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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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Can’t Ketchup With The Explanation

| USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid

(At our store, everything costs one dollar unless specifically marked otherwise. When items are slightly damaged, half-open, missing pieces, or otherwise not perfect but can still be sold, we tag them with an orange sticker and put them in a cart with other half-off items. A manager has to do the price adjustment when a customer comes to the register. I’m working the register.)

Customer: “Just these today, please. I found this ketchup in the half-off cart.”

(I examine the ketchup and it does have an orange sticker as well as a manager’s initials, but there is no damage whatsoever.)

Me: “You found this in the half-off cart?”

Customer: “Yes, so it’s only fifty cents?”

Me: “I’m sorry; I think there was a mistake. There’s no reason this should be half off.”

Customer: “Oh, well, when it was in the cart the cap was broken. But there were a lot of other ketchups so I just switched it out.”

Me: “So the broken lid is on another ketchup bottle?”

Customer: “It’s not a problem, is it? There were a lot of other ketchup bottles.”

Me: “If it’s not damaged, I can’t give you half off.”

Customer: “But there are other ketchup bottles. Why can’t I just replace the cap?”

Me: “Because then we still have the damaged one in our stock. The damaged cap is why it’s fifty cents. If it isn’t damaged, it’s full price.”

Customer: “But there are plenty of other ketchups for me to switch the cap with!”

(I realized I didn’t have my thoughts together enough to explain this better, so I called my manager over to help while I continued to check out other customers. I don’t know what exactly was said between them, but she did end up paying full price for her ketchup and never did completely understand why.)

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Gangsta Needed To Get Spanked

| Jefferson City, MO, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Customers, Bad Behavior, Popular

(I am working a 12-hour day since two other employees are on vacation. I am on my final hour, and have just finished with some “wannabe gangstas,” who are very rude and obviously drunk. I go check on another customer.)

Me: *sighs* “Hello. Did you find everything okay?”

Customer: *in her mid-20s* “Yeah. Sorry about them.”

Me: “Thanks.”

Customer: “Yeah, my parents disciplined me when I was younger so I grew up with a condition called ‘respect for others.’”

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Wish You Could Be Joyless

| Colorado Springs, CO, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Popular

(At our store we have a notorious regular who comes in every single day and hates every single one of the entire staff and the whole store, and isn’t afraid to make it known. She hates everyone and everything. The irony is that her name is very similar to Joy. Our store is notorious for having excellent customer service and satisfaction and is often recognized by our corporate office in Arizona for it. This kind of interaction happens on a daily basis.)

Me: *sees Joy and perks up, trying to be as friendly and polite as possible* “Good morning! How are you today?”

Joy: *glares and frowns* “Terrible.”

Me: *as I start ringing her items up* “I’m very sorry to hear that. Is there anything I can do for you to make it better?”

Joy: “Leave.”

Me: *awkward pause* “Um… did you find everything okay?”

Joy: “No. I never do.”

Me: “I’m sorry about that. Would you like any rain checks?”

Joy: “No.”

Me: “Okay, I’m sorry, ma’am. Your total is [total] and I even gave you a couple extra bag credits today!” *customers can get five cents off their purchase for each reusable bag they bring in and we use*

Joy: *squinting at the screen* “Did you give me credit for my bag?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, I actually gave you five credits today. I know it’s only 25 cents, but every penny helps, right?” *smiles*

Joy: *glares and gives me her money*

Me: “Thank you, ma’am. Have a nice day!”

Joy: “I won’t! I hate this store! You have terrible employees! I hate it here!” *takes her things and leaves*

Me: *sighs*

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A Taxing Customer

| Nashville, TN, USA | At The Checkout, Money

(Tennessee doesn’t have a state income tax, so sales tax is pretty high. Out-of-town visitors are often surprised at this. I witnessed this conversation between my coworker and two customers while I was at the next register.)

Coworker: “Your total is [amount]. You can swipe your card through the pad.”

Customer: “Wait, how much is that? Has it gone up?”

Coworker: “It’s [price]. We did have a little price increase at the beginning of the year.”

Customer’s Husband: “But that’s still not right. If it’s [price], then why is the total [amount]?”

Coworker: “Oh, that’s with tax!”

Customer: “What?! Why is the tax so high?”

Coworker: “Um… that’s the tax in this county in Tennessee.”

Customer’s Husband: “But WHY is the tax so high?”

(Pause.)

Coworker: “You can swipe your card through the pad there, sir.”

(They left still muttering about why the tax is so high. I almost told them that a neighboring county’s tax is .25% higher even than here. The kicker: when the customer gave her phone number for the rewards program, her area code indicated that she LIVED in the same town. She must freak out about the tax three times a day!)

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And The Gloves Come Off

| Ireland | At The Checkout, Money, Popular

(I’m on tills by myself and for the last 30 minutes I’ve been watching a lady trying on all our different work and garden gloves. I had tidied and re-priced that section only a few hours earlier; however, she has put nothing back in the right place and thrown gloves all around the rack as she takes them on and off. This lady is notorious for trying to get everything for well below the marked price. She finally walks up to the counter and throws down 2 pairs of heavy duty gardening gloves.)

Customer: “How much are these? There’s no prices down there for anything!”

Me: “Sure, they’re €5.99 and €11.99.”

Customer: “That can’t be right! Why are they more expensive?!”

Me: “The €5.99 ones are lightweight gloves. You’d use them for weeding or planting flowers. The €11.99 ones are much thicker gloves. They’re made for handling thorny plants.”

Customer: “Well, that’s the last pair down there. Surely you’ll knock a few euros off to get rid of them.”

Me: “We’re just low on stock. We’re getting more of them in next week.”

Customer: “Well, they were hanging on a peg that said €4.99 down there so you have to give me the gloves for that!”

Me: “Oh, so the section is priced?”

(The customer glared at me, before throwing €5.99 down on the counter and walking out in a huff with the cheap pair of gloves.)

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