’am, we are out of stock. We can order the one you want online, however.”

    Customer: “No! I’ll just take this one. It’s already in my purse.”

    Me: “Okay. I’ll take you over at register #2, as register #1 has crashed.”

    (My coworker has finished checking out the customer, and is standing behind me watching this occur. The customer is standing, staring at the wall, obviously ignoring me.)

    Me: “Umm, ma’am? I said I can help you at register #2.”

    Customer: “You said you’d help me RIGHT HERE!”

    Me: “Sorry, I didn’t. Register #1 has crashed, and that’s the customer service desk. I couldn’t ring you up there if I tried.”

    Customer: “But that is not open. THIS ONE IS! HELP ME HERE!”

    (The light for register #1 is on still, and #2 is off. No one pays attention to the lights so no one turns them on for the occasional customer that is brought to them.)

    Customer: “This one’s light isn’t on. You can’t help me here.”

    (I turn the light on to humor her and start ringing.)

    Customer: “You all are so rude and unhelpful! I can’t believe you would treat me like this!”

    Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way about us.”

    Customer: “YOU ARE NOT SORRY! YOU ARE BEING INTENTIONALLY RUDE! YOU HAVE TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE!”

    (At this point I can’t tell whether to be angry or laugh at the absurdity. I am leading the numbers for customer service, and I’m always going out of my way for the customers.)

    Me: “Okay. Your total is [total]. You can swipe whenever you are ready. ”

    Customer: “I GAVE you the card. Figure it out yourself!”

    Me: “Okay.”

    (I swipe the card, and turn the PIN-pad towards her.)

    Me: “Please sign here.”

    (The customer proceeds to scribble on the screen in long sweeping motions, before finally pounding on the screen with the stylus. It does not respond to hard tapping, only light tapping. I’m afraid the screen will break at this rate, so I put my hand out near the screen.)

    Me: “Please do not break our screen.” *I tap the button*

    Customer: “DON’T F****** TALK TO ME LIKE THAT! I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT! DON’T OPEN YOUR MOUTH TO ME AGAIN!”

    (The customer throws the stylus at me.)

    Me: “Yes, ma’am.” *hands receipt* “Have a great evening, and happy holidays!”

    Customer: “Screw you! You people are so F****** RUDE!”

    Me: “Alright!”

    (The door closes.)

    Me: *to coworker* “I really don’t know whether to be mad or laugh… I’m so conflicted!”

    Preorder Disorder

    | Wichita, KS, USA | At The Checkout, Holidays, Theme Of The Month, Wild & Unruly

    (It is mid December. I am purchasing Christmas gifts for my niece and nephew. I have just found out from their father that they want a specific toy which has been popular. A local big-box store has a sale on them. I order online and enter the store on my lunch break to pick them up.)

    Employee: “Here are your items. Please make sure they are what you ordered online.”

    (I pick up the toys and inspect them. As I am looking at the one for my niece, a customer appears from nowhere and attempts to snatch the toy from my hands.)

    Customer: “Hey! That’s the toy I have been looking for! They are out of stock on the shelf. I need to buy it now!”

    (The cashier takes toy from me so the customer will stop grabbing for it.)

    Cashier: “Madam, he has already purchased this online and is picking it up. I’d be happy to—”

    Customer: “No! I was here first and that toy should be mine! He just came and you gave it to him. He hasn’t even paid! He’s cheating! He cut in line!”

    Cashier: “Please calm down. I’m sure we can order one or find you one at another store. He has already purchased this one so we cannot sell it to you.”

    Customer: “LIAR! He’s a cheater and you are too! Get me your manager now so I can buy this toy for my baby!”

    (At this point the customer is yelling loudly and has drawn the attention of the entire front of the store. The manager is already on his way over.)

    Manager: “Madam, I’m sorry for the upset. What is the problem?”

    Customer: “Your employee is cheating! This man just came in the store and she is handing him the toy that I have been looking for. He hasn’t even paid for it. I demand you sell me this toy and not give it to this cheater!”

    Manager: “I’m sorry but he has ordered this online and is now picking it up. I’d be happy to—”

    (In the meantime, the cashier has placed the toys in a bag and quietly hands them to me while waving for me to go. I hurry towards the door.)

    Customer: *starts trying to get past the manager* “There he goes! He is stealing my baby’s toy! He cut in line and he’s a CHEATER! A CHEATER!”

    (I hurry out the door hearing her screams as I hurry to my car. I hope she calmed down and got her toy. I hadn’t seen that kind of crazy since I last dared to go to a Black Friday sale.)

    An Upside Downside To Christmas

    | Brisbane, QLD, Australia | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Holidays, Theme Of The Month

    (We sell Christmas-themed doughnuts. One looks like a Christmas tree, with a chocolate wafer stick as the trunk. On the display tray the trunk normally points towards the customer. I’ve just served someone who ordered one and changed their mind. I’ve hurriedly put it back, but the trunk is facing the wrong way, towards me.)

    Customer: “I want a tree, but do you have any that aren’t upside down?”

    To Kill A Flirtation

    | USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Books & Reading, Family & Kids, Pets & Animals

    (A man has just brought his two dogs in, named Scout and Atticus.)

    Me: “Your dogs are so cute and sweet!”

    Owner: “Oh, thanks!”

    Me: “I love their names! To Kill a Mockingbird is my favorite book! It’s a shame your last name isn’t Finch. Haha!”

    Owner: “Yeah… It’s also my wife’s favorite. My VERY pregnant wife. And three kids.”

    Me: “Oh, that’s nice.”

    Owner: “Yeah. I’m married. And I have three kids.”

    Me: “O… kay…”

    (Once the owner leaves, my boss starts cracking up.)

    Boss: “[My Name]! Stop hitting on our clients!”

    Me: “I wasn’t! I was just being nice!”

    Boss: “Oh, my God. That was hilarious.”

    Me: “But… I was just being polite and making conversation!”

    (After that, I was a little more careful with whom I struck up a conversation. The man and his family are now regular clients. I’m glad I didn’t scare them off!)

    Only Slipping On The Truth

    | New York, NY, USA | At The Checkout, Criminal/Illegal, Health & Body, Liars & Scammers

    (It is about 11 pm in a grocery store. I am the supervisor on duty. It is just me, cleaning the customer service counter, and one cashier working a register. An elderly customer ambles up to the checkout lane.)

    Cashier: “Hey, ma’am. How are you tonight?”

    Customer: “Oh, I’m just- AHHHHHHHH!” *waves her arms dramatically and hops backwards.* “Oh, my gosh, honey. There’s a HUGE puddle of water there! Oh, I slipped. I think I hurt something! Oh, my hip!”

    Cashier: “Really? Are you okay?”

    Customer: “Oww, my hip! Oh, I think I strained something! Get me your manager right now!”

    (The cashier pages the manager to the register.)

    Manager: “Oh, my goodness, ma’am. What happened?!”

    Customer: “There was a huge puddle of water! I slipped and I hurt my back! Oh, gosh. It hurts!”

    Manager: *to cashier, who is wiping the floor with paper towels that are remaining suspiciously dry* “Ring up her groceries for me, please.” *to the customer* “Here, ma’am. Have a seat. Please, tell me exactly what happened.”

    Customer: “Oh, there was all this water, and I slipped like this.”

    (The customer makes exaggerated lunges, trying to demonstrate how she fell.)

    Customer: “Oh, it was awful. My hip hurts! Oh, I threw out my back! Oh, it hurts!”

    (The customer makes more movements an injured person would be quite incapable of making.)

    Customer: “I’ll be contacting my lawyer!”

    Manager: “I see. Here’s my store and my personal information. Please give me yours as well, and we’ll be in touch. I’m terribly sorry about this. I hope you make it home alright.”

    (The customer ambles out to her car, shouting ‘oh, my back!’ the entire way.)

    Manager: “I need written statements from both of you. Good thing we have this on camera.”

    Cashier: “Do you think she’ll sue?”

    Manager: “I hope so. I’m putting her a** in jail if she does.”

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