The Smart-Ass Cashier

Have you ever thought of a snappy comeback aimed at your customer, user, client, or what-have-you, but had to swallow it for the sake of professional image? I don't have that problem.* The following list describes some of my fun moments at the cookie store and the pizza parlor where I have worked.

* At least, I didn't, decades ago when I wrote this. I've learned a little bit of tact since then, for better or worse.

Note: The Smart-Ass Cashier has retired! Congratulate me.
As a parting shot, I leave you with Elaine Bingo.

The Real List

Part I:
"How do you sell the little cookies?" - Customer
"We exchange them for money." - Blimix
Part II:
"Do you know where the restrooms are?" - Customer
"Yes, but thank you for making sure." - Blimix
Part IV:
"Do you have a bag?" - Customer
"Yes. Thank you for asking." - Blimix
Part VI:
"Do you know what time it is?" - Customer
"Yes, and thank you for your concern regarding my awareness!" - Blimix
Part X:
"Do you know what time it is?" - Customer
"No, but I will in exactly eight seconds." - Blimix, who then waits eight seconds before looking over at the wall clock and reciting the time, while Customer feels sheepish over having been suckered into waiting that long for something that obvious.
Part XII1:
"Can I have a small Coke?" - Customer
"No." [Pause while Customer acquires confused look at no extra charge.] "But you can have a small Pepsi." - Blimix
Part XVI:
"Can I have a large soda?" - Customer
"Any particular kind, or shall I just mix them all together?" - Blimix
"Can I have a medium Pepsi?" - Customer
"Gee, I'm not sure... Let's see, we have a cup, okay, that's good... It's pouring, yeah, it's looking very likely, I think you probably can... [voice rising] We're almost there... YES!!!!" -- Blimix
Part XXII:
"Can I have a large Pepsi?" - Customer
"Certainly! Assuming, that is, that I can have $1.39." - Blimix
"May I help you?" - Blimix
"No, we're just trying to think." - Customer
"Good luck." - Blimix
Part XXX:
"Do I have to buy six of the little cookies?" - Customer
"No, you don't have to buy any." - Blimix
"Can I have..." - Customer, trailing off
"Yes, as soon as you tell me what it is." - Blimix
"I don't know what I want yet." - Customer
"Then why did you ask for it?" - Blimix
Part XL:
"Can I have a small Pepsi?" - Customer
"Of course you can. Why, do you want one?" - Blimix
Part XLII:
"Do you know what time it is?" - Customer
"No, I haven't looked at my watch recently." - Blimix
Part XLVI:
"Can I have a large Pepsi and a large Mountain Dew?" - The female of a couple
Blimix starts pouring, then turns to the male: "And for you?"
Part LII:
"It's $3.82." - Blimix
[Pause while the customer stares at nothing.]
"It's still $3.82. It's not going to change." - Blimix
"Can I ask if you have a bag?" - Customer
"I cannot stop you from asking if I have a bag." - Blimix
Part LX:
Blimix offers change and receipt to Customer.
"Oh, you can throw that out." - Customer
"Okay." - Blimix, tossing both receipt and change into the garbage.
Part LXVI:
"Can I have a Pepsi?" - Customer
"Small, medium, or large?" - Blimix
"What does the medium look like?" - Customer
[Blimix retrieves a medium cup.]
"Kind of like this, but filled with soda." - Blimix
Part LXX:
"Straws are..." - Customer, looking around for straws
"What you drink with, yes." - Blimix
"Straws are..." - Customer, looking around for straws
"Yes. Straws are." - Blimix
"There must be a straw..." - Customer, looking around for straws
"Yes. There exists a straw." - Blimix
"What's a medium?" - Customer, looking around for soda prices
"It's the size between small and large." - Blimix
"That's $6.66." - Blimix
"No! Change it! Don't let it show that! Add a penny or something!" - Customer, gesturing frantically at the register
"If you just pay me, it'll go away." - Blimix
"Oh yeah." - Customer, shutting up and paying
Part XCVI:
"We have caesar, ranch, italian, light italian, and oil and vinegar." - Blimix
"Do you have light italian?" - Customer
"No, I only said it to tease you." - Blimix
Part C:
"Pardon me while I dig for change." - Customer
"It's okay, take your time; we're open 'till 9:30." - Blimix
Part CII:
"Is there any way I can get a cup of water?" - Customer
"Yes: Asking for it generally works." - Blimix
Part CVI:
"This will be $6.88." - Blimix
"Did you get the pizza, too?" - Customer
"Ma'am, if you were paying seven dollars for two sodas, you'd be at the theater." - Blimix
Part CVIII1:
"I'd like a medium Sprite, a medium Coke, and a medium root beer." - Customer
[Blimix pours these and places them randomly in front of the customer.]
"Okay, this one isn't the Sprite, this one isn't the Coke, and this one isn't the root beer." - Blimix, pointing to the root beer, the Sprite and the Coke, respectively
Part CXII:
"Can I get a small Pepsi?" - Customer
"No, but I can get it for you." - Blimix
"What time is it?" - Customer
[Blimix raises his arm and obviously studies his bare wrist, disguising the glance at the wall clock that is visible just over his wrist.]
"It's 4:23." - Blimix
"Wait, how did you, is that really, um...." - Customer, very confused
Part CXXX:
"What do you have that's fat-free and sugar-free?" - Customer
"The water." - Blimix
"Do you have a cup of ice-water?" - Customer
"No, but I can assemble one." - Blimix
"Can I get two Italian?" - Customer, pointing to the dressing packets
"No, nothing is too Italian for this place." - Blimix
"You don't have a bag...?" - Customer
"What makes you think I don't have a bag? What an odd conclusion to draw! Sorry, zero out of ten points for logic." - Blimix
Part CL:
"Would you like a bag?" - Blimix
"Sure, if you have one." - Customer
"It would be awfully cruel of me to offer it if I didn't have one, wouldn't it?" - Blimix
Part CLVI:
"There's a hair on my pizza." - Customer
"Oh, I'm sorry, that's an extra ten cents." - Blimix
Part CLX:
"Wait, I have change. Uh, no." - Customer
"You don't have change?" - Blimix
"I thought I had change, but I didn't." - Customer
"Okay. Don't tease me about it again, then." - Blimix
"Would you like somthing to drink?" - Blimix
"A medium Dr Pepper. That's all I want." - Customer
"If this is all you want, what are you going to strive for in life, now?" - Blimix
"More Dr Pepper." - Customer
"Can I have a medium Pepsi?" - Customer
"Would you believe me if I said no?" - Blimix
[Blimix rings up a sale, and receives bills from the customer.]
"I have two cents." - Friend of Customer
[Pause while Blimix waits expectantly.]
"I have two cents." - Same Friend of Customer
"Well, do you intend to give it to me? Or are you just stating it as a fact, so that I can be happy for you because you have two cents? I can do that." - Blimix
"Would you like anything to drink with that?" - Blimix
"No, that's all right." - Customer
"Wouldn't it be all right if you did want a drink?" - Blimix
"Ma'am, do you want your change, or is this a fourteen dollar tip?" - Blimix to Customer walking away
Part CXC:
"Can I have a Dr. Pepper?" - Customer
"Yes, but only if you can guess which size I'm going to give you: Small, medium, or large?" - Blimix
"Um, medium?" - Customer
"Correct! Here you go." - Blimix
"Enjoy your evening." - Blimix
"You too." - Customer
"How can I enjoy your evening?" - Blimix
"Oh, here comes [name of regional director]." - Coworker
"Everybody, LOOK BUSY!!!" - Blimix
"I'd like the kid's meal." - Customer
"Can you show me some photo I.D. proving you're under twelve?" - Blimix
Part CCX:
"Hi, I can help you down at this end." - Blimix, to customers at the other end of the counter.
[No response.]
"May I help you?" - Blimix
[No response.]
"I get paid by the hour for standing here waiting for you. What's your excuse?" - Blimix
"Can I have a cup of water?" - Customer
"And one for me, too, please." - Second customer
[Blimix pours and presents two cups of water. First customer reaches for one.]
"No, that one's his; this one is yours." - Blimix
"Oh, okay." - Customer, taking the other cup.
"Is there a senior price on this?" - Customer
"Yes, but it's the same as the regular price." - Blimix
"What's this?" - Customer, picking up a box marked "Peppermints"
"I don't know; what does it say it is?" - Blimix
"Would you like anything to drink?" - Blimix
"No thanks, I'm good." - Customer
"Good people sometimes want drinks." - Blimix
"The large size gets you the most soda per penny by far, if you get the free refill." - Blimix
"Really? How much is it for the free refill?" - Customer
[Spreading arms wide, calling loudly and clearly:] "Can anybody tell this guy how much a free refill costs?" - Blimix
Part CCXL:
"'Twill be $3.86." - Blimix
[Customer hands over a five-dollar bill, then carefully counts eighty-six cents and hands that over as well.]
"Is that correct?" - Customer
"No, it's two dollars over." - Blimix.
Part CCL:
[Customer grabs the tops of several bottles of water sitting in ice.]
"Are any of these cold?" - Customer
[Blimix picks out one of the bottles already checked, and hands it to the customer such that the customer grasps it by the cold lower half.]
"Sure, here you go." - Blimix
"That's better, thanks." - Customer
[A couple walk in, decide not to buy anything, and go to the back dining room to smoke. A minute later, one returns to the register.]
"Where are the ashtrays?" - Non-customer
"Are you buying anything?" - Blimix
"Oh, we have to pay for something?" - Non-customer
"We pay the mall for that space; what are you paying us for it?" - Blimix
"But we come in here all the time to eat! We're just not hungry today; we just want to smoke." - Non-customer
"If you came in here all the time, you'd know where the ashtrays are." - Blimix
"That'll be $12.38." - Blimix
"That's a good price." - Customer
"Oh, if that sounds too reasonable, I must have messed up." - Blimix
"I'm just one of those customers, aren't I?" - Customer
"You're two of them." - Blimix
[Blimix sloshes a few drops of soda onto the counter.]
"You're just spilling stuff all over today, aren't you?" - Customer
"No, I leave that to my customers." - Blimix
"Don't take that as an invitation." - Blimix
"That's $11.87." - Blimix
"Out of $22.00." - Customer
"Hey, look! A customer who can subtract!" - Blimix
"Hey, look! A cashier who can subtract!" - Customer


The Oddball List

I also have had a few fun quips that do not feel worthy of inclusion in the above list:

Part 0.0:
"Your change is $1.45. Use it wisely." - Blimix
Part 0.01:
"Your change is one cent. Don't spend it all at once." - Blimix
Part 0.02:
"These are a dollar, right?" - Customer, pointing to the $1.89+tax bottled drinks
(Snort) "You wish!" - Blimix, in an over-dramatic elementary school tone
Part 0.03:
"Can I have a small Pepsi?" - Customer
"You got it! Well, not quite yet... But you will!" - Blimix
Part 0.04:
"Can I have a cup of water? Does that cost anything?" - Customer
"I'll have to charge you... One smile." - Blimix
(It worked. But men, don't ask women to smile.)
Part 0.05:
"Your change is $2.68; there'll be a quiz tomorrow." - Blimix
Part 0.06:
"Hi, can one of these guys help you?" - Blimix, loudly and obviously, to customer being ignored by three servers
Part 0.07:
"I'd like a medium drink that's half Coke and half Sprite." - Customer
[Blimix pours this.] "Okay, the Coke is on the left, and the Sprite is on the right." - Blimix, pointing to the corresponding halves of the cup
(This drink was adopted and named "Sproke" by the Jester of Fish, who was witness to this exchange.)
Part 0.08:
"You can keep the receipt." - Customer
"Oh, how magnanimous of you! I'll add it to my collection." - Blimix
(This has been repeated, and sometimes coupled with a very obvious toss into the garbage pail.)
Part 0.09:
"Would you like anything to drink?" - Blimix
"No. But can I have a cup of water?" - Customer
"Oh? And just what do you intend to do with it?" - Blimix
Part 0.1:
"What would you like to drink?" - Blimix
"7-up looks good." - Customer
"Looks can be deceiving." - Blimix
Part 0.11:
"That'll be $1.07" - Blimix
"Sorry, I don't have any change." - Customer, handing over two dollars
"That's okay, I'll expect you to have the change for me the next thirteen times." - Blimix, handing back ninety-three cents
Part 0.12:
"Can I bother you for an ice water?" - Customer
"No. It doesn't bother me at all." - Blimix
Part 0.13:
"Oops. That was stupid of me." - Customer
"That's okay; I'm the only one being paid to think right now." - Blimix
Part 0.14:
"You know, the condiment stand is a great place to apply condiments!" - Blimix to customer inconsiderately blocking the line to the register
Part 0.15:
"That'll be nineteen fifty-two. Actually, that was forty-eight years ago, but the price is nineteen dollars and fifty-two cents. Not coincidentally, your change is forty-eight cents." - Blimix
Part 0.16:
"What kind of dressing would you like?" - Blimix
"Can I have a little caesars?" - Customer
"Hey, don't say 'Little Caesars' in here." - Blimix
Part 0.17:
"I'd like a Pepsi too." - Customer
"'Pepsi Two'? Is that like a Pepsi One with twice the calories?" - Blimix
Part 0.18:
[Customer arrives with an empty plate.]
"I see you have decided to try our new invisible pizza!" - Blimix
Part 0.19:
"Do you want your receipt?" - Blimix
"No, I'm fine." - Customer
"I know plenty of fine people who want their receipts." - Blimix
Part 0.20:
"Have an enjoyable evening. Whether you enjoy it is up to you." - Blimix
Part 0.21:
"How big is the medium drink?" - Customer
[Holding up an empty cup] "It's about this big, but much heavier." - Blimix
Part 0.22:
"May I help someone, or do you all like waiting in line?" - Blimix
Part 0.23:
"Ma'am, it's a lot easier to bring your food to the register than to bring the register to your food." - Blimix
Part 0.24:
"What's the difference between the small and medium drinks?" - Customer
"The size." - Blimix
Part 0.25:
[Customer half-stumbles as she changes direction.]
"Watch out for that floor; it's kind of tricky." -- Blimix
Part 0.26:
"What sizes do you have?" - Customer
"Small, medium, and large." - Blimix
"I'd like a medium." - Customer
[Placing cup on counter...] "Okay, here's a medium." [Pause.] "You want something in it?" - Blimix
Part 0.27:
"That'll be $4.83." - Blimix
"Sorry, I have a lot of change to give you." - Customer
"That's okay, you can give me 483 pennies if you wish." - Blimix
Part 0.28:
[Blimix takes over the register. The previous customer is still standing there, doing nothing but blocking the line.]
"If you're gonna stand there longer, I'm gonna ring you up again." - Blimix
Part 0.29:
[Raising arms and loudly proclaiming:] "Good night! Thank you, you've been a great crowd! I'll be here tomorrow, same time!" - Blimix
Part 0.30:
[Blimix pours two sodas.]
"Which one is the diet?" - Customer
"The one marked 'diet' is diet." - Blimix
Part 0.31:
"When I said, 'I will help you at this register,' what I meant was, 'I will help you at this register.'" - Blimix, to customer still waiting at the wrong register


Quirky Customers

Sometimes, interacting with the customers can be just plain weird. About half of all customers believe that water is not a beverage. They also have a strong tendency to assume that every sentence out of a cashier's mouth before the conclusion of the transaction is, "Would you like anything else?" and every sentence afterward is, "Have a nice day." This occurs regardless of volume, clarity, and background noise:

"That'll be $3.86." - Blimix
"No, thanks." - Customer

"Good afternoon." - Blimix
"No, thanks." - Customer
"You don't want a good afternoon?" - Blimix

"Enjoy your meal." - Blimix
"You too." - Customer
"I did." - Blimix
"Huh?" - Customer

Customers have difficulty being specific. When they came to the register to pay before their pizza was ready, or when their pizza was packaged to go, I asked what they had. These, and others, thought that they were giving me enough information:

"What kind of pizza do you have?" - Blimix
"A slice." - Customer
"A slice of what?" - Blimix
"Pizza." - Customer

"What kind of pizza do you have?" - Blimix
"Three slices: Two pizzas, and a big one." - Customer

"I'd like a soda." - Customer
"Can you be more specific?" - Blimix
"No." - Customer

"What's in the lemonade?" - Customer
"You want to know the ingredients?" - Blimix
"What's in it?" - Customer, insistently
"Um, the usual stuff; water, high fructose corn syrup, citric acid, lemon juice from concentrate, potassium sorbate, natural flavors, red dye number forty..." - Blimix, guessing extremely accurately
"Is there any alcohol?" - Customer, impatiently
"Oh. No, there isn't." - Blimix

They also display the most amazing consistency in their needs:

"Do you have decaf coffee?" - Customer
"No, just regular." - Blimix
"Okay, then I'll just have a Mountain Dew." - Customer
"Um, you do know that Mountain Dew has a lot of caffeine, right?" - Blimix
"Oh yes, that's fine." - Customer

Then there was a role-reversal:

"It's $14.87." - Customer
"So that's a whole cheese and two large drinks. What kind?" - Blimix
"Oh, my god." - Coworker


The Unspoken List

There are rare times when I do censor myself. These are, sadly, far less likely to be remembered and recorded. The following responses were thought, but not spoken:

Part i:
"Can I have another cup?" - Customer leaning over the counter
"Why, 32C isn't enough?" - Blimix
Part 2i:
"Can I have two orders?" - Customer
"Sure, sit down and shut up." - Blimix
Part 3i:
[Customer searches for space on tray, then dumps napkins and utensils on their pizza, ignoring the sufficient space next to the plate.]
"You guys need bigger trays." - Customer
"No, we need smarter customers." - Blimix
Part 4i:
[Blimix pours a Pepsi and a Diet Pepsi for the customer.]
"How do I know which is which?" - Customer
"The Diet Pepsi is the one that tastes like crap." - Blimix
Part 5i:
"Would you like some Caesar dressing for your salad?" - Blimix
"I would." - Customer
"Tough." - Blimix


Gbob's Parody

This one was written for me by Gbob Waters, in a parody post during a discussion of elitism:

Part G:
"Please, sir. May I be served a Pepsi or a Coke?" - Customer
"No. You are not worthy." - Blimix
"But I have money." - Customer
"Then the money may ask." - Blimix

(Gbob has also had several of his own "Smart-ass Cashier" episodes. Though he forgets to write them down, this one made it into the archives: He was working at his campus bookstore, and had his laser pointer with him. A student picked up a book from a pile right in front of him and asked what the price was. Gbob lit the laser pointer, ran it across the bar code, announced, "$98.75" (which he had read from the sign at the top of the pile), and informed the student that he could pay at the register.)


Annoying Customer Bingo

(Known in public as "Cash Register Bingo")

I designed this game, randomized the cards, and played it at work. Cross off the box for each type of customer as they manifest. Two sample cards (since I cannot fit all of the categories on one card):

food item
"No ice"
after drink
is poured
Asks prices
after sale
Gives bill
larger than
10x purchase
Drops change
all over
Throws money
at you
wrong drink
Abuses free
Drops food
or drink
up line
Talking on
cell phone
Fill in
Waits at
Jumps in
front of line
Must tell
them price
3 times
locate soda
about price
states the
"That was
supposed to
be separate."
Rude Brings food
to table,
not register

Abuses free
"No ice"
after drink
is poured
Rude Expired
Can't locate
stand items
Jumps in
front of line
Leaves bag Changes order
after paying
Orders server
items from
have cash
Found own
hair in food
Drops change
all over
Fill in
Doesn't know
what pizza
they have
Asks prices
after sale
Confused about
their money
about price
Gives bill
larger than
10x purchase
wrong drink
states the
Must tell
them price
3 times
Ignores what
you just
told them
Talking on
cell phone


Elaine Bingo

After the success of Annoying Customer Bingo, I produced (with much encouragement) Elaine Bingo, thus turning working with the Wicked Witch of the West into a fun game!

Cooing over
others' work
to you
Gets defensive
over innocent
remark or question
Won't listen
to reason
Insists upon
a counterproductive
scoop in
ice bin
about how
she's treated
store policy
to answer
"The manager said..."
(and incorrect)
Chats with
(Free square)
your work
Puts grounds
in wet
coffee holder
Complains that
she has to do
everything here
Hypocrisy Inappropriately
gives away
free stuff
Walks away in
the middle
of something
Makes personal
puts towels
on floor
Bossy Butts into



1.One workplace sold Coke products; the other sold Pepsi products.
2. This has been said, at different times, both to adults and to small children.

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