Working employees see and do a lot of different stuff on the daily. From stocking the shelves, organizing clothes, to dealing with crazy customers, these people see it all. In this piece, workers share their customer horror stories. Workers in retail, convenience stores, book stores and all types of businesses share their crazy stories. Keep in mind all stories are edited for clarity.
"I worked at Target's electronics section in 2010 when Wii's were all the craze. Right before Christmas time, people would come in RIGHT when we opened, buy our whole stock and sell them online for double what they paid. This obviously prevented families from the ability to go to Target and just buy a Wii, so we made a rule that one person could buy 2 Wii's per day. A man came in smiling like he won the lottery and said, 'I'm buying all the Wii's you can give me.' There was a long line of people behind him that looked outraged.
Me: 'Sir, the limit per customer is two Wii's.'
Him: 'No, I got here first, so I'm going to buy what I asked for.'
Me: 'Sir, I'm sorry that you feel that way, but i can only sell you two.'
Him: 'Oh you're sorry? No what you are is deaf because I already told you two times. Call your manager. NOW.'
So our manager asked him to leave, and he was yelling he was going to file a BBB report. I wanted to dive the counter and beat his greedy behind, but...you know...its illegal and stuff."
"I used to work at a haunted house.
I worked both ends of the venue when it was slow. I would sell tickets and then jump into costume to scare. I was pretty good at my job.
Family of three going through, pretty basic stuff. The father is jumpy but looks like he is having a good time, the mother and daughter are terrified. I take advantage of one of my favorite spots towards the end to give them a good finishing scare. I jump out, yell, and then the daughter turns 180 and runs face-first into a wall. I take off my mask and radio my buddy to turn the lights all the way on. She is bleeding pretty bad but I can't tell if her nose is broken.
I lead them out to the lobby, grab the first aid kit, paper towels, instant ice pack, and a cold bottle of water. I start to apologize but before I can finish the father goes all crazy on me. Starts off just yelling and poking me in the chest. Then it escalates to 'WHY IS THAT WALL THERE' and shoving. The whole time his wife and daughter are telling him to calm down and that she is fine.
Me being me, I laugh when he asked why a wall was there, and he got really handsy. I backed off, told him if she was fine they could leave. 'No buddy, I'm gonna kick you to the curb.' I clocked out then and there, and walked out to the parking lot. Still dressed as Jason Vorhees. Nothing ended up happening except him yelling at me more. OH and some guy in the parking lot yelling, 'AWW YEAH, THIS DUDE ABOUT TO FIGHT JASON.'"
"I used to work in a bowling alley. Our policy with the bumper rails (or gutter guards, whatever you want to call them) was that they were generally for kids 7 and under, but we could bend the rule if the kid was having lots of issues, and we could be sure that they wouldn't throw so hard as to break them. Unfortunately we didn't have the kind that went up and down electronically, or this could have all been avoided.
Anyways, this woman comes in with her 9-year-old son, and asks me to put up the rails for him. I tell her our policy, and that he should try out a few frames to see how he does without them before I put them up. Halfway through explaining this, this woman starts shrieking at me that it's all bad, and she wants to see my manager, and there's a grown man playing on a lane with bumpers (with his 4-year-old son), but her kid couldn't have them. This went on for a good 10 minutes of her yelling at me and my manager, all while this little boy is standing there crying.
So we end up getting her calmed down, and on a lane. 5 minutes later, she comes up yelling that her son sucks at bowling and needs the rails. So my manager reaches into the cash drawer, slaps her money on the counter and tells her that she's no longer welcome at that bowling center. And she leaves, bawling son in tow."
"Guy came in, and ordered a couple of Spicy sandwiches. Which, for the Land of the Kings, are normal chicken sandwiches with spicy sauce on them, instead of the patties themselves being spicy.
Co-worker: 'Here are your spicy chickens.'
Guy: 'Can I have the sauce with them?'
Co-worker: 'The...sauce? There's already spicy sauce on it.'
Guy: 'No! The sauce! Ranch! I want ranch sauce!'
Co-worker: 'Oh, Ranch! It will be $.11'
We're one of those stores that charge for sauces and have a sign up saying so.
The guy proceeds to flip out, claiming that he wanted sauce for his sandwich, and he shouldn't be charged for it. Eventually my manager came into the story and tried explaining to him our policy. At that point he flips out more, claiming we don't have a sauce policy and that it's not written down anywhere. My manager walked a foot to her left where the sign was and pointed it out to him. He flips out more and says this little gem:
'You don't even work here!'
At this point, she looked down at her shirt that has a decent sized logo on it, walks to the phone and tells the guy to get out, or she is calling the police. This guy apparently was raving mad over a sauce and causing a pretty hefty scene for a decent amount of time. He hightailed it out as soon as she said she was calling the police.
I love this manager, as she's one of the managers who doesn't cave in for most customers who pull that 'if I get angry enough I will get my way bit'
And yes, I realize this was all over $.11 but hey, not my call.
But yeah, to this day we laugh about it and go up to her and say 'Don't you know, despite wearing your uniform, clocking in, and ordering us around, you don't work here?'"
"Recently we had a switch in Assistant Managers, and our new one doesn't mess around. The customers have been worse and worse. I was doing customer service one night when a woman with three kids comes up, an older girl, a boy around 8, and an infant in a stroller. The little boy wanted to pay for his toys separately, two WWF action figures, that were 4.99 each. He only had enough money to buy one, in which hearing the news, sat in the middle of the walkway and bawled for 20 minutes.
In the meantime, I have other customers who want to check out, my other cashier is on lunch, and the only other person is in the fitting room who can't leave as my manager is doing interviews. (Oh yes, I have been asking for full time and keep getting turned down, but we can hire other people, that's so intelligent!) So I tell the mother I have to suspend the transaction and take the other people while she gets her son in order. She screams at me for being a bigot. So she gets her son up off the floor and he pays for his one item. However, as I am putting the money in the drawer and getting out the change, I notice both items are gone.
Me: 'Can I please have the other figure back?'
Mother: 'Now you're accusing my son of stealing?'
Me: 'If he took both action figures, yes ma'am I am. He only paid for one.'
Mother: 'Jimmy, give back the other one, the mean lady won't let you have it.'
Me: thinking seriously lady!
The child throws the figure at me then goes running outside the door. I should note that our store is in the middle of a town center where there are other stores and lots of traffic. This child is now running in and out of traffic and he almost got hit twice.
Me: 'Ma'am, your child almost got hit.'
Mother: 'He will be fine!'
Me: 'Please go get your son.'
Mother: 'You telling me how to raise my children?'
Me: 'NO! I am simply telling you that your son could get very hurt.'
Mother: 'And it would be your fault for accusing him of stealing, you hag!'
Me: 'If you say so!'
Mother: 'The customer is always right, I pay your wages! I am never coming back again.'
Me: 'Ok, have a nice day!' (transaction done).
The other customers in line applauded me for handling the situation with dignity. I apologized for the wait several times. A minute later we hear a crash. The son that was playing in the middle of the street was hit by a car. Good thing the car was only going 15 miles an hour at the most, so all he got was a few scratches and bruises, no serious damages.
My manager has appeared at this point and I explain what is going on. The whole thing was caught on security camera (not the accident) so she believed me. The woman then proceeds to yell at the driver that the reason he was playing in traffic was because I accused her son of stealing...right..."
"I worked at a bookstore. We sold used and new books.
This lady kept insisting that we were trying to scam her by labeling used books as new. She methodically unshelfed two dozen or so books and brought them up to the counter, to argue one-by-one that they were actually used, not new.
None of the books were used. We tried showing her that some were published literally three days ago, but she wasn't buying it. I explained that the publisher chose to print the book on off-white pages with uneven page sizes, but she wasn't buying it. I said that the dust jacket just got dinged in shipment, it happens a lot, best I can do is 10% off, but she wasn't buying it.
She'd do this nine or ten times, over the course of a month. She would come in, pick out about twenty books, bring them all up and argue that each one of them was used, and we were scamming people. She'd involve other customers in the charade, get loud, and threaten to file complaints with the Better Business Bureau. Eventually, someone would have to give her a coupon or discount to get her to shut up so we could check out the rest of the customers, and she'd leave.
This persisted for the better part of a month, each time the ownership group declined to kick her out. Problem was, she was actually spending some money, even if she only paid 80% of what everyone else did, we still were making money.
Then she made a new hire cry. The assistant manager was late back from lunch, and discounts have to be approved by a manager. So she was holding up the line for ten minutes, calling the poor checkout girl all sorts of nasty things, questioning her intelligence.
I was never so happy to kick someone out and tell them they're trespassing if they come back. Lady was a massive witch, thought she was smarter and knew more about books than every single one of us."
"I work at a retail place off the highway, so we get tons of tourists, and your more-than-average amount of pricks and straight terrible humans. The most terrible customer I've ever had, and trust me I've had tons, was a white, kinda rougher man probably in his late 50s. I card the guy for his beverage, being the law and all, and said guy goes nuts. It was as if I triggered something in him. It was an extremely busy weekend day, and there he is, holding up a line, threatening 'to have me fired,' and how I 'was full of it.' While he makes this ridiculous scene, his wife stands there, apologizing to me over and over and over, and shows me her ID. The look on her face was heartbreaking, because I instantly knew she saw this before. She says right before she left, and after he stormed off, 'I really am sorry, he really doesn't like to be carded. Sorry again and have a nice day.' Turns out, the man found his way back to where the majority of our employees were, and got in a fight with one of our managers to the point of where they came 'extremely close' to calling the police, and told him to immediately leave the store before they do. Ah, summer."
"I used to work for Walmart at the Customer Service desk at one point. One day I had a customer bring up a Drivers License that they found on the floor near the front door. I figured that I should try to page the person using the intercom to the front using the name shown on the License. After 10 minutes or so, nobody had come up to claim it, so I set it in the back and asked a manager to come up to lock it in the lost and found. At this point, I assumed it was the end of it all and that the person might call later to see if it was left behind.
Roughly 20 minutes after my original page, a very loud spoken woman gets in line with a child around the age of 4. She is sitting in one of our electric carts, yelling at her child (who is standing next to her) to sit on the chair in the corner of customer service. I finish up assisting the person in front of her and go to move the items they returned off the desk, so I can assist this blaring mother and her child. Before I can even move anything- no... before I can even make eye contact this woman begins screaming at me asking what I want from her. At this point, I had completely forgotten about the drivers license. I was so dumbfounded at the fact that she was screaming at me for what I thought was for no reason. I maintained my cool as much as I could and explained to her that she waited in line and came up to me, so I needed to know how I can help her. She then claims that I have been screaming her name over the entire store for almost 10 minutes straight. This is where I remember Drivers License and become relieved that someone is here to claim it. I was under the impression the customer would feel the same way after finding out I had their license as well.
This thing screams even louder and begins to tell me about how I have wasted over 20 minutes of her time. She starts throwing her items on my counter telling me that I'm going to check her out up here, and that she refuses to wait in line. On top of that, she starts to tell me that I wasted so much of her time, that all her frozen food is ruined and says she wants a $50 gift card and for her grocery trip today to be free. At this point, I'm floored- I'm ready to jump over the table and cut her license up in front of her face. I somehow manage to maintain my cool and call a manager up to handle everything. A manager comes up and this thing keeps screaming, telling my manager that I deserve to be fired. My manager luckily takes my side and tells the woman that she can replace her frozen items for new ones that have been in the freezer and lets her know that she won't be getting any gift cards. This lady continues to throw a fit and starts screaming at her young 4-year old daughter to follow her (keep in mind, she's still in one of the electric carts). She left her stuff near the front door and didn't purchase anything. I was given an extra break due to the whole situation and was glad it was all over and done with.
A week or so later, a couple people from corporate show up, schedule meeting with me and my manager. Yup, that's right- this woman even called Walmart corporate and filed a complaint. She told them all about how I deserved to lose my job, how 'rude' I was, and how I had wasted her time by not sending someone to find her in the store and deliver her license. The meeting started off with corporate making it sound like I was in the wrong. I asked the both of them if this woman ever mentioned that she spoke with a manager, and of course, she didn't. To wrap it up, they pretty much had me explain what happened and then checked with the manager that came up that day. After hearing my side and having my manager back me up, I think they figured out that this lady was just a nutjob looking for free stuff. I didn't hear anything of it after that."
"My dad's stories, there's a tie for which is the worst. One woman was crazy and the other was an idiot.
When I was young, I'd come into his work some days and clean up for a little money. At the time, he was manager at a car repair/tire shop. One day, a woman comes in, and she was furious. I was maybe 11 years old and cleaning the front desk, so I got to hear it all. She was very rude. Screaming and yelling because of the 'bad service.' The so called 'bad service' was her waiting maybe two minutes behind people who had already been there. When she got to the counter, she voiced how displeased she was with the service she had been provided previously. What could a car repair place possibly do to make someone so furious about fixing a car? Well, she didn't originally know what was wrong, so the employees had to test drive the car to figure it out. She was angry because someone trying to figure out what was wrong with her car used the air conditioning on a day when it was humid as ever and over 100 degrees. She left after yelling for a while. I still have no idea what she hoped to accomplish with this.
The other one is more recent. Same position, different company. An older lady comes in to leave a box of doughnuts because she was so pleased with her service the previous day. That's so nice of her, what could possibly go wrong? Well, my dad hadn't been working on the day she got the service and the people from the previous day were off now. So, dad sees a box of doughnuts, having not eaten anything at all, he takes one. Halfway through it, the lady notices this and starts complaining. Basically saying he didn't deserve it, the ones who helped her did, blah blah blah. He explained they weren't working that day, and she's still very displeased. When you're halfway through a doughnut, do you even put it back? Of course not, he finishes it. The next day, he gets a call from his boss saying that a complaint was filed and asked what happened. They both laughed it off, what did she expect to happen? Firing someone over eating a doughnut that was left for people who helped her?"
"So, I manage a pretty quiet, laid back, local bookstore in a pretty small town. The owner also happens to own a bar down the street, and we frequently have various people coming to talk to him about bar business. Therefore, last Friday towards closing time I didn’t think it was odd that a man came in asking to speak with the owner. I politely informed him that he was probably not coming back since it was so close to closing time, and that he should be back in on Monday morning if he would like to come back then. The man then starts telling me a story regarding the bar that he wanted to speak to the owner. Apparently, there was a special on the board for $2 drinks, but there was also a 'deal wheel' that had been spun and landed on 2-for-1 drinks. This wheel special negated the special on the board, since you end up getting two drinks for $3.25, which is cheaper. He was therefore charged $3.25 for two drinks instead of $2.00 for one, and they would not give him a refund… blah blah blah.
Seeming not too crazy at the time, he asks if there is another owner of the bar. I tell him there is, his name is so-and-so. Meanwhile, a customer who was teacher in town has come up and is patiently waiting at my register to buy a book. I inform the man that I will ring the customer out quickly and try to find out the spelling of the co-owner’s name. (Keep in mind that I’m a pretty average sized girl in my mid twenties, and the other girl working is just 20 and smaller than me.) And now the fun begins!
Here’s a short version of the ensuing 'conversation':
Crazy Man: 'WELL I’M A CUSTOMER TOO!'
Me: 'Yes, sir, but this man is waiting to buy something. It will take me a few minutes to try to find the correct spelling of the name. Excuse me for a moment.' (I begin walking towards the register.)
Crazy Man: 'WELL I WAS HERE FIRST! I’M A CUSTOMER TOO! WHY AREN’T YOU HELPING ME?!?!?'
Crazy Man: 'YOU DON’T KNOW HOW TO RUN A BUSINESS YOU PRICK! I’M A CUSTOMER TOO! WHY AREN’T YOU HELPING ME! TAKE A BUSINESS CLASS, YOU DUMB WITCH! EFF YOU!'
Me: 'Listen, I have nothing to do with the bar! I’ve helped you all I could, I run a bookstore not the bar! What do you want from me?!'
Meanwhile, my co-worker who has been sorting books in the basement comes upstairs…
Coworker: 'WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT HER?!?!'
Crazy Man: 'WHY AREN’T YOU BOTH UPSTAIRS TO HELP PEOPLE?! YOU WITCHES!'
Me: 'You’d better get out, RIGHT NOW!'
Crazy Man: 'GO EFF YOURSELF!'
Me: 'WHY DON’T YOU BUZZ OFF!' Turning to customer 'I am so sorry sir, this is crazy! I’ll get you rung out.'
Crazy Man: 'I’M A CUSTOMER TOO!!!!!!'
Awesome Customer: 'You’d better leave right now buddy. You can’t talk to these girls like this!'
Crazy Man: 'EFF YOU, YOU EFFING PRICKS!'
Coworker: 'WHY DON’T YOU LEAVE?!'
Awesome Customer: 'Listen, I’m a high school teacher. I put up with stuff like this every day with my TEENAGE students. Leave.'
Crazy Man: 'WELL EFF YOU!'
Me: finishing transaction and turning to crazy man 'JESUS CHRIST! GET OUT BEFORE WE CALL THE COPS!'
Finally, crazy man begins to leave… while screaming AT THE TOP OF HIS LUNGS: 'EFF YOU, YOU SATAN WORSHIPING PRICKS!'
I apologize profusely to our customer and thank him for sticking up for us and waiting until the crazy guy left. All over a $1.25 at a different business! Thank god I work at a store where our boss encourages us to stick up for ourselves (cursing people out and all) if we need to. Needless to say, it took me and my co-worker a while to settle down.
Later, I go over to the bar to have a drink, calm down and tell my buddies who work there the whole story. It turns out he had gotten kicked out forever for grabbing a girls butt the same night of the drink special incident. And he had come in the next day, bank statements in hand, to tell everyone involved he 'would have their jobs' and dispute the $1.25… turns out he never even had any money in his account to lose. He got laughed out of the bar by the bouncers, who apparently are harder to take your misplaced frustration out on than 2 girls in a book shop."