That Scam Has Been (Chicken) Popped

, , , , | Right | July 2, 2021

I’m within my first few weeks of working at a large retailer as a cashier. Two women come to my till with a cart of groceries. I greet them and begin scanning.

Customer #1: “She has food stamps.”

Me: “Okay. Most of this will be covered by that, but that won’t be.”

I point to a cup of chicken poppers they are sharing.

Customer #2: “But it’s food.”

Me: “Yes, but food stamps have certain rules.”

Customer #1: “So, [Customer #2] can’t have a hot meal?”

Me: “That’s not—”

Customer #1: “It’s fine. Just do it.”

Me: “Okay.”

I scan everything and tell them the total. [Customer #2] swipes her food stamps card and the register takes off everything except, as I predicted, the $5 in chicken poppers she got from our deli. By now, they’re almost gone.

Me: “You still owe $5.”

Customer #2: “But I have food stamps.”

Me: “As I said, those poppers aren’t covered.”

Customer #2: “But it’s food. Food stamps cover food.”

Me: “There are rules for—”

Customer #1: “Get your manager.”

I page for the manager and, while we wait, the women shove the remaining chicken poppers in their mouths. When he arrives, the empty container is sitting by the PIN pad.

Manager: “How can I help?”

Me: *Pointing to the empty cup* “This—”

Customer #1: “[Customer #2] already used her food stamps. You can’t make us pay for an empty cup.”

Manager: “Hot foods are not covered on food stamps, and you already ate them so, yes, you have to pay.”

Customer #2: “But I used food stamps! Food stamps are for food!”

Customer #1: “She doesn’t have any other money!” *Louder* “Why does [Store] discriminate against the mentally handicapped?”

Manager: *Crossing his arms* “Pay the $5 or I’m calling the police.”

Customer #1: *Slaps a $5 bill on the conveyor belt* “I hope you enjoy Hell!”

Me: *Handing over the receipt with an extra cheerful voice* “Bye, ladies!”

Manager: “They pull that s*** all the time.”

Me: “Good to know.”

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