I was working for a summer at a Wal-Mart as a cashier. No one told me that this is the weirdest position to have. You are the one who interacts with the customers the most, and as a result you get to hear the weirdest sh**. One day, I was working a regular, boring morning shift, and a man comes through my till with a bag of parrot food. I said good morning, and he grunts in the usual way a customer does if they don’t particularly want to talk to me. So I just scan the parrot food, and it comes in (for a four pound bag) to be about thirteen dollars. He looks very shocked, and I’m expecting him to say something like “it said on the sign it was only…” but instead he just smiles at me (in a very creepy way) and this is how the following conversation went:
Man: Do you have a senior citizen discount…?
Me: Sorry, sir, we don’t.
Man: YOU DIDN’T LET ME FINISH! Do you have a senior citizen discount for parrots? I have a very old parrot.
Me: (stifling laughter) No, sir, I’m sorry. That’ll be thirteen dollars.
(Then man then proceeds to reach into his pocket and throw down a bunch of change and dollar bills. I stand there for a moment, and then he glares at me, expecting me to fish through all the money myself. I do so, wanting him out of the store sooner rather than later. He then stares at the remaining change on the conveyor belt.)
Me: Here’s your receipt, sir.
(The man, ignoring me, starts to collect the change on the conveyor belt.)
Man: I can’t believe you made me dump my pockets on here.
(I wasn’t sure what to say or do, so I just offered him his receipt again.)
Man: (picking up the bag, and smiling) Thank you. My life partner and I thank you.
(I’m pretty sure by life partner he meant his parrot, because as he said this, he pointed at the parrot on the bag. I never had another customer that scared me that much.)
I used to work customer service desk at Wal Mart and I have had my share of horror. The customer service desk often receives lost items found in the store but one day a customer brought us a screaming lost little boy. We were able to get his mom’s name and we paged her to come retrieve him. Meanwhile this boy is still screaming his head off. After no one came for several minutes, we started to page every minute or so for about fifteen minutes. This kid does not stop yelling the entire time. Eventually the mother comes by customer service yelling at us for paging her so much. She had decided that she was going to finish her shopping and check out before she picked up her kid. She yelled some angry words at us as she was leaving. Some people shouldn’t have kids.
I was wandering toward the produce when I experienced a typical Walmart moment. The customer I spotted looked like so many others that I have seen on this site. She was probably in her mid-to-late 50s, and she gave off that obvious vibe of someone whose primary residence sits on cinder blocks or wheels. Modified power-mullet? Check. Tank top with no bra? Check. Shorts and flip-flops even though it was a frosty 37 degrees outside? Check and check. And what was she doing? Why, she was using the shopping cart as a makeshift platform on which to change a toddler’s dirty diaper. She has yet to see me, which partially explains what happened next. After dropping the used diaper/naps bundle to the floor and kicking it aside, she then looked at her hand, noticed what had to have been some sort of poopy residue, reached over into the produce bin, and started to wipe her hand on a large head of lettuce.
Now I’m normally pretty non-confrontational, but after seeing this, I just blurted out “Oh come on! What are you, an animal!?” She turned to look at me, and for a split-second I saw it in her eyes: she knew that she had really crossed over a line, and she also knew that she had been stone-cold busted. But like I said, this look only lasted for a second. Her face then reverted to normal, and she told me to go fuck myself.
Ah yes, the classic rhetorical escalation uttered in countless WalMart arguments. She started to push her cart toward the front of the store, so I called out “I’m going to find a manager and tell him what you did!” Her reply? “I didn’t do anything [whips out cellphone], and I’m going to call the cops!” So that’s how the argument ended, both of us threatening to tell on each other.
A Walmart associate then came out of the receiving area, so I told her what had happened and, to her credit, she bagged up 2 or 3 heads of lettuce along with the diaper.
During Thanksgiving there is a coffee company that makes pumpkin-flavored coffee as a limited edition item and they get snatched up in our little town pretty fast. Seeing as Walmart always seems to have what we need, we ran in one night after a movie. My friend decided she was more broke than I and would buy the coffee in bulk and I grabbed a prepackaged bag for myself. After we went through the line we compared our receipts and realized mine was much cheaper for the amount of beans I got. We both stood there and turned around to see the rather large cashier check the next person out and noticed that her flap of belly fat had nowhere else to go but the produce scale in front of her. She had actually weighed her own stomach while weighing my friend’s small bag of coffee beans! I wanted her to go to customer service and tell them what happened, but she thought it would be too cruel.