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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!

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Me No Speak Americano

| Vancouver, BC, Canada | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Food & Drink

(I work graveyards at a very busy location of a popular fast food restaurant in Canada. Our store is located quite close to a Korean shopping area, so we get a lot of Asian customers. Around two am an older, middle-aged Asian woman enters the lobby and comes up to me.)

Me: “Hi there, what can I get for you?”

Customer: “No English!” *gestures that she only knows some English*

Me: “All right, ma’am.”

Customer:“Ice cream!”

Me: “Which one would you like? We have—”

Customer: *interrupts* “Maple!”

Me: “I’m sorry; we don’t have maple ice cream.” *gestures that we don’t have any”

Customer: “Ice cream! Maple!”

Me: “Ma’am, we do not have maple ice cream. We do have a maple latte and a maple pie.”

Customer: *gestures me to take the next order*

Me: *takes the order and turns back to the woman*

Customer: “Ice cream!”

(Due to her lack of English understanding, I wonder if she wants our current promotional ice cream, which doesn’t contain maple. So I gesture to the picture on the menu.)

Me: “Is this maybe what you wanted?”

Customer: “No, No! Oreo!”

Me: “All right, ma’am.” *turns around and grabs our two cup sizes* “Which size?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Me: “Ma’am, which size?”

Customer: *gestures to larger size* “Two!”

Me: “Is that everything?”

Customer: *nods*

Me: “All right, your total comes to $[total].”

(Customer pulls out a card, and I press the corresponding button on my POS. She inserts her card then continues to look at the menu.)

Customer: *points behind me to our muffin display* “Muffin!”

Me: *walks over to display and points at the muffin I assume she was pointing at* “This one?”

Customer: “Blue! Blue!”

Me: “A blueberry muffin? Anything else?”

Customer: “Two!”

(Because she hadn’t finished payment, I cancel it and enter in the two muffins, while giving her the new total. By the time I am done, she has returned her card back into her wallet.)

Me: “Ma’am, you still need to pay. Please put your card in here.” *gestures to card reader*

Customer: *takes her card back out and enters it into card reader, presses a few buttons, then continues to look at the menu*

Customer: “Americano!”

Me: *sighs* “All right, ma’am.” *cancels payment again since she hadn’t finished* “What size?”

Customer: “Small!”

Me: *punches it into the system* “Your new total is $[total].”

(Her card is still in the reader, so I take it out, press the button on my POS, and put it back in. She doesn’t add anything else, so I go and start on the other customers order, and hand it out. I return to the POS and the payment hadn’t gone through.)

Me: “It didn’t go through; would you like to try again?”

Customer: *takes her card out and puts it back in*

(I restart the payment, walking her through the buttons to press until it gets to the pin screen. She enters her pin and it goes through. By this time her ice cream is done by my coworkers, so I hand it out to her, and tell her the rest is coming up.)

Customer: “I go sit!” *starts walking away*

Me: “Ma’am! Please stay here; your order is almost done!”

Customer: *walks back to counter* “Sorry! Drunk!”

Me: *thinking it all makes sense now*

(I grab her muffins and hand it to her.)

Me: “Here are the muffins; it’ll be just a minute for the Americano. Please wait here, ma’am.”

Customer: “I sit?”

Me: “No, ma’am, please wait here.”

(I go and get her Americano, and hand it to her.)

Me: “Here you are!”

(Looking at her two ice cream and Americano, I decide to get her a drink tray so she doesn’t drop anything. I put them in the tray and hand it to her.)

Me: “There you are. Now, be careful; the Americano is hot!”

Customer: *starts walking away* “Thank you!”

Me: *turning towards my manager* “That took WAY too long!”

(Thankfully the night went smoothly after that.)

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Throwing Dirt Until It Sticks

| ON, Canada | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid

(We have six self-checkouts. It’s a busy day and five machines are in use as one is broken, and I have a line of about five people. A customer approaches me from the entrance.)

Customer: “Can I get some of the dirt that’s outside?”

(It’s spring, so we sell 10 lb bags of topsoil which are all outside.)

Me: “No problem. If you’ll just get in line, we can ring that through for you.”

Customer: “Can you just ring them through for me?”

Me: “I don’t have a register to do so at the moment, but if you’ll just get in line I’ll help you as soon as I’m able.”

(The customer gets into the express line next to mine. This isn’t a problem: all checkouts have the PLU for the dirt written down and most cashiers have it memorized regardless. After a few minutes, he gets out of the slowly growing express line to approach me again.)

Customer: “Do I need to bring in a bag of dirt to scan or something?”

Me: “No, you don’t. We have codes at every register so you don’t need to. Just tell her what you want and she’ll be able to do it no problem.”

Customer: “Well, can’t you just ring me through?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, I don’t have a register to do that for you. If you’ll just get in a line up, any cashier will able to do it for you when it’s your turn.”

Customer: “So you can just ring me through here?”

Me: “I can’t ring you through at the moment, no, but if you’ll get in line, when you have a machine I can put the dirt onto your order.”

Customer: “So can’t you just ring me through now?”

(This goes back and forth about five times in total before he gets back into the express line.)

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Looks Ready To Checkout Early

| Rotterdam, The Netherlands | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

(I am asked to train the new guy to use the register. I am told that he has been present for a few hours already, which leads me to assume he has already gotten some practice, especially since he is already sitting at one of the registers with another coworker standing behind him. Since I work at a location of our store that is generally hard to reach and where business is generally slow, I decide to immediately give him a shot at showing me what he has learned so far. I stand behind him to keep an eye on what is going on so I can step in whenever he needs help. Soon enough, the first customer approaches.)

New Guy: “Uhm… so, what do I do?”

Customer: “Oh, that’s just great!”

Me: *slightly surprised* “Oh, it’s all right. It’s easy; just scan all the items like this…”

Customer: “Are you serious? Just f****** do beep beep already and get it done with.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, I promise you this won’t take any longer than usual –”

Customer: “Why can’t you just do this yourself?! He’s obviously too stupid to do it.”

(I’m getting irritated by the customer’s unnecessary rudeness, which is actually just causing him to have to wait longer.)

Me: “Everybody’s got to learn how to do their job somehow. How do you expect him to do that if he’s not even allowed to try?”

Customer: “What’s wrong with companies nowadays, hiring all these dumb children?! DO YOU EXPECT ME TO PAY HIS COLLEGE TUITION ALSO?!”

(By now, the new guy is starting to look really upset, so I tell him to switch back and ask him to just watch how I do it. The customer continues to rant about how he earned this and that in life and how he has his own business, that time is money, and that everyone seems to be wasting his time constantly.)

Me: “That’s good for you, sir, but everyone has to start somewhere. Here’s the receipt. Have a nice day!”

(The customer grabs his stuff without replying and storms off.)

Me: *to the new guy* “I’m so sorry about that. I must have misjudged the situation! I thought you had gotten some experience earlier, but it seems you didn’t. So in that case, I’ll let you watch me do it for about half an hour before you try again yourself. Don’t worry, customers this bad rarely show up here.”

Next Customer In Line: *while I’m processing their purchase and grinning* “Oh, actually, I come here very often and the people in line before me are mostly this rude.”

Next Customer In Line’s Wife: *also smiling* “Oh, don’t scare the boy like that!” *to the new guy* “I didn’t really understand what that man got so upset about, but you definitely didn’t deserve such a bad start. You’ll learn it soon enough.”

(I’m glad the next customers were so nice to him, because he certainly wasn’t eager to try again later!)