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!

Wish It Had Taken A Quarter Of The Time

| WA, USA | At The Checkout, Family & Kids, Money, Wild & Unruly

(A mother and her adult daughter come into our store and proceed to be all kinds of trouble to everyone they see, including calling one of my coworkers a “little person” (and she’s around 5’6″, same as they are), knocking a child down with their cart “because she won’t move,” demanding products we don’t have, trying to go into employees-only areas, etc. FINALLY they come up to my register, where they break something and blame it on me, even though it hasn’t even come out of their cart yet. They also lecture me for five minutes about how my job is “not a joke” for no reason. After they go to leave, the mom comes back and wants to cut line and buy a candy bar. I just let her so that she’ll leave faster, and ask a coworker to hop on another register to serve the people who are waiting.)

Me: “Okay, that will be $2.99.”

(She hands me a $5 bill. I open my cash drawer to realize I just ran out of $1 bills. The manager who can get me change has just been called away.)

Me: “Do you mind if $1 of your change is in quarters? I just ran out of $1 bills and it will be a few minutes to get more.”

Customer: “No, that’s fine.”

(I proceed to hand her four quarters, a $1 bill, and a penny: $2.01 change.)

Me: “Here you go. Sorry again about the quarters. Have a good one.”

Customer: “Thanks!”

(Suddenly, the daughter LUNGES at me.)


Me: “Um, it is the proper change, $2.01. I gave her $1 in quarters because I ran out of bills.”

Customer: “Yes, honey, this is correct. I need the quarters anyway.”


(I’ve had it with these two at this point, so I take the change back from the customer and lay it on the counter.)

Me: “Okay, let’s count. $1, that is the bill. $1.25, bill plus one quarter. $1.50, bill plus two quarters. $1.75, bill plus three quarters. $2.00, bill plus four quarters. Four quarters makes a dollar, you see? And finally, $2.01; bill plus four quarters plus a penny. That is the correct change.”

(The mother is embarrassed at this point, but doing nothing to stop her daughter.)


Me: “I literally have no other way I can explain this. I will call a manager.”

(I had to call a manager to confirm to the daughter that I gave her mother proper change. She still didn’t get it, and her mother just dragged her out yelling. How do you make it to around at least 25 years old without knowing four quarters makes a dollar?)

Coupon And On And On, Part 5

| CA, USA | At The Checkout

Customer: “I have a 20% off entire purchase coupon.”

Me: “Okay, sure!” *applies coupon*

Customer: “Which things did it apply to?”

Me: “Your entire purchase, ma’am.”

Customer: “Are you sure?”

Me: “Yes. There are no exceptions on this coupon.”

Customer: “How do I know it did?”

Me: “It shows your total discount right here!” *total discount is clearly 20% off*

Customer: “I don’t believe you. How much did it take off [Item #1]?”

Me: “20%. So around 40 cents.”

Customer: “And [Item #2]?”

Me: “Again, 20%. $1.00.”

(She proceeded to make me do the math for every single one of her 23 items to prove to her that the discount worked. The next customer had a coupon from a former competitor who went out of business three years ago (we don’t coupon-match to begin with) and threw a fit that I wouldn’t honor it. And the one after that had the wrong coupon for her item and demanded to speak to a manager about my “poor service” for not being able to honor it, even though I gave her the proper coupon for her item.)

Coupon And On And On, Part 4
Coupon And On And On, Part 3
Coupon And On And On, Part 2

Doesn’t Understand The ‘Custom’ Part Of Customer, Part 11

| London, England, UK | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(A customer comes into my shop and wants to exchange a dog harness for a bigger size. Not usually a problem. She takes out the item; it’s not one of ours.)

Me: “Ma’am, that doesn’t appear to be something we stock here. Do you have the receipt?”

Customer: “Oh, I didn’t get it here. I got it off of Amazon. Can’t I just exchange it for a bigger size?”

Me: “I’m afraid not, ma’am. We don’t accept stock from other shops. You can’t return it here.”

Customer: “Why not? Surely you can sell it on?”

(I then had to explain that we don’t work on a bartering system. I ended up selling her something else. Bonus: she came back four months later and tried to return two dog harnesses, still not from my shop, for a more expensive dog harness than she’d bought previously.)

Doesn’t Understand The ‘Custom’ Part Of Customer, Part 10
Doesn’t Understand The ‘Custom’ Part Of Customer, Part 9
Doesn’t Understand The ‘Custom’ Part Of Customer, Part 8

Scratch That Return

| Odense, Denmark | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior

Customer: “I would like to return these clothes.” *puts a pile of four or five shirts and blouses on the counter*

Me: “Okay. Do you have your receipt?”

Customer: “No, I don’t, but you have them all up on your shelves.”

Me: “Okay, let’s see what we can do.”

(I look for the tags in the neck area of each blouse and shirt because they have the bar code numbers printed on them.)

Me: “Sorry, but all the tags have been cut off of your clothes.”

Customer: “Of course, I always do that. They bother me.”

Me: “But then I cannot take them back, because you have altered them.”

Customer: “Well, why not? Just put them back on the shelves.”

Me: “I cannot do that. We cannot sell them to anyone else.”

Customer: “Why not?”

Me: “You have altered them. Would you buy these if you found them on the shelf?”

Customer: “No, of course not! But… aahhh, you are useless! Give it back, then!”

(Angrily, the customer clawed at the clothes, which were in a pile on the counter, and in the process scratched the back of both of my hands, leaving long, red marks. She threw them in her cart and marched away.)

Counting Down To When This Customer Leaves

| Milwaukee, WI, USA | At The Checkout, Money

Me: “Your total is $15.85.”

(Customer hands me $100 bill. Since it’s two am all I have is small bills, so to avoid confusion from the customer and to cover myself for the camera, I count the change out onto the counter.)

Me: “And your change is $84.15.”

Customer: “Why does everyone count change backward?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Customer: “You should start with the change and count up to the next dollar amount, then count up to the amount of the bill I gave you. Then you’ll never be wrong.”

Me: “Well, I know how much change to give you so there’s no reason for me to do that. I gave you the correct change. Would you like a receipt?”

Customer: “I don’t need a receipt, but you should always count up. Then you’ll never be wrong.”

Me: “Even if I didn’t know how to add and subtract myself, the computer tells me how much change to give. I gave you the correct change.”

Customer: “But the girl at some other place gave me the wrong change once, so you should always do it this way so you’ll never be wrong.”

Me: “But I wasn’t wrong.”

(The customer stands there arguing with me for ten minutes that even though I gave him the correct change, I counted it wrong.  Finally I just stopped responding and just gave him a blank stare until he stopped talking.)

Me: “Have a nice day; we’ll see you next time.”

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