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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!

Can Finally Hear What You’re Saying

| UK | At The Checkout, Money

(I am a volunteer working for a charity which provides hearing support for the deaf community. We hold outreach clinics in various health centres, providing hearing aid batteries and general maintenance as well as advice. All our services are completely free of charge, and clinics are on a walk-in basis which means when we are busy patients have to wait for quite a while to be seen. This doesn’t always go down well. My next patient is an elderly lady who scowls at me and huffs angrily as she comes into the room.)

Me: “Hi, how can I help you today?”

Lady: “My hearing aids are all muffled. I’ve been waiting for over an hour!”

Me: “Sorry about that, it’s busy today.”

Lady: “Well, it shouldn’t take an hour to be seen.”

Me: “Okay… Well, sorry, I’m on my own—”

Lady: “You’re always on your own. They never send more than one person.”

Me: “Er, yes, I’m the only one who covers this area—”

Lady: “They need to get more workers, then. This is ridiculous!”

Me: “Well, they only have the people that actually want to do the work—”

Lady: “They need to offer more pay or something. They obviously need more people!”

Me: *laughing* “Um, they don’t offer any pay, actually. We’re all volunteers.”

Lady: “Yes, well, but… you get expenses.”

Me: “I don’t get a penny, not even travel expenses. I walk here.”

Lady: “Well, if they don’t pay you anything why do you do it?”

Me: “I just like to spend my time helping people who need it. I don’t get paid, so the charity can keep doing these clinics for free. Now, did you want me to look at your hearing aids for you?”

Lady: *looking embarrassed* “Yes, please…”

(This happens fairly regularly, unfortunately.)

Irritable Book Syndrome

| Greenville, NC, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Books & Reading, Health & Body

(A customer walks in already carrying one of our bags so I know it’s a return. Even worse it’s our Christmas bag and it’s currently June. She gets to the register, slams her bag on the counter and immediately jumps into a story. I pull the receipt out just to check the date and it says December 14th.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry but the receipt says December 14th and I’m looking and these two books rang up to $100. If it wasn’t so much there—”

Customer: *cuts me off* “No. No. NO! I already told you these aren’t for me. These were for my friend’s birthday and he’s already got them and I have no use for them.”

Me: “I understand that but we have a two-weeks with a receipt policy and—”

Customer: “Focus! These aren’t for me, okay?! I have no need for them and you will give me my money back!”

(I attempt to speak again but she cuts me off again)

Customer: “I’m done with you. I want a manager. Don’t say anything else, just get your manager. Shush.”

(I call my manager, who threatened to fire me two weeks prior for returning a $20 book that was four days past the two-week policy.)

Manager: “Hi, what seems to be the issue?”

(The customer then explains how I’m an idiot, these books aren’t for her, and she doesn’t care about our policy and wants her money back.)

Manager: “Oh, oh, well, absolutely. [My Name]? Ha! I’m sorry he just doesn’t understand. It’s ok, buddy, we’ll have a training sesh on this later.”

(The manager walks away as the lady smugly stands there waiting for her money. A line has now formed behind her. The next person in line is a younger guy. I then pull out the books to ring them up. The first is called ‘Headaches in the Pelvic Region’ and the second is ‘Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Your Life.’ I then notice she used her discount card so I subtract the savings.)

Customer: “Whoa, whoa, whoa. What was that?”

Me: “Well, ma’am, you used your discount card and got 10% off. I just subtracted that.”

Customer: “Well, how much were those books?!”

(I speak loud enough for the line that had built up behind her to hear.)

Me: “Well… YOUR ‘HEADACHES IN THE PELVIC REGION’ BOOK WAS $50 AND YOUR ‘IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME AND MY LIFE’ WAS $50!”

(The customer tries to shush me then angrily snatches her money. The younger customer walks up, lays his purchases on the counter, and then mumbles:)

Next Customer: “B**** would have IBS.”

Interruption Is Its Own Reward

| Orlando, FL, USA | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers

(One of my biggest pet peeves is when customers are on their phones during checkout. So much so, sometimes I don’t even bother asking for their rewards cards.)

Customer: *on the phone and as the receipt is printing out* “What about my rewards card?”

Me: *being passive aggressive, but still being nice* “I’m sorry; I didn’t want to interrupt you.”