The Sinister Six

, , , , , | Right | January 10, 2019

(I am the only cashier at closing. Half a dozen elderly women are shopping when I announce over the intercom that we are closing in fifteen minutes. None of them come up to the register. I make the next announcement at five minutes until closing. No one comes up to the register. Sighing, I wait, and at nine pm sharp, I make the final announcement that we are now closed. Of course, this is the moment that all six women came up with their items and form a line. This seems too orchestrated to be a coincidence, which confirms in my mind that they are all friends. One of the women further down the line calls up to me.)

Customer: “Is there someone else who could help to check us out?”

(I stare at her in disbelief. I hold her gaze for a long moment. I shake my head slowly.)

Me: “Not at this time of night. It’s just me.”

(It took a beat, but then the whole line shifted and sighed, resigned. I wonder if their logic was that, if they waited until closing to pay, the employees would be motivated to get them out of the store faster by opening lots of registers to speed up the process. Thankfully, as it sank in that their clever ploy to avoid a long line had failed, I heard no more complaints from the customers. All but one of the register drawers had already been closed down, and the managers on duty were in the back room, counting the change. I knew that my two managers, both tired after shifts that are always longer than the cashiers’, would take about fifteen minutes to get new drawers ready. There was no point calling them for backup, so I dealt with the line on my own in fifteen minutes.)

Working Customer Service Can Be Starey

, , , , | Right | January 9, 2019

(I’m the only cashier at the registers. A male customer walks into the store and approaches me.)

Me: “Hello.”

Customer: *mumbles something that I don’t catch*

Me: “I’m sorry, sir, could you say that again?”

Customer: *stares at me*

Me: “I didn’t quite catch what you said. Could you say it again?”

Customer: *just stares*

Me: “Are you looking for something here at the store? I can call someone up to help you.”

(He continues to stare. Other customers are approaching the register.)

Me: *to the first customer* “I’m sorry, sir, it can be hard to hear things up here sometimes. Are you looking for anything particular today?

([Customer] continues to stare. The other customers are watching this all, looking confused. I’m at a loss at what to do next.)

Me: “Okay… I’m going to help these people now, unless I can do something for you?”

(He said nothing. So, I turned to the other customers, greeted each one, and started ringing up their purchases. After another moment or two of staring, [Customer] turned and left the store.)

Terrorism On The Rise Is Intelligence On The Fall

, , , , , | Right | December 4, 2018

(A woman is browsing my store when there is a sudden burst of loud, unintelligible screaming out in the hall.)

Customer: “What was that?!

Me: “It’s a disabled man. His family or caretakers bring him to the mall every now and then.”

Customer: “Oh. Well, you never know, with all those terrorists out there.”

Me: “Okay, then.”

Lollipops And Fisticuffs!

, , , , | Right | November 10, 2018

(My company switched their ordering system this year to large shipments every other month instead of regular shipments every month. Because of this, we can sometimes run out of popular candy in the last week or so before the shipment comes in.)

Customer: “What?! You’re out of [Popular Candy #1] and [Popular Candy #2]?! I’ve got to talk to a manager! Are you the manager?”

Me: *shrugging* “I’m the associate manager.”

Customer: “Well, now we’ve got to fight.”

Me: “Okay. Put ’em up!”

(I start “threatening” the customer by waving my fists at her cartoonishly. She laughs, but then accidentally knocks over a box of lollipops, spilling them on the floor.)

Me: “Oh, now we’ve really got to fight!”

(We didn’t fight, but she did buy a couple of lollipops.)

Caught In The Middle Of Their Inability To Find The Middle

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

Customer: “Where are your bags?”

Me: “Middle shelf, next to the boxes.”

(The customer reaches for the top shelf of boxes.)

Me: “MIDDLE shelf, next to the boxes.”

(The customer moves their hand to the middle shelf of boxes.)

Me: “NEXT TO the boxes.”

(The customer moves their hand to the bottom shelf of boxes.)

Me: “MIDDLE shelf, NEXT TO the boxes.”

(The customer moves their hand back to the middle shelf of boxes, then hovers it the opposite direction of the bags.)

Me: “Other direction.”

(The customer turns and walks away from the boxes and bags entirely.)

Me: “Let me just grab one for you.”

(There are days when I have to go through this with multiple customers. And then there’s days where I’ll point at the bags on one shelf and the customer will successfully retrieve one from a different shelf.)

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