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!

Thank You For Not Coming Again

| VA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Crazy Requests

(I work at a self-serve frozen yogurt place and every now or so an annoying customer comes in. From the beginning I could tell this lady was going to be a pain but I tried to be as friendly as possible even when she handed me her spit coated sample cups because she was too lazy to throw them away.)

Me: “All right! Have a great evening.”

Customer: “They don’t train you to say ‘thank you’ here?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “You should be thanking me for my purchase or is that too difficult for you to manage? I demand you thank me!”

Me: “I can manage it but you underestimate how apathetic I am toward people who need hollow gratitude for buying something they already wanted.”

(She threatened to never come to our store again. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the other location she swore to solely patronize was owned by the same person.)

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.”

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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.”)

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