The following events occurred this morning somewhere around 11:30am or quarter to noon. I'm sure it's going to be funny for you guys who read it, but to actually experience it was priceless.
I was headed for the bathroom when my cashier calls me up to the front for assistance. She then paged another employee to come up help ring people up, so I knew that whatever her problem was, it was keeping her from ringing anyone else up. So I turn around and head up there.
As I round the corner toward the customer service desk, I see that the extra cashier has just arrived and that there appears to be some sort of dispute between two or three of the customers. However, by the time I get close enough to hear what they might have been saying, they stopped. Two of them headed to the other register while the third stayed in line at the customer service register.
I went over to the cashier to see what she needed. It was some kind of glitch in the system - it was saying that the coupon the customer was trying to use had already been applied to his transaction when there was clearly no coupon listed and no discount taken. There was no override option, so I just took the three bucks (that's how much the coupon was) off of the item he was purchasing and sent him on his way.
I decided to stay up front while the rest of the people on line were taken care of because the third customer, the one who'd been a part of the arguing group, was mumbling and muttering under his breath like Bill Cosby making breakfast at 6AM. When he was next in line, I asked my cashier, "Is everything OK with this guy?"
She shrugs and goes, "He's got some kind of problem."
So I look at him, and eventually he makes eye contact. "Is there something I can help you with?" I ask.
His eyes get big and he sneers, "No, there's nothing you can help me with!"
I nod, but I'm not going anywhere. If he's was really angry about something, I was sure he'd let us have it in a minute or two.
Sure enough, when it was his turn, he looks at me and goes, "You know, if you're going to call for next in line, you should take next in line!"
"I'm sorry?" I said. "I don't understand."
"He comes up," the guy says, pointing at the associate who came up to help ring, "and they call for next customer. So I went over there but they told me that they had to take the next person in line, not the next person to walk up."
"That's correct," I told him. "When there is a whole line of people waiting, we take the next person in line."
At this point, my cashier looks at me and says, "When the other register opened up, I said, 'Next customer can go to register one.' He tried to run over, but the lady who was actually next got angry with him and they were arguing."
"When you call for next person," the guy growls as my cashier rings up his items, "you should take the NEXT person who comes up!"
"Sir," I told him, "We take people as they come up to the register. The people who are next in line come first. Of course we're not going to allow you to just jump in front of everyone who had been waiting all that time."
The guy gets all huffy, of course. "You know, in the supermarket, when they open a new register they just take whoever goes over there. There's none of this 'one big line' business!!"
I smiled and shook my head. "Sir, this isn't a supermarket. Here, we take care of people who are next IN LINE to ensure that everyone gets treated fairly."
"Whatever," he says, shaking his head and rolling his eyes like we are being incredibly unfair by trying to treat people fairly.
The incident could've ended there, but no, this guy was determined to put his foot in his mouth. Perhaps both, even. As he's being handed his receipt, he says, "You know, this is the reason our country is in the shape that it's in."
Now I laughed. "Why, because we take people in the order that they were waiting in line?"
With a sarcastic smile and an emphatic nod, he says, "Yeah, because of morons like you!"
My cashier laughs at him and says, "OK, that was completely unnecessary. There's no need to be acting like that," at the same time as I laugh and say, "I'm a moron because I treat people fair? I'd love to hear your logic behind that one!"
He just nods and walks away with his bag, saying over and over, "You're all morons. You guys are such morons." And I watch in disbelief...
...as he walks around to the opposite side of the entrance vestibule and tries to exit through the entrance.
Open mouth, insert foot.
And so, with a giant smile, I lean over the counter and call, "Sir? Sir!!" and when he looks up, I give him the most overly joyful voice I can come up with. "The exit's on this side," I say through my grin. "You have yourself a great day!"
Without a word, he walked around to the exit and left.
We laughed for a good half hour after that one.
Shopping tip of the day for 9/24/09: Consider the possibility that you may NOT know what's going on in the lives of the employees you encounter. We are expected to leave our personal lives at the door, but we are only human, and outside troubles DO affect us. Did that associate who helped you seem distracted or uninterested? Maybe his father is in the hospital and it's making it hard for him to concentrate or ACT happy. You have no idea what goes on in our lives, yet you'll be quick piss and moan if your feet haven't been washed to your liking. Get over yourself. You've got to realize that we're people too, and many of us have enough problems of our own to worry about without you calling our corporate office and demanding we be fired simply because one of us didn't live up to your impossible expectations.