The service and retail industry is full of crazies, the folks in these stories can certainly attest to that! These workers share the times they've gotten back at rude customers and got away with it!
"I currently work at a gas station, and it isn't the best part of town, to say the least. Every shift I work I encounter many people I would rather not deal with; people that are inebriated, high, and almost always rude. Another part of my job that can cause problems is asking for identification.
Two weeks ago I had a young man come in who looked under the age of 20. He placed a bottle of Powerade and a bag of Cheetos on my counter, which I rang up. After that point things escalated pretty quickly, this is our altercation;
'I need a pack of Swishers, white grape.'
'Okay, can I see your ID please?'
'I'm sorry sir, but I cannot sell this to you without seeing your ID.'
'You heard me you b**! You're not going to sell me that?'
'I'm sorry, but no I am not. No ID, no sale.'
I had kept my composure until this point, after what he said next, I lost it.
'You’re a stupid freaking b**,' he said again.
I pulled his bag off the counter and set it on the floor beside me, and snapped.
'I'm not selling you jack, and I am not going to be disrespected like that. You need to leave.'
'Oh, you're not going to sell me my stuff you b**? I’m paying for it, give it to me,' he retorted.
'Heck no I'm not selling it to you, I have the right to refuse the sale, and that's exactly what I'm doing. You’re not paying for squat, because I’m not selling you a dang thing. Get the heck out of my store before I call the police.'
'Call the police you b**. They won't do anything.'
So I pick up the phone and call dispatch. Once he realizes I’m actually on the phone with the police he quickly swipes something from the counter and holds it up in the air as he walks out the door.
So, my report changes from a disturbance and a customer harassing me, to a report of theft. I walk out the door of the store to give the officer a description of the vehicle he gets in, and as I'm standing there he drives towards me and nearly hits me. I quickly step back, and as he drives past I am able to give the officer a tag number, and the direction he turns once he pulls out.
About 10 minutes later an officer shows up at the store and informs me that they pulled him over about a mile down the road and that he had been arrested.
He then tells me that he only stole a candy bar, and asked if we (the store) wanted to press charges. I contacted my manager, who said that she wanted him banned from the store, but since it was only a candy bar we weren't going to press charges for the theft.
The next day my manager asked me to tell her exactly what happened, and I did, including how I responded. Her response was that had she known the whole story, and how he spoke to me, she would have pressed charges.
Considering we didn't press charges I was curious as to why he was arrested. So I looked up the arrest record. He had two charges of failure to appear in court and driving on a suspended license. It makes sense now why he refused to show his ID.
I snapped and got away with it. His rudeness led to him being arrested. He probably thought I wouldn't call the police, but he chose the wrong person to disrespect that day."
"I was walking by early in the morning (before the butcher counter was officially open - the boys were setting it up), and an older man in his mid-60s, was verbally abusing one of the young fellows behind the counter. I forget the exact words he said, but the gist of it was that he was being forced to wait until the counter opened. The young man behind the counter was quite polite and apologetic and said that he’d be happy to help, but that his immediate responsibility was to put the product out for display, which would take just a few minutes.
Well, the old man was having none of that and began to use truly vile language, calling the worker some absolutely filthy things.
Now, my first job was as a bag-boy at this chain many, many years ago (though a different location) and I’ve never forgotten the experience.
One of the rules at this supermarket for employees was that they were, quite literally, not permitted to defend themselves - they are instructed to simply accept abuse - and I was not about to let that slide. I absolutely empathized with the poor kid behind the counter.
It was really starting to get nasty.
Right as the old man was screaming 'I could go to Walmart and they would fall over themselves to lick my butt if I wanted!' I stepped in between the man and the counter, got in his face, and bellowed, 'Then freaking go there and stop harassing someone who’s trying to do his job!'
I am known for having a very intense personality, and someone yelling in his face rocked him back on his heels for a bit. He shook it off, though, and started going after me. 'Don’t you tell me what to do, you piece of trash! This place sucks, all the employees are terrible at their jobs-' but I didn’t let him finish, as I took a step forward and snarled:
'Go choke on a tampon, you bleeding old man! Go on! Go to Walmart and leave these people alone, or better yet, do us all a favor and drown yourself in the bathtub, you miserable grouch!'
To reiterate my point, I roared 'NOW BUG OFF!' at the top of my lungs, which sent him away, practically tripping over his own feet in his haste to getaway.
Several other employees had arrived to watch the confrontation, and they burst into applause when he went into full retreat. I’m apparently something of a legend there, now - every once in a while, an employee will point me out to a new hire or give me a grin and a thumbs up when I do my shopping.
I did talk to the young man behind the counter after the incident. He thanked me profusely for taking the heat off of him but asked me why.
I told him about how working at that supermarket chain was my first job, and that I knew about company policy regarding abusive customers.
'You’re not allowed to defend yourself, and that’s not fair,' I said, 'I don’t work here, so that’s not a problem for me - but now, he’s going to be thinking about me, not about you. And if he does come back, he’ll do so knowing that his behavior is not going to fly with other customers, let alone you guys.'
The guys in the butcher section absolutely love me now!”
"In my late 20’s I managed the hunting and trapping sections of a sporting goods store. We had a customer come in wearing a pair of dirty jeans and a wife beater style tank top, with about a 14-inch elaborate fantasy knife under his left arm. He clearly wanted everyone to see it and seemed to get off on making the girls at the registers nervous as he kept gesturing to It and touching the knife handle as he talked to them. He then repeated the show with a tiny gay man we had working the fly fishing section. He was making the rounds trying to be intimidating and generally making a clown of himself.
One of the guys working the counter and I decided to divert the guy's attention to us instead of the kids. So I started by walking right up to him and saying something along the lines of 'Wow you must really have a tiny shlong. That knife has to be comically big to offset for something.'
He turned beet red and started stammering about how I shouldn’t talk to a customer that way. So I asked him what he's looking to buy, he said something like he's just looking, and that I should mind my own business. I then asked him if he's so insecure that he feels the need to act threatening to young girls hoping to scare them.
By now the guy was just about to lose his mind and put his hand on the knife again, I politely warned him that if he wants to try anything with his knife to try me. My coworker and I were jokingly betting I could put a few rounds of .45 ACP in him before my coworker could. Then I started joking with my coworker about how many times we could shoot this guy before he hit the ground. We sorta agreed that I could probably empty my 1911 into the guy before he hit the floor but he'd be dead from the first one or two. We also agreed that my coworker would probably get about half his Glock magazine into the guy but again more than needed.
It was funny to watch the guy go from puffed up and trying to intimidate to realizing he's just a stain I have to shampoo out of the carpet if he keeps it up. As he left he announced that he was going to call my boss and get me fired, I cheerfully invited him to as the whole thing is on tape. I called the store owner the second the guy was outside and told him exactly what happened. My boss gave me a bonus.
I never touched my piece, my 1911 was concealed the entire time. The moron just didn't seem to realize that he couldn't intimidate everyone. And it was the highlight of my week to watch the guy go from thinking he's Rambo to realizing he's not tough, or intimidating. Just a coward tucking his tail."
"I used to work as a cashier at a grocery market chain about five years ago. I got promoted to self-checkout, and I worked the same hours every week. People began to remember me and approached me for a discussion while I was supposed to be working this touch screen thing, but most of my time was spent leaning against the wall and yawning.
Anyway, there was this rather short, shrew of a woman who came in every other week. She was very rude, she wouldn’t talk she would yell, and she was proficient in name-calling. I could deal with her once every two weeks.
However, this particular week we were having a sale on Coke products, cans to be specific. To game the system she made two trips inside, once with her own club card and once with someone else’s. She always came through self check-out, and I didn’t care she was taking advantage of the club card system, I just didn’t want to be yelled at.
So, at the end of her transaction, she had about eight plastic bags full of items in her cart, and six boxes of soda cans… and a stack full of coupons. The self-checkout rep has to manually insert the coupons and as I was doing this she was screaming at me to go faster, how she was very busy today and didn’t have time for this.
Then, and I remember this very clearly, I had a stack of coupons that went through and a stack of coupons that didn’t work. The protocol is to match the item in the bag to the item on the coupon. I started looking through her bags (admittedly I should have asked first, but I had such a migraine at this point it hadn’t crossed my mind) and she started screaming, cursing, calling me things I don’t particularly feel comfortable broadcasting over the Internet.
Finally, after about 15 minutes of this entire ordeal, I looked at her and said something along the lines of 'I’m a human being, you can’t treat people like this.'
She looked confused, that was the first time she’d ever heard me say anything. Then I dumped everything out of her plastic bags, tore the paid-for stickers off of her cans of soda, canceled the transaction and pushed her cart to an express checkout line. She was yelling at me the entire time. I guess it’s all state of mind though because that yelling felt more like music.
She complained to the manager ten minutes later as she angrily gestured toward me across the front end. The manager walked right to me after the conversation, but then just passed me by and told me to keep up the good work. I never found out if that was sarcasm, and I never found out what the woman said about me."
"So it's early in the morning and I have been at the front desk of the hotel I work at for about 30 minutes. The lobby is full of business travelers and regular guests, who have all come by here and there for a chat, or picking up a paper etc. since I came on the desk.
This woman, who is so angry that she seems to be vibrating at frequency of anger that I’ve never seen before, rushes to where I am. She throws her suitcase down with an angry flourish and SLAMS a piece of paper on the counter right in front of me.
She pounds her other angry little clawed fist on the counter. She spits at me: “WHAT THE HECK IS THIS B*?! YOU’RE F__ CHEATING ME, YOU LOUSY IDIOT! WHAT THE HECK IS THIS RATE GARBAGE?! YOU BETTER FIX THIS RIGHT THE HECK NOW!'
No 'Good morning, my good and helpful human being.' This lady woke up and picked anger.
The lobby goes silent. Everyone is utterly captivated by this out of her gourd escaped mental patient/woman screaming at me.
I’m just sort of stunned, as it’s fairly rare that a guest screams for any reason other than imminent death by defenestration, fire, or rodent infestation (which never happened at our property I may add). And I’ve never, EVER, been called the C-word, EVER in a customer service setting. I shouldn’t have dealt with her. But I did anyways.
I’m afraid to look at her bill but I pull it toward me, and I notice she had been staying at the business rate. The rate is definitely slightly higher than usual; but just as we’d been informed earlier in the week, the business rate had gone up slightly about 37 cents. I’m not sure of the exact figure anymore, so I will just use 37 cents. This is not a rate we set at the hotel, nor can we adjust; and I explain this to her as calmly as possible.
'Ah, yes.' I say as I point to the rate on the bill.
'I’m not sure if your booking agent informed you, but the business rate went up 37 cents per night since you made your reservation. That’s a negotiated rate between the business and the hotel - it’s nothing I can adjust here, unfortunately. You might need to inform your travel management desk that the rate has changed. Would you like to leave the bill on the credit card on file?'
I thought being calm and rational would calm her down a bit and ease the violent shaking, seeing as the rate change wasn’t $37 a night, but 37 measly cents. But no.
The vibrations went up in frequency, and her face took on these quite alarming shades of purple and red. Spittle. Claws. Apoplectic rage. I’ve never seen anyone this angry, ever. It’s paralyzingly terrifying and also infuriating to be at the brunt. About now I’m also getting that little adrenaline spike that makes my hands shake like they’re going to pick up the letter opener right over there and…no. I’m a professional.
She continues to spew venom at me:
'Listen you stupid prick. You’re gonna tappity tap with your stupid fat fingers, and change this f** rate, and give me a new receipt while I sit here and make sure you do it. So do it, you ugly loser piece of trash, working a lousy job! You should be kissing my butt...'
She went on, in a similar vein, questioning my legitimacy, my weight, my perceived lack of education. I really should’ve just walked away and gotten a manager, but I was just stuck in this swirling miasma of anger like an insect that sees the spider coming but is trapped in the web.
They don’t cover this level of abuse in any training manual I’ve ever seen. I was literally gobsmacked.
And add in there a lobby of frequent guests, all of whom I quite liked and highly respected - witnessing this horrible tirade.
I never said a word during her obscene rant. Honestly, I was just frozen, in both anger and astonishment. When she finally stopped for breath the third time, I took about a $1.70 from my drawer, slapped it on the counter, pointed at the doors, and said, 'Here’s the difference. Now get the heck out of my hotel, you miserable sack of s*.'
She just gasped, purple-faced and speechless, as the entire lobby broke into applause, cheers, and a lot of cheerfully vulgar sendoffs. She grasped the money in her mean little claw, grabbed her luggage, shot off a final, weak, 'F you, b,' and stomped her little cloven hooves on her way out.
She later called the hotel general manager and gave him an earful. She also called our corporate offices. Unbeknownst to her (or me), several of the regular guests in the lobby wrote letters to the hotel general manager, and also to the main corporate management team in support of me and what I’d endured. By the time she complained, they’d already heard all about it.
I still received a reprimand, but it was worth it."
"Oh, I've been waiting for the opportunity to answer this question. Bear with me; it's a bit long. But thank you all in advance for taking the time to read this.
This happened at the same place of employment where I received an award for customer service, EyeMasters Optical.
This was not a customer/patient, but the husband of one. Located in a large mall, my shift started on this particular day at noon. I walked in to find the place as busy as I'd ever seen it. I put my purse away, clocked in, and waved the next patient over to be helped.
She had already chosen a frame, or as I realized a moment later, her husband had chosen a frame for her. First red flag: she said not a word. The husband practically slammed it down in front of me and said 'This is the one she wants.'
I looked at her prescription, at the patient, at the frame. Her Rx was strong; -4.50 in both eyes. She had a small face, and I could already see that the frame was way too large for her. But I asked her to put it on so I could check the fit. The exchange that followed went something like this:
Me: 'Why don't you let me help you choose a frame more suited to your prescription and your face?'
Not a word.
Husband: 'No, this is the one she's getting.'
Me: 'Sir, the frame doesn't fit her. She has a large prescription. This will result in very thick, heavy lenses"'
Him: Now yelling 'What's wrong with you?! Didn't you hear what I said? THIS IS THE ONE SHE'S GETTING!'
I could see I was getting nowhere with him. I tried to engage my patient again. She was by then embarrassed and close to tears. I felt so bad for her; I was close to tears myself. Everyone was looking at us.
Me: 'Ma'am, at least think about high index lenses. They will help with the thickness and weight. And even then, the frame being so large is going to result in thicker, heavier lenses. Won't you please reconsider letting me help you with a better frame?'
The husband then got right in her face and began yelling at her.
'No! She's just trying to up her sale! She's trying to get you to spend more money! You don't need those!! You know what? We'll just go somewhere else!' he shouted.
'd had it with his abuse of me and his poor wife. I looked him in the eye, and with a huge smile, said: 'Sir, NOTHING would please me more!'
He was incredulous.
'What did you just say to me?!' he snarled. 'Where's your manager? What kind of people do you have workin' here?'
And then this maniac lunged at me like an animal!
'Jesus!' I exclaimed.
The man took me completely by surprise!
At that exact moment, a burly gentleman stepped between us, grabbed the guy by the scruff, and said 'Someone call security.' All in one fell swoop.
They arrived almost immediately and led this fool and his humiliated wife out to the applause of the entire store! My manager told me to go take a break. I did, after thanking my burly hero.
The burly guy came back about a half-hour later with a cappuccino, set it down in front of me, and said:
'You have the patience of Job. I should've knocked that guy on his butt!' I laughed, then with tears of gratitude said:
'Sir, NOTHING would've pleased me more!'"
"When I was 16 years old I got my first real job, working for Sears. They hired me for the Christmas rush and kept me on in through the New Year. My manager, John, was the country’s top housewares manager. He was a terrific guy and a great manager.
One evening, a customer called in looking for replacement parts for his Weber grill. He was extraordinarily rude. As I spoke with him, I learned that the reason he needed replacement parts was that his wife had left him and had taken the Weber accessories, although not the grill itself. I tried my best to be calm and courteous and to help him, but nothing I did was satisfactory to him.
I looked around for help, but everyone else in the department was busy helping customers. I don’t remember just what it was he said that I couldn’t handle, but I know what I said: 'Excuse me, sir, but it’s not my fault that your wife left you.' And then I hung up on him.
Shortly after that, the store manager came down to the floor. This was a very, very big deal because that young man NEVER came down to the floor. All we knew about him was that he was a young hotshot. My boss was not young at all. He had grown old as a housewares manager because he had no education beyond high school, and so Sears would not promote him beyond the department manager role.
Well, it seems that the customer had reached the store manager and DEMANDED that I be fired. I don’t know what transpired between the store manager and my boss - that conversation took place behind closed doors - but I know that John stuck up for me, a 16-year old part-time high school kid.
After the store manager left to go back to his office - without ever saying a word to me - John took me into his office, sat me down, and explained to me, 'The customer is always right.'
He said, 'Even when the customer is wrong, they are right. You need to know that, and you also need to know when a situation is too much for you and you need to ask for help. If anything like that ever happens, then interrupt me if I’m there, and if I’m not, get Marge.'
Marge was also a character.
I’ve never forgotten that John stuck up for me in that situation. I was wrong, and he gave me a second chance.
I wish I could remember John’s last name. He was an education. He used to send me on spying missions to other retailers, to see how much they were charging for specific products (John was persona non grata, since they all knew him). And I remember him giving me another mission, to demonstrate Weber grills inside the store by grilling a chicken or ham (it was a BIG store - we would light the grill outside, then wheel it carefully in).
People would follow their noses to see what was making that delicious smell, and I would lift the cover and say, 'Have you seen the delicious chicken we are grilling today?' and tell them all about Weber grills. I knew just about everything there was to know about that product because John was adamant about knowing your product.
He used to demonstrate that Corelle does not break, by dropping it from a height of four feet. Unfortunately, he always chose the same plate to drop from that height, and there did come a day when the plate had had enough and did break. We did not get that sale, and all of us were kind of relieved that it was John who broke the plate, and not one of us. He shook his head at himself, and talked for years about how he had lost that sale."
"I was working at a Suncoast Video as an assistant manager as I was going to school. It was Christmas time and the manager was nowhere to be seen. He was in the midst of a divorce and was in a complete emotional meltdown. I knew he had been in the store during the early morning hours when I would arrive but what he was doing I had no idea. I essentially had to run the store.
Christmas was incredibly busy. We had two extra registers brought in to accommodate the customers. I had to hire young teenagers for help and they could only work a specific, limited number of hours per day and week. All were very responsive and always there when I had them scheduled to work.
One day we were just overwhelmed by a sea of people and this was a small store. One of my teenagers and been at the main register for hours and had not taken a break at all and I was not aware of this. Some gentleman had stepped up to my employee’s register. I had instructed my employee to count for overages or underages before the next employee logged in. I also told him to take 45 minutes for a break since he was doing me such an enormous favor with his work ethics. The gentleman asked him to ring him up. He said he was going on a break. The gentleman said something incredibly rude to him. At first, I let it go but then it ticked me off.
There was a sea of people around the registers and I waved the guy to the register against the wall. At this point I began to verbally berate him for being such a prick in front of perhaps 40 or more people. I explained how I was short staffed working 14–16 hour days.
The young man on the register had not even had time to go to the bathroom in four and a half hours, that everyone here was waiting to check out and they were not being rude, that his behavior was unacceptable and he would NOT speak to my employees in such a manner. I laid into him all the while i was ringing up his purchases. He did not say anything back and just looked embarrassed,
I haughtily gave him the total and he paid with a credit card and I handed him a bag with his purchases. I did not realize how quiet the store had become when this was going on. The man walked to the entrance\exit to leave and turned and said 'Merry Christmas' sheepishly. Many people began laughing and some applauded.
Pertinent to this story is that I was six foot tall and 240 pounds and a bodybuilder. I was muscular! One of my full-time employees named Sandy said to me all the while I was angrily pointing out what a prick this man was I was literally moving over the register towards him. She said she thought I was going to kick his rear end and he looked scared. It was a subconscious act. I was surprised when I heard this.
No complaint was ever registered. It just became a story to relay to others. It also endeared my employees to me due to the fact they saw I would not let anyone take advantage of them."
"For nearly two decades I’ve traveled to small and large retail events in the quilt show circuit to market a line of glass bead mixes for sewn embellishment. As this particular small show didn’t have a landline in the fairground building to run our cards (this was before wireless machines were used), I and a friend sharing the booth were using those older portable slides to transfer the credit card numbers to these pink slips.
We then finished the total with a handwritten pen and then had the customer add their signature. It was old school but the customers were being quite reasonable.
Since we were basically taking our chances running the cards later in the hotel, we requested their address and phone number in case we needed to contact them. Again, no one resisted this simple request until this markedly well-dressed slender woman laughed in my face as she signed the credit slip.
'You can’t ask this information of me. I don’t have to give you an address or phone number. I sued a dress shop in __ for demanding that information and I see no reason to give it to you.'
For a long moment, we stared at each other.
'I don’t use the information beyond a possible phone call if something goes amiss with the credit transaction later today. We don’t sell contact information,' I replied.
She fluttered her hand at the bag of goods still in my hand.
She let out a snobby hmph.
'It’s against the law to request that information. You can’t do that. And I don’t have much time left to see the rest of the show,' she retorted.
Again she gestured to the bag I held.
I swung the bag away and beneath the table and handed back her credit card. I kept my voice low so that a scene wouldn’t escalate and replied, 'I will no longer accept your card. If you want your purchase it will be cash. If you don’t have cash, I might accept a check which had better have an address and contact number on it.'
She looked angry and snapped rather loudly, 'You can’t refuse my credit card. Is your manager present?'
My friend later told me I chuckled as I started to tear the credit slip into small strips; I don’t remember because I was angry enough to need to choose my words carefully.
'The booth you are in is MY business. I AM the owner. I can refuse to sell my products to anyone if I feel that the terms of the transaction put me at risk. I sense you are now a RISK. I think we are now looking at a cash sale,' I snapped back, still tearing the paper into fine confetti.
She sputtered. She declared she didn’t have any cash. I lifted my eyebrows and shrugged. She sputtered again.
Defeated, she handed back her credit card and agreed to provide her phone and address.
As I handed her the bag of goods I mentioned how every booth in the room had its owner present and that it would be unwise to make such a fuss in the future. These people are passionate about their art and will suffer a Karen.
She murmured something akin to 'I understand,' and melted into the crowd. The customer that had been waiting behind her, smiled sweetly as she handed me her goods to be rung through the register, adding emphatically, 'I don’t have any problem with giving you the information you need.' Nearly all the customers we’ve met at these events have been the proverbial salt of the earth and usually quite charming."