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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!

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Would Have Been Prudent To Look That Up Before Asking

| Washington, DC, USA | At The Checkout, Funny Names, Language & Words

(The customer in front of me is paying for her groceries and notices the cashier’s name tag.)

Customer: “Oh, ‘Prudence,’ what a lovely name!”

Cashier: “Thank you, ma’am.”

Customer: “What does it mean?”

Cashier: “It means ‘wisdom’ or ‘good judgment.’”

Customer: “Wonderful! And what language is it?”

Cashier: “Umm… English.”

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Knows Zip About Phone Numbers

| NY, USA | At The Checkout, Technology

(This happens once per week: We have a store discount that customers can activate by entering a phone number into the card reader while their purchase is being rung up. The machine’s screen clearly reads ‘ENTER PHONE NUMBER ###-###-####’ right above the keyboard. I’m serving an older woman at my register and see her enter a couple numbers into the machine. It then loudly beeps, letting me know that something went wrong.)

Customer: “Did it go through?”

Me: “Sorry, but it looks like you forgot to put your area code in first. You can try it again now.”

(She again enters only seven digits, rather than the full phone number of ten digits, and the machine again beeps.)

Me: “Ma’am, please make sure that you’re entering your full phone number in. The area code needs to go first.”

Customer: “Oh, okay!”

(I watch her and see that, this time, she enters her zip code into the machine instead. It again beeps when she tries to submit it.)

Customer: “So did it go through now?”

Me: “No, I’m sorry; it looks like you tried to enter your zip code. What you need to type in is your phone number. Just make sure that you add the area code first.”

Customer: “The area code?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, enter the area code and then the rest of your phone number. If you live around here, the area code is ‘555,’ so just type that in first.”

(She again enters in her zip code.)

Me: “No, I’m sorry, the machine needs your phone number.”

Customer: “But you said area code!”

(This goes back and forth even longer. I’m unfortunately not allowed to enter a customer’s information into the system for them, so we’re stuck in this loop until the customer finally gives up and allows me to skip past the discount option. As she’s leaving, the customer loudly mutters:)

Customer: “Ugh, this is why I don’t bother with computers. They never work right.”

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Coupoff

| Pittsburgh PA, USA | At The Checkout, Liars & Scammers

(While waiting to clock in, I notice a warning to employees about a fraudulent coupon that people have been trying to use. It says $70 off anything in the store which is frankly ridiculous and I comment something to my other coworkers.)

Me: “What dumb-a** customer would ever think this was real?! The most we ever have is $10 off and you usually have to spend $30 or more.”

Coworker: “My dumb-a** customer! I had a lady argue with me earlier asking how I knew it wasn’t real. I had to point out that ‘back,’ ‘discount,’ and ‘redeemed’ were spelled wrong. Even then she kept trying to use it.”

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In Line And Out Of Line, Part 10

| UK | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

(It’s Black Friday, 2014. This is the first time I’ve worked this event, and have been at work since 8 am, with the shop having been open since 6 am. Our shop isn’t the largest in the chain, but is still a reasonable size for a retail unit. Things have gotten so busy with customers that the queue stretches around half of the shop floor, and we are starting to run out of some of the really popular items. As I’m speaking to customers on the shop floor, a lady who’d recently arrived caught my attention.)

Customer: “Excuse me, we’re ready to pay and I was wondering if you could skip us to the front of the queue?”

(By this point, there were easily 30 people ahead of her.)

Me: “I’m afraid it wouldn’t be fair on the other customers who were waiting in line to let you go ahead of them.”

Customer: “Why did you have to say that out loud? They’ll have heard you!”

Related:
In Line And Out Of Line, Part 9
In Line And Out Of Line, Part 8
In Line And Out Of Line, Part 7

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Getting Shirty About The Shirt

| Orlando, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

(I used to work at a theme park with a popular two month long Halloween event. As a merchandise vendor I manned a glow cart during the event, and had a cash apron and a phone to run credit cards. This particular night, I am assigned to the cart that sells light up t-shirts that respond to music. I sell a $40 shirt to a drunk man and he leaves, wearing the shirt, only to return a few minutes later.)

Customer: *slurring* “I don’t want it anymore.”

Me: “I am so sorry, but we’re actually not allowed to do returns.”

(This is because a. we physically aren’t capable of doing credit card returns on our company phones and therefore to be fair don’t do any returns, and b. people commonly try to scam us because we’re working out of a cash apron and not a register.)

Customer: “Look, I don’t want it anymore. I’ve got work tomorrow and I need that cash.”

Me: “We’re really not supposed to do returns, but—”

(I’m about to tell him I’ll call my manager and ask for assistance, but he throws his hands up and storms off. I watch in surprise as he rips the shirt off his back and throws it into the street. He starts to walk away, but then stops and runs back to pick up the shirt. I think he’s going to leave with it until he actually tries to shove the shirt into a prop mailbox nearby. When he realizes there’s no actual opening, he leans down and shoves the shirt down the storm drain. I turn to my coworker.)

Me: “He literally just threw $40 down the drain.”

(I don’t know if anyone will ever get the shirt out of the drain or what it will look like when they do.)

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