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The Joke Worked Overtime

| Leeds, England, UK | At The Checkout, Awesome Workers

(I’m a volunteer at a charity shop, and am working the till when a couple come in. The man trips over a piece of furniture we have on display.)

Woman: *jokingly* “You’re wrecking the place!”

Me: *in the same tone* “Be careful. If you break anything you have to work it off. That’s what happened to me.”

Man: “Really?”

(We all laugh and they browse the shelves for a bit. As they are leaving they pass my till.)

Man: *leaning over and asking very seriously* “Do you really have to work here because you broke something?”

Woman: *giving him a pitying look* “I think she was joking…”

Me: “Yeah, I was just kidding.”

Man: “Oh, right.”

(They leave, the woman giving me a long-suffering look as she does so.)

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Needs To Change Your Change Tactics

| Cheshire, England, UK | At The Checkout, Criminal & Illegal, Liars & Scammers, Money

(I’m volunteering at a charity shop. Most of our customers are elderly or middle-aged. On this particular day I’m helping another volunteer put a picture up when a man in his early twenties comes in. He looks around for just a minute or so and grabs a card from the stand at the front of the shop.)

Man: “Just this card, please.”

Me: “Of course. Do you want a bag to put it in?”

Man: “Whatever.”

Me: “Just £1.00 then please.”

(The man takes a note out of his pocket. I take it and start to sort out the change and pass it over to the man.)

Man: “Wait a minute, love. I’ve got some right change here if it’ll help you out. If I give you some coins back can you give me a note?”

Me: *feeling a little confused* “Erm, okay. That won’t be a problem.” *I count the change; I realise he’s left me short* “Sorry, I need another £1 coin.”

Man: “Really? Okay. Tell you what. I’ll give you some coins to make that right. You just give me my money back and we’ll be even, right?”

Me: “Okay.”

(I feel uneasy but give him the money, and he starts to rifle through the notes he has again.)

Man: “Actually can you change this for me instead?”

(He’s leaning over the counter, is quite intimidating, and I am starting to realise something isn’t quite right.)

Man: “I just want my change!”

Me: “I’m sorry, I’ve given you the money you need.” *I close the till*

Man: “But you still owe me change!”

Me: “I can call my manager down to deal with your request if you like?”

(I called upstairs to the manager and told her to double-check the change I had given the man. She came down to confront him and he looked shifty and decided to just leave, despite me “owing him change.” I told the manager everything that happened and she checked the till – he had somehow taken £10 from us, and had tried to take more. We reported him to the police and found out he had tried this on in a few other shops, including a well-known supermarket where he’d threatened the cashier. I later found out that this was a short-change scam or change-raising scam, where the scam artist confuses the cashier to get their money back plus extra. I printed out a warning and left it in the staff room. A few months later another man came in and tried the exact same thing. I said no, closed the till, they caught him on camera leaving the shop, and he was taken in by the police.)

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A Tale Of Two Charities

| Leeds, England, UK | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(I work in a charity shop which supports elderly people. A customer puts two books on the counter.)

Customer: “I want to exchange this for this.”

(I look at the books and assume she’s had a moment.)

Me: “Oh, this has an [Animal Charity] price ticket on, not [My Shop].”

Customer: “Yes.”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t exchange it, because you didn’t get it from here.”

Customer: “You mean I have to take it all the way back there?”

Me: “I’m afraid so, because we’re not affiliated with them.”

(The customer sighs sadly and buys her book, which cost 99p. She then leaves on the epic trek to the Animal Charity shop, located five shops down from us.)

Small Minded People

| Scotland, UK | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Family & Kids

(I am a dwarf, and need a stool to be seen clearly. From the till, I can pass as an average-height person. A customer and her small child approach.)

Customer: “Do you have any woollen gloves?”

Me: “Sure, we keep more stuff in the back. I’ll go and check for you.”

(I step down from my stool, and come out from behind the counter. The customer is surprised, and takes a step back, taking her child’s hand. Despite being hurt by her reaction, I make myself smile. I head to the back room, where I can hear her son.)

Child: “What was that, mum?”

Customer: “Shush! Don’t stare. He’s just a midget; he won’t hurt you. He didn’t eat his greens, that’s all.”

(I come back through with a box of gloves.)

Me: “Sorry, I couldn’t help overhearing. Midget isn’t the most ‘PC’ term to use. Personally, I prefer dwarf; it’s different for everyone. Midget is definitely offensive for most though.”

(The customer looks at me wide-eyed, saying nothing. I gesture to the box for her to look through.)

Me: “You’ll probably find something in there. We have quite a lot of—”

Customer: “Is it okay if you go back behind the counter? You know, for my son?”

(Quite speechless, I go back behind the counter, and on to the stool. My manager decides to intervene.)

Manager: “Is there a problem here? Do you think [my name] here is going to taint your kid’s innocence or something?”

Customer: “I just don’t want him scaring my son. Is that too much to ask?”

Manager: “Well, I’m not going to have you insult my staff. Either treat him like a human being, or leave this shop.”

Customer: “Well, I don’t know why you hired someone like him to work on the till!”

Manager: “Okay, that’s it. Get out.”

(The customer and her child leave.)

Me: “Thank you!”

Manager: “Shush, just stay there. I’m going to the bakery to get you an apple turnover. You deserve something after dealing with her!”