The Card Will Expire Before You’re Done

, , , , , | Right | May 6, 2020

I’m working the returns and customer service desk at a home improvement store when an elderly lady comes in with a thick accent and a return. I process the return, which was paid with debit, so it goes back to her debit card.

Customer: “What do I do?”

Me: “Just put your chip card in the machine and follow the prompts. It’s just like making a purchase except I’m giving you money.”

She puts in her card and I turn my back. I don’t want to be accused of trying to spy on her PIN code. 

I hear the machine beep and a small receipt spits out. The transaction was cancelled.

Customer: “I’m done?”

I turn back to the customer:

Me: “Looks like it was cancelled by accident; let’s just try that again.”

I reset the machine.

Customer: “What do I do?”

Me: “Just put your chip card in the machine and—”

The customer hits “Cancel.”

Customer: “I have my money?”

Me: “No, looks like we’re just having some technical problems. One more time, chip in the bottom.”

I reset it again. The customer puts the card in the machine.

Customer: “Now what?”

Me: “It’s just like when you use it to buy. Press ‘Yes.’ The amount is correct.”

I reach over and press “Yes.”

Me: “Now, just select the account: chequing or savings—”

The customer hits “Cancel.”

Customer: “Do I get a receipt?”

Out of the corner of my eye, I see my supervisor shaking slightly. I reset the machine, yet again.

Me: “Of course, as soon as we finish your return. Let me just come around and see what’s going on.”

Customer: “What do I do?”

Me: “Let’s just put the card back in the machine. Now, don’t hit the big red button. Then, ‘Yes,’ the amount is good, so just select the account: chequing or savings.”

Customer: “…”

Me: “Chequing or savings?”

Customer: “Chaving!”

The customer hits “Cancel.” I see my supervisor shaking hard, covering her mouth, and slipping into the office just behind us. I reset the machine.

Me: “One more time. We’ll get this. Just select the account: chequing or savings.”

Customer: “Just select the… chaving.”

Me: “Just press the button for the account.”

I have my hand over the keypad so she can’t hit “Cancel” now.

Customer: “…”

Me: “Just press the button for—”

Customer: *Still not moving* “Chaving.”

I take a stab and press “Chequing.”

Me: “Great! Now just enter your PIN and hit the green enter button.”

She enters her PIN and… “Cancel.”

Customer: “You give me money now?”

Me: “Not just yet. We’ll get it this time for sure.”

We get to the PIN. I’m watching like a hawk now, privacy be d***ed!

Me: “So, enter your PIN.”

The customer enters her PIN and I slap my hand over the PIN pad. 

Me: “Is that your whole PIN?”

Customer: “Yes.”

I take a deep breath and press “Enter,” fearing and hoping at the same time. Transaction complete and the receipt spits out.

Customer: “You give me money now?”

Me: “Yep, it’s been put back to your debit card, just the way you paid.”

I hand her the receipts with all the cancelled copies and bid her a good day. I’m standing there, dumbfounded by what I’ve just seen and just glad it’s over, when my supervisor comes out.

Supervisor: “I’m sorry, I had to leave before I burst out laughing. How did she buy the stuff in the first place?!”

Me: “How did she find her way back to the store?”

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