Since my store is small and we often have the problem of not having enough change in our register on slower nights, my manager allows us to reject larger bills when the total comes out to be less than $15. Most customers don't usually mind since they're sympathetic when I explain I don't have enough bills (unless they want only $1's and $5's), but I've had customers that act like I've completely inconvenienced them and cursed their future family lineage. In that case, I usually tell customers that we (the mall) are surrounded by 3 big banks that would definitely be able to break that $100 they have.
I was working one slow night when a middle aged lady came in and started eyeing our candy on the front counter. She wanted some skittles, so I scanned it and told her the total. She threw a $100 bill on the counter and without touching it, I asked her if she had any other method of paying since I couldn't break the bill due to the total being so little. "What do you mean you can't break it?! Is this not a fucking store?!" She screamed in my face and I swear I could see so many spit particles fly from her mouth. "I worked hard for this money and you WILL accept it!"
I told her that oh-so-great retail lie of how I would definitely take it if I could, but I couldn't due to our "policy." I tried offering her a solution to walk a few minutes to the bank to break her bill if she desperately needed this bag of overpriced skittles, but she started responding with personally insulting me. "Are you fucking mental? How hard is it to give me fucking change? It's not rocket science!"
Like, listen. I'm dumb as shit, but I'm not going to let this lady insult me for something that's out of my control. I placed my hand on the $100 bill with the intention of sliding it back towards her so she could take it back when I realized something was off. I grabbed the $100 bill and started inspecting it and realized that it was a fake. In the case of counterfeit bills, I usually let the customer know I can't and won't take the bill in the most civil way possible, but you see, retail has broken me. I am now an empty husk of the kind, patient person I used be many moons ago. How dare she insult my (lack of) intelligence when she's the one paying with a bill so fake you can tell by a simple touch.
I looked at her with a smile and went, "actually, ma'am, I totally forgot we just had a large purchase with enough bills! Sorry about that!" I start pretending to continue on with the transaction as I held up the bill to the light and felt the bill for its ridges to "check it." I start feigning confusion as I went "huh. That's strange! This bill doesn't seem to have the watermark it should have!"
"Hurry up and give me my money!" She demands. I started pulling at the bill multiple times to check the integrity of cotton currency when I "accidentally" ripped it in half. "Oh no!" I said. The lady looked at me and boy, did she look angry as if her child Mckeighleigh just ripped up her newest MLM catalogue. "Are you fucking kidding me?! You are going to compensate me for my money you just ripped!"
I looked out the store and conveniently saw one of the mall security guards making their rounds, so I let the lady know. "Sorry, let me call over that security officer! I think the police are actually here right now because they caught a shoplifter, so they'll definitely help you sort this predicament right out!" I looked at the lady and noticed that her facial expression went from angry to panicked the moment I brought up the police.
"I'll be in contact with corporate! Your life will be over!" She screamed as she ran out the store and towards the mall exit. I ended up taping the ripped bill and a note on the wall indicating what happened so my coworkers and manager will know and know who to look out for just in case she came back to do her thing. I also called the owners of my store and let them know and their reaction was "she's going to call corporate because you wouldn't take a fake bill? Good luck with that."