You Can’t Be Banking On Bad Checks

, , , , , | Right | February 19, 2018

(A woman comes up to the register using a cane and wearing a visor, huge dark sunglasses, and, strangely enough, a really big tag on a string around her neck with a handwritten name on it.)

Me: “Hello, ma’am. Did you find everything okay today?”

Customer: “Yes, I did. You know, my great-grandson was good friends with [Store Founder]. They went fishing together all the time on [Store Founder]’s old fishing boat.”

(As I ring her items, she continues to tell me about their fishing trips, the types of lures they use, the time they caught a really big fish, and so on. As I near the end of the transaction, she stops.)

Customer: “Just so you know, if my check doesn’t go through, just call [Bank], and they’ll tell you to send it through.”

Me: “Well, I can try, but if it doesn’t work on our machine, that won’t help much.”

Customer: *she doesn’t seem to have been listening; she digs out her driver’s license to show me* “Y’know, there’s a reason I always wear my sunglasses. A lot of people get suspicious, but it’s a medical issue.”

(Her explanation is so long-winded that I don’t remember everything she said. I’m a little suspicious by this point, but the picture on the license looks like the same woman and has the same name as the big writing on her makeshift name tag, so there isn’t much I can do. But by this point, my assistant manager is hovering around the register, too, also seeming a little cautious. The customer gives me a strange-looking, dark brown check after the transaction is finished. I attempt to run the check through, and it doesn’t work.)

Me: “Okay, sometimes it—”

Customer: “So, just call the bank.”

Me: “Ma’am, even if we call the bank, it won’t make a difference if our machine doesn’t read it. But let me try scanning it again; sometimes it doesn’t work the first time or even the first two times.”

(I scan the check again and, sure enough, it doesn’t go through.)

Customer: “Just call the bank. This happens all the time.”

(My manager steps in at this point and tries to explain the same thing I did, then has me try turning the check around, upside-down, and just about every way I can think of to try to get it to scan through.)

Customer: “I don’t understand why you won’t just call the bank!”

(My manager examines the check and sees that it’s an unusual type of check, where the routing number is, for some reason, split up into two. She tries typing it in manually, but it still doesn’t work.)

Me: “Ma’am, I’m sorry, but your check just isn’t going through. Do you have another method of payment?”

Customer: “CALL [BANK]!”

Manager: *finally had enough by now* “We can’t call the bank. Like we told you, even if the bank authorizes it, our machine won’t run it. The bank isn’t in charge of our machines. You need to use another way to pay.”

(The customer finally gives up at this point and, with an exasperated sigh, takes some of her items off the transaction and pulls out cash instead.)

Customer: “I can’t believe my checks can’t go through your system. My great-grandson and [Store Founder] would be so ashamed!” *she quickly finishes paying, gathers up her items, and leaves.*

(My manager and I both agree that this was all pretty suspicious. We weren’t sure if she was trying to pull the wool over us, or if she’s really just had this much bad luck in the past.)

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