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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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Doing Party Tricks By The Numbers

, | Toronto, ON, Canada | At The Checkout

(The theme park I work for is in the process of changing ownership. As a result, all merchandise labelled with the old management name is sold as 60% off clearance in a special tent sale. Despite the sale’s popularity, I usually work alone in the tent. A customer asks me to price check an item. As the register requires us to override and manually enter the discount for each item separately, I prefer to mentally do the math instead.)

Customer: “How much is this?”

Me: *sees the $30 tag* “With the 60% off, it will be $12, sir.”

Customer: “How did you do that?! Did you memorize all the sale prices?!”

Me: “No, I just calculated in my head, sir.”

Customer: *grabs a nearby item* “Well, how much is THIS, then?”

Me: “That’ll be $6, sir.”

(Customer watches me with a flabbergasted expression and thanks me. Ten minutes later at the register:)

Me: *sees the customer bring an armful of items* “Oh, hello again. Did you find everything all right?”

Customer’s Wife: “Honey, are we getting all of these?”

Customer: *to wife* “No, hush.” *to me* “Can you tell me the prices of these items?”

Me: *looks at the line forming behind him* “Yes, of course!”

(I go over each item with him, and as fast as I can, tell him the prices after the discount.)

Me: “Do you want any of these items, sir?”

Customer: *stares at me like I’m crazy* “Of course not.” *walks away and says to his wife* “See, I told you she could do a pretty cool trick!”

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All Things Are Not Sound

| Canada | At The Checkout, Health & Body, Non-Dialogue

I work at a seasonal produce market that sells local fruits and vegetables as a cashier and grocery bagger. Today, a man and his wife came through with four bunches of garden carrots that still had the green tops on while I was on bagging duty. The tops of these carrots are usually all over the place, so to get them to fit nicely into our bags, we have to bend the leafy tops over.

The cashier hands me the bunches and I start putting them into the bags as usual. As I’m doing this, I hear a faint sound, which sort of resembles coughing and doesn’t really phase me.

As I go to put the last bunch in the bag, I hear a terrifying and loud screech that completely stuns me and the cashier I was working with. I look up to see the man staring at me very angrily.

It turns out he had a tracheostomy and could not speak whatsoever but was trying to tell me not to bend the carrot tops (hence the faint coughing noises).

The screeching sound was him screaming at me through his tracheostomy for not following his wishes, which he clearly could not get across.

Through all of this, his wife, who could communicate and understand her husband perfectly well, said nothing to indicate I was doing something they did not want.

That screeching sound will haunt my coworker and me forever.

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Making A Dramatic Leap

| OR, USA | At The Checkout, Books & Reading, Crazy Requests

(Right before closing, a patron comes up to the self-check machines with a very large pile of children’s books. After we’ve closed, he’s still using the machine and is having some difficulties with it.)

Coworker: “I can help you over here, sir.”

Patron: “No, I’ll do this myself.”

Coworker: “Well, those are programmed to turn off automatically after closing and they are about to turn off, so I can continue to check out to you over here.”

(The patron continues to use the self-check anyway, at which point he gets a message saying the computer is shutting down.)

Patron: “Why is this shutting down?! I’m using it!”

Coworker: “Those machines automatically turn themselves off after closing. I can check out to you over here.”

Patron: “So you’re saying you don’t want my children to read?!”

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The Gift That Keeps On Giving

| Stoneham, MA, USA | At The Checkout, Money, Non-Dialogue

A woman comes in with a gift card. I scan it and inform her she has $80 to spend. Thrilled, she goes off to shop. About a half hour later she returns with a large pile of clothes. I scan it, and I inform her that the total is $30 after the gift-card. Thrilled again, she goes off to do more shopping in the sales racks, and I void out her transaction, as I can’t suspend a transaction that’s using a gift card.

A bit later, she comes back with even more clothes. I scan it all again and tell her that her total is now $70 after the gift card. She seems even more thrilled, and I realize that she hasn’t understood that she OWES $70, not that she has $70 left to spend. I attempt to explain it to her, but she runs off, and as there’s a line, I can’t leave the register to chase after her. I void it again, hoping that she’ll understand the next time around. I try to get her attention whenever she comes near the register, but she ignores me.

Finally, she comes back with more clothes and her husband. She tells me to scan her now huge pile. Diligently I do, reminding her that her gift card is only $80. I inform her of her total before I use the gift card, then tell her the new total after, which is over $100.

Once again she’s thrilled and turns around to do more shopping, but her husband catches her by the arm. He asks me to repeat the total, and I do, explaining clearly that this is the price after the gift card. The husband firmly tells her they’re not spending that much on clothes.

Finally, the woman seems to understand that the gift card won’t cover it all, and spends close to 20 minutes picking and choosing which items she is keeping, holding up the line because she refuses to move aside for anyone.

Finally, she leaves with her $80 worth of merchandise, frowning at me like I had been trying to trick her, while the husband shakes his head in exasperation.

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Stop And (Meno)Pause For Thought

| Seattle, WA, USA | Seattle, WA, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Health & Body, Money

(Every month my store has items that are free after rebate. This deal is extremely popular so sometimes we run out of the items. A customer walks up to me with an ad paper and points to one of the free after rebate items.)

Customer: “I am looking for this item.”

(It was very obvious to me that English was not this gentleman’s first language. I also knew we were running low on that particular item.)

Me: “Well, sir, I can show you where it would be if we have any left. Follow me.”

(I bring him over to cosmetics area where the display was.)

Customer: “Why are we in the ladies department?”

Me: “Ah, well, sir, the item that you pointed out to me is a product for ladies.”

Customer: “Item is free after rebate, yes?”

Me: “Sir, I have to ask. Do you know what the item is for?”

Customer: “It’s free.”

Me: “Yes, it is free after rebate. But do you know what the product is used for?”

Customer: “No.”

Me: “This product is a lubrication for ladies that have gone through menopause.”

Customer: “Huh?”

Me: “It is a lubricant for women who are older and can’t have children anymore.”

(He stares at me totally shocked.)

Customer: “I don’t want that!”

Me: “I thought you might not. You have a nice day, sir.”

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