Retail work is unique in that it can be simultaneously the easiest job and the most stressful job someone can have. The work itself is rarely ever the issue, but rather, it’s the customer service that sets people over the edge. Anyone who has ever worked retail has had an experience with a customer that was so ridiculous they were willing to risk their job in order to tell them off, with some being brave enough to do just that.
And if any retail worker has never had that experience, they either got out of the game early or their time is coming. If anyone needs proof that the customer is NOT always right, the 42 stories down below provide more than enough evidence to back that claim! And if there are any retail workers reading this list, hopefully it brings more laughs than PTSD.
1. Straight to the Point
This guy comes in with a coupon for a free iPod. The fine print says: “Guaranteed and payable by Bill Gates.” I asked why Bill Gates would guarantee an Apple product. The guy left.
2. Cat Fight
Two women came into the store screaming at each other. As I’m coming out from the back, I gather from the yelling that one had nearly hit the other’s car. Nearly, but no actual incident had occurred. It was a busy Saturday so people are starting to stare. I’m trying to gather my wits, thinking how best to handle it, when my manager came flying in from nowhere.
She just yells, “Either come in here and shop like people or go outside with the rest of the animals!” One left. One stayed.
Worked at RadioShack for six months while in college. Pretty much had at least one terrible experience per shift. The one that stands out the most was a guy who wanted us to honor the warranty on his iPhone cable. The thing was a mutilated mess. It had clearly stopped working and he had tried to fix it himself by cutting the cable apart and attempting to solder two wires together.
We calmly explained that we couldn’t process a claim for an item that was willfully destroyed, and he starts screaming in our faces about how “RadioShack is a scam!” and “I’m going to sue all of you!” And then he tries to WHIP my coworker—a five-foot-tall non-threatening woman—with the cable! She managed to turn her head and catch the wire with her hand before it caught her in the face. Myself and another employee chased him out of the store and called the police but nothing came of it. RadioShack shoppers were the worst.
4. Fool Me Once
I worked at a pawn shop for a couple of years. We had a customer pawn a chainsaw, which turned up stolen and was confiscated by police, which causes the store to lose money and police to be aware that he is a known thief. He came back something close to three months later to pawn something else. I didn’t recognize him right away.
I asked him if he had pawned anything before and he said yes, so I asked his last name and entered it into our computer system, which promptly said STOLEN. First I thought, “Really? You came back here?” I gave my boss—it’s literally a two-person store—our not very frequently used signal to discreetly call the police.
Meanwhile, I started acting like I was working on his loan and stalled a bit. Just a couple minutes later, a couple of police cars pulled up and officers quietly walked in and he immediately gave up. I didn’t really have to say anything to him. The handcuffs spoke for themselves.
5. Food Fight
I was 18 years old and worked at a local grocery store in the produce department. Beyond regular duties, we made fruit trays on weekends, nothing fancy, just a variety of cut-up fruit in large red bowls. Dude comes in after 10:00 PM—we close at 11—and asks for a tray with specific fruits. I tell him we, unfortunately, don’t make custom trays.
The 16-year-old dude who is also on shift with me overhears and tells him it’s slower tonight so he can do it for him. He says “Ok good,” no gratitude displayed at all. This co-worker of mine is legit always extra kind to customers, it’s admirable. 20 minutes later my coworker comes out of the back room and presents it to this customer.
He immediately starts screaming at him about how bad it looks. He yells things like “That looks like absolute trash! Are you an idiot!?” I run over to see what the problem is. The fruit tray looks absolutely standard but this guy isn’t having it. He smashes it on the ground and keeps screaming about how we are stupid and how we have wasted his time.
I snap. I tell him to “get the heck out.” He postures up. Keep in mind this guy is like in his 40s, ready to fight some teenagers over a fruit tray. Numerous other employees run over and yell for him to get out. He says, “I’ll be back for all of you idiots,” and runs toward and out the sliding doors. All this is on camera luckily so management calls the cops regarding his actions and that last threat. They ended up arresting him later on because apparently he also had some warrants. Hope the fruit was worth it, jerk.
6. Too Hot to Handle
I was working as an assistant general manager at a fast-casual restaurant. Some 40-something woman starts going off on my cashier. I round the corner from the desk to see her dump soup all over our front end cooler and knock a bunch of stuff on the ground. I tell my cook to call 9-1-1, say there is a woman causing a disturbance and breaking stuff, the address is next to the phone.
I walk up and stand behind the counter and put on my happiest manager face, so overly happy that it drove the woman even more into a fit. So raging cyclone Karen starts to knock stuff off the counter, throws two IBC root beers on the ground and starts yelling at another guest who tried to come over and defuse the situation. I hold out for another few minutes before two cops run in.
She has been screaming for a refund for 10 minutes at this point and breaking stuff. Cops walk in, I point at her and say “Get her out of my restaurant.” She was arrested. Apparently, her soup was too hot. Thanks for the headache, Karen. I comped sevens meals of other guests, had to work a double because my cashier was in a state, and had to deal with the cops. Screw food service. So glad I’m out.
7. Remember Me?
I sold a guy a phone years ago when I worked for a wireless carrier. Spent an hour getting all his information transferred and set up his new phone. He comes in the next day with a shattered screen. Apparently, he didn’t remember that I was the rep who helped him and preceded to tell me that is how it looked when he left the store. Needless to say, the phone was not replaced.
8. Don’t Drink and Dine
I work in a Dutch 24/7 gas station. This German kid—20-25 years old—came in the shop drunk, while driving. Looked for beer, which we are not allowed to sell, and got mad that I hid the beers. He wanted to start a fight and he wanted to drive off in his car. That was impossible since I locked the door and alerted the cops. He lost his driver’s license and got a huge fine, which he had to pay instantly. What a jerk.
9. Oldest Trick in the Book
Today is March 2, 2019. I work at a restaurant. I had a customer come in today with a bill from November 26, 2018, demanding a refund because her pizza was not good.
10. Not Worth It
A guy I knew who worked at Dunkin Donuts would use the line, “My manager says I only get to tell one customer to screw off a year, and I’m not gonna waste it on you.” Not quite the right type of answer, but relevant.
11. Thrown Out Uncle Phil Style
I worked at a BBQ restaurant for my first job. We had a take out area where the customer can watch you cut the meat and pack the side dishes. The girl at the register rang up a quart of potato salad when the customer asked for pasta salad, so I pack potato salad. When the customer received his order he looked through it and flipped out when he saw potato salad and started screaming at me, go figure.
Unbeknownst to all of us the owner of the store heard the commotion and was on the other side of the swing door behind me, which had a small window. The angry customer decided to throw a quart of potato salad at me, which I ducked to avoid. It splattered against the window on the swing door as the owner was looking out of it. He burst through the door—he is 6’4” tall and very built—grabbed this scrawny dude by his shirt collar and he had straight fear in his eyes.
My boss literally threw him out the door. Went back to the register to ask the girl what his total was, grabbed the cash, and tossed it out the door at the angry customer as he was collecting himself off the ground. It was an awesome scene.
12. Great Way to Start the Day
I was a supervisor in a store where people could trade in goods for other second-hand stuff. One guy stands out and I had a lot of imbeciles I dealt with over my seven years there. This guy had previously bought a phone from us and came back demanding we give him his money back or a new phone as the one we sold him had a crack.
As it’s secondhand we may have missed the hairline crack during our testing, no biggie, so we swapped it. Thought that was the end. About a month later he’s the first customer of the day, and he is cussing us out because his phone isn’t working. He has a warranty so we take the phone, open up the casing, and what do we see.
The phone is water damaged. 100% not how we would have sold it since that is the first thing checked during a test. We tell him his warranty is void. Him and his wife freak out and start shouting, saying they’ll stay there all day and tell others to not shop with us. I’m like, you’re wasting your time, at least I’m paid to be here.
Obviously, he doesn’t like that but he also slips up by saying: “If I had known it was water damaged don’t you think I would have pulled the sticker off so you guys wouldn’t notice?” The guy straight up confirms he’s a fraud! He keeps demanding his money back. At this point I call security, tell them what’s up. They come in and say he has to leave.
He’s like, this is a public place. I decide to chime in and state this is private property, he’s banned, and he can get out forever. The guy won’t leave when security demands, so they get on the radio to the cops as the guy is now technically trespassing. His wife screeches at him, and they both hightail it out. All before I’d had my morning tea.
13. That’s Exactly What He’s Saying
Years ago I worked at a small hardware store where they were constantly getting huge rolls of copper wire stolen. One day, this guy and his girlfriend come in to return a roll. I was a few months in on the returns counter. They had no receipt and when I scanned the item for the return it was only doing the price per foot. I couldn’t figure out how to get the SKU or the price for the whole roll.
I called the manager and he comes out and right away knows there’s no way these people bought a roll and returned it. So he asks when they bought it and they say two weeks ago—the common response—and my manager tells them, “Oh really, because the last time we sold an entire roll was over 3 months ago”. The guy starts to get brave and tells him, “So, you’re saying I stole it?!”
And my manager says yes. They end up leaving and left the roll behind. Before they leave the store the guy says, “I’m coming back and bringing the cops,” and the manager says, “Go ahead, that way you can explain to them how you stole the roll.”
14. Now Listen Here Young Man!
I work at a movie theater. There were four preteen boys who were causing trouble. Sneaking into movies, one wouldn’t put a shirt on, and they took an empty popcorn container and went to me for a refill as I was closing the popcorn counter. They had been asked to leave multiple times.
“Give me a refill.”
“I’m not giving you a refill tonight.”
“You were asked to leave here already. I’m not going to give you any popcorn.”
“Just give me the popcorn.”
He looked at me and chucked the popcorn container at me.
I looked at him and screamed in my most convincing angry mom voice, “Don’t throw things at me and get out of here right now!” It got the attention of the other manager who was able to call security to escort them out.
15. The OTHER Phone Company
I worked in a T-Mobile store. A lady comes in screaming about how she bought a phone the previous day, didn’t buy insurance, and dropped it in a pool. She was demanding I give her a new phone for free. But, she wasn’t even our customer. She was a Verizon customer. She screamed at me for about 10 minutes demanding I call our manager. She then started yelling at other customers about how awful we were, so we called the cops.
16. Limited Supply
I worked at an electronic and appliance store that no longer exists but one day we got like 100 or so golf umbrellas. I don’t know why, but they were buying a bunch of random stuff those days. So we run a really good sale on them, for like $5. We got the sale from Friday to Sunday and we sell out by like late Saturday or early Sunday.
So on Sunday this guy comes in and wants one and absolutely loses his mind that we didn’t have the cheap $5 umbrellas left. He started cussing out the staff and the manager had to finally tell him to get out.
17. Father (Doesn’t) Know Best
Building materials store. It was business to business, so not much retail I guess. This guy comes in with his son, wants to buy a $2,000 air tool. I pretty quickly recognize he’s going to attempt check/card fraud. Not a big deal, we get two to three a week for the same thing. But this guy wasn’t very good at it. He hands me a crap looking card.
I test the chip and doesn’t work. I can key in the numbers and process the sale if I want. So I know for sure now its fraud but I never accuse them, so I ask for cash. Most fraudsters can read my face and understand I know what they’re doing. Usually, they say they will go to the bank real quick and then they get lost. This guy starts getting aggressive.
I’m fed up so I look at his son. I ask him what his name is. John. Then I say, “John, when you grow up you don’t want to be stealing stuff like your daddy. And sucking at it, too.” Hoo boy.
18. Mr. Big Shot
I had a customer tell me I was a lazy piece of crap because I wouldn’t grab his wife a flat cart. I was with another customer. He told me they were there to drop $400 on a lawnmower. I laughed and said, “Let me know when you plan on filling a trailer and dropping $20,000.”
19. Grown-up Needs to Grow up
I was counting my till and a customer waiting in line for the other register started laughing and saying random numbers rapid fire to mess up my count. She succeeded. This was like a mid-40s lady. I sighed and looked at her and said, “What are we, 5 years old?” and then took my till around the corner to start again. It was seriously rage inducing. Like, why would you do that? It’s just being a total jerk. No redeeming humor value at all.
20. But I Want It Now!
Back when I was in undergrad, I worked part time at Macy’s. One day I get this customer who says he is looking for a sports jacket that he saw listed on the website and he wanted to buy it at the store. I told him, ” No problem, let me check and see if we have it.” So I check on my computer and nope, we don’t have any in stock, so I tell him that I can just place an order and he can pick it up in a few days.
“No I’m going to be out of town.” So I told him that we can have it shipped directly to him. “No, I want it today.” I told him that I can check and see if another Macy’s had it. “I already drove all the way here.” I told him, “Well you saw it online right? Why not order it from the website?” Apparently, that set him off.
He said, “I REALLY DON’T LIKE YOUR SMART ASS TONE RIGHT NOW.” I just have him a “WTF?” look and said, “Sir, I am trying to help you and you’re not helping me by literally rejecting every option we have, why not try buying something similar?” He screams, “NO I WANT THAT ONE, I BET YOUR MANAGER CAN GET ME WHAT I WANT.”
I say, “He’s gonna tell you the same thing I just told you,” and he replies: “Oh, we’ll just see about that, you’ll be lucky if you have a job left after this blah blah blah…” I really didn’t pay attention to his ranting as I was calling the manager, and giving the guy the middle finger with my eyes. So when my manager gets down to where I am he looks at the guy and just says, “Oh, it’s you. Do I need to call security again?”
I had such a big grin on my face. Jerk customer starts screaming at the both of us and says, “THIS IS RIDICULOUS, I AM GOING TO REPORT BOTH OF YOU TO CORPORATE.” I just start laughing and say, “Dude, didn’t he just tell you to get out?” Apparently, he wasn’t expecting that and just stared at us. My boss is trying to keep a straight face at this point and says, “Well, you heard him, get the heck out of here.”
21. Too Little, Too Late
A guy asks me for a shoe and I go to the back to grab it, but we don’t have the size he’s looking for. I tell him there’s only one size left and it’s the display shoe—half a size smaller—that he’s holding in his hand. I ask him if he wants it, he says no and thanks me for my help. I nod, give him space and walk to the register to help others.
As I was working the register my co-worker is helping a couple and brings out that shoe—I don’t know this. When I’m done at the register the guy comes up to me a few minutes later and says he does want the shoe. So, I go to the back and check but it’s not there—it’s with the couple. I walk out to tell him that someone else is trying it on and if he wants it he’s gotta wait to see if the couple will take them or not.
The couple decides they want the shoe but the guy won’t give up the display shoe he’s holding on to. They start arguing back and forth over a shoe that’s been sitting there for months! My manager comes to resolve it and get both sides. This is where the original guy says that he had told me he wanted them from the start. Told my manager he was lying and we told him to leave and that he was leaving without anything. He left angry, saying he’d call corporate. Gotta love retail!
22. When All Hope Seems Lost
I had been a third key for a hated but national video game store chain for almost two years when I finally had the opportunity to tell someone to get out. A little background: it was coming up to the release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One and the back stock of the last generation of systems was getting quite large company-wide, so a sale was being run on the systems.
In addition, a free second pre-owned controller was being included. The district manager had decided—and mandated—that it was a good idea to put stacks of boxes of live systems out on the floor to show the sale was going on. A gentleman had come in and was poking around the store. I greeted him to acknowledge that he was noticed and I was ready to help him.
Immediately, he started acting suspiciously by testing the doors of cabinets, checking accessories if they were indeed locked, and he pushed an empty display box for the Xbox One with his foot to see if there was anything in it. Another gentleman had come in and asked for a PlayStation 3 and a handful of games. I turned my back to grab the games out of the drawers behind the POS and when I turned back around about 45 seconds later I noticed that a stack of Xbox 360s had suddenly gotten one shorter and had cut tape where the system used to be.
Being the only person in the store relatively later in the evening I noticed the suspicious guy from before had disappeared. Bowing my head in defeat that I wasn’t able to protect my product from theft and that I would be hearing about it the next day from my manager, I headed towards the storeroom to grab a system for the paying customer when I was suddenly greeted by the sound of squeaking Styrofoam against cardboard from behind a display shelf full of Nintendo Wii games.
As I turned to my right, I witness the sketchball of a man on his knees with a black Xbox 360 stuffed halfway in his backpack. Completely bewildered to why this idiot hadn’t just dipped out of the store after grabbing the system, I finally remembered that this idiot was trying to steal my stuff. I walked over to him and said, “What in the heck are you doing?”
Suddenly, the man turned up and looked at me like a dog pooping on the floor and getting caught. He decided to tell me, “It said it had two controllers so I was just making sure that it was in the box.” With a dumbfounded look on my face, I pointed to the door and said the awaited words “GET OUT OF MY STORE” and watched as the scumbag pulled the Xbox out of his backpack and sprinted out of the store before I had a chance to call security.
23. Back of the Line
When I was 19 I worked as a manager at a Dollar Tree. The first of every month was always the most hectic because of food stamps which, unfortunately for us, not a great day because there were only three employees inside the store including myself. Lines are building up when a woman and her 20-something daughter come to the line with over 60 items.
When the total comes up and she uses WIC, she cannot remember her PIN. Happens, I get it. I told her we’ll have to move it over to an empty cash register to clear my conveyor so that we don’t hold anyone up—four or more people in each of our two lines now. She complied—Woo!—and I continued ringing up customers.
She takes five steps from me and calls friends/family to find out what the password is and after slightly less than five minutes says she knows it now. I say ‘Awesome!’ At this point, she starts moving my customer’s items back while she cuts off every customer to place all of her items back on the belt. Every customer is like “What the heck?!”
I stop her and tell her that she needs to get to the back of the line and she pulls out the “Let me speak to your manager” at a screech that could be heard from the city over. I calmly say “No problem,” bend down, turn around, pop my head back up, and say “How can I help you?” Every customer starts laughing, including her daughter, and she starts cursing at me like the Wicked Witch of the West.
This was the point when I told her to leave the store to which she just went to the other line and I told the employee not to ring her up. She blew up in anger and left the store with her daughter apologizing to everyone.
24. Like Father Like Son
This kid had two Xbox games in his pants when I was working at Blockbuster. I saw him tugging at them because they were sliding down his pant leg and confronted him. He took them to his dad, who I didn’t even realize was in the store. Dad decides to reward the wannabe thief by renting them, except they already owed over $100 in late fees because of Xbox games they’d never returned.
He proceeds to lose his mind, yelling and screaming at me. My manager gets pissed and tells him to get out for saying some pretty insane stuff to a 16-year-old girl. Dude says he’s just going to go to the other Blockbuster. We flagged his account and called the other store to warn them. He showed up there about 10 minutes later, the kid tried to steal games AGAIN, and this time that store manager called the cops. It was pretty awesome, even though my heart was racing pretty fast when an adult man was leaning across the counter to tell me what a b-word I was.
25. No Shoes, No Service
I broke a large light bulb on the floor near the door, and as I was cleaning a customer comes in barefoot. “Sorry sir, I just broke some glass in here how about telling me what you need or coming back in a minute with shoes?” He says, “I don’t care, you workers are all huge pansies these days, I worked in a nail factory barefoot blah blah,” as he continues to walk closer. I said, “Did you really just override my request and expect to be served?” Insert more disrespect. Cue register lock. I come around, hold the door open to leave, and I told him to get out.
26. You Get What You Pay for
I work at a bowling alley and a lady put seven names on her lane instead of the five she paid for. When this happens the lane will shut off and to restart it you have to pay for the excess people. We tried explaining this to her and she flipped out. She was accusing us of all kinds of crap and causing a huge scene.
She threw a half-full beer bottle over the register at my manager so we promptly told her to get out. We have a cop on duty at night for reasons like this and he told them they had five minutes to leave or else. This lady starts saying we were kicking her out because she’s black. My manager and the cop, who are both black, just looked at each other and laughed.
27. Unreasonable Request
I worked at a Buck-A-Book. I was the only employee there at the time as my manager was asleep in the back office, and nothing would wake him up. I was in a cast and on crutches from having broken my ankle and so I was sitting behind the counter. I wasn’t even supposed to be back at work for another week, but my manager had whined about being alone and forced me back.
It was pouring buckets of rain that day. A woman came in and bought 100 books—some hardcover—for her school. She demanded that I carry all these books out to her car for her. Our two-wheeler was in the back room with my sleeping manager and banging on the door for 15 minutes failed to bring him out. I explained that I couldn’t help her with the books because of my cast.
She threw a fit and demanded that since she spent $100 that I close the store and carry each and every box out to her car in the pouring rain by myself on crutches. I may have said more than just get out.
28. Clap Back
I was a supervisor at a popular coffee chain that had a rule that employees were not to be in the store alone. So, for example, when opening you had to wait for your second barista outside and then enter together. This was to prevent theft, but anyway, that meant we couldn’t put out our patio furniture until our third came in.
A customer began demanding I set up the patio, to which I advised him of the above. When I continued to refuse, he said, “let me speak to your supervisor” and I said, “I am the supervisor.” Obviously now super pissed, he says, “You’ll never get ahead if you don’t break the rules every so often,” to which I responded, “Well, I certainly didn’t get promoted by breaking all the rules, now you can order and stop harassing me, or you can leave.” He promptly stormed out.
29. Take It or Leave It
I worked in a college bookstore years ago and this guy came in and I greeted him. He then turned around and I saw he had a bag on him and store policy was to have customers leave bags up front so I politely said, “Oh we don’t really allow bags in the store, could you please leave it in the cubbies.” He then got upset and started loudly saying, “I have my COMPUTER in here, I CAN’T leave it here.”
We normally would put things like that behind the counter so I offered him that choice and he started flipping out like CRAZY. By this time the store manager came out and asked what all the yelling was about and the customer started to berate both me AND the manager about how crazy it was that he couldn’t keep his bag on him. My manager was known to not take anything from anyone so after his rant, she just told him “If you don’t like our policies, just get out.” She will probably be my favorite of all time.
30. Crossing the Line
I had a lady cuss me out when I worked as a customer service manager for a big retail store. She then went on to tell me how my mom didn’t raise me right and should have done better. My mom passed away a few weeks previously, so I then told her, thanks ma’am but she did a great job and recently passed and immediately told her to leave or the cops would be called and she would be criminally trespassing.
31. Common Sense
A guy was smoking right next to the gas pumps. As a 16-year-old it felt weird to tell a man three times my age that if he wanted to kill himself that would be okay, but don’t take my customers and me with him.
32. The Last Straw
Working as Target’s mobile rep, I’m helping this old man with his phone—yes, he’s asking very basic questions about his iPhone but he had an appointment and was very polite. We were setting up his phone too. This Karen is waiting behind us with her kids running around for about 15 minutes, and again he has an appointment and I told her it might be awhile.
She has been making comments under her breath the entire time and setting a terrible example for her kids about respecting your elders. Then the old gentleman said he needed to run to his car and get his SIM card and that he’d be back in 10 minutes. I then proceeded to help the lady while he was away but she required help involving me making a call that I knew was going to be too long so I said she had to wait until I’m done or come back later.
When the old man returned and she commented on how she was “surprised he didn’t fall down in the parking lot,” implying that he should have. I just got fed up with Karen at this point and I called AP on her and said she was causing a disturbance. Sure, I didn’t help her and she undoubtedly left me a bad review, but I couldn’t care less. I just feel bad for her kids and that such jerk actually exists.
33. Saved by the Bill
This guy came in and without even glancing at any merchandise, comes to the register. He hands me five $20 bills and asks for one $100 bill. As unusual as it was, I obliged. After I verified all his $20 bills were legit, I pulled a single $100 bill from my till. This is the part that saved me—I held the $100 bill up to the light just like we were trained to do every time we handle a $100 bill.
Only $100 bills and not any other denomination. He took the $100 in one hand, turned away from me, turned back and showed me a $10 bill, and claimed he was short $90. Without even thinking, I pointed to the door and told him he could leave or I would be calling the cops. He conceded and left without another word. The thing that saved me is that $100 bills are the only ones we look through at a light. The cameras saw me do that and I knew I had him dead to rights.
34. Keep It to Yourself
I was working the register at my mom’s business when some guy came in and started bragging about how many slip and fall lawsuits he has in progress. I was like, “Please, very carefully, get out and don’t come back.”
35. Everyone Can Relate
When they were still inside 10 minutes after closing for “just one thing!” when I didn’t get paid overtime.
36. Perfect Response
I managed a cell phone store years ago and there was an entitled older lady who came in and made my full-timer cry. I stepped in and told her that I didn’t need her business and to leave because she had no right to treat people the way she did. The customer escalated the issue to the “office of the president” and I was contacted asking why we were so rude to this customer and what happened.
My only response was to email a section of the “violence in the workplace” training module that states that you do not have to take abuse from customers. Nothing else was ever said about it. Other than another manager who heard about it contacting me to say “Well played, sir”.
37. Act Your Age
I worked at a call center years ago. I overheard an angry commotion from the headset of the gal next to me. The yelling continued for what seemed like 30 minutes, but it was probably closer to five. But she was totally unfazed, just reading a magazine while the ranting continued. Finally, I heard my co-worker ask, “Your mother or father home, sweetie? We’re not permitted to speak with children.” They hung up. Before the next auto-dial, I said, “Damn, that was a kid?” She just shrugged, “No, it was some old man.”
38. Baby Fever
I worked at McDonald’s in 1997 and we had Beanie Babies as Happy Meal toys at one point. It was insane. They literally had to buy a security cage to keep the toys locked down in the back. They were delivered with a security escort. People were ordering “100 Happy Meals with no food” because we couldn’t sell the toys by themselves.
One day I heard a commotion up front and found my high school counselor reaching across the counter grabbing one of the owners by the shirt because we were out of the pink flamingo. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes. She had to be dragged out. It’s scary how easy it can be to work people up into a frenzy.
39. You’re Not Special
I worked at a ski resort when I was younger, fitting boots and sizing skis, etc. My first year I worked at basically the Walmart of rentals, the cheapest option and the biggest store. So the week of Christmas, there are lines out the door every single day. I remember seeing my two-week paycheck after the two weeks around Xmas and I worked 119 hours.
It was absolute insanity. For another reference, the closest town had a permanent residency of fewer than 10,000 people, but during Christmas, it jumped up to 70,000 people trying to enjoy their vacation in the same spot. So, one of these days it’s business as usual, a quarter mile line out the door, non-stop craziness.
I’m at the bench closest to the door helping a lady when this kid walks up to my bench. I asked if I could help him and he said he had reserved rentals online and he wanted to pick them up. I said this is our store name if that’s where you reserved you’ll need to get in the back of the line and we’ll help you as soon as we can.
This 13-year-old kid said something inappropriate in front of the customer I was helping. I told him that quite literally every piece of equipment in our store was reserved, every single person in front of you has a reservation as well and we have to help everyone. He started insulting me personally, saying I was stupid and that he was going to report us to anyone he could because we weren’t letting him skip hundreds of people doing the exact same thing he was doing.
I think what angered him most is that I’m 6’3” tall and big. He was maybe 5’0” tall and 54 kg (120 lbs) so when he called me stupid, I literally laughed in his face. I was at no point threatened by this child, and at first, it was funny. The first lady left, I’m ignoring/laughing at this kid and asking the next person to come up and he starts yelling cuss words at me because I’m not helping him.
Up until this point, my manager had been a complete jerk and I was not a fan of him. But he’d had enough of the Christmas rush as well, and this kid was a perfect person to let off some steam on. I went and got my manager and told him this kid was personally attacking me and yelling cuss words in front of customers, so he walks up to the kid and says, “I’m sorry for the confusion, what’s your name so I can take a look at your reservation?”
And the kid lights up, thinking he finally beat the system and got in front of everyone for throwing a fit. My manager goes and finds his reservation—it’s digital, but I’m pretty sure he printed it off for the added dramatic effect—comes back and says, “ I found it.” He proceeds to rip it in half in front of his face and says, “Don’t ever treat someone that’s trying to help you like that, you are never allowed in our store again, and with every other store in town also being completely 100% booked on equipment, good luck skiing this week.”
I still didn’t like the guy, but I respected him one point more for the rest of the season for standing up for me.
40. Couldn’t Be More Obvious
It couldn’t have been more obvious that a guy was trying to return stolen merchandise. He “lost” the receipt, didn’t know when it was purchased and paid with cash so we couldn’t just easily look up the transaction on a credit card. He said he would call his friend to ask if they knew when it was purchased, and then he took out his iPhone and without pressing a button started to talk on it.
I was like…I can clearly see the home screen with no call happening. When he “got off the phone” I got a little bold and in my best retail manager voice said something to the effect of, “Oh, that’s cool! Is that a new update where you can talk to someone without actually calling them?” He left after that.
41. Goes Without Saying
I had a customer threaten to call the cops because I wouldn’t give them 50% off on a CHARITY bear on Boxing Day. 100% of the proceeds from these teddy bears went to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and they were only $15. The store had a 50% off everything sale for Boxing Day, but it didn’t include the CHARITY bears.
I add capitals because it’s a charity bear…its purpose is right in the name! I basically just kept saying “Ma’am, it’s a charity bear,” because I didn’t know how else to explain that the point of the bear was to raise money…that seemed…obvious. People in line were starting to get really upset with her and she just started to freak right out and was starting to dial 9-1-1.
My boss, so upset—she lost a son early in life to cancer so the Make-A-Wish Foundation was important to her—just gave her a bear and told her to never come back. A bunch of familiar customers of ours were so upset they pitched in the $15 without us even saying anything, which was super kind of them. It was a restoration of faith in humanity, but what a nightmare for no reason. Especially on Boxing Day!
42. Smile! You’re on Camera
Many many many years ago I worked at a retailer in the UK. A grimy looking family came in and started acting shifty, having over exaggerated discussions on washing machines, asking ridiculous questions about our returns policy. They bought a reasonably expensive Hotpoint washing machine from us, and wanted to take it with them that day, which we were happy to do.
They paid cash. They took their washing machine, loaded it into the back of their van, and we watched them drive over to the McDonald’s on the other side of the trading park. About an hour later they drove back and said that we’d sold them the wrong machine. They’d gotten it home, unwrapped it, and it was the wrong machine.
We told them to bring it on in and we’d sort it out. They went out to their van and brought in a CLEARLY DIFFERENT, DIRTY, OBVIOUSLY SECOND-HAND WASHING MACHINE. Oh, and they didn’t want an exchange. Just a refund. With every alarm bell ringing, my boss and I had a quick scan through the security cameras.
Sure enough, they had driven to McDonald’s, and come straight back. Whilst I was “running the refund through,” my boss called the police, who turned up, had a little look in the back of their van where, unsurprisingly, there was a brand new Hotpoint washer, still in its wrap. They were carted off by the cops. Didn’t get charged, unfortunately, but it was a definite get out moment.
If they’d only been more patient and less greedy and gone home for a few hours first, they probably would’ve gotten away with it, knowing how much my boss would adhere to the “customer is always right” principle.