I'm covering the front register while the cashier takes her break, and am checking out a line of 3 people.
The next customer in line, a man carrying his small daughter (we'll call him WM for Wealthy Man), says "Oh, I need to get one more thing, I'll leave these here to hold my place in line," and walks away.
I finish with my current customer, check out the dude who was behind WM. A line starts building. When WM returns, he gets directly behind whoever I'm checking out. I say nothing.
I ring up WM's purchases. He holds back 2 small animal-shaped nightlight/projector type toys, saying, "I bought these earlier but the baby left them here."
Me: Sorry, nobody told me anything about that, and we usually leave forgotten purchases up here at the register. Do you have a receipt?
WM: No, I don't take receipts.
Me: OK, let me call the manager. Do you remember what time you bought these?
The manager comes while WM tells me that he bought them that morning sometime around 10, can he just go? He's sure that we'll see him if we just review the tapes.
The manager says sorry, he has to look at the tapes first. At this point, the toy that WM was carrying is on the counter. After the manager goes into the office I (make a point of) ASKING for, and GENTLY getting the other one from the daughter, and place it next them together on my side of the counter.
WM waits while I check out the next customer, then gets impatient and comes to the counter and grabs the toys.
[Backstory: we've had people grab stuff and walk out the door before. We really can't do anything once they're out there]
My reflexes take over. My hand comes down on WM's hand, and slides the toys away, onto a basket on the floor next to me.
This is when WM goes apeshit.
WM: Why did you hit me?
Me: Why were you grabbing the toys?
WM: I was going to take them to talk to the manager!
Me: You don't need to take them. You can talk to him without them.
WM: Why can't you just give me the toys? I told you the baby left them earlier.
Me: Is it your kid's responsibility taking your stuff outside?
WM: NO, but I give the bag to her to make her happy, she just left it here.
WM: Do you think I'm lying? [starts pacing back and forth] I DRIVE A 80 THOUSAND DOLLAR CAR! [points outside] LOOK HOW MUCH MONEY I HAVE [takes out wallet and flips through his green] LOOK AT MY WATCH! YOU KNOW THIS IS AN $8000 WATCH! [approaches me and throws wrist right in front of my face]
Me: [I don't bother looking at the watch] Sir, I'm not a watch appraiser.
By now, the regular cashier has returned and is checking out customers at the second register. The dude trying to buy cigarettes is telling me to call the cops.
WM: Are you jealous? I don't need to steal! I can pay for what my daughter wants! Why did you hit me? That's not normal behavior! Do they test you for drugs? What's your name?
The cig-buying dude tells WM to shut up and let him buy his smokes. WM says something back. After buying his cigs, dude tells me that he can give me his phone number if I want it, that he didn't see me hit WM. I say no thanks.
WM: Where's your manager?! I want to talk to your manager!
I page the manager, while WM is saying things like "I'm gonna get you fired TODAY! You'll see!"
Manager comes back out. WM says that his hand hurts and he wants to go to the hospital. That he expects to call the police and his lawyer while he's there. Asks if my job gives me drug tests. That I might be on blow, on booze, that hitting customers isn't normal behavior. Asks for FORMS TO FILL OUT TO COMPLAIN ABOUT ME. Says the customer is always right.
Me: Actually no, that's not what that means.
Yells that I snatched the toy out of his daughter's hands, and hit her father in front of her. I probably traumatized her.
Me: She looks fine to me, sir.
She's seen me talk back to customers before, doesn't want me to make a bigger scene. I go to the office.
Cops get called, don't know by who. They talk to WM, they talk to the manager. Asks the manager if he can buy the toys and leave. Manager says sure. WM buys the damn toys and leaves.
I'm calm, cool, collected. Not even mad, because WM was so damn crazy. I was a little scared that it could have technically been assault, but the cashier told me that she heard the cops tell WM that legally I did nothing wrong.