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!

Opening His Account And His Mouth

IL, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

(I am opening an account for a high school age kid. He has been attempting to hit on me the entire time. I’m in my 20s, but have been told many times that I look to be about 18, so I’m used to this, but this kid is starting to get on my nerves. He’s been at my desk for 40 minutes. I set up the account half listening to his attempts to impress me, and am trying to politely get him out.)

Me: “So, looking at your ID makes me feel really old.”

Customer: “Oh yeah, why?”

Me: “Because you were born in [year]. See, I was born [seven years earlier], so the fact that someone seven years younger than me just opened a bank account makes me feel very old. Speaking of which, your account is all ready to go. Do you have any questions about it?”

Customer: “I’m feeling old today, too! My back and my legs hurt! I think it’s because I play sports. Football, basketball, MMA fighting… Yeah, I do it all.”

(This kid is shorter than I am and quite skinny.)

Me: “MMA? Seriously?”

Customer: “Uh-huh. Impressive, right?” *grins*

Me: “I have a cousin that does MMA for real. He’s about the size of three of you.”

Customer: “Well… uh… I’m small, but I’m quick! You have to watch out for me!”

(The kid did not stick around much longer after that.)

Shouldn’t Count On A Discount

| Long Island, NY, USA | At The Checkout, Liars & Scammers

Customer: “[My Name] always gives me a deal on these.”

Me: “I’m [My Name].”

Customer: “Are you sure? Is there another [My Name]?”

Me: “No, I’m the only one. Yes, I’m sure that’s my name.”

Customer: “…So, can I get a discount?”

The Wrong Supermarket For Super Hackers

| Saranac Lake, NY, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(It is the early 1990s. It is my last week of work at the only department store in town and we are just rolling out the first UPC scanners in the store. This is new technology at the time and understandably sometimes things scanned wrong. After a third item rings up at the incorrect price:)

Customer: “You are making things ring up wrong on purpose just so you can pocket the extra money!”

Me: “Believe me, lady, if I knew how to hack the computer system here to change the prices I wouldn’t be working here!”

Failed The Name Game

| TAS, Australia | At The Checkout, Liars & Scammers

(The coffee shop I work in has loyalty cards that we can scan, which will come up with the customer’s name on the screen. On this particular day, an elderly man in his mid-60s comes in to buy a coffee and then gives me his loyalty card to scan. After I’ve scanned it, I look at the name on the screen…)

Me: “Sir, are you sure this is your card?”

Customer: “Absolutely, why?”

Me: “Well, you just don’t look like a Penelope to me.”

This Conversation Has A Beautiful Final Destination

| UK | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Money

Customer: “I’d like to go to [Destination #1] today, then on to [Destination #2] tonight, then back here tomorrow.”

(I know that in order to get from Destination #1 to Destination #2, the customer will have to come back through here, so I sell her a here-to-Destination #1 return and a here-to-Destination #2 return.)

Customer: “Excuse me; this isn’t what I asked for!”

Me: “Sure it is, that will get you to [Destination #1] today, [Destination #2] tonight, and back to here tomorrow.”

Customer: “No! I wanted a single to [Destination #1] and then a [Destination #1] to [Destination #2] return! This is disgraceful customer service. You are useless at your job. You ought to be f***ing fired because you can’t even listen to what people want! You need re-training so you learn not to sell the wrong tickets and waste honest people’s money! How much have you overcharged me, so I can let your manager know how you’ve f***ing stolen from me!”

Me: “Actually, ma’am, I’ve saved you £26.”

(The customer was left gaping while every other customer in the queue who’d heard every word started laughing at her. It was the most beautiful moment in my working life so far.)

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