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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!

    That Kind Of Behavior Is Just Not Cricket

    | London, England, UK | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Geography

    (I’m standing in line at a corner shop. The customer at the till is a typical 40-something skinhead, wearing an England football shirt. He’s harassing the cashier because of the difference between the display price of a packet of cigarettes, and what he’s being charged.)

    Customer: “THIS IS F****** RIDICULOUS! IT’S ILLEGAL!”

    Cashier: “I’m sorry, sir, but due to the changes in taxes, we’ve had to increase the price. We haven’t had time to change the signs yet.”

    Customer: “THAT’S BULLSHIT! YOU’RE NOT FROM HERE! WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!”

    (The cashier isn’t ethnically British, but he’s been working at the store for a few years now and is a pretty decent guy.)

    Cashier: “That doesn’t matter, sir. Could you just pay for your items?”

    Customer: “I SAID WHERE ARE YOU FROM?!”

    Cashier: *rolling his eyes* “Sri Lanka.”

    (The customer tries to think of an insult using the tiny amount of brainpower not given over to alcohol and rage.)

    Customer: “…yeah … well your cricket team is s***!”

    (The customer then storms off after paying for the cigarettes. I go up to the register.)

    Me: “Didn’t Sri Lanka just win the Cricket World Cup?”

    Extreme Foreign Interests

    | England, UK | At The Checkout, Geography, Language & Words

    (I suffered from a speech disorder as a child, and while I speak perfectly now, I have a slight twang in my voice. I’m on the checkout when a smartly-dressed customer approaches the till.)

    Me: “Hello! How are you today?”

    Customer: “…where are you from?”

    Me: “Excuse me?”

    Customer: “Where. Are. You. From?”

    Me: “Um, I’m local, if that’s what you mean.”

    Customer: “No, where were you born?”

    Me: “In [local hospital].”

    Customer: *sighs* “Where are your parents from?”

    Me: “They’re from [local town] and [local city].”

    Customer: *getting irate* “I just want you to tell me where you’re from! Explain your accent!”

    Me: “Oh! My accent! Yes, there’s an explanation for that; see when I was a kid—”

    Customer: “I don’t want to hear your life story! Why are you ashamed of your heritage? You are probably bringing shame to your family by denying them! I get that there are racists here, but you don’t need to deny who you are! I won’t judge you!”

    Me: “Sir, I don’t know what you want me to say.”

    Customer: “Tell me your parents were born in a different country!”

    Me: “Um… they were born in [other country]?”

    Customer: “Yes! See how easy that is? Why couldn’t you have just said that in the first place?!”

    (He grabs his bags and marches off. I turn to the next customer.)

    Me: “Afternoon!”

    Customer #2: “That was a lie, right?”

    Me: “Yep. How can I help you today?”

    They Are Gnat Worth The Trouble

    | Massapequa, NY, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Money

    (I am working in a women’s clothing store. When an item is marked down, we put a red line through the barcode of the tag attached to the piece of clothing. A customer and her daughter in her 20s bring up a dress.)

    Customer: “Hi, we found this on the sale rack.”

    (I scan it. It comes up full price. Confused, I check the tag; there is a black line through the barcode, instead of a red one. Someone must have marked it down by accident, realized their mistake, and tried to correct it by drawing a black line over the red one, instead of just printing out a new tag for the dress. And then someone else misunderstood the black line and put it on the sale rack anyway.)

    Me: “Ah. Okay, so I’m afraid this is actually full price—”

    (The two customers’ eyes flash, and I know I’m in trouble.)

    Customer: “But this was on the sale rack.”

    Me: “I know. I’m so sorry for the confusion. I think what happened is, someone accidentally marked this down, but realized their mistake.” *I show her the tag* “See, we usually put a red line through it; this is black. It came up full price when I scanned it.”

    Customer: “Well, that’s false advertising!”

    Me: “No, no, it’s not. It was just a mistake someone else made when they put it back. I’m sorry about that.”

    (The customer and her daughter exchange a look.)

    Customer: “Well, it’s really your attitude that’s the problem.”

    Me: *flabbergasted* “What attitude? I’m just explaining what happened.”

    (The daughter laughs condescendingly.)

    Daughter: “Come on. We don’t have time for—” *she gestures at me with a flick of her wrist* “—this little gnat.”

    Me: “I was just—”

    (Another customer at the other register chimes in.)

    Other Customer: “It’s not you.”

    (We all look over. The other customer is looking through her pocketbook for her wallet, but it’s clear she’s talking to me.)

    Other Customer: “It’s not you.”

    (My customer and her daughter shut up. They leave the dress on the counter and walk away. My manager walks up, and I wonder if I’m in trouble.)

    Manager: “What was THAT all about?”

    Other Customer: “It wasn’t you. Seriously, they were really mean.”

    Manager: “Ah, okay. That’s what it sounded like. Don’t let them get to you.”

    (To the other customer, thanks for putting in the good word for me! It made me feel less like a gnat!)

    A Happy Mood Beats The Mean And Rude

    , | USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers

    (At my workplace, I am famous for having a bright smile and cheery voice when speaking to every single customer. Even if it’s been a stressful and long day, I never give up smiling. A regular of mine comes in for her daily coffee and we stop to chat a bit.)

    Regular Customer: “So are you on medicine or something? How do you stay so chipper all the time?”

    Me: “Actually, I choose to act happy towards everyone. No medication required.”

    Regular Customer: “So you are ALWAYS happy, no matter what? That doesn’t sound possible.”

    Me: “Well, there are lots of reasons I keep smiling even if I am not having a great day. I know lots of people just need a sweet smile and some kind words to make a terrible day so much better and I like to think that’s what I do. Also, I learned from one of my psychology classes that the action of smiling releases chemicals in the brain that make you happier because the action of smiling is associated with happiness. Finally, when a customer is so persistent on being rude and mean to me it pisses them off when I continue to smile and be happy. It’s funny when they get upset that they couldn’t make me cry!”

    (The customer is easily thirty years my senior, probably more. She stares at me in awe.)

    Regular Customer: “I want to be like you when I grow up. Have a fantastic day Sunshine!”

    Refunder Blunder, Part 3

    | CA, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money

    (I am working near the registers, but I am not currently on register. Our return policy is printed on every receipt in clear, bold lettering.)

    Customer: “Hey, I wanna return this CD and get all my money back.”

    Me: “Sure thing, just let me call someone over and they can help you out.”

    (I call my manager over to do the return and I go back to work.)

    Customer: “They had better give me all my money back, or I’ll cause trouble.”

    Manager: “What can I do for you today?”

    Customer: “I wanna return this CD and get all my money back. Here is the receipt.”

    Manager: “Alright, everything looks okay; can I see the item you want to return?”

    (The customer hands over an unwrapped CD case.)

    Manager: “I’m sorry, but I can only give you a refund on unopened merchandise. If the disk wasn’t playing I can replace it for you though.”

    Customer: “No, you’re gonna give me all my money back, or I’m gonna file a lawsuit.”

    Manager: “Go ahead and file a lawsuit. I don’t care. The return policy is on the receipt, and clearly says items must be unopened in their original packaging in order to be returned for a refund.”

    Customer: “No, it doesn’t say that. Where does it say that?” *looks at his receipt* “D***.” *walks out*

    Related:
    Refunder Blunder, Part 2
    Refunder Blunder

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