Thank you, please do not come again. Angry cashiers tell the time they’ve dealt with difficult customers. Content has been edited for clarity.
“I wasn’t a cashier, but still, I got a relevant story to tell.
Back then I was a bartender. We had this regular who was infamous for his incessant whining. He had ordered a drink and then, invariably, would claim the layer of foam on his pilsener wasn’t big enough, or too big, even though the glasses we had were shaped in such a way that it was very easy to tell how large the foam layer should be.
Now, with pilsner, it happened to be the case that if the wide part at the top of the glass was filled with foam, and the narrower part below was just a regular yellow ‘drink’ then it was a perfectly poured drink. Each and every time we gave him a glass like that, he would complain.
And each and every time we had said, ‘No, dude. Look. The collar of the glass is foam, the rest is the drink, just as it should be.’
One time he got so much on my nerves that I told him, ‘Alright, so here’s the deal. You either take it and pay for it, or this is the very last time I pour you a drink ever. So what’s it gonna be?’
The customer was not always right. Forget that.
Long story short, he took it and paid for it, and never whined with me again because he understood I was being serious.
Fast forward a few weeks.
I was in line at the till in the supermarket, buying some ingredients for the chef at another place where I worked. The complainer from my bar was in front of me. At this particular supermarket, they had a system where we could place our shopping basket on some kind of plateau, and be able to remove the groceries from the basket onto the belt. But the thing was out of order. It wouldn’t keep the basket leveled with the belt, so we either had to bend over to take our stuff out of our basket, or hold our basket in one hand and use our other hand to take our stuff out — just as if the system weren’t there.
Coincidentally, that supermarket was right next door to the place where I was a bartender back then. Fun fact.
‘Yeah,’ he started to complain at the cashier, ‘And if you install a thing like this, you have to make sure it works, or what is the point of installing it?’
As if it was the cashier who decided to install that thing, or if it was her fault it broke down.
And I just thought, ‘Is this guy serious? No matter where he goes, no matter what he does, he will find something to nag about? For real?’
That was what I told the young lady behind the register when it was my turn to pay for my chef’s stuff.
‘Don’t worry about him. I know him; he’s a regular of mine. He’s always complaining and it means exactly nothing.’
She gave me a smile. You know, the knowing kind of smile. The two words she gave me next weren’t even necessary, because I understood that smile.
‘I know,’ she said.”
“A few years ago, I was a pharmacy tech at a national chain. Since the pay wasn’t particularly stellar, I would often put in shifts at other locations in the area just to make ends attempt to get in shouting range of each other, never mind meet.
One afternoon, I was scheduled to work the closing shift at a location that was down the street from Whole Foods. Since I was early, I decided to get my weekly shopping done and grab lunch before going in. I got to the deli counter, and there was one woman ahead being attended to, so I greet the gentleman running the counter, allowing him to acknowledge my presence, then I walked down the counter to decide what to get.
When the first patron was done, the deli manager turned his attention to me, and just as I started placing my order, we heard an indignant, ‘No, serve me first!’
I turned to my left and was confronted with an angry, red-faced older woman.
She pointed a furious finger right at my face and snarled, ‘You aren’t getting served before me, missy!’, before turning back to the deli manager who was as taken aback as I.
However, he very politely said to her, ‘I’m sorry, ma’am, but the young lady was here first. She was right over there making her selection—’
But she interrupted him with, ‘No! I was here first, and I’m going to get served first!’
By this time, I had already decided I wasn’t going to get my knickers in a twist, so he should let her have what she needed so she could go away with her trouble.
But before I could say anything, she declared, ‘If you don’t let me ahead, I’m reporting her to (Chain Pharmacy Store)!!!’
In some bemusement, I said, ‘Excuse me?! You do realize that we are in Whole Foods at the moment and not the aforementioned pharmacy?’
‘Well, that makes no difference. You work at the pharmacy and you’re supposed to serve my needs no matter where you are.’
The deli manager had had enough by this time. He looked at me, looked back at her, then back to me, and went, ‘Miss, what can I get for you?’
She was now shrieking, ‘I can get you fired for this! How dare you try to get served in front of me?’
I finally replied, ‘Lady, would you like me to call both corporate offices on your behalf? I’m sure that Whole Foods will know exactly how to punish another company’s staff member on their behalf.’
I thought it finally dawned on her she was doing too much because she stopped mid-shriek and stared at me while I placed my order, and just as calmly walked away from her.
‘Wait!’, she cried. ‘Aren’t you going to call it in?’
I turned to look at her, then at the deli manager, who was totally satisfied by this time that she was out of her ever-loving mind.
I said with the most solemn look on my face, ‘Nah because I think that they might fire you over this, lady.’
I did give the pharmacy manager a heads-up about my off-duty insubordination at another establishment. I thought she might want to know.”
Around The World
“I was working the front register at my home pharmacy on a public holiday. On public holidays, this chain kept the pharmacy department open at the 24-hour stores but closed the pharmacy department for all other branches. When you came in wanting a prescription filled out, the front staff would direct you to the nearest 24-hour establishment.
I was at the register seeing to a fairly long line of customers when a chap came up to attempt to cut the line. He wanted something from the closed pharmacy. Unfortunately for me, he recognized me as a pharmacy tech and demanded I open up the gates and get him his script. I gently explained it wasn’t possible (or even legal, come to that), and apologized for the inconvenience. But I advised him he could have his script filled at the closest 24-hour store, it was about a ten-minute drive away. It was not the response he wanted.
He said, ‘Whaddaya mean you can’t open the pharmacy? It’s right there, just open up and get my stuff!’
The manager was summoned, and he gave the same explanation. No one was allowed into the pharmacy in the absence of the registered store pharmacist. It was illegal. He could, however, get an urgent script filled at a 24-hour store.
He wasn’t having any of this. He wheeled back to me and repeated his demand, louder. His lack of planning was supposed to become my problem, it seemed.
I finally decided that, since he was apparently not comprehending what he was being told in simple English, maybe he would understand if he got told in another language.
I speak several languages. Fifteen, in fact. That was a whole other story, but let me not digress.
I decided to explain again but in Igbo.
He asked, ‘Why can’t you just open it up already?’
I replied, ‘Mazi, biko , e wei niwe.’
It translated to, ‘Sir, please don’t be cross.’
I then proceeded to tell him my whole explanation, for the umpteenth time, but without using a single word of English unless it didn’t have an equivalent Igbo word. I remained just as polite and kind, maintained my polite professional demeanor, and did not sneak in a single cuss word because I honestly don’t even know the swear words in Igbo anyway. But I told him once more how to resolve his problem. Entirely in Igbo.
He asked, ‘Ummm, wait, what?!’ He was by now running his hand nervously through his blond crew cut. ‘So I got to go to the store on Union?’
I said, ‘Ehen! [Yes!] Ga nō farmasi na Union Avenue,’ [Go the pharmacy on Union Avenue], all while smiling sweetly and nodding my head affirmatively.
‘Juzie ndi nō farmasi maka no ogwu-i, i nugo?’
The other patrons were in hysterics. He went from flustering and blustering at me to the meekest, most tractable man you would ever want to deal with. With a little shrug, he turned to leave.
The manager was beside himself.
‘What did you tell him?’ he cried.
‘The same thing we have been saying for the past fifteen minutes. I guess he finally understood.’ I replied nonchalantly, as I returned to my register. ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I do appreciate your patience.’
It certainly made for a fun shift.”
In A Bind
“So this just happened a few hours earlier on Friday, July 9, 2021. I worked at a Family Dollar and a woman wanted to come in to basically do an exchange with a broken ashtray with one that was not broken. Well, while she ran to get one that was not broken, my manager, who was also my best friend since high school, was working the register with me to help get my line down cause it had been a busy day. While she was scanning items and I was putting them up, the woman came back with a nonbroken ashtray and tried to walk out but we told her she couldn’t. We told her we would have to do a whole exchange thing at the register.
But there were people ahead of her we needed to ring up first so we could get them out and my line short. All the while, we wouldn’t even be done with one or two customers when she would start talking about how we weren’t being fast enough and how we needed to hurry up. On top of that, she kept talking about how she had ice cream in her car.
She also kept saying, ‘I am not trying to be smart or rude or anything’ and asked if she can cut in front of people and be in the front line.
The whole time my manager was helping me and getting customers out. After she said she should have just come the next day/tomorrow, my manager and I had enough when there were at least two or four people in line. We just told the woman to come on so we can do the exchange and get her out. So we got done with her and the whole time she was going out the door she just kept repeating ‘I’m sorry I’m not trying to be smart or rude or anything.’
And after she got out the door me and my manager looked at each other and said ‘Not trying to be smart or rude my behind,’ and just got us mad. But then after her we did have nice people and no one else like that for the rest of the day and I’m thankful or that. I can’t stand people like her.”
Run For My Money
“I worked in a very high-end area, so we dealt with a lot of difficult customers on a day-to-day basis and we all get used to it up to a certain extent.
This actually happened no more than two or three weeks ago as I was in the store ringing up an order and one of my baggers was there to assist. I found everything was going just fine and the total came to 83.24. She paid and I handed her the receipt. I smiled and I went out to take my break.
As I was walking outside the customer asked me who she can complain to about a bagging job. I looked for a moment and said she could talk to me. She said she had never felt so disrespected and the job was so horrible. The bagger was so rude and threw things in. And when she was done bagging, she threw the bag in the cart.
I apologized and said I hadn’t seen that, but nonetheless it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. I insisted I bag her order again and replace anything that might be damaged. I offered a few times and she said she didn’t see anything damaged and wanted to bring it to our attention.
I apologized one last time and said I would have a word with the bagger.
The bagger was stunned and she said she didn’t do anything that seemed out of the ordinary.
I shrugged it off and took my break. I came back and within a few minutes of being back from break, the customer came back and wanted a supervisor again. I ask what I could do for her.
She brought in two to three of the 83.00 dollars worth of stuff she bought and claimed damage. We once again offered to replace it and offer a five-dollar gift card. She said that she wants all of her items for free, plus her time. I looked at her for a moment and told her we couldn’t do that. She said she deserved to be compensated for her time as well and that the bagger ‘traumatized’ her. She said the bagger gave her ‘evil eyes.’ She then said the bagger flung the bag into her cart. Her story surely changed from when I helped her to now. She also said she did not have time to wait because she had a corporate executive.
I told her I wasn’t comfortable doing that. One of my colleagues said she would do it because our boss ‘wanted no issues.’ My colleague gave it to her, meaning she got all of her groceries including a 20-dollar bottle of spirits for free.
I took it upon myself to go into the surveillance room with one of my colleagues and look at the transaction on camera. We looked at it and my bagger did everything the way she was supposed to. She put heavy items in the bottom first meat and produce towards the top. The only questionable thing (maybe) was the tiny cans of cat food were rested on top. And it did not cause any damage.
I walked myself down there and told the bagger to keep doing what she was doing and that she did nothing wrong. She was relieved.
It was not just about the money at this point. Big corporations wanted to take good care of their customers and sometimes would go to great lengths to do so. That was good.
To me, I was appalled this lady would go as far as to defame the name of bagger, lie about what she did, lie about her demeanor and go out of her way to make her into an enemy just to get free product. I swore if she ever came in again we would ring her up all good but would never go out of my way again. I wanted to shower just thinking about it.”
“When I was in high school, I worked at Walgreens in an upper-middle-class area. One day, this lady in a nice business suit walked in and asked me to grab her a basket. I grabbed one and attempted to give it to her. Instead, she took her shampoo and put it in the basket that I was holding, the one she was supposed to take.
I again tried to give her the basket. She looked perfectly healthy, perfectly capable of holding a basket. She walked away, making it clear I should follow her with her basket.
I said, ‘Ma’am, here is your basket.’
She said, ‘I don’t know how to use a basket.’
I thought, what in the world? She took another item and put it in the basket.I thought again, ‘What the heck?’
She walked away again and expected me to follow. At that point, I was stunned. I didn’t know what to do. I had always been passive and never knew how to confront people.
I told her, ‘Ma’am, here’s your basket so you can shop. I’ll be around, stocking shelves.’
She replied, ‘It’s your job to help me.’
I then said to her, ‘Ma’am, I’ll leave the basket here so you can come an put your items in. Let me know if you need any help.’
She acted like she never heard me and asked, ‘Where is the dog food?’
I told her, ‘It is right over in that aisle. Unfortunately, I have multiple things to do today. You can always come to me if you need help finding anything. Here is your basket so you can shop.’
Even though she read an ad earlier, she said, ‘I can’t see. My husband is rich. I’m your best customer.’
I didn’t know how to respond. What? She can’t see? She went from not being able to hold a basket to not being able to see? I don’t care if you have a rich husband. That was the stupidest excuse I had ever heard. So there I was, being her personal servant as she went around the store grabbing her items. She continued to bully me and stopped even reaching for the items anymore and made me do it. At that point, I should have called my manager. After ringing her up, after what felt like an eternity, she was done and finally took her items.
I watched her drive away, glad I would never see her again.
To this day, I cringe at how I let that lady walk all over me. It wasn’t like this was Nordstrom. It was Walgreens. Walgreens. But I should have never been put in that position in the first place. It just angers me how entitled some people are.”
“When I worked at Staples, it was about 15 minutes before closing time. I had a lady who looked to be in her 60s walk in and walked up to our iPad case display.
She spent about ten minutes looking through them and picked out one of our premium leather cases that cost 59.99 dollars. She came up to my register to check out. She seemed to have a slight irritating smirk on her face as she approached, and when I rang her up, she looked at the PIN payment screen and 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 good and 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 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 would like me to put the case back for her.
She said, ‘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 retorted,’Bring me your manager.’
I called the manager over. 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. I explained the situation.
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.’
She made some comment about calling corporate and walked out, careless.”
On Her Time
“While I was in college, I worked at a Kroger deli. We had the oddest mix of customers. One was an older lady who we simply called ‘discount-bread-lady.’
At the end of every day, someone in the bakery or deli — which was connected– was responsible for discounting any bread that had hit the sell-by date. We would then put it on a clearly labeled separate shelf. This was done roughly around seven pm every night since the deli itself was closing.
This woman would come in twice a week around six-thirty, with angry look on her face as if she was expecting a fight. She would go through the shelves and pull out any bread that had the sell-by date for the next day and then storm up to the counter, bread in hand, and yelled, ‘This isn’t marked yet! It’s not on the shelf!’
Someone would always explain to her it was marked down at seven and we had other customers to take care of. Sometimes we would even tell her if she had a loaf she wanted, she could get in line and we would mark down that one for her.
You would think we had screamed obscenities to her face.
‘I am here now and I need this bread. Who can afford these prices when they’re not discounted?’
On and on. If she did pick out a loaf, she would stand as close as she could get without being officially behind the counter so she was practically breathing on me as I sliced meat and cheese for other customers.
One of my coworkers would see her coming and hide. Another would simply discount the bread earlier.”
“I was a cashier at a grocery store. A couple came into my line with a cart full of groceries. The man began unloading the cart while the woman stood there painting her nails with nail polish.
When the groceries had all been scanned, the woman proceeded to hand me the nail polish and said, ‘I don’t like the color. I don’t want it.’
I told her I just watched her paint every single one of her nails with it, so she had to buy it. She told me that it was the most ridiculous thing she had ever heard because she was just trying out the nail color and determined that she didn’t like it.
I insisted she needed to pay for it. So she went screaming to the customer service desk. The supervisors were all jaded and extremely underpaid, as we all were, so they just took the nail polish from her without really saying anything because they didn’t want to deal with a fight. The woman took this as a sign that she was in the right and walked out screaming about how terrible I was.”
“I was cashing out a customer at a new deli job. It was particularly busy from eleven to one pm Mondays to Fridays during typical office lunch hours. The customer was on her cellphone and ignored me. I kept asking her what she wanted and she would put her hand up to shush me or just ignore me each time. She would also roll her eyes.
I finally said, ‘Whoever is next can come up to order since this customer is not ready.’
Suddenly she could hear me. She turned red and snapped, ‘I come here every day for lunch and I should not have to repeat my order for you.’
I said something like, ‘While we do appreciate your repeat business, I would never assume that you would want the exact same thing every day. I also have never taken your order before so I’m not sure how you would expect me to know it.’
She came up later to complain how I had forgotten to indicate no tomato, which she had of course never said.”