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Selfless At The Self Checkout

, , , , , | Right | November 9, 2018

(I am a customer in this story. I have finished my shopping and am lined up at the self-serve checkouts to pay for my items. An elderly woman is standing in front of me when a checkout becomes free. She doesn’t seem to notice, so I politely point her towards the checkout, as the line is growing.)

Me: “Excuse me, but the checkout on the end is free.”

Lady: “I don’t know how to use these checkouts. Could you show me?”

(Although I’m in a bit of a rush, I offer my assistance, as the employee has been called to help with a problem at the service desk.)

Me: “Okay. We start by pushing the ‘shopping’ button.”

(I indicate where the button is, but the woman doesn’t make any attempt to press it. After waiting for about 30 seconds and showing her yet again, I press the button myself.)

Me: “Now, we scan your first item.”

(She hands me a can of tuna and I show her how to swipe the barcode.)

Lady: “Could you do it?”

(I proceed to scan the tuna and place it aside. The lady then hands me an avocado. I place it on the scale and press the “fruit & veg” button. The menu presents several options and I press the “avocado” button and enter the quantity.)

Lady: “Are you finished yet?”

Me: “Almost. Next, we press ‘pay.'”

(I do so. The machine asks if the customer has a rewards card.)

Me: “Do you have a rewards card?”

(The woman hands me her card and a $10 note to pay. Upon scanning her card, her total comes up and I slide the note into the payment slot. It takes the money and asks if I want a receipt, and I press “yes.” The machine then ejects the woman’s change. I hand her both the receipt and the change and count out the change for her.)

Lady: “I gave you $10.”

Me: “Yes, and your change is $4.50.”

Lady: *now sounding annoyed* “But I gave you $10.”

Me: “May I please see the receipt?”

(She refuses, but I know that avocados are more than $1 each as they are only just coming into season. I politely tell the woman this and she looks at me suspiciously.)

Lady: “It’s one avocado!”

Me: “I understand but they are more than $1 each.”

Lady: “No. You’re wrong. Check it.”

Me: “I don’t work here. I’m a paying customer, like you.”

Lady: “Then why did you help me?”

Me: “You asked, and I don’t feel comfortable pushing in front of others.”

Lady: “Go to check, please.”

Me: “I’m a customer. I don’t work here.”

(The lady looked even more annoyed. It had now been almost ten minutes and I had an appointment to get to. Fortunately, the employee returned. I motioned for her to come over. She came over and assisted, but in the time I’d been helping out, the checkouts had filled and I was asked to proceed to the back of the line. Of course I was late for the appointment, and what should have been a five minute in-and-out took just over twenty minutes.)

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