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 ‘Race’ To Finish The Sandwich

| Kent, England, UK | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Food & Drink, Popular

(I work in a sandwich shop that makes sandwiches fresh-to-order in front of the customer. It looks great and customers can choose what they want fresh, but when it gets busy some orders can be chaotic. A customer walks in while the shop is quiet and orders four sandwiches, which I make and put into the toaster for her. While this is going on, a queue begins to form behind her, but she has yet to finish ordering before her first sandwiches are out of the toaster.)

Customer: *moves to the salad bar before she has finished her order*

Me: *finishes the sandwich she had just asked for* “Would you like anything else?”

Customer: “I’ll come back in a minute. I want to do the salad for these first. Just take the next person’s order.”

Me: “I’m afraid I won’t be able to let you jump back into the queue if I start another order.”

(The queue is now reaching the door in our small shop, and I don’t want someone to end up with the wrong sandwich by disrupting the production line.)

Customer: “No, no. Take his order and I will come back and finish mine in a second.”

(I try to explain again, but she is ignoring me. I motion to the manager, who is on the till and has heard the exchange, and he flags someone who was out the back of the shop to follow the woman and finish her order. Thankful, I start the next person’s order.)

Customer: *finishes with her salads, and interrupts the man I am serving* “I need three more sandwiches.”

Coworker: *who was flagged by boss* “Hey, what can I get for you?”

Customer: “No, this lady was doing my order. I want a chicken sandwich.”

Me: *I smile* “I’m afraid I’ve started another order but don’t worry, [Coworker] is going to finish your order for you.”

Customer: *doesn’t say another word to me but finishes order with my coworker*

(As soon as she’s left the shop I get called around the back by my manager. Apparently the woman lodged a complaint against me for racist behaviour [she was black, I’m white] because I had someone else complete her order. He attempted to explain the queue system to her as well, but she seemed unable to grasp what he was saying. Thankfully, my boss laughed it off and just teased me about being racist for a few days afterwards.)

Can’t See The Wood For The Bags

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

Cashier: “So, will that be paper or plastic today, ma’am?”

Customer: “Oh, no, I prefer wood.”

Cashier: *just stares for a moment*

Customer: *realizing what she said* “Oh, um, paper is fine. I don’t know why I said that…”

(Meanwhile everyone around her was trying not to laugh as she exited the building without her wooden bags.)

Tastes Like Rubber Chicken

, | OK, USA | At The Checkout, Rude & Risque

(Our establishment allows us meal vouchers per shift to ensure we actually get something to eat on our lunch breaks. At first, employees weren’t able to use the vouchers in the gift shop, only at food venues, but a memo gets sent out that the directors are planning to change that. A few days after the new rules go into effect, this happens.)

Poker Dealer: *looking around at the shelves* “So, we can use our vouchers in here, right?”

Me: “Yep, anything you want. You just have to cover the difference.”

Poker Dealer: *talking with another dealer as they look before he reaches for an item holding it up* “Can I get these?”

Me: “Those are condoms…”

Poker Dealer: “So?”

Me: *jokingly* “Well, are you going to eat them?”

Poker Dealer: “No… but someone else is!”

Me: *speechless*

A Tale Of Two Charities

| Leeds, England, UK | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(I work in a charity shop which supports elderly people. A customer puts two books on the counter.)

Customer: “I want to exchange this for this.”

(I look at the books and assume she’s had a moment.)

Me: “Oh, this has an [Animal Charity] price ticket on, not [My Shop].”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t exchange it, because you didn’t get it from here.”

Customer: “You mean I have to take it all the way back there?”

Me: “I’m afraid so, because we’re not affiliated with them.”

(The customer sighs sadly and buys her book, which cost 99p. She then leaves on the epic trek to the Animal Charity shop, located five shops down from us.)

Wish You Could Counter The Culture

| UK | At The Checkout, Money, Popular

(I work in a small store that does not have enough sales to warrant paying for a credit/debit machine, so we take cash only. There is a large sign at the counter saying this, and there is a cash machine right outside. The cashier’s counter is very small and cramped. On this day, I have three or four people lining up to pay, and the first customer in the queue is buying a large kid’s toy plus a vase and some books.)

Customer #1: “Do you take cards?”

Me: “Sorry, no, it’s cash only.”

Customer #1: “Oh, sorry, I don’t have enough. Can you hold these while I pop over to the machine?”

Me: “Yes, no problem.”

(The customer leaves and due to the limited space I stand up and put the vase and the kid’s toy on my cashier chair and then start to stack the books at the edge of the counter to leave space for the next customer.)

Customer #2: *handing me his items – two books* “Didn’t she want her things?”

Me: “Oh, yes. She only had her card and we only take cash so she’s just gone to get some money. That’ll be [total].”

Customer #2: “Do you take cards?”

Me: “No… only cash. Sorry.”

Customer #2: “Oh. I’ll just have to go get some money out then. Can you hold these books for a few minutes?”

Me: “Yes, that’s fine.”

(I stack them next to Customer #1’s books. By now, there is very little counter space left.)

Customer #3: “That was ridiculous!” *hands me some CD’s*

Me: “Yeah, it happens. That’s [total], please.”

Customer #3: *hands me her credit card*

Me: *speechless*

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