My backstory – I am awaiting a decision on a disability claim, due to an injury I received at work. Because of this, I receive food stamps and TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). In Texas, we have an EBT (electronic benefits transfer) card that works like a debit card, called the Lone Star card.
Now, I do the majority of my grocery shopping at Kroger because it’s closest to my home and easiest to get a ride to (I don’t drive because of my condition). I normally get my food stamps on the 5th, so I got my mom to take me to Kroger for the big grocery buying. I clip coupons like nobody’s business (it’s like a game for me to see how much I can save).
It’s late on Sunday morning when I go to get in line. There are only 3 registers open, other than the self-check ones so I pick the shortest line. There’s a little old lady in front of me whose order is taking up most of the belt. The cashier is ringing her stuff up when something apparently scans with the wrong price. The old lady points this out to her and the cashier rolls her eyes, then calls someone over for a price check, acting like it’s the biggest inconvenience in the world to her. Since there’s now some room on the belt, I look for a divider so I can start loading my stuff on the belt. I don’t see one, so I ask the cashier if there’s one I can put down. She picks it up and throws it down on the belt.
At this point, I don’t know if the old woman has been the customer from hell and has put the cashier in a bad mood or what so I just blow it off and start doing my thing. The person comes back, tells the cashier the correct price and she sighs loudly while voiding off the entry and putting in the correct price. The woman also had four 12 packs of Diet Pepsi, since they were 4 for $10, but she had only put one on the belt. I also heard her tell the cashier twice that she had all four of them. First box is rung up and she starts to hit the total. Woman reminds her of the other 3 in the cart and the cashier tells here that she has to put them on the belt so they can be rung properly. Now usually, if you have X amount of an item and put at least one of them on the cart, the cashier will ring up however many you have and be done with it. No, she makes the little old woman put each one on there. She finally finishes ringing up the woman’s order, and starts to bag the groceries, basically just throwing things into the bags. She gets the cart loaded back up and the woman is standing there, looking around. Meanwhile, the belt is only half full with my stuff and I can’t put anything else up there until the cashier moves it. The old woman is still standing there and the cashier says to her in a very loud, rude voice, “You need to move so I can ring up other customers.” The old woman looked at her and said, softly, “I need someone to help me out to my car.” Cue another loud sigh and eyeroll as the cashier calls for help.
She starts ringing my stuff through, tossing things toward the bagger that has now appeared. I was still unloading my cart when she started, so I couldn’t give her my Plus card (for discounts) and I really didn’t want to interrupt her to get it scanned in the middle of the transaction, so I waited. She tells me the total and I hand her my card and coupons, which got me an eyeroll. After the new total is given, I tell her that I have Lone Star and she does her magic on the register. I swipe my card, hit the “Food” option and pay for my edible merchandise. After the “approved” message flashes, she tells me my remaining balance is $10.37. I go to swipe my card again (since it has the food and cash options) and the cashier puts her hand over the pin pad. In a very loud voice, she tells me that the remaining balance is a CASH balance. I tell her I know this and that I’m using my card to pay for it. She starts arguing with me that I can’t do that. Another employee walks up (shift supervisor, maybe? It was someone with register keys) and asks what the problem is. The cashier replies, loud enough to be heard over at the customer service desk (I know this, because my mom was there getting change and she heard the whole thing), “this woman is trying pay for her shampoo and toothpaste with FOOD STAMPS.” The people behind me in line were staring at me, people in other lines were staring at me and to say the least, I was a bit embarrassed. I tell the other lady that I’m trying to use my cash benefit on my EBT card to pay and she reaches over, pushes a button on the register and says, “most people get all their money at the service desk. Nobody ever uses the card to pay for cash purchases in the lines.” I finally get everything paid for, get my receipt and start loading up my cart again. A bagger comes over to the line, AFTER I get it loaded up and asks the cashier how things are going, how she’s doing, something along those lines and she starts complaining about me, with me standing right there, and again talking about my using food stamps – causing people to turn and stare at me again when she put the emphasis on those words. Now, if I recall correctly, the reason the state went to the cards was to help people feel less ashamed about receiving government assistance, and this girl just totally blew that one out of the water.
I called the store when I got home and asked to speak to a manager. I explained the whole thing to him, including the way the old woman in front of me was treated. He apologized profusely and said that he would deal with the cashier. He also said that he hoped he hadn’t lost a customer because of the cashier’s rudeness. I told him no, but it was only because his store was the closest to me. He told me to ask for him the next time I was in the store so he could apologize again. I will be going back to the store, but I will be avoiding that girl like the plague if she’s still there.