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!

That Customer Was Dealt With Marvellously

| Mobile, AL, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

(I am at one of the garden registers, not actually checking people out, but trying to fix a broken scan gun. As I’m working on it, one of my coworker’s calls in through the radio.)

Coworker: “Hey, [My Name]?”

Me: “Yeah?”

Coworker: “Look; I hate to bother you, but I’m up here by myself.”

(At this point a customer walks over. I smile at her and mouth that I’m not checking out, but she’s on her phone and doesn’t seem to be paying attention to me. I assume she’s still shopping, since she isn’t quite to the register and sort of hovering a few feet back.)

Me: “Okay, so what’s up? Are you backed up?”

Coworker: “No, but there’s this creepy, old guy around, and he’s come up here to flirt with me a few times, and I’m pretty sure he followed me through the store, too. It’s making me seriously uncomfortable.”

Me: “Oh! Okay, I’ll be right back in! No problem.”

(I leave the register, and as I make to walk away, the customer on her phone stops me.)

Customer: “Wait! Aren’t you going to check me out before you go?”

Me: “Well, actually, ma’am, I’m not checking anyone out, and I have to get back inside.”

Customer: “What? For that cashier? Well, why don’t you tell her that she needs to put the customer first! The nerve of her, thinking she can just have people—”

(Meanwhile, a man, Customer #2, in line hears the woman.)

Customer #2: “For God’s sake, just go in front of me!”

Customer: “What? That’s not the point! It’s the principle of it!”

Customer #2: “The principle of it? Are you seriously telling me that you are more concerned with spending five extra minutes in line than you are a young woman being harassed by some strange man?”

Customer: “Well, I’m sure she did something to make him do that!”

Customer #2: *to me* “Go help your cashier. I’ll take care of this.”

Customer: “Take care of it? Who do you think you are? You know what? I am never shopping here again! And I’m calling corporate!”

Customer #2: “Good to know. I’m sure you’ve made everyone’s day. And by the way? I’m the owner. Have fun calling corporate.”

Food Is Fast But Complaints Are Faster

| WI, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Food & Drink, Time

General Manager: “I’m sorry, it’ll just be a short wait on your [item].”

Customer: “What? Why should I wait? Isn’t this supposed to be fast food?”

General Manager: “Yes, it’s fast food, not instant food.”

Using Rude Language

| Bethesda, Wales, UK | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Language & Words

(A good 90% of our customers speak Welsh, so I end up speaking Welsh 90% of the time.)

Me: *in Welsh* “Good evening, sir. Would you like a carrier bag for your shopping?”

Customer: *unintelligible grunt*

Me: *still in Welsh* “Was that ‘yes’ to a bag, sir?”

Customer: *in English* “What?”

Me: *in English* “Sorry, sir! Would you like a bag for your purchases?”

Customer: “Do I look Welsh to you?”

Me: “I couldn’t say, sir. I noticed a daffodil and a dragon pin in your jacket and took you to be local. I am sorry if I caused offence.”

Customer: “You shouldn’t speak Welsh.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “You shouldn’t speak Welsh. It’s rude.”

(I pondered arguing back about his own rudeness for telling me I should not speak my language in my country, but settled for just saying “sorry” again and completing his transaction in silence.)

It’s Gonna Be A Long Summer

| NH, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Food & Drink

(I’ve just finished training to be a cashier at this store, and I’m still not able to recognize a lot of the produce on sight. A customer places an order on the belt that includes what I believe to be summer squash, so I ring it up as such. However, when I announce his total the customer squints at the screen behind me that displays his purchases and says:)

Customer: “Oh, wait, I didn’t get any summer squash. There must have been some kind of mistake.”

Me: “Oh, I’m so sorry, sir! I’m new here and haven’t really learned all the produce yet. Here, let me fix that for you.”

(After canceling the item, I pulled the produce back out of the bag.)

Me: “Okay, now, would you mind telling me what this really is so I can ring it up correctly?”

Customer: “It’s…some kind of squash.”

Me: “Yes, sir, but what kind is it?”

Customer: “It’s uh, it’s some kind of squash.”

Me: “I know that sir, but what KIND is it?”

Customer: “Um, I’m not sure. Can’t you just ring it up?”

Me: “Sir, we have over twenty kinds of squash for sale in our store, and they are not all priced the same. I need some kind of… kind.”

(I ended up reading him the entire list of squash vegetables that could be rung up by the computer, and none of them rang any bells.)

Customer: *frustrated* “Can’t you just ring it up? It’s some kind of squash!”

Me: “You want to know if I can ring it up as ‘Some Kind Of Squash?'”

Customer: “Yeah!”

Me: “…No.”

(I decide to call a manger over, but before I can the customer leans over to get another look at the squash, which has been sitting on the scanner in front of me the whole time.)

Customer: “Oh, wait! I remember what it is now!”

Me: *excited* “Really?”

Customer: *triumphantly* “Yeah! It’s summer squash!”

Me: “…”

(I mentioned this story to my manager in passing later on, and do you know what he said? “Welcome to customer service.”)

Extra Register Does Not Register

| CT, USA | At The Checkout

(A coworker and I are working the registers during an early afternoon shift at our store. We are both busy ringing out customers at our respective registers, when an elderly gentleman, looking highly confused, approaches my coworker with two younger girls. Keep in mind that I am currently handing my customer her change for the transaction and her receipt, and my coworker is scanning items for her customer. There is also a sign above the registers that says “Check Out Here.” This is all in plain view of the elderly man.)

Elderly Customer: “Is this a register?”

Younger Girls: “YES, IT IS A REGISTER!”

Elderly Customer: “Are you sure?”

Coworker: “Yes, sir, this is a register. Either I or [My Name] could help ring you out in one moment.”

Elderly Customer: “But are you sure? All you are doing is folding clothes. Can you ring me out here?”

Coworker: “Yes, sir, I can ring you out now.”

Elderly Customer: “But you can ring me out here?”

Coworker: *clearly getting annoyed* “Yes, I am free to help ring you out right HERE.”

Elderly Customer: “Okay, but this is really a register? You looked busy folding those clothes, I assumed you were putting them away. I’m so happy you can accommodate me and ring me out here. It would be too hard finding the actual registers!”

(All the while, one of our supervisors overhears the conversation and walks over to me.)

Supervisor: *whispers* “Because clearly the area marked ‘Check Out Here’ is not a register! We should have told him these were the dressing rooms!”

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