We all get a little lost sometimes. You know that feeling when you walk into a room and completely forget what you went in for? Well, sometimes that happens in public. And some of those times, the person who is confused gets really mad about it. No one likes being wrong, but that’s not really an excuse for behavior this bad. These Redditors came together to share their stories of people in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong reaction—and each is wilder than the last.
1. We Are Not The Same
One time this older dude rushes up to order and slams a coupon on the counter saying “I want this”! I picked it up. It has menu items for KFC. I asked him “What exactly would you like to order”? He instantly gets disgruntled with me for not reading his mind and shakes his finger at the coupon and says, “Well, whatever is on the coupon, obviously”!? in a condescending tone.
When I looked down, I nearly burst out laughing. I just look at him for a minute and say, word for word, “Sir, this is McDonald’s. I don’t know what you want me to do with this KFC coupon”. He looks at me dumbfounded. Then looks behind me at the menu and around the store, yells “Aw, nuts”! like this isn’t his first time walking into the wrong establishment, grabs the coupon, and storms off.
2. Do What You Always Do
I had some old guy get belligerent with me because he wanted to pay his water bill over the phone. I worked for the government but in the 9-1-1 dispatch, so I thought he just got transferred wrong. I told him that I'd transfer him to the city's water department, please hold. He yelled back some derogatory remarks and said if he wanted the city water department, he would have called them—just take his credit card number like I always did.
I apologized and said sir, I don't have a way to process your credit card, I work in the 9-1-1 center. Then he starts yelling that he didn't call 9-1-1 (he didn't, it was my direct non-emergency line). He finally gets frustrated and says he'll give the check to the water delivery guy next time he comes by instead, and hangs up.
3. Doughnut Ask This Of Me!
I used to work at Burger King and with our drive through the person speaking had a headset on but there was a speaker in the kitchen so you could hear the customer and start making the sandwiches before the order taker pushed the buttons. A dude pulled up and the high schooler on headset greeted him. "A dozen chocolate doughnuts".
Literally everyone stopped what they were doing and looked at the girl on headset and just waited. She said, "I'm sorry"? "A dozen chocolate doughnuts", was the reply. "I'm sorry sir, we don't have doughnuts here". The man goes silent for a few seconds then says, "Where am I"? "This is Burger King". There's a few more seconds of silence then we hear, who we presume to be his wife in the passenger seat, start cracking up.
They sit there for a couple seconds, her laughing the entire time, then slowly drive off. There's a coffee shop a couple buildings down, we can only assume they were trying to go there.
4. Your Property, Your Problem
I worked for a local municipality for years, performing road repair, building maintenance and snow removal. I was a dispatcher for my last ten years there. During a whiteout snowstorm I received an irate call from a woman complaining her snow wasn’t removed like all of her neighbors had been. I went to do a site check and the road was better than normal.
I called her back and said I couldn’t find an issue. When she replied, I nearly lost it. She said her driveway, sidewalk, and deck haven’t been shoveled like her neighbors have and her real estate agent said in casual conversation the city does snow removal. She thought the city with less than 40 people doing all types of physical labor were going to do all of her property maintenance with snow removal and the other 10,000 plus buildings in the city limits.
Oh and she couldn’t/wouldn’t understand the neighbors’ houses were all done because they themselves shoveled it away. I had to explain we plow the 50 linear miles of roads we own. We are not a property management company.
I used to work at Target and they hired a new girl (who had previously worked at Walmart) to work the fitting rooms—and by default the intercom system. A few days after she started she was about to make an announcement over the intercom. That’s when she made a hilarious mistake. I guess habit took over because she started the announcement with “Attention Walmart shoppers...”. She realized her error and made a good recovery with “...you are in the wrong store”.
6. If I Were A Betting Man
I worked at GameStop for a couple years. One day I answer the phone and the guy on the other end goes "Hi, do y'all have video gaming"? I pause for a moment, pretty baffled, and reply "Y-yes...we're GameStop. We sell video games". The dude goes "No, I mean video gaming”. I pause again and hesitantly tell him yes again.
I can then hear the excitement in his voice as he goes "Really?! Like slots"!? I finally realize he's talking about freaking gambling and say "Oh! Sorry, no...we're a video game store. Like games you play on your TV", and he angrily goes "Oh. Well that's misleading", and hangs up. Man actually thought GameStop was some sort of casino.
7. See You At Church
I worked as a Dominos Pizza delivery driver when I was 17. It was a normal day at work, delivering to a house pretty far out of the suburbs and this was my first stop. I had three deliveries during that run. I pulled up, rang the doorbell, and stood at the door like a statue waiting for him to answer. Out steps this hermit crab of a man, dressed in a nightgown and belly sticking clearly out well enough to cover up the fact he clearly isn’t wearing pants but isn’t showing me anything explicit.
I try to remain professional and exchange complimentary small talk, while I pass the pizzas to him since he paid over the phone. In typical small talk you’re not prepared for long conversations, I give him the classic “hey mate, how are ya.” What happened next was gut-wrenching. He starts to sob as he explains he’s mentally not well and only rang up for pizza to talk to someone.
I explained to him I wish I could stay and talk to cheer him up but this is my first job and I've got deliveries waiting. But I did give him the phone number of a pastor at my church and told him he can help a lot better than I can.
8. No Patience For Dumb Patients
I'm a Canadian, and a paramedic. I've had intoxicated patients attempt to "plead the fifth" during routine assessment questions. Welcome to Canada, dumdum, our constitution doesn't have a "Fifth Amendment". You do have a right to not incriminate yourself, but that really doesn't apply in a confidential health assessment.
I've been called by two drunks for a ride home. I should be clear, it was a warm summer evening and they were simply too lazy to walk home (their words, not mine). But that’s not the most unbelievable part. They actually lodged a formal complaint against me for telling them to “screw off" (I said more to them, but they only mentioned that).
9. Winning Is Everything
I've worked for the past couple of years as a basketball referee, mostly for rec leagues, which means I work with a lot of younger kids. Given that information, it genuinely blows my mind how overly intense some coaches are. One of the worst examples I've seen by far was when a coach—of girls who were maybe ten years old at the oldest, mind you—was given two technical fouls within the span of two minutes by my partner.
He had to be dragged off the court by his assistant coach because he was so mad! Most of the time I find this kind of hilarious, and I constantly have to stop myself from smiling if I'm not wearing a mask or just straight up telling coaches, "they're children, calm down”. But there have been a couple times where I'm genuinely concerned for my safety or that of my partners’.
Most refs are trying their best, if you're going to come to your kid's rec game, please don't scream at us.
10. The Non-Human Animal
I used to work in a retail pet store, and we absolutely had a policy about matching competitors’ coupons. The whole price matching policy in general was three pages long and I had to study that thing like it was for a college entrance exam. Well, one of the policies said that we would match our own online prices for things with certain exclusions, one of them being animals.
One guy wanted to buy a bunch of ghost shrimp at the online rate (which was like 10 cents cheaper), and when I printed out the actual policy and showed him, he said “Yeah, but come on…are shrimp really animals”? “Well dude, they sure as heck aren’t plants, monera, protozoans, or fungi, so…”. I was on fire that day.
11. Back In My Day…
I've had a “Sir, this isn't the 70s” moment. A bloke sent his kid, no older than 14, into the shop I was working at to buy him smokes, twice. The first time I told him he needed ID. About an hour later he came back with a little note, like that would make any difference, and I sent him packing. But it didn’t end there. Ten minutes after that, the guy who wanted the smokes in the first place came in and had a go at me.
Like it was my fault that his son was a minor. I tried explaining that I would've lost my job while insisting that no one that worked there would serve his son, even with a note. He didn't care. He still shouted at me for 15 minutes straight.
12. But Do They Have A Doorbell Camera
I work at a nuclear power plant. A few years ago, the control room emergency phone number got out. We get a call on the emergency line. One of the reactor operators picks it up, saying, “Hello, local power station emergency line, how can I help you”? He hears a click. Then some dude is asking if we want to upgrade our home security system.
The reactor operator is like, “Do you have microwave or infrared detectors? Oh no? Well, we do. Do you have an option for hand geometry scanners? Well, we do”. This goes on for a few minutes and he’s finally like “Dude, you called the control room for a nuclear reactor. You don’t have anything that could upgrade what we already have. Never call this number again”, and hangs up. I was dying laughing.
13. State Secrets
Many years ago, my dad was working for the US Geological Survey. He and some colleagues were working late one night and decided to order a pizza. They dialed the number for the local pizza place but forgot to first dial for an outside line, so they were unwittingly dialing into the federal government phone system.
Apparently the first few numbers of the pizza place's phone number turned out to be the direct extension for some office in whatever the 1980s version of Homeland Security was. Instead of the pizza place, they ended up with some very grumpy man demanding to know how they got that number.
14. The Right To Look Stupid
In the US when you sell property, you have to provide your social security number to the attorney/closing firm for tax reporting purposes. I was at the table and noticed we didn’t have our seller’s social yet, so I asked him to fill out the appropriate form. He scribbled on it and slid it back to me, all power-move like.
I couldn’t believe what I read on the form. He had written “N/A, I do not recognize the sovereignty of the US”. He was super serious. Luckily he had already signed paperwork allowing us to find it through other (legitimate, confidential) means.
15. The Devil’s Numbers
I used to work at a Starbucks drive through and I shall never forget this one Karen. Me: “Hello! Welcome to Starbucks, your total is $6.66”. Karen: “WHAT?! Target should not be giving out devil numbers to people! I thought this was a family store”! Me: “…Ma’am, it’s your drink plus tax”. Karen: “Well it goes against my Christian beliefs! I need to speak to the manager about this”!
Me: “Ma’am, this Starbucks is not associated with—”. I tried. But she kept yelling at me. My shift supervisor was amazing.
16. You Should Know By Now
I work for a commercial fire suppression company. We are the ones who inspect sprinkler/alarm systems, fire extinguishers, hydrants, and all other fire safety equipment yearly to make sure they’re up to code. Any legally operating business has to have yearly inspections on these systems; sometimes you can slide by without getting them done every year, but if the fire marshal shows up for a visit, you’re busted.
So I work in the office, and it’s my job to call our customers to let them know their inspections are due. These are people who know they need these inspections done and are already customers of ours. Still, maybe it’s something in my voice, but like six times out of ten I get someone hanging up because these people think I’m trying to sell them a service.
I’ve had to call people back several times to try and let them know that I’m not a telemarketer and that, even if they choose not to use our services this year, their system will soon be out of code. I’ve had to start limiting myself to three callbacks, because I can’t keep wasting my time with these people
17. We Can’t Help You Here
We have a lot of men that show up at the obstetrics/gynecology office that I work at and tell me: “Hello my name is [so and so] I’m here to see someone for [insert non-OBGYN topic here, such as surgery or a COVID test]”. It gets even better when they try to argue with me, especially considering that there’s a big OBGYN sign right behind my desk.
Buddy, unless you want me to swab the ladyparts you’re hiding under those boxers or you have an embryo in your duderus, you should listen to my directions and go to the right department that has to do with whatever you’re needing to see a doctor for. We also have people who show up when they’re in labor, which is always fun.
We’re just a clinic, we don’t have a labor and delivery department stashed away between the medication samples closets and the supply cabinets.
18. This Isn’t Walmart
I worked at an adult store for years, we had a really strict no return policy for obvious reasons. Once you bought a toy and walked out our doors, it was yours. We made this very clear to everyone. Anyways a guy comes in and wants to buy a pump, no problem. I ask him if he's absolutely positive that this one is the right size for him and let him know that there's no returns, even if it's not. I had no idea what kind of whirlwind of a customer service nightmare I was walking into.
I ring him up and he leaves with it. The next day he comes in and tries to return it because it was the wrong size, then proceeds to get aggressive when I explain for now the third time that we can't take it back but he can purchase a new one. He doesn't like this, he decides to scream at me and demands to speak to management.
My manager walks up and explains why he can't return a fourth time. At this point ole dude LOSES it and starts screaming "IF THIS WAS WALMART AND I BOUGHT A GALLON OF MILK, TOOK A SIP AND WANTED TO RETURN IT, THEY WOULD LET ME"! Without missing a beat my manager just yelled: "SIR, you don't screw a gallon of milk, and this isn't Walmart"!
The customer is red faced and irate at this point, as we cackled at him. He then smashed the pump to pieces in front of us then stormed out. I miss that job sometimes…
19. What A Muslim Girl Wants
I worked at Victoria’s Secret and I’m visibly South Asian (Pakistani) and I was working at the cash register when a Pakistani hijabi auntie came to cash out. She started asking me all these questions and then hit me with the “Are you Pakistani”? And I was like, “Yeah…” and then she proceeds to go on a rant about how “good Muslim girls” aren’t supposed to be working at a place like Victoria’s Secret.
I was staring at her like, “Ma’am, I’m a university student…it’s not that deep..it’s all girls here”. And once she was done her rant I was like, “What about good Muslim women? They shouldn’t even be inside of Victoria’s Secret”. She gave me a dirty look and left.
20. Bye Bye Birdy
I work in a pet store. One of my coworkers got a call one day from someone who found an injured wild bird and wanted us to take it. Being a pet store, we can't and won’t take in wild animals, especially not birds, due to the migratory bird act, and we don't sell birds so we didn’t even have anywhere to keep it.
So she tells the woman this and gives the name of a wild bird rehab center nearby, and the woman just loses it. I couldn’t believe her reasoning. She said it's "our duty as Americans" (yes, seriously) to take this stupid bird from her because she is a customer. My co-worker just says, "I am very sorry, but as a pet store we cannot take wild animals", and hangs up.
21. Don’t Shoot The Transporter
I work as medical transport for the disabled and elderly. I showed up for a completely optional, free to him, clinic appointment. Transport is completely free. He said he was not aware, completely trashed our organization, went on and on about his medical problems that are causing him discomfort, which the appointment with the doctor would help address if he wanted to go…which he made very clear that he didn't.
I had to stop him and say "I completely agree sir, but I am just transportation. We can reschedule your appointment. I will pass the information along". I really enjoy this job, but there are some people who are extremely ungrateful for this service and transportation tends to get the brunt of it.
22. Laws Aren’t One Size Fits All
I used to work customer service for an online furniture retailer. Last year, they’d been having a ton of trouble with their supply chain (like every other retailer), and people were flooding the office with angry messages over the delays. This one guy asked for a refund on his order, but his order was already on a delivery truck, bound for his address.
I explained that, per our policies, we don’t refund orders that have left our supplier’s warehouses. Customers can wait for the product to arrive, and just cut and run without paying or returning the product. The guy then sends me an email, citing some specific trade law that, he explains, means we are required to issue a refund if he asks for it.
Well, that wasn’t a normal response to that conversation. It seemed odd to believe that the company would be just unaware of such a relevant law. So I googled it by the name he gave me in the email. Turns out, the law wasn’t a US law, it was British, and therefore not relevant to his order. I proceeded to explain the error, and restate that he’ll have to wait for the delivery company to get his package to him, after which we can process him returning it to us for a refund. As you can imagine, he was not impressed that I one-upped him.
23. Maybe She Meant Another Dealership…
A friend of mine worked at a car dealership as a receptionist. One day some lady called and started trying to make an appointment for issues concerning her vaginal mesh. She wouldn’t let my friend talk and just kept talking over her. Finally, after hearing a good deal about this lady’s issue, she just pulled the phone away from her ear and yelled into the receiver “MAM, THIS IS A CAR DEALERSHIP”!
The lady quickly apologized and hung up.
24. Not My Babies!
I answer the phones at an adoption agency, and there’s one call that I’ll never forget. This lady called saying she needed to return a blanket. Confused, I thought, maybe she received a donation from us and didn’t want it anymore even though that’s not something you really do. She said no, she ordered two blankets and wanted to return the other and this was the number to call.
I said “Ma’am, this is an adoption agency”, and she went “Oh….well, I don’t want to return my babies”! I laughed so hard and thankfully she was really nice and laughed with me.
25. You’re Not My Matchmaker
One time, this guy who's sitting right in front of me suddenly whips out his wallet and shows me a picture of his daughter, describing in rather explicit detail (in a really uncomfortable way) how beautiful she is and how successful she is in her line of work following up with questions about how old I am etc. Considering the situation, I think I reacted rather professionally.
The answer I had in my mind was: "Sir, I’m a final year med student, I'm not here to find a wife. I'm here because the doctor asked me to assess whether or not you exhibit symptoms of neurological dysfunction and right now you're really not doing yourself a favor".
26. But My Research!
When I was in college, I worked at the main desk in the university library. We checked out books to patrons, handled fine payment, and other stuff. I had an old lady, a grad student, try to check out, but she had some fines due. She reaches into her purse and hands me a JCPenney charge card. Not a Penney's branded Visa or something, a store charge card.
I told her we couldn't accept a store card for fine payment. Her reaction was infuriating. She goes off on a rant about how nobody else has a problem with that card, and how we were preventing her from doing research for her thesis, and more.
27. The Last Place You Look
I once left my Nintendo 3DS on a train—I’m a locomotive engineer. I put up a flier at the yard office asking if anybody had found it to call me and left my number but not my name. We’re not supposed to have electronic devices as per federal regulation. About a week later somebody wrote on the flier that they found it and to call a number they wrote down.
So I call the number and give my name and say I’m the guy who left the Nintendo on the train. The man who answered said: “I think you have the wrong number, I am the rules compliance officer for the Federal Railroad Administration”. My blood ran cold. I had literally just turned myself into the one person in the government whose job it was to bust my chops and write me a fine.
I hung up the phone and forgot about the whole thing. Fast forward another week. Apparently the 3DS was in the bottom of my bag the whole time.
28. A Close Call
I worked for an engineering firm with a one-letter spelling difference between us and a small pharmaceutical maker. Guy calls the mainline and it gets forwarded to me for some reason. Slurring words talking about how he needs his medication but they ran out at the pharmacy of it. Took me about a minute or so to figure it out. I told him to go to the hospital and call his doctor.
He said okay and hung up—but then it dawned on me. I should’ve call 9-1-1 for him, but he had a private number. It has been about eight years and I still think about him maybe once a month. I hope he is alright.
29. Equivalent Enough
I worked at a famous CA burger chain with very few menu items. A guy rolls through the drive-thru window and starts ordering like it's McD's. Amused, I just let him go on until he stopped mid-sentence "-oh nooooo...". At this point, I basically suggested an order that was similar to the one he requested. He said, "Oh...Well sure! Thank you"! We had a good laugh at the window and it pretty much made my day.
30. The CIA Wants YOU
For my 15th birthday, I got a worker's permit so I could start working right away. I got a job at a nearby McDonald's and was only limited to running the front cash register due to some archaic labor laws from the early 20th century that apply to 15-year-olds. One afternoon, a very disheveled middle-aged man came in and began ranting and raving.
He went on and on about how he was a recruiter for the CIA and was looking for young male talent to groom early. He showed me business cards, held a briefcase but refused to show me what was inside, and eventually was told to leave after he wasn't ordering any food and the managers caught on to what he was doing. He then sat in his car for about another 30 minutes, before he finally drove away.
Never heard anything from him again, but it almost certainly was a scam. My stupid young self halfway believed him back then. I wonder what kind of weird shenanigans I ended up avoiding.
31. Tale Of The Rail Scale
I used to work at a specialty model railway store called [Local Area] Scale Rail. Scale, as in scale model, and rail, as in railway. I answered the phone one day: "Yeah, do you folks have a railway scale"? Ah! A well-known company makes the first plastic version of one I've ever seen. It's how a company would weigh freight cars coming into or leaving their property in order to know what weight they're shipping out.
"I believe Walthers makes one; let me check if there's one in stock....Yes, we have one left", and I give him the price, $30 or whatever. "Huh? You mean 30 grand"? "No, it's an HO kit for a railway scale". There's some back and forth before he's sure I'm talking model trains. He's not happy: "You call yourselves [Local Area] Scale and you sell model kits"?!
"No, sir, we're [Local Area] Scale Rail”. "But you're in the phone book as (Geographic area) Scale...". Then the phone clicks. If he's too busy to read properly, he's too busy to say "My mistake"! I guess.
32. Sound Of Silence
I work at a funeral home and answer the phones out of regular hours. I'm on call for an entire week at a time. Our out-of-hours line usually receives calls from people from nursing homes etc., whose residents have passed and who don't have the appropriate care facilities. So I then dispatch our transfer team to bring the deceased into our care.
I had a call from someone in a call center telling me that our online presence wasn't prominent and that they could help. At 9 pm. I kindly informed the caller that they had come through to our out-of-hours line. Explained what the line was for. There was a pause. I could hear the penny drop. They apologized profusely and told me they would remove the number from their call list. Wild.
When I was working at the cinema there were always people who came out of the theater (to use the bathroom or buy food) without their ticket, and I'd urge them to go get it because if they go away for more than five minutes there's no way I'll remember who they are when so many people pass by, and I can't let them through.
I found myself arguing very often with some aggressive customers, so I came up with a strategy. Every time someone would aggressively argue, I'd say "you know what? When you come back, whisper to me the word [random word] so I know it's you". I kept track of them in my phone and everything, it was flawless. One day this lady comes out and she's definitely not happy.
We argue, I say, you know, what, just say “papaya” when you're back so I can identify you. She agrees and leaves for more than an hour, the movie's almost over. She rushes back in, but I don't know who she is. She starts screaming the names of random fruits in an aggressive way, and I was just so confused. Who are you, lady? Why are you doing this?
And I started fighting back. "Apples!" "Banana”! She just kept going. It took me a couple minutes to figure out who she was. My supervisor, looking from the side, was very confused as to what was happening. It was that day I realized the hole in what I thought was a genius plan.
34. There’s A Stranger In My Car
Once I was picking up a friend to go out with. It was night and I was sitting in my car in the driveway of her apartment building waiting for her. I heard my back door open and close and I turned around to make a joke or ask why she didn’t come sit with me, and instead of it being my friend there was a woman I’d never seen before sitting in my car.
After a few moments of awkward stares, I realized what was going on and just stammered “Uhm. I’m not your Lyft driver…”. The woman’s eyes got big and she embarrassingly exclaimed “WhatOH! OH I AM SO SORRY”, and jumped out of my car! My actual friend came down a minute or two later.
35. Karen’s Worst Nightmare
I was working at a Family Dollar and I was ringing this lady out. I proceeded to take a sip of water and she got so offended saying I was unprofessional, a disgrace, and how no customer service worker should do that and basically just telling me how my life will suck, that I’m just a “lowly” cashier, “you should give me top notch service”, and I’ll become a single teenage mother, etc. All because I took a sip of water.
I legitimately said, “Ma’am this is a Family Dollar”, and she demanded to see a manager. I looked at her, said, okay, did a little swirl, pointed at my name tag and told her “I am the manager”…and then I kicked her out because I had a line.
36. Thank You For Wasting My Time
I worked for a call center for an umbrella corporation for several car dealerships. People would call in to set up service appointments for their vehicles. So, one evening, a call was piped in to me. It was an older person who was having a difficult time speaking up and enunciating. So, I did what any good customer service rep would do and tried my best with the situation.
I patiently got their information to look up their file (there wasn't one), opened a new file for them with their info, and proceeded to ask about the vehicle they wanted serviced. After a lot of politely asking them to repeat themselves, spell things, etc., I finally figured out what they were calling to get serviced. I could only shake my head. They had a Rascal. One of the little scooters older folks use to get around.
We didn't service scooters. I had been on the phone with this person for over 30 minutes. I promptly told them we didn't service Rascals and hung up. It wasn't the most delicate way to handle the situation, but I was exhausted from dealing with it.
37. Yer An Adult, Harry
I'm working part-time at a children's psychiatric walk-in clinic. Patients can be treated if they had an appointment before the age of 18 and then until they're 21. After 21, patients must find a psychiatrist for adults. So this guy called me to make an appointment. He had a pretty young sounding voice so I asked for his date of birth and he told me 1985.
At this point, I thought we both must have misunderstood and asked for his kid's date of birth. He said he doesn't have children, the appointment is for himself and he's been coming here for almost a decade and he needs to see his doctor. His doctor passed on last year and the temporary replacement had also left the practice, but he knew that.
I ended up on the phone with him for a solid 15 minutes explaining how at 36 he cannot be treated by a children's psychiatrist anymore and he needs to find a psychiatrist for adults.
38. “I Feel Jesus In This Arby’s Tonight”
Yesterday, a couple came into my Jersey Mikes and started preaching. Cool folks, very nice, very much "love thy neighbor" type people, the kind of Christians I think Jesus would be proud of, but it was bizarre to have this fella ask about me and my co-worker's lives and such, only to finish it out by asking us if he could pray for us.
The store was super quiet, so we said yes, and he did a full on prayer, bowed heads and all, and he didn't pray that we'd go to church or find god, just that we'd be able to find peace and hope in something—be it Jesus or something or someone else. Indeed bizarre, but it wasn't a bad thing at least. I'm not religious at all, but I did appreciate the insight and an excuse not to work for 10 minutes.
39. I’m The Taxman
I am a tax preparer and work for a company with offices all over the country. A woman came to our office and asked me for copies of her last three years' tax returns. I took down her name and SS number and tried to look her up in the database but I couldn't find her. I confirmed the spelling of her name and her SSN and asked if her returns had been prepared in our office, and she said no, she had filled out the forms herself.
When I told her that I only had access to tax returns prepared in our office, she became enraged, called me a liar, insisted I could print a copy of every tax return ever filed by anybody in the country, and threatened to report me to the IRS if I didn't give her copies of her returns. I told her she was welcome to complain to the IRS, gave her the number, and I'm sure they got a good laugh out of it.
40. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished
Just two months ago I had an elderly man call my personal cell phone and leave a message telling me he wants to buy tires for his car. I've never been associated with any sort of automotive business. Feeling like a good Samaritan that day, I figured I'd call him back and tell him he left a message for the wrong number so he could call the person he meant to call. Big mistake. The call went like this...
Me: Hey is this [man’s name]? Elderly Man: Yes it is. Me: Cool, hey I just wanted to call you back because you left a message on my voicemail about buying tires and this is a personal line, I don't sell tires, you dialed the wrong number. Elderly Man: Now wait a minute here! I've dialed this number many times and have dealt with Mike!!! You need to get Mike on the phone!
Me: Sir, there is no Mike here. I told you this is a personal number and you dialed the wrong number. Elderly Man: Now wait a minute, I've dealt with Mike's automotive many times at this number! Me: You meant to call Mike's automotive? Elderly man: Yes! Me: starts typing on Google finds Mike's automotive on Facebook Sir, Mike's automotive is the same number as mine...except mine ends in 7 and their business number ends in 1. You have the number written down wrong.
Elderly man: Now wait a minute! Let me figure out what I did here! Me: I just told you what you did, you dialed a 7 instead of a 1. Elderly man: Yes, it looks like I have a 7 written on my note here. Me: Right, so that ending 7 should be a 1 for Mike's automotive...So are you good? Elderly man: Yes, I guess so. Me: Ok, call them about your tires. Elderly man: Yes, I guess I will do that.
Me: Cool. And then I hung up.
41. Canada Is Not America’s Hat
We are a Canadian company but there is some American Medicaid commercial out there that has our phone number. Or is super close to it. I usually get a couple of calls a week, but sometimes I think the commercial is pushed and we get 3-4 a day. It's always the OLDEST sounding person with the most intense Southern accent I can think of.
They never listen to me when I answer the phone "Hello this is box company" (basically) and start in on their Medicaid requests. And then argue with me that they called the wrong number. I've looked and looked for the correct one that would be close to us so I can give them the right info, but no dice. They always seem so sad.
Another one is about six months into the pandemic. I got a call from an aggressive man with possibly a New York accent who demanded I tell him when basketball would be starting again. He might have been intoxicated but honestly I couldn't tell from the way he spoke. How are these Americans getting our Canadian phone number???
42. Get Your Head In The Game
Playing a round of disc golf with my wife. The park was busy that day and lots of big groups were out. We kept playing through groups because we are pretty good and a lot of these groups were just Sunday casual players. An old couple and their grandkids wave for us to play through so we finished the hole and approached them on the next tee box.
They wanted to watch us throw this long hard hole and were asking us tips for them and their grandkids. All of a sudden the grandpa starts talking all this political nonsense. This was literally out of nowhere and didn’t even partially tie into what we had been talking about…but he was getting very emotional.
43. Elephant-Sized Problem
My wife was doing an interview and the interviewer asked her how she would handle a situation if there was “an elephant in the room”. Not being familiar with the phrase, she proceeded to describe in detail all the things she would consider to help get the elephant out of the room. The interviewers allowed her to finish and she didn’t realize her misunderstanding until she told me about it later.
44. Je Ne Sais Quoi
I worked in a UK clothing chain. One day a lady came in to return an item; she put the item on the counter and handed me a receipt. The item was from the right shop but the receipt was from another clothes shop. So I hand the receipt back to her and say "wrong shop" or something along those lines, but it quickly becomes apparent she's French and barely speaks a word of English.
I start pointing to the logo on the receipt and trying to convey that it's a different place. I was pointing to anywhere that says the name of my shop and eventually she has a lightbulb moment and bursts out laughing. She gets the right receipt and I'm able to give her her money back. She must have been so confused because she did everything right in her mind.
The item wasn't worn and still had the tag, she was well within the return limit, and she gave me the receipt. Glad she finally got it because it was getting to an awkward point where I was running out of ideas.
45. “We Get That All The Time”
I needed ham for Easter dinner. I called to order one and when they answered, I couldn’t decide what size to get: “Well, we’re having 10 people, but I want leftovers, so maybe one that will feed 15”? The guy let me ramble for a while, then responded, “Ma’am, this is Honeywell, I think you want Honeybaked”.
46. Librarian By Day, Mortician By Night
I worked in the tech department of my university’s library. Some guy called one night while I was working—and what he said made my blood run cold. He asked who he needed to contact to donate his body to the medical school when he passed on. I was like 20, and I had no idea how to respond, especially since the medical school is another campus.
I explained to him that he needed to contact the medical school, and he told me he already had. I was like “Okay…I can’t really help you. This is the tech service department of the library”. I was on the phone with him for like 35 minutes.
47. The Mighty Karen
I worked the seventh circle of Hades for a few years, AKA the Walmart service desk. A woman tossed an armful of clothes on the desk, slammed down a receipt and said, "I have a receipt for all of this, so don't try to worm your way out and give me the clearance price". I pick up the receipt and after a quick look, I tell her I can't use it.
She begins making a scene about how I WILL take the clothes back, I WILL give her every single penny she paid, and she WILL be telling corporate about how she was treated. I wait for her to run out of steam. When she finally stopped, I knew exactly what to say. I told her: "I would be more than happy to refund you, if I worked at Kmart, which is where this receipt and merchandise is from".
She opened and closed her mouth, snatched the receipt from my hand, started to say something, then stopped. She snatches everything off the counter, calls me a witch, then storms off. As I'm helping the next customer in line, she flounces back in with a manager, complaining about me. The guy I was helping wasn’t taking it, though—and I was so surprised by what he said next.
He turned to the manager and said, "If you give this woman any type of compensation for her horrible behavior towards your employee, I will be calling your district manager, who happens to be my brother". The manager asked what happened and the man told him. The manager had my back, for the first and only time in my whole career with them, and it was nice to see her flounce out in a huff.
48. He Keeps Coming Back For More
I worked for an online retail chat company. Basically, where customers scrolling a site get a prompt popping up asking if they need help; those who click yes launch a chat popup to talk to an associate. One day, we got this customer...I don't want to give his actual name, so let's call him Moe. Moe came into chat on my line.
When I picked up and gave my greeting, he launched into a rant about how the chat prompt popping onto his screen gave him such a surprise that he jolted and the special sauce from his burger spilled onto his nice tie. Now, we are used to people coming in and saying "your job is bad and you should feel bad”. It’s usually either people who went online so they wouldn't have to be bothered by employees or people spouting off conspiracy theories that we must be stalking them because we knew what item they were looking at.
After I tried to calm him down and he stormed off in a huff with a bad review, I thought I’d seen the last of Moe—but my nightmare was just beginning. One to three times a day for months on end, people in our call center would mention getting Moe coming in and yelling at them on chat. He put the same name and email in every time, everything was on his chat history. It was definitely him.
I don't know why or how he found the inclination to go to a site that had online chat and harass the chat employees that often for daring to exist. He was a household name in the office for years after the fact.
49. Always A Good Time To Advertise
I work in a small town health food/supplements store. I’m a cashier that sells vitamins and bags of dried goods during slow times. Back at the beginning of December, a man came in asking about probiotics. I handed him the brand pamphlet that explained the differences better than I could, because again I’m a cashier. He looked at it, then asked me which was the strongest.
I directed him to the one with the highest number. He asked how many he should take. I took out the bottle and read the packaging, mentioned if he’s trying to maintain a healthy gut, probably just needs the lowest dosage, the others are there if you’ve been instructed to by a doctor after a round of antibiotics. This man looks at me and asks me a question that was so disturbing, it’s impossible to forget.
He asks me: “I’m going to level with you, sometimes I bleed from my butt…will this help”? “Sir, I am a cashier”! I responded “I’m not sure, but you should speak to a doctor”. Then, 30 seconds later, while I’m still trying to convince my eyebrows to lower to a sane position, this fine gentleman asks me: “Are you a pizza girl? You like pizza”? Literally terrified by the entire conversation I managed an “I guess”?
And he comes back with “I’m a business owner, I own one of three local pizza places that deliver, you should try it sometime, it’s really good”.
50. Why Do You Think I Can Help?
I worked in a call center for maintenance and repairs for commercial sites like banks, prisons, hospitals and supermarkets. Dealing with stuff like caved-in ceilings, electrical, and plumbing repairs. Taking calls from the people who work there and then arranging the appropriate contractor to go to their building and fix the issue.
I once took a call from someone who wanted me to print out on paper for them a sign that asked people to stop cooking meat in their office sandwich press. We did not work in the same building (they were calling from across the country), and I had no possible way of getting it to them, even if that was something I did.
While at the same job, I also took a call from somebody trying to report one of their colleagues being kidnapped while on a business trip to China. After finally convincing them to hang up and call Law Enforcement (after pleading with them multiple times), I made a joke about someone being Shanghai'd in Shanghai with the person at the desk next to me. We laughed, but the situation did not sound like a prank call.