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!

Cash Back Attack, Part 3

| Carbonear, NL, Canada | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money

(I work in a big chain store and we allow combined payment: that is, paying with both cash and debit/credit. We also offer cash-back on request. One day, a female customer comes up in the line. Putting through the items is uneventful. What happens next, baffles me.)

Me: “Your total is [total over $20].”

Customer: “I’d like to pay some on cash, some on debit, please.”

Me: “Sure.”

(She gives me the cash, a 20 dollar bill. I deposit it into the register and prepare the debit machine.)

Me: “All right, go ahead and insert the card when you’re ready.”

Customer: “I’d also like 20 dollars cash back, please.”

(Slightly dumbfounded, I make a confused face for a moment, which she doesn’t see luckily.)

Me: “Uh, sure, just select it on the screen there.”

(I gave her the cash-back and even after she left I still struggled to understand the thought process.)

Cash Back Attack, Part 2
Cash Back Attack

Good Lord, Donate!

| USA | At The Checkout, Money, Religion

(I am a cashier checking someone out. At this point, I can see the total: $6.66.)

Me: “Would you like to donate today?” *this is a standard question*

Customer: “No, thank you.”

Me: “All right! Your total is 6-6-6.”

Customer: *grabbing a candy bar* “Can’t have that! I’ll add this, please.”

Me: “Or you could just donate.”

Customer: “Oh, yeah, right! I’ll donate, then.”

Has Them Frothing At The Mouth

| FL, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(I work in a department store with several small kitchen appliances, all of which have displays out that a customer can look at and fiddle with. When an item goes out of stock, we often sell off the display for a small discount. A customer approaches me with a milk frother that is part of an espresso machine set.)

Customer: “Hi, I noticed there weren’t any more of these on the shelf. Can I take this one?”

Me: “Actually, ma’am, that frother is part of a set. It comes with a machine, and so you have to purchase the machine itself if you want that frother. Otherwise, I could order one for you that doesn’t go with the machine, with free shipping as well.”

Customer: “Hmm, no, I really need it today. Can’t I just take this one?”

Me: “Well, no. As I said, it’s part of a set. You have to buy the whole machine.”

Customer: “But it’s not attached or anything! You can do this for me, can’t you?”

(The customer adopts a grossly sweet tone with me in an apparent attempt to flatter me into giving her the display. We proceed with several more minutes of me telling her that she absolutely cannot have the display. Finally, she gets more belligerent.)

Customer: “I don’t get it; you have numbers for these things! Just plug your numbers into your computer or a register and give me the damn display! I know you sell them and I want this display right now!”

(I’m emotionally exhausted by this point, and although I always want to talk to childish customers as if they are actual children, professionalism usually prevents me from stooping to such a level. I decided we were past formality. However, I remained polite.)

Me: “Ma’am, suppose you have… a chair at home that you really like. One day the leg of the chair breaks, so you go down to the furniture store and find another chair.”

Customer: *with an exasperated huff* “What does this have to do with anything?”

Me: “Just follow me; the leg of your chair is broken, so you go to the store and find a new chair. Now, instead of deciding to buy the new chair, you ask an associate to break off the leg you need and sell you that leg, and only the leg… How do you think that would go?”

(A few moments of silence follow as her cheeks grow red from embarrassment. When she speaks next she bears a much calmer tone.)

Customer: “I think I’d like to speak to a manager, please.”

(Within a minute I was setting the display frother back on its shelf, still unsold.)

Not Only Calling About The Color Of Money

| USA | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Crazy Requests

(I’m speaking with a customer whose card was temporarily blocked for suspicious activity. I’m trying to verify her identity.)

Women: “Why should I have to know my old address? No one ever asked me for that before! Why does it matter?”

Me: “Identity thieves will often change the address on a card before using it, so we watch for address changes. Asking for the old address helps us because an identity thief may not have known the old address before he changed it. It’s an effective means of protecting your identity.”

Women: “I’m not an identity thief. Why would you think I was?”

Me: “I did not say you were, ma’am. I’m only explaining that asking for an old address is a great way of verifying you while protecting your identity.”

Women: “Why would you think I stole something? You think any [race] women with a credit card had to steal it? Or you just think I can’t afford a computer?”

Me: “We are not worried about your being able to afford anything. We simply wanted to verify a charge that was unusual for this card to make sure it is one you authorized. Once we have verified the charge…”

Women: *cutting me off* “You wouldn’t be harassing me if I wasn’t [race]!”

Me: “Our policies are the same for all races, ma’am. I didn’t even know your race until you told me.”

Women: “Don’t give me that s***! You can tell. You wouldn’t be harassing me for buying a computer if I was white. You’re just racist!”

Me: “Our system flagged your account because of the address change and large purchase before I ever spoke to you. The system doesn’t know your race either. It’s illegal for us to store that information and our applications don’t ask you to disclose it. There is literally no way that your race could play any role in the system’s decision to flag this account. I certainly hope I’m not racist either. I would hate to find out I had an issue with my little brother.”

Women: “Don’t you lie to me. You’re not [race] and neither is your bother, unless your mother’s…”

Me: *cutting in as politely as I can* “Not my biological brother. My little brother from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. I visit him in school every Monday for lunch and recess. It’s my favorite time of the week.”

(She didn’t seem to know how to respond to that. She made a few attempts to catch me in a ‘lie,’ made me explain I that had Sundays and Mondays off so I could visit him and why it was only in-school, etc. but generally wasn’t yelling at me as much. Next time I mentioned her address she gave it to me. Yes, she did end up verifying the charges and having the card unblocked.)

Childlike Behavior

, | Perth, WA, Australia | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Food & Drink

(I work at a fast food restaurant in a large, second floor food court. A child, who can’t be older than five or six, comes up to my counter to order.)

Child: “Hi, can I please have [Menu item]?”

Me: “Sure, anything else today?”

(The child just shakes his head and shyly smiles.)

Me: “Okay, that comes to [price].”

(The child looks at his hand which only has a few silver and gold coins. Putting the money on the counter I realise he doesn’t have enough.)

Me: “Sorry, you’re going to need about [amount] more.”

(The child walks away and I continue to serve as it is busy at lunch time. The child returns with a few more gold and silver coins, and once he reaches the till, I retake his order and he once again places his money on the counter.)

Me: “Yep, that’s enough. It will be ready in a minute.”

(The child once again walks away with his food about a minute later. The line quiets down as I and my coworkers have taken pretty much everyone’s orders, and they are all waiting for their food. A woman in a stained tiger shirt approaches the counter, red faced, the child in tow, and slams her hands on the counter.)

Woman: “Do you not know how to take orders?! My son has walked from our table about 15 times—” *it was twice* “—to make up for your stupidity! He gave you the right change the first time! You just made a mistake and charged us extra! On top of that you didn’t even give us what we ordered!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I double checked the order with your son, and he said it was corr—”

Woman: “I want a receipt and a refund for this terrible service! Where is your manager?!”

(My manager retook the woman’s order, apparently correctly, but as they were walking back to the table the son was complaining “but that’s not what I wanted!” How about we don’t send children to order?)

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