If you work in an industry that sees you dealing with a lot of customers face-to-face, you're bound to meet your fair share of lunatics who have no clue how to interact with people in a calm and friendly manner. This is especially true for people working in retail, as people tend to get quite riled up when it comes to spending their money. All we can do for the brave souls that have to deal with these people is wish them Godspeed and maybe back them up if we see a nutcase customer going after them.
Whether it's a woman who loses her mind about returning dinner plates and smashes them all over the floor, or a Target changing room serial urinator going to town, one can assume these imbeciles were raised in a barn because what else would explain their total lack of respect for other human beings? Here are some of Reddit retail workers' looniest, most astonishing tales about their worst customers ever. Content edited for clarity.
"Once upon a time my store was going through renovations so we could have a bigger clothing section. Because of this, we were cutting down on our general merchandise section. Nearly everything was crazy on sale and a lot of it wasn't on file, so we made up prices like $1.94, knowing that we would never carry it again and no one would care. All of this stuff that was on sale was also final sale, also due to the fact that we would never carry it again. This was stated on the receipt and in our return policy, plus signs all over the place.
A few weeks after we finally finished clearing all this crap out, a woman came to the customer service desk. She wanted to return these plates that her son and daughter-in-law got her because she didn't like them. Normally that would be fine, but they were from the huge sale. We were practically giving them away at the point that her son bought them (each plate was between 24 and 64 cents). My coworker told her that she's sorry but we cannot return the plates because they were final sale and we don't carry them anymore.
This lady completely lost it, screaming and yelling that she didn't want the plates and that we should take them back. She didn't even pay for them! We called a manager, and he told her the exact same thing, that he's sorry but we can't help her. Then he got a call from someone and excused himself to answer.
The lady gathered up the plates like she was going to leave, but then started smashing them over the garbage can next to the desk. Porcelain was flying everywhere, and the store literally stopped moving. People just stared.
We all backed away from this lady smashing plates and screaming about how horrible we all were. My coworker, the closest person to her, was practically climbing over the back part of the desk to get away. The manager called the police, but she was long gone by the time they got there.
We haven't seen her since, but my coworker refuses to work at the desk anymore because of this insane woman. Any time someone comes back with plates, every person who was there when it happened cringes."
"I work at Best Buy in the warehouse, and we cover breaks for the guys working the cameras up front. A co-worker was covering a break when this guy came up to one of the front lane registers. There was a bit of a line and we only had two lanes open. One of the front lane guys is handicapped, it doesn't affect his job, it just takes him longer to walk around.
The customer finally made his way to the front of the line and paid with a credit card. The front lane rep needed to see the last 4 digits of the credit card and asked to see his card 'real quick.' The customer FLIPPED OUT. He said, 'Oh NOW you want to do something real quick.' Then muttered just loud enough for everyone to hear 'I should have known not to get in the 'tard's line.'
My co-worker observing the cameras saw everything and was not very happy. He walked up to the customer, grabbed all his merchandise and said, 'Nope, you're not buying anything today. You can leave.' Never been so proud of him."
"When I was 18-19 years old, I worked at a Sam Ash (musical instrument store) in a kinda sketchy part of town. As a female in the drum department, I got a lot of customers thinking I didn't know anything about drums, even though I'm an experienced drum technician with a long resume.
I honestly lost a lot of possible sales just because of my gender, which really blows when you're commission based. Because of that, I'd go out of my way to be super nice to every customer in the hopes that they would start talking to me and could eventually overlook my femininity so we could actually talk drums.
One day a customer came in who was looking for a drum pad that he could program with different sounds and set up loops, etc. I pointed him in the direction of a Roland SPD-20, which at the time was the best you could get for what he wanted. We were out of stock with the exception of the floor model, so I had no choice but to place a special order.
As I was filling out the form for the order, I tried to make conversation and he began telling me about how he's a DJ at a goth club in Tampa and is totally into the goth scene and all. Fine by me, but this dude was like 50 something and doing that desperate attempt to hide his balding by combing over the 4 brightly red-dyed hairs that he had left. He also looked like he hasn't showered in weeks and was running on very few brain cells.
I asked for his phone number to fill out the order form and it ended in '6969.' I thought that was odd, and then he made a point of saying he asked for that number on purpose and was fortunate enough that it was available. Gross. My brain facepalmed and I moved on.
As I finished filling out his order, I let him know that it'd take 2-3 weeks and that we could call him when it's ready for pickup. Then one of his 5 brain cells told him it would be a good idea to step behind the counter (where customers are not allowed) and say, 'If you don't expedite my order, I'm giving you a wedgie!' before reaching DOWN THE BACK OF MY PANTS and grabbing my thong.
I threw an elbow to his gut to get his gross hand out of my pants, told him I'd be right back, and went and told my hulk of a boss. He got ticked, walked over to my department, and told the dude that he'd be escorted out of the store.
My boss took him to the parking lot and told him that his order would be shipped to his home and that if he came back to the store, he would be 'removed.' The guy was not happy and apparently had no idea what he did wrong, so my boss punched him in the face, walked back inside, and returned to work."
"I work in a bakery/kitchen store in a very wealthy suburb of the city I live in. We get all types of customers, but the worst ones are the prissy housewives. We usually ask people to preorder cakes if they know they are going to need one on a specific day, but we also offer ready-made cakes and desserts in the store for those who have last minute plans.
Usually it's only me and one other coworker there during the day, so things can get a little hectic if we're busy. Thankfully though, we were pretty dead the day that Miss Angry Pants decided to come in.
I knew she was trouble right away from her leopard print jacket, Coach purse, and snippy attitude. She wanted a small cake that we had in the case and asked me to write 'Happy Birthday, Dorothy,' on it. 'I'm sorry,' I explained to her, 'But that cake is too small to fit all of that on there. Maybe I could just write Happy Birthday?' This, of course, was unacceptable, and she started complaining about how she always got whatever she wanted from the bakery and how dare I deny her of that.
My coworker decided to take over at that point and tried to talk the woman down. She was still flipping out, her voice getting louder and louder. She finally allowed us to write only 'Happy Birthday' on the cake but was very pushy and rude the whole time. My coworker boxed the cake up and brought it around the counter to show the woman. She then yanked the cake out of my coworker's hands (messing it up slightly) and threw money at her face.
I was so in shock that a woman who was at least twice my age would act so immature because of something so small. She stormed out of the bakery, screaming, 'How dare you deny me of what I want! I am the public! I pay your wages!'
This happened about 4 or 5 months ago, and she actually came back in the other day and said, 'I would apologize to you for what I said, but you didn't give me what I wanted.' What?! People never fail to amaze me."
"I used to work as an overnight cashier at a small town grocery store. It was usually very uneventful; we were right between a Meijer and a Walmart, so most of the crazies ended up going to one of those places.
That is, of course, until one fateful December night. It was freezing cold around 4 AM and I had just a couple hours left in my shift when I noticed two guys in their 40's start walking in from the lot, both in their underwear. One was big, heavy, and very hairy. The other was short, very thin, and walked with a limp.
I wasn't going to make a big deal out of it at first since there was nobody in the store and I assumed they were just wasted or something. I called the manager up so he could get a look since watching crazies was always a fun way to pass the time.
When they got inside, things went from, 'Haha, look at those idiots,' to, 'Holy crap, this is creepy,' real fast. The fat guy was holding a leash which was tied around the little guy's neck. The little guy appeared to have some sort of mental incapacity, as he was blabbering wildly. My manager took one look and walked over to the office to call the cops.
When the guys walked past me the big one looked over and gave an ultra-sinister smile, then they went straight to the produce section. I tried to keep an eye on them, but then another customer came in, a middle-aged housewife who was one of our regulars. I warned her that there were some strange guys over in produce and she kind of laughed it off, as anyone who spends a lot of time out at night is used to dealing with crazies.
A short while later, the woman came back with her breakfast and I started ringing her out. Then the guys came back, their basket filled to the brim with bananas. The big guy immediately started harassing the woman, 'You know what I'd like to do with these bananas?' The whole time he was doing this creepy smile while the guy on the leash just cackled like an animal. I signaled for the woman to go ahead and leave without paying. The guys were very upset when she walked away and started throwing bananas everywhere.
Right about then, the first cop walked in the door. The big guy freaked out and ran off, literally dragging the other guy along the floor by his leash. He ducked into an aisle and dropped the leash, leaving the other guy on the floor as he tried to catch his breath. The cop started chasing him and eventually tackled and cuffed him. A couple more cops showed up and I pointed them over to the first cop, with one stopping to help the thin guy.
A few minutes later, the big guy was shoved into a squad car and an ambulance arrived for the little one. I never got the full story; the cops had no idea who the guys were, and we never got any sort of follow-up. The woman showed up the next night and we had a big laugh about it, but you could tell that it kind of freaked her out at the time. We also found little bits of banana hidden all over the registers for the next couple of days."
"I was a cashier at a Meijer in Michigan which tracked our scanning 'average items per minute,' and for years I was always in the top 10% for scanning speed, usually in the top 5%.
One day this lady, let's call her 'Crazywitch,' came to the front of my checkout line on an ordinary Saturday afternoon. She had a regular 'medium-full' cart of groceries and her daughter was in the kid seat at the rear of the cart. So, 'Boop, boop, boop,' the scanner was humming along as I did my usual 'top tier' scanning speed.
Out of nowhere, this woman went into a rage and screamed, 'YOU ARE GOING TOO SLOW! WHY ARE YOU GOING SO SLOW?! YOU HAVE TO GO FASTER! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?'
She went on and on in a series of increasingly shrill shrieks of horror that normal people would reserve for a time when they'd witnessed a puppy being run over. It was some seriously breathless wailing and shrieking in horrifying, over-the-top craziness.
Cashiers on both sides of me stopped to gawk, customers, too. The whole area became silent as she went on and on, and I just kept scanning. Finally, after threatening that she'd tell my manager and have me fired because I was 'too slow,' she said, 'CAN'T YOU SEE? MY DAUGHTER IS HUNGRY! WE HAVE TO GO! GO FASTER! FFAAAASSSTTTEEEEERRRRR!'
Then the little girl in the cart innocently interrupted, 'But, mommy, I'm not hungry.' Crazywitch stopped screaming and just switched to staring at me and fuming, literally pouting and huffing nonstop like a little kid. I just kept on scanning.
After the order finished she left, screaming back toward the crowd of awestruck witnesses. Several of them congratulated and consoled me as they left with their purchases. I was in a union and probably could have just shut my lane down, preventing her from buying anything; the United Food And Commercial Workers Union would have backed me up, but I decided to just muscle through it. Now I'm my own boss so if a customer ever screamed at me like that again, I would just tell them to suck my balls and say that I didn't want their business."
"Many years ago, I worked at Best Buy as part of Geek Squad when they first went national. One of the few days that I happened to actually be in the store, I had a customer come up to me with a cell phone and an extended warranty, wanting to have the phone replaced.
I looked at the device and it was a flip phone with a decent amount of damage that I could already see before he handed it to me. After I took hold of the phone, I noticed that I could literally see through it; the entire phone was covered in teeth marks, including a hole all the way through the LCD screen. Apparently, his dog got a hold of it.
I already know the answer was, 'No,' but I looked at the receipt anyway. I grabbed a pen and circled one of the first bullet points for the warranty that said something along the lines of, 'This plan does not cover accidental or intentional physical damage or abuse.' The guy lost his mind.
Before I could lean back away from him, he reached across the counter and grabbed me by my tie. He pulled it off as I jumped back and I retorted, 'That's why it's a clip-on!' He then took his phone, spun around, and threw it down the aisle of the store, hitting an employee about 30 feet away.
While maintaining my distance I informed the customer that he had just assaulted two separate employees and that he had been recorded by multiple cameras around the store. He quickly left while loudly swearing and threatening people, taking the time to scatter papers around and to knock over a couple displays on his way out of the store. We got his license plate number, and he was eventually served with a restraining order."
"Back when I worked at Target someone peed in the fitting room closest to the fitting room attendant's desk. We figured some kid had an accident and the parent either didn't realize or was too embarrassed and just left. We shut off the fitting room, Febreezed the crap out of it, and had the carpet professionally cleaned the next morning. This was a Monday.
The next Monday, a different fitting room attendant was working the evening shift and gave a couple of people the number tags and let them back into the fitting rooms. She then went off to do her other tasks, like taking some clothing back to the women's section. About 20 minutes later, all of the women had vacated the stalls and there was an unmistakable stench of urine...coming from the exact same stall. Someone had peed in the exact same stall.
The next Monday, I was working as the fitting room attendant. We were all on edge, fearing that the serial urinator would be back. At one point I gave three women tags and one of them beelined to the first stall, so I snuck to the other side of the department and radioed management.
My human resources manager and the loss protection manager came over and waited for the woman to come out of the stall. The HR manager and I distracted her for a second while the LP manager darted into the stall.
It turned out she had peed on all of the clothing she took into the stall as well as the stall walls. She then began shouting about how Target was an immoral company and hated '(her) people' and that they deserved to go under. She had a lot of crazy conspiracies about how Target was run by the Freemasons and how we were trying to take over the world."
"I used to work at Home Depot during the summer as a cashier, and one day a woman came through my line with a cart that contained only a small box of nails. 'That's odd,' I thought to myself, 'But maybe she just didn't find what she needed the cart for.'
I rang her up and she said, 'Well, what about the rest of my order? I need 800 lbs of Quickcrete, 50 10' 2x4s, 10 8' 4x4s...' and started reading off all of the items she needed to build a massive deck or something. She then asked me if I would help her get the stuff while she waited in line, holding up the ten people behind her as I pulled an entire backyard's worth of lumber and concrete out for her.
I told her we couldn't do that and gave her the number to call to have her order pulled. She freaked out and spent the next twenty minutes screaming at me. Even after I called the head cashier and had him handle her, she would run over to my lane while I was with other customers to tell me how 'unprofessional' I was being and that Lowe's is much better because they 'care about the customer.'"
"When I was around 17 years old I worked at Sears in the home electronics section. One day a guy who was in his 60s returned a paper shredder 10 months after he purchased it.
A stamp on his receipt said that anything returned after 60 days was charged a 20% restocking fee, but he refused to pay it because it wasn't opened up. After me trying to be polite for 30 seconds, he started yelling at me loud enough for a manager from a different area to come over.
The situation ended with this guy asking me what time I got off because he would be waiting for me so we could 'finish our discussion.' I thought it was strange because I didn't raise my voice or do anything insulting or threatening at all.
Being a bold teenager, I said, 'I get off at 4 PM and I exit through the loading dock doors, see you then, grandpa.' He tried to hit me but was held back by the manager who lifted weights 5 days a week. As soon as the manager said the word 'police,' the guy grabbed his paper shredder and stormed out. The best part is that the restocking fee would have been about $4."
"About a week before the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix book was released, we started getting copies into our bookstore. For the most part, we'd take these deliveries through our storeroom's back door and no one saw them.
However, one day one of the UPS guys only had two boxes so he decided to just bring them to the front. Now, if you've ever been to a midnight release for Harry Potter, the boxes they come in are prominently covered in the title of the book. There's no mistaking what's in them.
Apparently, some random lady shopper stopped the UPS guy while he was still in the mall, making his way to our storefront. She politely asked him where the books were going and he told her that he cannot give out that information due to federal mail regulations. Chaos ensued.
She flipped out on the UPS guy, screaming at him and demanding he tell her where the books were going. After he again reiterated that he wasn't legally allowed to tell her, she started assaulting him with her purse. He showed up to my store 5 minutes later with a cut lip and the beginning of a shiner. Fortunately, he'd lost her so she didn't come into my store, but he wasn't able to stop and report her to anyone because his schedule was way too full of deliveries. What a lunatic!"
"I work the customer service counter as a cashier and usually I enjoy it because I get a helper's high for assisting someone trying to find a certain item. But also because I work the customer service desk, I'm usually the first and last form of defense when it comes to preventing theft.
One day I greeted a heavy-set man as he approached my counter, and I saw 4 boxes of Keurig K-Cups in his cart: 2 of the 18-count flavors at $11.99 each and 2 of the 64-count variety packs at $34.99 each. It was expensive coffee that added up to nearly $100 plus tax!
When he got closer to the register, he angled his shopping cart in front of the counter in such a way that obscured most of the contents within. Unusual customer behavior often draws attention, right?
He started placing his boxes on my counter one at a time and watched me scan and bag them, then asked what his total was. I replied, 'It'll be about $65 with tax, but did you also wish to purchase that other box of coffee?' He stared at me with a stiff face and asked in an agitated voice, 'What other box?'
I leaned over my counter and pointed to the box of K-Cups, 'This one, sir.' The man tried to fake surprise and growled, 'No, I don't know how that got there and I don't want it now.' I thought to myself, 'Right...'
At that point, this guy was having a hard time keeping his feelings in check because I'd foiled his plan to shoplift overpriced coffee. He slapped a $100 bill on the counter to pay for his honestly acquired items. I smiled sweetly at him as I used a currency marker to make sure it was legal tender and he frowned at me, but it passed. As I was closing my drawer and counting out his change to him, he interrupted me.
'Wait, I'll give you $0.64 so you can give me a dollar back, I hate coins.' I sensed he was trying pull a shortchange scam on me so I said, 'Sir, I've already shut my drawer and I can't open it without another cash sale.'
He became angrier, and said, 'Yes, you can! Just scan one of these stupid things and open the drawer!' When he shouted that I was a bit alarmed because the situation was starting to escalate beyond anything I'd ever experienced.
Then I heard a woman behind him shout, 'For God's sake! I will give you a dollar out of my own wallet if you will just take your things and leave this girl alone!' He turned to gawk at her, didn't take her money, turned back to me, and threw his fistful of coins at my face before storming out of the store. Needless to say, I had to have a bit of a sit-down afterward to regain my nerves."