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!


Me No Speak Estupido

| San Diego, CA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Language & Words

Me: “Good morning, [Company]. This is [My Name]. How can I help you?”

Customer: “Hi, [My Name]. How are you?”

Me: “I’m well, and yourself?”

Customer: “Oh, my god, and you speak English properly! I’m doing amazing, thank you!”

Me: “…”


A Shocking Inaction At The Contraction

| Brisbane, QLD, Australia | At The Checkout, Bizarre, Health & Body

(A heavily pregnant woman comes to the counter. She begins her order, but pauses to clutch her stomach while groaning. It is a Friday afternoon.)

Me: “Are you all right?”

Customer: “Yep, just having a contraction!”

Me: “Um…”

Customer: *resumes ordering, pauses to groan* “I have a pre-admission on Tuesday. She’d better wait til then!”

Me: “I don’t think your baby is gonna wait!”

Customer: “Oh, she will. It always takes forever. I have three other kids and they all took a few days.”

Me: *puts order together and hands it to her* “Well, good luck!”

Customer: *groans, clutches stomach* “Tuesday’s the day!”

Coworker: *after customer has left* “I bet we’ll see her on the news tonight having a baby in the car-park.”


Unpaid Delayed

| MN, USA | At The Checkout, Criminal & Illegal, Family & Kids

(I’m cashiering on a moderately busy day. My current customer is a young woman. Next in line is a mother with a boy beside her, who appears to be about seven years old, a boy who appears to be about two years old in the seat of the shopping cart, and two carts full of food. The seven-year-old is nagging at his mother, running around, and walking into the freezer for the bags of ice. The mom says nothing. I spot the seven-year-old grab several grapes from my current customer and eat them.)

Me: *to the seven-year-old* “You need to leave that alone.”

(The mom shoots me a dirty look. I grimace at my current customer and quietly apologize. She just shakes her head, indicating that she understands it’s not my fault and that she just wants to leave. Once I start ringing up the mom, I notice that they’ve already opened some bottles and their deli food. I’ve made it through the first cartload of food and have it bagged. The second cart has been unloaded and covered the entire belt when the mom suddenly appears to get fed up with her son.)

Mom: “That’s it. I’m done. I don’t wanna deal with this!”

(She grabs her half-eaten deli food, three bags of unpaid food, and begins to storm off with her two children. My next customer and the line of customers at the next register all gasp and stare in shock. I’m flabbergasted and our store policy states that I’m not allowed to try to stop thieves myself.)

Me: *calling after her* “Ma’am, you still need to pay for your stuff!”

(She waves back at me sarcastically and exits the store. I stare at the mountains of food left behind, much of which has to stay refrigerated or it’ll get thrown away. I smile apologetically at my next customer in line.)

Me: “Um, uh, I’m sorry. I have to get all this food moved and you’re welcome to wait if you want to, but, uh, I have no idea how long I’ll be.”

Customer: *nods understandingly* “I think I’ll just go to another line.”

Me: “Thank you. I’m sorry!”

(I paged my supervisor to my till and explained to them what happened. A manager and security had to be called over to document it. I was told that I did the right thing not going after her and also that it was great that I tried to call her back. One coworker came over to start putting all the refrigerated and frozen food away. We were still slow, so I offered to help her put them away and my supervisor told me to go ahead. It took the two of us over thirty minutes to put everything away and we only had to damage out three food items.)


Got No Tat For Tit

| MN, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Health & Body

(It’s a slow day at the retail store where I work and I have no one in line at my cash register. One of my managers walks over to my till.)

Manager: “Turn your light off. I need to talk to you for a moment.”

(I turn my light off, a little nervous.)

Me: “Am I in trouble or something?”

Manager: “Okay, well, no, not really, but I kinda have to talk to you anyway because it’s policy.”

Me: “Okay?”

Manager: “We had a customer complain to us about your shirt.”

(The shirt I’m wearing is within our uniform regulations. It’s a v-neck that doesn’t show any cleavage, although it is flattering to my figure.)

Me: “Why?”

Manager: “Well, he said that your shirt was too low-cut and it was inappropriate and that, when you leaned over, he could see your tattoo down your shirt…”

(I stare at my manager for several long seconds, dumbfounded.)

Me: “[Manager], I don’t have tattoos ANYWHERE.”

Manager: *laughs* “Y’see, I didn’t think you would!”

(Satisfied that she has followed through on our policy, my manager leaves it at that. Almost a year later, I’m wearing the same shirt and am about to open one of the registers. Our registers are set up in lines where the cashier is facing their customers on the opposite side of the belt, but behind them is where the line for the next register is. I start to reorganize the register because it’s messy when a man in the line behind me mumbles something.)

Customer: “…your shirt.”

(Thinking it was something nice, I politely smile to the customer.)

Customer: “You look like a whore!”

(My face falls flat when all of a sudden it hits me — this is the same man who complained about my shirt before. Without opening my till, I walk to a manager and explain what happened. After my manager goes to confront the customer and finds he’s already left, my manager comes back to me.)

Manager: “Sorry about that. That guy’s been saying stuff about the female cashiers for several months now, regardless of what they’re wearing. We try to kick him out when we find him.”


Patient Laughter

| USA | At The Checkout

(My mom and I enter a meat market to buy more chicken, as my sister is having friends over for dinner and we don’t have enough at home. Only one register is open as we enter the checkout line, and there is one lady in front of us. The machine is not working with her card, and the system is failing repeatedly, even after the cashier switches registers. Meanwhile, a line has formed behind us.)

Cashier: “I don’t know what is happening. Let me try once more. I’m sorry it’s taking so long.”

Lady In Front Of Us: “It’s fine. We are all learning how to be patient today!”

Man Behind Us: *in joking tone, while smiling* “Hurry up!”

(Everyone in line starts laughing.)

Mom: “Oh, no, a fight can’t start. I’m in between you two!”

Man: “Nah, life is too fast as it is. It’s nice to slow down once in a while.”

Cashier: “Let me run and get my boss.”

(Of course, as soon as the boss shows up, the machine accepts the card and works smoothly. The boss walks away to the back of the shop again.)

Lady: “Of course it works when he shows up!”

Cashier: “Yup, just my luck.”

(The lady leaves and we are up next. My mom hands the cashier her credit card.)

Mom: “You can just run it as credit.”

Cashier: “Um… ma’am, the system isn’t working again.”

(At this point, all we can do is laugh.)

Mom: “I’ll pay in cash, then. It only works when the boss is around! He must be back there messing with us, pulling the cord to it or something!”

(It’s nice to know there are still patient customers out there willing to laugh it off when things go wrong.)

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