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!

Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 8

Jacksonville, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Money

(I work in the deli inside a small grocery store. We have two scales to weigh the sliced meat. The one at the front counter plugs in by our feet, so it is easy to step on and accidentally unplug it. This happens five minutes before we close.)

Customer: “Are you guys still open?”

Me: “Yes, we are! What can I help you with tonight?”

Customer: “Yes, I would like some maple ham and oven roasted turkey.”

Me: “How much would you like of each?”

Customer: “Just show me what two pounds looks like and I’ll decide from there.”

(I slice two pounds of the maple ham and put it on the scale. She decides she wants three pounds instead, so I slice another pound for her, but when I go to put it on the scale, the screen is blank.)

Me: “It looks like the scale came unplugged and will take a minute to boot back up. But in the meantime, I will start slicing the turkey for you. I apologize for your wait.”

Customer: “Oh, it’s no trouble at all. Does this happen often?”

Me: “Unfortunately, yes. The cord is right by our feet and it is easy to unplug. But it shouldn’t take much longer. Again, I apologize for your wait.”

(The screen comes back on, but it is reading the weight of the meat wrong. My coworker tries to fix it, which doesn’t seem to help, but I go to the other scale and weigh the meat.)

Me: “Since this scale isn’t working properly, I used the one in the back. I had to write down the price for you since it doesn’t print out labels. Is that all right?”

Customer: “Not a problem, dear.”

(I bag up the three pounds of each meat and hand it to her with the prices written down.)

Me: “Okay, just give these to the cashier at the front and they will ring you up! Thank you so much for your patience and I hope you have a great rest of your day.”

(She takes the bags to the front and I think that’s the last I will hear of it. But then I get a call. Note: that whole thing took a total of about seven minutes.)

Cashier: *over the phone* “I have a lady here claiming you guys were goofing off while serving her and made her wait a half hour to get her meat. She wants a discount because of you.”

Me: *explains what happened* “I apologized profusely for making her wait. Our scale came unplugged and we had to reboot it.”

Cashier: “Well you should have explained that to her. She had no way of knowing. She is very mad and we have to give her a discount now.”

(She got the discount, and then proceeded to the service counter to get a full refund. I guess you just can’t please some people.)

Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 7
Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 6
Don’t Discount The Customer’s Ability To Discount, Part 5

Not Making A Good Point

| Austria | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

(The store I frequent runs a bonus points program, where you get to collect “points”, little round stickers you can put into a little collecting folder and if you have enough, you can save 10 or 20 percent on a purchase. Since I forget about it anyway and it takes a ridiculous amount, I usually ask the person behind me if they want my “points”, and usually they find a taker without too much of a hassle. Not this time.)

Cashier: “…and here’s your points.”

Me: *taking and holding them* “I don’t collect.” *to the woman behind me* “Do you?”

Woman: “Do I look like I need your charity?”

Me: “Sorry?”

Woman: “You think I’m poor? I’m not. I don’t need your points!”

Me: “Fine, whatever.” *to the person behind her* “So if you want them…”

Woman: “No! They’re mine; you gave them to me!”

Me: “You said you don’t want them.”

Woman: “No! I said I don’t NEED them. I’m not dependent on your charity!”

Me: *still holding the little stickers* “You know what? I guess I’ll keep them!”

Woman: “But they’re MINE!”

Me: “Nope. I OFFERED them; you decided to yell at me instead. Guess what? People yelling at me don’t get jack from me.”

(I proceed to put them into my pocket, not without her screaming and ranting behind me about how I STOLE her points.)

The Scent Of Bad Math

| IL, USA | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid, Math & Science

(A few years back, I worked as part-time seasonal help at a popular store that sells scented bath products. I’m walking with a customer to help her find a particular product, when another woman storms up, very flustered.)

Customer: “EXCUSE ME!”

Me: “Just one moment, ma’am. I’m helping someone else and—”

Customer: *interrupting* “No, I need assistance RIGHT NOW.”

(The first customer and I were pretty close to the product she was looking for. She looks at me apologetically, and tells me that she sees what she wants. She thanks me and walks away.)

Me: “Okay, well, what can I help you with?

Customer: “You people are CROOKS!”

Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way. What seems to be the problem?”

Customer: “These hand soaps cost $15 for 5. That’s insane!”

Me: “Well, our hand soap may cost a little bit more than what you would pay at supermarket, but—”

Customer: *interrupts again* “NO, THAT’S NOT THE PROBLEM. These cost more to buy ‘on sale’—” *she uses air quotes* “—than they do to buy individually!”

Me: “Actually, you’re basically paying for four bottles and getting one for free when you buy five…”

Customer: “DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND MATH?! These cost $3.75 a piece!”

(In case anyone reading doesn’t want to do the math, at $3.75 per bottle, five bottles would cost $18.75 at full price.)

Me: “Ma’am, what’s 15 divided by 5?”

Customer: “Well, it’s three, of course. You’d have to be an idiot not to know that!”

Me: “So, 15 divided by 5 equals 3. This means that if you buy five bottles for $15, each bottle costs $3 even, which is less than the sticker price of $3.75.”

(To be fair, I tried not to, but I did kind of talk to her like she was a child during this explanation.)

Customer: “STOP TRYING TO TREAT ME LIKE AN IDIOT! I know that $3.75 is more than $3.00. HOW DO YOU NOT SEE THE PROBLEM?! If I buy five, it will obviously cost more than $15!”

(I stare at her blankly for a brief moment, quite stunned.)

Me: “I’m… I’m not really sure how to make this more clear, ma’am. You’d be paying $18.75 at full price for the soap. But with our current sale, you’ll only pay $15 for the same quantity. I really don’t know how else to explain it.”

Customer: “Wait… The sale price is $15?”

Me: “Um… Yes?”

Customer: *as she starts to walk away* “Okay, great!”

(I just stood there with my jaw dropped for a few seconds.. I was so dumbfounded that I couldn’t move. This woman apparently thought that the price on the signs hanging around was the normal price, and the sticker on the bottles showed the sale price.)

The Gift Card That Keeps On Giving, Part 5

| FL, USA | At The Checkout, Liars & Scammers

(I work in at my store’s customer service desk dealing with returns, voids, complaints, and other issues. Sometimes our cashiers will ring up a second of an item by accident and not know about it; therefore, I have to refund the product’s cost. However, this lady has a special case, and she isn’t going to take no for an answer easily.)

Me: “Hi there, what can I do for you today?”

Customer: “Yes. I came here a few days ago and purchased, among other things, two gift cards for these restaurants. I was charged for three, though, and only purchased two.”

(Every gift card is different, like a bank card, and each one has a different number. It is impossible to accidentally ring up two of the same gift card, as our register will show an error saying the card has already been activated. By habit, our cashiers also put all gift cards into a little paper bag to keep them together.)

Me: “Are you sure you didn’t misplace the card or lose it?”

Customer: “No. I only purchased two, and was charged for three. I want my money back.”

Me: “I’m sorry, miss, but a gift card can’t be accidentally charged to an order twice. The only was this would have been rung up was if you handed her a third gift card.”

(I proceed to show her on the receipt where the third gift card is and that the last four digits are completely different, as a receipt shows the last four of the card number.)

Customer: “I don’t think you’re understanding me. I didn’t purchase three cards, and I want my money back! That’s fifty dollars of mine!”

Me: “Ma’am, I can’t give you a refund. This card was purchased on this date with this debit card.”

(After more of this back and forth, I leave them to go and check the camera footage from that day with my manager. We see the cashier ring up three separate cards and put them in said paper bag. I go back out to the customer. My manager is with me this time.)

Me: “Ma’am, we just checked the camera footage from that day and see the cashier ringing up three separate cards on the order, put into a bag, and handed directly to you. After which, you put the bag in your purse and leave.”

Customer: “This is ridiculous. I don’t have the card! I want my money back, and I want to see this footage.”

Manager: “Certainly, follow me.”

(I stay at the desk to take care of other customers, but when all is said and done, twenty minutes later and the customer is gone, my manager comes back to me.)

Me: “How’d that turn out? She didn’t come back here to get a refund.”

Manager: “We showed her the footage, and she admitted that the cashier rang up three cards, but denied receiving them all. She said she wanted her money back again, and when I said no, she stated that she couldn’t afford to lose $50. I stated that we couldn’t just give her the $50, or afford it either. Her response was, ‘Well, you can afford to lose it a lot more than me.’ She said she was gonna call corporate.”

Me: “Maybe, but I don’t think she could be that ignorant….”

(We heard word the next week she called and tried to coerce them to fire me and get a refund. My manager and I had nice laugh at this.)

The Gift Card That Keeps Giving, Part 4
The Gift Card That Keeps Giving, Part 3
The Gift Card That Keeps Giving, Part 2

That’s Not In The Rule Books

| Munich, Germany | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

(I work for a large company producing strategic board and tabletop games. We often get new releases or rules updates and expansions to existing games. Whenever we get new rule books, we reserve one for customers as a view copy. Therefore, we can’t sell it directly, but we can place an order for our customer, so he can pick up his copy in our store a week later or get it delivered home. This happens shortly after the release of a new expansion on a Saturday.)

Customer: “Okay, I’ll take it.”

Me: “All right, let me just place an order for you and your copy will arrive next week. Will you pick it up or should we deliver it to your home address?”

Customer: “No, I’m just taking that one.” *points to our view copy*

Me: “Unfortunately, I can’t sell you this one, since the company demands that every store always has a view copy for customers to browse in. Still, if I place your order today, your copy will arrive around Wednesday.”

Customer: *after a moment of silence* “Guess I’ll just order myself from home, then.”

Me: “You’re free to do that, but as a suggestion: placing the order via our store helps us as store employees, since corporate only sees it as our sale if you place it directly here.”

Customer: “Well, maybe I don’t want to help you people preventing me from buying the book I want!”

Me: “So, you’ll gladly give your money to the corporate that prohibits us from selling you the book, but deny to help the folks who try to give you a solution?”

Customer: *after another moment of silence* “That’s pretty stupid, isn’t it?” *pauses* “Anyway, I’ll do it. I’m angry and someone has to suffer for it.”

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