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!

Racism Needs To Check Out

| TX, USA | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Politics

(I’m a cashier on an extremely hot Saturday afternoon in the bowels of Texas. I am bagging a customer’s goods.)

Customer: “You’re doing it wrong!”

Me: “Oh, so sorry! I’ll put these in a separate bag if you like.”

Customer: “God, you let one of them become president and the rest of you quit trying.”

Me: *biting my tongue* “Do you need help getting these into the cart, ma’am?”

Customer: “What color are you, anyway?”

(I hit the switch on the lights and called my manager over, who promptly checked the woman out. The customer vowed to visit the ‘white’ store next time.)

Committing Battery With Battery

| LA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Wild & Unruly

(I work in an appliance parts store. In order to complete a transaction, we must fill out the name and phone number fields on the invoice. There is no way to continue if they are left blank. A man comes in and places a small pack of batteries on the counter.)

Me: “Is that all you need, sir?”

Customer: “Yep.”

Me: *starts typing* “Okay, the price is [price] plus tax. Can I get your name?”

Customer: “You don’t need that! I’m just getting batteries!”

Me: “Actually, sir, I have to—”

Customer: *THROWS the pack of batteries at me* “Keep your d*** part! You don’t need to know my name!”

Me: *catches the pack* “Sir, you don’t have to give me YOUR name. I just have to fill in a name or I can’t complete the transaction.”

Customer: “Okay, okay, fine…” *obviously making something up* “Sam Jones! This is ridiculous. Why do you people always want all kinds of information?”

Me: “I suppose it would be pointless for me to ask you for a phone number, right?”

Customer: *SIGH*

Me: “It’s fine, I’ll use our store number.”

Customer: “What do you people need all that for?! Its bull—”

Me: “The number is so that we can look up your invoice if there is a problem with your purchase.”

Customer: “I don’t need that! It’s just batteries!” *continues to grumble as I finish the transaction*

Me: “Okay, your total with tax is [total].”

Customer: *calmed down some* “Okay. Listen, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get all ugly. It’s just I don’t like giving out all sorts of private information. I apologize.”

Me: “Thank you. I didn’t think you really needed to throw the batteries at me.”

Customer: “Oh, of course not. I’m so sorry.”

(He pays me and I give him his receipt.)

Customer: “You have a nice day now. And you know, that information stuff should really be optional. Most people aren’t ever gonna need you to pull up their invoice.”

Me: “Honestly, sir, most people really don’t have a problem with telling me their name.”

(He sputtered a bit, turned and left in a huff. I would have hated to have seen his reaction if he had paid with a credit card and I asked for his ID!)

Will Not Be Moved

| PA, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Family & Kids, Geeks Rule

(I’m working the register at a grocery store when a mother and her 10-year-old son start unloading their cart. As I’m finishing with the customer before them, I hear the boy continually trying to finish his mother’s sentences, occasionally getting them right and prompting her to say, ‘Hey! Stop predicting the future!’ Their turn comes up and we exchange the usual greeting pleasantries. I address the boy.)

Me: “So you’re trying to tell the future, huh?”

Boy: *matter-of-factly* “Uh-huh! I’m trying to learn all kinds of stuff, like telepathy and telekinesis.”

(I happen to be Pagan with some mystic friends who taught me a few tricks. Plus, despite being a humanities major, I spent a good deal of college reading up on quantum theory.)

Me: “Well, you know the secret to telling the future, right?”

Boy: “Um…”

Me: “It’s not about seeing the future, it’s remembering the future.”

Boy: “Huh?”

(I explain to him the theory that all time happens at once but the human brain only perceives it as moving in one direction, meaning the future is already here and we just don’t remember it yet.)

Me: “So what you’ve got to do in the future is bundle up what you’re trying to remember and send it back in time to yourself. I’ve been training myself to do it for years and now I can sort of remember emotions from situations I haven’t experienced yet. It’s a good thing you’re starting so young. Maybe by the time you’re my age you’ll be able to remember words, too!”

Boy: “… I think I’ll stick to learning telekinesis.”

Me: “Ah, that’s slightly trickier. What you have to do there is learn how to mentally manipulate the electromagnetic attraction between certain objects.”

Boy: “… Never mind, then.”

(As they left, the mother was chuckling to herself and the boy looked both confused and dejected. Hopefully he had better luck with telepathy!)

Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 2

| VA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Movies & TV

(We have discount five pm shows during the week, and one pm shows on weekends. People often show up at five pm on weekends wanting a discount, but most are suitably good-natured on finding out that they were using the wrong day’s newspaper to get their information. A customer comes in dropping off his teenage son.)

Customer: “One, please.”

Me: “That’ll be [full price amount].”

Customer: “No, I only want one.”

Me: “I know. It’s full price.”

Customer: “No, it isn’t. It’s discounted. The newspaper says so.”

Me: “Our weekend schedules are different. You’re using a paper from another day. I’m sorry. I know it’s inconvenient and a lot of people make that mistake, but it is full price.”

Customer: *getting belligerent* “No. It is discounted and I will not pay full price.”

Me: “I really am sorry, but as I said, a lot of people make this mistake. I can’t give you the discounted price.”

Customer: “I’m going to go get the newspaper from my car and show you and you’ll have to give me a refund.”

(The customer pays full price for his son, who scampers inside, as several dozen pairs of eyes wait to see what will happen. Many of them have paid full price and will no doubt want refunds, too, if I give this customer one. Then, about a minute later, he reappears with a paper.)

Customer: *arrogantly and rudely* “Why don’t you tell me what it says right here?”

Me: *reading from newspaper* “That says 5:00 at the discounted price.”

Customer: *beaming*

Me: “Now why don’t you tell me what it says right here?”

Customer: *reading from paper* “Showtimes listed are for today… only.”

(At that point he turned and walked off, without so much as a good bye to his son. I think the son at least enjoyed the movie.)

Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount

Saying Bi To Singledom Any Way Possible

| Torrance, CA, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Crazy Requests, Love/Romance

(I’m female and helping an elderly customer and his 18 year old grandson at the register. As I am ringing him up, he starts up a conversation.)

Customer: “How would you like to go out with my grandson?”

Me: *smiling* “I’m sorry, sir.”

Customer: “Aw, come on.” *points to grandson* “He’s good-looking and needs someone.”

Me: *feeling a little awkward* “I have a boyfriend. Sorry, sir.”

Customer: “Why are all the cute ones always taken?” *takes bags and leaves the store*

(30 seconds later, a male coworker notices the customer’s receipt still in the register. He grabs it and runs out of the store to give it to the customer. My coworker walks back into the store a few minutes later.)

Me: “You know, that customer just tried to hook me up with his grandson.”

Male Coworker: “…he just tried to do the same thing to me.”

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