Can’t Face Up To The Prices

, , , , , | Right | April 7, 2019

(I work at a pharmacy in a low-income neighborhood. Our prices are fairly high compared to what our local clientele can actually afford, and most of our customers either only shop for the items on sale or take the bus up the road a few miles to a grocery store. We’ve tried to get corporate to lower our prices, but they refuse to see reason. On this day, a young man enters the store and asks for assistance locating a high-end facial soap. I help him find it and we bring it to my register to cash him out.)

Me: “All right, your total comes to $15.”

Customer: *hands me cash, six dollars less than he needs to pay*

Me: “Oh… Oops! You handed me $9. Did you mean to give me a ten instead of one of the one-dollar bills?”

Customer: “That’s all I have.” *looks at me expectantly*

Me: “Um… okay. I can hold the item here if you want to go get more money. Or we can go look for something that isn’t so expensive.”

Customer: “I don’t have any more money. That’s all I have.”

Me: “Okay, well, let’s go look at the other products. I’m sure we can find something in your price range.”

Customer: *getting agitated* “No! I want that one. I need it for my acne!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but you only have $9. The product is $15. You either need to bring me more money or find something else.”

Customer: “But I want that one.”

Me: “Then you’ll need to go home and get more money. I can hold it back here so you don’t have to find it again.”

Customer: “I already said I ain’t got more money!”

Me: “Well, then, I’m sorry, but you can’t buy this item.”


(We go back and forth for several minutes, and the customer is getting more and more angry. Eventually, I’ve had enough.)

Me: “There’s nothing more I can do for you if you can’t afford this item and don’t want anything else.”

(The young man tries to snatch the item off the counter, but I grab it first.)

Me: “Sir, you cannot have something you have not paid for. That’s stealing. Either purchase something or please leave.”

Customer: “F*** YOU!” *storms out*

(I inform my manager of the incident, including that the young man tried to grab the soap and bolt.)

Manager: *looks at product* “This isn’t even for acne! It’s for treating extremely dry skin, like psoriasis and eczema! There’s so much grease in this soap it would have made his acne worse.”

Me: “I guess it’s a good thing I was quicker than him. He probably would have used it, then tried to return it saying it wasn’t working. This isn’t the first time a customer has tried to swipe an unpaid order off the counter and run out.”

Manager: “I think we’ll start keeping unpaid purchases in the bag-well.” *the recessed area in front of the cashier that holds the plastic bags, which is out of reach of the customer*

(The young man never came back, and with our new policy of keeping unpaid transactions out of the customers’ reach, we’ve had a lot fewer attempts to grab “purchases” and run out. I hope corporate listens to us and lowers prices soon.)

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