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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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Getting A Real (Psy)Kick Out Of It

| MA, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers, Popular

(I work Saturdays in a small sandwich shop in a very small town. A woman stops in and the following exchange occurs:)

Customer: “I’m on my way to pick up my daughter from a lesson; can you make me a sandwich quickly so I won’t be late? [Large sandwich chain] always takes forever.”

Me: “Sure, it will only take a minute; what can I get you?”

(She orders a simple turkey sandwich and leaves, but comes back later to tell us how amazing it was and how much her daughter loved it. For the next few months after that she stops in every Saturday and orders the same sandwich for her daughter, always in a rush. One day I happen to glance up and see her car pull in, so I quickly prepare her sandwich before she comes in.)

Customer: “I’d like to order [simple turkey sandwich she always orders]. And if you could do it quickly, I’m in a rush.”

Me: “I already have it here for you, ma’am; I saw you pull in and figured you wanted it quickly.” *tries to hand her the sandwich*

Customer: *looking at me suspiciously* “How do you know what I wanted?

Me: “Well, you’ve come in and ordered the same sandwich for your daughter for a few months now. I just remember the order.”

Customer: *still confused* “But… but I didn’t tell you what I wanted yet. How is it possible you remembered?”

(She just could not for the life of her believe we remembered her, even after the same order every single Saturday for three months. What’s more, she continued to come in every Saturday and act amazed when we knew her order.)

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Game, Set, And Matches

| USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Popular, Underaged

(I work in a store that was recently stung by the local P.D. and failed a decoy operation. The offending employee was fired, fined, given a court date, and charged with a criminal offense. This resulted in a huge crackdown on our ID policy from management. A young woman comes in and asks me for a free pack of matches.)

Me: “Sure, but I’m going to need to see your ID.”

Customer: “What? For matches?”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, it’s considered the same thing as purchasing a lighter.”

Customer: “I don’t have my ID.”

Me: “I can’t give you matches, then. I’m sorry.”

Customer: “I was just in here last week. You don’t remember me?”

Me: “No.”

Customer: “Do you just not have a memory?”

(At this point I’m kind of stricken by her rudeness and general demeanor. She’s obviously getting extremely upset about me not giving her a pack of matches.)

Me: “I see hundreds of people every week, ma’am. I can’t remember every single one of them.”

Customer: “You are very rude! Why are you being so mean to me?”

Me: “How am I being rude? I could lose my job for not asking for ID.”

Customer: “You’re making me feel stupid!”

(At this point her attitude changes completely and she actually begins to cry.)

Customer: “PLEASE just give me the matches! Why are you doing this to me?”

Me: “I can’t. Someone just lost their job and has to go to court because they didn’t ID a customer.”

Customer: “F*** you! I will be speaking to your manager!”

Me: “So you’re going to complain to my manager about me doing my job?”

(She ran out, still crying. She did show up complaining about me to my manager. This resulted in my manager backing me up for doing my job. She thankfully hasn’t returned.)

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Out Of Favor With The Law

| Melbourne, VIC, Australia | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Criminal & Illegal

(I work in a pawn shop where people can put items as collateral against loans, and when they do they can pay them off whenever they want but they can’t get their stuff back until a legally required seven day hold has finished, even if they’ve loaned the exact same item multiple times.)

Customer: “Hey, can you do me favour?”

Me: “Maybe?”

Customer: “My loan’s been in for six days. Can I get it out? I know it’s early but I’ve had it in before.”

Me: “It’s the law, man; we have to hold it for seven days every time.”

Customer: “I’m not talking about the law, man. I just need a favour.”

Me: “Your favour… requires me to break the law.”

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Fail-Mix

| CA, USA | At The Checkout, Food & Drink, Hall of Fame, Popular

(I work in a grocery store that has a “bulk” section which sells items by the pound such as candy, trail mix, dried fruit, etc. About every three bins there’s a sticker reminding you to write down the PLU number of the item so the cashier can enter it into the computer and weigh it properly. Despite the numerous reminders, plenty of people don’t write the code, and the cashier is forced to search through our register books which have the 150 or more bulk codes.)

Customer: “Hello!” *sets down some produce and about 10 little bags of bulk product, none of which have codes*

Me: “Hello, did you find everything okay?”

(The usual polite back-and-forth goes on as I speedily enter the memorized codes for the produce, and then pick up the book and start scouring it for the bulk codes, which I don’t try to memorize because there are so many and they’re always changing.)

Me: “What was this one?” *holding up a trail mix that looks like a dozen others*

Customer: “Oh… I don’t remember.”

Me: “All right…” *holding another* “And was this deluxe trail mix salted or unsalted?”

Customer: *impatiently shrugging* “I don’t know!”

(Inwardly I’m rolling my eyes thinking “Well we WOULD know if you followed directions and wrote the codes on the tag”, but I keep a straight face and keep looking for the codes one by one.)

Customer: *leaning in with a sly look and a smile* “Are you new?”

Me: “No, I’ve been here two years. You’re supposed to write the codes for each of these items so I can enter them into the computer.”

Customer: *unconvinced tone* “Uh huh, okay.”

(After he left, I told my coworker about it and we were both amazed that customers think it’s perfectly reasonable to expect us to remember over 150 ever-changing bulk codes, be able to discern between a dozen almost identical trail mixes, and yet it’s NOT reasonable to for them to remember ONE thing: to write the darn code!)

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Lychee Nailing Jelly To The Wall

| Berkeley, CA, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Food & Drink

(A customer walks in to our boba shop and wants to order a slushy.)

Cashier: “Your drink comes with two free toppings and they are lychee jelly and tapioca. Would you like that in your drink or would you like to change it?”

Customer: “I want the boba; how much is it?”

Cashier: “So no lychee jelly, just boba? All right, that would be $3.50.”

(The customer pays and waits for the drink. The order is ready and the customer picks it up.)

Customer: “Excuse me, what happened to the lychee jelly?”

Cashier: “You said you don’t want it so we didn’t put it in.”

Customer: “No, I mean what did you do with it since I didn’t want it?”

Cashier: *wants to say “I ate it” but can’t* “The lychee jelly is usually chilling in the fridge.”

Customer: *looking worried and upset* “Tell me the truth; you guys must have done something to it since I turned it down!”

(Really, the toppings you don’t want will stay out of your cup and be cool in the fridge. In the whole process, no toppings were mistreated or harmed.)

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