Karens are unfortunately a dime a dozen, but that doesn’t mean folks don’t stand up to them. Check out these workers who shut down some annoying customers.
That Shut Her Up Alright.
“Apologies, but here’s another banking story. I was the branch manager of Hammersmith and its sub-branch in Shepherds Bush. Hammersmith was an ‘angry’ branch, always very busy and with an amazing cross-section of customers. BBC stars, Wimbledon tennis players, to illegal immigrants trying to open an account. A real cross-section of British society.
My staff was brilliant. Most had worked there for several years and, like our customers, were a varied bunch. My assistant manager, Jack, was a proud Irishman, then there we had several whose parents were from Africa, Asia, an eastern European nation (my memory isn’t as good as it once was), and two from the Middle East. A proper United Nations.
To set the scene, I’d been a bank manager for over two decades and this was the sixth branch in my managerial career. After a time, you normally get a sixth sense about customers, telling you which ones are going to be fun, rude, or downright dangerous. It was yet another busy afternoon in Hammersmith when a commotion began in the banking hall. One of the ladies out front warned me it was kicking off, so I went outside to see if my help was needed.
Picture it; my male, 30-year-old Pakistani-descended clerk (let’s call him Vinu) was being shouted at by a very tall (and large) lady in a full Muslim get-up. Black, sack-like garb, head covered (but not, unfortunately, her face or mouth) and a real attitude, so let’s call her Karen. Five or six other, but much smaller, Muslim women surrounded her, all keeping quiet.
I just knew she was going to be trouble. Karen was obviously a Muslim convert, and from the mouth on her, was from good English East End stock…just like me. In my experience, converts are the worst: intolerant and normally full of righteous zeal. Shudder.
I asked what the problem was, only to be shouted at myself. From what I could gather, Vinu had disrespected her and Islam, She demanded he is sacked and made an example of, blah blah. Now, poor Vinu, despite his Hindu name, was actually a devout Muslim and had only recently come back from his pilgrimage to Mecca. I’d allowed him to take his full annual leave in one go so he could take his aging parents with him. Really good bloke, wouldn’t say boo to a goose.
I invited her into my office and while she was struggling to clear the door sides with her troop, I motioned over one of my ladies. From my previous dealings with Saudi and other female Arab customers, I always asked if they would prefer to have a female present, so I called over another female Asian member of staff to be my witness and, in this instance, MY chaperone. Experience taught me never to be alone in a room with a strange female customer that held a grudge or wanted to complain: always have a chaperone.
But I digress.
Karen went into one, complaining that as a Hindu he had insulted Islam and she was going to tell everyone about it and that both he and I were bigoted Islamaphobes. She didn’t like my stuff either, especially when my chaperone piped up and told her to stop being so aggressive! I then asked if she had ever made the Haj. No, but she was planning to at some point. I then took great pleasure in pointing out that Vinu had literally just come back and was a very devout soul. Was she sure he had disrespected Islam? Why would a devout Muslim want to insult his own faith?
The look on her fat face was priceless and it got better when I barred her from my branch. Horrid cow. We never did get a complaint from her in any form.”
“I was a store manager at Starbucks for four years, and I had the pleasure of meeting a Karen. She came in and ordered a venti cappuccino. My assistant manager was at the bar with an experienced barista, and they were cranking out the beverages… until this one. One return? Okay, no problem. Two returns, okay, but there is no way this one is wrong. Three returns? At this point, she is calling the assistant and the barista stupid and untrained, so I step in and call her over to the other end of the counter so that they could catch up with the drinks that are now piling up.
I tell her she should not speak to my staff like that, that they are both experienced and are making the drink to Starbucks standard. Here, what the woman wanted was for us to put shots in a cup, then proceed to skim the foam off of all of our milk pitchers (in the past, we had large milk pitchers that we would steam as we went so there was always milk ready, now they steam milk per drink) to fill the cup the rest of the way. ‘Tiffany knows how to make my drink.’ Tiffany had recently been fired for no-showing for work two times as a supervisor, delaying the store opening and costing us money and customer satisfaction.
Me: ‘If you want two shots and a cup of foam, you have to order it that way. A cappuccino is part foam and part liquid milk, which is why they made it the way they did, there is a standard recipe for cappuccinos.’
She continued to berate us for our service and her drink is wrong, so when she finally got out all that she needed to get out, I asked her to go elsewhere for her coffee, as clearly we were not able to serve her as she wanted. She was not expecting that response, clearly, she was accustomed to having her butt kissed, and I was not going to let my staff be treated like that.
I don’t remember if she left in a huff, I was headed to call my district manager to let her know I threw someone out and asked them not to return. I got major kudos from the staff there and the customers who were within earshot for standing up to a bully and defending my staff, who I knew were in the right, and at no point were combative with her. My DM knew I had to be pushed to the edge to make a decision like that, and even had she not been ok with it, I had a lot of support to back me up.”
Do You Want It Fixed Or Not?
“She brought her car in and asked what it would cost to replace the EGR valve.. Then she promptly spent the next ten minutes running down the shop that has been ripping her off for years, explaining how EVERY TIME she brought her car in to them, they said it was this, and then that didn’t fix it, so she had to pay more…
‘So, would you like me to fix the car, or replace the EGR valve? They may not be the same thing..’
‘What do you mean?’
‘We could inspect the vehicle, identify the faults, and make a recommendation based on our findings..’
‘You would charge me for that?’
‘Yes, of course..’
‘No, just change the EGR valve, they already told me what’s wrong with it! You guys are all alike!’
So, I wrote up the repair order, specifying ‘Replace EGR valve per customer request.’
I called her a couple hours later and told her the EGR valve had been replaced..
‘It still runs terrible! You didn’t even change it, did you?!’
‘Of course we replaced it.. I have your old EGR valve right here, along with the large chunk of carbon that had blocked it open.. We took the liberty of inspecting the engine after the work was done so I would be able to explain to you why it’s still running so badly.. If you’ll look right here, you can plainly see the ignition spark escaping the plug wire arcing to the cylinder head.. The chunk of carbon that blocked the EGR open resulted from unburned fuel entering your exhaust.. You need a tune-up.. I have that estimate for you right here, and as soon as you pay for the work we’ve already done, I’ll get started on it..’
‘Why should I have to pay for that? You didn’t fix it!’
‘Because you asked us to, as evidenced by this signed repair order, which expressly authorizes a mechanic’s lien in lieu of payment for services rendered.. If you choose not to pay this bill, I’ll place your vehicle in storage at $19.00 per day until such time as I can apply for a permit to sell the vehicle..’
She politely paid the bill, and paid up front for the tune-up.. The next day, she drove away in her perfectly running Nissan Quest.”
What Is A Male Karen?
“What is a male Karen? Ken? Whatever let’s stick with Karen.
I live in a vacation destination. Expensive lakeshore homes are often owned by wealthy families from big cities. I also work in automotive.
So Karen comes in and wants something maintenance done. Specifically an alignment. Now to be clear alignments are NEVER an emergency. The good news is he gets to talk to my business partner. I’m not really paying attention because she greeted him and I’m doing whatever.
My partner explains to him when we are scheduling. He wants it done first because he had new tires put on before he left the big city but didn’t want to pay their prices for further service and is on vacation here.
My partner reiterated the schedule and tells him if he wants to drop the vehicle off and leave it, if we get an opening or cancellation, we will do our best to get it in. I’m now paying some attention. This is a male-dominated industry and some of them get a bit abusive to her, especially customers.
‘Nope. I’m from [big city] and you need to do it now.’
‘Sir in order to do that I would have to start calling customers we have already made commitments to and tell them we cannot honor them’
Then the words I will not forget ‘Well missy you’re just going to have to start calling them or I will.’ At this point, I have had enough. I simply look over at him and explain to him there is no circumstance in which I will be there and we will work in his vehicle.
He suggests to me I don’t know what I’m talking about and am about to be fired. I shrug, tell him no problem, for a check for several million dollars I’ll have the lawyer draw up the agreement, he can fire both of us and try to convince the techs to work directly for him but I was pretty certain, given the bonus I would promise them for change of ownership, that none would be in a position to work for someone with his attitude.
I did end up escorting him to the door. It was over a decade ago. I will never forget him.”
YOU Are The Bully.
“This happened to me at the pool today. I walk to a shaded area to set up my chair. I’m conscientious about not taking up too much space so others can use the shade, too. People bring their own chairs or towels to sit on since the pool kept the chaise lounges stored. I notice that there are five towels on the ground taking up nearly all the shade, but no one is using them. After about an hour of the towels being vacant, a Karen walks up and this is how the conversation goes:
Karen (in a snarky tone): ‘Is this your chair?’
Me (took a break to lay with my son in the sun, but I’m still close by; I’m also listening to a podcast and not quite catching everything she says): ‘Yes – do you need me to move it?’
Karen: (Gets loud and says something snarky)
Me: ‘Is there a problem?’
Karen: ‘Your chair is not six feet away from us. What is WRONG with you? What if I have a sick child?’
Me (Now it’s on like Donkey Kong): ‘Okay, KAREN, then maybe you shouldn’t be at the pool in the first place. And maybe you should think about not laying five towels down to hog all the shade and then not using the space for at least an hour.’
Karen: Says something nasty (cannot understand as I am trying to peacefully listen to my podcast again).
Me: (I flip her the bird)
Karen: ‘Oh, that’s a really nice gesture to use in front of your son.’
Me: ‘I’m showing my son how to stand up to bullies. YOU are a bully.’
Karen: (doesn’t say a word)”
“Nobody Likes A Karen.”
“I worked at a call center for government assistance phones.
Basically, these phones are free to people who need them. You get 60 free minutes (maybe 90) a month as long as you have Medicaid, Medicare, EBT, or some other assistance.
Anyways, in the call center, I was in I did everything for this particular phone company. I helped people buy minutes, I helped people activate phones, troubleshoot, emergency minutes, and even where they could go that day to register for said phone.
It’s a normal day. We’re not busy but we’re also not slow so it’s kind of steady.
On my next call, we’ll call her Karen needs to update her IMEI number on her new phone.
I instruct her where to find the numbers she would need and to please let me know when she had the numbers so she could read them to me.
A few minutes of silence go by, and we’re supposed to keep the calls under a certain time limit.
I remember that I tentatively asked if she had the numbers ready. Evidently, it was the wrong thing to ask… (Y’know… even though I told her to let me know when she did…)
Karen starts exploding. She shouts at me that I’m an idiot and that I should go back to my home country. (She used some very rude slang about Hispanics and I’m from Texas so even though I may not be Hispanic I was offended by it.)
She continues yelling at me and accusing me of thinking she was an idiot. Which honestly only made her think of her as an idiot. Finally, she starts demanding an American supervisor so she didn’t have to put up with my Mexican self.
So what do I do? One of my friends was a lead agent. That means that he’s not a supervisor but he’s been trained to deal with escalated calls.
Anyway, my friend is also Hispanic and I told him what she had been saying and he instantly took over the call.
Let’s just say, Karen wasn’t happy being put in her place and being threatened to have her phone removed from its service for her behavior towards the company’s employees. My friend also told her that she needed to shut up and listen. Even then Karen was complaining about my incompetence.
Dont be a Karen… no one likes a Karen.”
A Horribly Stupid Person
“There is one ‘Karen’ experience I had that will always stand out among the several I have had over the years.
When I was 20 my husband, our daughter and I rented the house I grew up in from my stepfather. I had lived in that house since I was 11, and all of our close neighbors knew and thought of me as part of their family. We were very close.
At this time I was in the Army and my husband was in the oilfield (still 15 years later). I had just gotten off, had changed into civilian clothes, and picked up my daughter from my mom. I was tired after spending a hot day in the back of 18-wheelers unloading/loading shipments.
When I was nearly home I saw a small dog running down the busy highway and decided to save it from being hit. I called it over to my truck where he jumped right in. I then pulled forward into an area that was safe so I could call the vet’s office that was on the rabies tag.
The dog jumped on my 18-month-old daughter scratching her face pretty badly, so I opened the door to place him in the back while I got contact information for his owners.
He bolted. Just as a car pulled up behind me. As I was trying to catch this dog again, the lady driving the car jumps out and begins screaming that I was dumping the dog. I pointed out that it had a collar with tags. That didn’t matter. She was adamant that I was dumping the dog and she was going to make me regret that mistake.
I finally got the dog while the harpy continues to screech at me. I pointed at the tag again telling her that it’s not my dog, I saved it from being run over and was attempting to call the vet’s office to find its owner. ‘Yeah right, I’m so sure that’s what you are! You’re such an upstanding citizen! Call the f!@@$&% vet’s office so I have proof you dumped that dog!’
I told her she was a complete idiot, why would I dump a dog with tags linking it to me? I called the vet, no answer. I said this and said I was taking him home with me so he didn’t get hit while I got a hold of the vet’s office.
I put the dog in the back while I went home. She followed me the whole way driving on my bumper. She pulled into my driveway and continued to berate me. Calling me names and accusing me of dumping dogs all over the neighborhood. Saying that since I had moved in, the neighborhood had gone downhill and that I was trash.
I had enough. Losing my temper I started towards her, screaming at the top of my lungs for her to leave my property or I was going to remove her myself. She jumped into her car, backed up to the street then began to scream at me from the street which drew the attention of my neighbors.
I got my daughter out of the truck and had tied the dog to the fire hydrant when I heard her say to my neighbor ‘oh look I bet she neglects that baby too’. Nope, she really did not just say that. She and my neighbor both realize she had gone too far as I am charging at her ready to beat the snot out of her.
He tells her she needs to get in her car and leave. She gets in but refuses to leave. I go get my phone to call my dad so he can tell her that it’s not my dog. He calms me down and says let me talk to her.
As I approach I see her window is cracked a couple of inches and hear her crying on the phone. ‘Please officer hurry I’m afraid for my life. I think she’s going to kill me! She may have a weapon on her! She’s coming to my window to try to get me! HELP ME!’
I repeat what she said to my dad, who is now angry too. I knock and tell her ‘My dad wants to speak to you.’ She refuses. I tell my dad this and he says he’s on his way don’t do anything stupid.
I get my daughter who had been playing in her playpen but was getting angry. Talking to my neighbor I tell him what was going on and he says to just stay calm and it will all be settled when the officer got there.
My dad and the sheriff’s deputy got there at the same time. The lady jumps out and begins to scream that I was attempting to dump that dog and that I had threatened her life. She wanted me arrested and my daughter was taken into CPS.
We tell both our sides and he called the vet’s office to confirm that it isn’t my dog, even though my dad tells him we only have two dogs, a chihuahua and a chow. The vet confirmed the owners and their addresses. Which wasn’t me.
They said for me to stick it into their window and thank them for getting him out of traffic. That wasn’t good enough for that woman. She begins to demand me to be arrested for threatening her life, a terrible mother and probably an addict.
My dad starts laughing and says, ‘Well, Specialist Morris, how did you pass our mandatory dope test the whole unit had to take?’ Which I responded with, ‘Well, Sergeant Hembree, I just stay away from the crack pipe.’
The police officer tells the lady to go home, we’ll get the dog taken care of. The dog ended up back home and I was not arrested. She continued for a while trying to make my life a nightmare until she made the mistake of calling the FBI on my dad for testing an RPG simulator he was designing in the backyard.
It was literally a PVC pipe, cable, a plastic cup, and hairspray. She was soon selling her house and the neighborhood went back to being the close-knit community it had been before she moved in and caused so many problems. We all lived happily ever after, free from Karen’s antics.
Oh, yeah after dropping the dog off my dad said, ‘Kim, your zipper is down. I noticed when I pulled up.’ Through the whole ordeal, my zipper had been open.”
Not The Cashier’s Fault
“I was around 19/20 when my dad and his girlfriend came to visit my brother and me. We went to Best Buy and they had a new season of his favorite show out on DVD. He grabbed it and took it to the counter where the cashier tried to ring it up.
It wouldn’t work, and suddenly the cashier got this nervous look on his face and says, ‘This isn’t supposed to be on the shelf yet… I can’t sell it to you’
Well you would have thought someone told my father they were taking all he had. He lashed out at this poor cashier yelling at him how it wasn’t his (my dad’s) fault, they ‘messed’ up and put it out early and they have to sell it to him, blah blah blah.
I got super embarrassed, his girlfriend does nothing, so I am stuck trying to yell my dad to calm down and then physically push him out of the store while he is still yelling. All I could do is look at the cashier and say ‘I am so sorry.’
I then lashed out at my dad in the vehicle. We didn’t have a good relationship to begin with anyways. His girlfriend tries to defend, him saying he is just stressed and he is upset he has to go home and won’t be able to see my brother and I for a long time blah blah blah. In the end I told him, to take me home and didn’t talk to him again for a while.”
He Just Didn’t Understand
“Okay, so we were going to a theme park in the capitol of the country. I must have been around 19, which makes my one sister 16, and the youngest around 9. My dad had been planning this for a year, and we were psyched to go.
After you go into this place, you see a huge lake, and on each side there are several shops. A restaurant there, a souvenir shop there. And also, there is a Build-A-Bear shop. This shop is not a part of the park itself, but it does have an entrance from the park.
Anyway, my dad didn’t have custody of my sister at the time, and only saw her very sporadically. This was by his own choice, since his anxiety meant he couldn’t care for her properly. She lived with a foster family. This was one of maybe three times a year he got to actually take her somewhere, so this trip was a BIG deal.
He told her she could have one thing from the park, whatever she wanted he would pay for it. And, being a nine-year-old girl, she said she wanted a Build-A-Bear.
My dad was unfamiliar with the concept of Build-A-Bear, so he didn’t know that the price of the bear isn’t the total price. On top of it comes the clothes, the shoes etc. So the shop person takes my sister through the whole thing. You know, stuffing, putting the heart in etc, and rings up the total.
My dad totally lost it. Like, red in the head, screaming at this poor girl in the shop lost it. And I felt so embarrassed. Firstly, this girl didn’t make the prices. Secondly, this was the trip of the year, it was all four of us for the first time in forever. And thirdly, you don’t yell at people like that.
I get that he was angry, since he didn’t know the process, and felt cheated. And also, he felt backed into a corner, since he had promised my sister that she could have anything. But you don’t do that. Ever.
Luckily, the rest of the trip went by without a hitch, and my youngest sister doesn’t remember this happening. She has two Build-A-Bears now, and she named each of them after one of her sisters.”