Truly Wild Customer Service Stories

April 26, 2023 | Scott Mazza

Truly Wild Customer Service Stories

It's not easy to work in retail, or a call center, or any kind of customer service role. Day in and day out, customers come in looking for help, looking to vent, or looking for trouble. And while some customers are considerate and brighten anyone's day with a heartwarming moment, others aren't so nice. From beloved regulars to dreaded Karens, here are truly wild customer service stories.

1. You've Been Framed

I used to work at a restaurant. One of my tables was an elderly couple and what I assumed was their granddaughter. They ordered their food—prime rib steaks, salad, and chicken fingers. I asked how they wanted the steaks—both chose rare—then went to put in the order. In the kitchen, a random server, let's call him Matt, was running people's food because everyone was busy. Well, the table next to mine belonged to a server named Ashley.

Matt accidentally ran Ashley's food to my table. He asked the elderly couple if they had ordered a chicken penne pasta, onion rings, and a chocolate dessert, all of which were completely different than what they had ordered. They said yes...then proceeded to yell at the manager about how their food was wrong, how we probably didn't even know how to cook steak properly, and how bad of a server I was.

I hate people.

wild customer service stories

2. Flying Footlong

A seven-year-old girl came into my store to get the sandwich with a note listing the ingredients she wanted on it. At the cash, I rang in the sandwich, and the little girl passed me one filled-out Sub-Club card, which used to be good for a 6" sandwich with a purchase of a 28 oz drink. I cleared the cash and rang it in again, discounting half the sub.

I told the girl how much she owed me and she just stood there, looking at me. I asked her what was wrong and she said that her mom never gave her any money. I asked if her mom was outside and if she could go get her. This is where the nightmare started. The girl left and came back in crying, getting towed behind a raging mammoth of a woman who was demanding to talk to my manager about how she was being disrespected.

I explained to her the usage of the card and pointed out where the details were printed. She screamed, reached over the counter, grabbed the sandwich, and then threw it at my head. My manager later saw the security footage and called me laughing his butt off about it.

Customer not always rightShutterstock

3. Fast Food PTSD

I went through a McDonald's drive-thru once and the place was slammed inside and out. After ordering, I was asked to park next to the curb and someone would bring my order to me as soon as possible. A girl walked up to my car visibly shaken and as she handed me my food, she said something that made my heart sink: "Please don't hit me". I said, "What?" Apparently, the last lady she delivered food to yelled at her and smacked her across the face because it took so long.

Customer not always rightShutterstock

4. From Hero To Zero

I was working at a gas station a few years back on the graveyard shift. It was around 1 am when a really heavy guy walked into the store with a brown bag on his head. He came up to the counter and showed me the brick he had in his hand. He said that if I didn't give him the money in the register,  he would beat me with it. Now, I am a pretty big dude, so I just smiled at him.

This set him off and he chucked the brick at me, but it flew right past me to the side. He then ran out of the store. I called the authorities and my manager. I told him what happened, and his response floored me. I ended up getting fired for not giving him the money...Apparently, it was policy to just give robbers whatever they ask for. I was a liability because I didn't follow the procedure. What made it worse was that my son was just born and I was the only one working in my family at the time.

Customer not always rightShutterstock

5. When In Doubt, Smile

I worked in retail for a bit during my senior year of high school and sometime after. I once had a customer rudely ask me if I had gone to high school. She even had the audacity to say that I was probably a dropout towards the end of a transaction. I was so stunned, I didn't know how to react...then I just gave her an exaggerated shrug, a big, dumb smile, and I crossed my eyes as I handed her her bag.

Customer not always rightShutterstock

6. The Hair Scare

I was a hairstylist at a salon when this lady in her late 60s came in. She said she wanted to go a shade darker than she had, so I picked out a medium blonde. When she left, she was happy. That was around 3 pm. Then, around 6 pm she called us and said she didn't like the color...She wanted to know if she could come back in at 8 pm to get it fixed. I told her she could come in first thing in the morning since we closed at 8:30 pm.

So the next day, at 8 am, she came in...but she was totally tipsy. Yet it was even worse than I could have imagined. While I was finishing up her highlights, she started screaming at me, telling me I made her look like "a freaking dog" and that her husband told her she couldn't come home until she got her hair fixed. The latter part was weird because she told me earlier that her husband was blind...

Anyway, I was seven months pregnant at the time and she pushed me up against the wall, telling me I better fix her hair or her son-in-law, who is a well-known lawyer in Houston, was going to sue me. She was acting so crazy that the other stylist was freaking out. The guy that was in her chair even got up and told her to screw off or he was going to call the authorities.

She got in his face and started yelling at him, and then she went over to my client and told her that her hair color was beautiful and that she wanted her to be the same color. My client's hair was actually darker than the lady's, and it was still blonde. Anyway, I ended up fixing her hair and she thanked me at the end of the night. I sat in my car crying for an hour.

I regret not calling the authorities on that witch. I also wish I was able to thank the guy who stood up to her for me.

Customer not alwayas rightShutterstock

7. In Her Defense

I was in a McDonald's during the lunch rush. This old guy in front of me started harassing the girl at the register who was obviously fairly new. He asked her where she was from and then asked her if everyone from her town was as dumb as she was. He turned to me after saying this and was just like, "Am I right?" I flat out told him right then and there that she was doing her best (during the busiest part of her shift, mind you) and that his jerk behavior wasn't making things any better or easier.

When I got up to the counter, I told her I was sorry she had to deal with pricks like that at her work.

Customer not always rightShutterstock

8. Out Of Change

I worked at Chick-Fil-A when I was 16. I was a cashier working the counter during breakfast. The manager hadn't come back from the bank, so I didn't have a lot of change left in my drawer. I had a line of a few people in front of me and so did the other girl next to me. I let the guy know that unfortunately, I wouldn't be able to take his order at my register because I didn't have any coins to give him as change.

I told him that the girl next to me would have to take him. Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say. He got super upset and started screaming at me, telling me how horrible and stupid I was. Apparently, I ruined his entire morning. He totally created a scene in front of everyone. On top of this, I was super emotional and I burst into tears. The owner came out and asked the guy to leave, telling him he wasn't welcome at that Chick-Fil-A anymore.

I moved over to the end of the counter and started portioning out cheesecake while trying to compose myself and a few ladies came up to me to tell me I was doing a great job. That kind of restored my faith in humanity.

Customer not always rightShutterstock

9. Let Me Downgrade You

A young woman walked into the cinema I worked at, and as always, I was at the ticket office. I sold her tickets to the show she wanted to see. She then proceeded to the 'Candy Bar' and ordered a cup of coffee—black, not too hot—and I offered to take it into her theater for her, to which she said, "That would be great!" Before I took it in, I decided to upgrade her cup to a mug, which was the larger of the two containers we offered, as we were pretty much out of cups.

I made her coffee and headed up the theater stairs to give it to her. I handed it over to her and she stared at me as if I'd just ended her firstborn. She shrieked in the packed theater, yelling: "DID I NOT ORDER A CUP?" I was shocked, but I rolled with it and said pleasantly, "I upgraded your coffee for free," to which she replied, "I ORDERED A CUP AND IT'S WHAT I BETTER GET, MAKE ANOTHER ONE!"

So I grudgingly made her another coffee and brought it back to her. She then offered a snide remark: "Looks like you finally did it right!" Now, I know she ordered the cup and I was obliged to carry out her order for her, but for heck's sake, isn't a free upgrade a GOOD THING?

Customer not always rightShutterstock

10. Sketchy Parenting

I worked at a local sports bar and I had two men come in with their dates...and their children. The eldest child was running around the restaurant picking food off of people's plates, while the middle child was changing the TV stations in the middle of baseball playoffs. The youngest child was sleeping on the table while the adults proceeded to drink margaritas.

I served them their food and as soon as the youngest child woke up to take a bite, he proceeded to vomit, covering the table completely. I attempted to be a hospitable server and I cleaned it up, expecting that the customers would be appreciative. Nope. They simply ordered more margaritas. At that point, I refused to serve them anymore (they each had two margaritas) because they were extremely disrespectful and I was not comfortable serving drinks to people who are responsible for getting children home safely.

That's where everything hit the fan. These women proceeded to stand up and scream at me from across the table, saying, "You don't know me, you want some?" Thankfully, I had my manager come over and kick them out. The kicker? Before they left, they poured out two full ketchup bottles underneath the table and left no tip.

Customer not always rightShutterstock

11. Hotel Havoc

I used to work as a front desk agent at a boutique hotel. A guy who was obviously very full of himself came in with an online reservation that he had booked at a shockingly cheap nightly rate. He proceeded to give me a hard time about EVERYTHING, from telling me he shouldn't have to give me his credit card info since he had prepaid his reservation, to telling me "Um yeah, I'm pretty sure I can find the elevators, I'm not stupid".

He was just being an all-around jerk. About 10 minutes after checking him in, he came down and demanded that we give him a bigger room with a king bed and a view, even though he had booked a standard queen bed online. I complied, as we had extra king beds available. But that was just the beginning of the nightmare. 10 minutes later, he came down again to complain about the size of the room.

He told me, "I'm only going to give you one more chance to make me happy," and asked for the general manager. After much arguing between him and my manager, we ended up giving him our nicest suite AND free parking since we had "Given him trouble". He got all this for a way cheaper rate, like $40 per night! Oh, but he outdid himself.

Get this: He informed us shortly after the ordeal, while on his way out to dinner, that he was not even going to be in the room for the majority of his stay, as he was visiting friends and would be staying at their home. What the heck! So I got my revenge. I made it my personal mission to make his life a living nightmare from that point on.

I reset his room keys every time I saw him leave the hotel—which was quite frequently, 3-4 times a day. It was particularly funny when he came back tired from a night out and had to come all the way down to the front desk to get his keys fixed. Needless to say, he was very frustrated by the end of his stay. I doubt he'll be staying with us again.

Ruined Jerk's Day FactsShutterstock

12. On Lock Down

I’m a locksmith. I was in the shop one day and a customer was in getting some keys copied. It was a nice and simple job. Suddenly while I've got the machine running, some shirtless guy comes in looking really frantic. I tell him I'll be just a minute longer, then I finish the keys and send the first customer on his way. Frantic dude: "Jeez, took you long enough, I need you to come unlock my car".

I'm already a little annoyed since it’s almost closing time, but I just figure he's got a kid/dog/groceries in the car and give him the benefit of the doubt. Me: "No problem, where is it?" FD: "A couple of miles that way, my girlfriend drove me over here. You can follow us to it". I get some info from him, the kind of car it is, his name/number/address in case we get separated, etc.

FD: "My phone's in the car so if you call it, I won't answer" Me: "Then how about your girlfriend's number?" FD: "Hers is in there too" Well, ok then. Since it's pretty much closing time, I just go ahead and set the alarm and lock the doors to the story as I leave. He doesn't like this and starts saying how I'm taking forever.

Yeah, yeah, take a chill pill. I get in my truck and follow him out there. When we get there, I grab my tools and head to his car. I take one look and instantly feel something is off. Surprisingly, there's nothing in there except for the keys on the seat. No kids or dogs, so now I'm just hoping it's actually their car. FD: "You'd better not mess up my doors, this is a classic".

I open it up in about 10 seconds and check the insurance card. Yup, it's their car. I pick up the keys and go over to him, tell him it's $40, and he just looks at me dumbfounded. FD: "Wait you mean I have to pay for this?" Ummm, yeah? Me: "Yes sir, we charge a service call when we have to go out to the location". FD: "Well I'm not paying for that, you did it in 10 seconds, I could've done that myself if I'd have known".

Me: "Well I'm sorry, but I can't do this for free". To be honest, I could've, but there was no real urgency like a life endangered, plus he was rude about the whole thing. Also, we normally would just bill someone in the situation, but we've been burned too many times, so we'll only do that for companies now. FD: "I'm not paying for that, I don't have any money". Then I get an ingenious idea.

Me: "Then if you think you can do it yourself, go for it". I throw his keys back in the car, lock the doors, shut them behind me, and leave. I get home about 10 minutes later, then after probably an hour, he calls back. FD: "I can't get it open, come back and open my car again". Me: "I can go out again, but I'll have to charge you for two service calls".

FD: "Screw you, I'm not paying you 80 bucks". Me: "Then you can call the other locksmith nearby, I'm sure he'll be happy to help y-" click I didn't tell him, but they charge $100 to unlock cars. Never heard back from him.

Tales from retailShutterstock

13. The Writing On The Wall

In college, I worked for a floral shop that shared a space with a bakery. We had the space for both businesses to operate and it naturally was a good partnership. This story takes place near the end of my senior year. I was six weeks shy of graduating with two degrees. Although I cared about the stores and wanted them to do well, my nonsense-tolerance had dropped significantly.

One day, a woman came to me for balloons for her son's 2nd birthday party. She had already picked up her cake. Woman (grumpily tossing her balloon choices at me): Ugh, I can't believe the bakery. Me: Oh, is there something wrong? Woman: Yes! LOOK at this cake! She opens the box. It's a nice-looking cake, decorated with icing and trains.

A scrolling script says: "Happy 2nd Birthday Jackson!" Me: ... Woman: DON'T YOU SEE IT?! Me: I think it's a lovely ca-" Woman: IT'S IN CURSIVE! WHY THE HECK WOULD THEY PUT IT IN CURSIVE? HE'S TWO! Me: Oh...well, it'll take me a couple of minutes to fill these balloons. I bet you could take it back, and they could scrape off the old lettering, re-frost the blank space, and rewrite it for you.

Woman (clearly hasn't heard a word I said): I CAN'T BELIEVE SOMEONE IS SO STUPID TO THINK THIS IS OKAY! Me (yelling above her): CAN YOUR SON EVEN READ?! She immediately fell silent, blushed a deep purple, and was silent while I filled her balloons. She paid without a word.

Tales from retailPexels

14. Father Figure

The owner of this convenience store near me is a family friend and asked me if I could cover because they were short on staff. There wasn't much to do, so I decided to walk around and reorganize misplaced items when suddenly a kid, who is maybe 3-4 years old, holds onto my hand. I kind of look around to see if someone lost their kid, and then I see a young lady give me a "go on" gesture.

I'm a bit confused about what she wants me to do, but whatever, I was bored and this kid looked cooler than my friends. So I asked if he liked candy and asked which one he liked. He didn't say anything and just pointed to some gummy worms. Me: That's cool. Me too! I like the sour ones because I can make a sour face.

This made the kid laugh. He says: "I love you, daddy," then he hugs me. To be honest, I freaked out a bit and thought this kid couldn't possibly be mine. As I looked over to the young lady, she started tearing up. So I say, "I love you too, son". The boy ran back to the lady, and the lady walks up to me and hugs me. That’s when I learned the heartbreaking truth.

The lady tells me: "I'm so sorry for that, my husband just passed two days ago. This is the first time I’ve heard him talk since that day". They proceeded to leave. The boy is waving his gummy worms at me and I do the sour face and he does the same.

Tales from retailPexels

15. I Scream, You Scream

So, I used to work at an ice cream chain where we prepared the ice cream with various toppings on a frozen piece of rock. On this particular day, I was working with one other person and it wasn't too busy. Two young guys came in, about high school age. They ordered a large bowl of ice cream with a few toppings; I mixed it for them and went to ring them up.

Me: Okay, so that'll be this many dollars. Guy: Okay, I have a gift card. Me: Great! scans card so it looks like you owe another $0.36 after the gift card. At this point, they both look at each other and shrug sadly. Guy: Oh...I'm sorry, I don't have any money with me, never mind.... Me: Oh hey, it's cool, only $0.36 I take the $0.36 out of the tip jar and put it in the till no big deal!

Guy: Wow, thanks! The two guys leave, and I thought that was that. It just felt good doing something nice. But that wasn’t the end of the story. The one guy comes back several hours later. I saw him come in and went to the register to meet him. Me: Oh hey! You're back. Did you need anything el...Before I finished, and without looking at me once or saying a word, he dropped a $20 bill in the jar and immediately turned and left.

I was so shocked I just stared after him until he walked out the door. So that was pretty cool.

Tales from retailPexels

16. Great Minds Think Alike

I work in a small, locally-owned toy shop in a little college town. However, we have a lot of down-to-earth people and families. One day, this couple comes in with three kids and immediately the kids go crazy, wanting to show their parents every single toy in the store. It's a small store but is broken into three distinct sections, which are rooms connected by walkways.

We have a card rack next to the cash register that has all sorts of cards. As the wife is being dragged by her kids around the store, the husband comes up to me and quietly goes "Don't let my wife see, we are big Star Wars fans" and slides me a Star Wars card and cash to pay for it. I quietly make small talk with him about the weather and ring him up.

I finish just in time as his wife and kids walk around the corner and then grab their dad to go beg and ask for toys. I'm chatting with the mom, and she sees a card on the card rack and says "This would be perfect for my husband but don't let him see this". She slides me cash, finishes the transaction, and winks. It's the exact same card.

They finish their shopping, purchase a few toys for their three kids and walk out, both chuckling to themselves about how clever they are.

Tales from retailPexels

17. Crystal Clear

Lots of women wear bras. I'd say a majority of women wear them to support their bosoms to look and feel nice. There's a small minority who also seem to view their bras as magical extra pockets in which they can store money, their license, their credit cards, and their crystals. Betty Bra comes into the store on a fairly regular basis, usually to complain about how overpriced everything is.

She does this while pointedly mentioning the store owner by name and archly looking at me as though she expects me to fall to my knees and beg for the opportunity to give her a discount because she knows the owner. You and a million others, honey. The store owner freaks out if I give a refund one day after the 14-day return policy, so no dice on discounts from me.

Anyway, today she was complaining about the price of our crystal selection. You know the kind, you could buy a handful of them for two bucks at those "Natural Wonder" stores in big malls back in the 90s. Our store selection is a little more varied and popular among people who think carrying them around will make them rich, attract their soul mate, get them a job, or keep evil energy away from them.

Some of these people may possibly be crows in disguise. I don't put anything past customers these days. So this customer is walking around the tables with the selection of crystals in their various boxes and complaining. Her: "Why does STORE OWNER price these so high? I can buy the same ones cheaper at Another New Age Store!"

Me: "No idea, ma'am. I have nothing to do with the purchasing or pricing". And thinking, of course, why don't you just go to Another New Age Store and buy them there? Her: "And why would this rose quartz be so much more expensive than this one??" Me: "One is a small, tumbled crystal and the other is a larger, natural crystal".

Her: "IT'S THE SAME TYPE OF STONE, UGH". She puts them down and stomps up to the counter with a Look in her eye. I smile blandly. She plants her hands on the counter and leans over to regard me closely. Her: "So you know a lot about crystals, huh?" Me: "...yes". As long as it has nothing to do with their energies, I know enough.

Everything else, I Google. She is satisfied with the answer, straightens up, and reaches down the front of her shirt, and begins fumbling around in her bra. I say nothing. She is a larger woman, so this act is taking a lot of uncomfortable contorting and grunting and flesh jiggling, and I suddenly decide I need to check the store's email.

Oh, look. A sale on plates that energize food. She finally clears her throat and I reluctantly note that she is holding her hand out to me, fingers extended, palm open. In the center of her palm are several tumbled crystals. Her palm, fingers, and the crystals are suspiciously moist. Her: "I bought these at Another New Age Store last week". I nod.

Her: "But they're not giving off any energy". Me: "It's only been a week. Sometimes it takes time for the vibrations from you and the crystals to get used to each other". (Note: I am making it up as I go along.) She looks thoughtful but keeps her hand out. My own hands are firmly on the computer keyboard. Her: "Maybe. But I'd appreciate it if you tried them out. STORE OWNER wouldn't have hired you if you weren't sensitive to energy".

The store owner hired me because I lied my butt off about my metaphysical and otherworldly experiences, because I know my way around computers and programs and graphic design and the other employees have an average typing speed 20 WPM combined, and because I'm a chump for applying for this job in the first place.

But in any case, she wants me to touch her chest crystals. Her damp chest crystals. Not just TOUCH them, but feel their energy. I promptly balk. Me: "I'm afraid I can't". She looks offended: "Why not?" Oh, so many reasons, chief among them the sweat still glistening on the crystals beneath the fluorescent lights. Me: "I'm not comfortable touching another person's...crystals. Especially when they've been so close to you. The, you see. It'll mess up my own".

She stares blankly at me for a moment, then her eyes widen. Her: "Oh. OH. Oh my goodness, you're an empath, aren't you? I completely understand! I'm one too, and I can't stand eating out because of all the collected energies in the silverware, it really gives me indigestion. Especially at the Olive Garden, since it's right by the senior home? All the energy of those old folks can really mess up your system".

I nod understandingly. Whatever it takes to not touch sweaty chest crystals. She shoves the crystals back into her bra like someone stuffing a turkey for Thanksgiving. Her hand, wrist, and most of her forearm vanishes down the front of her shirt until only her elbow is visible. The contortions and grunting resume, and once more I find myself completely absorbed in reading about the benefits of charging an apple with positive energy from a crystal plate.

Ions are mentioned a lot. Some higher Retail Power was with me, because the customer, per her complaining about the prices, wasn't interested in buying anything, and left without touching anything with her moistened fingers. But just to be on the safe side, I took the Lysol and spent a good half hour wiping down everything she had potentially touched.

You just never know when someone has been feeling up their chest crystals before going shopping.

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18. Technical Difficulties

I work in retail in an electronics store. This tale takes place today and yesterday. So, a customer comes up to me looking for a new laptop. I show him around a few of the laptops and he states he needs something portable but powerful. Of course, these two things usually mean a 13-inch laptop with an i5 or i7. Me: So what do you need it for?

Customer: "Well, the laptop has to be powerful but I need it to be lightweight as I'm an international student". Me: "Right okay, well here's a few laptops we have that fit this description". A note about these laptops: They're usually around $600-$1000 depending on the brand and specifications. Now, I notice the customer is carrying a laptop in a carrier bag.

I ask him about that one, just being a bit nosy but also making conversation as I show him around the laptops. Me: "So, what's wrong with that laptop?" His response made me stop in my tracks. Customer: "Oh. the battery has blown up and doesn't power on anymore". See, that’s kind of weird and doesn’t really describe a specific thing.

Me: "Right okay, can I have a look?" So he takes it out of the bag and I notice it's a MacBook Air. Being the store’s Apple person I ask if I can take it. Then I notice that it has another computer shop’s sticker on the top of it, so I ask about that. Me: "I see you've taken it to the other computer store down the road, what did they say is wrong with it?"

Customer: "They didn't open it up, but they said it would be $400 for the problem I told them I thought it was". Me: (internally) "They've quoted this and haven't even had a look at it. No surprises there". So I took the Mac from the customer and walked him down to the Apple counter of our small store. I plug it into our Mac charger and notice the charger lighting up green but not switching to amber, which it should do.

So just out of habit, I perform a hard reset on the MacBook…and it turns on. Customer: " Oh my gosh, you've got it working". Me: "Yeah, I just want to run some diagnostics to make sure this isn't a fluke". I got the customer to change the language from his native to English and go to diagnostics. The tests came back fine and the battery reported fine.

Me: "It's in good working order with no problems, it just needed this reset". Then I say, "However, your charger is toast so you'll need a new one of those". Customer: "That's amazing. Thank you so much, my dissertation was on there and I would have to start it again". I’ve actually just completed my dissertation so completely understand the situation and the stresses of university life. Customer: "How much will it be for the fix?"

Me: "Nothing, it was a fast two-minute fix, no need to worry". To this, the customer becomes all thankful and happy and tells me he wants to pay for dinner and I insist it's okay and just part of my job. So he's on his way with his Mac in working order and a warning not to use the charger and use an extra form of storage to back-up his work. But he still had something up his sleeve.

Today, he came back in to purchase the new charger and was looking specifically for me in the store. He had gone out and bought me a cake and macarons from a high-end cake shop. At first, I said I couldn't accept, but after much insistence, I did accept and the customer left happy. I left work later in the evening with a cake in tow and a smile on my face.

Not all customers are difficult and it left me with so much joy at the end of the workday.

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19. This Ship Has Sailed

This is a conversation I had with one customer trying to buy something online. "Hello, I made an online order and I see that you've charged me the shipping cost twice". "Hmm, that's weird, let me check. No, I see that it's the right amount, sir". "You’re wrong, I've made two orders and I've already paid the shipping cost for the first one. I shouldn't have to pay twice"".

Oh, I see! You've made two orders, sure, we can make it one package and only charge you once for the shipping, but can you tell me the order numbers for your orders, because the system shows me that you've only placed one today". This is where it unraveled".Yeah, the second one was not placed today". "When was it placed, sir?"

"I don't know, like three or four months ago, but still, I've paid for the shipping cost before. Why would I have to pay again?"

Explain to an adultUnsplash

20. Paper Trail

A lady came into my work to sell something using her passport as an ID. Something didn't look right. I stared at it a bit before noticing that the expiration date was in a slightly different font than the other dates on the passport. I held it up to the light and saw a rectangular outline around the date. I ran my thumbnail over it, and the edges of a sticker came up off the passport.

Underneath the sticker, the date had been scratched out. I pulled the sticker the rest of the way off before handing her passport back and explaining that we couldn't accept any altered/damaged/expired ID. I guess all that time playing "Papers, Please" finally paid off.

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21. Idea Doesn’t Mix

I worked as a waitress for eight years. I had a patron order a salad with oil and vinegar as the dressing. I brought the salad to the table and asked if anyone needed anything else. Everyone was happy and I went on my way. A couple of minutes later, I got that hand signal "Please get over here" style. I come over and ask how everything is going. That's when I heard the dumbest question of my life.

No joke, my patron asked me why the oil and vinegar weren’t mixing. I did my best to explain the reason why oil and vinegar hate each other. But she wasn’t having it. She told me she’s had oil and vinegar dressing mix before at other restaurants. I explained that there was likely a bonding agent in the dressing and it was not just oil and vinegar at those other restaurants.

She just looked at me. I then asked if she wanted a different mixed dressing. She said she would be happy with the dressing she ordered, she just wanted to know why it wasn’t mixing.

Explain to an adultPexels

22. That’s Nutrageous

I work as a manager at a small chain of grocery stores. I am putting away my main order of the week when a woman comes in asking for a Nutrageous bar. I told her with a smile we had some right in front of the store—as I pointed right to a blank spot on the shelf. Turns out, we had sold out over the weekend, and I had just broken this poor woman's heart and shattered her dreams with false hope.

She had been searching relentlessly for weeks and couldn't find one anywhere. I apologized for the bad fortune and said I would order more straight away. The woman sighed, bowed her head, and walked out of the store like a dejected puppy. I turned back to the order, opened the tub, and right on top was a brand new box of Nutrageous bars. I tear open the box and vault over the counter like an officer sliding over a car hood, sprinting out the door like I had just clocked out.

I caught up to her just as she starts to pull away from my store, most likely on her way to jump off a bridge, hoping to find a Nutrageous bar waiting for her in the next life. She turned and saw me lumbering towards her, holding the candy bar like a newborn child I had just delivered into this world. I had never seen someone so happy over a candy.

She runs to me like she was a veteran returning home from duty and running towards their children for that first swirling embrace. I tell her to have it on the house and have a good day. Then just now, I get a call from my district manager demanding to know if I was the one who gave away a candy bar to a customer for free. "Shoot," I think to myself, "I do something nice for someone and this witch calls my boss to tell on me".

So I tell my boss, "Yeah, it was me". He tells me that she called and was so happy with our company she would be choosing us for the local volunteer firefighter appreciation gifts this year. $2,000 in gift cards, $25 each for the volunteers. My boss says he is giving me a 10% commission for the gift cards. Minus the price of a Nutrageous bar.

Tales from retailUnsplash

23. Wii Woes

I worked in a store selling DVDs, CDs, games, vinyl, and a bunch of other entertainment-related stuff. This story took place the day after the launch of the Nintendo Wii. Our store had guaranteed that if you had pre-ordered a Wii by a certain date then you would get one. If you had not pre-ordered, then it was first come, first served for the remaining stock.

No one was able to place an order or reserve one after the release day as we could not guarantee when we would get stock back in. The day after the release, we had just opened and I was standing by the entrance of the door to greet customers when this big angry-looking guy comes charging through the door straight up to me ...

Customer: Do you have any Nintendo Wiis in stock? Me: Hi, I'm sorry we sold out of the stock we had yesterday. On hearing this, the customer stamped his foot and slammed his shopping bags against his side. I knew at that point drama was about to unfold. Customer: Right, well I want to pre-order one. Me: I'm sorry, we can no longer take pre-orders as it's now after release day and we cannot guarantee when we will receive stock back in since the product is in such high demand.

Customer: That's a lie! Me: What? Customer: You are lying to me. I was in here two weeks ago and was told if I pre-ordered I was guaranteed one on the day of release! At this point, I'm thinking maybe I've misunderstood and he has in fact pre-ordered, so I make an attempt at clarifying. Me: Oh, are you here to collect a pre-order? Do you have your order slip and receipt?

Customer: No I don't have a slip, you should have one for me because I enquired about wanting one weeks ago! Either give me one now or order one for me! My son wants one! Me: That's not how it works, unfortunately, we only pre-order with a deposit. If you have not paid a deposit then we do not have a pre-order for you. I cannot order you one either, as our system will not let us.

Customer: This is ridiculous! Get me a manager right now, as you are obviously incapable of sorting this mess out. I'm not leaving here without the Wii! As angry as this guy already was, he was about to get even angrier. I now had to inform him that I was in fact the manager on duty and the only one around. The guy flipped out.

He was pointing his finger in my face, calling me a liar, telling me there is no way some little girl was a manager. Just as I was starting to worry this guy was about to physically assault me, something wonderful happened. I felt something brush over the top of my shoulder from behind, and suddenly the customer’s face dropped and he was being dragged towards the door.

Unbeknownst to me, our security guard had just come on shift and was just entering the shop floor when he heard the customer screaming at me. He walked straight up from behind me, grabbed the guy by his neck, and dragged him outside backward, telling him "You're done". Once outside, the guy stood between me and the security guard.

He was almost foaming at the mouth with rage for a good minute before turning and storming out of sight.

Tales from retailPexels

24. Act Natural

This is the perfect chance to talk about the high grandma I had during an overnight at McDonald’s in Canada. It was just a normal late night and we were completely empty at 2:30 am in the morning. There were no cars, so me and a co-worker were just cleaning our stations. Then from the hedges beside our restaurant, we just see lights shine through and hear cracking.

That’s when we see a car burst through the hedges. The car turns into the corner at our drive-thru, does a U turn and we think that it’s coming to our window. Nope. Instead, it drives around the back of our McDonald’s to go into the drive-thru the proper way. The driver orders a bottle of water like nothing unusual happened and then just carries on normally.

No one believed us until we got a manager to pull up the security footage. It was poor footage and barely showed the entire thing but you could still see the car enter, which was all you really needed. It then pulls up a few seconds later. I’ve been there a year and have been working the drive-thru since I started and this is still the funniest thing I’ve seen.

It’s either that or the guys who came through with cardboard and bike wheels and tried to order their food in a makeshift foot car.

Witness in publicFlickr

25. A Teeny Tantrum

A few years ago, I was working at a used videogame store. I was behind the counter, doing morning inventory, when a teenager came in. Teen: Hey, I pre-ordered a copy of this game here last week. Is it in yet? Me: Let me check for you. Do you have an ID? I check his ID, and he is only 16. The game he pre-ordered was rated M, so I couldn't sell it to him.

Me: Sorry buddy, looks like this game is rated M. I can't sell it to you because you are under the age of 18. Is one of your parents in the car? Teen: NO! I PAID FOR THE GAME! I WANT IT! Me: Believe me, I want nothing more than to give it to you. You are right, you have paid for it. Company policy, however, restricts me from selling it to you.

Teen: DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? DO YOU KNOW WHO MY FATHER IS? Me: Buddy, I'm on your side. I want to sell the game to you, but my hands are tied. Just come in with your parents or a big brother or even an older friend. I can give it to you then. Teen: Enjoy the unemployment line. He exits. And I think nothing more about it. This happens once a week.

The next day, my boss calls me and asks to meet me at the coffee shop next door before my shift. He commonly does this to go over monthly numbers. Manager: Thanks for meeting me. Me: Sure thing. Manager: Yesterday, did you have a kid come in asking to purchase a game that he pre-ordered? Me: Sure did, he was underage so I didn't sell it to him.

Then I go over the conversation with my boss. Manager: I know you followed policy, but that kid's father is a well-respected businessman in the area. The boy's father called my boss's boss, who in turn called me. I'm sorry, I have to let you go. Me: ARE YOU SERIOUS? For following company policy? Manager: Yeah, it sucks, but the father is influential in town and he suggested we let you go, and here I am.

But you get two weeks’ severance. Don't worry about your shift today, I'm covering for you. I need your keys and your badge. Just like that I was unemployed. All because I followed corporate policy.

Tales from retailShutterstock


26. Putting A Karen In Her Place

This happened to me about a month or so ago and I am still relishing in the glory. I work at a large US auto parts store Now, this money bags guy is a regular customer, and when he comes in, we jump for joy as his purchases are in the thousands of dollars. I am helping this guy look up parts and getting them for him when this lady walks in and rushes to the seat cover aisle.

She grabs the ugliest bejeweled faux leather seat cover and rushes up to the front. Her: The prices on these covers outrageous! $60 for these?! (I do agree that the price is high and would have helped her). Me: Ma'am, I will be with you in just a second after I finish helping this man. Or my manager will be here in a moment and he will help you. I am sure—

Her: NO! You will help me now! I have money! And you will stop being a lazy jerk and help me right now! So my manager walks up. Manage: can I help you, ma'am? Her: Yes, tell your lazy employee to do his job! At this point, I stop listening to her and continue helping the money bags man, who actually points to the seat cover in her hand.

Man: Do y'all have any more of those? Me: Let me check. Yes, three more besides that one. Man: Can you please get them for me? So I get them, and as I’m in the process of that, the money bags man looks at the rude customer lady. Man: You gonna buy that?

Her: I haven't decided yet! But he grabs it and tells me he wants to buy all four with cash. I make the sale—and that’s exactly when he gets sweet, sweet revenge. He proceeds to take them out of the boxes and cut them into ribbons in front of the lady, then throws them away with a huge smile. He then returned to me to finish his shopping list that ended up being a whopping $4k+ sale.

The lady’s jaw dropped, but she couldn’t do a thing.

Tales from retailShutterstock

27. There’s A Word For That

I used to work at a Brazilian supermarket in Florida. The customers were pretty much all Brazilians, leading to almost everybody speaking Portuguese. My parents are from there, but I was born in North America. Although I do know how to speak Portuguese, sometimes my American accent bleeds through, and sometimes I don't know a word or two.

People usually understand. But not this one lady. Boy, did she have something to say. I was behind the customer service desk so I couldn't leave, but the lady asked me where something was. It was around the corner, near a certain shelf. I couldn't remember what the word for "shelf" was, so I think I said, "fixture that holds things" or something like that".

'Fixture that holds things'? What the heck is that? Do you even speak Portuguese?" "Yes, ma'am, I'm sorry I forgot the word for that (I point to the shelf), but what you're looking for is right around it". Keep in mind, the shelf was in sight of both of us, but she didn't want to look. "You don't speak Portuguese. Get me someone else to help".

I'm a little confused (I mean, it's just one word I didn't know) but my manager happens to appear and I figure she's not busy. Keep in mind, this is all in perfect Portuguese: "Maria, would you be able to help this woman? Apparently, I don't speak Portuguese so I'm not able to communicate with her. She doesn't understand anything I'm saying, because, even though it sounds like Portuguese, she said it's not, so, honestly, I'm not really sure what language I'm currently speaking".

It turned out that Maria was well aware of this customer and she complained about everything, so she wasn't surprised that she was acting like an idiot. She almost stopped as she had to stifle some laughter during my monologue. The lady just kind of looked like someone had smacked her with an idiot stick. Serves her right.

Tales from retailPexels

28. Phoning It In

I work in a phone shop. One day a couple of months ago, I'm stood outside the shop at 8:50 waiting for my manager to come down and let me in. There is a middle-aged woman standing outside as well, glaring at me, tapping her foot and huffing impatiently. Uh-oh. Bad sign. At 9 am, we open the doors and she comes stomping in, straight up to me.

I open my mouth, but she doesn't give me a chance to speak. She bought her phone three months ago, and it doesn't work anymore, apparently. She wants a refund. Now before this conversation goes any further, I feel I have to point out to her straight away that a refund is not going to be possible after this length of time.

After 30 days we can send it off for repair, but that's it. "Don't argue with me!" she screeches. Okay. I ask her if I can have a look at her phone. She rolls her eyes and hands it over. After a few seconds, it becomes clear that her internal memory has been filled up with photos of her grandson etc., and so there isn't any space to install a software update.

So there isn't actually anything wrong with her phone at all. With my best retail smile, I begin to explain this to her, and mention that she can always buy an SD card and move her photos onto that, and hey presto, problem solved. Nope, she wants a refund. We're back onto that. I tell her I'm going to go and speak to my manager.

I go upstairs and we laugh at her, the usual. But he still comes back down with me to back me up because she's getting pretty horrible and we then spend another 10 minutes or so trying to convince her that literally all we can do is send her perfectly working phone off for repair. She's now telling us she's going to go to Trading Standards, quoting the Consumer Rights Act at us.

Basically, she's the biggest cliché going. Unreal. Eventually, she admits defeat. But she still wants it "repaired". So I sit her down and start to take some details. "Why do you want my details?" I am literally on the edge here. Eventually, she tells me her first name. I start to type it in (she can see the screen) as Gill, and then she says "Mo you stupid girl, it's spelled J... I... L... L" (speaking slowly).

I raise my eyes to her and give her a big sickly sweet smile and apologize profusely. I then ask her for her surname. "Let's see if you can spell THIS right, shall we?" At which point, I sit back and I say, "I'm sorry, but I'm not going to serve you". She goes bright red and starts sputtering. Kicking off, calling me thick, rude, etc., etc. My manager comes over and tells her calmly to leave".

I'm taking this all the way to the top!" "Feel free, but please leave".

Tales from retailUnsplash

29. Burst Your Bubble

My first job at 16 was at Party City. One day, I'm blowing up balloons at the balloon counter and a lady comes up to buy some latex balloons. I asked if she wants us to fill them and she said no, she'd do it at home. Making small talk, I remarked that she must have one of the Party Time helium tanks at home. Her reply made my jaw drop to the floor. 

She said, "No, I blow them up with my mouth. You just put the string on them and they float!" I do the multiple blinks, trying to work out in my head what she's just said. She fully believed she could inflate the balloons with her mouth and the magic was...attaching a string. I tried to give this woman an impromptu chemistry lesson. She insisted. I still think about that magic woman to this day.

Explain to an adultUnsplash

30. You Done Right

A mother just came into my (very small) retail store with her three teen kids. Normally this spells disaster. However, these kids each had a couple of $20s and thoughtfully looked through the items in the store before selecting something, bringing it up to the register, buying it with the money from their pockets, and being extremely polite.

As they left the register, the mom told the kids, "Make sure you save your receipts so we can budget tonight". One of the kids replied, "I always keep my receipts" in the most polite way possible. Good on that mom for teaching her kids the value of money and financial planning. Just wanted to share because unlike most of the dross that comes through, they made my day genuinely better!

Tales from retailPexels

31. I’d Prefer Not To

This lady was talking to a friend of hers while making eye contact with me the whole time while I was on the till. Her friend asked her what she was doing. "I'm discarding what I don't want". She was leaving miscellaneous food items on the jewelry counter, and then promptly got in my line. I asked her, "Can you bring me those items you just discarded on the jewelry?"

See, I don't like my store looking like a disaster—imagine that. Her reply made my blood boil. She snakily replies, "No, not right now. I have places to be". She places her items on my counter as I just stand there looking at her. She asks if I'm going to ring her up. I reply, "No, not right now". I step out from behind the till, walk slowly over to the jewelry counter, and pick up the items in question.

I take my time putting them in the returns cart. Nothing else is said for the remainder of the transaction.

Tales from retailPexels

32. A Little TLC

I work in a technology retailer as a technology sales associate, and I have a plethora of stories about people being tech-illiterate. This is not one of them. Today, a man who earlier today bought ink for his inkjet printer, was looking for a laser printer alternative. I went up to him and asked what he was looking for, in the hopes of finding the best possible printer for him.

After roughly 10-15 minutes of friendly back-and-forth, we pick out a few that would work perfectly for him. I assumed this new printer wasn’t a top priority considering he'd bought ink earlier. Since none of our printers were on sale, I told him I'd write down some dates the printers will most likely be going on sale on.

He looked pretty happy about that and thanked me. I proceeded to write down all the printers we decided would work for him, every possible sale day in the next month, prices of toner, and what each of the important notes was for each printer. I go to hand him my note, and he's wiping tears off his face. Me: Are you alright, Sir?

Him: Yeah, wipes his face, I just haven't felt cared for very much recently...I went in for surgery earlier this month, and nobody so much as gave me a phone call. Thank you for spending this time with me today, I appreciate it. I took my break right after that because I was about to start tearing up too and I didn’t want to make him feel embarrassed.

Tales from retailShutterstock

33. Animal Attraction

I work at a pet store, and I’m primarily responsible for maintaining/caring for our fish selection, birds, reptiles, small animals, and the like. Sometimes I sell them to folks who actually have a clue about owning an animal. This happened yesterday. I'm on a long nine-hour shift and having a smoke break outside of the shop.

There's a long sidewalk, and I always smoke far away from the doors as we're a heavy traffic location and kids/animals are always coming in and out. I finish up and head back inside, where I'm immediately flagged by a family looking for a cat scratcher. The particular one they want is missing its tag and I can't find its location in its aisle, so I take out my phone and hang with the family, showing them our online prices, which we'll honor for them.

They get the scratcher, hours go by, and at closing, a cashier buddy comes up to me and tells me about this woman who was raving to her a while ago. Cashier friend: She was going on and on about how "there's an employee that smokes—THEY WORK IN A PET STOR—and TEXT! They should be spoken to or fired!' I just sort of shrugged.

Me: So, she meant me. Nice. Manager friend is now walking by. Me: Hey, (manager), I need to be fired. I was puffing directly into the animal habitats while Snapchatting their purple faces as they shrieked and suffocated. Expect the corporate complaint any second now. Manager friend: Oh darn. Yeah, you're screwed. And then I went home, twirling my mustache, the most evil pet department worker ever.

Tales from retailUnsplash

34. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

This customer came in and attempted multiple times to purchase gas this morning. All three of his cards were declined, but I was in a good mood and won $200 on last night's mega millions, so I figured I'd spot him $20 for gas. He then goes to the pump, pumps $5 in, and comes back inside…to demand change. Customer: Change from pump 3, please.

Me: What? C: Change from pump 3, I only pumped $5. Me: I offered you $20 in gas. I wasn't planning on giving you change. C: Let me speak to a manager. Me: My manager is here Monday to Friday from 5 am to 8 pm. C: Give me his number. Me: Sorry, but the company doesn't provide work phones so I can't give out his personal number.

C: Where's your Corporate number? (now yelling) Me: Outside on the door. Fast forward two hours, the authorities show up. The officer tells me someone said there was a cashier here who was refusing to return people's change. I explain to the officer that I used my own money to help someone out but wasn't about to give them my change from the pump for the gas I paid for.

The officer asked to see the tapes so I call up the manager. He’s irritated about coming in on his day off. About 20-30 minutes pass and the manager arrives and shows the officer the tapes. They come out of the back office, the officer apologized to the manager, and then left. The manager then tells me that if the guy came back to the store to refuse sale and tell him he's banned from the store.

Guess it doesn't pay to be nice.

Tales from retailPexels

35. Closing Time

I work in a camera store, and if you're in the store before closing we'll take care of you until you buy something or wander out. Lately, I've been counting minutes to close, and then right on the hour the doors get shuttered, the open sign is turned off, and the phones are set to night ringer. Today, we closed at 5 pm.

I made a beeline for the front doors and was halfway across the floor when the doors open. A man and his wife start to enter. The man sees me, leans back outside to read our hours, turns to his wife, and says the words I never thought I'd hear a customer say. "Oh, they just closed. Let's come back tomorrow". Thank you sir, you are my hero. Also, we're closed tomorrow, but it is the thought that counts.

Tales from retailPexels

36. If The Shoe Fits

I work in a shoe store as an assistant manager. I carry a store phone on me so I can answer it wherever I am in the store. Today, the phone would not stop ringing. People wanted to know what time we closed, where we were located, and a ton of shoe checks. So the phone rings and I answer it and it sounds like a little kid.

Kid: Umm hello, do you carry all-black high-top Vans for kids? Me: Let me check for you really quick. I'm sorry, we only have the low-top Vans in all black for kids. Kid: Okay, well I like those too. Me: What size shoe do you wear? Kid: One and a half. Me: Okay, so I don't have a one and a half but I do have a size two.

Kid: Okay, that sounds good. Me: Would you like me to hold it for you? Kid: Yes, please. Me: Okay, what is your name? The phone got really quiet like he was hesitating, then I heard someone in the background, it was his mom. Mom: Give her your name! Kid: Tyler. Me: Okay, Tyler, I'm going to hold this shoe for you. So when you and your mom come in, just come up to the counter and tell us you have a shoe on hold under your name.

Kid: Okay thank you. Have a nice day. Me: absolutely. You have a nice day too. It was the most wholesome phone call I have ever experienced in my four years of retail. I love that his mom had him call and ask about his shoes. Today was a good day.

Tales from retailPexels

37. A Cut Above

A customer in our store cut up a shirt because she couldn’t get it off. She pulled scissors out of her bag and cut up the sleeve and down the side, handed it back to me, and walked off. I called after her and said, "Ma’am, you have to pay for this". What she said next blew my mind. She said she didn't want it because it was damaged.

I then explained to her that as she was the one who damaged it, and that we can’t sell it, that she has to pay. She just looked at me and said "Well, can’t you just sew it back up?" No, that’s not how it works, lady. In the end, I contacted security and a store manager and she ended up paying for the shirt, which was $160 (it was a rather pricey brand).


Explain to an adultUnsplash

38. Please Be Specific

Back in the late 90s, I was working retail at a dollar store. One fellow came up to me and asked, and I kid you not, "Do you have the thing with the thing that comes out?" I gave him a second to see if he would realize what he had said and provide some detail. After a beat or two, I said, "I'm sorry, sir, you will have to be a bit more specific. What thing are you looking for?"

He made hand gestures, almost as if he were pulling open a door or something, and said, "You of those things with the thing that comes out". Managing not to lose my temper, I said, "Sir...What does the thing do?" He said, "It makes coffee". I said, "Are you asking if we have coffee makers that have filter baskets that can be pulled completely out?"

"Yes," he said. I replied, "No, sir, we don't have the thing with the thing that comes out, we only have the thing with the thing that swivels out. Sorry". Later, he came up to me. He held up a box of 35-gallon trash bags. He asked me, "Will these fit in that?" and he pointed at a trash can that was marked, "50 Gallons". I said, "No, sir".

He asked, "Why not?" I said, "Because that is a fifty-gallon trash can, and those are thirty-five-gallon bags". He looked at me blankly for a moment. I added, "Thirty-five is less than fifty". "Ah," he said, nodding sagely.

Explain to an adultShutterstock

39. Basket Case

I work in a grocery store, and the bane of my existence is people putting their grocery baskets away incorrectly. We have a pile for them to be stacked onto, but people don't care, it's usually left alone while their baskets are placed to the side, or inconveniently in a way that hinders anyone else's basket. Last Friday, a mother comes in and does just that.

She places her basket into the pile halfway, with one half in and another half out, making the pile look awful. Her 7-year-old daughter sees her do this and stares at the basket. She turns to her mother and loudly says, "What is that? You think that's acceptable?" Her mother sheepishly fixed the basket, and that girl became my hero.

Tales from retailUnsplash

40. You Catch More Flies With Honey…

When I was 16, I worked for my uncle. He was a tailor, but also had a clothes store next door to his main shop. He let me run the clothes store, which basically involved keeping it clean, serving customers, and displaying stock. He ran the business side of it, and I was paid to essentially sit there all day. It was a pretty quiet store in a quiet area, so it was a pretty cruisy job, great for school holidays.

Whenever we got new stock in, I would have to put the price tags on myself. Most of the clothes we sold were men's office workwear—suits, shirts, trousers, and the like. The average price for a suit was around $150-$200. One day, I had a belligerent customer come in. He saw that I was quite young, so he took to pushing me around.

He would swear and act very impatient, and would call me slow and stupid. I'd dealt with rude customers before, but this guy was far too much. To the best of my knowledge, I hadn't done anything wrong. He may have been having a bad day, but to me, that doesn't excuse the insults. He had come in quite early; usually, we opened at 9, but didn't get any customers until much later.

It was rare to get any customers before 11. That morning I had gotten a load of new stock in and hadn't finished putting on the price tags as it was a huge amount of new stock in. So, because of his rudeness, I decided to get the perfect revenge. I decided that I would charge him much, much more. Either he would decide it was too expensive, or we would make a lot more money.

He selected three suits, and I told him they were $500 for the first two, with the third being $700. They were actually around $200. We haggled a bit and I sold them for around $350 for the first two and $600 for the third. He was quite happy with what he saw as a major victory. I was quite happy I made an extra $700.

I told my uncle what happened, and he let me keep a percentage of the money as a bonus. My uncle knew that particular customer and had had issues with him before. Perhaps it wasn't the morally correct thing to do, but it serves to show you shouldn't be rude.

Tales from retailPexels

41. Pack Your Bags

I work in a travel goods store. There were a few customers browsing around the store, but no one needed any help at the moment so I was just standing by the front desk. A customer came in; an elderly man with a deep Haitian accent and okay English. He came up to me and said that he wasn't looking to buy today, but he was planning on visiting family in Haiti that he hasn't seen in over 20 years.

He said that he has been saving up money for a while and finally started planning his trip, albeit still a few months away. He just wanted something inexpensive for the one trip. So I pointed him in the right direction and he told me he was going to look around. As I walked away, another customer waved me down. He was a younger guy in what looked like a pretty expensive suit.

He started asking me some questions about some high-end brands. After about 15 minutes of talking to this other man, the Haitian man walks over and said something along the lines of, "I'm sorry to interrupt but thank you for the help, I'm not ready to buy it yet but I'll come back in a few months when I have all of my trip money together".

The man in the suit then asked him what suitcase he was looking at, and the Haitian man pointed to the cheapest one we had in the front of the store for $20. Suitman said, "You don't want those, they don't last very long the way the airlines throw stuff around. How about one of these," and he walks over to a mid-range $70 suitcase.

The Haitian man laughed a little and said, "I can't afford those!" The younger guy blew my mind. He said, "Don't worry about that, I will pay for it". The Haitian man kind of laughed it off, thinking it was a joke or something or maybe he misunderstood. Even I was a bit skeptical. But Suitman insisted he was serious, handed me his credit card, and said to let him pick out a color.

The Haitian man reluctantly picked out a suitcase and walked over to the desk with me. He practically burst into tears when the credit card went through. After some handshaking and many thank yous, the Haitian man left. Suitman proceeded to buy $600 worth of luggage for himself and his family. Not only was it one of my biggest sales ever, but it was also the biggest random act of kindness I had ever seen in my life.

After working in retail for so long, this is something I will never forget.

Tales from retailUnsplash

42. The Odyssey

Our store was opening up a new department, and some of the day staff had been called in to help the night staff fill the shelves for tomorrow’s big opening. There was quite a lot of night staff raucously running around throughout the store, and a small handful of day staff cloistered in the new department, shuffling around slack-jawed.

I was at the new department’s computer going over the new stock when I see someone approaching from the foreground. I look up expecting to see a staff member, but instead, I see a very heavily pregnant woman slowly waddling up to the counter. This woman is in utter shambles, her hair is disheveled, her drooping eyes are sunken and engulfed in deep dark circles, she’s wearing pink pajamas complete with fluffy pink slippers, contrasted heavily by what is surely a contender for the best leather jacket I've ever seen.

That thing had chains coming off of its chains. It took her the better part of a minute to walk down the aisle and up to the counter, during which time my mind was racing. How did she get into the store, and how did she get this far into it without being stopped by anyone? This was not someone who would casually escape notice.

Anyway, she gets up to the counter and we converse. The whole time, she’s not speaking much louder than a soft whisper. Me: (Baffled and bewildered) Hey... Her: (After catching her breath, looks up and smiles weakly) Hey... Me: How did you get into the store? We're actually closed right now. Her: The front door was open.

We actually examined security footage the day after to see how she got in, and sure enough, the heavy automatic doors were open by about half an inch, and, despite her condition, after several laborious minutes, she had somehow found the strength needed to muscle the doors open wide enough to squeeze through. Me: I see...Well...We're still closed, so...

Her: I was told that you can still operate the cashier. (She meant register, but she said cashier.) Me: (Even more baffled and bewildered) Who told you this? Her: (Looking over towards the direction of the entrance) They said that the cashiers were locked, but that you had a card that could open it. Instinctively, I reached down to my belt for the admin control card and rested my hand on it for a moment.

Me: Yes...My card can override the system...However, all the money has already been counted from the cashier registers... Her: Oh...I see...Hm...What...What if I paid by card, that would work, right? Me: That would work, but we're...(deep inhale and exhale) closed, but I suppose, you've already come this far...Okay then, sure, let’s do this.

Her: Ah... Thank you. This is greatly appreciated. (She turns around and starts waddling off) Me: Wait. This register isn't operational yet. Once you have your items, take them to the register at the front, the one closest to the exit, I'll be there. She smiles and then nods. So she waddles off, a great deal faster than she had arrived, as if possessed of newfound purpose.

Meanwhile, I shook off some of the night’s zombification, and I slowly shuffled my way to the front of the store. After about 10 minutes, I saw her waddling into view and towards the counter. She was carrying her single item in both hands, and with great care, she reverently placed it atop the counter. When I finally got a good look at the item and my mind registered what it was, my heart almost broke in two.

It was Infant Cough Syrup. Suddenly, there was a moment of pure clarity where everything just made sense, and sure enough, after she paid for her item, thanked me once again, and left, I spoke to my co-workers who all confirmed the conclusion I'd already reached. She ran into several staff members, all of whom confronted her, but none of whom could bring themselves to turn her away once her purpose was revealed.

The night staff were the first to intercept her, all of whom apologized profusely that they couldn't help, but directed her towards their team leader who might. The team leader then directed her towards the new department where there were day staff. I asked what they would've done if it were any other night, and they said that they would've just given her the item.

Once she reached the new department, the day staff confronted her and directed them towards me, and a few even mentioned my admin card, and that she would most assuredly get served. She had tried several gas stations before she'd arrived at our retail park, desperation had brought her, and one way or another she was going to leave the retail park with what she came for.

There were a lot of people calling me a "hero" when I told this story, but later, I learned the heartbreaking truth of the whole story. I feel obliged to tell you about two people who I feel are more deserving of the title than myself. The first worthy hero was the elderly downstairs neighbor who, despite the late hour, had agreed to watch over the woman’s sleeping toddler and sick infant while she went out to get the medicine.

Even though the neighbor has now passed, I feel that that they are at least deserving of a great deal of posthumous respect. The second worthy hero is the taxi driver who had been driving her around that night. After the second visited gas station proved fruitless, they turned off the meter at its current price, and then later at the end of the night when they took her home with the medicine, they voided the entire fare and wished her infant child their absolute and sincerest best.

The first took time out of their night despite the great age and frail health, and the other took a major personal financial hit to hasten her way. These two are the ones I feel a more deserving of praise than I.

Tales from retailUnsplash

43. Oh, Just Put That Anywhere

I was bagging groceries last night when a lady came through with a baby in a car seat in the basket of her cart. She had a LOT of groceries that I'm assuming she'd had under and around the car seat, so when I bagged them I was putting them back under and around the car seat. I wasn't sure where else to put them if not there, right?

It's not like I could put them on top of the baby, right? Well. As I'm placing stuff carefully under Baby, Baby's mom says "oh Hon, you can just put some of this stuff on top of him" and pats the canopy. The phrase, "But ma'am that's a baby" almost escapes me but I choke it down, nod, and continue putting stuff under the baby, under the cart, in the seat of the cart, etc.

At this point, the cashier (my favorite cashier) is trying and failing not to laugh at both the absurdity of me being told to put groceries on a baby and my increasingly desperate attempts at finding places for the bags. I got all but a bag of chips squared away, and there was just no more room, so as they walked away I set the bag of chips on top of the car seat.

I then turned back to the cashier and whispered in horror, "I put the chips on the baby". Which I believe is the most absurd thing I've said on the job so far.

Tales from retailShutterstock

44. A Heavy Load

I'm a cart pusher and I don't deal with tons of customers. I did have a woman flip out and call me an idiot one, but honestly I feel this was worse. I saw these two girls, probably 17-19 years old, putting their cart up on the curb instead of a corral. I went over and said I would take it. What does one of them do? She shoves the cart so it rolls full speed, and I have to run after it while they stand there, watching me and laughing at me.

One of them said, "Haha you really did that!!" to the one who shoved the cart. I was embarrassed and felt hurt by this. It ruined my night that they decided to just make a joke out of me and my job. I am trying to feel better about it, thinking they are super immature, but this still was hurtful.

Tales from retailPexels

45. Petty Is As Petty Does

I worked as a bagger at a small family-owned grocery store while I was in high school. One day, a man came through the checkout with a full cart of groceries. Me: "Paper or plastic?" Customer: "I’d like double-bagged paper and I’d like you to make each bag as heavy as you can". Me, after a significant pause and wondering if I should ask: "Sure thing!"

A bit of a strange request, sure, but anything that broke up the monotony of the day was welcomed. I managed to load his entire cart into three fairly heavy bags and bring them out to his car. Customer: "In case you're wondering—I just had a fight with the wife and it's my turn to pick up the groceries". Me: "Uh-huh". Customer: "It's also her turn to unload the car".

Tales from retailShutterstock

46. Put A Ring On It

I work in a fine jewelry store, and this was my interaction with customers who just left. Him: "Well, we want to go get married now so we need a size 5 ring". Me: "Unfortunately, all our rings will be stock size 7". Him: "Well...what about that one on your hand". Me: holds up men’s ring they had just looked at, " this is a men’s so it’s a 10".

Him: Points at my engagement ring "No, that". Me: "My engagement ring? It’s a size 5". Him: "Well, we will just take that". Me: "It’s not for sale. It’s my engagement ring". The woman then gets annoyed and they speak Spanish for a bit together. Him, finally: "Well this is insane, and we’ll just go somewhere else in that case". I honestly can’t...

Tales from retailUnsplash

47. A Mother’s Love

I work part-time in a mid-sized retail store that is pretty close to a local school, so we get a lot of school kids in around 12 buying snacks and candy and whatnot during recess. A lot of the same kids, so over time I've come to recognize a lot of them. One of the groups was quite loudly talking about dabbing, and about how fun it would be to see an employee dab while working.

I could have taken the easy route and just dabbed right there and made his day, but I didn't, and it would turn out to pay off. A few days later, the same group of kids come in, but this time with the dab-kid's mom as well. They're still talking about dabbing, and getting an employee to dab, probably hoping I overhear it. This time, I was about to do it.

But then their mom walks towards me, with the kind of mischievous grin only a mother can muster. The kid, the mom, and myself share a moment—we all know what’s about to go down. The mother and I with mischievous grins, and the kid with a mortified look on his face. "Wanna dab with me?" She plainly asks. I dab. She dabs. The kid’s friends are looking on in awe.

Dab-kid is mortified, then hangs his head in shame, as his friends start to laugh. A plan that started out as a way to get a little bit of street cred suddenly backfired, as his friends watched his mom commit the ultimate act of embarrassment. Made my day, though.

Tales from retailPexels

48. Your Lucky Day

I was the customer in line at the checkout, and the cashier was ringing me out when a family (a mom, dad, and a ~7-year-old boy) pulled up behind me. The dad immediately wandered away while the mom started loading her groceries on the conveyer belt. After she loaded a few things, she turned to the boy and said, "You were really good today, would you like to pick out a chocolate?"

The boy got super happy, grabbed a kinder egg, and put it on the conveyer belt. Mom then tells him, "Don't tell your dad". Dad comes back and mom says she forgot something, so dad continues loading the belt while mom walks away. Dad then turns to his son and says, "You were really good today, would you like to pick out a chocolate?"

I have never in my life seen a kid look so happy. He picks another kinder egg and puts it on the belt. Sure enough, dad then says, "Don't tell your mom" I didn't say anything to ruin this kid’s wonderful two-chocolate day, but I had a good chuckle walking out of there.

Tales from retailUnsplash

49. Why Didn’t The Chicken Cross The Road?

I was working at a McDonald's drive-thru in a small town in Michigan when this truck came through, paid, and then pulled forward to get its meal. Then out of nowhere, a chicken jumped out of the back of the truck. I yelled for the next car in line to stop, but she looked confused. That's when things went from weird to horrific. She ended up running over the chicken.

It wasn’t dead but it was a wreck. She looked at me and we were both in tears. Then she said she had to and I said "no". She ignored me, put the truck in reverse and backed over the chicken again. I was in disbelief and couldn’t believe what I saw, so another employee had to get a shovel and scoop up the chicken from the drive-thru lane.

Drive-thru workersShutterstock

50. Just The Ticket

So this happened a long time ago in my old job at a jewelry store. I was working on the shop floor and an elderly gentleman and his daughter came in and started looking at the bracelets and bangles. To give some perspective, this isn’t a prestige jeweler; unless something had a diamond in it, the most you could look to spend was about $400.

After giving them a few minutes to look, I went over and asked if they need any help. The gentleman said he was looking for a bangle for his wife for their anniversary but he wasn’t sure what to go for. I brought them over to the table and chairs and let him have a sit while I took 10 or so bangles and bracelets out of the display for him to have a look at. I brought them over and explained the difference between the metals, the clasps, etc.

I let him hold them, try them on his daughter to see how they looked on the wrist, that sort of thing. I probably spent about 40 minutes with them helping them choose something. He landed on something he liked and left happy with a new bangle for his wife. Such a nice man and it was a pleasure to see him off with something he liked.

Skip to the following Saturday, and I was on the shop floor again. A lady comes in looking around for something so I head over and ask if she needs anything. She clocks my name badge and says, "Ah, are you the person that helped my husband pick out this bangle?" It was the wife of the gentleman I helped, and she had come into town to find me especially to say thank you for "spending so much time with him to pick out such a lovely present" and how much she loved it.

Apparently, it had meant so much to the old-timer that he told her all about the experience in store. He had no idea really what he was looking for and I was just pleased to help guide him through the minefield that can be women’s jewelry! I’d never had such warm fuzzies working in that shop and still, I think about it a lot.

Tales from retailUnsplash

51. If It Ain’t Broke

I have removed myself from the retail game about six months ago, but I still think fondly of this one...I was the manager of the returns and exchanges area of a smaller computer and electronics chain, and I was called over to the returns area by one of our associates. I approached and saw a young college-age girl with a MacBook that had an obviously cracked screen.

Looking at the receipt, it was less than a day old. I asked her what happened, and she admitted to dropping it as soon as she took it out of the box, and that she didn't get any warranties to cover the damage because she was a broke college kid. She asked me if there was anything I could do for her at this point with it.

I told her that I was going to walk away and come back in a minute, and when I did she should tell me it was broken as soon as she took it out of the box. I came back, she told me that, and we swapped it out for a new one for no charge. The best part was this young lady came back in about two days later with a tray full of the most delicious brownies and kept saying how much she appreciated everything we did for her.

Tales from retailShutterstock

52. The Waiting Game

I work for a car rental place. I am the only employee at a location in a very small town, and I often have to leave the store to go pick up customers, pick up/drop off oil changes, etc. etc. When I do, I leave between reservations, lock-up, and put up a sign on the door with a number where customers can reach me immediately if they need to.

I usually never get any calls. However, yesterday a woman called while I was out dropping off a customer to a body shop. She seemed perfectly reasonable…at first. Me: Thanks for calling. How can I help you? Her: Hi. (Apparently having read my notice) Will you be back soon? I don't have much time. For the record, she had no reservation and had not previously contacted the store.

Me: Yes ma'am. Just dropping off a customer. It should be about 5 to 10 minutes. Her: I'll be waiting . . . then she hangs up. Literally two minutes later, she calls back. Her: Sir, I just can't let you do this. Me: Do what? Her: You abandoned the store and I am going to call the authorities if you don't show up soon. Me: *laughing from confusion*

Me: That won't be necessary ma'am. I'll be back very soon and officers aren’t…She hangs up again. I show up four minutes later and swear to god, THE OFFICERS WERE WAITING WITH HER, visibly unsure about why they were there. If you’re counting, she waited a total of six minutes MAX after I knew she existed, which is shorter than I've waited for fresh nuggets in a drive-thru.

She had no reservation, and with not having previously contacted a business that operates based on reservations, she literally called the authorities. Officer: What's the problem here? Me: I have no idea. You'll have to ask her. The officers, having already talked to her, look at us and back at each other, then back at me. They say: We hope you have a better day.

She doesn't even try to come in. Maybe she realized she had just gone through a manic episode and decided to give herself some time.

Tales from retailUnsplash

53. A First Time For Everything

This is the most exciting story I've got. This was back before the proliferation of smartphones, etc. It's about the time I worked at a gas station/convenience store for one whole day and ended up as a Manager and a District Manager's worst nightmare. I'd taken the job not two days before and was told to show up at 7 am on a Monday for training.

No big deal, right? The manager certainly seemed stable enough at the time, but I suppose that's what they say about all the crazies. So. I show up at 7 am, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to get to work. I'm immediately introduced to the young lady who's been tasked with training me by the manager. The manager spends the first 20 minutes of my shift not training me, but ranting and rambling about how she just worked a double graveyard and how she's bushed, and how this place just sucks her get the idea.

Then she reiterates that the girl’s going to be with me all day, training me step by step, and is then gone in a puff of smoke. Gone home to get some much-deserved sleep. She leaves her home number on a scrap of paper behind the counter "In Case Of Emergencies Only". Sensible enough. So we get down to business. The girl is shocked that I'm already somewhat register- and computer-literate, and so takes the opportunity to abandon me in the backroom doing a few hours of computer training that I gather is supposed to encompass the entirety of my day.

When I finish my computer training, I step out into the main store area to be relieved of duty. The girl instead informs me that we're now going to do some hands-on training. ...Weird... but fine...I guess...I mean, I'm not going to scoff at a few extra hours on my paycheck, so whatever. Let's do some hands-on work then.

The hands-on work goes on for about an hour and a half, bringing my day to about four and a half hours at this point, until the girl pulls me aside and announces, with a beaming grin on her face, "You know what? I think, yeah. I think screw this place. Me: Screw this place? Her: Yeah man, screw it. Screw everything. I quit.

Me:  Like in two weeks? Her: Like, I mean, like now. Me: ...what? With that, she tears off her smock and walks out of the joint, leaving me to mind the store alone. I don't know how to do cash drops, I don't know how to do most of this stuff. I've been here for four hours tops. You must be kidding me. She locks the door to the backroom, shoves the key underneath the door, and is gone forever.

So, like the nice young man I am, I call the manager’s emergency number. The phone rings and rings and rings for maybe two minutes straight before she finally answers, mid-snore, with a befuddled "...whuzzah?" I promptly explain the situation to her and tell her that I need help. She tells me to hold tight, and that she's going to call her Assistant Manager to come and help. You know where this is going.

The assistant never comes. I'm waiting for another two hours, and they never show up. I call the manager back. Same deal. Two minutes of continuous ringing. She promises something else. Hangs up on me. We go through this process four more times over the course of two more hours, when the next person on-shift is due to show up anyway.

He never shows. Naturally. So I call the manager until she finally just takes her phone off the hook so I can't call her anymore. This is the part of the story where I start to freak out. I have no other numbers. I know no one else who works here. I am alone. No way to clock out, no way to hide, no way to lock the doors, nothing. Just work. Only work.

Forever and ever and ever and ever. I can see that this is how I go, I'm sure of it. I'm in a really boring version of Final Destination. At this point, I feel the need to call out the dudes who ran the tattoo shop across the street. They'd been coming in for cokes and energy drinks and such throughout the day, and had taken a keen interest in my well-being.

They were pretty "up" on the situation, and kept me reasonably calm throughout the day. They noticed that I was starting to freak out, asked me what the situation was, and I explained. Just like that, these guys jump into action. They bring me their phonebook with all the numbers of the other stores in the area circled, and they go to the local taco cart and get me a plate of tacos and a coke "to keep my strength up".

I'm not into dudes, but I considered asking these guys to marry me right then and there. Fueled by tacos and sheer, unadulterated panic, I start making calls. Other stores are shocked by what's happened but don't have anyone to spare. They've got no one. But. One of them gives me the district manager's home number. Bingo.

I explained the situation to him and listened as he went from perfectly congenial to absolutely terrified. He tells me, "I'm coming down there to personally relieve you from your shift"... But then he says the perfect combination of words to set me off: "...but I'm going to need about an hour and a half. Is that okay?"

Welcome to my breaking point. I begin to shout and shout and shout. Me: No, that is not alright. Tell you what—either you get down here in half an hour, or I am going to open the cash registers, the safe, turn the gas pumps on unlimited run, and go home. Is that what you want?? FREE GAS AND FREE MONEY FOR EVERYONE WHO COMES INTO THE STORE UNTIL THERE'S NO MORE MONEY! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?!

Him:: ...I'll be there in 20 minutes. I now see what has happened: I am now the crazy person in the situation. I'm the movie bad guy. I'm the one making demands. But you know what? He got there in 15 minutes flat. And you know what? He was very nice, all said and told. He apologized profusely, even helped me kick in the locked backroom door so I could clock out all proper-like.

It's 10:30 pm. Finally. But then the manager, in her pajamas, eyes bloodshot and wild, comes storming into the store, screaming at the district manager, who had apparently gotten her to answer her phone during his trip over. She’s screaming at him, "How dare you tell me how to run my store, I swear you've been telling me what to do for too long now and I am telling you for the last time—"

The district manager turns to me as she is shrieking, and he says something that makes me start laughing like a psychotic. "Go home. I've got this". Well, you don't have to tell me twice, amigo. I'm gone. When I get to the door, finally, he calls after me and says, "I really hope this doesn't affect your future with the company". I never went back.

Tales from retailUnsplash

54. Weather Or Not

I worked as a server at a higher-end steakhouse that had a beautiful patio. I was working a lunch shift on a day that was completely overcast, and it looked like it could start pouring rain any minute. Because of this, we didn’t "open up" the patio. The patio always had tables and chairs, but we didn’t open any umbrellas or set any tables.

A lady came in and asked for a seat on the patio, weird due to the weather but whatever. I walked her out to the patio and set up a table for her, and as I was walking away she asked if she could sit in a sunnier spot. None of the umbrellas were open, and there were no sunny spots because the sun was not out. I just looked at her and told her she could have her pick of any of the tables.

She looked around and it finally dawned on her that this was not patio weather. Years later, and I’m still not sure if she thought I had some magical weather powers or if she thought if she just wanted it to be sunny strongly enough, it would be.

Explain to an adultShutterstock

55. It's Just A Prank—Hopefully

My brother was taking the drive-thru order and there was lots of muffled talking, as though it were a group of people trying to decide what to order, along with some shushing. That’s not unusual, but what happened next sure was. The car pulls around to the window when out of nowhere, the trunk pops open and a guy jumps out.

He immediately takes off running, and the four guys in the car jump out after him, tackle him in the street, throw him back in the trunk and speed off.

Drive-thru workersPexels

56. Baring It All

I work at a clothing store, and we have packs of underwear hanging on a wall near the front of the store. The wall is split into two sections: The bottom is single pairs of underwear that go for $2, and then there are packs of eight that cost $20. They are not the same brand, they are different materials, they look different, and are on different parts of the wall.

On the part of the wall that only contains single pairs, there is a sign that says "5 for $5". A woman walks up to our register with five eight-packs of underwear, and I make casual conversation before presenting her with her total. Me: That will be ~$100.00. Her: No, that will be $5.00. Me:...Well, no, that'll be ~$100.00. Her: No! They're five for five, it says so on the sign!

At this point, I know what sign she saw, and I know what mistake she's making, but in an attempt to show her the error of her ways I ask her to show me the sign. Her: Look, there it is right there, it's 5 for $5. Me: Actually, the 5 for $5 is referencing these single pairs that are only $2. Her face lit up with anger and disgust as if I had pooped on the floor and asked her to clean it up with her tongue.

Her: Well, why is that sign there?! Why are those packs with these packs?! These packs are on this wall and that sign says it's 5 or $5 and I'll take them at that price. Me: Usually I could adjust your price, but I can't sell you $100 of merchandise at $5. Her: Well, you need to remove that sign then because that's false advertising. Me: No.

Her: No?! Me: Yup, no. At this point, my heart was in my throat and I actually could have gotten in trouble for how I spoke to her, depending on which manager she spoke to, but instead, she just kind of walked out of the store. Even if the sign was ambiguous, assuming a sale of that magnitude is just silly. Like, use your brain.

Tales from retailUnsplash

57. Dream Job

So I work in a store where we use short-range radios with headsets to communicate with each other. It's a huge help to us and helps us be more efficient. Earlier today, my boss sends me next door to the grocery store to buy donuts for the crew. While I'm waiting in line, a young boy (maybe 7-8) is shooting daggers at me.

I'm wearing my sunglasses inside with my earpiece still in as well. As I'm leaving he yells to grab my attention. Here's the conversation we had: Little Kid: Hey! Me: Uhh, yeah? Kid: What’s that for? (pointing to my earpiece). By now I know where this is going. Me: (I cross my arms) I use it for work. Kid: Come here, I have another question.

The mom looks at me with an eye roll because her kid is eccentric and that seems to annoy her. Not me, weird kids always give me a laugh. I bend down to his level to hear, then he whispers: Kid: Do you work for the government? Me: (I put my finger over my earpiece) Eagle this is condor! Cover blown! I repeat eagle, our cover is blown!

Then I take me and my donuts and run out of the store as fast as possible while the mom is dying of laughter and the kid’s jaw is on the ground because he just met a secret agent. The highlight of my day.

Tales from retailUnsplash

58. Driving Me Crazy

This literally just happened. I work at a higher-end clothing store and I tend not to get too many out-there customers, but this guy took the cake. A man came in with about three small children, shopped around for about a half hour while running me completely ragged in the process, and then went to pay for his items. He has a store credit card with us, but he didn't have it on him.

I said, "No problem, I can look it up with your driver’s license or a state ID". "Oh, I don't drive. Here, I'll show you my passport". "Sir, our computer does not scan passports as a valid form of ID. The scanner only responds to driver’s licenses or state IDs". "But a passport is a better form of ID than a driver’s license. This is Uncle Sam right here!"

"I understand, but our computer system only scans driver’s licenses or state IDs". "But a passport is a government-issued ID!" "Yes, but our computer physically cannot scan a passport. I can only scan a driver’s license or a state-issued ID". "Well, I'll just take my business elsewhere then!" He proceeded to storm out of the store, and honestly, I was a little bit relieved, until about five minutes later he comes barging back into the store".

Here, I found my ID, now please look up my credit card!" I swear to God, he pulls out his passport. "Sir, I cannot accept this as an f-" "Scan it! This is my ID! You are discriminating against people who don't drive!" "Would you like me to call customer service and see if there is anything they can do for you?" "No, I don't want you to call customer service. I want you to scan my ID and look up my credit card!"

At this point, my manager sees the commotion going on, comes over to help me out, and tells this guy exactly what I've been repeating to him for the last 10 minutes. We apologize to him for the inconvenience, and even offer him a coupon, but he just keeps yelling and ranting and raving. Finally, he takes his kids, swears he will never shop with us again, is reporting us for "discrimination," and storms out of the store for a second time...Then gets into a car and drives away.

Tales from retailPexels

59. Cut Your Nails!

I was working the second drive-thru window at McDonald's. An order came up on the screen for three large unsweet teas. One of the girls I was working with said, "It's the teddy bear guy! Don't let him touch you!" I was confused, but didn't think much of it until the driver came up to the window. It was an old man in a big, navy blue van.

He smelled like he hadn't showered in days. I greeted him and handed him the tea. He reached out with his hand and I nearly gagged at the sight of his long, yellow fingernails. I took special care to not touch him at all. After I handed out the third tea, I turned around to tend to another order, when the same girl said, "Look now!"

I turned around as he drove away, and I saw a giant teddy bear in his back seat. It was honestly one of the most bizarre and terrifying things to happen to me in my life.

Drive-thru workersUnsplash

60. Skin Deep

We sell organic skincare where I work. A client called saying the seal on her moisturizer she just bought came off too easily and she wanted to return it. I asked her to bring it in so we could exchange it for her. When I checked her product, there was a straight-up finger-shaped hole in the foam seal. When I asked her about it, she said it happened after the fact.

Sure. I told her I would happily exchange it. She didn't seem thrilled but didn't say anything. At this point, I figured it was a case of buyer's remorse and she wanted a refund but was blaming the seal. So I hand her a fresh product. She takes it out of the box in front of me, saying she just wants to check the seal. She proceeds to pull up on the edges of the seal hard enough until it pops off.

She stares at me, I stare at her. She tells me, "See, this one is unsealed too". I told her, "Nope, that one was sealed. That’s an acceptable seal so the product should be just fine for you. Enjoy your day!" She didn't come back, but I put notes on her account in case she called the head company to complain about the so-called "seal" problem.

Explain to an adultPexels

61. Bad Vibes

While I worked at Wal-Mart, a middle-aged couple danced around me in the aisle I was stocking for a good five minutes before the guy just straight-up asked me where he could find the batteries for his vibrating toy. His wife was hiding around the corner. I calmly asked, well what kind of batteries does it take? He looked at me with shame and told me he didn't know.

I then asked if they had brought the toy with them so we could take the batteries out to see. For my sake, they hadn't brought it in with them. I suggested they go home and open it and find out what kind it needed. I also suggested maybe a hearing aid battery or watch battery because I had never used a toy like that before and didn't know what they needed.

They went away yelling at each other for not opening it up to see what it needed.

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62. Best Before

My co-worker and I work at a deli. One day, a customer came up to them asking why their meat smelled weird. My co-worker asked, "How long have you had it?" and then the customer said, "A few months, why?" The dude never even knew that expiration dates existed. He said that his ex-wife always prepared food for him and he has never cooked for himself.

He pointed at various other foods and asked if they had expiration dates too, so my co-worker had to explain that each food had a different lifespan.

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63. Caught Off Guard

On Christmas Eve, this guy comes through my drive-thru and I'm taking his money when he asks if I want to see his stump. I wasn't really thinking and said sure. Big. Mistake. The guy opens his car door and reveals that his left leg was amputated from the knee down. Again, without thinking, I asked him if he was OK. He said he was, and then mentioned that he needed to be careful when getting out because he has fallen on his face before.

Drive-thru workersPexels

64. Forgot Your Password?

As an IT guy, I once spent 56 minutes on a password reset call with a dude who just could not get it. The new password requirements were simply beyond the limits of his comprehension. Over and over, around and around, we went through the process. I must have reset him half a dozen times. I didn't think it could get worse, but it did. 

Finally, after I had long since made peace with the idea of getting fired for simply hanging up on this dude, he exclaims, "Wait a minute! Is that number supposed to be a lowercase or an uppercase one?"

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65. Doesn’t Have A Hot Clue

I worked at a coffee shop and a woman came in saying that the mug she bought is defective. I ask what is wrong and she goes, "It says it's microwave and dishwasher safe. I put it in the microwave to heat it and it got hot!" I explained that the text on the mug means it can be used in a microwave without breaking...but that anything placed in a microwave will still get hot.

She maintained, "Well, then it's not safe".

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66. Drinking On The Job

My first "work for someone else" job was in high school at a burger place with a red headed namesake. I'm a people person and could count change back, so onto the register I went. It was a late night on a Saturday in 1980 something and there was a really loud, happy group at the drive-thru window. They made their order clearly, but boisterous and a bit over the top loud.

No problem we can’t deal with, and we get the order together. They pull up, roll the window down and it's a guy, his buddies and a keg, leaning from the back seat onto a board, with the tap in the middle of the drivers bench seat! The driver paid, got most of his food and asked for an extra cup with a lid. We were supposed to charge for it but I didn’t.

The driver fills the cup from the keg, puts the lid on, pops the straw in and hands it back to me through the window! I look at my co-workers and no one has seen any of this. I dump my shift soda in the trash and the newly acquired beverage filled cup in its place. I pounded that beverage in about 45 seconds, through a straw.

Guess who shows back up at the window? In a quiet voice, the driver said we forgot something on his order. I had to lean out and he asked if I needed him to get rid of the evidence! Sorry sir, here is your beverage, and out goes the proof of my stupid choice!

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67. Clueless Customer

As a pharmacist, this is a conversation I’ve had with a customer: "I’d like some OxyContin". "Okay, sure. Who’s your prescribing physician?" "My what?" "Sorry, who’s the doctor that told you needed OxyContin?" "Oh, there wasn’t one". "Uh. Okay. you have a prescription?" "No". "So. You just want some OxyContin?" "Duh. Is there someone smarter than you working?" "Next!"

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68. Making A Case

I worked at an electronics store, and some lady came in to buy a charging case for her iPhone. The case has a battery that can charge your phone a couple of times. Well, she was asking what the cable inside the box was for, which was a micro USB cable. I explained that it's to charge the battery in the case. She didn't understand.

I explained that the case has a battery in it and that you need to charge up that battery. Then, your phone goes in the case and if your phone battery is low and you are out and about, you can turn on the case and it'll recharge your phone. It has enough battery capacity to charge your phone usually once. There was a long pause as I anticipated what she would say next.

She goes, "Wait so you have to charge up the case?" I say, "Yeah". She responds "Oh well, that's stupid". So I ask, "What's stupid about that?" She says, "Well that's stupid that you have to charge it, you shouldn't need to do that". So I say: "Ma'am, if the manufacturer figured out the global solution for unlimited electricity I don't think they'd be selling phone cases".

She gave me a super-angry expression, you know the one where she thinks she's still right and stormed off.

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69. Watch Your Mouth

This happened when I was 17 years old and a shift supervisor at a fast food joint. It was a Sunday and three people hadn’t shown up for their shift so we were slammed. I was cleaning trays, washing dishes, and taking orders in the back at the same time, nonstop, for three hours. Then, my manager came back and said he needed me to push a van that had broken down at the window.

My immediate thought was, "What kind of person takes such terrible care of their van?" I started walking to the front door and looked out the drive-thru window. I couldn't believe my eyes. There was a young lady in full habit attire with five other very elderly women, also in full habit attire. I had never seen a nun in person before or since. They looked at me and smiled.

One of them said, "Sorry about this!" and without missing a beat I replied, "No problem ladies, we’ll take care of it". So me and one other guy pushed the van  out of the way and helped the tow truck guy when he came. The nuns thanked us, blessed us, and rode off. I then looked at my coworker and asked "Did you swear when you heard their car broke down?"

"Yup". "Me too. We’re going to the bad place aren’t we?" "Yup!"

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70. Door Jam

A client bought a car from our dealership and called two days later to say that the back doors were not opening from the inside. I knew exactly what the problem was. I asked him specifically if the child lock was on, but he denied it. He brought the vehicle back to us and one of our salespeople opened the door and deactivated the child lock while getting in.

He opened the door and the client’s mind was blown that the door was suddenly opening.

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71. Nice Try Snake Guy

I worked the first window of a McDonald's drive-thru. When people order, you can see their car in the cameras but not much of the driver or what's in the car. This man pulls up to pay and he has this huge snake leisurely wrapped around his neck like a scarf. He has a dumb grin on his face and I knew he wanted to get a rise out of me.

But this was right after a busy lunch rush and I couldn't be bothered, so I dealt with him like a regular customer, told the next window what was up via the headset, walked away and heard a scream a minute later from the front kitchen area.

Drive-thru workersPexels

72. These Boots Were Made For Whining

I come bearing a tale that is one of the most ridiculous customer encounters I've had in my almost 17 years of retail experience. Buckle up, kids. It's gonna be a wild ride. Relevant to the story: We are unable to take orders over the phone. Credit cards must be physically swiped/inserted at the register and we have absolutely no way around this.

The setting: a shoe store. Just a few days ago, I had just clocked in for my closing shift. The phone rings. Me: "Good afternoon, thank you for calling ShoeStore, how may I help you?" There’s a very elderly woman at the end of the line. "Oh hi. I was in your store earlier today looking at a pair of shoes, and I'm just kicking myself for not buying them. I'd like for you to ship them to me".

Me: "Unfortunately, we are unable to take orders over the phone, but I'd be glad to put them on hold for you". Her: "But I live so far away and I can't make the trip alllll the way out there again!" Me: "Uh...I'm sorry about that, but I have no way of taking payment over the phone". Her: "Can I order them online?" Me: "Possibly, which shoe were you looking at?"

Her: "I don't know". A little back and forth ensues, with her attempting to explain what the shoe looked like and where it was located in the store. I'm somehow able to find it. It's a single pair of sandals from last year that are on super mega clearance because, well, they're old. Me: "Unfortunately, you won't find these on our website, they're from last year".

Her: "Well, what am I supposed to doooooo??!!" Me: go back in time and buy them when you were here? "I'm not sure, ma'am". Her: "OH! You can ship them to me, and when I get them I'll mail you a check!" Me: "Sorry ma'am, I can't send out merchandise that has not been paid for". Her, getting increasingly frustrated: "Is there anyone else there I can talk to? A manager?"

Me, trying to suppress laughter as my manager is staring at me, shaking his head at hearing my side of the conversation: "No, I'm the only manager here right now". Her: "Well then, you can buy it for me and I'll mail you a check". Me: "Excuse me?" Her: "They're not even $20. You pay for it and I'll send you a personal check. I'm good for it".

Me: "I'm not going to do that". Her: "Well, is there anyone else there who would?" Me: "No ma'am, no one here is going to buy your shoes for you". staring from my manager intensifies, we both exchange the "I can't wait to talk about this one" look Her: "Well, I mean this is ridiculous. All I want is those shoes and no one will help me. So there's nothing you can do?"

Me: "No ma'am, I'm afraid there isn't". Her: "Well then THANKS A LOT". I burst out laughing and regale my manager with the full conversation. A nearby customer overhears and also starts laughing. I spend most of my remaining shift hiding in the back room, I feel like I earned it.

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73. It Looked Open

Two young girls in their 20’s pulled up to the drive-thru one morning. As I handed out the food, the passenger turned her head as if to barf out the window, but her plan went so, so wrong. She didn't realize that the window was rolled up so the puke just oozed down the glass. I made sure to give them plenty of napkins to try and be helpful. Later, I found their puke filled napkins all around the parking lot.

So, I got the luxury of picking those up as well. Treat your service people nicely folks, they put up with quite a bit.

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74. Closed Is Closed

I'm only 16 but work at a local pharmacy and gift shop in my town. The customers are generally pretty chill, older folks. Yesterday was a special exception. We close at 3 on Sundays, and around 2:58 I stand by the door waiting for the "all clear" to lock the door. There's still a man in the back having trouble filling his prescription, but it’s all good because he's apologetic, realizing it's nearing closing.

Well, 3:00 rolls around and my boss gives me the thumbs up. Usually, if there's someone like the guy in the back, I just wait for him to finish up and unlock the door for him, and that was my plan today. But, as I lock the door, a car comes speeding into the parking lot, and parks right out front. Seeing as we have closed, I know I'm gonna have to tell this already angry-looking old lady that she's gonna have to wait till tomorrow.

I unlock the door and poke my head out. Me: I'm sorry ma'am, but we just closed, if there's something in particular you're looking for it’s possible they have it over in (neighboring supermarket). Her: What the heck do you mean you're closed? It's 3 O’clock in the afternoon! Me: Yes ma'am, we close at 3 on Sundays, I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

Her: Can't you let me in to get my prescription really quick?  At this point, I can tell it's not gonna be good. Me: Ma'am, I'm sorry but we have closed and are no longer allowed to process prescriptions. You're going to have to wait until tomorrow. Her: What about the man who's in there now? You don't seem to have a problem with him. Let me in!

Me: He walked into the store around 2:45 and we are having trouble processing his prescription. As soon as he's done he will be leaving as well. Her: it's only 3:05! Let me in! Me: Closed is closed, ma'am, I'm sorry. At this point I close the door and relock it, waiting for the man in the back to finish up. She begins pounding on the door, ordering to see my boss.

Luckily, he and the man just finished up, and they both walk up to the front door. As I unlock it for the man, this woman tries to FORCE HERSELF IN to get her prescription. At this point, my boss steps in. Him: Miss, I'm sorry but we are closed now. You'll have to come back tomorrow for your prescription. Her: What the heck is wrong with you people, you're denying me my medication! I need it!

Boss: How many doses do you have left? Her: Enough to last through Tuesday but I— Boss: Great, see you Tuesday. He closes the door in her face, which prompts more shouting. As we leave and lock up the door, she continues screaming at us until we all drive off. She was back today and got her prescription, somehow she survived through the night.

Tales from retailUnsplash

75. The Price Of Ignorance

This is a dialogue I had to have with a grown adult. It was a man who was looking to purchase a shirt in our store. He pointed at the price tag on a shirt and said, "Excuse me, what do these numbers represent? I said, "The numbers right after the dollar sign?" He said, "Yes". "That's the price of the shirt".  "Oh, I see! Thank you!" At least he was friendly.

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76. What We Do In The Shadows

I work at Starbucks and we have a camera that shows us the person ordering when they go through the drive-thru. Anyways, there was this couple that came through and I introduced myself over the headset. They asked me to hang on for a moment so they could decide, and this was nothing out of the norm. Well, shortly after they ask for a moment, they start going all out and making out.

The guy ripped off the girl's top and started kissing her chest and everything. My manager stopped it and let them know we could see them. When they pulled up to the window I had never seen two people look more embarrassed.

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77. Smoke Signals

I had to explain to a customer that toilet paper rolls shouldn't be returned to a store because it was not a decent thing to do. Oh, but it got grosser. She had used them all. I also had to explain to this same woman that the disabled staff member who couldn't talk didn't intend to scare or offend her by making noises at her and smiling.

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78. Buy And Sell

This older woman pulled up to my drive-thru at around 9-10 PM, close to closing time. She had a baby teacup chihuahua in her hand that was wearing a sash and a tilted pink plastic tiara. She talked a bit of nonsense, then after I found her order in the system, I went to grab her card/cash, but instead, she held out the dog. Like, just held it out there.

It looked like she was about to drop it so I grabbed it. After holding it for a few moments, completely flabbergasted, she explained she’s selling them for fifty bucks a pup. Trying to be polite, I lied and said I’d have to talk to my parents about it, gave her the dog, had her pay for her order, and sent her on her way.

It was the weirdest encounter, to this day, next to some lady that asked me to find someone to help her move. I ended up doing that myself with my dad’s help. She was a complete hot mess with problems out the wazoo.

Drive-thru workersShutterstock

79. The Usual Suspects

During high school, I worked at a grocery store that also offered home delivery. Several times daily, I would have people calling in to ask for "the usual". It was a fairly small store so we didn't have any systems to keep a history on customers, so we had to ask for their address as well. Half the time they would refuse to give it because "it's in the system".

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80. Sense Of Entitlement

I worked at a college and had conversations with helicopter parents that went like this: The parent would ask, "Can you look up the transactions on my child’s account and send them to me?" "Nope". "Why not?" "Because your child is an adult and we protect their privacy". Their response was always unsettling. "I’m their parent. They don’t need privacy from me!"

"That’s between you and your child. The laws protect their privacy from everyone, including their parent". "I’m their guardian and entitled to this information!" "Without a court order, 18-year-olds (or 22-year-olds for that matter) do not require guardians". "I’m going to report this to the Dean!" "Please do, as it will let them know I’m doing my job".

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81. Poultry Purse

I once complimented a woman on her purse that was in the exact shape of a chicken. It was made of colored rubber and was a really unique item. She then proceeds to tell me to hold on, gets out of the car and grabs an identical chicken purse. She gives it to me and proceeds to say that she has been "waiting for the right person to give this to". It was used and quite old.

Drive-thru workersPexels

82. Drive By Throw Up

We had an old lady who would come into our drive-thru nearly every night, about 15 minutes from closing, and order the same thing—a small chocolate ice cream cone. For small orders like that, we would take the order, make the order and hand it to the customer from the first window. She would get her cone and drive very slowly around the building. Normal enough, right? Oh, strap in.

She would then stop at the outlet of the drive-thru for about one minute and finish the ice cream. Then, she would open her door, lean way out and, straining against her seatbelt, stick her finger down her throat and puke the ice cream right back up in our driveway. So, part of our daily closing activities was to go wash the mess up with a hose.

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83. Novel Expectations

I had a woman one time use our computers to place a hold on a book that was on the shelf at another library, then come to the desk five minutes later to ask for it. I had to explain to her that the books don't just magically appear from other libraries, they get driven over after the holds get pulled. She seemed genuinely confused that someone wouldn't drive it over right away.

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84. Naughty List

Here are just a few examples I had to deal with while working at a hardware store customer service desk: If you wish to return an item you must present the item and your receipt. I cannot process a refund if you have neither. No, we do not sell asbestos. No, I cannot order some in for you. When water boils, it does indeed produce "bubbles".

So if the water is bubbling once it reaches temperature, your kettle is working properly. Zip ties are not simply "disposable handcuffs". They can be used for other purposes and it should not be concerning nor surprising that a hardware store sells them.

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85. Still Not Clean

I worked at a McDonald's in high school over 20 years ago and I still remember this one man. He pulled up and I nearly puked. He smelled of what I can only describe as rotting garbage, body odor and possibly a deceased animal. That smell haunts me to this day. There was also trash piled high in the car and the dashboard was covered in old hamburger wrappers.

I felt so bad for the guy. He handed me money from his coat pocket and it was wet, soggy cash. He dug out the change from his center console and there was a gritty substance on the coins. Now, I've handled deer guts and the like, but never in my life have I ever wanted to scrub my hands with boiling water, bleach and steel wool.

Drive-thru workersWikimedia.Commons

86. Mean Business

Too many times I need to explain the basics of business to grown adults. For example, to process a return, you need either the receipt or the physical product with you. Realistically, you should have both. If it’s just the receipt, you could have just kept the "defective" item. If it’s just the item, you could have stolen it or bought an identical thing at a cheaper retailer.

Most stores are fairly lenient with this because they don’t want trouble, and most customers are at least 60% honest. You can’t just go up to a register and say, "I bought some produce here and they went bad too fast. I don’t know what they’re called or how much I paid, I want a refund". Beyond that, people think that the absolute basics of a business are a "scam" when they first start figuring out that what we charge for items is more than what we pay the farmer or factory or artist.

When customers at stores or restaurants "do the math" themselves, they are constantly thinking things like, "I can make this dish for $5 at home if I also use my existing pantry staples, why is it $22 at the fancy gastropub?" or "I can get yarn at JoAnn’s for $7, why does this sweater cost $40?" They usually come to the extremely wrong conclusion "You just want to make money!"

Yeah, we do. In addition to the 900 other things that create higher costs for consumer goods other than raw materials, yes, businesses want to make a profit. And it’s impossible to explain that to an infuriated customer in a polite way. Once a customer starts saying that "big businesses only want to make money," the only way to answer their questions is both involved and extremely condescending. Turns out the response is not to answer their concerns at all.

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87. Subliminal Relationship

I found out after marrying my wife that she would go to the same Chick-fil-A drive-thru almost every day before work, which happened to be the same Chick-fil-A I worked at. I also ran the drive-thru five to six days a week and strictly in the mornings. So, for about a year, I saw my wife almost every day before I officially even met her and didn’t realize it.

Drive-thru workersShutterstock

88. That’s A Stretch

I had to explain to an adult woman that the rubber bands that were accidentally left on her lobster's claws were indeed not edible. I had assured her that they were safe for the food, you just couldn’t eat them. Not a minute later, I was called back after she attempted to eat said bands. Her teenage child just stared at her like she had three heads.

Explain to an adultPexels

89. A Cocktail Of Absurdity

Here are a few favorites as a bartender: A drink is a liquid, and it’s a bad idea to shake it around. Yes, the "This is a smoke-free area" sign also applies to people who are addicted. Yes, the people on the tables around you are inebriated. No, I'm not going to kick them out. Seriously, what were they expecting when entering a bar at 2:00 am?

You still have to pay for the entire meal even though you only ate half of it, especially if you asked us to pack the other half to take home. No, you're not allowed to test our beverage menu by taking a shot...unless you buy a shot. Exposure doesn’t pay my bills. Your kid is not going to get adult beverages from me, I don't care that it's his birthday.

No, we're not running a smuggling business in the back, you just watch too many movies. Also, did you believe that I'd tell you if it were the case? No, you can't pay in some weird cryptocurrency here. I don't know you are a "regular". You've been here twice, and one of those times I wasn't even working.

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90. "What The…?"

I worked at the airport and someone wanted to go through TSA with a two-liter bottle of Coca-Cola. I calmly explained that liquids weren’t allowed through security. The man gave the most genuine chuckle I’ve ever heard, and revealed the bizarre truth. He said, "This isn’t Coca-Cola! It’s gasoline!" My coworker beat me to a reaction when he very loudly exclaimed, "What the HECK?"

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91. Nature Made Over Man Made

I was working the drive-thru at Burger King during a snowstorm. A car pulls up and the driver orders a coke with no ice. When I hand them the coke, they empty it a bit, break off a couple icicles hanging from the car, put them in the coke, and drive off without saying a word. I feel like they didn’t know that our ice is free.

Drive-thru workersShutterstock

92. Moms Who Need To Change

I’ve had to tell a restaurant customer that you can’t change your baby on an unoccupied table. Would you take a dump on a restaurant's table? No, so why should it be any different for your baby? Poop is poop and that is a health code offense to be around food, not to mention people eating in a restaurant don't want to smell poop while they're eating.

Lady, that's what the bathroom is for! Why are some parents so disgusting and inconsiderate?

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93. A Penny For Your Thoughtlessness

I used to work at Aaron Brothers, and they had a famous buy a frame, get another for a penny sale. People would try to return one frame, which isn’t allowed because then you’re getting one frame for a penny. You have to return both frames. Seeing the blank stare of confusion as I explained that to people was always entertaining.

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94. Caught In A Jam

I used to work in a pancake restaurant. One day I was serving a customer, and he didn't even bother to read the menu. He asked for pancakes with some specific jam. I told him that we do not have that jam on the menu. His answer was eyebrow-raising. He said that I should go to the nearby shop and get some for him because he doesn't want to eat pancakes with anything else.

Yes, I needed to explain to an adult man that that's not how restaurants work.

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95. Taking The Temperature

I never thought anybody would need to be told "Yes, the ice cream cake, made only of ice cream, has to be kept in the freezer. No, the refrigerator won’t suffice. It will melt". This has happened many times over the years.

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96. Man’s Best Friend

When I worked at McDonalds, this guy would come through the drive-thru every couple of days and his dog would always be seated beside him in the passenger seat. The guy would order breakfast for himself, and a piece of bacon for his dog. After we’d seen him several times and come to know him and his pooch better, we’d give him some bacon and sausage in a separate box for his dog.

This was only when the store manager wasn’t around though, as she would have flipped out. The dog came to know our drive thru quite well. We’d hand the food to the guy and he would take the small box with the bacon and sausage and hold it out to his canine friend. The dog would then give the box a gentle sniff before carefully taking the box in his mouth, moving back to the passenger seat and nudging the box open to enjoy his feast.

Drive-thru workersWikimedia.Commons

97. What’s In The Box?

I worked at a Tim Horton's drive-thru and one time I saw an old lady with like 50 cartons of eggs in her car. I made a joke, saying, "looks like you could make your own breakfast," and she got real straight-faced and replied, "Oh honey, those aren't eggs". I still have zero clue what else you would store in egg cartons.

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98. The Customer Is Always Right, Especially This Lady

I was out to eat, and this younger lady was acting like a total witch in the restaurant to the staff. Everyone was obviously getting really embarrassed by her behavior…until this middle-aged lady piped up and said from her table, "Oh honey, you’re not pretty enough to act like that". I seriously could have burst out into applause.

Legendary Comebacks facts Shutterstock

99. No Connection

A very grumpy high-society woman came to the store saying her brand new 3,000-dollar Microsoft surface bought by her husband was defective because she could not get internet when she was on the move. I quickly realized she was talking about Wi-Fi, so I tried explaining to her how Wi-Fi actually works. Boy, was that a mistake!

I told her that she could not use her Wi-Fi outside her house, but that she could share her smartphone internet connection. She would have none of it. She said I was lying to her and making fun of her. She even asked to speak to my manager, who then proceeded to tell her the exact same thing, almost to the word. She left screaming.

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100. Life Is A Box Of Chocolates

This conversation ended with a customer throwing a large bag of Lay’s Sour Cream and Onion potato chips at my head. It was a woman who came into the store looking to buy a box of chocolates. But there was one huge problem. She didn’t have any money. So this customer proposed that she take the chocolates now and come back later to pay when she had money".

Do you expect me to go all the way home and bring back the money?" she asked. I said, "Yes, because other than that it’s called shoplifting and we will call security". "But I need these," she pleaded. I just said no. That’s when the chips started flying.

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101. 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 authorities, 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 authorities. 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.

Retail Moments FactsPexels

102. Blonde Boomerang

I worked for a big chain grocery store as bagger and cart wrangler. There was this one overweight blond woman who would come in all time and cause chaos to no end. One example of her ridiculous and unnecessary nonsense included buying a 15-pound turkey and complaining that it tasted bad and wanting to return it.

She presented a platter with an empty carcass except for one piece of meat on one bone. Another time, she bought a $37 plant, did not water it, showed up a year and a half later with the plant dead as a doornail, and demanded a refund. Then she bought a grill, used 10 gallons of gasoline as fuel, caused an understandable fire/explosion, came back with receipt and charred grill, and demanded a refund. I could go on.

This would be a weekly, if not bi-weekly, happening. It got to the point where many cashiers would see her enter the store, turn off their light, and leave. Now, when I say she made a fuss, I'm not talking about your normal "I want to speak to your manager" type deal. Oh no, she went beyond that and went even further.

She would rant and rave, throw herself on the floor, roll around, throw things, call 9-1-1, which I witnessed and kept count at 87 times, and pull out her cell phone filming herself being "victimized" to report us to the media. She was eventually banned from the store after years of this. I heard stories that she began terrorizing our neighbor branch 7 blocks down the road.

Lazy People factsShutterstock

103. Don’t Be Greedy

These Karens are seriously out of control. I worked in a clothing store that would occasionally send out $10 and $25 coupons to people. For obvious reasons, you can only use them once, so we were told to rip them up and throw them away after scanning them. The anger that would fill the old ladies’ faces when I ripped that coupon in half and threw it in the garbage after scanning it was scary.

Once, a customer angrily demanded that I give her the coupon back so she could use it again, so I scribbled on it with a black sharpie and gave it to her with a "have a nice day". I really shouldn’t be in customer service.

104. Every Office Needs An Otis

A while back I was working in an office that allowed dogs. It was an open floor plan and since customers never came into the office, we kept the dog food and water bowls right by the front door, just because it was the most convenient space and no one else would see them but us who worked there. Of the six of us who worked in the main office area, I was the only one who didn’t have a dog and I always felt horribly left out.

To make matters worse, across the way was a doggie daycare. One day, a very frantic woman came in and she had an absolutely massive Basset Hound with her. Usually, the only people who came into the office were associates who had appointments with someone working there, but it was rare they brought their dogs. She ran up to me and said, "Do you work here?"

I said, "Yes, how can I help you?" And she said, "I wasn’t sure if you took walk ins but I read online I could just drop him off? I tried to call but no answer". I didn’t know what she was talking about at that point and I said, "Come again? Who did you call exactly?" Thinking if I could just saddle her off to whoever she came to see, I wouldn’t have to decipher her problem.

She said, "Well it doesn’t matter now. Look, something urgent has come up and I really need to leave him here. Here’s his food he likes and I’ll be back in a few hours and—" At this point I wasn’t thinking of the doggie daycare. I thought maybe she was a friend of someone here. I said, "Well alright, can I get your name please?" And she said her name and then asked if I needed her to sign anything.

I was so confused at this point I just said, "Why would I need you to sign something?" And she left almost immediately. So I took Otis (the dog) to the back and showed him to my coworkers and no one knew the woman or dog. I was worried she wouldn’t come back, but at the same time, my wish for an office dog had been granted! And Otis was supremely chill.

All he did all day was lie around and drool onto his own ears. I just freshened him up every now and then, took him out every couple hours, and he was happy as a clam on a big cushy dog bed we thankfully had an extra of. He just loved attention from anywhere he could get it. At the end of the day the woman, thank God, came back. She said, "Thanks, you’re a lifesaver. How was he?"

I said, "He was a champ". And was about to say "But why is he here" when she said, "That’s a relief. Most kennels say he gets anxious around other dogs. I heard you operated at a much higher capacity, I was thrilled to see you had so few clients in the room at one time. So, how much do I owe?" It honestly took me this long to realize what had happened.

She thought we were the dog daycare. Now, I probably should’ve corrected her. But I loved my day with the office dog and I did want to get paid for supervising this strange dog all day. I just threw out the number that sounded fair and appropriate "That’ll be $20". I said. She replied "Reaalllly?!" In this very high tone, and I couldn’t tell if I’d overshot or undershot.

But she paid me and left. My coworkers were laughing hysterically when they realized what had happened and we thought it would just be a good story for the future. Wrong. The next week...she came back! She said we were so much more affordable and less overcrowded than her other place, and that she was happy to use us. I was glad for the company so just took him.

I didn’t think there was any way she couldn’t have at least some idea we weren’t a dog daycare. The whole ordeal was so strange I just figured, "don’t question a good thing". I was much younger and dumber then. Not long after, Otis started getting dropped off two, sometimes even three or four days a week. I was in heaven. He was such a love. And he made fast friends with the delivery guys and visitors.

One day, we took our office Christmas card photo and Otis was over that day, so we included him. In a Santa hat. It was pretty great. But it turns out Otis’ owner was friends with one of our clients who I guess happened to have the card out on her table or was kind enough to display it alongside her other holiday cards. Because one day, Otis’ owner came in holding the card and walked up to me and said, "I can’t even believe I’m asking this but... is that my dog in this photo? This isn’t a dog daycare at all. This is just an office, isn’t it". I froze in my tracks.

She said it with a note of surprise, as though she was looking around and putting it all together for the first time. No coincidence that this was the first time she wasn’t in some crazy rush either. She was like, "Then who are all these other dogs?!" And I explained. I was terrified she was going to demand her money back, or worse, take some sort of action against us for misrepresenting ourselves as a dog care business, or complain to corporate.

Instead, she basically said, "Why didn’t you ever say anything!" And I explained we just really liked having Otis around. She stopped for a minute and seemed to be thinking and said, "Is that right?" And I said yes and told the story of how I was the only one in the office without a dog so loved the company. She seemed a little flummoxed or hesitant, understandably, because the whole thing was so weird.

She turned to my coworker and asked if I was telling the whole truth. I don’t know why she thought my coworker, also a stranger to her, was any more trustworthy than me, but hey. Strange times. Coworker backed me up. So she said, "Well, I wish you’d said something sooner. Could’ve saved me a lot of embarrassment with my friend back there. Alright, I have to get going. See you at 4:00". And she left Otis!

I couldn’t believe it! I said, "So he can stay?!" And she replied, "Where else could I find someone to watch him one on one all day for $20?" And off she went. Otis stayed my office dog until his family moved away, luckily right around the same time I took a new job.

I don't work hereShutterstock

Sources:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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