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!

A Crime Against Closing Time

| UT, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(I am working the register at a craft store. We are getting close to closing time, and make announcements over the PA system about every five minutes or so, warning customers to finish their purchases. About once a month there is a customer who comes in and wanders right up until the closing time before she comes to the register. Being at register one, I am the last cashier to close my till and have to wait until we’ve finished helping every customer that was in the store before we close the doors.)

Me: “Did you find everything all right tonight, ma’am?”

Customer: *sighs* “I suppose.”

(As I ring up her purchases, she grabs a weekly ad from beside my register.)

Customer: “Ooh, spring items are 40% off. Can I go look really fast before you finish ringing me up?”

Me: “Ma’am, we’re closed.”

Customer: “I’ll be quick.”

Me: “Ma’am, you have already looked back there. We are closed, and as soon as I’m done with your transaction I am closing my till. If you’d like to take a look at our spring sale, you can come back tomorrow morning. We open at 10 am.”

Customer: “I just want one item. I promise I’ll be quick.”

(We are 15 minutes past closing, all my coworkers have closed their tills and cleaned up their respective areas, and are standing up at the front waiting, since we all have to leave the store together.)

Me: “Ma’am, we are closed. And your total is [amount].”

(The customer pays and trundles out of the store, finally.)

Manager: “Way to be firm. I thought I was going to have to drag her out of the store.”

I Nintendo All

| Oakville, ON, Canada | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Geeks Rule

(I work at a frozen yogurt shop. I’m serving two parents and their young son. I hand the son his spoon and notice he’s holding a plush toy of Luigi, from the Mario series of Nintendo games.)

Me: *quietly* “Luigi!”

Boy: “How did you know his name?”

Me: “Because he’s a character from a video game. A very famous video game!”

(I wasn’t sure how to interpret the look the boy gave me as he left the counter, but he almost seemed either suspicious, skeptical, or confused. I, for one, wonder how *he* found out about Luigi, if not from the games!)

Driving On Booze Control

| Princeton, NJ, USA | At The Checkout, Criminal & Illegal, Food & Drink, Underaged

(I work at a liquor store, and we have one major rule. If you appear to be under 30 you MUST have your ID on you unless you are accompanied by a parent or guardian. If you do not have your ID on you no one in your group is allowed to purchase alcohol. Two guys come into our store together and start making a ruckus. The one guy looks about 23 or so, but the other can’t be 17. They’re yelling up and down the aisles to each other looking for something to purchase. I greet the two of them and start scanning their items. I ask for their IDs.)

Customer #1: “Here you go.”

Me: “Thanks.” *pointing at Customer #2* “I just need to see your ID as well.”

Customer #2: “I don’t got mine.”

Me: “Okay. Is it in the car or something? I need to see both of your IDs because you came in together.”

Customer #2: “Why? I didn’t come in here with him. We met up outside and walked in together.”

Me: “Let me get my manager. He’ll be able to sort this out for you guys.”

(My manager comes over and I explain to him that the one has his ID, but the other guy doesn’t. My manager reiterates the store policy. As this is happening, Customer #2 hands a $5 bill ‘stealthily’ to his buddy.)

Customer #1: “We’re friends from work! We ran into each other inside. Why am I getting denied service because I happened to run into him and happened to get in line with him at the same time.”

Manager: “Well, if that’s the case why did he just hand you money and try to walk out towards the door?

Customer #1: “I had asked to borrow some money! This is b******t!”

Manager: “I’m sorry you feel that way, but that’s the law. For all we know, you’re about to purchase alcohol for a minor, and we could get fined for that.”

Customer #2: “That’s racist! You’re refusing to sell to us because we’re [race]!”

Manager: “No, sir, that’s not why. I just told you why I’m refusing service.”

Customer #2: “Well, if that’s the case why didn’t you card that baby in the other dude’s line over there?”

Manager: “Sir. Think about what you just said. Do you really think that baby is really going to drink anything in that cart?”

Customer #2: “Whatever. I’m calling the cops. You’re going to be arrested for being racist. You racist son of a b****!”

Manager: “Okay. I can wait. I’ll just tell them that your pal just tried to purchase alcohol for a minor.”

(With that they walked out of the store, screaming and ranting, and wound up kicking over one of the basket returns by the exit, never to be seen since.)

No ID, No Idea, Part 15

| Salem, NH, USA | At The Checkout, Criminal & Illegal

(The store I work at sells chocolate liqueurs. Because they are alcoholic, I cannot sell them to anyone who doesn’t have an ID on them. A couple of young women come up, and seeing the liqueurs by the register, put a couple in with their purchase.)

Me: “I’ll need to see some ID for those.”

Customer: “Oh, I left my ID in the car.”

Me: “I can hold onto your stuff while you go get it.”

Customer: “I don’t want to go all the way to my car and back!”

Me: *moving the liqueurs aside* “All right. I’ll just put those back, then.”

Customer: “But, I want them.”

Me: “I’ll need to see your ID.”

Customer: “It’s in the car!”

Me: “I can hold your stuff for you while you go get it.”

Customer: “Look, I LOOK old enough to drink, don’t I?”

Me: “Yes…”

(Smiling, the woman nudges the liqueurs back into her pile of stuff. I promptly nudge them back out.)

Me: “My underage sister LOOKS old enough, as well.”

Customer: “But I want those!”

Me: “I’ll need to see your ID.”

Customer: “It’s in the CAR!”

No ID, No Idea, Part 14
No ID, No Idea, Part 13
No ID, No Idea, Part 12

The High Point Of My Night

, | Canada | At The Checkout, Criminal & Illegal, Food & Drink

(I work as a cashier and am finally at the end of a long, frustrating split-shift. About 10 minutes to closing a group of guys in their early 20s come in and head straight for the confection aisle. They seem to be having a hard time deciding, and become panicked when my supervisor makes the closing announcement. They shove their candy, chips, and pop into the arms of one guy, and push him toward the cash. They leave the store, leaving their friend to pay. He places the items very slowly on the counter, blinking with confusion a number of times, swaying a little on his feet. I ring his items through.)

Me: “That’s $14.59. How will you be paying?”

Customer: “Uh… debit?”

(He slowly pulls out his wallet and fumbles for his card. He finally places it in the debit machine, and then stares at it, unmoving. The machine times-out, so I reset it. He manages, with some difficulty to make it through the rest of the transaction. When I place his bag in front of him, he looks confused.)

Customer: “Is this mine?”

Me: “Yes, it is.”

Customer: “These are the things I bought?”

Me: “Uh… yes. Are you all right?”

Customer: “Huh? Oh, yeah, don’t mind me, I’m just really fried.”

(He pulls a 2 dollar coin out of his pocket and puts it on the counter.)

Customer: “Don’t tell; my parents know the owner.”

(He left, marveling at the automatic doors as he did. He has been back to the store a number of times, in the same state, and makes my day whenever he shows up.)

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