Self-Check Yourself Before You Self-Wreck Yourself, Part 2

, , , , | Right | November 22, 2020

I’m a cashier at a grocery store. In the summer, I get scheduled to supervise the self-checkout station quite frequently. It seems to attract mostly rude customers, so it’s not my favorite place to be, but money is money so I grin and bear it.

I have a customer who is definitely in a hurry, so I figure she’ll be a little snappy, but I am unprepared for her attitude. The machine freezes up on her as it is reading her card so she spins around and screams.

Customer: “YOU NEED TO FIX THIS!”

I reverse the transaction and it asks her to swipe again, which the machine promptly rejects and then freezes again. She glares at me.

Customer: “So what’s the problem here?”

Me: “I’m sorry, that machine appears to be freezing up on you. If you don’t mind, I could transfer your transaction to one of the other machines and you’ll be out in a jiffy!”

Customer: “NO! I’m staying right here, at this machine, because I am not about to move all my stuff somewhere else!”

I don’t mention that she wouldn’t have to move her stuff; it seems like that would only further anger her. After trying the card several more times:

Me: “Do you have another card you could try?”

Customer: *Huffs* “No, of course not. Why would I use another card?!”

Me: “Then I am afraid you will either have to pay another way or move because this machine is not going to take her card.”

Customer: *Screaming again* “Why are you so incompetent to fix the machine?! Hiring standards never used to be this low! Ugh, do you take checks?”

Me: “We do; however, the check machine here at self-checkout requires manual entry because it’s not up to date with the rest of the registers and it would be harder to take your check here. I would highly suggest moving to another register if you’re going to pay with a check.”

This was definitely the wrong thing to say.

Customer: *Screeching* “IT’S HARDER? I’M HERE TO PAY FOR MY GROCERIES AND YOU DON’T WANT TO TAKE MY CHECK JUST BECAUSE IT’S HARDER ON YOU?! Oh, poor you. You have such a hard life and a hard job and people like me make it so much harder, isn’t that right? Listen. It sounds like you’re just trying to get rid of me, IS THAT IT? You just don’t want me here, so you’re finding every excuse to move me somewhere else. Well, IT’S NOT GONNA WORK. TAKE MY CHECK NOW!”

All the other cashiers and customers are staring at this point. I silently take her check and start typing in numbers as she stands directly in front of me, staring at me angrily the whole time. I say the numbers back to her to confirm and she repeats them back in a mocking tone.

Customer: “God, your voice is so annoying. As if this day wasn’t bad enough already, now I have to listen to you. I hope I never see you again.”

After she left, my managers promptly came over to see why she was so upset. After I relayed the story to them, they were convinced I had said all the right things and her outbursts weren’t my fault at all.

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Self-Check Yourself Before You Self-Wreck Yourself

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