Crying At The Checkout Is Understandable

, , , , | Right | January 22, 2020

(This happens during a cold winter. I’m working the speedy checkout. The store is not too busy so it’s mostly just one customer at a time. My current customer is a mom with two very young children: one still a baby and the other no older than three. My job before this was at a community center watching over kids where, just like teachers, we can get in HUGE trouble for touching kids even if they initiate it and just want a hug, so I’m always extra careful around kids at any job just out of habit.)

Me: “All right, that’ll be [total] today.”

Customer: *frantically checking in her purse* “Oh, shoot! I left my wallet in the car.”

(She looks desperately at children and then towards exit, and I can see she’s thinking about how much of a hassle it will be to bundle up both the kids to go outside just to get her wallet to come back here and pay.)

Customer: “Can I leave them here with you for just one second?”

Me: *understanding but taken aback* “Uh, yeah, I guess—”

Customer: *runs off to quickly grab her wallet*

Me: “—if you trust a complete stranger to do that.”

Baby: *starts crying IMMEDIATELY after the mom is out of sight as her brother sits in the back staring at her*

Me: *hovers around the baby trying to get her to calm down* “Don’t worry, your mom will be right back. It’s going to be okay. I know, it’s really scary that she left, but she won’t be long.”

(My coworker at the other speedy check is looking back on me due to the loud wailing.)

Coworker: “Where’s their mother?!”

Me: *seeing security eyeing me, shouting to be heard* “She went to get her wallet! She should be back soon!”

Coworker: “I hope she does come back!”

Me: *suddenly panicked at not even having considered this*

(Fortunately, the mom did come back a minute later and her poor baby immediately calmed down, and I did not get any customers in my line during the time. Probably turned away due to the crying baby!)

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As Bad As Retail Is…  

, , , , | Right | January 20, 2020

(I’m still a rather new cashier and trying to balance an efficient checkout with the required social niceties and store greeting cause me to run on autopilot while checking out customers. Sometimes I do not fully process what customers are telling me when it’s just small-talk and I’m also naturally a little oblivious sometimes, which can either be a good thing or a bad thing. This is speedy checkout, but the customer and I have still managed to fit in a conversation. As I am already one of the fastest cashiers, I get lots of comments on this from customers.)

Me: “[Company required greeting].”

Customer: “D***, working hard for that money, huh?”

Me: “I try! It’s too bad money doesn’t just appear in my account.”

Customer: “Well, I’d be willing to give you some money for… doing some things for me.”

Me: “Ha, well, if they were easy jobs, that might not be a bad deal.”

Customer: “Well, I don’t think they’d be too bad, if I do say so myself.”

Me: “So, that’s [total]. Thanks for shopping with us and you have a good day!”

Customer: *pays and as he’s walking away* “Anyway, you just think about my offer!”

Me: *internally, finally processing and still smiling but shuddering* “Why the f*** did he just solicit me for sex like that was acceptable small-talk?!”

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Entitlement Lasts Past The Crime  

, , , , | Right | January 10, 2020

(Two of us are working the self-checkout at this multinational retail corporation. I have only been with the store a few weeks, but my coworker has been here for years, is regularly scheduled for self-check, and has eagle eyes for the thieves. Our store doesn’t yet have small scanners attached to the self-checkout scanners, so customers with large items like dry dog food or 24-packs of water must lift the entire item up to the immovable scanner. We know this is more work, so we often sweep by and offer to help the customer with items like these. My coworker sees a woman in her 40s or 50s checking out alone and offers to help her with the pack of water bottles on the bottom of her basket. The woman refuses, so just as a check, my coworker slips over to the security guard, points the customer out, and asks him to make sure and check her receipt to see that she scanned the water. Sure enough…)

Security Guard: *leading the woman back to the cashier’s register at self-checkout, where I happen to be standing* “Don’t worry, ma’am. She’ll help you check out.” *to me* “She just needs the water scanned.”

Me: “All right, thank you. Don’t worry, miss; we’ll have you out of here in no time.”

Customer: “Does he always do that?”

Me: “Do what?”

Customer: “Demand to see customer receipts!”

Me: “Well, yes, that’s actually a large part of his job.”

Customer: “Well, it’s rude! Why would he suspect me of stealing anything?”

Me: *internally* “Uh… because you were? Exactly what moral high ground do you think you have here?” *externally* “I’m sure he didn’t suspect, you, ma’am; he’s just required by the store to check a certain amount of receipts each shift, and he always checks baskets with large items like packs of water bottles, especially if they’re below the basket, because those are easily forgotten. Even us cashiers can easily forget them.”

Customer: “Well, he shouldn’t do that! Look at me! I’m clearly respectable, and I deserve to be treated better than this!”

(The customer left without lingering after receiving her receipt for the water, but godd***, you’d think she’d been wrongfully accused of stealing instead of getting caught red-handed.)

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Back Of The Line, Back Of Their Thoughts

, , , | Right | January 10, 2020

(I live in New Mexico and a lot of people here only speak Spanish. I, unfortunately, speak almost no Spanish, though I know I should learn more. A busy period has just hit and the lines on all the registers have quickly grown. I have greeted the next customers in line, who smiled and said something in Spanish. I finish up the purchase without the pressure of having to make small talk and give the total, gesturing towards the screen that gives the total to indicate that I’m done. The two customers together that were next in line just stand there not moving. I have repeated the total a couple of times, hoping to get things moving, but at this point, we’re all just standing around waiting for the order to be paid for.)

Manager: *who sees that my line has stalled* “What’s up, [My Name]?”

Me: “I don’t know. I’m waiting for them to pay, but I don’t speak Spanish, so I’m not sure what the holdup is.”

Manager: “Ah, okay, let me go grab someone who speaks Spanish.”

Coworker: *converses with customers in Spanish* “They say that’s not their order.”

Me: “Oh! It was the next one on the belt! I don’t know whose it is, then.”

(My manager, my coworker, and I start looking down the line. A customer in the back of the line notices the holdup and confusion, and then sees the large mirror waiting in the bagging area.)

Back Of The Line Customer: “Oh, are you all waiting on me? That’s my stuff!”

(My manager and coworker leave, and I’m a bit flummoxed about what just happened.)

Me: “Sorry about that. Your total is [total].”

Back Of The Line Customer: “I thought you’d just put my stuff off to the side! I went to get my mother.”

Me: *internally* “I see hundreds of people a day and there are half a dozen people in this line right now. You couldn’t have said anything?! You couldn’t have told me you needed to come back and to set your stuff aside? I glanced back to see how big my line is; I don’t have your face or purchase memorized. What, did you tell the customers behind you who clearly didn’t understand a word you were saying nor could communicate it to me?! Were you just standing back there waiting in this unmoving line for five minutes as I waited for this poor couple to pay for your stuff that I didn’t know wasn’t theirs? What?! Who does that when they’re next in line?”

Me: *out loud* “Haha, nope. Well, have a nice day!”

(I was pretty embarrassed about not catching that it wasn’t their order even though they were standing next to it and waiting at the pay screen instead of by their order on the belt, but luckily none of the customers in line commented on it to me!)

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Tipped To Be A Good Christmas

, , , , , | Working | December 23, 2019

(It is Christmas Day, and I am just leaving my in-laws’ house around 6:00 pm after a busy, hectic day of festivities, with my three small children in tow. My husband is working nights, and I have been battling a massive migraine for the past few hours. As I’m driving home, contemplating how I’m going to manage to get through dinner and bedtime when I can barely function enough to drive, I see that a local fast food place — known for its drive-in stalls, but often has a drive-thru — is still open. Normally, I don’t frequent businesses on holidays, because I don’t agree with employees having to work, but out of desperation, I turn into the drive-thru. When I get up to the window, I hand over my check card and a $20 bill.)

Me: “Here, this is for you guys in there to split. Like a tip. I want you to know I really appreciate you guys being open right now, and it’s the least I can do.”

Cashier: “Oh, no… That’s okay.”

Me: “No, really. Take it. I know you can take tips when you take food to the drive-in stalls, so just consider it a tip for everyone to share. And thank you for working on a holiday.”

(The cashier reluctantly took the money, and a few minutes later, I was driving home with the food. When I got home, I looked in the bags to discover that, instead of the medium onion ring that I had ordered, one entire bag was full of onion rings! It was a small gesture of thanks, but I was able to nurse my migraine that night while pigging out on onion rings and didn’t have to cook a full dinner before wrestling the kids to bed. It was a godsend. Thank you, fast food workers! You guys don’t get enough credit for what you do!)

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