Poor Ed. He thought working in a grocery store would be an easy job. Little did he know that after a few months his face would be contorted into a permanent grimace, his posture would assume a world-weary slouch, his arches would fall faster than the stock market and he'd develop an intense disdain for the mouth-breathing masses that wandered into his store.
Any of you out there who've ever been employed at a grocery store (as I have) can no doubt sympathize with Ed here. Working at a grocery store is one of the most miserable and soul-sucking jobs there is. It shouldn't be that way though. Grocery shopping is a very simple task, it really is. You go to the store, you pick out your items, you pay for them and go back home. Simple. It's amazing how monumentally difficult some customers can make it though.
Some of the more notorious types of grocery customers:
• The Disputer
This customer will stare with laser-like intensity at the register display, watching like the eye of Sauron as each item is scanned, ready to pounce the instant something doesn't ring up at the price they expect.
• The Undecider
This customer always has a heaping cart load of groceries, but waits until they're in the checkout line to decide that they don't want half of it, leaving the store staff to put it all back on the shelf for them.
• The Exactinator
Obsessed with counting out the exact change, no matter how long it may take. If their total is $9.97, rest assured they will spend ten full minutes digging deep into their purse or pocket for every last coin rather than hand you a freakin' ten dollar bill. Their close relative is the Coin Dumper, who pours several pounds of coins onto the register, expecting the clerk to root through it for the total.
• The Salivator
Licks their finger before riffling through their paper money. This may come as a shock to customers, but clerks really don't want to touch your licked money.
• The Technophobe
This customer appears to have never seen a debit card reader, nor any sort of technological device before, and has absolutely no idea how to use one. They will invariably become incensed when the machine won't operate properly after they push the wrong buttons.
• The Lawgiver
An expert in non-existent store-related laws. If they find a $20 item that's been mis-shelved into a $2 spot, they will insist that it's "state law" that the store must sell said item for $2. Let me assure you that there is no such law, rule, precept, ordinance, regulation or proviso. Mis-shelving is a fact of life, people. Customers move things and items get misplaced. You're not getting a $20 ham for $2, no matter how much you complain.
• The Breadhugger
This customer guards and protects their loaf of bread the way a lioness defends its cubs, lest the slightest pressure be applied to its perfect and delicate form. Judging from their behavior, smashed bread is one of the worst things that can happen in a person's life.
• The Black Ops Shopper
A customer who writes a check but has absolutely no form of identification on them whatsoever. No driver's license, Social Security card, credit card, work I.D., birth certificate, passport, green card, marriage license, library card, fishing license, police sketch, carnival caricature, etc. As far as paperwork and records are concerned, these people officially do not exist.
• The Comedian
A customer who, when an item won't scan, will invariably say, "HAW! Must be free then!" Wow, I'll bet no one ever said that before.
• The Free Spirit
A customer who buys a heaping cart load of groceries but then realizes they forgot to bring any sort of payment whatsoever with them. They'll state that "it won't take them a minute" to run home and get their money as they dash out of the store, expecting all checkout line activity to grind to a halt until they return. Sometimes they come back in a few minutes with their money, but quite often they're never seen again.
• The Great Communicator
This customer engages in incredibly important nonstop conversations on their cell phone throughout the entire checkout procedure, precluding any chance for the clerk to ask them if they have any coupons, discount cards, etc. Of course at the end of the transaction they'll become enraged that the clerk didn't ask them if they had said items.
• The Wanderer
While this customer's groceries are being rang up, they'll suddenly be filled with that ol' travellin' bug and will wander off to the far corners of the store to do some more shopping. This once again leaves the clerk in a quandary, as they wonder if the errant customer is ever going to return.
There are many more customer types out there who make life miserable for clerks, but that'll do for starters.
By the way, for any customers out there who feel the need to post rebuttals, skip it. I ain't interested in hearing the other side of the argument. Yes, clerks can be just as rude and annoying as customers, but the customers far outnumber the clerks.
Ed is a vector drawing, drawn all in InDesign.
Here's the original sketch of Ed.