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!
A man buys a pack of cigarettes with a $50 bill. As I count his change back to him, he asks what he’d paid with, and I tell him it was a $50. He asks to buy it back, and counts out $49 in smaller bills and lays out 99 cents on the counter. I hand him the $50 for the $49 while he fishes for the last coin he needs. He comes up with a $1, which he gives me, along with the $50 and asks for a $100 instead.
We don’t have any $100s, nor other $50s. While I’m trying to figure out how to give him his money back, the fact that this is a scam occurs to me. I tell him, politely, that $50 of the money in my hands is mine, and he can either have the $50 bill or the small bills. He chooses the small bills. He then asks if he can buy the $50 back, and I let him.
Surprise, surprise, he tries the scam again, but this time I’m watching to see how it works, what he’s doing, and what I need to watch for in the future. Once he hands me the $50 back to ask for $100 again, I tell him he’s scamming me and is no longer welcome in the store. He grumbles a bit as he gathers up the change, but goes.
The next morning I come up $50 long. Apparently when I was kicking him out I forgot to give him his $50 back. So, to recap, I learned how to spot this kind of thing AND he ended up losing $50 on the deal. And if he hadn’t been greedy, and done the same kind of thing using a $10 to get $20, I wouldn’t have had the momentary confusion and he might have gotten away with it.
(It is the first of November, during a huge clearance sale on leftover Halloween candy. I finish ringing up a customer’s items and ask if she has any coupons that she’d like to use. Much to my surprise, she presents two: one for candy… one for nuts.)
Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but I can’t use this coupon. You haven’t bought any nuts.”
(She looks blankly at me for a moment.)
Customer: “There are nuts in the candy.”
(I work in a Chinese restaurant. For any of the curries you can get vegetable, chicken, beef, or shrimp. Shrimp is the most expensive option.)
Customer: “Hi, can I get the red curry with chicken?”
Me: “No problem!”
Customer: “But can you substitute the shrimp for the chicken?”
Me: “So you want red curry with shrimp?”
Customer: “No, I want red curry with chicken but I want the chicken substituted with shrimp. That way I get shrimp for the price of chicken. Get it?”
Me: “Um, it doesn’t work like that, sir.”
Customer: “Oh, please… There’s a reason I’m sitting here and you’re serving me.”
(I work at a pet store and all coupons must be printed to be used in store. There is even a little note taped to the checkout table.)
Customer: “Hi, I have a bunch of coupons on my phone I would like to use.”
Me: “I’m sorry; I can’t accept any coupons unless they are printed.”
Customer: “What? But I’ve always done this. They let me do it at the other pet store!”
Me: “Uh, let me get my manger.”
Manager: “What seems to be the problem, sir?”
Customer: “Since when can’t I use coupons from my phone?! This is ridiculous.”
Manager: “Sorry, sir, it’s our store policy; we can’t accept them.”
(The customer begins cursing at my manager and eventually says:)
Customer: “BY LAW YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT THESE COUPONS! THEY HAVE YOUR LOGO ON THEM!”
Me: “By law we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. So you can either buy the dog food or leave.*
(He eventually left but not without yelling a few choice words.)
(I’ve just finished ringing up a customer’s to-go order.)
Me: “Would you like a bag for all that?”
Customer: “Oh, do you have bags?”
Me: “Y-yes. Would you like one?”
Customer: “Ooh, could I have one?”
Me: “Um, sure.”
(I guess it sounded too good to be true.)