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Supermarket Hell: The Chicken Nugget Brawl

 

Sept 1From soupyy_poop, TalesFromRetail

This was a few years ago, but this was my most memorable customer incident I've had.

I work in a grocery store in the deli department. We sell deli basics, including hot, cooked food. Our hot foods are usually either in prepackaged containers in a hot case outside our display or in our display case where they can ask for a certain amount. Whichever they choose is ok.

My city (and this particular store I was working at) is in absolute poverty shambles. I can assure you that at least 90% of the customers pay with EBT. Hell, even most of the employees use EBT. I do know that recently EBT has made it available to purchase cooked foods, but I'm not sure how it works and it depends on the person's own file I believe. I just play it safe and tell customers they cannot purchase hot foods with EBT but are more than welcome to everything else we have.

This is not news. Everyone should know this about their benefits when they first receieve them. I am not new to this job and get asked that question everyday and on that particular day I was going on 3 years with the company, so it was not my first rodeo.

Anyways, this young lady walks in with 3 of her friends. They went to the bakery and were already stirring up the workers over there. Then they came to my dept and asked for samples of everything,

Customer: "What can I get with food stamps."

Me: "Everything except our hot food"

Customer: "That's this?" -points to some chicken nuggets in our display case.

Deli HellMe: "Yes, only our salads, meats cheeses, sandwiches. Basically everything except our hot food."

Customer: "The girl in the bakery said we could get anything with EBT."

Me: "Well you can get anything from the bakery with food stamps, but we're separate departments."

She and her friends proceed to grab whatever they chose, and one picks up a prepackaged container of said nuggets. They leave. About 10 minutes later I get a call from the cashier and she is telling me these girls are saying I said they could buy that food with food stamps... - SIGH - I walk over there and they are arguing with the cashier and when they see me approaching, the smallest of the bunch (presumably who was paying) points to me and says,

Customer: "Yeah her! She said we could get it with EBT just not the hot stuff in the case!"

Me: "No ma'am, I said you can't get any hot foods from us. It doesn't matter if it's in the case or not"

I guess the problem was that her friend started eating the food before they paid and now she was being forced to pay it. She put up a big fight, said she wasn't paying for it and that I should be fired because I told her she could do it, where I just told our manager (who had shown up by then) that I know very well what people can or can't purchase, why would I suddenly feel like telling this girl that she can do what everyone else can't?

He understood, didn't really care, just wanted her out of the store. She kept yelling it was my fault, she should get it for free etc...

Crazy custy talesAt this point her friends had walked out the door without her and security was escorting her out. Everything would have been ok UNTIL she decided to throw a tantrum and knock over a soda display on her way out. Needless to say, all hell broke loose. She tried running out, security grabbed her and that woman put up a fight of her life! Our security was easily 6 feet at least 200 lbs and that girl was kicking, biting, scratching. She was wearing a dress and it was halfway up by now, they were wrestling her to the floor and she was screaming kicking, punching.

Holy shit what came over her?! The customers in the store could not believe what they were seeing, and some were even yelling at her to shut the hell up and stop acting like a bitch.

They managed to get her upstairs in a locked area, but it had a staircase all the way down to the main lobby, and she was kicking and screaming at the doorway, trying to pull the door open and security and managers were just trying to block her. Police couldn't have shown up fast enough, and when they did she still put up a fight and was screaming she didn't want to go to jail.

All over .75 of a lb of nuggets.

--soupyy_poop

 

Comments

Um...

"I do know that recently EBT has made it available to purchase cooked foods, but I'm not sure how it works and it depends on the person's own file I believe. I just play it safe and tell customers they cannot purchase hot foods with EBT but are more than welcome to everything else we have." So you're saying it's too much trouble to learn the real regs, so you lie to customers to avoid the work?

I hope that isn't what you mean, but it's what you wrote.

The customer is still crazy and dangerous, but you did lie to her (if the above is correct--that you know you're not describing the real regulations but say false things to "play it safe").

D

From the USDA's own web page on eligible food items:

In some areas, restaurants can be authorized to accept SNAP benefits from qualified homeless, elderly, or disabled people in exchange for low-cost meals.

Households CANNOT use SNAP benefits to buy:

Beer, wine, liquor, cigarettes or tobacco
Any nonfood items, such as:
pet foods
soaps, paper products
household supplies
Vitamins and medicines
Food that will be eaten in the store
Hot foods

StormofDarkness

God I wish I could've witnessed this.

Lightning

"her friend started eating the food before they paid"
Well, why would your stupid friend do tha-Oh. I answered my own question.

"The customers in the store could not believe what they were seeing, and some were even yelling at her to shut the hell up and stop acting like a bitch."
You can tell this was years ago. Nowadays, they would have just stood there, filming it all with their smartphones.

"and was screaming she didn't want to go to jail.
All over .75 of a lb of nuggets."
...well. Shouldn't have... you know, done all that.

Eddy Cator

Um..., I read that as the OP was unsure what qualified people from being allowed hot food on their EBT, but it depended on a case by case scenario, which was on their EBT file, and something the OP would not have access to in order to determine who could purchase hot food or not.

But holy shit!

Misty Meanor

I still can't believe just how stupid some people can be.

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