Believe it or not, customers are not always to Karens. Sometimes, the Karen actually ends up being the retail worker themselves. People share times when a retail worker was extremely out of line or entitled while interacting with them. Content has been edited for clarity.
Quick To Judge
“I started a tradition for myself when I was 21 to buy myself a gift on my birthday. My birthday is very important to me. It’s my own special day of the year. I like jewelry, so I decided since I couldn’t be sure I would be dating anyone exactly on my birthday every year, I was going to buy myself a special gift to celebrate. That’s how my Birthday tradition started.
Now I like Tiffany and Co. jewelry, and not everything is very expensive. I started buying sterling silver jewelry when I first started my birthday tradition. Over the years, I got to know the Sales Associates at Tiffany’s, and they would know if they worked there long enough, I would be in on or around my birthday to pick out my special gift for myself. As the years passed, and I made more money, I could afford to buy nicer pieces of Tiffany jewelry.
One day, right before my birthday, I decided to go in to buy my 45th birthday present myself. It was summer, and it was a very hot and humid morning. So, rather than dress up, I decided to wear shorts and a t-shirt and go to Tiffany’s.
If you’ve ever been to Tiffany’s, the more expensive jewelry, like the diamond collections, is up front and the less expensive jewelry is in a different section.
This year was very special. My father had just passed away a few months before my birthday from illness. He bought me my first piece of nice jewelry when I was about 13. Also, he took me to Macy’s and help me pick out something for Christmas. He bought me a small heart necklace that had tiny little diamonds on it, not very expensive. I still have it. And over the years, my Dad who traveled quite a bit with his job would sometimes come home with a piece of jewelry for me. I still have a cameo he bought me in Milan, Italy.
On this day, I came to Tiffany’s to buy my 45th birthday present with some money my father had left me. I had always wanted a small diamond solitaire necklace. Now that I had money from my father, it made it all the more special to buy my first real diamond necklace this particular year.
As I went when they first opened, I had the store to myself. It made me feel like they closed the store just for me on my birthday. I started to peruse around the diamond cases when this older gentleman came up to me and asked if he could help me.
I said, ‘No, thank you. I’m just looking right now for what I want.’
He said, ‘The less expensive items are towards the back of the store.’
I thought that was an odd thing to say. So I just said I know, and thank you. I went back to looking for my diamond solitaire necklace.
But as I looked in one of the diamond cases, this man came up to me again and said, ‘I would be happy to help you find something in the less expensive silver section if you like.’
Now I knew, The fact I was wearing jean shorts and a t-shirt with sandals on, he was assuming I knew nothing about jewelry. Or more importantly, he was making the assumption I could not afford anything as expensive as a diamond solitaire.
Again, I politely said, no, thank you. But, he was determined to sway me to a possible piece I could ‘afford.’
When he approached me for the third time I asked to immediately speak to the manager.
She came out. A young woman, 30 or so. About that time all the Sales Associates I had dealt with over the years were coming to work and all greeted me as they came in. One woman I knew very well, walked over to the manager, and I believe she was telling her who I was and why I was there, as it was so close to my birthday.
This young manager was so polite when I explained to her the story of my father, my birthday tradition, and how important this year was as I had just lost my father. She helped me select the nicest diamond solitaire necklace. She took it back and wrapped it in a special porcelain Tiffany box, and put that inside a large signature blue Tiffany gift box with a beautiful Tiffany white ribbon bow. The porcelain box when I opened it at home, was a gift to me from the store. This woman made my birthday very special just for me. I thanked her for being so attentive while I tried on different pieces, and I said goodbye to all the associates I knew and went home.
The first phone call I made when I got home was to the Corporate office of Tiffany and Co. and I asked to speak to the CEO directly. His Assistant put me right on the phone with him. Then I introduced myself and explained my birthday tradition, how I was a good customer of Tiffany’s and had purchased at least one piece of jewelry a year since I was 21.
I also wanted to point out to him what a wonderful young manager he had and how she made this important birthday very nice for me. I also explained how rude this gentleman’s sales associate was to me. So I could have worn ripped jeans and been a billionaire, but he treated me like I didn’t have two pennies to rub together. He apologized on behalf of Tiffany’s and gave me his direct phone number to call him any time I had a question or needed to speak to him personally. I thanked him for his attention and said goodbye.
That is how I handled my rude sales associate and his poor customer service.”
Ruder Than Rude
“The rudest thing I have ever experienced was when I went on a coastal holiday with my partner and daughter.
So in England, we have our capital and main cities, which are very diverse and multicultural. However, the further away you get, the more closed-minded and old-fashioned some people become.
We had gone down to the beautiful South Coast and gone into this little shoe shop. My daughter had taken her first steps, so we decided to get her some proper little shoes. We entered the shop, and there is one woman behind the counter. We smiled and said hello. She gave us such a look of pure disgust. I could almost physically feel it.
She said not one word to us. She just watched us the whole time we were there. We chose some shoes, and when we got to the counter, I asked how much for them. She pointed to the total on the til and held out her hand.
I looked down at her hand, then up at her.
Me: ‘Really? You’re not going to say one word to me?’
Her: ‘It ain’t right. You should stick to your kind’.
Me: ‘That’s a very 1920s mentality you have there. I don’t suppose women should vote either? We will leave the shoe, thanks.’
We just walked out. I was really angry, but some people have such an ingrained mindset nothing you could say will change their view. I felt sorry for her.
It put a bit of a dampener on our day, but luckily, my daughter was small at the time and didn’t understand. We enjoyed the rest of our holiday, but we decided we probably wouldn’t visit that particular location again.”
Rude People Left And Right
“I hate rude customer service people, and I usually have a way of dealing with them appropriately.
I am frugal. So frugal sometimes it becomes a joke in the family. Never go grocery shopping with me – it’s a three to four-hour excursion as I check prices, weight, cost per gram, the whole nine yards. So, Food Basics near me has a 1 buck sale and away I go. I had three carts filled with stuff, my sons were with me and were getting antsy. They wanted to get out of there.
As I strolled up and down the aisles, I got near the end of an aisle. There was a chap stocking the end shelves. I watched as a very elderly gentleman went up and asked where a certain product was.
The guy stocking shelves tossed the cans that were in his hand back into the box and said, ‘I’ll show you this time, but I’m not going to do your shopping for you, you need to open your eyes.’
Okay, that upset me. Here’s a chap that seemed to be about 70, maybe even 80, using a cane, and this guy was lecturing him? Nah, not on my watch.
I went sons in tow, to the front of the store. A young lady was standing by the office door texting. She was ignoring me even after I said ‘excuse me.’
Finally, she looked, and I asked for the Manager.
She said, ‘Oh, he’s on the floor somewhere.’
So I asked her to page him for me. She couldn’t do that because she was on her break. I thought I’d find him after I got the boys in the line up to cash out.
Friday, seven p.m., one cashier, eight cash registers. The line went to the end of the freezer section. I asked if they were opening more cash registers.
Someone said, ‘I dunno, I am not the boss.’
We left empty-handed.”
Sandwich Shop Drama
“I went to the local sub-place. I had coupons for buying a six-inch get one same, or lesser value free. Before ordering, I asked if I could use three coupons at once or if I needed to walk out the door after each order. The Lady behind me laughed at that.
The sandwich artist said, ‘No problem.’
I ordered three sandwiches. Two were five bucks 99 cents, one was on sale for 2 bucks 99 cents. I also had to buy drinks to get the coupon deal.
He started ringing up the order and told me I’d get a better deal without the coupon for the on-sale sandwich. It was a buy one, get one, and the advertised price was two bucks 99 cents. He asked if I wanted the third drink required with the coupon, but I declined.
He finished ringing up the order and said, ’29 bucks and change.’
I was stunned for a second, then I ran the rough total in my head. Two would be around 12 bucks. Two at the discounted price of around three bucks would be six bucks, and two drinks at a buck 50 would’ve equaled three.
I told him it could not be right because it was nearly nine bucks per sandwich. He looked at me dumbfounded, looked at the register, and started running it again. This time, he came up with 28 bucks and some change.
I asked how much the drinks were as something was way off. Then I asked him to turn and look at the price board and do some simple math with me. I pointed out the prices of the sandwiches I bought, and he came up with the same 18 bucks I had. At that point, the lead person came up and tried to spin the screen so I could see it. I stopped her and asked her to do the same math I had just done with the first. She stopped when she got a total (18 bucks) for the sandwiches and started poking keys again, stating she’d do a manual override.
I figured an acceptable number in my head, somewhere around 23 bucks.
She was babbling the entire time about coupons and sale items and came back with around 20 bucks. I told her that was too low, and she gave me the briefest little glare.
I asked, ‘Are you good with that?’
She said, ‘Yep, sorry for the trouble’ as she walked away.”
You Can Return It
“One of my favorite stores to shop at is Kohl’s. They normally have lots of discounts and clearance sales. Because of this, anytime I visit another state or county in the US, I check out their Kohl’s store to compare the difference with my home store.
On this day, I began my adventure in a store in a place I was visiting. I saw a very beautiful scarf for two bucks, and I picked a sweater for three bucks and changed. I was pleased with my bargain and went to the cashier to pay for it. The cashier then tried to convince me to get a Kohl’s credit card and get some more percentage off my purchase.
I think she got a bonus for how many customers she could convince to get a Kohl’s credit card, but I told her I wasn’t interested. She seemed disappointed and rung up my stuff. I paid and headed to the car. The bargain shopper in me told me to check my receipt and smile at my awesome purchase. That was when I saw 46 bucks. Huh?
I ran back into the store and waited to show the cashier her mistake. She ignored me and eventually said there was no mistake and that was the correct price. I showed her the marked-down clearance sale sticker that clearly showed the price of the items. She became rude and said the scarf was 40 bucks, and maybe someone accidentally put a two-buck sticker on it. She also said I could return it if I couldn’t afford it.
I became so upset and asked to speak to the manager. She kept saying stuff, but I just ignored her. When the manager came, I explained to her what happened and showed her my receipt. She accepted there was a mistake, gave me a refund, and left. She never spoke to the cashier about her behavior. I stopped shopping at Kohl’s after that incident. I also never wore the scarf because every time I look at it, I remember this incident.”
Let Him Get His Fishing Stuff
“In 1984 I was a new Private in the US Army. I was just assigned to Fort Campbell, Kentucky as my duty station. In my free time, I did some exploring and learned the area had a lot of places to go fishing, but I didn’t have my fishing gear with me.
I found a reel I liked and a rod. The rod was one of those that broke down into two pieces to make transport easier. I broke the rod down to make it easier to move about in the store. I found some other fishing stuff I wanted and headed to the register.
When I went to check out, I laid the rod, still broken down into two pieces onto the belt. When the lady got to my rod, she scanned the first section and then looked for the tag on the second section. I tried to explain to her that it was one pole and that I had broken it down to make it easier, and safer, to carry in the store.
To which she answered, ‘No!’
There was a First Lieutenant in line behind me. He tried to help and told her I was correct.
She again said, ‘No!’
Then she went on to inform me that if I continued with this deception, I was subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice action. She then asked if she could wait on the guy behind me, the Lieutenant. I said yes.
As he was leaving he whispered to me, ‘Good luck, soldier.’
She then calls the manager, not to resolve the issue, but to ask him to call the military personnel.
To which he replied, ‘What’s going on?’
I explained the situation, and he at least was honest.
He told me, ‘I don’t fish, so I’m not sure.’
He asked me to come back to the sporting goods department with him. I followed and showed him other fishing poles that broke down the same way. He was satisfied, and we headed back to the register. I was finally checked out, and the lady was visibly agitated at me. I think she and the manager talked after I left. She wasn’t fired as I saw her there several times afterward. I would just avoid her line.”
“I once bought an onion. Usually, I buy a one-kilogram bag of onions, but on that day, I just decided to buy one. I had many other groceries also.
When the supermarket attendant weighed the onion, the weight was found to be around one kilogram, and the onion was about 5 bucks.
I said, ‘Um, that can’t be right. Your scales are wrong.’
She said, ‘I’ll check the price.’
Eventually, she said, ‘No, it’s correct. Onions are around four bucks and change per kilogram, so it’s scanning correctly.’
I said, ‘Yes that’s not the problem. The problem is one onion does not weigh one kilogram.’
She was utterly confused and said, ‘No, it does, and then the price is four bucks a kilogram, so that’s why it’s five bucks.’
I asked her if she ever had to pay five bucks for an onion, and surely she could see that onion couldn’t weigh that much?
She didn’t get it. I had to go back into the store and find a one-kilogram bag of onions to explain it to her.
Then she said, ‘Since it’s cheaper to get a bag of them, why don’t you just buy a bag?’
I said, ‘Yes, I could, but that won’t fix your scales. You’ve weighed this onion three times now, and every time it weighed one kilogram, so you’ll need to get the scales checked no matter what I buy.’
She said, ‘It’s fine don’t worry about it.’
Suddenly it occurred to me.
I asked, ‘Hang on, how much were the bananas I just bought?’
She answered, “78.30. Oh no, the scales must be wrong.’
I muttered, ‘Yes…they are.’
I had never been at the register for so long.”
That’s A Lot For Milk And Bread
“I placed a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread on the belt and wasn’t paying attention until the cashier asked for 74.88.
I said, ‘That’s not right.’
But the cashier, a lanky kid not older than 19, held out his hand waiting for the cash.
I asked, ‘Have you ever had a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread come to 74.88 before?’
The kid stared at me dumbfounded that I’d ask such a silly question. These were the days before scanners when the cashier had to input the prices based on whatever was stamped on the item. I read the prices aloud and asked him if that added up to 74.88.
He said, ‘It must. That’s what it came to.’
So I stood there for a moment uncertain if I wanted to shake him out of his stupor or if I just needed to abandon the bread and milk.
Then I asked, ‘Can you cancel the order and try it again? I think something is wrong.’
Then he asked if I needed to talk to the manager, but I said no, and asked him to re-try the numbers. He pressed the keys on his cash register, looked up the taxes to add in, and came up with the total: four bucks and 82 cents.
He bagged my bread and gave me the receipt before hitting the cash register and saying, ‘This thing isn’t working right.'”
Be Nice To The Old Lady
“I was with my grandmother a few years ago at a popular superstore. The store had just been reset and nothing was even close to where it was prior. My grandmother was searching for saltine crackers, so I went to the other end of the aisle to look. I heard my grandmother ask an associate, who was stocking in that aisle and worked there, where she could find said product.
The associate told my grandmother, ‘It is right in front of your face if you would freaking look.’
Me, being the sweetest person ever, walked up and said, ‘Hi (whatever her name tag said), I was wondering if (I called the store manager by name) was working today.’
Her face went pale, and she told me, yes he was. I told her great I haven’t seen him in forever, grabbed the crackers, and walked out of the aisle with my grandmother.
I went and had him paged. When he came up front, I told him I wanted to make sure he knew he had an employee with exceptional customer service skills. Knowing me, he knew this wasn’t going to go well. He and I walked back to the aisle and went to the association with the tremendous vocabulary and attitude. I explained that took place earlier and that her description of the location was amazing.
She was sent into the office for disciplinary action (other customers in the aisle had already complained to the department head). We knew the store manager because my grandmother babysat him, and he and I grew up together.
He just looked at me, shook his head, and said, ‘I see you’re still sweet as ever.'”
They’re Just Gloves
“I was shopping for a pair of driving gloves for a young gentleman. All the gloves in the men’s section were either not suitable or far too big. I noticed a perfect pair of gray lambskin driving gloves on the women’s side of the counter, and I asked if I could look at them.
The sales lady removed the gloves from under the glass, and she handed them to me to examine. I said something about how nice they were, and how he would like them.
The sales lady snatched the gloves out of my hands and hissed, ‘These are women’s!’
Needless to say, I was very taken aback, and I snatched the gloves from her, and in my sternest voice and said, ‘He has small hands.’
At that point, several people were looking in horror.
The sales lady knew at that point that she had overstepped her boundaries and said, ‘Of course sir, I beg your pardon, will you be taking the gloves?’
I told her I would take the gloves and would charge them to my American Express Card. As the sales lady was ringing up the purchase, one of the floor supervisors, came up beside her and told her she wanted to have a word with her when she finished the sale. That was all the supervisor said.”