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Throwing Dirt Until It Sticks

| ON, Canada | At The Checkout, Extra Stupid

(We have six self-checkouts. It’s a busy day and five machines are in use as one is broken, and I have a line of about five people. A customer approaches me from the entrance.)

Customer: “Can I get some of the dirt that’s outside?”

(It’s spring, so we sell 10 lb bags of topsoil which are all outside.)

Me: “No problem. If you’ll just get in line, we can ring that through for you.”

Customer: “Can you just ring them through for me?”

Me: “I don’t have a register to do so at the moment, but if you’ll just get in line I’ll help you as soon as I’m able.”

(The customer gets into the express line next to mine. This isn’t a problem: all checkouts have the PLU for the dirt written down and most cashiers have it memorized regardless. After a few minutes, he gets out of the slowly growing express line to approach me again.)

Customer: “Do I need to bring in a bag of dirt to scan or something?”

Me: “No, you don’t. We have codes at every register so you don’t need to. Just tell her what you want and she’ll be able to do it no problem.”

Customer: “Well, can’t you just ring me through?”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, I don’t have a register to do that for you. If you’ll just get in a line up, any cashier will able to do it for you when it’s your turn.”

Customer: “So you can just ring me through here?”

Me: “I can’t ring you through at the moment, no, but if you’ll get in line, when you have a machine I can put the dirt onto your order.”

Customer: “So can’t you just ring me through now?”

(This goes back and forth about five times in total before he gets back into the express line.)

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Time To Coin An Idiotic Phrase

| Marion, VA, USA | Extra Stupid, Money, Technology

(I work at a grocery store as a bagger. Part of my duties include gathering the shopping carts from the parking lot and bringing them back to the store lobby. I am doing this when I am hailed by a man standing beside the drink vending machines on the store sidewalk/porch.)

Man: “Can you help me? How do you get this thing to work? I can’t get it to work. I already put in three quarters.”

(I go over and see him press the drink dispense button. Nothing dispenses, so I look up to the display where it shows the price – it says “Sold out.”)

Me: “Sir, it looks like that one is sold out. Is there another one you might want to get?”

Man: “Well, the strawberry or peach.”

(I press those, and note that it still says “Sold out.”)

Me: “Um… hm. Those appear to be sold out as well…”

Man: “Well, any of them. I put in my quarters.”

(I proceed to press all them, checking after each one that they are ALL “Sold out.”)

Me: “Uh, well, since they’re all sold out, I think this lever here is the coin return.”

(I push down the coin return, don’t hear anything, check to confirm that it didn’t return his money, and then try again a few more times to no avail. The store will give refunds to customers when the machines eat their money, so I prepare to instruct him on going up to the front desk to get his 75 cents back.)

Me: “Huh, it’s not giving you your change back. Well, sir, since it isn’t working, what I would do is go inside and—”

Man: “It didn’t even take my money!”

Me: “What…?”

Man: “See, look! You can see the quarters just sitting there!”

(He points. Our vending machines have a lock cover, a piece of metal that has a vertical rectangular hole that connects with a prong to keep people from accessing the lock and getting inside the machine. There is a small gap between the edge of the hole and the prong on this particular machine, and he has placed all three quarters side by side in this gap. These quarters are clearly visible now that I know where to look, but they aren’t accessible.)

Me: “Uh…” *I try to pry the latch unsuccessfully. I spot a coworker nearby* “Are you going inside?”

Coworker: “Yeah, why?”

Me: “This man has put his money in the lock cover instead of the coin slot. Could you get someone to come out and help him get it when you go in?”

Coworker: *look of disbelief* “Yeah.”

Me: “Sir, someone will be out to help you get your money.”

(I return to collecting shopping carts. I see one of the managers come out a minute later. I don’t hear most of the conversation, but I see that he has gotten the latch off and given the man his money. I overhear a little bit.)

Manager: “Well, sir, that’s not the coin slot; that’s just a cover.”

Me: *shaking my head*

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Expressly Oblivious

| MA, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Popular

(It’s incredibly busy, and our store is tiny — we have two registers, and hardly any counter space. A woman comes up with a basket full of cosmetics and creams. I ring everything up as quickly as possible.)

Me: “Okay, that’s going to be $60.50.”

Customer: “What? Really? That seems way too high.”

(A bit of sticker shock is understandable, since it’s a small pile of more expensive stuff that adds up, but the line is getting longer and longer.)

Me: “I don’t think I made a mistake. These things are all taxable. Maybe that’s throwing off your math?”

Customer: “No, it’s way too high. Let me see… uh, $1.99… plus $4.50… That’s $5.00? No, $6.00… plus $3.99… up to $9.00…”

(She apparently going to manually add up all of her groceries, and she’s taking her sweet time. I slide her basket back in front of the register.)

Me: “Here, I can just re-ring your items for you and we’ll see if anything’s off. This’ll be quicker and easier.”

(I scan all her items again, as fast as I possibly can, because there are at least five people waiting with their own full baskets and carts. The total comes to $58.00, and the customer smiles smugly…)

Me: “Oh, wait, the second package of tissues.” *I pull it out from under the basket, where it had fallen* “So, yes, $60.50.”

Customer: *while handing over her card* “That’s not right! I need to look at my receipt and count everything up. You’re way too fast; I’m not in a hurry.”

(I look at the completely packed store and paste on a smile to keep from screaming.)

Me: “Well, the customers behind you might be in a hurry, though…”

(The customer glares at me, snatches her receipt, and begins to veerrrry slowwwllly match up her items to the prices on the slip.)

Me: *shoving her basket down to the edge of the counter* “I’m just gonna slide you down so I can help the next customer; you look that over and ask if you have any questions.”

(She stood there, taking up about a third of the counter space, reading her receipt for about fifteen minutes before finally deciding I wasn’t trying to cheat her. In that time I must’ve served half a dozen other customers, and the line never let down. A different customer actually had to grab her cart and move it out from the aisle, because she was so oblivious of other people moving around her.)