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!

Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 6

| Norfolk, England, UK | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Money

(I am working for an insurance company when I get a customer who has fallen behind on his payments. His policy is about to lapse because it has been almost 14 days since his payment was due. He tells me he doesn’t want to pay any more, but still wants to keep his policy and asks if there is anything I can do – some discount or special arrangement we can make.)

Me: “I can place a hold on the account for a week if that helps. It’ll give you more time to get some money together to pay. But that’s all I can do. I should warn you, though, that until you catch up your payments, you are not covered. Should you need to make a claim you will have to clear the outstanding balance first.”

Customer: “Well, that’s not good enough. Look, it’s just insurance. Just let me have it.”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t do that. If you do not pay it within a week’s time, your policy will lapse. In other words it will cancel itself—”

Customer: “I don’t want to cancel my policy! I want it but I can’t afford to pay you, so you should let me off.”

Me: “If you want to continue your policy, you must pay the balance you owe. As I said, I am happy to hold your account for a week, but that is the longest I can hold it because it has been almost 14 days since your last payment was due. You need to pay by [Date]. After that, your policy will cancel automatically. If your policy lapses you will not be covered at all and will have to take out a new policy in order to be covered again. Also, if you allow your policy to lapse, you will not be able to open another policy with us unless you pay it annually – meaning you will not be able to spread your payments over the year like with your current policy.”

Customer: “No, no, no. You are not listening to me. I want to be covered; I need my insurance. I just can’t afford to give any more money. Is there some discount I can get?”

Me: “You were given a 15% discount when you signed up. You cannot get any more mid-policy. You must get your payments up to date.”

Customer: “This is terrible customer service. If you want me as a customer, you should let me keep the insurance and write off the rest of the balance.”

Me: “I cannot do that. Your only options are to pay what you owe by [Date], or let the policy lapse and go uninsured.”

Customer: “This is disgusting. The full policy is only £50. I’m a loyal customer! You can let me off the rest. You’re just money grubbing b******s. All you care about is your profits. You don’t care about your customers at all!”

Me: “If you opened a shop, would give away all your goods to anyone who asked?”

Customer: “Of course. It would get the word out about the business and win me lots of customers.”

Me: “How long do you think you’d stay in business if nobody paid for anything?”

Customer: “Well, that’s different. Insurance doesn’t cost you anything.”

Me: “Of course it does. The company has to pay staff like me, and for premises like the one I am working in, and the phone lines you are calling. And most importantly, the whole point of insurance is that if something goes wrong, the insurer will give you money to fix it. Where do you think that money comes from?”

Customer: “Well, just letting me have a free policy won’t hurt. It’s only £50. Besides, I’ve already paid something. You should let me have the rest for free.”

Me: “If we let every customer do that, we wouldn’t make any money.”

Customer: “I’m not asking you to let every customer have it for free! I’m just asking for me! It’s not f****** hard.”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I can’t give you your policy for free. You have a week to get the money together, otherwise your policy will lapse and you won’t be covered.”

Customer: “You’re the worst customer service person I have ever dealt with. You should be ashamed of yourself. If I had a business, I’d never hire you. You’ve lost yourself a customer. Give me your name right now!”

Me: “Certainly, sir. It’s [My Name], extension [extension number]; my manager is [Manager]. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

Customer: “Yeah. Go and learn proper customer service and some d*** manners.” *hangs up*

(I put a one-week hold on the account anyway just in case he wanted to call and pay, but added a note detailing our conversation. The customer sent a complaint letter saying I was rude and that our customer service was bad and that we didn’t care about our customers. He then called up a month after the policy expired to pay his balance. As I warned, his policy had lapsed and it could not be re-opened. He shouted at my colleague when they couldn’t re-open his policy, and got angry when he was told the only way he could be insured by us was to open a new policy, and that he would have to pay annually, just as I told him a month ago. He accused my colleague of trying to extort him and said he would go elsewhere. Then he hung up. He sent another complaint letter, saying it was all my fault, that I never told him his policy would lapse, that I promised to hold the account for a month, and that I told him he could pay what he wanted when he wanted. The complaint was not upheld because the recorded call proved I told him several times how long he had to pay, what would happen if he didn’t pay, and also that I had most certainly not told him he could pay what he wanted when he wanted.)

Related:
Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 5
Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 4
Not Much Assurance About The Insurance, Part 3

A Cents-less Argument

| Australia | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Money

(I used to work in a supermarket in Australia. Over here the lowest form of physical currency is a 5c piece. So if someone pays in cash, everything rounds up or down to the nearest 5c. In this story I had only been working at the place for a few months and a lady walked over to the register with just a few baby chilies.)

Me: “All right, your total comes to 17c.” *which rounds down to 15*

Customer: “That price is wrong.”

Me: “I’m sorry?”

Customer: “That’s not the right price per kilogram.”

(We check the price in the produce department and find she had been looking at the price for regular red chilies, which are cheaper than the hot baby chilies. By now one of my co-workers is with me helping me with the price check)

Coworker: “Okay, the cheaper price is for large chilies. This is the price for the baby chilies.”

Customer: “No, it said [price].”

Me: “No, you’ve read the wrong price. That’s for the large chilies.”

(My supervisor has noticed the commotion and comes over asking what’s going on. My coworker and I explain:)

Supervisor: “It’s too late to be dealing with this; I’ll just give it to her for that price.”

(Enters in a correction and walks away.)

Me: “Okay, so now your total is 13c.”

(I’m pretty confused at this point wondering why she went to so much trouble when if she’s paying cash, it would’ve come to 15c regardless seeing as thirteen rounds up to 15.)

Customer: “Well, since YOU were wrong, aren’t I supposed to get it for free?”

Me: “Okay, for starters; we’re not wrong. You were wrong and we’re just letting it go this time. So the scanning policy doesn’t apply.”

Coworker: “[Supervisor] is right; this isn’t worth the trouble. Just take the chilies!”

(Customer leaves.)

Me: “All that trouble for fifteen flipping cents.”

Free From ‘That’ Joke

| France | At The Checkout

(I go to the register with a bunch of items, amongst them a magazine. The magazine does not seem to scan properly. After several attempts, I finally talk to the cashier.)

Me: “You know what, I don’t really need that magazine. I can just put it back if it doesn’t scan.”

(The cashier looks at me, startled.)

Cashier: “I’m sorry; what did you just say?”

Me: “I said it’s okay if it doesn’t work. I don’t need it.”

(She just looks at me intently for a few seconds, unsure of what to say. Finally she talks.)

Cashier: “Thank you.”

Me: “Uh? For what?”

Cashier: “For not saying ‘Oh, then just give it to me for free!’ Everyone always says that.”

Me: “Yeah, that must get old real fast…”

(We look at each other for a moment and burst out laughing. Her husband who also works in the store comes and laughs with us.)

Cashier: “I’ve been doing that job for 25 years. It has never been funny. Thanks for not making that cringing joke!”

(And the magazine finally got scanned in the end! I’m sorry for retailers who hears that “joke” every day…)

Lattes And Sugar And Foam, Oh My

| Canada | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Food & Drink, Health & Body

(During an average shift at my café:)

Me: “Large latte!”

Customer: “No! I ordered a cappuccino with no foam!”

Me: “Oh, sorry. Same thing. Latte is cappuccino with no foam”

Customer: “You’re all useless!”

(A little later:)

Me: “Two lattes and a mocha.”

Customer #2: “Oh, my God I ordered a mocha and two lattes!”

Me: “…”

(A little later:)

Customer #3: *demands to see which skim milk we use to ensure it’s skim enough* “Okay, that will do. And I’ll have some whip cream on top, too.”

Me: “…”

(A little later:)

Me: “Would you like any sugar in your take away coffee?”

Customer #4: “No, sugar is POISON. I’ll have nine sweeteners.”

Me: “Sorry, was that nine?”

(It was. A little later:)

Customer #5: “I’ll have a caramel iced coffee without the caramel.”

Me: “So just a regular iced coffee?” *caramel ice coffee is a dollar more*

Customer: “CARAMEL ice coffee, just no caramel. Are you awake? Jeez.”

Me: “No worries.”

(I could write a novel.)

Don’t Give Them An Inch

, | Kangaroo Flat, VIC, Australia | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Food & Drink

(I had just handed a customer the bag containing the burger she had just ordered. She proceeds to open the bag, peer in at the cardboard clam containing the burger, up at the menu display, back into the bag, then back to the menu board. Finally, she looks at me.)

Customer: “Is this the same burger as up there?” *points to menu board*

Me: “Yes, it is; is there a problem?”

Customer: “It doesn’t look like it. I mean, it’s not exactly big enough, is it?”

(I look up at the menu board, where this particular burger is displayed as being at least ten inches tall and eight inches wide.)

Me: “Umm… so you wanted your [Burger] to be about ten inches tall?”

Customer: “Of course.”

(She then walked off mumbling about ‘misleading’ advertising.)

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