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!


Should Be Prescribed Some Manners

| The Woodlands, TX, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(A woman, aged around 40, comes to pick up her prescription. I ask for the last name so I can find her in the system. It is a long complex last name, and our system requires full perfect spelling to bring it up. She spells it out slowly and condescendingly. I brush it off and get her prescription from our bin. When I walk back to the counter she throws a coupon at me. I had noticed her prescription was already billed to insurance AND coupon, so I ask her what’s it for.)

Woman: *rudely* “If you read it, you’d know.”

Me: “The reason I ask is because there is already a coupon applied.”

Woman: “Oh, well, it must’ve been automatically applied.”

(That isn’t possible; we bill them like insurance and it is somewhat a long process, especially when it’s a coordination of benefits. I say nothing to that and ask her to type in the last four digits of her phone number as one of our verification methods. Rudely again, she snaps.)

Woman: “Why would I do that?”

Me: “If you want your prescription, you must verify your number.”

Woman: “Well, that’s an invasion of my privacy.”

Me: “It’s to ensure the prescription goes to the correct person.”

(She reluctantly agreed and she dramatically covered the PIN pad all while grumbling as it as if it was a debit pin. Her prescription was in my hand and it contained her full name, address, and the full phone number she partially typed. She then began to make small talk as she handed me her cash. I gave her the change, and she stood at the counter staring at the receipt and recounting her change for literally 15 minutes. Since I was fairly new, my coworkers explained that she was notorious for being rude. When she comes through drive-thru, apparently she doesn’t speak a single word. She just throws her credit card into the drawer and expects us to know that she’s picking up.)


Entree-Level Knowledge

| USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Food & Drink

(I am working the drive-thru speaker. After the customer gives her order, consisting of several sandwiches without combos, I repeat it to her.)

Me: “So that was one [Item #1], entree only, one [Item #2], entree only, and—”

Customer: “No, no, no! I ordered the sandwiches! I don’t know what an entree is, but I’m not paying for that! Ring me up right!”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, I—”

Customer: “Why are you people always getting my order wrong? I just want the sandwiches!”

(She continues to rant, but when she finally takes a breath, I cut in.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am, please pull forward to the window.”

(When she pulls up, she starts yelling at my coworker as soon as she gets to the window.)

Customer: “I don’t know what those entree things you rang me up for are! You’d better make sure my order is right and not charge me for any entrees! I just want [Items], with no combo meals!”

Coworker: “Okay, ma’am, we’ve got that right here. Your total is [amount].”

(None of us felt like dealing with the screaming and line delay that would have come if we’d tried to educate her.)


Some Customers Come With Baggage

| Salem, OR, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(Like many of the natural alternative grocery stores, we are bag-less. There are at least two huge signs on the door when you enter, and a sign at each register, and even signs on the box bins we have for those who forget their bags.)

Me: “That will be $9.95 today.”

Customer: “Aren’t you going to bag them? I want plastic.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, sir; we are a bag-less store. We have reusable bags for sale ranging from .99 to $6 dollars.”

Customer: “I don’t want to buy a d*** bag. I want you to give me a plastic bag.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we don’t have plastic bags.” *I point to the box bin* “We do have boxes for those who forgot their bags.”


(He then tried to carry all his items out in his hands, dropped several of them, and just gave up and dropped them all on the floor, breaking some, and then left…)


Children Act Off-The-Cuff

| Iowa City, IA, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Rude & Risque

(I am working as a cashier at a bookstore when a customer approaches me to pay for her items. Her son is touching everything and messing up all of the nearby display, and doesn’t listen when she tells him to keep his hands to himself.)

Customer: *finally growing frustrated* “Don’t make me put your cuffs on!”

(Her son immediately calms down and starts behaving himself. I think I must have misheard what she said, but I can’t help but notice something round and furry sticking out from her purse. Later, I’m talking with a coworker.)

Coworker: “Did you see that woman earlier who had her kid in fuzzy fetish handcuffs?”


The PIN-nacle Of Annoying Customers

| GA, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Money, Technology

(A little bit of background: I work in a small fuel center attached to a grocery store, the kind that’s open air, with the fuel clerk in a small box, using an intercom speaker. We accept debit and credit cards, but our number pad is timed, for whatever reason, so that a dawdling customer will occasionally have to run their debit card again if they take too long. An elderly woman comes up to the window.)

Customer: “Yes, I’d like to put $10 on pump eight.”

Me: “All righty.” *opening the drawer and seeing that she’s given me a card* “And will that be credit or debit?”

Customer: “Debit.”

Me: *I nod and run her card, putting it back into the drawer, with the number pad* “Okay, ma’am, if you could just enter your PIN for me please.”

Customer: “What?”

Me: “Y-your PIN, please?”

Customer: “What is that?”

Me: “You’re running this as a debit card, right?”

Customer: “Yes, this is a debit card. It says right here.”

Me: “Well, if you’re running debit, I need you to enter your PIN on that little number pad right there.”

Customer: “Oh, okay”

(She starts to enter it and as she does the number pad times out, requiring me to run the debit card again, normally either not a problem or at worst a minor annoyance.)

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, ma’am. It looks like the number pad timed out. I just need to run your card again, please.”

Customer: “What? I just did it.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, I just need to run your card so you can re-enter your PIN.”

Customer: “But I already put it in.”

Me: “I understand that, ma’am, but it didn’t go through correctly. I need to run the card again.”

Customer: *starting to get pissy* “Now, look, I already put my number in. Can I pump my gas yet or not?”

Me: *I’m starting to lose my patience at this point* “Not yet. I need to run your card again, ma’am. Please, I’m trying to help you.”

Customer: “I already put it in.”

Me: *I decide to leave the ‘box’ figuring she must be having trouble hearing me* “Ma’am, this–” *I open the drawer and point the number pad out* “–is set on a timer, if you don’t enter your number it times out.”

Customer: “So I need to put it in again?”

Me: “Yes, once I’ve run the debit card again.”

Customer: “You know, I would have left already if I wasn’t on empty.”

(She then proceeds to put in her PIN, ignoring that I need to scan the card first.)

Me: *sighing* “Ma’am, I need to run your card fir—”

Customer: “Again?” *types in her PIN, which, once again, does nothing*

Me: *giving up, holding out my hand* “Just… Just give me your card.”

Customer: *hands it over and I go run it, instructing her to enter her PIN, which she, of course, complains about* “I won’t be coming back here again.”

Me: *to myself* “Good riddance.”

Customer #2: “Don’t worry, I’m paying with cash.”

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