Like plenty of other college students across the country, I have a part-time job in addition to doing school work and various clubs. As much as I love Charleston, living here (especially downtown) is quite expensive, so having some source of income is essential for me to make sure my savings don’t drop into the negatives. When I moved into my apartment in August, I was hired as a part-time cashier at the Harris Teeter downtown and started almost immediately.
Needless to say, even in the few short months I’ve been there, I’ve encountered some pretty interesting individuals. Every time I clock in, I know that I can expect to see someone or something that will make me laugh out loud, to the point where I started keeping a list on my phone of all the odd people I met so I could tell others about them. I thought I’d share some of those with you today.
- Religious Chicken Liver Cop
I was working on the last register furthest from the door, so I wasn’t getting a lot of people coming through my line. Whenever you don’t have customers, the general rule is that you stand at the end of your line to show people that your register is open. While I was doing that, a man in a police uniform walked up to me and asked me where he could find chicken livers. I wasn’t entirely sure, so I politely directed him to one of my managers, who would be able to help him. He thanked me and said, “alright, little miss, I’ll be back in a jiffy.”
When he returned, he read my name tag (it says IZZY in big, bold letters) and commented that he loved my name, and asked what it was short for. I told him it was short for Isabel, and he sighed and seemed very upset by this. I asked him what was wrong, and he said, “Oh, I was hoping it would be short for Isaiah. You know, like the Bible.” At this point, I was a little worried because I wasn’t raised religious. I thought he would ask me questions or make references that I didn’t understand and that the already odd interaction would quickly become uncomfortable. I tried to just laugh it off and bagged his chicken livers (the only thing he was purchasing), and luckily he just grabbed them and left without taking his receipt.
- Forgetful Skater Boy
People forget their wallets at checkout all the time. Once they realize they’ve forgotten it, they either move their items somewhere else so they can run and get it or have someone they’re with cover for them. I usually just let people run to get it and come back unless I have a long line of people behind them.
One day, this exact thing happened when a boy with a skateboard was trying to buy four monster energy drinks and a box of condoms. I rang up his items and told him his total, and he loudly proclaims that he’s forgotten his wallet in his car. (Why he had his skateboard with him in the store when he had driven was beyond me. I didn’t ask.) I told him that since I had a long line, I would suspend his transaction so I could check out the other customers but that when he came back, all I’d have to do was scan the receipt and that he could be on his way.
But, he started (loudly) begging me to just let him run back really quickly. “I know exactly where it is! Please, I’ll be fast I swear!” I said, “Okay, you have 30 seconds.” He laughed loudly because he thought I was kidding, but then I started counting down. “25…24…23…22…” Then he stopped laughing, dropped his skateboard to the ground, and rode out of the store to his car. The people behind him in line all started laughing and told me that the counting down was a nice touch. (I thought so too.) When the skater boy got back, he thanked me for waiting, shoved everything in his backpack, and skated right back out.
- Frat Boy Frenzy
Being so close to the College means that a good bit of students come in to buy alcohol, and that leads to some interesting stories. Saturday nights are really slow, so there was almost no one in the store.
All of a sudden, a huge group of frat boys came in yelling and singing and made a beeline for the beer. There must have been at least 10 of them, and for some reason, a few decided to stay behind and make small talk with me and one of my managers. We had already closed all the registers for the night, so my manager and I were just standing at self-checkout while they asked us the most random questions. One of them asked me if I had ever ridden a pony before, and another asked my manager if he had ever touched a cloud. We were trying so hard not to laugh, then the rest of the boys came back with a cart full of boxes of Bud Light and White Claws. They got up to the self-checkout line, and I offered to open up a register to check them out, to which one of them said, “Why can’t you check us out from over there? You can see us, right?” I couldn’t help but laugh and just said, “No, I mean, on a register.” They nodded and said no, thank you.
When you scan alcohol at self-checkout, it pauses the transaction and says, “ID CHECK REQUIRED. HELP IS ON THE WAY,” which then prompts whoever is working self-checkout to go to that register and check to see that the customer is 21. So, when that happened to these boys, I walked over and asked to see one of their IDs. The one buying all of the alcohol took out his wallet and showed me his driver’s license, except it wasn’t his driver’s license at all. It was an old library card that I’m pretty sure had not seen the light of day in a while. I said, “Um, sir, I’m sorry, but this is not a valid form of identification. Do you have a driver’s license or anything?” His eyes widened, and he looked at the card in his hand and turned bright red. “Oh man, I’m sorry miss! It was an accident! I thought I grabbed my license…here you go!” I checked his ID, he finished checking out, and all the boys left singing. Once they were gone, I turned to my manager and told him I felt like I had just lived through a frat boy comedy movie from the 90s. He laughed and said it wouldn’t be the last.
There’s definitely plenty of more weird interactions to choose from, but these are by far some of the oddest. In customer service jobs, it’s more than likely that you’ll encounter some people who are just terrible and feel like they went in with the intention of ruining your night. But somehow, being able to witness a man roll out on his skateboard twice makes it seem worth it. So to all the wacky people who come into the grocery store, thank you. You really make my shifts bearable.