Okay. Everybody’s had a bad day on the job at some point; that’s just life. But when situations go awry, bosses disrespect their employees, or when customers continually misbehave, work can become unbearable. As Redditors share the moments they realized they weren’t getting paid enough to deal with the situations they faced on the job, let these experiences serve as a kind reminder to be nice to workers because one never really knows what goes on behind-the-scenes.
I worked at Blockbuster in college for chump change. A bunch of dudes once shoplifted the heck out of us. My coworker and I noticed and confronted them about it, and they ran out the door. When the district manager asked why I didn’t put myself between them and the door to protect the merchandise, I told him that for minimum wage, I’m not putting myself in danger to keep a giant corporation from losing some Twizzlers and copies of Friday and Armageddon.
I used to run the financials and general management for an entire company at just $14 an hour. One day, I had a meeting with the owner, and I told him that I needed both a raise and to hire an assistant. His reply was nothing short of offensive. He told me I wasn’t “business-minded” and should be a stay at home mom. I quit the next day. Jerk.
3. It Was Wise Not To Engage
I worked at Circuit City when I was 17. While I was on shift, I heard the unmistakable noise of someone opening packaging in the movie section, so I went over to investigate. I then found a guy crouched down, cutting open the DVD boxes and stealing the discs. He looked at me, held his knife out, and said, “Got a problem?” Gulp.
I just replied, “I don’t get paid enough for this,” and backed off. I went to the warehouse area’s backroom to call a manager to tell them what happened. I never got a hold of anyone, so I just chilled in the warehouse area for a half-hour to decompress.
4. When The CPU Room Became The ICUP Room
I’m a public librarian. I was helping a woman in the computer room, and I’d turned to tell someone watching an online video that he needed to keep his exclamations down. Just then, the woman I was helping leaped aside because the man I was shushing peed himself. It ran onto the jacket he had tied around his waist, down the chair, and onto the ground.
It turned out he’d snuck a bottle into the library and was now totally blackout. I told him he had to leave. He put the pee-covered jacket on and stumbled out. As I returned to the room with gloves and cleaning supplies, another patron decided that this would be a good time to complain to me about some kids who were making noise.
I took a deep breath and said to myself, “This is a good time for us all to appeal to our higher selves and do our best in the moment. Please just adapt for a minute.” Then I thought about the student loans I took out for my master’s degree as I scrubbed up the urine.
5. HVAC Havoc
I worked at a heating and air conditioning company. The accountant was training me to do the bookkeeping. The job itself was fine, but the owner would literally scream at me if I made a mistake. One day, I overheard the owner talking to his brother, and his brother told him not to yell at me. The owner’s response was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
He justified his ill-treatment of me by retorting, “You have to tear them down to build them up.” Um, what!? I decided I wasn’t going to take another day of his screaming after that.
6. Plummer Bummer
I work as a plumber. One day, the owners of a mobile home called and said they had a stinky yard. I came out to investigate, and sure enough, I could smell it as soon as I pulled up. The mobile home was newly constructed and built only eight months ago. But apparently, while setting it up, someone didn’t tighten the no-hub band for the toilet in the kids’ bathroom.
As a result, there was eight months’ worth of flushed sewage all over the ground and under the home, and it had only just started getting noticed outside. I immediately told the homeowner to call the guys that worked on the bathroom to come to fix it. I’m not sure what they were expecting, but I wasn’t crawling under there.
7. Time To Leave, Dude
I realized my job didn’t pay me enough when I went to sleep under my desk at work at 5 AM because I needed to be back at my desk for an 8 AM call. I had promised myself a long time ago that I would never sleep under my desk; I would either go home or just work straight through, but I wouldn’t do that. I only lived a 12-minute walk home, but that night I realized that getting those extra 24 minutes of sleep was worth not going home. I was so sad about it.
I am a corporate lawyer, and we had been working literally around the clock for days on a deal that was going sideways. This happened on a Wednesday night to a Thursday morning. Until that point, I had been there until 3 AM on Sunday night, 5 AM on Monday night, and 6 AM on Tuesday night. Despite this, I was still back in the office by 9 AM every day. That’s when I knew I needed to quit, but I’m still here a year and change later. Oops.
8. What The Heck!?
On my first day working at the health department, I was left at the reception desk alone while literally everyone else in the office went out to a farewell lunch for the person I was replacing. As I was on a 90-day probation, I wasn’t yet licensed and badged, and my pay was $7.96 an hour. That’s when some redneck came in and dropped a leaking garbage bag on my desk. What I learned next was shocking.
The bag contained a newly severed javelina’s head. The javelina had bitten his buddy, and it needed to be tested for rabies ASAP. I had no freaking clue what to do with it. He couldn’t wait for my coworkers to return, so he left a number and split. As it turned out, we don’t do that sort of thing at the health department. The guy refused to come back for the head.
9. Open For Business
I was a manager for a well-known lingerie store located in a failing suburban mall. The store was giant and shaped oddly. There were dressing rooms in hidden corners and a few blind spots. The store was located at the end of the mall next to other stores no one really went to, so there wasn’t much foot traffic. We were also always short-staffed because no one wanted to work over there. All of those factors made us a prime location for thieves and weirdos.
I would have to do laps around the store due to its layout, and I would regularly come across people doing some, shall we say, “raunchy” stuff in this one secluded little dressing room. The dressing room was in a sort of alcove and was the least visible spot in the store, so it was prime real estate for all kinds of shenanigans. The final straw was catching a man at closing time, pleasuring himself into a pile of cotton panties with the dressing room door wide open. I couldn’t take it anymore. I put in my notice the next day.
And what was crazy was that corporate always shrugged or laughed it off when I would call and complain that we needed a security guard. I was 21 at the time, and every woman who worked there was between 19 and 30 years old. It was a safety issue. They’d also blame us for all the merchandise theft, which we could not prevent because there weren’t enough bodies in that gigantic store to stop it.
I was also dating a guy who worked in the same mall, and he told me that they finally closed up that one dressing room not long after I left. He said many folks were angry because apparently, that particular dressing room was a well-known open secret spot for hooking up.
10. The Runs
When I was 18 and working at a retail store, a baby in his mother’s arms made such a massive poop that his diaper couldn’t contain it all. A bunch ended up leaking out onto the floor, and instead of apologizing or helping to clean it up, the mother just ran away. I literally did not get paid enough to deal with that mess.
11. Waste Woes
I am a plumber. My coworkers and I had to do a tie for a six-inch main waste stack to offset it for a soon-to-be-installed boiler at a hospital. I informed all the hospital staff and then had maintenance shut down the bathrooms from 6 AM to 8 AM for us to do the offsets. Everything was measured, cut, and ready to move into place. Regardless, things went very wrong.
The hospital staff on every floor ignored the signs that the bathrooms were closed, and we got constant flushes of fresh poop and shredded toilet paper. At one point, I was holding the outlet side of a horizontal piece with my hardhat and trying to install the no-hub coupling while poop literally rolled down my back and into my shirt and down my pants. The waste completely soaked my socks.
It only took us a total time of 45 minutes to get it done, but we’d scheduled a two-hour window just in case. The worst part? The staff had another bathroom option down the hall—they just chose not to use it. It was all so inconsiderate. This trade sucks sometimes.
12. Ridiculously Inappropriate
I worked three different jobs when I was 20. I worked as a bank teller from 8 AM to 4 PM, I worked as a closing shift manager at a coffee shop from 5 PM to 10 PM, then as an overnight janitor from 11 PM to 2 AM. This wasn’t my schedule every day, but it was enough that it equated to about 80 hours a week between the three jobs, and yes, as you can imagine, this quickly led to burnout.
So, at my overnight janitor gig, my “boss” walks over and asks me to come to the office for a review. This was weird; all I did was mop floors on a production line that made train air brakes. But whatever. I go into his office, and he closes the door behind me and pulls out a very naughty magazine. He then starts asking me about what he’s looking at, and he put his hand on my shoulder.
Given the situation, I was surprisingly calm; I just said I didn’t like that stuff and went back to work. Then it hit me what happened. I called in sick for the rest of the week and picked up my final paycheck while he wasn’t there. It was a hard enough job without being harassed for $8.50 an hour.
13. Barf Buffet
I used to work at Old Country Buffet, and there were kids who would eat until they threw up—like all the time. This one case that’s seared into my mind occurred while I was fixing up the salad bar. Out of nowhere, I heard an horrible parent screaming, “Billy, run!” I then see this 12ish-year-old boy running to the bathroom. Only, he didn’t make it.
An unholy amount of undigested red Jell-O exploded out of him like a volcano all over the caesar salad, the floor next to the cash register, and on about five or six diners waiting in line. It looked like he had literally vomited his guts out in an arc about 10-feet in diameter. I had to sweep up the chunks with a broom until a dishwasher with a mop could take care of the rest.
14. Wax On, Wax Right On Off
When I was 16, I worked as a car detailer, which involved cleaning and waxing cars. My dad owned the business for years, so I grew up doing it and was pretty skilled for my age. My dad eventually sold the company to a family friend, and one of the sale conditions was that I’d keep working there and show the new owner what to do. But the guy was an idiot.
He put me on the hand car wash instead because I was “too young to be waxing expensive cars; customers don’t like it.” The actual reason was the hand car wash was the worst part of the job, and he wanted to do the fun part. He then messed up a Jaguar’s paintwork by buffing it WITHOUT A PAD on the buffer, and he just scraped the heck out of it.
I let him blame me because I felt bad that he was the owner, and he made himself look like an idiot. Then I realized the reason for his poor judgment was that he was coming to work high out of his mind every day. I mean, look, I smoke too, no judgment, but I don’t do it at work. He started leaving me alone for hours on end while he went to smoke; I would earn all his money and wasn’t even getting minimum wage.
Then come one day in the winter, he turned up and opened the garage with a smoke in his mouth. He then immediately left with the garage still open, and he didn’t come back for about six hours. It was freezing; there was ice everywhere, and I was alone, shaking, and trying to wash the cars with water that kept freezing over on the cars’ surface. I was running around like a madman because we were busy, and I was trying to stay warm. Then, somehow, it got worse.
I ended up slipping on some black ice, flipped upside down, and landed hard on my head. I completely blacked out for a minute or so. I woke up to a few customers around me going, “WTF, where’s your boss?” I looked about 12 years old as well, so they were genuinely concerned. At that point, I just got up and left. I left the garage open, leaving everything out there for people to take if they were so inclined.
The owner rang me an hour later, going mental, and I was just like, “Screw you, you left me for seven hours to get high, you can shove the job where the sun don’t shine, you jerk.” It was the first of three times I’ve up and left a job without warning because of bad owners. Remember: if you aren’t making money for yourself, you’re making it for someone else. You should be more important to the employer than they are to you, and that’s how it should feel when you’re working for someone.
I had a job bagging groceries at a major supermarket. The manager came over to tell me that I needed to clean up the bathroom. An elderly gentleman fell off the toilet while pooping, and it was a literal pooptastrophe. Apparently, I was the most qualified because I was 16. I was handed a broom and a dustpan. My reward for going above and beyond the call of duty?
Five dollars worth of store coupons. Sometimes dreams really do come true.
16. Welcome To The Real World, Neo
I currently work for an escape room company. An anti-masker came in and refused to play wearing a mask, which is the current protocol. The customer was playing in our Matrix-themed room, and after I refused to let him play without a mask, he kept repeating about how this was “Just like The Matrix” and “Have you even seen The Matrix? It’s all about control, and what happens when they lose control? They send in Agent Smith.”
Sir, I am not earning minimum wage to argue with you about a film from 1999. Wear a mask or get out.
17. The Tale Of The Retail Fecal Trail
While working at a large chain store in retail, I came across a spot of poop in the toy aisle. “Oh, look!” I say. “A mess for me to clean!” “And what’s that over yonder?” I wondered. “Another one not far away!” I discovered. It was a nice little trail of brown nuggets, too, leading me on the worst scavenger hunt ever, all the way across the store to the bathrooms. So, what do I find waiting for me inside? The mothership ordure, sitting proudly in a small heap on the floor in the corner—and it was merely a few feet away from an actual, factual, functioning toilet.
It turned out that a kid was in the toy aisle with their parent and couldn’t hold it in any longer, so they made a mad dash to the bathroom. But the kid didn’t quite make it. My supervisor literally said they felt bad for me, and I didn’t get paid enough by corporate. Raise? No. $5 gift card? Yeah.
18. Service With A Sob
I was working in a call center for an ISP when an irate customer called. This guy tore a poor young girl to shreds on her second day of work, and she wound up escalating the call to me before running off to the bathroom to cry. So, I started working through the caller’s problem when he incidentally asked, “So did that girl jump out the window? Haha.” I replied, “No, she actually ran into the bathroom to cry.” Silence. “Oh…oh. I feel terrible.” The rest of the call was very awkward.
19. Big Babies
I worked at a large hotel chain as a setup person. Once, we had a group of people book the entire seventh floor for their weekend-long event. Eventually, we came to find out that these guests had a penchant for dressing up as “babies” and roleplaying as kids. As if that wasn’t weird enough, this little fixation apparently also included peeing and defecating on themselves.
We were not allowed to clean the rooms while the guests were still occupying them, but you can imagine the stains and the odor that was left on the carpet once they’d all checked out. It was so bad that a professional cleaning company had to come in to decontaminate and clean all of the rooms on that floor.
I couldn’t believe a group of adults did this; it was disgusting, and the fact that there were so many of them surprised me. I definitely thought getting paid minimum wage wasn’t enough to deal with that mess in any way. Now, those guys are forever known as “the diaper people” to me.
20. Annnd I’m Done
I worked at Walmart for less than a month in 2009. I scanned a big box fan for a guy, and it didn’t ring up, so I said, “I gotta do a price check on this. I apologize.” The guy said, “It’s $24.99, you idiot.” I stared at him for a moment, then reached up and turned my little register light off, turned around, walked out to my car, and went home. Screw that.
I worked for a decade at a very popular chain that sells bath and body products. We would always decorate the store according to our seasonally released product’s theme and then play a new soundtrack to accompany that theme. One year for spring, we did a tropical theme. So, the soundtrack they gave us was summer-and-surf-themed music; there were only about ten songs on it, and altogether, they were approximately 30 minutes long.
I had just gotten promoted to management and was working longer shifts. I heard “Wipe Out” twice an hour. Every hour. For eight hours a day, five days a week. The kicker? The theme sold really well with the customers, and as a result, it got extended. So, instead of enduring this musical persecution for about three weeks, it turned into two and a half months. To this day, I still hate that dang song.
22. Not Worth The Risk
I worked at a retail store. Occasionally, weirdos would come in looking to swipe things, and the worst we could do legally was to ask them to leave. Unfortunately, my boss insisted that we get physical with them, to which I obviously told her, “Heck no.” I watched her chase a thief out of the store one day, and she screamed at me, “TACKLE HIM,” since I was standing by the door. I was like, “Uh, no.”
23. Toe-tally Gross
I worked as a lifeguard when I was in high school. One day, I witnessed an incident that still haunts me to this day. A little girl got her toe stuck in the crevice of our water slide, and it basically ripped off from the knuckle down. I got the task of climbing into the slide to find the dang toe so we could send it to the hospital. That was definitely not in the job description.
24. He Wood Love To Assist You, But He’s No Longer On Board
I used to work at a home improvement store, but I was only there for three days. They stuck me at the contractor’s counter by myself with zero training. I couldn’t even log into the computer, and I didn’t have a radio to call for help. Every single time a customer approached me, I would have to wander around and beg someone to help me.
On day three, an elderly man came to the counter to order some lumber. I told him I would have to go find someone else, and he started screaming and berating me. That was it. I leaned over the counter, put my finger in his face, and told him to eff straight off. I threw my apron at someone in customer service, walked out, and never came back.
25. Nightmare Fuel
I have a mildly irrational fear of spiders. I was asked to help clean out an old storage building. It was covered in dust and had a ton of these giant, black spiders. It was a big enough space that I felt fine…that is, I felt fine until my supervisor handed me a leaf blower and asked me to go through a back hallway with it.
I opened the door to the hallway, and it was cramped—just tall enough to be a little over my height and just wide enough for me to walk through it. It was also pitch black until I held up my phone flashlight. What I saw next was horrifying. The hallway was a large mess of tangled webs filled to the absolute brim with thousands of giant black spiders.
I straight up refused to walk down that thing, especially with a leaf blower. Like, no thanks, I don’t want to create a spider tornado. My supervisor was irritated that I refused to do this, but I would rather be fired than walk through the arachnid nightmare-hallway for 10 dollars an hour.
26. No Thanks Given
I worked in a grocery store meat department over Thanksgiving, and every third customer would ask if we had any larger turkeys in the back. Without fail, they’d insist that I go back to the walk-in freezer and sift through multiple pallets of frozen turkeys to check for the 80th time that day. Be nice to your retail workers, and please try not to shop on the holidays. It’s the worst.
27. College Dropout
I worked for a small college. The president’s secretary thought that most things were above her paygrade. At one of the busiest times of the year for my office, she decided I should put in 80+ hours to clean her computer data and get something she needed done. After getting it finished, she then decided that she wanted the whole thing changed. It was at that moment that I broke down.
I went to the doctor in the midst of a full-blown panic attack and was given a note for two weeks off work, which meant that my coworkers either had to use what I already did or they could redo it all again themselves. I came back to work and resigned.
28. Time For A Coffee Break
I had a tough time finding my first job out of university. My friend ended up getting me a gig with a promo company to help me pay my bills. The job sounded simple enough; I was to hand out coffee samples for a specific brand while being stationed at various grocery stores across the state. Later in the job description, I learned that I would also have to bring the sampling booth with me.
I thought it would just be a small, plastic cart, but nope: it was a huge full-on wooden coffee service station. Not to mention that I also had to bring in the coffee machine, sugar, milk, water, and even a garbage can. The first time I did it, I struggled to put it all into a shopping cart and only barely succeeded by using two. The next few times weren’t all that much easier, but I did get better at doing it. That is, until my final day.
I think it was the sixth, or maybe seventh time. It had already been a horrible day; customers had hated the coffee, the store manager had been rude and unaccommodating, and my back was starting to hurt real bad. One guy even hated the coffee so much that he poured the cup into my garbage can, waterfall-style, before flicking the empty cup towards me. It crushed me badly, but I needed the money, so I forged ahead and finished the day off.
After I’d finished, I loaded up my grocery carts again and pushed out of the sliding doors to find complete darkness and pouring rain. It had also been a busy day at this particular store, so I’d parked my car on the other side of the parking lot. I was angry, but I just said to myself, “Screw it, let’s get this done,” and I started pushing. Sadly, the horrible day wasn’t over yet.
Three-quarters of the way to my car, the front wheel of one of the carts gave out. I lost my balance, and my supplies came flying out: coffee machine, sugar packets, and all. It was almost comical. I knelt in the downpour, picking up my stuff, only to find the coffee pot heavily cracked. That was enough to push me over the edge.
I crumpled into a heap on the ground and quietly cried. When I had finally regained my composure, I grabbed the rest of the supplies and haphazardly threw them into my car. Drenched and sitting in the driver’s seat, I called my manager and told her I quit and that she could pick up the supplies whenever—that job 100% did not pay enough for all that trouble.
I sold phones at Sprint. I decided my job didn’t pay enough the day that a thick stream of sweat drained out of this girl’s cell phone case. I had to explain to her that her phone had water damage and that she shouldn’t work out with her phone in her bra, all while trying to be professional and not gag as I cleaned the mess.
30. It’s A Whiskey Business
I’m a bartender. A grown man once threw a lit cigarette at my face and threatened me with physical harm. This was a year or so ago, but a 45-year-old man behaving that way towards a 24-year-old female was definitely one of those moments. Plus, factoring in all of the handsy patrons and occasionally having to clean up vomit, I do not get paid enough.
31. Furious Felon
I used to be a counselor at a clinic. I had a client who was going to prison for getting rid of his ex-wife’s beloved rottweilers because “I couldn’t kill her, and it was the best way to hurt her.” The day he was supposed to go to prison, he showed up at the clinic, after dosing hours, demanding his dose. He was no longer a patient at the clinic, so legally, there was no way to do this.
I stood behind the counter and tried to explain the situation to him. He grew more and more irate and then called his lawyer and put me on the phone with him. I wish he hadn’t. His lawyer explained that this dude didn’t show up for prison, was now a fugitive, and had pulled a knife on his own sister in her car just outside my clinic. So, the guy had a knife. The lawyer warned me not to anger him. He was violent, and I should call for help.
By this point, every other therapist and office worker had already gotten out of Dodge. So, I told the lawyer thanks, hung up the phone, moseyed the heck out of the front office, and called for law enforcement from the break room. The dude hopped over the counter and trashed the clinic, and left. The bosses asked why I didn’t stay and make sure he didn’t trash the place.
I explained they paid me $10.50 an hour and refused my raise. I was the only man in the building and was left alone with a violent armed felon. Screw that.
32. Down In The Dumps
I worked at a grocery store in my teens, and it wasn’t a great experience. My old manager refused to pay the waste management bill for several months. By the time they finally came and emptied the dumpster, there were still mounds of trash lying around the area. So, guess what my manager’s solution was? He had me go out and clean all of it up alone.
I didn’t have any protective gear or supplies whatsoever, and I was out in 100+ degree weather. I only had a bunch of trash bags to put it all into, and when I went in to ask for help, he just gave me a shovel. After that, I worked one more day, where I was given more work to do without so much as a “good job” or “thanks.” I never went back.
33. That Must Have Been A Frustracean
I was a fishmonger in a grocery store. We got a large number of lobsters in, but they were soft-shelled and already dying. So, my manager decided we could at least sell their tails. Wel, that’s when I made a gruesome discovery. Apparently, lobsters don’t really have central nervous systems, so when you sever their tails and put the tails on ice they freaking run away.
So, I had to chase these tails down because they’d escaped into the rest of the display case, onto the floor, and hid under our prep tables. Never again.
34. Maybe She Had A Disorder
I’m a female, and I was 19 years old when I worked in a psychiatric hospital. One of the patients—an extremely psychotic young woman pregnant with twins—would only talk to me, known to her as the “girl in the cactus scrub top.” Naive me wanted to help this woman. She said that she would only cooperate if we were behind closed doors, which would obviously NOT happen, but we did our best to make her comfortable within protocols. The woman was also undressed.
Anyway, with security at the door and two staff members standing outside, I was alone in the room trying to console this psychotic woman who LOVED my cactus scrub top. The woman finally decided she wanted to get dressed, but with my shirt. So, she pushed me up against the wall and tried to take it off me. Security jumped on her quickly, and I escaped out the door.
It was a $15 an hour entry-level job, and I was pretty much fresh out of high school. This experience was just one of my many stories.
35. Unnecessarily Nasty
One time, I was working in a grocery store. As I was checking people out, this lady came up to me, and what she said was so disturbing, it’s unforgettable. The very first thing out of her mouth was: “You’re a failure and an embarrassment to humanity. If you were my kid, I’d beat your behind right here, right now.” I had literally done nothing but asked her how she was. Like, what?! Then her card was declined.
36. The Job Ended On A Bad Note
I once worked at an architect’s office for two months, and it was a miserable experience. I got laid off in October following 9/11; I also had a kid on the way, and my partner and I had just bought a house. I was desperate for a job. So, I took the first one available, and I didn’t think to question why there was an opening at this office when no one else was hiring. I got the job, and it turned out that it would be just my boss and me alone in the office.
The first day, he began playing “New York City Boys” by the Pet Shop Boys. Okay, cool. Then he repeated it several times. I mentioned it to my boss, and he said it was fine. The next day it was the same thing, and he still didn’t want to change it. So I brought headphones in, only to be told that headphones were not allowed.
For two straight months, I heard that dang song every day, all freakin’ day. I quit because my boss would play this song on repeat, and he wouldn’t allow any changes or let me listen to my own music. I told him this when I gave him my two weeks. He just said “Okay” with no reaction. I bolted as soon as someone else would hire me. I think it was some kind of evil experiment.
37. Assault And Batteries Not Included
I used to work at a gadget shop. It had loads of random items, such as silly squeaky things, things that flew about, novelty gadgets, etc. You get the picture. My coworkers and I always had to wear something from the novelty clothing range. I’m a female, and one day I wore an apron that depicted a buff guy, while my male coworker wore the female version.
The customers severely tormented me that day. It got so bad that I asked my manager if I could change into something else, but she said no because she considered my outfit a talking point. I had people call me all sorts of vitriolic things, ranging from calling me fat and an idiot to questioning my true gender. Some teenage boys even pushed me into some shelves and then made me fall into one of the central box tub things that held lucky dip products. Still, my manager wouldn’t let me change. So I got my revenge.
I quit on the spot. If she had said that I could change after the first few incidents, I would have been okay. But after seeing that the cruelty was reducing me to tears and still deciding not to do anything about it? It wasn’t worth the paycheque.
38. Wrong Role
My boss insisted that everybody be at their desks at 8:30 AM sharp. She made me take roll on an attendance sheet and hand it in to her every day. She also made me do it at lunchtime when everybody left and came back, and then again when they left for the night. I took attendance for a bunch of adults three times a day. I don’t work there anymore.
39. Excrement Excitement
I was working at the public city pool as one of the lifeguards. After hours, we were also the janitors, and a team of three of us would tackle cleaning the locker rooms and the main area. One summer, on the last day, we had a literal poopalooza: someone committed the cardinal sin of pooping in the pool. Literally, those logs were adult-sized, and they had distance. Meaning whoever did it was moving around our entire pool as they shat themselves.
We shut down early, partly due to the discovery that we would be swimming in 5-foot deep water to go floater-fishing and partly because we learned that there were not one but two piles of poop, inches from the toilet, on the boys’ locker room floor. As if that wasn’t horrifying enough, some mother of a mother left a poop-filled swim diaper on top of one of the showers, where it proceeded to leak down the wall and spray outwards onto the floor. All this occurred within 15 minutes of each other.
I got the luck of cleaning the women’s locker room, which beat out deuce-diving, in my opinion, but not by much. Fun fact: after the mandatory 30-minute wait, we taught swimming lessons in that same water. I never wanted a shower more badly than I did that day.
40. Don’t Judge The Books By The CD Covers
I worked at Barnes & Noble College 10 years ago on my college campus, and to this day, I immediately turn off certain songs in the car after hearing the first note because I cannot stand listening to what I call “Barnes & Noble music.” We had a CD changer, and employees could bring their own CDs to play in their entirety. But some coworkers exploited the privilege.
My manager cranked the music to 11 every shift, and we couldn’t even talk to each other comfortably, much less the customers. A girl brought a Katy Perry album with “Let Me See Your Peacock” on it that ran every couple of hours for years. If you’ve never screamed over those raunchy lyrics trying to help an elderly professor find the textbooks for his class, you haven’t lived, man.
I worked at McDonald’s when I was 16, and some awful woman complained that her fries were too cold. So, I made her a fresh batch, which she proceeded to throw at the upper part of my chest and neck and gave me grease burns. She then spat at me and left. My manager told me to get over it. I’m 20 now and can still see the burns in the right lighting.
42. Lunch Bag Lady
My last job was as a school cafeteria lunch lady. The garbagemen only came once a week on Wednesdays to pick up the dumpsters, which held all of the school’s trash. The problem was, there were only two dumpsters for the entire school, and the kitchen could fill at least one of them all by itself within a day or two. With the teachers also dumping random stuff in them, plus all of the custodial team’s trash, the dumpsters would be almost overflowing by the third day.
By Monday of the following week—two days before they picked up the dumpsters—we would have to grab the bags where they were tied off at the top and find a way to fling those suckers (which were sometimes very heavy) on top of the overloaded dumpsters. We weren’t allowed to leave bags on the ground around the bottom of the dumpsters because the trash guys would just run them over and get garbage everywhere, and then we’d get in trouble.
The bags were also quite possibly the thinnest garbage bags ever made. Half the time, you’d try to hurl a giant garbage bag full of spaghetti and alfredo sauce and god-knows-what up to the top of the dumpster, only for it to break open and shower sauce and old food all over you. I did NOT get paid enough to deal with that.
43. When Summer Camp Got Too In-Tents
I worked for a summer camp one year that was run by a stereotypically hippie-dippie organization. Now, I personally support this organization, but they had some ridiculous ideas about how to discipline children, in that they didn’t believe in disciplining them at all. No time outs. No raising your voice. No rewards to be earned or positive reinforcement. No loss of privileges. No warnings. No speaking to the parents about behavioral issues. Nothing.
Now, most of the kids were coming to this camp because their parents didn’t have the means to send them to more expensive camps, and quite a lot of them had behavioral issues to begin with, but none of the kids were monsters. In fact, they were all pretty great; they mostly just needed some understanding and some solid boundaries.
Unfortunately, without discipline, there were no boundaries. The kids tended to run amok, and there wasn’t a whole lot that we as counselors could do. So, I came up with an idea. I surreptitiously gave some of the more wild kids a few time-outs, and guess what? Their behavior immediately improved, and I never had trouble with them again. In fact, they had a better time at camp because they weren’t constantly getting into fights with their friends.
But, I guess the higher-ups found out about it somehow and sat me down to talk about how “You just need to talk to them and find out why they are behaving badly and make them understand the correct way to behave.” I already knew why they were misbehaving; they were kids away from their parents in a place with no rules and no discipline, and they were testing us to see what they could get away with here.
In the end, I basically ignored the higher-ups. I wasn’t getting paid enough to deal with kids all day without having any way of keeping a bit of control. Regardless, the few problem-kids had already had their time outs and, as I said, they were fine once they knew where the line was. Besides, I wasn’t at all worried about my job; my bosses didn’t believe in disciplinary action.
44. It’s The Most Magical Place On Earth…Most Of The Time
I was working for $10 an hour at an attraction at Disney World. There’s one position called “Merge,” where your job is to stop the standby line and send through the FastPass line. FastPass is normally based on reservation, but if another ride breaks down in the park, they’ll give out FastPasses that can be used pretty much anywhere.
One day almost every ride in the park broke except for ours, which meant EVERYONE was suddenly entering our FastPass line. For roughly an hour, I sent 150–200 people through FastPass for every 10 I sent through standby, and I didn’t even come close to clearing the line. As a result, the standby line people screamed at me, started chants, took pictures of me and my nametag, and were generally awful.
My favorite protester was this one guy who repeatedly screamed, “I KNOW THIS ISN’T YOUR FAULT MAN, BUT THIS IS BS,” in front of his six kids. I just calmly stood there and kept saying to everyone, “Sorry folks, but I really don’t have any control over this.” I got off easy, though. I know people that have been pushed, punched, and spit on, amongst other things.
A bunch of my friends ended up breaking down crying while they were working Merge. If you go to Disney, do your research on how to avoid lines, and remember that the cast members are people too.
45. Like A Broken Record
I used to work in a mall music store, back when that was a thing. There was a corporate policy to play new music regularly because that’s the freaking thing you’re trying to sell. Every single day she worked, my boss would play the entire Madonna album, Ray of Light. I heard hours and hours of the same eight freaking songs for most of the year until it was either go mad, commit murder, or bail.
I bailed. That music franchise went under a little over a year later. I hold Madonna and my old boss responsible.
46. Beware The Hangry Karen
I worked at a fast food place about 13 years ago. This lady in the drive-thru claimed she was missing a sandwich. Our policy was to ask for the bags back to verify. She had made a decent-sized order of three or four bags worth of food, and I asked for them back to check for the missing item. But instead of handing them over like a civilized human being, she instantly started raging and throwing the food into the window while cussing me out!
Guess what one of the items she threw at me was? Yep, said missing sandwich.
47. Not Worth The Drive
The company I work for used to pay us half-salary to attend seminars related to our industry that grant Professional Development Hours. These seminars would often start at 7 AM at a hotel located about two hours away for me to drive to in rush hour traffic, but hey, it was on the company’s dime, and it had free breakfast. So waking up at 4:30 AM to attend wasn’t the worst thing in the world.
One day, the company’s higher-ups announced their belief that attending the seminars furthered our knowledge and helped the company, which in turn, helped us. Therefore, they would no longer pay us to participate in them, but we were somehow still expected to go. I just said, “Screw that,” and I haven’t attended a single one since then, and I delete all of the invite emails.
I get paid hourly, so taking the six-hours out of my day to drive and attend a seminar without pay is just plain stupid. When asked why I haven’t gone to any, I told them I have a mortgage to pay. They haven’t asked me to go again since.
48. Tick Tock
After my boss told me to follow my subordinates—including a pregnant woman—to the bathroom to time their breaks in there, I left my job. Honestly, I made up the numbers 99% of the time because they worked their full hours and could prove it, and their performances were the best in the office because an overbearing dictator wasn’t crushing them.
When I objected, the highest manage responded—and what they said was bone-chilling. I was told that I was immature and not a team player and that I had to do exactly everything they told me to do, no questions asked. No exaggeration, those are direct quotes. I made sure my folks were covered, and I handed in my resignation.
After I left, my friends there told me that a bunch of other people walked out too. It was a great place to work for my first two years, but the manager had never held that position before; she was stubborn and hated millennials. So, she went out of her way to be horrible to her own staff. No regrets, yo.
49. Nope Nope Nope
Back when I did plumbing, I went out to a job that required me to duck into the crawl space of a roughly 200-year-old mill house. I opened up the crawl space and shined my light to look inside, only to see my worst nightmare come to life. All of the rafters and pipes were draped in snakeskins, and I saw live snakes slithering away into the darkness. I noped right out of that one. I’d rather crawl through excrement than snakes.
50. Price Check Karen
I’m a grocery store cashier. My customer was angry and insisted that her cereal had rung up wrong. I called a price check, and this lady berated me the whole time. I recall that she accused me of trying to scam her. She also said she was going to get me fired. It was at this point that I couldn’t take her attitude anymore.
I looked at her and retorted, “I make $7.25 per hour no matter how much you pay for this cereal, so I do not care how this situation turns out.” She stared at me in shock. The price check came back, and lo and behold, the price scanned correctly. Silence. I asked, “So do you want the cereal or not?” She said, “Yes.” And that was that. She did not complain to the manager.