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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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Patient Laughter

| USA | At The Checkout

(My mom and I enter a meat market to buy more chicken, as my sister is having friends over for dinner and we don’t have enough at home. Only one register is open as we enter the checkout line, and there is one lady in front of us. The machine is not working with her card, and the system is failing repeatedly, even after the cashier switches registers. Meanwhile, a line has formed behind us.)

Cashier: “I don’t know what is happening. Let me try once more. I’m sorry it’s taking so long.”

Lady In Front Of Us: “It’s fine. We are all learning how to be patient today!”

Man Behind Us: *in joking tone, while smiling* “Hurry up!”

(Everyone in line starts laughing.)

Mom: “Oh, no, a fight can’t start. I’m in between you two!”

Man: “Nah, life is too fast as it is. It’s nice to slow down once in a while.”

Cashier: “Let me run and get my boss.”

(Of course, as soon as the boss shows up, the machine accepts the card and works smoothly. The boss walks away to the back of the shop again.)

Lady: “Of course it works when he shows up!”

Cashier: “Yup, just my luck.”

(The lady leaves and we are up next. My mom hands the cashier her credit card.)

Mom: “You can just run it as credit.”

Cashier: “Um… ma’am, the system isn’t working again.”

(At this point, all we can do is laugh.)

Mom: “I’ll pay in cash, then. It only works when the boss is around! He must be back there messing with us, pulling the cord to it or something!”

(It’s nice to know there are still patient customers out there willing to laugh it off when things go wrong.)

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Mummy And Daddy Play Too

| ME, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Rude & Risque

(I work in a little touristy/toy store for kids and all ages. Near the till we have a lot of gag stuff displayed like funny books, fake dog poop, etc. One of the items we have is a set of toy handcuffs. I am checking out a mother.)

Little Girl: *probably around four* “Oh, mommy, look! Handcuffs!”

Mom: “You don’t need those; put them back.” *continues with transaction*

Little Girl: “Not for me; for you! You said you wanted to handcuff daddy!”

Mom: “No, I didn’t!”

Little Girl: “Yeah, you did; you said you wanted to handcuff daddy but we didn’t have handcuffs, remember? Well, here. I think these are the ones. You can handcuff daddy now.”

Mom: “No, we don’t need those.”

Me: *now finished and trying very hard to not laugh* “Have a nice day!”

(They left without the handcuffs but the girl said ‘you wanted to handcuff daddy’ a few more times!)

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Credited For Trying

| NC, USA | At The Checkout, Money, Time

(I’ve been working since pre-opening hours and it’s close to closing time. I’m expected to ask customers if they would like to apply for the store credit card.)

Me: “Would you like to apply for the credit card and save 10% off your first purchase with it?”

Customer: *looks at her daughter, who nods* “Yeah, I’ll do it.”

(I proceed to sign her up for the card and finish my end of the process.)

Me: “Ma’am, the system says you weren’t automatically approved for the card tonight, but you’ll be getting a notification in the next few days about it, and once you’re approved, you’ll receive your 10% on your next purchase.”

Customer: “What? You lied to me! You said I’d get 10% off this purchase. I’m a manager at [unintelligible mumbling] and we would never falsely lead a customer into such traps. I want you to give me my 10%! I want a manager.”

Me: “I’m sorry for the confusion, ma’am. You get the 10% when you’re approved, but I can get my manager if you like.”

Customer: “Oh, forget it! I don’t want you to waste anymore of my time here. I only applied for the 10% otherwise I wouldn’t have wasted the time here. Don’t just stand there! Finish ringing everything up.”

(I finished the transaction in silence. She and her daughter stormed off with their $17 purchase. The 10% wouldn’t have saved them $2.)

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In Line And Out Of Line, Part 14

| USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Popular

(I am at a store with my father. We are standing in the line for a self-checkout. It’s a five person line and all the machines are in use. One opens up and the first customer, a young woman, moves to the checkout. The second customer, an old man who hadn’t been in the line, steps in front of her and goes to check out his groceries.)

Father: “Hey, the line starts right here.”

(He motions to the spot behind us.)

Customer #2: “I have to check out my groceries.”

Customer #1: “So do the rest of us, and none of us skipped past the line.”

Customer #2: “My groceries are more important!”

Me: “By what standards?”

Customer #2: *to Father* “Didn’t you teach your kid to respect his elders?!”

Father: “Not when they’re being a**holes.”

Related:
In Line And Out Of Line, Part 13
In Line And Out Of Line, Part 12
In Line And Out Of Line, Part 11

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Getting A Good Customer Is A Lottery

| IL, USA | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Popular

(It’s Sunday morning and I’m working the front desk of a grocery store that has a lottery machine. A woman approaches the desk; she has a way over-the-top, annoyingly positive attitude.)

Woman: *through a beaming smile* “I’d like the winning numbers to the lottery drawing, please. I heard there was a winner and I want to see if I won!”

(I look at her ‘ticket’ and see it isn’t a lottery ticket. It is a printout of winning numbers from previous drawings. They print these up on the same paper as the regular tickets.)

Me: “Uh, ma’am, you already have the winning numbers there…”

Woman: “I know! I bought this from [Gas Station down the street] and I feel lucky!”

Me: “No, no… You don’t understand. You already have a printout of winning numbers.”

Woman: “I know!”

(Then it hits me. She went into the gas station and, as a joke, said she wants ‘the winning lottery numbers’; the clerk behind the counter took her literally, and gave her a printout of the winning numbers. She has no clue she doesn’t have a valid lottery ticket.)

Me: “Here, let me show you what I mean.”

(I print out a copy of the most recent previous drawings. Needless to say, the two ‘tickets’ are identical.)

Me: “This is a printout of the winning numbers…”

(As I’m explaining this, she compares her ‘ticket’ with the one I just gave her. Then her eyes get wide.)

Woman: “I WON!! I WON! Look, look, all the numbers match. I can’t believe I won! I WON! I WON!”

Me: “Ma’am? Your ‘ticket’ isn’t a ticket.”

Woman: “WHAT?! Yes, it is! I bought this at the gas station…”

(I print up a valid ticket and show it to her.)

Me: “Valid tickets have the barcode on the bottom of them and the date they are good for.”

Woman: “But I paid for this!”

Me: “Then you’d better go back there and get your money back.”

(She turns to leave but then turns back.)

Woman: “But all my numbers match.”

(The kicker to this story was I bought the ticket I printed up to use as an example and it won a lower tiered prize. I didn’t mind pocketing $80.00 the next weekend!)

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