Just Till-ing It Like It Is

| East Sussex, England, UK | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests

(A customer comes in at about 2 pm; he is the only customer in the store.)

Customer: “Why is there only one person by your tills?”

Coworker: “Because it’s a quiet period. My manager and my other colleague are currently restocking the shelves.”

Customer: “That’s ridiculous! Somebody should be on every till!”

Coworker: “Ma’am, with respect, you’re the only person in the store. Why would we need all three tills to be manned?”

Customer: “I should have the right to choose who I get served by.”

Coworker: “Well, I could buzz for my colleagues if you like?”

Customer: “No, I don’t want to have to wait. I’m busy. I’m in a rush.”

Coworker: “Well, either I can buzz for my colleagues or I can serve you and you can get on with your day. Which would you prefer?”

Customer: “NEITHER! I WANT TO CHOOSE MY TILL!”

Coworker: “Ma’am, those are my only two options. My colleagues aren’t at the till. If you want a choice, I can buzz them and they’ll get here within twenty seconds, or I can serve you and you can be out of the store and getting on with your day within twenty seconds. The choice is utterly yours.”

Customer: “I can’t believe your service is so poor. You know what? I don’t even want this!”

(The customer puts down a bottled drink.)

Customer: “I will just have a drink when I get home.”

(By now, my manager and I have heard the commotion. We come over after the customer leaves.)

Manager: “What just happened?”

Coworker: “I… I’m not sure.”

A Wee Bit Foreign, Part 2

| Brisbane, QLD, Australia | At The Checkout, Bigotry, Language & Words

(I am Scottish, and working the registers.)

Me: “Hi, how are you today, ma’am?”

Customer: “Pardon?”

Me: “Uh, was just asking how you were going today.”

Customer: “Wow, that’s a strong accent you have there. Are you working whilst backpacking or something?”

Me: “No, ma’am, I have lived here for the last 10 years now. Moved over here with my parents.”

(I continue scanning and packing the customer’s items, while she just stares at me blankly.)

Customer: “So, if you’ve been here so long, how come you still can’t talk properly?”

Me: “Uh… I’m sorry, ma’am?”

Customer: “Oh, it’s alright. Not your fault you’re a bit slow.”

(After finishing the transaction in stunned silence, she thanks me and leaves with her items. I look over at my supervisor who heard the exchange.)

Supervisor: “You always get the interesting ones, don’t you?”

Related:
A Wee Bit Foreign

Extreme Foreign Interests

| England, UK | At The Checkout, Geography, Language & Words

(I suffered from a speech disorder as a child, and while I speak perfectly now, I have a slight twang in my voice. I’m on the checkout when a smartly-dressed customer approaches the till.)

Me: “Hello! How are you today?”

Customer: “…where are you from?”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Customer: “Where. Are. You. From?”

Me: “Um, I’m local, if that’s what you mean.”

Customer: “No, where were you born?”

Me: “In [local hospital].”

Customer: *sighs* “Where are your parents from?”

Me: “They’re from [local town] and [local city].”

Customer: *getting irate* “I just want you to tell me where you’re from! Explain your accent!”

Me: “Oh! My accent! Yes, there’s an explanation for that; see when I was a kid—”

Customer: “I don’t want to hear your life story! Why are you ashamed of your heritage? You are probably bringing shame to your family by denying them! I get that there are racists here, but you don’t need to deny who you are! I won’t judge you!”

Me: “Sir, I don’t know what you want me to say.”

Customer: “Tell me your parents were born in a different country!”

Me: “Um… they were born in [other country]?”

Customer: “Yes! See how easy that is? Why couldn’t you have just said that in the first place?!”

(He grabs his bags and marches off. I turn to the next customer.)

Me: “Afternoon!”

Customer #2: “That was a lie, right?”

Me: “Yep. How can I help you today?”