They say the customer is always right–but there are times when that’s just clearly not true. From unreasonable demands to rude conduct, retail workers often have to put up with a lot more than they signed up for. As patient and professional as these workers try to be, when one finally gets pushed past the tipping point, there’s no telling what can happen.
1. The Local Watering Hole
This happened not to me, but to my mother. She was working at an upscale cocktail lounge in Arlington, Virginia, just out of college. It was a fancy place. The clientele were all Washington, DC businessmen. It was common for large groups of men to come in and get absolutely wasted. One night, one hot-headed guest went way too far.
He decided, after a few cocktails, that it would be hilarious to untie the wrap skirt that was part of her uniform. Bad idea. My mother was furious and dumped an entire tray of martinis on his head. She was promptly fired, but still thinks it was worth it.
2. Ripping In
My sister was the manager of a women's clothing store. At the time, she was dealing with some personal issues regarding depression and anxiety, so she wasn't in the greatest state of mind, to begin with. A customer came in with a pair of pants that had ripped along the inner thigh seams. They were well past the return period and had clearly been worn and washed.
The customer, who was a larger woman, went off on a sales associate, stating she'd only "tried the pants on" and that caused the seams to rip and she wanted a refund. She brought the associate to tears with her ranting and finally demanded the manager, i.e. my sister. Enter my sis, and the customer starts yelling at her too...My sister did not hold back. She destroyed this woman.
My sis promptly tells the customer that her pants split because she was a fat sack of trash, that she wouldn't be getting a refund of any kind, and that it would serve her well to march her fat behind out of the store and never come back. My sis then went in the back, called her boss, and quit before she could be fired. Her boss actually was willing to let her stay, but she chose to leave anyway until she could get her depression issues under control.
Took a solid year, but she's much happier and healthier now.
3. A Dog-Eat-Dog World
I lost my position at a vet clinic. The story goes like this. A woman brought in her five-year-old dog that had been experiencing diarrhea for the past week and was untreated for it. She was tired of the dog messing up the house. So instead of having the dog treated for the condition, she decided she would rather just have the dog put down.
I proceeded to call her a dumb witch while explaining to her the responsibilities that are involved when you decide you want to have a pet. I was fired. I never looked back.
4. Getting Saucy
A friend of mine used to work in a pizza place. I'd hang out in the lobby playing their Pacman machine. Yeah, it was a long time ago. Anyway, one day, my friend is taking customers’ orders when a guy comes storming in, screaming about getting the wrong toppings. But what he did next was absolutely surreal: He removes the pizza from the box and frisbees it directly into my friend's face.
My two-time Detroit golden-gloves champion friend. What followed was the worst beating I've ever seen one man take. My friend lost his job and got time behind bars out of the incident.
5. High Steaks
I used to work for a popular pub chain here in the UK, called Wetherspoons. I had been there three years and got promoted to Team Leader. I wasn't really too bothered about the job as a future, because it was only money to keep me through university. But money's money, after all. Anyway, one day we get a customer in, an American, who has just stepped off the plane.
And all his preconceptions are off. For those not familiar with "Spoons," a few things to know: 1) They don't do table service. You have to order food at the bar, and pay before you get it. They'll bring it to the table and clear it away afterward, but that's about it as far as service goes. 2) The food is known for being "cheap and cheerful." Most of it is microwaved, except for the things that cannot be cooked in a microwave (like steak, for example).
It's by no means high-quality gourmet dining, and they don't pretend it is. 3) The policy of the "customer is always right" does not exist there. They'll be polite, to a point, but if you make trouble, you won't get good service, or any at all. I've rejected more people than I can remember. 4) It's primarily a drinking establishment. Most people don't go there to eat, and most of the venues don't have dedicated food-only areas.
Anyway, he comes in, has a seat, and waits for a waiter, who obviously doesn't come. Keep in mind, it's not unusual for people to come in and sit and wait for friends and whatnot, so no one even knew he was waiting for anything from them. He then comes storming up to the bar, claiming he's been waiting for "a freakin’ half-hour."
One of the bar staff, very confused, asks him with 100% sincerity: "What have you been waiting for?" The man seemed to think the bar staff was being sarcastic and rude. He started shouting. At this point, I stepped in and did the diplomatic routine of: "What's going on? Oh, I'm very sorry sir, here let me take your order, bla bla blah…"
He orders a steak. I can't remember what kind, but it was a steak. Now, remember earlier where I said it wasn't gourmet food? Well, that extends to the steak. They offer five levels of cooking, but really it's basically rare, medium, or burnt. He wanted his blue, which they don't do for unknown reasons. It comes out medium. He is not happy.
He brings his plate up to the bar and slams it down onto the counter, red-faced and furious. I'm paraphrasing a bit here, as it was a few years ago now, but the general gist of it went like this. Me: "Excuse me sir, can I help you?" Him: "You better hope you can, because I'm about to call your manager in, buddy!"
Me: "Well, hopefully I can, what is it I can help you with?" Him: "This...This 'steak' is burnt." Me: "I'm very sorry, I'll order a replacement and give you a full refund." This was the standard operating procedure when dealing with food complaints of quality. Him: "Not good enough! I don't want another piece of trash like that, you hear me. Give me my (insert expletives here) money!"
Me: "Excuse me sir, there is no need to be rude. I've offered you a refund, I'm happy to do that for you, but you will not swear at me, sir." Him: "I'll swear all I want, kid. That trash you served up is not a real steak, and I want a full refund plus gratuity, or you can kiss your job goodbye." Me: "That is a steak presented, sir. I'm sorry if it's not to your liking, but I have offered the resolution. Allow me to go get your money."
Him: "Hurry up about it! And that was no darn steak!" At this point, I’d had enough. Me: "Then do you mind if I ask what you think it was, then? Because it definitely wasn't a chicken." That drove him out of his mind. Him: "GIVE ME MY MONEY AND GET YOUR FREAKING MANAGER RIGHT NOW, YOU LITTLE TWERP! NOW! NOW!"
At this point, he's reaching across the bar and pointing at me. I don't like people shouting at me. And I hate people pointing at me. Me: "Actually, no. I won't get my manager. And I don't have to offer a refund. I was happy to give you one, but you've angered me now. So take your coat, and get the heck out." Him: "You little brat, I'll call the authorities."
Me: "Do it. Then they can take you out for me." This goes back and forth for a while, gathering quite a bit of attention from the other clientele. My manager then walks up, and the man immediately shouts at him. The manager calms him down. The man demands I be fired. I get pulled into disciplinary, and the manager breaks the company-mandated rule that says managers take our side in instances like this.
He says he has to let me go. I was fired—but I got my sweet revenge in the end. I appealed and owned him and that idiot so hard in the tribunal. I won the case in a big way. I got payment for the four months I had been without a job, plus a little extra for the hassle. The history of my being "sacked" was struck off my record and I was offered my old job back. Which I happily rejected.
6. A Sharp Turn
Back around 1969, I once saw a service advisor at a Volkswagen dealership get fired for telling an irate customer, "If you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have bought a Volkswagen." Seems mildly inappropriate for that workplace, but it was hilarious to overhear. I wish I could somehow know the full story of what that dispute was about…
7. Threading The Needle
A woman came into a charity shop and complained about every single item loudly to the ten or so customers in there. Her complaints were all along the lines of "This is all garbage. Who pays for this?" Like we're supposed to be some boutique with clothes from the back of a van. She clearly didn't understand how rarely new clothes (still tagged, etc.) are donated.
Then she got in my face about it. I was so angry with her for chasing away the people that came in, and before I knew it, I'd lost my cool. There was nobody left except her since she'd ranted them into leaving. I told her to get out and that I didn't give a hoot about the clothes or her opinions. She screams her way out of the shop, then starts broadcasting what happened to everyone on the street.
She came back once the manager was off their break and complained again, so I lost my job fairly soon after. I can't blame them, I'd have done the same.
8. Missing Half A Brain?
I used to work at a pizza place in a small town when I was a teenager. One night, I took a phone order from some idiot woman. It went like this. Me: Thank you for calling "pizza place," may I take your order? Idiot Woman: Yes, I'd like a large pizza. Half pepperoni, half sausage, and half black olives. Me: Ok, did you want the toppings combined or separated?
Her: No, I want half pepperoni, half sausage, and half black olives. Me: Okay, so you want a third pepperoni, a third sausage, and a third black olives? Her: No! I want HALF PEPPERONI, HALF SAUSAGE, and HALF BLACK OLIVES! Me: I understand the toppings that you want, but I'm not understanding how you want us to put the toppings on your pizza.
She was silent. I tried again. Me: Do you want them separated by thirds? Combined together? Or do you mean put half the amount that we usually put on? Her: What's so hard to understand?! I WANT...HALF...PEPPERONI...HALF...SAUSAGE...AND HALF...BLACK OLIVES!!!!! Me: Lady, there's only two halves to a pizza!
Her: I WANT TO SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER!!! I got fired on the spot. It was easier for the manager to just hire another person than it was to lose a customer in a small town. Oh, and it turned out the lady did just want the toppings divided into thirds. She told the manager the same thing and he just went with her math. The idiot also got it for free due to the “bad service” that I allegedly provided.
9. Cover Story
I was a stockroom assistant at a well-known fashion chain in both the United Kingdom and the United States. I didn’t quite go off on a customer, but I bloody well wish I did now. I happened to be behind the tills changing register boxes when a customer exploded at the trainee cashier, demanding to know where her order was.
She's screaming her head off about how it's “unacceptable,” how she “paid extra,” and how she “made a specific detour” to collect her package. She had ordered a jacket from another branch and had paid for next-day delivery to the store I worked in. Now, customers aren't supposed to come collect their orders until they get an email saying that their order is ready to collect.
But this woman took it upon herself to decide when it should be ready, and the poor cashier who had just started the job a week before was basically cowering for dear life. I take over the situation and ask to see her email, which she explains she "doesn't need to show" because she "paid extra," so her package "must be here."
After 10 minutes of me trying to explain why her package isn't ready to collect, and her trying to set the record for largest volcanic eruption in history, she storms off shouting that she'll be "having words" with the guy who owns our company. I hand things back to the cashier and carry on with my day. Then, the next day, I get called in for a meeting with the store manager—and what he tells me shocks me to my core.
I'm told that I'm being let go for “gross misconduct,” specifically "being unhelpful and challenging" to customers. Turns out the customer was a "journalist" for the Daily Mail and she had called the head of our company, who she did indeed know personally, and got me fired specifically. Boy, do I wish I could go back in time and handle that one differently…
10. I’ll Drink To That
I have a speech impediment and, back when I worked at Starbucks, this young kid would come in every day after school and order a caramel frap. Every time, I told him it would be "$3.50" with my stutter, and he would laugh uproariously and ask me to say it again. After a few weeks of this, he'd start bringing in his buddies as well.
Each one would order the exact same drink and then ask me to keep repeating the price for them again and again. After a few months, I broke down and gave what I thought was a reasonable response: "You boys should know how much the drink is by now!" My manager overheard and claimed I was being inappropriate by calling them "you boys," even though they were all middle school aged!
Anyways, I still see the kids around town and they always shout at me: "How much are those caramel fraps again?" Screw those guys…
11. Amounting To A Lot Of Trouble
I was working at Burger King many years ago. I was manning the drive-thru register, which was close enough to the front registers that I could overhear conversations. One of my coworkers was taking an order from a lady who kept asking how much her total was, and then canceling food on it and changing her mind. I guess she was trying to keep the price under a certain dollar amount?
Well, at the Burger King I worked at, any canceled food on an order needed a manager's password, thanks to one jerk who swiped money by putting in someone's order, telling them the total, and then canceling out the order and pocketing the money. So the manager had come by three or four times at that point. This was during dinnertime, mind you, so there was a long line of customers out the door waiting to order.
Finally, my co-worker pulled out a pad of paper and a calculator. He started writing this woman's order down and totaling it out by hand. The woman asked him why he was doing that, and he told her "When you make up your mind about what you want, then I'll put it in the register." This angered the lady, so she grabbed the notebook out of his hands and tried to hit him with it.
He quickly snatched it back from her and told her "Get the heck out." My manager was going to go easy on my coworker and only write him up for the incident since she agreed that the lady absolutely deserved it. But my manager had to follow company policy; and since he already had two write-ups on file, she had to fire him.
12. Taking Them For A Ride
I was not fired for this, but got a warning. I work at a living history park. Pretty much, it's an outdoor museum with rideable artifacts such as trains and carousels. I was on the carousel and that day was a field trip day. We stress that kids treat the carousel animals well and not be little jerks, because the carousel is 100 years old.
Anyways, that particular day, an entire school of kids decided to be little jerks. They were screaming to drown out the operator's voices, mocking us, misusing the carousel animals, risking their lives, etc. So I went into mean operator mode. When people were in line, I told them straight up that if they don't follow the rules they are getting kicked off.
And I added that “X School” had better watch it because they were one straw away from being banned. Parents then complained about me. They said I was being mean and shouldn't have called them out on the mic. But I don’t regret what I did.
13. Not Getting The Message
I didn't get fired, but got a written warning for this. I was working chat tech support for a web host. A customer chatted in complaining of slowness, claiming our servers were having issues. I do all the standard steps and we determine that his ISP is having issues. He doesn't believe me and becomes obstinate. So, I end the chat by simply saying "You're wrong!"
About 10 minutes later, I get a new chat. I see the account name and the question. It was the same guy with the same question. Without letting him say anything, I write "You're still wrong" and close the chat. If I wasn't one of the better techs that worked there, I know I would have been fired in an instant for this stunt. But I couldn’t resist.
14. A Close Shave
I used to cut hair. I was cutting a lady's hair when the child of a lady in the waiting area started running around the shop. I told the child several times to go sit with her mother and asked her mother to please keep her child seated next to her. Well, in the middle of cutting around my client's ear, the child ran into my work area, ran into me, and almost caused me to cut my client.
I looked at the child and firmly said "You need to go sit down with your mother now." Well, her mom didn't like that and came running back to me. She yelled, "Don't tell my child what to do, I'm her parent." I responded with a real zinger, "Then act like it." She glared at me, grabbed her child, and stormed out. Everyone in the shop was relieved that the child had left.
A few days later, the owner came in and tried to fire me for it, but luckily, there were enough other stylists and clients that came to my defense about the danger of the situation that I only got a write-up.
15. Card Sharks
I was working at a Sears store in men's clothing while in college. I had already put in my notice, as I was going away for the summer. So the night before Father's Day, we're swamped. I have piles of clothes to rehang, and it is just minutes before closing. This woman comes to the register and I just ring her up. I don't try to upsell her on anything.
Sure enough, she asks me if I am not going to recommend a belt or tie with the pants and shirt. It's 9:55 pm, we're open til 10, and I am beat. But as soon as she said that, I had a horrifying revelation: The annoying woman was actually the regional clothing manager who I had heard of but never met. After she lectured me about my grave error and was ready to pay.
She handed over her Sears Card and her employee discount card, which did not have a picture on it. So, just to be on my toes and not get into further trouble (and to get back at her for annoying me), I asked to see her driver's license to confirm that the card really belonged to her. She was not very happy about that. And I heard about it first thing the next morning, which was coincidentally my last day anyway. So it was all worth it!
16. A Touching Story
I used to work in the restaurant industry as a chef. We had a closed kitchen at this particular spot, so customers couldn't see what was being done behind the scenes. It was nice because we could listen to music and joke around without having to worry. Anyway, one day, I was alone on the line and a server came to me and said a customer wanted to give me his compliments.
No problem, I put on my nicer jacket and went out to say hi. The customer thanks me, then tells me to come in close because he had a secret for me. I thought this was odd, but I was like okay sure. So I lean in a little, he motions me closer, and I move in a little more. This guy then goes: "I'll meet you in the bathroom in five minutes," and proceeds to grab my private area.
I lost my mind and shoved the dude off of me. I got fired immediately.
17. Them’s Fighting Words
This wasn't me, but a coworker. The dude was from Egypt. Some redneck and his family came in looking to return something that was way older than our return policy allowed, and they had no warranty or receipt. My coworker told them he couldn't help them as there was honestly nothing proving that he had even purchased the item here.
They wanted a cash or gift card refund, which he was unable to authorize. He said that he would be happy to call a manager if they weren't happy with what he said. When the manager arrives, the dude and his wife start making incredibly hateful comments about my coworker’s background. As if the hateful comments weren’t bad enough, they also erroneously assumed he was Muslim when he was actually Christian.
The next thing I know, the situation had escalated tenfold. the couple started physically attacking my coworker. They got into a shoving match, with my coworker eventually falling to the ground. This really angered him. He got up and beat the living daylight out of the customer, right in front of his wife and kids. The authorities soon got involved, and they were satisfied that it was self-defense.
However, our company said he didn't have to actually fight over a couple of pushes, and so they canned him. He now manages a car dealership last I heard.
18. Be Careful What You Wish For
No one was fired over this, but as a person in the service industry, I thought I'd share this with my fellow industry folk as I still think it's one of my favorite things I've ever seen happen behind a bar. I was once working at a bar in Sarasota, Florida. We were having a total tap takeover and the place was at capacity. I mean we're three deep around the entire bar, four guys behind this tiny bar, including the owner, all trying to pour as many drinks as we can to cut through the line.
At some point, a guy who I'd made eye contact with a number of times, who should have known he was coming up next, yells: "What does a person have to do to get a drink around here?!" I watched our owner, a New Yorker through and through, turn around and literally yell: "EVERYONE SHUT THE HECK UP!" The place goes completely quiet, and he stares directly at this guy.
"What can I get for you, sir?" The guy was caught so off guard that he just stared up at our tap list and mumbled... "Uhhhhhh." Our owner, knowing he didn't even have an order ready, looked him dead in the eye and said, "Screw you. Next?!" and started serving the person next to him. I wanted to hug him so much for that.
19. Slap Happy
A customer was spitting into my face. After several minutes of this, I lost my temper and gave him a slap. My boss didn't like my behavior, so he fired me. According to him, as a service person, you always have to stay friendly, no matter what.
20. Book Worms
When I was in high school, I had a worksite job at the middle school library. I suppose that counts as a job. Anyway, I hate middle schoolers. The only reason I took the job was to make a little extra cash. Being a 17-year-old high school girl, the boys would follow me around like lost puppies and make disgusting comments. I tried to tell my boss about it, but she just said “boys will be boys.”
One day, they crossed the line. I was putting books away when I accidentally dropped one. I bent slightly to pick it up when one of the little twerps came up behind me and slapped my butt. That was the final straw. While he and his friends were laughing about it, I walked over to him and slapped him. I told him that if he pulled something like that with another girl, he'd be getting the same treatment.
My boss found out what I did and said my services were no longer needed. Just to get a little more revenge, I found out the kid's name and emailed his mother, letting him know exactly what he did. Anyway, I guess being harassed by a group of boys is no excuse to get mad, so I got fired from an otherwise great job. I don't really miss it.
21. Timing Is Everything
I was working for a pizza chain originating in Michigan. This lady calls for delivery at around 3:00 in the afternoon. We quote a wait time of between 30 and 45 minutes, which is standard. 10 minutes pass and the driver is about to leave. He's well ahead of schedule. Nevertheless, the phone rings and the lady shouts: "Where's my order?"
We say: "Ma'am, it's been 10 minutes." She says: "Cancel my order, you guys are useless. How am I supposed to feed my child now?" My manager responds, "Well, you don't want to wait seven more minutes for the driver to get there, so it's not really my problem," then abruptly hangs up on her. It was a pretty epic thing to witness.
22. A Disproportionate Response
I didn't lose my job, but I think most people would have blown up at this guy. Or cried. Fortunately, I am extremely calm and collected (and tough). I think it’s mostly from being bullied so much in middle school. I worked at a large retail store and was stocking a shelf when an 80-year-old man came up to me. I assumed he was going to ask me where something was like every other customer.
Instead, he started going off on me. Just insult after insult, telling me I'm disgusting and all these things like that, because I have tattoos. Instead of blowing up at him, I thanked him for the compliments, with sugar dripping from my voice. In my head, I was saying "You'll be underground soon," but out loud, I said something along the lines of “I really love the color of your pants!”
“Is that seafoam green polyester? I think the 1970s must have been so cool!” Where did he even get those pants? A museum? Well, apparently someone witnessed all this, because about 10 minutes after the guy gave up, my manager came up to me looking furious. I remember feeling a horrible sense of dread. He blew up. But not about how I handled it.
He said I should have called him immediately and he would have kicked the guy out of the store, and that I didn't deserve to be treated like that. What a great manager!
23. Food For Thought
I was 17 and working at a movie theater when the film Two Weeks Notice came out. It was opening night and we were busy as heck, so I was already a bit stressed out. I was working the concession stand, and we had just finished up the final night's rush when a group of 14-year-old girls came out and started asking for free stuff.
When we told them no, they got super belligerent with us. We managed to get most of them to settle down once we threatened to call security, but one girl just wouldn't go away. She was talking smack to all of us, threatening to break stuff, and basically being an entitled piece of work. We called security and they told her to get in the auditorium or get tossed out, so she went back in.
Not even 10 minutes after the security officer left, that bratty little girl came back out to mess with us again. I'd had enough, so I got in her face and told her if she didn't leave, I would "end" her. Turns out, my boss didn't take threats on customers’ lives lightly and I got fired. The girl was banned from the theater from then on, though, so I guess it evened out.
24. I Bet This Didn’t End Well
Fired, quit, it's a gray area. I worked in the rewards call center for a casino in my youth. People would call in and book rooms or show tickets with their reward points. Naturally, everyone calling for a free room wants it on a weekend or a major holiday, and that just wasn't always available. One year, a lady called to get a free night in the top-end suite on Valentine's Day with just two days' notice.
She lost her mind when I told her this would not be possible. She started saying she spends so much money here and we don't even care enough to reward her loyalty. She even began attacking me personally. At that point, I just couldn't do it anymore. I calmly explained to her that: "I see you spend about $20 an hour in the casino. Yeah, we really don't care about you. You could never come back and no one would notice. You need to start betting more than your entire family will ever be worth before we actually start caring if you come back or not."
I obliged her request to speak with my supervisor and started packing my things.
25. Thank You, Next
One of my coworkers was the only register open at the end of a long day. A customer came through, making lots of special requests and being particularly rude when she tried to ensure that everything was being done correctly. Finally, my coworker had enough. So she closed her register, moved to the next one over, and asked for the next customer, completely leaving the first one out to dry.
26. Money Talks
I was doing customer service, working for a bank but being paid very little. A very rich customer rang in complaining that the interest rate on her account had gone down from something like 2.75% to 2.5%. She had over 200 grand in the account. She just kept screeching and screeching at me as if this was the biggest problem the world had ever seen.
I just threw my headset at the screen and hung up on her. My manager witnessed the whole thing, as she was surreptitiously listening in to the call at the time. Needless to say, the incident contributed to my being fired just a few weeks later. But there was no other way I could possibly react to that kind of snobbery being rubbed in my face.
27. Winging It
I didn't get fired for this, which was pretty great because I threatened a mother with a time-out in front of her kids. I worked at a pool as a lifeguard and our pool doesn't allow water wings because they aren't "Coast Guard approved." Instead, we gave out free life jackets for them to use. In comes Angry Mama with her two kids. One of them was like four years old and had water wings.
I told her she couldn't use those but that we had other options available for free, and she blew up on me. I guess her daughter really liked her water wings. I told her to talk to a manager because I'm not allowed to talk while watching the pool. But she kept yelling. So I just repeated the line that I'm instructed to use at kids who repeatedly misbehave.
"I already told you to please talk to the manager because I have to watch the pool. So if I have to talk to you again, you have to sit in time out for 10 minutes." She glared at me, and didn't even bother going to the manager.
28. Top Of The Table To Ya
I was lucky I didn't lose my job for this one. I worked at a furniture store as a sales associate. One day, a husband and wife come in, wanting to furnish their son’s apartment before he goes off to college. They find all of the furniture pieces they want and I go to check stock on multiple items. Everything is in, except the tabletop on the dining room set they wanted.
I go back and tell the couple. The husband throws an absolute fit, saying that he can't believe we don't keep our products stocked. Keep in mind that we are a huge furniture store. I calmly explain to him that we can't possibly keep all of our product in stock at all times and since the dining room table he wanted was a very popular set (due to the fact it was $199.99), it tended to go out of stock rather quickly.
So, I explained, we would have to wait for that vendor to send us the tabletop, which typically took about two weeks. I even tried to show them another tabletop that was in stock that was very similar to the one they picked out. But he would not have it. He started telling me that I was incompetent and how dare I insult him (Insult him how? I have no idea).
He then starts increasing his volume, and now he is full-on screaming at me about 10 inches away from my face. My manager walks from around the corner and looks at me questioningly. I nodded at him as if to say everything was under control, but he continued to stand within earshot. I then looked back to the customer and said in a nonchalant tone: "I'm not going to help you. In fact, no one here is going to help you. Now please get out of my store."
The customer looks at me bewildered. Now in a full-blown rage, he demands to speak with my manager. Since my manager is standing right around the corner, he had heard everything. He goes over to the customer and says, "Well, you heard the lady. Get out of here and don’t come back." I miss working there…
29. An Offer He Couldn’t Refuse
This actually happened to my "friend" today. We were working at Buffalo Wild Wings. Keep in mind that New Year's Eve is one of the busiest nights of the year. Opening employees have to be in by 8:00 in the morning to prep food and get the store ready. But no manager was there to open the store, so two employees walked to work and stood in the cold for almost two hours.
Finally, another shows up with a phone to call the general manager and ask what's going on. Turns out the opening shift manager forgot they were supposed to open. So the general manager shows up to let employees in on her day off. She stays until the scheduled manager shows up. Now keep in mind, everyone is nearly two hours behind on their opening duties, and when Mrs. Late Manager shows up, she does nothing and sits down to do her make-up in her office.
She then asked my friend to do her opening duties while she fixed herself up. He declined, because he had work to do himself and, hey, you know, you shouldn't have been late and now you're here to do your own work. About 20 minutes later, after finishing with her makeup, she then said she needs to fix her hair and again asks my friend to do her work.
At this point, after standing in the cold for nearly two hours and rushing to get three hours or work into one hour because of her tardiness, he snaps back: "Why don't you do it yourself?" She replies: "Well, do you just want to go home?" He says: “Heck yea!” and walks out. The general manager texted a bit later asking what happened, and he said "She told me to go home so I did, and I won't be back."
30. A Tough Negotiator
I worked at a GameStop location as a GA (game advisor). One day, some guy came in and had a figurative butt-load of games (over 100) to trade, all with the games and cases mismatched. It took about 45 minutes to process his ticket. When I told him the total that we could offer for the items, it was fairly low because they were all old, scratched games.
This man then proceeded to try and negotiate with me, to which I kept telling him I can't change the price. This only made him angrier and louder. Eventually, he yelled, "Listen, you stupid idiot, I need at least $300 for all of this stuff and you're going to give it to me." First of all, I literally don't even have the ability to change the price, at all.
Second of all, my coworker proceeded to put all of his games in a bag, walk outside, and toss them into the parking lot. He then told the guy to take his butt somewhere else and to screw off. The store manager came out of the back room and fired him on the spot. The customer then stormed out and, the second he left, my manager said, "Jesus, what was that guy’s problem?”
He then informed my coworker that he wasn’t really fired and that this was just theatrics to get the customer to leave us all alone. Then, as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened, he said: “Alright, get back to work.” I’m glad my friend didn’t get in any trouble for standing up for me, especially because I felt like an idiot for just standing there. It was literally taking everything I had to not hop the counter and hit the guy.
31. Lip Service
I worked at a Dairy Queen for a summer in high school. A coworker was working the drive-thru when a customer came over the speaker and said, "I'd like a biiiiiiiiiiig tallllll ice cream cone." Without realizing that his finger was still on the mic button, he replied "What, are you going to lick that like you would my body?"
Yeah. He had to quit after that one.
32. A Change Of Heart
I didn't get fired for this, but I worked at a Whataburger in a very small town and it's the only fast food joint near the high school. So as you might guess, lunch rushes are really bad. This guy ordered a double-meat, double cheeseburger and I explained that cheese is extra. He says that’s cool. The guy is already ordering $30 or something worth of food.
So he gets his order at the window, checks his receipt, and freaks out over the one-dollar cheese charge. He wants us to fix it or something. We soon told him how I already explained to him it was extra, and he's like “No, this is too much, I want you to take it off.” So there is a line wrapped around the store, all ordering big meals and being held up by this idiot.
So I just reach into my pocket, throw all my change at him, and tell him to leave. He looks at me with wide eyes and drives off. We had no cameras and our manager was always in the inner office, so we got away with so much.
33. Hit And Run
Many years ago, I worked at a home improvement store called Menards. I was a cart pusher, which was nice as I was outside all the time. Anyway, we gather about 25 to 30 shopping carts together and push them up to the entrance, where they are stored inside. Now, to get them there, we do have to cross the main drive of the parking lot in front of the store.
We always stop and let customers drive by. So, as I push the carts up, I stop because I see a guy in a pretty nice SUV. He's actually stopped in front of the entrance. Maybe he had dropped someone off, I don't know. So I'm waiting to see if he drives off, and he then looks at me and waves me across. It looks like he wanted to finish a phone call he had gotten or something.
So I wave back to thank him and start pushing the carts across. I am on the other side when, suddenly, something clips me across the shoulder blade. It stung somewhat and pushed me forward. And at the same time, I heard glass shatter. I turn around and realize that the guy in the SUV had just clipped me with his side-view mirror.
It had swung closed and shattered the window in the door. I'm just standing there, wide-eyed—but the worst was yet to come. Two seconds later, the guy gets out of his car, swearing up a storm at me and telling me how I'm a low-life piece of garbage and how I'm going to pay for a new window and that I'm not going to get anywhere in life because I broke his window.
Now, I'm the type of person that if I was at fault then I'll take the blame and fix the problem. But this guy had clearly hit me. I blew up on him for about five minutes before a manager finally had the guts to come over and pull me away. I didn't have to pay for a new window, as it was all caught on video. But I lost my job because we are not supposed to yell and cuss at the customers.
34. I Know Where You Live
Back when I was 20 years old, I was desperate for a job so I accepted one as a debt collector. I lasted a month. A guy threatened to "hunt me down, torment me, and then slit my throat." I said, "Sir, that's fine, but the only problem with that is that you don't know where I live. Meanwhile, I'm looking at your address and social security number right now."
It was worth it.
35. One Complaint Too Many
I was something like five feet away when this happened to my coworker. We worked in the produce section of a Safeway grocery store. He had gotten in about five minutes prior—and was obviously in a bad mood—when a customer came up and started complaining about her fruit. He tried the normal talking points, but the lady was being a total jerk.
Finally, he just lost it and screamed, "Screw off you stupid loser!" But that wasn't all. He threw his apron at her and fled the store. Never heard from him again.
36. A Different Approach…
I never got fired or reprimanded for any of these things. I'm just telling my story to offset all the rage from people being fired for telling a jerk to screw right off. I ran a pizza shop for about ten years. We were a privately owned, one-store operation. The owner was pretty cool, and I was the man in charge as he was never there. We were a dive, in a college town, open until 4:00 in the morning seven days a week.
People that were about to throw up or had already thrown up were yelled at and shamed all the way out the door, and if their pie hadn't gone out yet, I'd make their friends clean up the mess before they could have their food. Intoxicated students won't leave at closing time? I'd take a dough tray out to their table and smash it as loudly as possible on the table in front of them until they couldn't take the racket and leave.
You told the girl at the counter all the nasty stuff your intoxicated brain wants to do to her? Dragged out in a full Nelson. Once, we had a guy lose his mind because someone who had ordered for a pick-up came in after him and the picker-upper got his food immediately. He couldn't understand that the other guy had called ahead. He's still screaming in the middle of the lobby as his pie comes out of the oven, so I box it up, take it out to him, and as I get to him I throw the box on the floor and smash it all up with my feet.
I then threw his money back at him over the counter and told him not to come back. I wish my fellow workers out there could have the pleasure of reacting candidly like I do without fear of punishment.
37. Keeping His Voice Down
I have no idea who he was, but I watched an employee punch a man in the face once in a library. He was a low-level stock worker and every day this customer would nag him, telling him he's no help and how incompetent he was. I think this went on for months and I guess the employee decided at some point that it would be better to be fired than lose his dignity.
38. Putting On The Real Show
I went off on a bad manager one time. I was 17 years old and it was my first job. I worked at a movie theater. This happened on a night that was supposed to be slow. I was working concessions by myself. We randomly got an influx of customers. It took me a while to get through everyone’s orders. The whole time, my manager was standing in the lobby telling three other people not to come to help me.
After all the customers cleared out, I stared at my bosses and couldn't keep quiet. I yelled, "I love how I'm working my butt off while my managers are preventing their employees from helping me!" or something along those lines. My manager was so offended that she wrote me up. I got fired a week later for it. It was stupid. I overreacted in the situation, but I had a lousy manager too so she deserved the comment.
39. Messing With The Wrong Guy
I cleaned cars for a rental car company. One day, a customer comes in, already in a very bad mood for some reason. He saw me standing at the counter, and apparently, this offended him to the point where he began to yell at me. To make a long story short, I yelled back at him. Nothing came of it for over two months, until I was fired without warning.
The district manager who fired me said that even though everyone in the company who reviewed all the evidence pertaining to the incident had decided I was well within my rights as an employee to yell at the dude, they had to fire me because he was some big shot at a company that had a very lucrative contract with my employer and he had threatened to drop the contract unless they fired me.
40. Unfinished Business
Some guy where I used to work had just passed his training for a call center and, a few days in, he answers the phone to a customer and they get into an argument. The argument goes on for nearly an hour. When the customer finally hung up, the guy called him back to continue the argument. The guy was in his late 50s and lost his job very quickly after this incident.
41. Whistle While You Work
I used to be a bartender. One night, some very rude customers at one end of the bar were trying to get our attention, so they started whistling at the guy I was working with. Clearly not impressed, he turned around, sternly said "I am not a dog," and carried on working. The customers complained and he was suspended. He ended up just leaving the job and moving to Spain.
42. How Dare You Do The Right Thing!
Not quite a customer in this case, but I got fired for calling out our weekend manager for regularly swiping drinks from our stock room to sit in the bathroom and get intoxicated instead of doing her job. I was told to come back with proof and came back with a video of her doing exactly that. I got fired two days later. Apparently, I'm not a "team player."
43. Just Asking Questions
In 2007, I was 21 and working as a nurse full-time, but I also worked at a grocery store in the produce department once a week for extra money. I don’t know why I still worked there, to be honest. I think I was just sort of going through motions and refusing to quit, but I really was fed up with the job. Anyway, one morning, a guy came into the store and decided to choose me to angrily yell at about some of the items on sale being from Mexico.
I wasn’t having it, so I told him he probably needed to take a nap and laughed. He rolled up one of his sleeves and threateningly said he needed to teach me a lesson. So I responded, "Go ahead, but I'm gonna hit you back and it is gonna freaking hurt." I got fired on the spot. But it was one of my favorite life moments of all time.
44. A Grand Exit
Not me, but a coworker hated their job. He was a cashier and one day got a really lousy customer. They just yelled at him for basically no reason, clearly angry at something else. So he just said screw it, yelled "I quit," and walked down the check stands towards the parking lot yelling "screw you!" to every other cashier while flipping them off.
45. Bean There, Done That
When I worked at a grocery store, one customer was being so annoying that my coworker lost it and threatened to bludgeon her to an early grave with a can of beans. She was fired from the store after 25 years of working there.
46. Putting Things Into Perspective
Many years ago, I worked in the clothing retail industry. I had a favorite customer. He and his wife would come in and he'd put down a small fortune each month on his wife and teen daughter. He reminded me of my dad who I lost to a massive heart attack when I was 18. I was in my early 20s and my mom had just passed from cancer.
This gentleman had stopped coming in for about two months. Then, one day, I look up and see him come in with wife and daughter; and the girl looks upset. They come to my counter and the girl calls her mother an insulting name and her father a "waste of space" since he lost his job when the mill he worked for closed. She kept berating them, and something (maybe the child in me) suddenly snapped out.
I told her off. I said that she should appreciate her dad who gave her everything until he couldn't. That she was 16 and I wasn't too much older than her when my dad passed. That the sweet woman she was insulting, who clearly went out of her way for her, could be gone fast too. That she needed to not be a darn brat because she could look up one day and have neither parent.
That I would shave years off my life, even if I lost it the next day, just to have my parents hug me once more. I told her to grow the heck up and be kind to her parents. They left and my boss chewed me out. She said if they complained I was toast. I lived each day wondering if I'd get fired. Two weeks later, her dad came in because he saw me through the window.
He thanked me. Apparently, ever since the incident, she started studying and helping around the house and was even looking for a part-time job. She grew up and started treating them with respect. She didn't call them names anymore and apologized to them for behaving like a brat. I didn't lose my job, but it was darn close.
47. The Monster Mash
This happened to my mother's previous coworker. She worked at a burger joint restaurant and, on a busy night, this one table ordered mashed potatoes. The server tells them that mashed potatoes aren't on the menu, but that they do have baked potatoes. The customer keeps on insisting that they want mashed potatoes, but eventually, they seem to agree that a baked potato is fine.
So when the order comes out, so does the baked potato that they ordered. He puts it down on the table and the customers go "We wanted mashed potatoes!" The server has had enough at this point and goes "Mashed?! You want them mashed?!?" He raised his fist and smashed it down on the baked potato, giving the customer exactly what they asked for.
The management, however, did not find this dedication to the customer very professional and let him go.
48. That Escalated Quickly…
I worked as a server at an upscale country club and had these two gentlemen come in for lunch. One ordered and the other said, "I'll have exactly the same thing." So I confirmed that's what he wanted and he replied, "That's what I said, right?" I bring out their lunch and the second guy complains and starts getting rude with me because his lunch has onions on it.
So I say, "Sir, you said you wanted the exact same thing, but I can have the chef make you another one." So he says, "Listen to me you little freaking idiot, I know what I said and I never said I wanted onions." So I reply, "If you ever speak to me like that again, you and I are going to step outside and work this out." He whines and moans about wanting to see the manager—but karma truly is the sweetest revenge.
Unbeknownst to me, my manager has been sitting at the table right behind these guys having a meeting with another staff member. She had witnessed the whole thing. She turns around and tells the guy, "After the way you talked to my employee, I should let him deal with it however he wants. How about you both apologize and move on?"
49. A Spitting Image
I was 17 years old, working a customer service/receptionist job. I was yelled at for 10 minutes straight by this middle-aged Karen. But that wasn't the worst part. She went ahead and full-on spat in my face. I was shaking in fear while she yelled at me, and about five minutes after she left, I broke down into tears. Oh, but when it rains, it pours.
I was then fired, because apparently my crying and shaking constituted "not being professional."
50. That’s A Wrap
The year is 2006. I'm a cocktail waitress at the wrap party for a movie that would launch this actor's career. He thought it would be okay to put his hand up my skirt, so I stomped on his foot in stilettos. This was an involuntary response—but I wasn't done with him yet. I then poured a pitcher of frozen margarita on his head. This was a 100% voluntary response.
He started squealing about it hurting his eyes. Having to go back to that table would have been super bad, so I have no regrets.