There’s never a dull moment when working in customer service. These cashiers reveal their ‘What The Heck?!’ moments they’ve had with customers. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
Ma’am, Let The Employee Help You
“Having worked as a cashier for over a decade, I could fill a book with all the moments that left me scratching my head or shaking it in disgust. Such as the time a lady tried to give me a check which she had slyly written ‘void’ on the line where you normally write out the amount. But that was nothing compared to this one incident.
It was after I had been working at this store for a few years. Our registers were quite old, and some of our procedures were a little unnecessarily complicated. One such complication was voiding items on an order. Every item voided had to be written out on a piece of paper with the UPC and the price to be dropped with the till at the end of the shift. Also, there was no running total on the machine, so the only way to know the total would be to hit the ‘total’ key. Any void over 10 dollars triggered a manager’s key.
Well, this particular night it was the end of my shift. I had shut my register down with only two customers left to ring up. The first lady had a basket that was overfull of groceries. I started scanning as she finished loading up. About halfway through her order she walked up and asked me what the total is.
I said, ‘Right now you are at $140.22.’
She said, ‘Oh no! I went over. I need to put a couple of things back!’
It wasn’t unusual for this to happen, but it was kind of a pain. Because with half her order still not rung up, I had to call for someone to bring an extra cart to put the rest away. Not to mention the poor customer waiting behind her. I liked to try to streamline these situations as much as I could, so I asked, ‘What’s your budget, so we can figure out what you need to take off?’
Only, she ignored me. She handed me several items, which I voided, then had to wait for the manager as I began to write them down.
When he came, I gave her the new total. ‘$125.72.’
‘I’m still over!’ she was exasperated.
‘If you tell me your limit, I can help you figure out how much you need to take off.’
She still ignored me. She handed me several more items, and I began to void them, write them down, and call the manager again. At this point, I shot a look at the next customer that was a mixture of apology and helplessness. It was too late for him to get in another line because all the other lines were incredibly long.
So the manager came for the override, and I gave her the total, ‘103.39.’
She was pretty frustrated at this point because apparently she still didn’t have enough. At this point, the manager decided to stick around, because I was on overtime, and it was obvious that he would have to come back anyway.
So I decided to switch strategies. I asked, ‘How much more do you need to take off?’
She replied, ‘I have to stay under 50 bucks.’
So off came the razors for 14 bucks, and the deli turkey for another 10 bucks. Off came both bottles of vitamins for five bucks a pop. Then she decided on a large number of less expensive items to put back.
Finally, finally, we got the total under 50 bucks. She paid and left with a fraction of what she rolled up with. I put the other customer through, then spent another 15 minutes finishing up writing the rest of the voids down. I ended up being 45 minutes overtime.
So when we got new registers that kept a running total, no one was more excited than me.
Even to this day, I can’t understand how someone can miscalculate what they’ve spent by that much.”
A Fake 20 Dollar Bill
“I was cashier and manager at a pizza place. This very nasty and rude couple ordered a pie and was nasty the whole transaction. The doofus handed me a very fake 20 dollar bill. I knew it was fake yet took it anyway. I called the cops. From there, the cops called the secret service.
Ten minutes later, they came through the back door and walked behind the counter to my register. I opened it and showed them. Meanwhile, the nasty man and his horrible girlfriend looked nervous. The secret service guy asked me to point out the dude. I did.
He then went over to him and asked if he paid with said bill. Of course, he denied everything. I showed the guy the video evidence. The police officer and secret service guy led them out in handcuffs. Turns out he had a warrant for his arrest.
As they dragged him out, I said, ‘Thanks for stopping by! See you in twenty years!’
Other customers applauded when they hauled him out.”
“I Am Grown, I Can Do Whatever I Want”
“One day at work, this woman was standing around so I assumed she wanted to use our self-checkout machine.
I said politely, ‘Ma’am, if you wanna use self-checkout, we have this one over here available.’
She yelled, ‘Why aren’t y’all on the register?’
I couldn’t get on a register since my manager didn’t assign me one and she was busy doing something else. The lady ended up using self-checkout and was so rude to me every time she signaled me over to help her. Her tone was so bad, but I remained to calm up until she just kept being disrespectful.
I finally asked her, ‘Why are you being so rude when I’ve been nothing but nice to you?’
She said, ‘I’m grown, I can do whatever I want.’
Later in the argument, she said, ‘Come outside. Come outside.’
She looked to be in her late ’30s, or early 40’s, while I was 19 years old at the time. She wanted to fight with me because I was fed up with being nice when she was talking to me like a dog and not a human.”
Football Sundays Are Intense
“When I was 16, I worked at a grocery store called ‘Hy-Vee’. At Hy-Vee, one had to be 18 years old to scan adult beverage purchases. If one was younger than 18, and someone tried to purchase some, then one would have to ring up all of the other groceries and then flip a light on the cashier station that would flash and a manager would come and do the sale.
They were very strict about the adult beverage rule, to the point where if we were under 18 and even touched them we could be terminated. The cashier system had our birthdays on it so even if we tried to scan some, it would pop up with a red box and a message saying, ‘YOU ARE UNDER 18 YEARS OLD MANAGER CODE REQUIRED’ or something along those lines.
Anyway, I was working one Sunday morning (during football season) and we were packed as usual. The problem was that since it was the weekend, most cashiers were high school students and unable to ring up adult beverages.
This man came through my line. He was obviously a mechanic or something like that judging by the dirt all over his skin and clothes and he also smelled terrible. He had at least 30 cans of baked beans and several cases of Natty Lites. So, I rung up the baked beans and let him know that I was not 18 and a manager would be over soon to ring up the cases.
This is when he became angry.
I told him, ‘It will just be a couple of minutes.’
He said, ‘I don’t HAVE a couple of minutes. SOME OF US HAVE REAL JOBS!’
Not sure what that meant, since I was literally a high school student working a normal part time job. As I previously mentioned, this was football Sunday and most if not all the cashiers were under 18. I looked up and saw four other cashier lights flashing for a manager. The man also saw this and so he grabbed one of his cases and tried to ring it up by reaching over the screen and scanning it, all while I was trying to explain that the system would not even allow me to do so because it knew I was 16.
Once he realized this wasn’t going to work, he started throwing his cans of beans at me, and screamed, ‘FORGET THIS! I AM GOING TO WALMART’, and he left.
My manager came over and I told him what had happened and he asked me if I wanted to call the police. I said no because I just thought it was funny. He couldn’t have waited an extra minute for a manager to ring up his drinks, and instead decided it would be faster to drive across town to Wal-Mart, retrieve all of his items, and get in a line there again.”
How Many Are In A Half A Dozen?
“My dad had a large corner store in a town called Maryborough in Queensland, Australia. He bought that with his new wife not too many years after the divorce from my mother.
Maryborough was a good three-hour drive from where my mother and I lived so I only got to see dad during school holidays. It was good because I saw dad and got to earn some coins working in the shop with him. Win-win. Well, triple win really because I learned just how daft some people in the shopping public can be.
This older lady came in to order some sliced ham. Dad would slice it fresh from the bone right there. Here’s how the conversation went with my dad and her.
Lady: ‘I would like some sliced ham, please.’
Dad: ‘How many would you like? Half a dozen slices?’
Lady: ‘No. I’ll just have six slices please.’
Hmmm. Maybe she didn’t hear, right? After all, she was getting on in years. She wasn’t done buying and so the conversation continued.
Lady: ‘I want a box of a dozen matchboxes, please. That’s twelve you know!’
She said it so sarcastically too. After she left, dad and I had a good laugh and then he told me about another older woman and her new dentures.
As dad said, ‘She was so excited about her new teeth she just had to tell somebody. But then she pulls them all the way out and shows me! Drool and slobber everywhere! Who does that?’
The buying public is so entertaining!”
“I worked as a picture framer in a craft store. I was pregnant and had a toddler at home during this time, so I was down to part-time hours. As such, many times I’d have been off when an order was taken, yet there when it was time to be picked up.
It was the holiday season and framing was 50 percent off. We were slammed for two months.
So in strolled a regular named ‘Lois’. I was at the framing register and she rudely interrupted a sale I was conducting to inform me she was there to pick up her order.
She said, ‘It better be right because you people can really mess up a wet dream.’
I was instantly grossed out by her. And she was no slouch by any means; she was extremely well-dressed, had an expensive haircut, and wore a huge diamond ring.
I told her I’d be right with her. To which she huffed and puffed. When it was her turn, she gave me her last name, but not her purchase ticket. We clearly instructed everyone to have that ticket, because the item number marked on it made the item easier to find. Of course, she didn’t have it. So she repeated her first and last name LOUDER.
I went to look for her order. I got a sick feeling when I couldn’t find it. I looked again and again. By now Lois was getting red in the face and telling me how I better not have lost her priceless piece of art. I couldn’t find it, so I rang my manager. The manager came and tried to calm down Lois and also help me look.
Eventually, we brought every single piece of framed work out, and unwrapped it, thinking perhaps it was mislabeled.
With every one, Lois was violently shaking her head, yelling, ‘NOPE. NO, NOT IT. WHAT THE HECK IS WRONG WITH YOU IDIOTS?! HOW HARD IS IT?! DARN YOU!’
This went on and on until finally, my manager told Lois that she was going to have to return the next day.
My manager said, ‘We will take the store apart after closing, and we will find it.’
Lois was screaming, raging, and threatening bodily harm at this point. But somehow we got her out. After hours I had to stay and search with my manager. We looked for three hours.
My manager said, ‘I will have to call the district manager and ask how to proceed since the lady is threatening legal action.’
I went home and fell into bed, sobbing.
I had the next two days off but I was so paranoid to go back to work. When I got there everyone in my department was smiling so I figured it must have been found.
I asked, Did you guys find Lois X’s order?’
A coworker said, ‘NOPE.’
‘OH NO,’ I said, thinking today would be the day she showed back up. Just my luck.
My manager came to find me later and apologized profusely for keeping me so late on Lois The Terror Day.
I said, ‘It’s, fine, but what’s happened? Is she suing?’
My manager said, ‘No. I called all the other stores within an hour from here and found out that she had it framed in another store.'”
Hmm, The Price Seemed Too Cheap
“When I worked at Staples, about 15 minutes before closing time, I had a lady who looked to be in her 60s, walked in and walked up to our iPad case display.
She spent about 10 minutes looking through them and picked out one of our premium leather cases that cost $59.99. As she came up to my register to check out, she seemed to have a slight irritating smirk on her face as she approached. When I rang her up, she looked at the PIN payment screen, nonchalantly shook her head, and said, ‘No.’
I looked at her and said, ‘No? No what?’
She said, ‘That’s not the price I’m paying. The price tag on the display said $4.99.’
I know well that even if the case were on sale (which it wasn’t), it would cost quite a bit more than that.
I asked her to wait for a second while I went to check the case display and saw that she was looking at the price tag for the iPad skins that we sold. I walked back and explained the misunderstanding and asked if she’d like me to put the case back for her.
She says, ‘No I still want the case, but I’m only paying $4.99 for it.’
I looked at her slightly dumbfounded, and politely said, ‘I’m sorry but I won’t be able to sell you this case for that price.’
She said, ‘You don’t have a choice. For one, the customer is always right, and for two, your display was messed up, which is your fault.’
‘Happy Customer Service Jessica’ had left the building at that point, so I responded, ‘Well, the case may have been in the wrong spot but there’s no way you’re leaving here with a $4.99 leather case.’
She arrogantly said, ‘Bring me your manager.’
I called her over and explain the situation. Mind you, this was a manager who had zero tolerance for people who came in at the last minute before closing, and it was now five minutes past closing.
She said, ‘Ma’am, that case was in the wrong spot, and I’m sure you saw that all the others just like it were in the $59.99 spot but you chose to try and take advantage of my cashier. You can purchase this case for $59.99, or you can leave right now.’
The lady made some comment about calling corporate and walked out, careless.”
Something Didn’t Seem Right With This Return
“One holiday season, a friend of mine whose mother was a sales manager at Macy’s hired me as a seasonal salesperson at their costume jewelry counter. I was 18 years old on a month long break from college and it was quick cash. I stayed on a little past the holiday to help handle the day after Christmas return frenzy.
I expected to handle lots of returns because taste in jewelry is so personal and all that, but I couldn’t imagine how sleazy and dishonest so many customers were.
I tried really, really hard to stay professional as people marched up to me and demanded their returns NOW; at times throwing on the counter a piece of jewelry that had been laying at the bottom of their handbag with junk piled on top. I was asked to issue refunds on bracelets with food stuck on them and broken bracelets that buyers insisted had been sold to them that way. I had people pretend not to speak English when I asked for a receipt (that they didn’t have). Of course when I told them I could only issue store credit all of a sudden they were able to threaten me in fluent English.
I was incensed by how shameless these people were. I had way less money than they did, and would never have tried to return used or broken merchandise that I no longer wanted. Yes I was working for a big box store, but who cares if it was an ‘evil corporation’? The attitude of entitlement so many of them had and how smugly they could say ‘the customer is alway right’, is how they justified THEFT.
On my last day, I got another nasty, nasty piece of work. As she stomped by people, knocking into them with her bags, I could already see the anger rolling off her.
‘What the heck?’ I thought to myself.
She slammed her return down on the counter (a costume ruby/diamond bracelet) and demanded to return it. The bracelet was quite worn and there was no way that thing had been given to her a week before. But she had a receipt. I looked at the receipt and the bracelet.
It being my last day and all, I was beyond fed up so I said, ‘Ma’am, really? This is a clearly used bracelet, and it’s not even the bracelet described on the receipt.’
She said in response, ‘Listen here, you little brat, I have no time for this nonsense today. Give me my money back NOW!’
It took every ounce of self restraint I had but I said calmly, ‘The item listed on the receipt is a yellow gold plate CZ bracelet and you just handed me a white gold plated ruby CZ bracelet that looks quite worn. I cannot issue a refund on merchandise that doesn’t have a store receipt and was likely not purchased at Macy’s.’
She leaned very aggressively into me, pointing a finger on which was what looked like a two inch press-on claw, and said, ‘Just wait right here.’ And she walked away.
By that time I was shaking and feeling like I picked the wrong person to deny a refund to. I feared she might punch me or come back with a weapon because she was the angriest person I had ever encountered. I tried to look calm and received a couple of sympathetic nods from some other customers, but I could tell everyone was disturbed by her too.
She returned shortly after with a manager, who looked at me sheepishly and said, ‘We gotta make the return.’
I whispered to the manager, ‘Seriously? This isn’t even the bracelet on the receipt! How do we know this was even Macy’s merchandise?’
The manager whispered, ‘I know, I know, trust me. Just issue the refund, it’s our store policy, and (gesturing with her head to the psycho waiting there) believe me the alternative will be a lot worse.’
I said, ‘Ok, but stay here in case she punches me.’
I knew she would insist on receiving cash. But I played dumb and started moving really slowly. I took forever to process her return. First I issued a credit. I acted like I had forgotten it was supposed to be a refund. She flipped out. Then I rang it up wrong a few times. And I told her the register was having issues and was jammed. I called over a repair person to help me open it and acted surprised when it worked. Yes it was juvenile and passive aggressive of me, but it helped me regain a little bit of dignity and I ended my time at Macy’s on a mostly decent note.
To anyone who works in customer service, I feel your pain!”
Sketchy Activity At Wal-Mart
“I worked at Walmart before it was commonplace to swipe on your end (customer’s) when using a card. I was one that if you handed me a card as a male customer, I expected a male’s name of shopping solo, and same if female.
This lady with a child came through getting pictures paid for and some snacks and soda. The total was under 10 bucks. She handed me a card with an obviously male name on it. Politely and calmly informed her that I couldn’t accept the card, and flashed my lane light for a manager. Understandably, she was upset and started going off on me.
I was left thinking why was she getting upset, I was just looking to protect the cardholder. She was still yelling at me when my manager came over, and I quickly explained what was going on.
The manager said, ‘Ma’am, come over to the service desk. There we can verify if you’re on the account or not, and finish up there.’
An hour or so later, I got my lunch, and the manager was there. So I asked what the result was. The result? The father had to come to pick up the kid, as the lady got silver bracelets for her wrists. Apparently, they were in the middle of a bitter divorce, and she was trying to nickel and dime him. She got arrested for fraud or the like, and I continued on with my shift.”
“Can You Tell Me What’s Wrong With This Bill?”
“Everyone knows how a ten-dollar bill has a yellow tint to it. No one knows why, but it just does. It’s been yellowish since anyone can remember. Well, apparently this woman had never seen a ten-dollar bill in her life. She was in her 70s. I gave her her change and she was on her way. I moved on to my next customer. Then the lady came back.
‘Excuse me, sir,’ she said in a frail voice, ‘Can you tell me what’s wrong with this bill?’
She showed it to me, and I looked over it. This was while I was still ringing for my present customer. She showed me the obverse side and then flipped it over.
I said, ‘Nothing’s wrong with it.’
‘It’s yellow,’ she mumbled.
I said something about how it was fine, and she said ‘Okay’ in a voice of disbelief. She put the ten-dollar bill in her wallet and was on her merry way
What do you mean, ‘that’s all?’ I was just getting the start. Up in front of the registers, we had these boxes of pools out. The box said, ’48 in. x 15 ft.’ The pool was four feet tall and 15 feet wide.
This woman was looking at the pools after she finished checking out. Then, she turned around and asked me: ‘How big is 15 feet? Am I 15 feet? Do you think I could swim in this?’
I responded that she was about as tall as me— five feet. Yes, she could swim in it. I didn’t know what to say.”