“So this happened a while back when I was still fairly new to retail, but I like telling the story so here goes. I was on my lane like any other day, giving my pre-recorded ‘Happy Associate’ speech that we all have. Nothing special. My store had these coupon printers next to the receipt printers, and if you scanned your shopper’s card mid-order, the coupons would print off as your things are scanned. This was never a problem because most customers either didn’t care about the coupons or were going to stuff them in their purses and go through them when they got home. If they were to ask for them mid-order though, I was supposed to hand them to them, but I couldn’t scan freshly printed ones until their next order. So, this one lady came through my lane with two things: a cartload of groceries and a handful of coupons. I gave her my speech, started scanning her things, and didn’t think much of anything about who or what I just brought upon myself. Before I could really react, she reached around my scanner and scanned her card herself. Then, the coupons began to print. She wasn’t paying any attention to anything but those little slips of paper. Suddenly, a red, 15% off Hot Pockets coupon printed out and rested next to me. She jumped a little.
She said, ‘Hey, can you hand me those coupons?’
I replied, ‘No problem! Here you are.’
She shuffled through them and picked out our aforementioned Hot Pockets coupon.
She said, ‘Scan this one.’
I chuckled a bit, ‘Haha, I wish I could but I’m sorry. Those are for your next transaction. It’s against store policy for me to use them now.’
She replied very firmly, ‘Use it.’
I was caught off guard, but still replied, ‘I really wish I could bu-‘
She interrupted me whining, ‘It’s my coupon. Why can’t you?!’
I tried to explain, ‘The reason is that this transaction hasn’t gone through yet. Since you’re a loyalty member you get these discounts based on what you buy previously. It would be like if a Buy One Get One printed off after scanning two of these, I couldn’t just give you a free one since you haven’t paid for the first two yet.’
This was not enough. She was getting red in the face and asked for the coupon back. I obliged. She then reached around and scanned it for me, thinking it will work. Coupons have to be scanned at the end, so all it did was bring up an error message that said ‘Coupon scanned, take total.’ I didn’t say a word though, I just let her think it happened and send her on her way after paying. She then went right to Customer Service and demanded that I be pulled off my lane and brought over for mistreating her. I was friends with the guy back there and he knew I was pretty much the least likely person on earth to badmouth a customer, so he told her I’d be taken care of and sent her on her way. A day worth of customers and carnage later, I had received an online complaint, rated highly unsatisfied, and they made me a bagger for a week.”