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!


The Gift Card That Keeps On Taking

| Boulder, CO, USA | At The Checkout, Math & Science, Money

(I work in a grocery store as a cashier. I am ringing up a customer and we get to the end of the transaction.)

Me: “That’ll be $5.17 for you today.”

(The customer swipes his card and it gets declined. At this point I notice that it’s a Visa gift card.)

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry… It didn’t seem to accept that amount. Do you know the balance that’s left on the card? It’ll probably go through if I type in the specific amount.”

Customer: “I don’t know. You check.”

(He shoves the card at me.)

Me: “Oh, unfortunately our system is only set up to check the balance of our store gift cards. I don’t have a way to check the balance for you. Sorry about that!”

Customer: “You check. You should know the balance.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, like I said, our registers are only set up to check balances on store gift cards. That’s a Visa gift card, so I have no way of checking the balance on your gift card.”

Customer: “Why are you making this so difficult? It’s your job to know my balance, not mine.”

Me: “As I said before, I unfortunately have no way of checking your gift card balance on my register, since it’s not a store gift card.”

(Finally the customer takes out a crumpled receipt and tosses it on the counter along with the gift card, which has the original balance written on it.)

Customer: “You do the math and figure it out.”

(I type $3.15 into the register and hit the debit button.)

Me: “Okay, so $3.15 is going on the card and I just need you to swipe one more time.”

Customer: “I already swiped it before. I shouldn’t have to do it again.”

Me: “Oh, you just need to swipe it one more time since it didn’t go through the first time.”

(He finally swipes his card. I thank him and tell him to have a good night.)

Customer: “You should learn to relax.”


Showing Eventual Medium Returns

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

(I am the assistant manager of a fast-food restaurant. We are currently running a promotion where you can get any size soft drink for only $1. I witness this exchange between a customer and my employee. The customer is shouting throughout this.)

Employee: “Hello, what can I get for you?”

Customer: “[Soda]!”

Employee: “Okay, just one [Soda]?”

Customer: “Diet [Soda]!”

Employee: “So that’s one diet [Soda]?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Employee: “Is that a medium size?”

Customer: “No! A [Soda] and diet [Soda]!”

Employee: “Oh, you want a [Soda] and a diet [Soda]?”

Customer: “Yes!”

Employee: “Okay, are they medium size?”

Customer: “Medium! The other large!”

Employee: “Which one?”

Customer: “Large [Soda]! Medium diet [Soda]!”

Employee: “Okay, is that all for you?”

Customer: “Yes!”

(He obtains his order and leaves.)

Me: *to employee* “That was way more complicated than it needed to be.”


Don’t Have To Deal With Your Cents-less Baggage

| Germany | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Popular

(I am buying school supplies for my children, with my mother accompanying me. As we get to the checkout, and it is about time to pay for my stuff, the cashier asks me if I’d like a bag for 10 cents.)

Mother: “No, why should we pay for something like a bag?”

Me: “Mom, they ALSO have to pay for their bags. They don’t get them gifted from the bag factory…”

Mother: “Yes, but why should we pay for being their walking advertisement?!”

Me: *looking at my mother, wearing several brand label clothes* “Because you also pay to wear [Big Sports Clothes Brand]’s advertisements around all day.”

(She was silent after that, and yes, I bought a plastic bag.)


Coming Around To Not Coming Back

| Cheshire, England, UK | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Popular

(I am on the opening shift, which means I’m on my own on the tills for at least an hour. A woman approaches me.)

Woman: “Excuse me, can you tell me where [Product] is?”

Me: “If you go down the aisle on the far left and then take the first on your left, it should be on a shelf down there.”

Woman: “Can’t you take me?”

Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t. I have to stay on the tills.”

Woman: “Well, that’s no good!”

Me: “I could call a member of floor staff to take you there?”

Woman: “Don’t bother. I’m not coming back here again. The customer service is terrible.”

(She leaves in a huff, and another customer who was waiting just raises her eyebrows.)

Customer: “I bet you’re heartbroken that she’s not coming back, aren’t you?”

(I laughed.)


One Big (Alco)Hole In Their Plan

| ON, Canada | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Criminal & Illegal

(I live near the Canada-US border, Canada side. It’s about nine o’clock at night and I’m working the front end of grocery store. A small group of people who look to be in their late teens or early twenties walk up to me.)

Customer #1: “Can you tell us where to find the alcohol in here?”

Me: *taken aback* “We don’t sell any.”

Customer #1: “Really?”

(At this moment it dawns on me that they’re probably from over the border, coming to buy alcohol here because we have a lower drinking age.)

Me: “Yeah. We… don’t sell alcohol in grocery stores in Canada. In general.”

Customer #2: “You’re kidding, right?”

Me: “Err… we don’t have a liquor license. It’s against the law for us to sell any.”

Customer #1: “Don’t you have something?”

Me: *shrugs sheepishly* “We have mouthwash.”

(I ended up directing them towards places that are allowed to sell liquor, though I have no idea if they were even open at such a time of night. They just couldn’t get over the fact that the grocery store didn’t sell any!)

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