That’s A Whole Lot Of Awkwardness For Just One Purchase

, , , , | Right | May 1, 2021

Our store has recently started charging customers five cents for plastic bags to encourage use of reusable cloth bags. It’s a slow evening and I’m working express. A man approaches my register with a sleeping bag, which he slams down on the counter. I’m taken aback but still greet him cheerfully.

Me: “Hello.”

No response. I scan his item and ask, as I am required to do by management:

Me: “Would you like to support the [Local Children’s Hospital] today and buy a pen for $2.00?”

No answer. I tell him his total and notice that he already has his card ready.

Me: “You can insert your card, chip on the bottom.”

The man finally deigns to speak to me, saying very pointedly:

Customer: “This is a Visa, okay?”

Me: “Okay. You can insert your card, chip on the bottom.”

He does not insert his card. Instead, he seemingly stares into space behind me. I’m starting to wonder if he is on drugs of some sort and I’m becoming uncomfortable. I glance behind me and there’s a woman walking towards the exit with her cart full of purchases. As she passes, she waves at the man I’m serving and yells:

Woman: “How are you, buddy?”

When she’s gone, the man gives me a bemused look.

Customer: “Who was that?”

Me: “I don’t know. Please insert your card, chip at the bottom.”

He finally pays for his item. As he does so, it begins to dawn on me that he must have been staring at that woman, making her uncomfortable, and she responded by sarcastically greeting him. This guy is so socially inept he took her seriously.

Finally, his sleeping bag is paid for and I think this bizarre encounter is finally over with. No such luck. The man asks for a bag for his purchase.

Me: “Well, the bags cost five cents now and this won’t really fit even a large bag.”

Customer: “I just spent fifty dollars; put that in a f****** bag!”

Clearly, this is not an argument worth having, so I pull a large bag from the rack behind me and stuff his sleeping bag inside. The sleeping bag pokes over the top, pushing the handles far apart. Basically, there is absolutely no point in having this item in a bag.

Customer: “Is that one of those bags?”

He points to the rack behind me. You know, the rack that I have just taken the bag from, right in front of his eyes.

Me: “Yes.”

Customer: “By the way, you didn’t tell me when you were ringing me in that the bags cost five cents.”

Me: “No, sir, because I have never had a customer request a bag for that item before.”

I refrained from adding, “And you were also super rude while I was ringing you in and ignored everything I said, so why would I go out of my way to inform you of a bag charge that shouldn’t have even applied to you?”

The man thanked me sarcastically and finally left. To this day, he remains the most mind-boggling customer I ever had.

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