That’s A Whole Lot Of Awkwardness For Just One Purchase

, , , , | Right | May 1, 2021

Our store has recently started charging customers five cents for plastic bags to encourage use of reusable cloth bags. It’s a slow evening and I’m working express. A man approaches my register with a sleeping bag, which he slams down on the counter. I’m taken aback but still greet him cheerfully.

Me: “Hello.”

No response. I scan his item and ask, as I am required to do by management:

Me: “Would you like to support the [Local Children’s Hospital] today and buy a pen for $2.00?”

No answer. I tell him his total and notice that he already has his card ready.

Me: “You can insert your card, chip on the bottom.”

The man finally deigns to speak to me, saying very pointedly:

Customer: “This is a Visa, okay?”

Me: “Okay. You can insert your card, chip on the bottom.”

He does not insert his card. Instead, he seemingly stares into space behind me. I’m starting to wonder if he is on drugs of some sort and I’m becoming uncomfortable. I glance behind me and there’s a woman walking towards the exit with her cart full of purchases. As she passes, she waves at the man I’m serving and yells:

Woman: “How are you, buddy?”

When she’s gone, the man gives me a bemused look.

Customer: “Who was that?”

Me: “I don’t know. Please insert your card, chip at the bottom.”

He finally pays for his item. As he does so, it begins to dawn on me that he must have been staring at that woman, making her uncomfortable, and she responded by sarcastically greeting him. This guy is so socially inept he took her seriously.

Finally, his sleeping bag is paid for and I think this bizarre encounter is finally over with. No such luck. The man asks for a bag for his purchase.

Me: “Well, the bags cost five cents now and this won’t really fit even a large bag.”

Customer: “I just spent fifty dollars; put that in a f****** bag!”

Clearly, this is not an argument worth having, so I pull a large bag from the rack behind me and stuff his sleeping bag inside. The sleeping bag pokes over the top, pushing the handles far apart. Basically, there is absolutely no point in having this item in a bag.

Customer: “Is that one of those bags?”

He points to the rack behind me. You know, the rack that I have just taken the bag from, right in front of his eyes.

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “By the way, you didn’t tell me when you were ringing me in that the bags cost five cents.”

Me: “No, sir, because I have never had a customer request a bag for that item before.”

I refrained from adding, “And you were also super rude while I was ringing you in and ignored everything I said, so why would I go out of my way to inform you of a bag charge that shouldn’t have even applied to you?”

The man thanked me sarcastically and finally left. To this day, he remains the most mind-boggling customer I ever had.

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You Can Always Be Kind, Even With Your Foot In Your Mouth

, , , , , , | Right | April 30, 2021

I am working as a cart attendant at a retail chain. Part of our responsibility is to help guests load items into cars when needed.

One late summer afternoon, I get called over the walkie-talkie to help a woman to her car with her purchase. For some reason, she has parked her van at the very last parking spot, so we have to walk together for a couple of minutes through the near-empty parking lot as I push two heaping carts and she pushes another.

We make small talk about how beautiful the weather is, how the days are getting longer, this and that. We are both smiling and laughing a bit the whole time about unimportant things as I’m loading various chips, sodas, doughnuts, paper plates, napkins, juices, and other things into the car.

Me: “Wow! You must be getting ready to have a big party!”

Customer: “It’s a funeral, actually.”

Me: *Embarrassed* “Oh, I’m sorry.”

She doesn’t respond, and I clam up and finish putting things in the van. Though I know now that I did nothing wrong, at the time, I felt like an insensitive jerk.

I close the van door, collect the carts, and turn to see that the customer is holding out money for me.

Me: “Ma’am, I’m not allowed to—”

Customer: *Cutting me off* “Take it.”

Me: “No, ma’am, I can’t, and besides, I—”

She interrupts once more, her voice cracking.

Customer: “Please take it. You really helped me today. You have no idea how much I needed someone to be nice to me today.  Besides, it was nice to talk about something normal during this time. So, please… take it.”

I took the money, and she smiled, got into her van, and drove away.

Having just moved to Chicago, I was pretty strapped for cash and hadn’t yet eaten on this particular day. The $10 she gave me was able to be used for two meals. It was such a small thing, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget her.

This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for April 2021!

Read the next Feel Good roundup for April 2021 story!

Read the Feel Good roundup for April 2021!

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When You Have The Final Word With The Final Customer

, , , , , | Right | April 28, 2021

It’s about ten o’clock at night. The staff have, by some miracle, managed to get so on top of things that even straightening the store is largely finished. I get someone in my line and my manager comes over to help bag. The customer asks me to check the price on a ceramic plate she found in clearance.

Me: “Ma’am, this plate will be seventy-five cen—”

Customer:Well! I don’t want that one; it’s chipped!

Me: “Okay, well, that’s no big. I can—”

Customer: “Are you going to make me stop unloading my groceries to go get another? Or do you think you can figure out how to send someone else?”

Me: “Ma’am, I didn’t even get to finish. I was about to say, ‘I can send my manager to get you another one.'”

Customer: “Oh! Well, good!”

I am now focused on getting her the heck out of my store because it has been going so well and I want my evening to be marred by only the tiniest blip of a rude customer.

Me: “Hey, [Awesome Manager], can you go grab another plate for her?”

That’s incognito speak for “PLEASE HURRY SO SHE DOESN’T EAT MY FACE!”

Awesome Manager: “Where’d you find this, ma’am, so I can get it for you quick—”

Customer: “It was at the back of the store! Why do I need to tell you where? This isn’t my store!

Awesome Manager: “I was just asking so I could find it fas—”

Customer:I don’t want an explanation!

Awesome Manager: “Excuse me. There’s no reason for you to be rude to me or my staff.”

Customer: “I don’t want— What did you just say to me?!

Awesome Manager: “I said, ‘There’s no reason for you to be rude to me or my staff.'”

Customer: “Well, I never! I want to speak with a manager! How dare you—”

Awesome Manager: “I am the manager. And I suggest you snap out of your nosedive if you don’t want to be banned from my store.”

She looks lost for all of two seconds. Then, she gets this snooty look on her face, leaves everything on the belt, sticks her nose up in the ceiling tiles, and walks away from my register and over to self-checkout. She turns to the coworker who’s working there and loudly demands to speak to the “person above that [insert racial slur for Awesome Manager].”

I just kind of lose a lungful of air, kind of impressed and appalled at the same time at how blatant she’s being about it. [Awesome Manager]’s expression darkens but he says nothing.

[Coworker]’s eyes just widen, and they meekly call the store manager, who comes down.

The racist goes on a rant about how we were “undermining her authority”  — What? — and about how RUDE [Awesome Manager] was and about how I was a b****. The store manager is kind of just nodding along but is clearly not buying it. He has her rung out by [Coworker] and sends her on her way.

The store manager then asks us all what really happened, makes a disgusted face at the slur, and turns to go back to the office. The phone rings and the store manager picks it up. His expression says he has a suspicion about who it is. Yep. It’s the racist.

Customer: “I’m calling to make sure those employees have been fired!”

Store Manager: “I don’t fire good employees on a bad customer’s say-so. Don’t come back to my store. You’re not welcome.”

He hung up on her, cutting off the enraged squawk, and returned to his order. I must say, the rest of the evening was quite pleasant!

This story is part of our Best Of April 2021 roundup!

Read the next Best Of April 2021 roundup story!

Read the Best Of April 2021 roundup!

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When You’re Feeling Down, They Bring You Flours

, , , , | Right | April 13, 2021

Just as I get to the building, my stomach gets upset, so I clock on five minutes late. I go to my register, but the line is so long that I have to get on the backup register, which I hate because it’s so closed in that I feel a little claustrophobic.

I have rude customer after rude customer, so my mood is quickly deflating within the fifteen minutes of me being there.

I have a couple come through that’s buying a bag of flour. I grab the bag, which apparently has a tiny hole in the top… and I get covered head to toe in flour as it shoots out of the hole when I grab it. I stand there in silence for a moment, just blinking as the customer starts apologizing profusely.

Finally, I start laughing and look at them.

Me: “With the way my shift has been going, it’s either laugh or cry at this point. I’m going with laugh.”

Besides, they were nice, and it wasn’t like they planned for it. It took a while to get it off, though, since my uniform was all black!

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This Purchase Was A Slam Punk

, , , | Right | April 13, 2021

My best friend in high school is a punk. Her hair is short and black with blonde streaks and it spikes out all over the place. She wears baggy, ripped-up clothes and a spiked necklace. And she has a face that naturally said she wants to kill you. She teaches kick-boxing at one of the local gyms. She comes into the store where I work, does some shopping, and checks out through my line.

Friend: “Hey, [My Name], I know you aren’t supposed to tell me this, but is that guy near the aisle your security dude?”

Our security people wear plain clothes, and I can see he’s one of ours.

Me: “Yeah, he is.”

Friend: “Oh, good. I don’t have to kick his a** for following me around the store, then. Could you let him know I’m actually picking things up for the church?”

With that, she leaves. I call the security guy over, laughing, and tell him who she is and what she was doing.

Me: “You got to remember that just because they dress like punks, it doesn’t mean they’re up to no good.”

And to make my point, I nodded toward another customer who had just come in who looked like a soccer mom. Every month, she tried to steal around $400 worth of Legos.

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