Needs More Self-Help Than Self-Checkout, Part 2

| CT, USA | At The Checkout, Technology

(It’s 6:30 in the morning and our store has been open for about a half hour. I am the only cashier at the moment, so I am taking care of a cash register, as well as two self scan registers. A lady with a carriage full of items walks past my cash register down to the self scan registers. After she tries to find her first item, she calls me over.)

Lady: “I can’t seem to find these bananas in the computer; can you find them for me?”

Me: “Sure, you just click right here—” *clicks PRODUCE button* “—and click on the banana picture. All the produce is listed in here and is in alphabetical order.”

Lady: “Oh, thank you!”

(I start to head back to my cash register and not two seconds later, she calls me again.)

Lady: “I can’t seem to find the zucchini. Can you help me again?”

(I help her find her zucchini as well as about fifteen other produce items. After the produce, she proceeds to have me scan every other item in her shopping cart, because she can’t seem to get them to scan. Finally, after about ten minutes, she finishes and starts to pay.)

Lady: “Gosh, I just wish these things didn’t take so long.”

Me: “I know the self scans can be tricky sometimes, so if you’d like, the next time you come in, I can ring you out at my cash register. The cash registers are a lot quicker than the self scans; I could have your order done in less than two minutes.”

Lady: “Oh, no, it’s okay, honey. I like doing it myself!”

Needs More Self-Help Than Self-Checkout


A Library’s Worth Of Mistakes

| Awesome Customers

(I’m the dumb one in this story. It’s the early morning, and I’ve stopped at the grocery store a few blocks from home to pick up what will become my lunch for the day. It doesn’t take long to get what I want, and I’ve managed to beat the breakfast rush, so there’s hardly any line.)

Cashier: “Hello, how are you this morning?”

Me: “Not remotely a morning person.” *light chuckle*

(I open my wallet and pull out a card to pay the man, but the card reader gives me an error message that makes me look down… embarrassed, I show the cashier the card I’ve pulled out.)

Me: “Case in point… I’ve just tried to pay for lunch with my library card.”

Cashier: *gives me a kind smile* “It’s okay. I forgive you.”

(I manage to laugh it off, pay for my food with the proper card, and walk out to face the day. Skip forward to early evening. I’m at the same store picking up dinner on my way home… and once AGAIN, I attempt to pay with my library card, in spite of the fact that it looks nothing like my debit card. At this point, there are no excuses, so I decide to own up to it.)

Me: *loudly enough for people to hear* “Ladies, gentlemen, and assorted others, may I have your attention, please… I’d like to take this moment to announce that I. Am. An idiot. …That is all. Thank you for your time.”

(A couple of people stared as I walked out. I let them.)


Very Sharp Humor

| Awesome Workers, Bizarre

(I’m the cashier. In the middle of scanning and bagging various items for a guest, she asks if I have scissors to remove a tag. I look at her, and just let my eyes glaze over, and drop my voice a bit.)

Me: “I’m sorry, they don’t let me play with sharp pointy objects anymore.”

(The customer actually stepped back a bit, and I smile.)

Me: “No, really. We can’t have blades or sharp things on the checkout lane; you’ll have to go to customer services to get them to cut off your tags.”

(I did that line several more times over the years and the hardest part was keeping a straight face. Freaked people out every time I could pull it off!)


Some Customers Come With Baggage

| Salem, OR, USA | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(Like many of the natural alternative grocery stores, we are bag-less. There are at least two huge signs on the door when you enter, and a sign at each register, and even signs on the box bins we have for those who forget their bags.)

Me: “That will be $9.95 today.”

Customer: “Aren’t you going to bag them? I want plastic.”

Me: “Oh, I’m sorry, sir; we are a bag-less store. We have reusable bags for sale ranging from .99 to $6 dollars.”

Customer: “I don’t want to buy a d*** bag. I want you to give me a plastic bag.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but we don’t have plastic bags.” *I point to the box bin* “We do have boxes for those who forgot their bags.”


(He then tried to carry all his items out in his hands, dropped several of them, and just gave up and dropped them all on the floor, breaking some, and then left…)


Rage Against The Machine, Part 4

| WA, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Technology

(We have just gotten in self-checkout units at our store, much to the delight, and apparent misunderstanding of our customers.)

Customer: “So we no longer have to rely on you guys to check out our stuff?”

Me: “Oh, no, the normal checkout lanes are still open, but if you’re in a rush, you now have the alternative of doing it yourself.”

Customer: “Guess this means you’ll be out of a job soon!” *laughs*

Me: “No… not at all.”

Customer: “Eh?”

Me: “The SCO still requires a staff member to key in birthdates if you’re buying restricted items like alcohol, and if there’s a price query or you accidentally scan something more than once, we need to be here to override it. SCO is a tool for us to help make your shopping experience more pleasant, not a replacement.”

Customer: “Oh, well…”

Me: “And if I may just ask, sir, how is us losing our jobs meant to be funny? Would you still laugh if you got replaced at your job by a machine? Or one of your family members did?”

(The customer turned red and grumbled something to himself as he grabbed his groceries and left.)


Rage Against The Machine, Part 3

Rage Against The Machine, Part 2

Rage Against The Machine

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