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!


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!)


Should Have Cashed Out Early

| Indianapolis, IN, USA | At The Checkout, Math & Science, Money

(I’m a customer in line for an ice cream fundraiser. There are three teenage girls in front of me and one cashier. Ice cream is $3.)

Girl: *to friend* “Hey, do you have change for a five?”

Cashier: “You need change?”

Girl: “Yeah, do you have five ones for a five?”

Cashier: “You’re buying ice cream…?”

Girl: “Yeah, but I need five ones for a five.”

Cashier: “I can just… You want me to keep three of them?”

Girl: “No! I want five ones for a five.”

Cashier: “Okay… here you go.”

Girl: “Thanks. Ice cream is $3?”

(The girl takes three of the ones the cashier just gave her and hands them back to the cashier.)


Venting Tall

| Sacramento, CA, USA | At The Checkout, Food & Drink

(I’ve gotten up early to get my mom and me coffee one morning. I’m not a morning person by any means.)

Me: “Can I get a tall white mocha?”

Barista: “Sure, anything else?”

Me: “A tall, venti nonfat cappuccino please.”

Barista: “A what?”

Me: “A tall, venti nonfat cappuccino, please.”

Barista: “Honey, you’re making up drinks now. Would you like a tall or venti?”

Me: *suddenly hitting me what I’ve been saying* “Oh, my gosh, I’m so sorry. I meant venti.”

Barista: “I give everyone a break this early.”

(Luckily she had been our barista for about six years and knew I was actually smart.)


One Lucky Customer

| Chicago, IL, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Popular, Rude & Risque

(It’s kind of late in my shift. I call the next customer, an elderly man. He puts his merchandise on the counter. He immediately starts staring at my chest.)

Male Customer: “Wow, am I lucky. Wow.”

(I don’t know how to react without being rude so I just ring him up as quickly as possible. The entire time he’s staring at me and repeating:)

Male Customer: “Wow, am I lucky. Wow. When do you get off?”

(Since I don’t want to deal with him any more I tell him his total and stick every single item into one bag neatly enough that it won’t tear or break but badly enough that the bag weighs way too much, set it behind the counter, and wait for him to pay. He pays, and I hand him the approximately 20 lb bag.)

Male Customer: “Oh, thanks…”

(He stops smiling and kind of waddles out of the store with his bag. The next customer has a 28-item return and repurchase to get the points on their card. The customer after THAT comes up to me.)

Female Customer: “That looked intense.”

Me: “Yeah. The sad thing is that was still better than the customer before them.”

Female Customer: “Oh, what happened?”

Me: “Uh, it was an old dude and he was being creepy.”

Female Customer: “Oh, ew. I’m sorry.”

(I finish ringing her two-item purchase and read her price. She pays for her merchandise and I bag it very nicely and neatly.)

Female Customer: “Well, I hope I wasn’t as much trouble. And I didn’t hit on you. Have a good night.”

(Not gonna lie; that comment helped me keep it together until we closed.)


I Would Like To Disorder

| Baton Rouge, LA, USA | At The Checkout, Language & Words

(I work at a very fast-paced chicken finger restaurant on the edge of my college campus. This conversation happens every shift I work in the drive through.)

Me: “Okay, so you’ll have [Order]. Would you like anything else to complete your order?”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “…”

Me: “Ok, what else may I get for you?”

Customer: “THAT’S ALL!”

Me: “Thank you please pull up.” *to coworker* “I think they meant to say ‘no.'”

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