"One of my first jobs out of high school was working at a grocery store. In the back employee area of the store, we had a compactor we'd toss our cardboard into to get, well, compacted.
One time, I had a ton of cardboard I was moving back there to toss into the machine and I got there about 5 seconds before another employee, so he had to wait for me to finish to throw his stuff in there.
He raged, yelled, and asked me if I had a death wish for getting in front of him. His supervisor overheard it and pulled him aside and started yelling at him. All over some cardboard."
"I worked at a Christian camp for a while. Part of my job was to assign the housing to the groups that came up for our programs. Our regular operating procedure was that if a group wasn't big enough to fill a whole cabin, they would share with another group attending the same program (we separated by gender). Very common. Almost no one had an issue. Except for one guy.
We had a winter camp booked out by a group of churches all from the same denomination (so most of them knew each other). One group had 2 junior high boys and 1 leader. Our cabins have 12-18 beds, so I put them with another group. Normal.
When this leader got to the cabin and realized he would have to share (even after I had told him that he was sharing a cabin), he came back to the office and threw a toddler-level tantrum about it. Stomping, throwing his arms over his chest, pouting, whining, etc.
It was a full weekend and everything was packed out in the cabins. All we had left were tent-style cabins with vinyl siding which are usually only used in summer since we're in the mountains of California and we get snow. I gave him that option and told him it would be cold since they're not insulated, but we would do what we could with some heaters for them.
He took the tent option because it was the only way he wouldn't have to share. Then he came back the next day and threw tantrum #2 because it was too cold that night in the tent. In winter. In the snow. Because HE chose that option over sharing an insulated, heated cabin.
I couldn't believe I watched a grown man who was supposed to be 'responsible' for a group of kids have a full-on temper tantrum TWICE about problems of his own making. I literally laughed at the first one when it started because I thought he was joking at first. So dumb.
The worst part was that we had the EXACT SAME THING happen with the same guy at the winter camp the next year. That time, I had even tried to give him a private room in a cabin that only shared a bathroom with another group. No dice. Cue tantrum. We called him baby man after that."
"I washed dishes a while back and one day some guy ordered a well-done porterhouse steak. Then he got SUPER ticked it was taking so long, getting even more ticked when the manager refused to comp his meal.
The guy went full meltdown when the manager said, 'I have your name and I will call the police and file a report that you ordered a meal, refused to pay, and then left.' He left, the manager called the police, and an hour later he came back and paid his bill quietly. Man, my boss John was the man. He was an old-school restaurant owner and hard as heck to work for, but he paid amazing for the 90s and made the best food on earth. RIP, you'll be missed."
"I used to work for Time Warner Roadrunner as tech support. One day this guy called in trying to access his web space. It was the first time he'd ever called Roadrunner; his internet was working fine and his emails had transitioned over without a hitch, he was just having trouble with his web space. He reads me the very clear error from the login page that let me know it'd literally be a five minute call, and I said, 'Ah, ok, that's easy to fix, I just need to call...' and he lost his goshdarn mind.
He started shrieking into the phone like he'd stuck his balls to an electric fence, going on about how Time Warner was the worst company in the history of companies, how he hoped everyone who worked for Time Warner died, how he hoped all our buildings burned down, how he'd be lucky if he could restrain himself from running over one of our techs if he saw them in the street, and how if he ever found out where I was he'd kick my but personally. I was maybe 6 months into the job, sitting there going 'I-... bu-... it jus-... sir-...' until finally he called me some very unpleasant names directly and slammed the phone down so hard I'm sure he cracked something because it left my ear ringing. It was the first time after a call I had to take a break and go for a walk (after stopping by my manager's desk to let him know what happened) to try and calm down a bit.
I later found out he did something similar to another agent so his number went into a special queue, and the next time he called, it went straight to escalations who told him in no uncertain terms that he was on thin ice. He went off on them as well so they canceled his entire account and forwarded the call to our legal department to look into filing charges for uttering threats (the agent after me was female and he apparently got disturbingly descriptive in telling her what he planned to do to her if he ever found out where she worked)."
"One time when I was at a Walmart in the nice part of town, I witnessed a woman call the cashier a half dozen different slurs, then chew out her supervisor when he wouldn't capitulate to her.
After that, she loudly declared, 'If I crap myself in your store, it's your job to wipe my butt.' When security showed up, she asked them out loud how many times they failed out of the police academy. When actual police showed up, she was totally calm...until they even TRIED to get the workers' side of the story, at which point she began shouting over them that they're liars. She wound up both banned from the store and arrested.
What set her off? They wouldn't let her take a LOADED cart through the 15 items or less line. I was stunned because I had just moved there from previously living near the 'ghetto' Walmart in my city where there was NONE of that kind of behavior. Are you kidding me, lady?
"A guy I used to work with had a tendency to flip out if anybody did or said anything that might give the impression that his ideas were anything less than stellar. One day he was trying to put a lid on a vault. The lids will only slide on from the end, so if you try to slide them on from the side, they'll get stuck. I should also note that they are extremely heavy, like over 100lbs.
He was trying to slide one on the wrong way so I informed him. He just looked at me and tried anyway; unsurprisingly, it got stuck. He proceeded to stick a shovel under the stuck end and pry it up, then motioned for me to climb out of my backhoe and help him finish the job.
I grabbed it and slid it along the rim so that it was positioned to slide on correctly, then gave it a shove and it slid into place. He proceeded to go on a fifteen minute screaming rant about how I was supposed to just kick it toward him since he was holding it up, and how I must be 'some kind of libtard' for not doing it his way. Not sure what that last bit was, but he repeated variations of it a couple dozen times.
I told him that: 1) I don't think turning a three second, one-man job into a two-man job that requires extra equipment is efficient, and 2) I didn't want to risk dropping that extremely heavy lid into the vault where I'd then have to lift it back out. My back is already messed up enough, thanks.
He also once told a couple of guys to get out of the work truck and drove away without them because they had the audacity to ask him why he was following a piece of equipment down the highway that maxed out at 4mph and driving entirely in the ditch.
He had a tendency to ask why we didn't do something some absurd way that couldn't possibly work and get really angry when I explained why it wouldn't work. I let him have his way a number of times just so he could see for himself, but he never learned."
"I used to work as a supervisor for a customer retention team in a call center. We had one girl on our team who would best be described as your typical 'valley girl' in terms of how she spoke and reacted to people, despite not being form any such valley. We'll call her Rebecca. Her persona was an affectation, which in itself is annoying but whatever, I'm sure I'm annoying to people too with my near-constant deadpan facial expression.
What made her insufferable, though, was that she was an only child of incredibly wealthy parents (which she certainly felt made her better than you, regardless of who you are), and she was well-traveled. She'd been all over the world. This made her falsely assume that in addition to simply being better than you, she was also wiser and more cultured than you. The only reason she had the job was that her parents told her she needed to learn some responsibility. I have several stories about Rebecca, but this one is about the most trivial breakdown I've ever seen.
One day, the team was out for lunch and I was the only one in the bay. I was sitting at my desk doing supervisor things when suddenly Rebecca came running in so fast I thought she'd crash into me. I looked at her face and saw tears streaming down and that she was in a full-on panic. I asked her what was going on and through sobs and near hyperventilation she told me that she didn't have time to explain. She said she just needed to leave so I'd have to grant an exception (permission to leave work early without penalty). Clearly, there was some sort of personal emergency so I told her to just go and that I'd start the exception form without her and we could fill out the rest later.
I watched as she ran down the hall, practically threw herself down the stairs, dashed through the lobby and out into the parking lot, got into her car, and nearly run someone down while peeling out. This girl absolutely drove me nuts, but I hoped that everything was alright because the situation seemed extreme. That happened on Friday, so I saw her again on Monday.
Once she got herself logged in and whatnot I called her over to my desk so we could finalize the exception paperwork, and I asked if she would mind telling me what had happened (I needed something for the reason code on the exception form). She said sure, she'd explain it.
Me: 'Alright, so what happened?'
Her: 'Oh my God, you totally don't even know!'
Me: 'Clearly, that's why I'm asking...'
Her: 'So, I was outside on the smoking patio talking with a friend when I dropped my cell phone. It BROKE. IT BROKE! It wouldn't even turn on! I used my friend's phone and called the Verizon store and they told me they'd be closing in an hour. If I didn't get there in time, I would've had to wait until Monday!'
She was nearly in tears again at that point. I just sat there in stunned disbelief that a broken phone was what prompted her to break down and then nearly run over someone driving out of the parking lot. There had to be more.
Me: 'Okay, what else happened?'
She paused a moment, 'What do you mean? That's what happened. Monday! Like, I would've had to wait until Monday!'
I couldn't believe it, but I should have. After all, it wasn't the first bit of drama she'd subjected me or the team to regarding her precious cell phone. I finally collected my thoughts, 'Your exception is being canceled and you will receive an occurrence against your attendance.'
Her: 'OMG, like, what?' NO! You can't do that! I can't afford another occurrence, I won't have any others in case of emergency before the next roll over! I'm emailing the team manager (my boss)!'
Me: 'That's your prerogative, but you already know attendance policy and cell phone replacement isn't a valid reason to leave work early. You also know if you leave mid-shift or sooner it's a full occurrence.'
Her: 'That's totally unfair!'
Me: 'I'm sorry you feel that way, but my decision stands.'
She then huffed and went back to her desk, spending the rest of the day ignoring me. That was a nice day. Also, I did end up hearing from the team manager. She basically rolled her eyes at the absurdity the situation and told me she'd be sending her decision to Rebecca: the occurrence stands."
"My old coworker Martha had a habit of being lazy and complaining. During lunch, she once said something to me along the lines of, 'I wish they'd just fire me so I could collect unemployment.' We worked at a cafe and though it was my first job, I thought the company policies and the general atmosphere was good. Martha, however, complained that it was the worst job she'd ever had.
One day she was off the clock at 2 pm and then had to go pick up her son from her mother's. At maybe 1:57, the manager asked Martha to restock the line, which takes maybe five or ten minutes and we get paid for every minute we're on the clock. Also, it's not remotely unusual to stay five or ten minutes past your shift. Martha started arguing with the manager who rolled her eyes and basically said, 'Do it or don't do it,' and walked back to the office. Martha kind of huffed and stomped along to the back of the house, and I figured she was restocking.
I began ringing up a customer when I heard something and realized it was raised voices. The customer doesn't seem to notice, though, so I ignored it. A minute went by and I was idly chatting with the customer when I heard the raised voices again. The customer noticed that time, but I managed to wave it off. Over the next five minutes, the occasional raised voice became a constant screech in the background as Martha yelled her expletive-filled rant at the manager. I was too afraid to go to the back of the house and instead just tried to keep the customers distracted. At that point, Martha sounded like Gordon Ramsay after huffing helium.
Another five minutes went by and Martha was still shouting. It was 2:15 by then and I started thinking about how Martha could have already been out the door if she'd just stocked the line. Finally, blissfully, the shouting stopped. I held my breath for a moment before Martha came bursting through the employees only door, red-faced and gasping for breath. She looked around wildly before strolling up to me, pushing me aside, and grabbing a drink cup. She shouted, 'I'M FREAKING DONE!' and then stormed out, harshly elbowing a new employee on the way.
I went to go see the manager who was messing around with the schedule, not looking at all like she'd just been screamed at for a solid 15 minutes. She looked up at me and casually said, 'She's fired.' Afterward, they had to write up an incident report because Martha actually bruised the new employee's ribs when she elbowed her. Shortly after I was eating lunch with the manager and mentioned Marth'a comment, 'I wish they'd just fire me so I could get unemployment.' My manager grinned and asked if I would be willing to sign a document saying I'd heard that. Martha was fired, did not receive unemployment, and was lucky not to get charged with assault."
"I used to work as a pharmacy technician on night shifts. It was the only 24-hour pharmacy close to a hospital with a staggeringly busy ER room. It was also a place where Percocet was handed out like candy. Well, we had this one repeat offender who was everything wrong with the system: she doctor shopped, screamed the walls down if she didn't get what she wanted, and called us every name under the sun. Management didn't care because it was business as usual and furthermore, when you get into working night shifts at a pharmacy in a busy city, you start to understand the element. I had an exceptional level of patience...until one day she just went too far.
Her copay was fifty cents and she started screaming at me because her copay was usually zero (not true) and she claimed she couldn't afford it. I'd just witnessed her buy smokes at the front counter, by the way. She got in my face and screamed that I was trying to kill her and that she wouldn't be able to take care of her son. She then turned to him and pointed at me saying that I was the terrible woman trying to kill mommy.
I lost it. I don't know why this moment did it, but it did. I slammed my hands down on the counter, came from behind the register, and got face to face with her, telling her she needed to leave before I called the cops because I was sick of her crap. She squared up with me, nose to nose, but when she saw I wasn't backing down, she stepped back and proceeded to ask me to pay the fifty cents for her copay. She told me I could afford it.
My coworker saw what was going on and pushed me to the back room to chill out. I don't know how that situation ended because I was in the back room blowing off steam, but the next time the lady came back she refused to be helped by me, which was probably for the best. I'm not proud of my ridiculous behavior and I can't defend myself for that, but man, I had never felt anger like that before."
"This happened years ago when I used to work at a Walgreens and I was working an evening shift. Quick context, I lived near the US the border with Mexico so Spanish was spoken almost anywhere you go. One night a woman and her son walked into the store and I recognized her as a customer who came into the store semi-frequently. Well, after shopping and paying, she set the door alarm off as she was leaving. I followed procedure and waved them back in just to double check her items and receipt to make sure everything was correct.
Now at that point, I messed up, but it wasn't totally my fault. You see, after verifying everything I said, 'Well maybe you have a chapstick or something in your pocket that you forgot about.' It was only a semi-serious question because it actually had happened once and the dude produced a chapstick from his pocket and paid for it after forgetting about it. This lady didn't know that, and we had a language barrier to boot.
My lame joke made this woman open her purse, and as I peered inside, amazed that she was actually going to produce a forgotten chapstick, she proceeded to turn my world and her purse upside down and dump the contents all over the counter as she began screaming at me in Spanish! Her son pleaded with her to stop, explaining that what I'd said was just a joke. I was amazed at how quickly the situation had gotten out of control. My manager was just starting to walk away after counting my register but did a 180 and came back to save my poor, wretched butt from this screaming banshee.
My manager took the full brunt of this witch's brew and I just stared at the two of them, my eyes darting back and forth. I was called all kinds of things in the colorful Spanish language. You see, I can understand Spanish but I just have trouble speaking it. Also, at some point, the son left the store out of shame and embarrassment for his out of control mother. Eventually, the crazy lady left after spitting out all the rage she could muster, and my manager turned to me and asked, 'What did you do?!'
I replied, 'Nothing! I just asked if she had a chapstick in her pocket that she forgot about. It happened once before!' Yup."
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