Only Gives You Four Digits, But Wishing You Could Give Him One

, , , | Right | June 19, 2018

(I work in a tool and parts store as a cashier, and 90% of the clientele is male. I’m a shy, socially-awkward female but I’m usually very good at faking it and being friendly. This is a Thursday afternoon, and while it’s not overly busy, it’s been steady. I’m about to go on my lunch break when an older man comes up to my till, ignoring the fact that my light is off and I’m gathering my things. I’m not the type to turn a customer away or make them wait for another cashier, so I smile at him as he starts tossing his merchandise on the counter. This is a store where we collect phone numbers to save copies of receipts. Every customer is asked for their phone number when they check out. They can refuse and we don’t push, but most see the benefit to it since we sell some expensive pieces of equipment, and they can return or exchange an item if we have an electronic copy of their receipt.)

Me: *in a friendly voice* “Hello, sir, how are—”

Customer: *cuts me off in a very rude tone* “—I’m good, since you didn’t bother to ask. How are you?”

Me: *startled, as I was just starting to ask* “Um, I’m good, sir. How—”

Customer: *cuts me off again* “Don’t bother with that! Just check me out already!”

Me: *getting nervous* “O-Okay. Can I have your phone number, please?”

Customer: *mutters last four digits*

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but you only gave me the last four digits. The system needs the full phone number in order to bring up your profile.”

Customer: “That’s all I’m giving you!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, but I can’t bring up your profile without your whole phone number. If you’d like, you can just hang onto the receipt in case you need to return or exchange—”

Customer: “No, I always lose those! Put it in! I gave you my number!”

(I try to explain again how the system works, but he keeps arguing that he doesn’t want to give me more info. At the same time, he won’t let me skip the phone number and proceed with the sale, because he insists he always loses receipts and he wants an electronic copy. A part of me wants to just say I pulled up his information and skip it, but he would know because the receipt prints the customers name on it if a profile is attached to the sale, as well as my name and cashier number. We go around in circles for ten minutes until he spits the number at me, so fast that I can barely catch it. I input the number and finally start ringing his items through. The whole transaction is tense and awkward, and he grumbles at me the entire time about invading his privacy. When I finish bagging his items, I put them up on the counter and tell him the total. Note: We have a customer screen that shows items and prices while they’re scanned, and he’s been watching it the entire time.)

Customer: “There’s no way it’s that high! You’re overcharging me! Look, the total is [amount], not [higher amount I quoted him].”

(I am starting to feel shaky, because I don’t handle confrontations well. I look at the screen, and he’s pointing to the subtotal before taxes are added.)

Me: “That’s the subtotal, sir, and if you look underneath that, it tells you the tax is [amount], so that makes the total [original quoted amount].”

Customer: “No! That has to be wrong! Void the transaction and start again!”

(The managers are in a meeting right now and I can’t call them for help. We’re also not allowed to refuse a customer, and even if we were, I’d be too afraid to try. I void the transaction and go through the hassle of getting his phone number again because I’ve forgotten it at this point. I then start ringing his items through with the hopes that he’ll give up and leave if I do what he wants. He complains the whole time about how incompetent I am, and stops me after I scan each item and double-checks the price. I have to call for several price checks because he thinks I’m overcharging him, and every time the price on the register turns out to be correct. In the end, his total is the same as before. I’m already an hour late for lunch and I’m thoroughly upset for how I’ve been treated when I’ve done nothing wrong.)

Customer: *snottily* “I still think you’re overcharging me somehow. I’m going to look at the receipt when I get home, and if there’s anything off I’m coming straight back here and talking to a manager about you!”

(I don’t trust myself to say anything at this point. I get the transaction set up and he pays with his credit card.)

Me: *trying to smile and thankful it’s finally over* “Here’s your receipt, sir. Have a nice day.”

Customer: *scowling and storming out* “It would have been nicer if I didn’t have to deal with you!”

(After he left, I practically ran to the break room to compose myself. Thankfully, the customers throughout the second half of my shift were pleasant to deal with.)

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