Karens can come in all shapes and sizes, so don’t worry—you don’t need an asymmetrical bob to enjoy these rage-inducing recounts of meltdowns, showdowns, and mind-blowingly bad behavior. Pull up a chair and comfort yourself with the warm blanket of knowing that Karma never loses an address.
A woman asked to cut in front of me in the prescription pickup line because she was very sick. Unfortunately, I was so sick that I could barely stand. Since this Karen was much older and there were about 12 people in line, I was just about to agree. But then she suddenly screamed: “Oh, just forget it! I can already tell you’re not gonna let me. You’re heartless!”
When I calmly told her that she didn’t even give me a chance to respond, she said, “That’s because you have no soul”! I just nodded and said, “You’re right. Enjoy the back of the line”. She then tried to cut in front of a few people behind me but they all declined. I even heard one man say, “Sorry, I don’t have a soul, either”.
This happened to me at the public pool today. I found a shaded area to set up my chair while being conscious of not taking up too much space so that others can use the shade, too. I noticed that beside me there were five towels on the ground taking up nearly all the shade. After keeping an eye on them for about an hour, I noticed that no one had even used them.
I was out of the chair so that I could soak up some sun with my son nearby when suddenly, a woman walked up to me and snarkily asked, “Is this your chair”? I told her that it was and asked if she’d like me to move it. I should have turned off the podcast I was listening to because I didn’t quite hear her reply, but I could tell from her expression, it wasn’t friendly. It felt like something was about to go down.
I asked her if there was a problem and she said, “Your chair is not six feet away from us. What is WRONG with you? What if I have a sick child”? I just stared at her for a moment thinking, Ooh, now it’s on like Donkey Kong…I smiled at her and said, “Um, did you ever think that maybe you shouldn’t be at the pool in the first place, then, Karen”?
As her enraged mind was processing what I had said, I added, “And maybe you shouldn’t be hog all the shade with five huge towels when you’re not even using the space”. As she started to sputter out some Karen-esque clap backs, I turned up my podcast and flipped her the bird. She screamed, “That’s a really nice gesture to use in front of your son”!
I shrugged and said, “I’m showing him how to stand up to bullies. Go bother someone else”.
When I was working as a store manager at Starbucks, I had the pleasure of meeting many Karens. This one was a real doozy, though. She came in and ordered a Venti cappuccino. My assistant manager and an experienced barista were cranking out the beverages, no sweat…until this one. One return, OK, fair enough. Two returns, OK, but there is no way that one is wrong. Three returns?
At this point, Karen is calling the assistant manager and the barista stupid and untrained. So I stepped in and called her over to the other end of the counter so that they could catch up on all the drinks that were piling up. I calmly told her that my employees are very experienced and were making her drink to the Starbucks standard.
Karen explained that she wanted us to put shots in a cup and then skim the foam off of all of our milk pitchers to fill her cup the rest of the way. In the past, we had large milk pitchers that we would steam as we went so there was always milk ready—now we steam milk per drink. Karen said, “Tiffany knows how to make my drink”.
I told her that Tiffany no longer worked here and said, “If you want two shots and a cup of foam, you will have to order it that way. A cappuccino is part foam and part liquid milk, which is why the baristas made it the way they did. There is a standard recipe for cappuccinos.” She was NOT having it. Unfortunately, she continued to berate us for her drink being “wrong”.
When she finally got out all that she needed to get out, I told her that I will not have my staff treated that way and asked her to go elsewhere for her coffee since we clearly were not able to serve her as she wanted. Her jaw dropped. She was definitely not expecting that response, but I wasn’t in the mood to kiss her behind.
She stormed out in a huff and I got major kudos from the staff and customers within earshot for defending my staff, who I knew were in the right and were just trying to give her what she wanted. Who knew it would be such an impossible task? Send your prayers to the poor workers at the next coffee shop she goes to!
I was a forklift driver at a Pace Warehouse store (kinda like Sam’s Club) ages ago. Jamie, the duty manager, was telling me what I needed to do next when, out of the blue, this guy stormed up to him and screamed, “You have way too many handicapped spaces in your parking lot! There are SIX spaces and only one of them has a car parked in it.”
Jamie, who was a very laid-back sort, just stared at him in stunned silence. But the customer wasn’t finished. “I demand that you change this! I mean, if they are handicapped, how much can they even carry anyway?” Jamie calmly said, “I’m sorry you feel that way but the number of spaces is determined by law.” I stood there admiring how Jamie spoke to this man so respectfully.
Jamie continued with his little lesson, “The fire marshal measured the size of our sales floor and gave us a maximum occupancy number. That number is what determines how many spaces this store must have according to the law”. The customer replied, “Thank you. I did not know that. I am going to go home and write my congressman right now.” And then he turned and stomped out.
While I was working at a hospital, there was this one medical secretary who just never liked me. She was always gruff and condescending, so I just made sure to stay clear of her. Unfortunately, she saw one of my letters to the editor in the newspaper and she went full Karen on me.
In the letter, I suggested that because of the state of the economy at the time, it might be a better idea to keep wage increases within a certain range depending on the person’s economic situation. It was one of those “share the pain” types of call-to-action letters. Well, it rubbed that Karen the wrong way. She demanded that I be censored, fined, and reprimanded in every way possible.
I even suspect that she tried to get me fired. In the end, even though absolutely no one else found my letter a problem, I was advised to write a letter of apology to her. I took the advice, and I wrote a letter that was apologetic for expressing my freedom of speech and an opinion that unfortunately offended her delicate sensibilities.
She stormed down to my office, screamed out loud that she did not accept my apology, and threw the letter at me. Absolutely no one, including her union, backed her. There was an apology letter on file, and the matter was done. She was way too tightly wound up. After she retired a few years later, she suddenly succumbed to a heart attack all alone.
My experience with a Karen happened at my first job where I was a cashier at a certain theme park centered around colorful plastic building bricks. On the day in question, I was working at a shop that also makes “driver’s licenses” for kids. Now, keep in mind that these were not meant to be high-quality photos. They were taken with a cheap HP digital camera, then uploaded to our computer screens.
The guests had a screen where they were able to view what we were doing with the photos, so they could tell us how to crop the pic and choose their color scheme, etc. before we printed it on a plastic card for them for $5. My job that day was to line the kids up for the photos, up to 5 at a time (hence the need for cropping).
Anyone who has ever tried photographing kids, especially ones under eight years old, knows that it is near-impossible to keep them still for a picture. Add to that the fact that this was a theme park, so these kids were full of energy. Anyway, this lady apparently thought that it was supposed to be a professional photo shoot or something because she yelled at me for “taking the worst photos she has ever seen in her life” and proceeded to make me take a few more pictures of only her kids.
After trying for nearly 10 minutes, I managed to get one decent shot of them. I then had the displeasure of ringing her up, where she continued to grumble. As she was paying, someone came up to ask me how it all worked. Before I even had the chance to speak, Karen spoke up and her words had my blood boiling. She told them that “This man takes terrible pictures of your kids and then cuts and pastes the pictures onto a colored background and prints it out on a card for you." I still have no idea how I stayed so calm.
About eight years ago, I was starting a new job, and I really needed it. I had been laid off from a very well-paying job about a year earlier and this was my “in-between job” until something better came along. I’m just a waiter but as anyone who works in the service industry knows not all server jobs are alike. In the right place, I can bring home more than a grand over the course of four nights.
Anyway, as the new guy I was given the task of opening up the restaurant. This involved arranging tables, stocking the bar and waiters' station, counting the register, and confirming reservations for the day. Since I was new and still figuring out where things were, I came in about half an hour early to get ready for our 11:30 opening.
Before anyone else on staff showed up, I heard a loud knock on our locked front door. I got there to see two elderly women wanting to come in and be seated. I told them that we open at 11:30 but they weren’t having it. They said wanted to be seated NOW because they have a Groupon that was about to expire. They insisted that our website stated we open at 10:30.
I told them that we couldn’t have people in the restaurant while we were setting up, but we’d be happy to take care of them when we open. When they demanded to speak to a manager, I told them I was the only one there. One asked if I was a manager and the other one replied, “He looks too stupid to be a manager." That was bad enough, but it gets worse.
Then they proceeded to seat themselves in our outdoor patio area. Fine. At least they were out of my hair. Except they weren’t. They decided to start calling the restaurant. The phone would ring, I would go over to pick it up, and they would swear at me, hang up and then do it again. After the third or fourth time, I just let the phone ring.
The other old lady then got up and just started pounding on the door while the other was on the phone letting it ring and ring. Mind you, even if I did let them in the cooks weren’t even there to start their own setup and prep. At this chaotic point, the other waiter on schedule showed up and asked me what was going on.
I explained and he went outside to tell them the same things I did and, of course, they gave him the same yelling, demands, and insults. How dare we deny them service? Were going to get fired and they were going to make sure of it. By the time 11:30 rolled around, all the staff were up and ready for service.
The two old ladies barged in and shoved their Groupon in my coworker’s face. He took a dramatic deep breath and said, “Ma’am, our establishment does not accept Groupons. If you had read the name and address on the Groupon and compared it to the name of our restaurant on the front door you’ve been pounding on for the past hour, you would have realized that you are at the wrong restaurant”.
They slunk off, but it doesn’t end there. They went onto Yelp and posted a fake review that was about as long as this post describing what a horrible restaurant experience they had. They even said we were infested with rats, that the place was filthy, and that we should all be fired and shut down.
My latest Karen experience happened when I was waiting in line to check out and the Express 15 items and under cashier called me over since she had no one waiting. Just as I was starting to put my items on the belt, a Karen came up and began chewing me out for being in the 15 items line when I obviously had 16 items.
She then proceeded to angrily give me a long lecture on what the sign stated. I refused to take that from her, so I retaliated in the best way I knew how—I took my items and split them into separate groups. I apologized and explained that now it would take longer to ring up the orders separately as I was shopping for a couple of families in my neighborhood due to COVID-19. Karen gave an exasperated huff and the lady behind her told her to get a grip.
On the first Thursday of every month, I go to a trivia contest at a local bar with a group of friends. This past Thursday was Passover, so one of my teammates couldn’t go. His wife was not a team member, but she pulled off the biggest Karen move ever—she called the bar and asked if trivia could be put off for a week! Did she not even think about the dozen or so other teams?
I am an avid surf fisherman and was on the beach after local bathing hours were over. Suddenly I noticed a tiny little 75-year-old woman storming toward me. When she finally got close enough she yelled, “Isn’t there a fishing beach in town?” I should also mention that she, her husband, and I were the only people on the beach.
I told her there is no such place. She then went on a rant about kids swimming and getting hurt by fishhooks in the sand. When she finally wound down, I asked her if she lived in our area. She said no, she was from Florida and was here visiting family. So I proceeded to put her in her place. I then told her that I am from this area and I pay quite a bit in local taxes so she should go back to Florida and complain to someone there.
I averaged about 200 days a year beach fishing back then, and she was the ONLY person who ever hassled me. As an add-on, her skin looked like baked leather. I guess her beach in Florida is private. I am usually friendly and polite to people and have been known to hand my rods to kids walking by—sometimes they even land a fish or two.
When I worked at an ice cream shop, we had someone come through the drive-thru and order a “Fruity Pebble shake”, which was not something we could make. Unfortunately, this woman had misinterpreted a sign that announced a new shake flavor (coffee) alongside a different item, which was a Fruity Pebble ice cream sandwich.
The amount of Fruity Pebbles that we had was extremely limited as they were only to be used for the sandwiches. After we told her we could not make the shake, she tried to argue by pointing to the sign. We thought we had managed to convince her, but as she repeated her order, she tried to “trick” us by asking for a Fruity Pebble shake at the end of her order.
We thought the matter was settled—but she was far from finished. She reached the pay window and again requested a Fruity Pebble shake. When the employee calmly explained to her that we could not make one, she asked to speak with a manager. When we said the manager wasn’t in as it was a very small business, she continued to argue until the supervisor gave her the owner’s number.
Of course, nothing came out of the situation, except that we added some lines on the sign to separate the items.
My younger sister is named Karen. She's really something else. We haven’t spoken in over a year because of her typical Karen behavior.
I briefly dated a Karen-in-the-making in during college. She was a total spawn of evil. She would always put me down by constantly comparing me to her exes as well as some sort of impossible ideal Mr. Right. She would not only do this to me, though. She was always comparing her sorority sisters and her professors. She would even compare her parents with her friends’ parents. She was a very venomous woman and I’m glad I moved on with my life.
This happened when I was in my 20s and working in the registration office for a day camp. A woman barged into the office and claimed that the first-day package of materials that the camp had mailed out didn’t contain badges for her kids. She was worried because the package info stated that the kids should be wearing these badges on the first day of camp.
Now, I was a kid myself who had been working there all of one hour, and my boss had stepped out of the office, so I was on my own. I had never seen one of these packages or the badges, so I had no idea how to assist the woman. I told her that my boss should be back shortly and she agreed to wait. My boss called me to check in, so I asked her what to do.
My boss said that the camp office had run out of badges and she suggested that the woman just make them. I hung up the phone and relayed the suggestion to the woman. Apparently, it was the wrong suggestion—and she made sure to rub it in. “The manual says they need badges,” she pouted. “I am not going to make them.” I told her that couldn’t make them either as I had no materials.
She replied, “That’s not my problem”. Thankfully, at that moment, my boss finally came back. The woman again made a tremendous fuss about there being no badges for her kids and stormed off in a huff. My boss and I looked at each other, shrugged, and went back to work. Badges? I guess her kids actually didn’t need any stinkin’ badges.
When I was working as a service clerk at Walgreens back in 2008 it was really late one night and the store was one hour away from closing. I had just rung up a woman’s merchandise and then saw that I didn’t have enough cash to give her the required change. I took out a bunch of quarters to make up for the amount that I had to give to her.
This woman started fussing at me and saying that she did NOT want a bunch of change. She then ordered me to give her the change in bills. I told her that I didn’t have the correct amount in my register. And here we go…she then rudely demanded that I call the manager to bring some out. By now, there were several people lined up behind her.
Since this was not too long before we would be closing, my register was the only one open. Otherwise, I would have just asked another employee for bills or to take care of those other customers. I thought it would be rude to make them have to wait so I paged the only assistant manager on duty and let him know that I needed that amount of cash brought up to the register.
It took five long minutes for the manager to come out of his office and as each minute ticked by, I could see the other customers get more and more upset. After the manager finally gave Karen what she demanded, I breathed a sigh of relief and apologized to the other customers. It was people like her who made me hate having to work in retail.
One time after school, three of my friends and I went to the gas station to get some drinks. While we were in there, there was this middle-aged white lady who kept staring at us. I don’t know if this had something to do with race, but three of us, including me, were Hispanic and the other person was mixed. This lady did not take her eyes off us and it was extremely creepy.
We paid for our stuff and after we left the shop, the lady came up to us and said, “How dare you rip off that store? You go right back in and pay before I call the authorities!” Obviously, we did not take anything, so we were just kinda like “Uhh, what?” And this lady just kept going on about kids our age and that she knows what we are up to.
It was getting annoying, so we walked off while she was still screaming at us saying we were “going to burn in Hades.” I haven’t seen her since but I’m pretty sure she made a complaint because now the gas station only allows two school kids in at a time. It’s just still confusing. Why do most adults think that every teenager is a crook?
I used to work at a call center that handled Nespresso coffee. On one Monday, I had a woman call me because she wanted to place an order for more coffee pods. Unfortunately, she had to wait 45 minutes on hold before she got me on the phone. When I apologized for the long wait and explained that we take calls as they come in a queue, she unleashed her fury.
“HOW DARE YOU ARGUE WITH ME? I AM AN ESSENTIAL HOSPITAL WORKER. YOU HAVE TERRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE”! I apologized again, and she said, “LET ME SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER”! I put her on hold and while I was explaining the situation to my manager she hung up. If only she knew that she could’ve easily ordered online.
I moved to the Pacific Northwest last year and while I was finding the best spot to live, I stayed at my mom’s house. I had a German Shepherd and was eager to get him out of the house and explore the local dog parks. I found a dog park not too far from the house and I was excited to check it out and get some of his energy out.
After running around the dog park for a while, my dog started to squat. I don’t normally carry poo bags on me because dog parks usually have them for free, so when I went over to grab a bag, a lady started yelling at me from across the park. “Pick up your dog’s mess or I will report you”! I was confused because the poop wasn’t even done coming out of his butt.
I was also clearly walking toward the bags. The lady just stood there with her hands on her hips, tapping her foot, and giving me a dirty look. So, out of sheer spite, I decided that I wasn’t going to pick it up right at the moment—I’d just let her whine and then pick it up later. My boyfriend at the time said he didn’t want to cause a scene, so he went to grab a bag.
But the lady had some nerve. She said, “That’s what I thought! I knew you weren’t going to pick it up” while continuing to stand with her hands on her hips watching him walk all the way across the field, get a bag, and then walk all the way back to the poo. I was so annoyed that I told my boyfriend that I was going to throw the bulging bag at her. He begged me not to.
I decided to confront the lady instead. To embarrass her, I yelled as loudly as I possibly could, “I was going to pick it up you stupid shrew! Mind your own business next time”! She ended up walking away and it was the most frustrating Karen interaction I have ever had, but it was also so satisfying to yell back at her.
A few years ago, I was living with my friends as a tenant in a row house in Maharashtra, India. We were five girls who were all working IT jobs with different shift timings. Our living situation had been smooth sailing for years until we moved into this particular society. Our neighbor was the biggest desi “Karen” we have ever encountered.
This woman would scream at us regularly for stupid random things, but the scariest was when she and her husband started banging on our door at 3:00 in the morning saying that our nighttime bathroom usage disturbed her sleep. She lives in a totally separate house but according to her, when we went to the bathroom the noise of the door would disrupt her sleep!
Never mind that my roommates couldn’t hear anything from different rooms, this Karen could hear us from a separate house! Her next move had us floored. She ordered us to stop going to the bathroom at night. Yes, you read that right. I would also like to point out that those of us who returned home after our evening shift were super careful to be silent so as to not wake up the girls with morning shifts.
According to Desi Karen, it was our parents' fault for not teaching us how to close bathroom doors properly. She even tracked down our landlady and complained to her multiple times. Thankfully our landlady checked in with the other neighbors to make sure we were not actually creating any problems. After that, she told Karen to stop bothering her with childish complaints.
I was at Whole Foods talking to an elderly lady in Spanish because she didn’t know how the English word for ginger. Along came Karen in a motorized scooter (even though I had noticed her walking just fine in the parking lot). She gave us a dirty look and said, “This is America. Why don’t you speak English”? My response was too slick. “OK Karen, you’ve got legs. Why don’t you walk”?
A couple of weeks ago I was with a woman who told me about her encounter with a Karen. I guess I looked at her oddly because she said, “You know, a Karen”. I shrugged and she went on to tell me about a maddening encounter she had with a rude and self-absorbed woman. When she’d finished the long and tedious rant, I told her that it is a bad idea to stereotype women in that way. I braced myself for her reaction.
She jerked her head back and looked at me like I was an outdated monkey wrench. I mentally braced myself and told her, “I have a Karen. She’s my daughter and she doesn’t fit the description at all”. It hurt me to think that my daughter might have to suffer from this cruel stereotype—not my beautiful daughter. Not my Karen.
We attended an outdoor event at a vineyard during the pandemic. There were lots of signs posted requesting that visitors wear masks in public areas (e.g., getting food and drinks and using the restrooms). Everyone was social distancing on the lawn. This incident happened while we were waiting in a long line for the port-a-potty.
There was an unmasked couple waiting in line, in front of another masked couple—pay attention, the positioning will be important. The masked woman requested that the couple in front of her wear masks, and that’s when the Karen erupted out of her shell. She started yelling that she didn’t have one and she DID NOT need to wear one.
During Karen’s rant, the line was getting longer and longer. I thought it was funny when the woman behind me said, “Notice how the guys are keeping out of it”. Well, that wasn’t quite the case. After the unmasked couple finished with their business in the “port-a-potty,” the masked woman walked in. Seconds later the door flung open…
She screamed at the unmasked couple, ”You peed all over the walls and floor! You’re disgusting”! The unmasked pair just ran away laughing. The masked woman then proceeded to try to clean the entire drenched toilet area up herself. When she came out she announced that she did the best she could.
My neighbor would get quite upset when I would park in front of her house. There are about 10 houses on our block and you don’t see more than half a dozen cars parked on the street at a given time—even though the street could probably accommodate about 50 cars. Anyway, I didn’t particularly park there on purpose, I just didn’t want to do a U-turn and didn’t think much of it.
One day Karen came up to me and aggressively asked why I kept parking there instead of in front of my house. Mind you, she doesn’t even have a car. Her attitude was pretty hostile and I didn’t take it too well. We went back and forth for a while. I pretty much told her that it’s public parking and she can park in front of my house if she wants (with a grin on my face). That set her off.
I guess she wasn’t expecting that because she flew into a rage and started accusing me of some conspiracy to rip her off along with some other BS. Truth be told, if she had asked nicely, for whatever reason, I probably would have complied. She went inside her house and must have called the authorities because as I was cleaning my car they arrived 10 minutes later.
The officer informed me that there was suspicious activity going on in front of her house but he was pretty cool about it all and after a few minutes of chatting, he laughed it off and went on his merry way. Strangely, about two years later, Karen came over on Christmas and brought me a small present and apologized. After that, I stopped parking both my cars in front of her house.
My Karen moment was actually with my aunt. She isn’t white, but she definitely has the Karen attitude. So, I went to her house in the suburbs, of course, to deliver some groceries and a couple of yoga mats. Everything was normal until my aunt looked out the window. She immediately ran outside and started ranting at a couple of teens.
All they were doing was resting on their bikes in front of her house. “Get off my property—RIGHT NOW!” The teens just stood there in shocked silence. My aunt tried again. “I said GET OFF MY PROPERTY!” The teens were taken aback, understandably. One said, “We’re on the road, not your property”, which was true.
I tried to lighten things up by telling the teens to move on unless they wanted to experience my aunt’s full rage, and they laughed and took off. I told my aunt they weren’t doing anything wrong, but she just told me to shut up. She didn’t want to be educated and I didn’t want to cause a fuss. Quite funny, but after that I looked at my aunt differently.
My brother and I were at Domino’s waiting to pick up our sweet, delicious pizza. The staff was very busy and we had been patiently waiting at the counter, standing in the designated social distancing spot, for around five minutes. The social distancing spot was a taped line a few feet away from the counter. I think you know where I’m going with this.
Karen walked in and stepped in front of us. Assuming she had made a mistake I said, “Excuse me, we were actually waiting.” She looked at me and said, “Yeah, but mine’s ready though” as if that were somehow justification for pushing in. The worst part was that the staff served her right away, even though we’d been trying to get their attention while our food was getting cold.
A couple of years after we moved into our house, I decided to clean up a wooded slope behind the house, which generations of owners had used as a dump. I ended up hauling a huge trove of gross junk up from the slope and decided to put it in a pile in my front yard while I waited for the dumpster to haul it away.
The neighborhood “Karen” took it upon himself to complain to the township about said junk pile. Although the township never told me who complained, I had no doubt, as he was well known for that sort of thing. I was, fortunately, able to pacify the township by explaining the situation, and the junk was gone within a couple of weeks after I got the dumpster. But there was more to this Karen.
This neighborhood Karen was infamous for his meddling. His wife, who was a sweet and beautiful lady, put up with it, but I don’t know how. However, as patient as she was, I guess even she had her limits. Eventually, I noticed him with another woman who bore an uncanny resemblance to his former wife. I heard she was an internet bride from the Eastern Bloc.
My best friend and his new wife Kathy went to Las Vegas to celebrate their wedding. I met them at the Imperial Palace. Kathy needed to go to the ladies' room but there was a lineup. As the line moved, Kathy would wave at my friend and me when the door opened. One of the ladies in line with Kathy had us stunned. She said, “Maybe we should call security on those strange-looking guys…’’
Kathy laughed and said, “One of those guys is my husband and the other is his best friend”.
One time when I was around 15 I was working in a supermarket bakery. We had these plain buns specifically called “kids’ buns” that kids could eat while shopping in the supermarket with their parents. One day when I was working my shift, we were out of these kids' buns, and there was an entire line of parents waiting to get them for their children.
I handed the very last bun to the next person in line, and then we started handing out pastries instead of the buns. Then we ran out of those too (it was expected and not actually a problem), BUT this one woman insisted that I give her daughter a pastry just like I did with the other kids. But, as you know, we literally did not have anything left to give out.
This news sent the mom into full Karen mode. She threw the biggest, most embarrassing tantrum in front of not only the rest of the customers but also her daughter who then started mirroring her mom’s anger. The mom was screaming at me at the very top of her lungs. Then, I kid you not, she somehow found my boss and brought her over to the bakery.
This greedy lady, who by now was fired up and as red as a tomato, told the story to my boss—all because of a pastry I did not have. My boss forced the woman and her child out of the store and then came to talk to me about the very stressful incident. I was a little shaken but also entertained at how groundbreaking it was for the woman to not get her way.
People really need to remember that we’re all human and we all (OK, most of us) deserve to be spoken to respectfully. I can’t believe how many rude and entitled people I’ve had to deal with during my time in customer service, but it sure has given me some thick skin. More importance should be put on the importance of teaching children patience and kindness.
So, I have a latex allergy, which meant that I wore fabric masks during COVID. One time there was this Karen who went off on me because she didn’t think that fabric masks were safe enough. When I told her about my allergies, she blew her top—she proceeded to call me a Karen for not wearing a “real” mask. Like c’mon, at least I was wearing a mask. And I do wash the mask after I’ve used it.
I work at a casino, so with the pandemic, we had to institute quite a few rules to protect the employees and the guests. Everyone had to wear masks unless they were actively eating or drinking, and there were limited spaces available at all games. Social distancing was practiced whenever possible and cards were changed more often.
We worked hard to provide a safe environment under challenging conditions. Most of the guests were. cooperative, and even the few who were not would generally go along after we explained the rules or let them know that failure to heed the rules meant they would have to leave. So, the Karen in question was a middle-aged man who showed up at the craps table—and he was truly something else.
He pulled out a roll of currency, pulled his mask down, and started licking his fingers as he counted the bills. Eek! I explained that because of the pandemic he could not be doing this and that he would have to disinfect his hands. He did not understand the issue we all had with his actions and became very upset with me.
He said, “How am I supposed to count my money without licking my hands”? I told him that he could just hand the money to the dealer and they would count it for him, which they would have to do anyway. He finally just walked over to another table nearby. I could see the dealer and other players shake their heads in disbelief. It’s amazing how inconsiderate and clueless some people are.
My sweet little fur ball of love, Bunny, was gravely ill and on his last legs. In an effort to make him comfortable, I drove to the pet store to look for anything that he would eat. When I returned to my car, I noticed the SUV that had been parked next to me had pulled out and then returned. The young Karen—she even had the iconic hair—got out and accused me of hitting her car with my door.
I told her that I did not recall doing so, which only angered her more. This was the last thing I needed to hear when my little guy was so sick. So I let her have it—I told her that she could report it to her insurance company and her rates would go up or she could simply accept my apology for something I’m not even sure I did. I then got in my car and drove away, leaving her with her hurt ego.
My wife and I were at a pretty upscale grocery store, and when you’re Black in America, unfortunately, you know when you’re being watched. As we shopped, these two older women of fairer complexion were watching us like hawks as we made our way around the store. Now it just so happens that my wife had met me at the store.
My wife has a Buick Encore that was about 30 days old—it still had the paper tags on it. I liked hers so much that I went and bought myself one. So, the cars are essentially almost identical and they were parked right next to each other in the parking lot. These women were standing there, clearly watching us.
Me being me, I decided to have some fun. So I remotely started my wife’s, and then I remotely started mine. We calmly walked to our cars, put our stuff in, and pulled out.
Since they were still standing there after all this time, I decided to be polite and wave to them. Sometimes the most rewarding thing you can say when you’ve been profiled is nothing at all.
My “Karen” was a doctor who replied to a question I posted online. I was not asking for specific medical advice. I was not asking for a diagnosis or anything specific to my medical history. My question had to do with a cardiac MRI I had taken that day. I did not know that the scan was going to take an hour and a half or that the arthritis in my shoulders was going to cause me so much pain.
The pain was so intense that I was unable to stay still and I ended up having to abort the test after an hour and 15 minutes. My Quora question was: “I had to cut my cardiac MRI 15 minutes short today because I developed severe pain in my shoulder, neck, and low back. It was supposed to take 1.5 hours. The tech said he had enough for a basic image. Will the test be accurate enough?”
One of the respondents insulted me for wasting his time and said that I was whining about nothing. He said that I shouldn’t have even bothered asking if I couldn’t finish the test. He said a few other choice things in the most condescending tone possible. My reply was pretty tart. I said he didn’t need to reply to me if he was so bothered by a simple question.
I then went on to ask him why was he even on this website if he wasn’t willing to be polite. The whole experience really hurt me and gave me a bad taste in my mouth since it was the first question I had ever asked. I blocked him and I don’t remember his name anymore (or I would copy and paste his rude answer). Good riddance!
Earlier this week, my friend V and I made plans to go kayaking. When she arrived at my building, I buzzed her in and told her to sign in and take a seat in the lobby and I would be down momentarily. Within seconds, she was approached by a Karen who told her she was loitering and asked her to leave.
V stated that she would be leaving shortly to which Karen replied, “You need to leave now!” V continued reading a magazine. “Listen”, Karen said, “I’m the manager and I am ordering you to leave, so get moving or I’ll call the authorities”. V continued reading her magazine. When I arrived, Karen was on the phone with law enforcement. But there's a twist to all this.
V told me what was happening and as I began to speak, she suggested that we sit tight and watch this all unfold. Not only did Karen have to admit to the authorities that she wasn’t the manager of the building, but that she wasn’t even a resident. Oh, and did I mention that V is a sergeant with our local law enforcement agency?
This happened when my fiancée and I went grocery shopping. She is disabled and needs to use a cane. When we are in stores she often uses their electric scooters. We also have a disabled parking pass that hangs from the car’s rearview mirror. After pulling into one of the disabled parking spots, I got out and went around to help my fiancée out of the car.
I heard someone yell, “Hey, you” and when I turned around, I saw that it was a Karen. “Why are you parking in a disabled parking space? You’re not disabled”! I politely replied, “No, I am not, but my fiancee is.” By this time Lisa was out of the car and getting her cane out of the back seat. “She’s not disabled. She’s just faking it!”
I raised my eyebrows in shock, but Karen kept going. “She’s using that cane to fool people just so you can get a better parking space. I’m going to call the authorities”. And she did. Lisa and I decided to wait for them to arrive, so Lisa got back in the car. When they arrived, it turned out that the officer had been in a Massachusetts National Guard unit that I had trained before I retired from the Army.
“Hi, Sarge! I haven’t seen you since your retirement ceremony. What’s this about wrongful parking in a disabled parking space”? Karen started off with her his-woman-is-faking routine. The officer looked at the disabled placard hanging from the rearview mirror and asked if he could borrow it for a moment. He took it over to Karen.
He didn’t hide his annoyance when he said, “Ma’am, this is the fifth time this month you have called us with a bogus complaint. This couple has the right to park there as you can see from this placard. We warned you the last time you did something like this. You’re coming with me to the station where we are going to charge you for making multiple false complaints.
Her jaw dropped. He then said, “Get in the squad car— now”! As she got in she was screaming, “I’ll have your badge for this” and “Don’t you know who my husband is”? The officer gave me the placard back and then drove away with her still yelling from the back seat while we went inside and finally did our shopping.
I was at a restaurant, and when I finished my meal I went outside to vape while I waited for the check. As I was vaping, I saw a family pull in and park in the lot. I noticed that the mother was puffing away on a coffin nail in the car—with the windows up and two kids in there. As they all walked up to the door, Karen gave me a dirty look.
I gave her the same look and watched as she steered her brood away from me. She chimed in with a sarcastic, “Great idea to vape by the door, so everyone has to breathe those chemicals”. Really? I responded with “Look, lady, I’m not the one puffing away in a car with children in it. At least I have the courtesy to be outside feeding my habits.” And I didn't stop there.
I then asked, “What kind of mother are you to subject your children to that poison? And you have the nerve to say that nonsense to me?” I then turned to her husband. “Are you just gonna let this woman poison your kids and act like this? What kind of man are you”? I then proceeded to enjoy the following moments of stunned silence.
Since she was 17, Maggie has been working full-time hours at the retail store we work at. While doing this she was also finishing high school and pursuing a career in physical therapy. Maggie is the most respectful person I know. She’s now almost 22. She has no bias, treats everyone equally, and was taught to respect her elders.
She has a naiveté about her, but she is on her game and wise beyond her years. Maggie is liked by everyone. She doesn’t have a mean bone in her body, and I’ve never heard a bad word about her, even as the idle workplace gossip makes the rounds. Yet on this day, I could tell that Maggie was visibly upset and on the verge of crying, which was all the more troubling as she doesn’t cave easily.
Maggie told me that a customer called her a “dirty little pig”. Maggie is a minority and the rude customer was the same minority. Maggie will bend over backward to please any customer, but she doesn’t have any say in the price of goods and that was the cause of the slur. This didn’t sit well with me. I went off on this customer as she was waiting in line to pay.
I knew I was on camera, but I also knew my employers would back me up. I berated her for a full minute. I told her she was banned from the store (even though I have no authority over that. I loudly told her that she was not welcome back and that we don’t tolerate abusive language from the staff or anyone else. She looked at me with an unnerving expression of boredom on her face as I unleashed my rant.
By this point, I’ve told Maggie to call the office and get the owners involved. It was also at this time, that through my rage, I noticed a teenage boy standing beside the rude customer with his head hung down. My bravado was quickly dissipating as I was looking at this kid. He could be my kid. He didn't ask for this and yet here I am, adding to his shame.
The owners talked to the son because the mother claimed to not know English. Apparently, this was a pattern for his mother. I can’t imagine how much shame he must feel. I feel good that I stood up for my co-worker, but I feel bad because I had to involve this poor kid even though he was just the interpreter.
A Karen tried to get me fired for saving her life. Allow me to explain: Karen and her daughter were standing on a sidewalk near a store entrance waiting for traffic to slow so they could cross the street. Karen stupidly decided that she had to cross NOW and boldly proceeded to walk in front of my work van while looking at her phone.
Her daughter grabbed her shoulder and I gave a quick beep of the horn to let her know that she was entering traffic. Karen wasn’t having it. I was forced to stop the van with her standing in front of me. She yelled her usual Karen thing about how I was driving too fast and not watching where I was going—despite the fact I was able to safely stop the van to avoid hitting her.
I was polite and glad that there were plenty of witnesses who would back me up if she wanted to make something of it. So I drove off and parked further down the road in the strip mall. I was inside one of the stores for about 20 minutes and when I returned to my van, I found Karen writing down all of my info so that she could call my work and complain.
By now my witnesses were gone and, yes, Karen called my work. I wish I had her number because I would LOVE to let her know that her complaint was ignored because my supervisor pegged her accurately as a Karen. We also have GPS on all of our work vehicles so it was easy enough for my boss to see that I wasn’t “flying down the street”.
I encountered a male Karen during my time at the bank. The interaction started with him wanting to make a withdrawal from his account. Fine. He placed his bank card and ID on the counter while I provided him with a slip to fill out for the transaction. As he was doing this, I took the ID and card to pull up his account profile.
I finished with his ID and bank card before he completed filling out the slip, so I placed them back on the counter so he could easily pick them up when he was done. It has happened in the past when these items were left behind. I completed the transaction and wished him well when I see him still standing there looking upset.
Puzzled, I asked if there was anything else he needed. He told me that I needed to pick up his cards and place them in his hand. He said that it was rude of me to not do so. I explained to him that he was still filling out the slip, so I put them on the counter so he could put them away when he was done. That wasn’t good enough for him—and he insisted I do what he asked.
I became irritated and told him that he didn’t put the cards in my hand, so he was being hypocritical. I guess that hit a sore spot because he became irate and asked for a manager to complain about my rudeness and disrespect. I gladly called the manager for him and left him to explain what happened. I never saw him again and I hope I never do.
This is a fun one. I was sitting on the city bus, going into town when a tired-looking young woman with twins in a double stroller got on the bus. A few stops later, another woman got on the bus and just started screaming at the young mom. “These seats are for disabled people! I’m disabled! You need to move so I can sit down!”
The harried young mother tried to tell her that she can’t move anywhere else because of the stroller. This horrible person wouldn’t hear it, though. The bus driver turned around in his seat and said to Karen, “There are plenty of disabled seats on that side over there. These spots are also designated for strollers as well.”
Apparently, this Karen was NOT a fan of logic. “She needs to take her stroller and MOVE! This is ridiculous”. Finally, she sat down so that the bus could leave. When we finally got into town, the Karen started screaming at the bus driver. “YOU MISSED MY STOP!” FYI, she didn’t even ring the bell. “I’M GOING TO TELL YOUR MANAGER HOW YOU’VE BEEN TREATING ME!“
The bus driver smiled and said, “Go ahead”. The Karen replied, “I’M THE QUEEN! I NEED TO BE TREATED BETTER!” Then she corrected herself, much to my amusement, “Well, I’m related to the queen, and you’ll definitely be hearing from your manager.” She then got off the bus and headed toward the bus headquarters. We still see her every now and then and my husband and I always call her “the queen.”
I was on my way into a store when I noticed a young mother with two small children approaching the door. She was holding each child by the hand. I held the door open for her. Bad move. She proceeded to berate me for trying to help her out. She let loose a stream of swear words. “You don’t need to hold the door! Do I look like an invalid? I can take care of myself!”
I simply replied, “ I was only trying to help out, but whatever. By the way, nice language to use in front of the children”. Then I just continued on my merry way. I’ll never forget that. It caught me totally off guard and might make me think twice about helping someone out in the future.
Poor Karen got very upset once when my partner parked his car a bit too close to hers, or so she thought. I was sitting in the car while he was in a shop, and big old Karen came waddling over to the car. Red-faced with anger, she bent down and bellowed in through the driver’s window, “Do you think you could park any closer?”
I guess that Karen couldn’t figure out that I wasn’t the driver (even though I was sitting in the passenger’s seat), and she received the sharp end of my tongue. I wish I could say we had a verbal sparring match after that, but the best she could do was call me a “[butt] wipe” before she furiously wobbled away.
I just had the pleasure of witnessing a Karen episode at the grocery store the other day. This Karen was losing her mind for the dumbest reason—because the cashier had asked her not to stand too close to me. Also, she was not wearing a mask and I was. The cashier was just doing what she was told to do by her boss. The Karen made such a loud stink about the entire thing, but at least her antics kept me entertained.
One day, I was quietly doing my work in class, when the school mean girl decided to pick a fight with me. This was a bad idea. She had been annoying me for a while, so this was a long time coming. At one point she and her friends even threw pencils at me. Anyway, after some verbal combat, this is the conversation that followed…
“You are so much more annoying than me!” Mean Girl said—and it would deeply satisfy me if you imagine her voice to be as annoying as possible. I replied, “Well, at least I’m a decent human being." She began to turn scarlet red. As she was retreating, she yelled, “Well, at least my chest is bigger than yours!”
I decided that this comment was pretty much admitting defeat and just gave her a look and went back to my life.
When I was growing up, Old Mrs. Berg lived in a house next to the best skateboard street in the neighborhood. She was an absolute nightmare. She was a nosy old bag who would actually hose us down as we skated by. Also, if her neighbors didn’t bring in their trash cans soon enough, she would leave nasty notes on their doors. She would also call animal control if she saw your dog off the leash.
I was working a job as a door-to-door salesperson and this one time, a Karen caught me completely off guard. She literally chased me across her front yard while screaming and throwing rocks at my work van.
When I was seven years old, I was sitting in the park and watching Netflix on my iPad. The park was right in front of my house and my parents were watching me from inside.
Then along comes a Karen. She told me that I wasn’t allowed to loiter and then asked whose iPad I was using. “It’s mine, miss,” I answered and started to get up to go home.
My parents warned me about prejudiced people but I was still confused about how a child sitting on the grass in a public park would be considered loitering, but I didn’t ask her. “Come back here! You swiped that from someone. didn’t you?" She said, grabbing my arm. Her hand was cold and clammy. “Miss, please let me go,” I said. But she would just not let up.
Even at that young age I already knew that arguing with older white people never ended well. “Give me the iPad,” she said, trying to grab it. I clutched it to my chest and just then my dad came running out of the house and to my rescue. “Ma’am, your hands are on my child. If you don’t let go I will call the authorities”.
She huffed and finally let me go. “You probably shoplifted the iPad for her anyway,” she mumbled as she walked away.
I was working in the gift wrapping department of a major department store chain. It was Christmas, so everything was very hectic. This incident happened on my last day of contingent work and then I would be heading back to college after Christmas break. I knew I was in trouble when I saw a woman approaching me with a huge stuffed animal.
This lady then proceeded to ask if we could wrap the stuffed animal, which was almost as big as me. I told her that we have no gift boxes that large, but we could a) put together two corrugated cardboard boxes or b) tie a big attractive bow around the stuffed animal’s neck. Unfortunately, those suggestions weren’t good enough for this customer—and she absolutely lost it.
She suddenly jumped over our counter and started rummaging going through all of our gift boxes to see if we were lying. She was so intent on rampaging that she totally ignored me. I called security—and ended up getting in trouble for it—but what was I supposed to do when someone goes wild? This was back in the days when the customer was always right—even when they weren’t.
This happened when my wife, son, and I went to H-E-B (the famous Texas-based Supermarket chain). When we got there, I took my son out of the back and put his carrying car seat on the truck bed. My wife was experiencing symptoms of seasonal allergies, so she was dabbing her nose and eyes with a tissue. When she has allergies, it can kind of sound like she’s crying.
I was making funny faces at my son and trying to get him to laugh. A random Karen appeared out of nowhere, walked over to my wife, and asked if she knew that a man was bothering her baby. And that's not all. She then went on to say, “Is he making you cry? Do you need me to call someone, honey?” I chose not to say anything out of sheer amusement.
I could tell my wife was pretty shocked for a second and then she said, “Lady, this is my husband and that little boy’s daddy”. The Karen was befuddled and didn’t really know how to extricate herself from the immensely awkward situation of her own making. She mumbled some kind of apology to my wife and fled the scene. Ahhh Karens, what would we do without them?
I was shopping in the Walmart grocery section and there was a woman with two young children who had her cart blocking the shelves I needed to get to. She was shopping by walking up and down the aisle and bringing things to her cart. I was politely standing next to her cart, waiting for her to move it, but I guess she didn’t notice me or care.
One of the times when she came back to her cart, I even said, “I just need something behind your cart”. She ignored me, though, and turned her back and started walking to the other end of the aisle again. After about five minutes of waiting for her to finish, I finally pushed her cart about a foot over so I could reach my item. Bad idea.
She turned toward me and screamed, “You touched my cart”! I should mention that this was before COVID-19. She proceeded to run back toward me yelling at the top of her lungs that I had no right to touch her cart. I told her I just moved it to get an item and told her to calm down. Ironically, she screamed, “No, you calm down! You’re causing a big scene”. Always fun times at Walmart.
My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
Want to tell us to write facts on a topic? We’re always looking for your input! Please reach out to us to let us know what you’re interested in reading. Your suggestions can be as general or specific as you like, from “Life” to “Compact Cars and Trucks” to “A Subspecies of Capybara Called Hydrochoerus Isthmius.” We’ll get our writers on it because we want to create articles on the topics you’re interested in. Please submit feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for your time!
Do you question the accuracy of a fact you just read? At Factinate, we’re dedicated to getting things right. Our credibility is the turbo-charged engine of our success. We want our readers to trust us. Our editors are instructed to fact check thoroughly, including finding at least three references for each fact. However, despite our best efforts, we sometimes miss the mark. When we do, we depend on our loyal, helpful readers to point out how we can do better. Please let us know if a fact we’ve published is inaccurate (or even if you just suspect it’s inaccurate) by reaching out to us at email@example.com. Thanks for your help!
The Factinate team
If you like humaverse you may also consider subscribing to these newsletters: