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!

Some Customers Come With Baggage

| Salem, OR, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(Like many of the natural alternative grocery stores, we are bag-less. There are at least two huge signs on the door when you enter, and a sign at each register, and even signs on the box bins we have for those who forget their bags.)

Me: “That will be $9.95 today.”

Customer: “Aren’t you going to bag them? I want plastic.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, sir; we are a bag-less store. We have reusable bags for sale ranging from .99 to $6 dollars.”

Customer: “I don’t want to buy a d*** bag. I want you to give me a plastic bag.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we don’t have plastic bags.” *I point to the box bin* “We do have boxes for those who forgot their bags.”

Customer: “NO. I WANT A PLASTIC BAG. FORGET IT.”

(He then tried to carry all his items out in his hands, dropped several of them, and just gave up and dropped them all on the floor, breaking some, and then left…)

Children Act Off-The-Cuff

| Iowa City, IA, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Rude & Risque

(I am working as a cashier at a bookstore when a customer approaches me to pay for her items. Her son is touching everything and messing up all of the nearby display, and doesn’t listen when she tells him to keep his hands to himself.)

Customer: *finally growing frustrated* “Don’t make me put your cuffs on!”

(Her son immediately calms down and starts behaving himself. I think I must have misheard what she said, but I can’t help but notice something round and furry sticking out from her purse. Later, I’m talking with a coworker.)

Coworker: “Did you see that woman earlier who had her kid in fuzzy fetish handcuffs?”

The PIN-nacle Of Annoying Customers

| GA, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money, Technology

(A little bit of background: I work in a small fuel center attached to a grocery store, the kind that’s open air, with the fuel clerk in a small box, using an intercom speaker. We accept debit and credit cards, but our number pad is timed, for whatever reason, so that a dawdling customer will occasionally have to run their debit card again if they take too long. An elderly woman comes up to the window.)

Customer: “Yes, I’d like to put $10 on pump eight.”

Me: “All righty.” *opening the drawer and seeing that she’s given me a card* “And will that be credit or debit?”

Customer: “Debit.”

Me: *I nod and run her card, putting it back into the drawer, with the number pad* “Okay, ma’am, if you could just enter your PIN for me please.”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “Y-your PIN, please?”

Customer: “What is that?”

Me: “You’re running this as a debit card, right?”

Customer: “Yes, this is a debit card. It says right here.”

Me: “Well, if you’re running debit, I need you to enter your PIN on that little number pad right there.”

Customer: “Oh, okay”

(She starts to enter it and as she does the number pad times out, requiring me to run the debit card again, normally either not a problem or at worst a minor annoyance.)

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, ma’am. It looks like the number pad timed out. I just need to run your card again, please.”

Customer: “What? I just did it.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, I just need to run your card so you can re-enter your PIN.”

Customer: “But I already put it in.”

Me: “I understand that, ma’am, but it didn’t go through correctly. I need to run the card again.”

Customer: *starting to get pissy* “Now, look, I already put my number in. Can I pump my gas yet or not?”

Me: *I’m starting to lose my patience at this point* “Not yet. I need to run your card again, ma’am. Please, I’m trying to help you.”

Customer: “I already put it in.”

Me: *I decide to leave the ‘box’ figuring she must be having trouble hearing me* “Ma’am, this–” *I open the drawer and point the number pad out* “–is set on a timer, if you don’t enter your number it times out.”

Customer: “So I need to put it in again?”

Me: “Yes, once I’ve run the debit card again.”

Customer: “You know, I would have left already if I wasn’t on empty.”

(She then proceeds to put in her PIN, ignoring that I need to scan the card first.)

Me: *sighing* “Ma’am, I need to run your card fir—”

Customer: “Again?” *types in her PIN, which, once again, does nothing*

Me: *giving up, holding out my hand* “Just… Just give me your card.”

Customer: *hands it over and I go run it, instructing her to enter her PIN, which she, of course, complains about* “I won’t be coming back here again.”

Me: *to myself* “Good riddance.”

Customer #2: “Don’t worry, I’m paying with cash.”

Rage Against The Machine, Part 4

| WA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Technology

(We have just gotten in self-checkout units at our store, much to the delight, and apparent misunderstanding of our customers.)

Customer: “So we no longer have to rely on you guys to check out our stuff?”

Me: “Oh, no, the normal checkout lanes are still open, but if you’re in a rush, you now have the alternative of doing it yourself.”

Customer: “Guess this means you’ll be out of a job soon!” *laughs*

Me: “No… not at all.”

Customer: “Eh?”

Me: “The SCO still requires a staff member to key in birthdates if you’re buying restricted items like alcohol, and if there’s a price query or you accidentally scan something more than once, we need to be here to override it. SCO is a tool for us to help make your shopping experience more pleasant, not a replacement.”

Customer: “Oh, well…”

Me: “And if I may just ask, sir, how is us losing our jobs meant to be funny? Would you still laugh if you got replaced at your job by a machine? Or one of your family members did?”

(The customer turned red and grumbled something to himself as he grabbed his groceries and left.)

Related:
Rage Against The Machine, Part 3
Rage Against The Machine, Part 2
Rage Against The Machine

Assault And Battery For The Salt And Battery

| OK, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Bizarre

(I am working the register. The day has been smooth so far, and I’ve even managed to tell a few jokes to liven up a customer’s day. A middle-aged man comes into the store, buying a packet of salt, and some batteries.)

Me: *joking* “I guess I’ll have to charge you for assault and battery, now do I?”

Man: *irate* “YOU F****** D******! I’M SUPPOSED TO MAKE THE JOKE, NOT YOU! I’M NEVER SHOPPING HERE AGAIN!” *throws salt at my chest and storms out*

Customer: Holy s***! Did someone put salt in his coffee today?

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