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You might consider it the coupon news equivalent of “man bites dog.” There have been plenty of criminal cases involving couponing customers charged after confrontations with cashiers. But in Ohio this week, it was a cashier who ended up charged after a confrontation with a couponer.

It all started last Monday, when police in Fremont, Ohio were called to a local Kroger to investigate a checkout dispute that grew heated. Customer Gail Johnson, who described herself to police as a “frequent coupon user,” claimed she had been assaulted by a cashier after he got upset while ringing her up.

According to the police incident report, Johnson said she was checking out when she noticed her $44 total seemed wrong. “I said no, that’s not correct,” she later told Toledo’s WTVG-TV. “I said mine should be about $25 because I always total my order. He said the coupons came off and we’re both looking up at the screen and I said no, the coupons are not off.”

Police say Johnson told them the cashier “argued with her over the price… slammed his hands down on the conveyer, then shook the bag of chips over her and was cussing at her.”

The investigating officer then spoke with the cashier, who claimed Johnson is “frequently a difficult customer” and “was insulting his abilities as a cashier while he was attempting to look up the correct sale price on her tortilla chips.” Eventually, he admitted, “he just snapped.”

Police reviewed store surveillance footage to see for themselves what happened. The incident report describes the scene, in which the customer and cashier debated the total, until Johnson appeared to request the suspension of her order so another cashier could check her out. And that’s when the cashier apparently “snapped.”

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As seen in the video still above, the cashier “slammed his hands downward onto the chips and he then threw the bag of smashed chips” past Johnson, who “reacted by throwing a bag of frozen chicken” toward the cashier. Neither appeared to be hit by the flying food items, though it did make a mess.

The two were seen yelling at each other, until the cashier stepped away. They saw each other again at the customer service counter, yelled some more, and the incident report describes Johnson as assuming “a boxer’s stance a couple times, as it appeared she was preparing to defend herself.”

Johnson told police she worried the cashier might “hop over the counter and attack her.”

The cashier pointed out that he never threatened or put his hands on Johnson. She admitted throwing the chicken, but said she did so only in self-defense.

Following a full review of the situation, police charged the cashier on Tuesday with disorderly conduct, a misdemeanor. The incident report noted that the cashier “advised he knows he is in the wrong and plans to pay the fine.”

With grocery prices on the rise, checkout can be stressful and put everyone on edge. But for cashiers and customers alike, a little patience and civility at the checkout could prove to be worth more than whatever you end up paying for your tortilla chips.

Image source: Fremont, Ohio Police Department

One Comment

  1. Good for her! Food is just too high to be paying higher than one should using coupons.

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