Diary of a Discount Shopper: Dealing with Hateful People

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Last Tuesday, I took the winner of our Facebook ‘Go Shopping with Alicia’ contest to Dillons.  I’m so glad I did, because she took this very flattering photo of me at checkout. 

What her photo so artfully blocks out is the ‘not so nice’ girl that was behind us in line.  I have rarely had problems with other customers when couponing, or at least in recent years.  I’ll admit that when I first started (way before it was cool and people understood it), I was occasionally met with minor distaste.  I’ve found that nowadays, people are more curious than snotty, and actually like to see someone spending so little on their purchases.

Tuesday was definitely an exception to that.  For starters, the store only had one lane open.  Instead of opening another line, the other cashier (who is a coupon HATER) just hung out behind our cashier watching everything.  At one time, there were at least 5 people behind us in line.  Before Steph, my shopping partner, even whipped out her coupons, the girl behind me was acting very weird.  She was huffing and stomping around like a child.  She was probably 25 years old and had two very well behaved children with her. 

As Steph whipped out her coupons, the huffing got louder.  Our cashier took his time and was very thorough.  By the time he got to my items, she was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  Then I whipped out my coupons…

Instead of moving to another lane, this girl chose to stay behind me.  She actually banged her head on the counter and bent over her stopping cart, burying her head beneath her item.  At one point, she actually shouted, ‘Why don’t you pay for your items like the rest of us?’.   I would have been offended until I realized that she was holding a food stamp card in her hand.  So many people are going through hard times right now, there is absolutely no shame in receiving assistance in paying for your groceries.. HOWEVER, some of us do not qualify for those programs and are doing everything possible to stretch our income and should not be publicly faulted for doing so. 

Instead of letting my mouth get the best of me, I just kept my head down and pretended she didn’t exist.  It’s probably a good thing that I have absolutely no peripheral vision, as there were probably some not-so-nice mutterings and hand gestures coming from her mouth.  I did chuckle to myself when the computer froze up and required a manager’s key to override it.  That took a few extra minutes.  Then I laughed out loud when the register didn’t have enough tape to print my receipt.  I laughed even harder when I *mistakenly* entered the wrong PIN number with my debit card, not once, not twice, but THREE times!  Her huffing sure didn’t make me move any faster.

I’ll admit that I was glad we had the whole buddy system thing going, because I was slightly afraid she was going to follow us to the parking lot. 

Something kept nagging at me afterwards.. something that I couldn’t put my finger on.  Then it hit me.  She could have easily moved to self-checkout and another lane (when they finally opened one).  If she was in such a hurry, why didn’t she?  Oh yeah!  It was because she was interested in seeing exactly what those coupons did for my total.  My official receipt says that I saved $237 and spent $97.  Not my lowest out of pocket trip, by far, but definitely a money saving one!

I’m not sure I handled it as well as I should have.  Maybe I should have politely tried to introduce her to couponing.  Maybe I should have referred her to the pharmacy for a Xanax. 

What would you have done?  Have you ever had a hateful customer behind you in line?  How did you handle the situation?  Leave a comment below and tell us about it!

Like this post?  Read more in the Diary of a Discount Shopper series!