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!

What Price Loyalty?

| Pittsburgh, PA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

(I am working at a big box hardware store. At the time, our pets policy is very lax but we stress that mainly dogs to help vision-impaired shoppers are the only animals allowed in. However, this did not stop a lot of people, especially the older customer in my line with a dog in his cart.)

Me: “Sir, just to let you know, we can only have service animals in here.”

Customer: “You know what? FINE! I hate this place! You tell your manager I’m never shopping here again and he can shove the policy up his ***!”

(The customer pays but he uses a gift card which now only has about a $5 balance remaining on it.)

Me: *about to hand the card back* “Wait, did you want me to throw this away?”

Customer: “Of course not! Why?”

Me: “You said you hated it here. You said you were never gonna shop here again…”

Customer: “Well, uh… umm.”

Me: “So, for five dollars, you’ll be back.”

Will Need A Drink And A Smoke When They Get Home

| Sault Ste. Marie, MI, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre

(A customer walks up to my register.)

Me: “Hi, how are you today?”

Customer: “Not good. I got a call saying that people are breaking into my house!”

(I quickly scan her items.)

Me: “Do you have a frequent shopper number with us?”

Customer: “Yeah, but I’m in too much of a hurry to use it. People are breaking into my house!”

(She was buying vodka and cigarettes…)

Returner Burner

| TX, USA | At The Checkout, Criminal & Illegal

(It is thirty minutes until closing time when a woman strolls in with a large bag of items, mostly brand name clothes – easily three hundred dollars worth of merchandise. Of course she has no receipt and so I will have to give her store credit. I process the items; there’s a lot of things so it takes a while. My phone rings and I notice it’s a call from inside the store.)

Me: *on the phone* “Customer service.”

Coworker: *on the phone* “Get her driver’s license number.” *hangs up*

(I ask the woman for her license, and while she digs for it, she gets out her phone (she didn’t dial anything nor did it ring) and pretends to tell someone she’s at [Store] doing some returns. I glance at my coworker and the people greeter, who is part of loss prevention, and they are both scowling. My coworker is shaking her head. I know they’re thinking the same thing I’m thinking. I write down her DL number and put it under my counter and continue to ring up the returns.)

Woman: *peers over my counter* “I need that piece of paper back.”

Me: *puzzled a moment, and also somewhat annoyed at having my concentration broken* “Hmm? Oh, uh…”

(I realize she wants her license number back. I don’t know what to say as I’ve never had to do a transaction this big before.)

Woman: “Can I have that piece of paper?”

(My coworker walks back by.)

Coworker: “When we do a transaction this big we have to take the driver’s license number. We keep it confidential.” *she gives me a look*

Me: “We’ll destroy it when we’re done here, okay?”

(The woman goes to the display across from the service desk, of electronic toys, cell phone accessories, etc. She picks up a set of earbuds and drops them into her purse.)

Me: “I have to scan that!”

Coworker: *quietly, to me* “Force of habit.”

What Plays Around Comes Around

| Clayton, NC, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

(I work as a cashier at a gas station. It is a small store and not very busy with only one register. Luckily, this is the most relaxed manager I’ve ever had; I am allowed to be my blunt self. After cashiering for several years, I am so sick of the little “jokes” that customers say and do. (Like, “Oh, no price tag. That means it’s free!” A customer is purchasing a pack of cigarettes and a candy bar. He looks to be in his 40s or 50s.)

Me: “That’ll be [Total].” *I reach to take the bill from his hand.*

Customer: *pulls the money back*

(I set both hands down on the counter and stare at him as he smiles, thinking this is a fun thing to do. He holds the money closer to me again and I hold my hand out for him to place it in.)

Me: “I work until 3:30, so I’ve got all day. It won’t bother me a bit if you don’t get your smokes and chocolate.”

Customer: “You don’t play around, do you?”

Me: “Nope. At least two people a day try that.”

Customer: “Fair enough.”

(He handed me the cash and I finished the sale. I guess we were close to his house or job because I started seeing him on my shift fairly frequently and he eventually became one of the customers I shared friendly banter with, so no hard feelings. The same stupid jokes all day every day gets really tiring, so please try to avoid them!)

Needs To Change Your Change Tactics

| Cheshire, England, UK | At The Checkout, Criminal & Illegal, Liars & Scammers, Money

(I’m volunteering at a charity shop. Most of our customers are elderly or middle-aged. On this particular day I’m helping another volunteer put a picture up when a man in his early twenties comes in. He looks around for just a minute or so and grabs a card from the stand at the front of the shop.)

Man: “Just this card, please.”

Me: “Of course. Do you want a bag to put it in?”

Man: “Whatever.”

Me: “Just £1.00 then please.”

(The man takes a note out of his pocket. I take it and start to sort out the change and pass it over to the man.)

Man: “Wait a minute, love. I’ve got some right change here if it’ll help you out. If I give you some coins back can you give me a note?”

Me: *feeling a little confused* “Erm, okay. That won’t be a problem.” *I count the change; I realise he’s left me short* “Sorry, I need another £1 coin.”

Man: “Really? Okay. Tell you what. I’ll give you some coins to make that right. You just give me my money back and we’ll be even, right?”

Me: “Okay.”

(I feel uneasy but give him the money, and he starts to rifle through the notes he has again.)

Man: “Actually can you change this for me instead?”

(He’s leaning over the counter, is quite intimidating, and I am starting to realise something isn’t quite right.)

Man: “I just want my change!”

Me: “I’m sorry, I’ve given you the money you need.” *I close the till*

Man: “But you still owe me change!”

Me: “I can call my manager down to deal with your request if you like?”

(I called upstairs to the manager and told her to double-check the change I had given the man. She came down to confront him and he looked shifty and decided to just leave, despite me “owing him change.” I told the manager everything that happened and she checked the till – he had somehow taken £10 from us, and had tried to take more. We reported him to the police and found out he had tried this on in a few other shops, including a well-known supermarket where he’d threatened the cashier. I later found out that this was a short-change scam or change-raising scam, where the scam artist confuses the cashier to get their money back plus extra. I printed out a warning and left it in the staff room. A few months later another man came in and tried the exact same thing. I said no, closed the till, they caught him on camera leaving the shop, and he was taken in by the police.)

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