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A cashier | Source: AmoMama
A cashier | Source: AmoMama

Customer Mocked Me Because I Work as a Cashier at the Grocery Store — Moments Later Karma Took Revenge for Me

Prenesa Naidoo
May 24, 2024
12:21 P.M.

Erin's life changes completely when her husband's affair is revealed. In a turn of events, she loses her job and takes the role of a cashier at the local grocery store. Everything is fine until an entitled customer comes into the store, forcing Erin to keep calm and professional.

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My life took a complete turn at 38 years old. I'm a mother to three kids: Emma (15), Jack (9), and Sophie (7), and I've gone from being a project manager at a mid-sized tech company while raising my children to working in a grocery store.

Freezers in a grocery store | Source: Pexels

Freezers in a grocery store | Source: Pexels

This is what happened.

The first cracks came in gradually, all stemming from James, my husband.

"James, are you coming to bed?" I asked one night as he sat on the couch, staring blankly at the TV.

A man sitting on a chair | Source: Pexels

A man sitting on a chair | Source: Pexels

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"In a bit," he muttered, not looking up. "Just need to finish this."

"Finish what? The TV's off."

He sighed, running a hand through his hair, before lying flat.

"Work stuff, Erin. Can we not do this right now?"

A man lying flat on a couch | Source: Pexels

A man lying flat on a couch | Source: Pexels

I could sense something was wrong, but amidst the chaos of work and family, I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Then, one devastating evening, I discovered the truth. James had been having an affair.

"How could you do this to us?" I cried, tears streaming down my face. "To the kids?"

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A silhouette of a couple | Source: Pexels

A silhouette of a couple | Source: Pexels

James looked down, unable to meet my gaze.

"I'm sorry, Erin. I never meant for it to get this far."

The stress from the divorce piled onto the already immense pressure at work. My job's demands became unbearable as I tried to navigate the emotional wreckage of my home.

A crying woman | Source: Pexels

A crying woman | Source: Pexels

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The focus and sharpness I once prided myself on were slipping away, and I struggled to keep up with the relentless pace of my job.

"Erin, I need those reports by the end of the day," my manager, Lisa, reminded me gently. "I know things are tough right now, but we need to stay on track."

A woman sitting at a table | Source: Unsplash

A woman sitting at a table | Source: Unsplash

"I'm trying, Lisa," I replied, my voice shaky. "It's just... everything is falling apart."

And it all became too much. Lisa, though sympathetic to my situation, was left with no choice when my productivity plummeted.

A woman looking at her laptop and holding her head | Source: Pexels

A woman looking at her laptop and holding her head | Source: Pexels

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"Erin, we have to let you go," Lisa said, her eyes full of regret. "I tried to keep you, but my hands were tied on this one. I'm so sorry."

Losing my job felt like the final blow in a series of relentless hardships. The financial strain only added to the emotional burden of my divorce.

A woman holding her head | Source: Pexels

A woman holding her head | Source: Pexels

I knew that I had to find another job quickly to support my children, but the job market was tough, and positions that matched my qualifications and previous salary were few and far between.

"Will we be okay?" Emma asked me one morning as I buttered toast for her and her siblings.

Buttered toast on a plate | Source: Midjourney

Buttered toast on a plate | Source: Midjourney

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"We will," I said. "We will be just fine. I have an interview today, and it's going to be the right match for us. I promise, darling. Don't you worry about us."

"But I am worried, Mom," Emma said, taking a bite of toast. "I don't want to live with Dad."

A teenage girl | Source: Pexels

A teenage girl | Source: Pexels

My heart ached. I couldn't let them down.

Desperation led me to apply for a cashier position at a local grocery store.

"Look, I know it's not what you're used to, Erin," the manager, Mr. Adams, told me. "But this job is stable. We can offer you stability and a steady income."

A person holding a contract | Source: Pexels

A person holding a contract | Source: Pexels

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"I know," I agreed. "It's just that I have three children to care for, too."

"I understand," he said. "We can look at a raise in three months."

A cashier at a grocery store | Source: Midjourney

A cashier at a grocery store | Source: Midjourney

The change was difficult, but it allowed me to be there for my children in a way that I hadn't been able to before. The predictable hours meant I could attend school events, help with homework, and tuck my kids into bed every night.

"I like this, Mom," Sophie said as I tucked her into bed. "You're not always with your laptop."

A little girl tucked in bed | Source: Pexels

A little girl tucked in bed | Source: Pexels

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"I agree," Jack said from his corner of the room. "Mom's always here now."

But as always, despite things seeming positive in one way, life was always going to throw curveballs my way.

A little boy sitting on the bed | Source: Pexels

A little boy sitting on the bed | Source: Pexels

Yesterday was different. A mother with two teenage children came into our supermarket. She was dressed in expensive designer clothes, as were her two children.

When she came to the register, I started ringing up her groceries in an autopilot mode. I was tired and just wanted the day to be over. I wanted to get home for pizza night with my kids.

A woman wearing expensive clothes | Source: Pexels

A woman wearing expensive clothes | Source: Pexels

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"What's with the face, dear? Why aren't you smiling at your customers?" she asked me, tapping her long nails on the counter.

I had been working all day and I had forgotten to plaster a smile across my face.

"I'm sorry," I said to her, taking things out of the cart.

A full shopping cart | Source: Midjourney

A full shopping cart | Source: Midjourney

Then I smiled at her and continued to do my job.

But, of course, it didn't end there.

"I'd have that face too, if I worked here. Your face looks mean because you don't earn enough. That's why you're miserable."

A close-up of a woman | Source: Midjourney

A close-up of a woman | Source: Midjourney

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The other customers in the line looked shocked, while I became red from the embarrassment.

I wasn't embarrassed by my job; I was grateful for it. But it was her ugly comment that made me want to curl into a ball.

A shocked woman | Source: Pexels

A shocked woman | Source: Pexels

Just as I handed her the last bag, she screamed loudly when one of her kids bumped into the cart, still holding onto his iPhone. The cart tipped over, spilling all the groceries onto the floor with a loud bang, followed by glass shattering.

Expensive bottles of wine were spilling onto our floor, soaking through the artisan bread and gourmet cheese.

Bottles of wine on display | Source: Unsplash

Bottles of wine on display | Source: Unsplash

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The woman's face turned bright red as she snapped at her child, humiliated.

"Michael! Watch what you're doing! You clumsy idiot!" she shrieked.

"I'm sorry, Mom," he muttered, pocketing his phone and looking around.

A teenage boy | Source: Pexels

A teenage boy | Source: Pexels

I quickly bent down to help pick up the undamaged items, maintaining my composure.

"It's alright, accidents happen," I said softly, while the other customers watched the scene unfold.

Mr. Adams approached as the woman and her children scrambled to gather their things.

A man wearing a uniform | Source: Unsplash

A man wearing a uniform | Source: Unsplash

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"Ma'am," he said politely. "It seems you might need some help. We can replace the broken items, but you'll need to pay for them."

The woman, now visibly flustered, handed me her credit card with a huff.

"There," she said.

I swiped it, but the transaction was declined. I tried again, but the result was the same.

A person holding a card | Source: Pexels

A person holding a card | Source: Pexels

"I'm sorry, ma'am, but your card has been declined," I said, trying to remain as professional as possible, but my insides were doing cartwheels as karma dished it out for the woman.

"That's impossible," she said. "This must be a mistake. I'll call someone to sort this out."

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She dialed a number and put the phone to her ear, but there was no answer. She tried again, and again, but the person on the other end did not respond.

An angry woman | Source: Unsplash

An angry woman | Source: Unsplash

The growing line of customers behind her began to murmur and exchange looks, some shaking their heads in disbelief, while others grew impatient.

Mrs. Jenkins, a regular customer, stepped forward with her bread and milk, ready to join another line.

"Looks like karma has its own way of working things out," she said with a smirk. "Maybe next time you'll think twice before being so rude to others."

Milk and bread in a shopping basket | Source: Midjourney

Milk and bread in a shopping basket | Source: Midjourney

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With no way to pay and no one answering her calls, the woman was forced to wait in the store.

"I can get you a chair, ma'am," Mr. Adams offered.

"No. I'm fine," she said stiffly at the end of my counter, clearly mortified.

She waited for at least over an hour, her children sitting sullenly nearby, the humiliation palpable.

A woman holding her head | Source: Unsplash

A woman holding her head | Source: Unsplash

"Can't we call a cab and go home?" the daughter whined. "My phone battery is about to die and I have things to do."

The woman rolled her eyes.

"Enough, Gemma," she said. "I don't care what you need to do. We will wait for your father."

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A teenage girl | Source: Unsplash

A teenage girl | Source: Unsplash

Soon enough, the father showed up, looking important in his suit. Immediately, he turned his anger on his kids.

"How could you be so careless? Do you know how much this is going to cost?" his voice echoed. "No allowances for you both."

"And you," he said, turning to his wife. "Can't you manage a simple shopping trip without causing a scene? This is why I told you to leave it up to the cook."

The entire store watched as he berated them. He gave me his card and nodded to me.

A person holding a card | Source: Pexels

A person holding a card | Source: Pexels

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"Make it quick, please," he said. "I've got to get back to work."

When I was done, he grabbed the bags and stormed out of the store, not waiting for his family to follow.

"You handled that with grace, Erin," Mr. Adams said. "Go on, get your things and get home to your kids."

I intended to, a pizza party awaited me.

Trays of homemade pizza | Source: Midjourney

Trays of homemade pizza | Source: Midjourney

What would you have done?

If you enjoyed this story, here's another one for you |

When Samantha reaches a huge milestone at work, she decides to celebrate the moment by treating herself to something expensive—a pair of diamond earrings. But when she and her husband are with their friends, and Ross takes full credit for it, she wants nothing more than to embarrass him. Will she do it? And more importantly, will she regret it?

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Read the full story here.

This work is inspired by real events and people, but it has been fictionalized for creative purposes. Names, characters, and details have been changed to protect privacy and enhance the narrative. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.

The author and publisher make no claims to the accuracy of events or the portrayal of characters and are not liable for any misinterpretation. This story is provided “as is,” and any opinions expressed are those of the characters and do not reflect the views of the author or publisher.

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