We've all been frustrated while shopping. Sometimes things happen, like an overcharge or a misunderstanding about a sale item. Usually, these problems get worked out peacefully and to our satisfaction. But sometimes, it doesn't. Sometimes we can get angry and stamp our feet and maybe start yelling. We're usually embarrassed and move on. Sometimes people go completely off the deep end and start making crazy threats! These are their stories.
"A guy called to tell me a used game he just bought was scratched (not possible, we were diligent at that store about scratches). He wanted me to send a taxi over with his refund because he lived too far away. Obviously, we couldn't do that. He told me to send someone over then, he doesn't care, he just wants his money. He was angry and being rude at this point. Again, nope, can't do that. After a lot more of that completely ridiculous exchange, he said, 'Well then you BETTER be in there, because I'm coming over, grabbing your head, and slamming your face into the counter!' I looked at the phone in astonishment and hung up. Tried not to cry the rest of the night every time I heard a male voice."
"Some lady's 12 or 13-year-old kid opened a can of silly string and sprayed it all over an aisle. I led the kid over to the register to ring him up for the silly string and his mom came out of nowhere, started yelling about our poor customer service, and assured me that if I ever try to 'intimidate' her 'baby' again, that he had an older brother who would be paying me a visit.
I laughed and told her to get lost."
"I was working at Sears, selling electronics, and we had a customer buy a display model TV. These are sold at a discount and thus non-returnable, they can only be exchanged for a similar one or a gift card. All of this is explained beforehand.
So a customer buys this TV, then comes back after the weekend of a football or hockey night game and wants to return it because he 'doesn't like the color anymore.'
When I explain to him that we can't and remind him that was explained to him yesterday (I was the one who sold him it), he threatens me with, 'You give me my money back RIGHT NOW, or I am driving my truck into here.'
I answer, 'That still will not change our return policies, also we are on the second floor.'"
"I had a lady call in and just start SCREAMING obscenities at an associate. Telling us we're all kinds of horrible people and she's going to SUE us because she was in the store yesterday, and bought a pack of highlighters. Then, apparently, she fell asleep 'for only 10 minutes' and her DOG ATE THEM, and now he's dying.
Yup, she was going to sue the manager because, according to her, her dog was 'half brain dead' now and 'all it does is run in circles.'
The associate finally was able to transfer her to a manager, but she just continued yelling obscenities and threatening to sue.
So, of course, the manager countered with, 'First of all, that's nothing you can sue us for, considering we didn't MAKE the product, nor did we feed it to your dog. AND SECONDLY, if your dog is sick and/or dying, the first thing you need to do is get him to a vet!'
The lady, of course, thought nothing of this and threatened to hire a lawyer. But FIRST, she was going to bring the dog INTO the store so we could see what WE had done to him, and so that 'we could feel the guilt of our sin.' And if he died first, she actually threatened to throw the dead dog at our manager.
I was disappointed when she never showed up."
"My only retail job was as a clerk in a new age store. Obviously this kind of business draws ... interesting patrons, but one regular was nutty. She was convinced I was jinxing her 'healing stones' and that they were harming her. She said it was a store conspiracy to get her to spend more money but she was on to me and going to hex me. Whatever.
The following week, she came back around closing and picked up more quartz and sage and one of those mini voodoo doll kits. I rang her up, she left, I locked up and started counting my till. Five minutes went by and I heard the sound of the door trying to be opened. It was crazy! She kept trying to open it so I mouthed that we were closed. She just stared at me then held up the tiny little voodoo doll and started stabbing it in the chest. I just went back to counting my till, but called a friend to pick me up so I didn't have to walk to bus stop alone."
"I am a nurse practitioner. As a newly graduated registered nurse, I did phone triage for a non-profit clinic for uninsured patients. Many of them had psychosocial and substance abuse issues. Many of them were on strong stuff, anti-anxiety meds, etc. If they needed refills of their meds earlier than they were supposed to, they would call and demand them. If the doc said no, they would often threaten to come shoot us up if we refused.
Then, as a nurse practitioner a few years ago, I had a man bring his son to urgent care to see me. The dad was upset and asked why his son didn't get to see 'a real doctor' for his ear infection (FYI, something a nurse practitioner is completely capable of treating). I said the doctor was busy, but I would gladly go get him if he didn't mind waiting. The dad then (in front of his toddler) shouted, 'No, just hurry up with this visit then.'
I opened the exam room door because this man was obviously agitated, and I told him why I was opening the door (because I felt like he was being combative), and he got an evil grin on his face and said, 'You have no idea what I would do to you.'
The first and only time I've told a patient to bugger off. I've taken a lot of abuse as a nurse and NP, and usually just sit back and be the professional. But I will not be threatened by an arrogant, ignorant jerk when I am trying to HELP them.
He tried following me around the building shouting at me, telling me he was going to 'go to the news' for refusing to see his son. And that I was lucky his wife wasn't there because she would be killing me right now.
We got him escorted out by the cops and, I kid you not, an hour later, his wife showed up to 'kick my butt.' Again, called 911 and had her escorted out of the building. The entire family was fired as patients and I had to watch my back for a few months whenever I left work."
"I'm a newly graduated pharmacist. I work in a small, family-run pharmacy in a very affluent suburb, so we cater mostly to soccer moms who need their Xanax and men in their 60s paying out-of-pocket/full cash price for their little blue pill. I've been at this pharmacy for three years as an intern, and am now working here for the time being as a part-time pharmacist, so I am friends with the usual customers and very familiar with the type of people that come through our pharmacy.
This one night a few months ago, we had the sketchiest looking dude come in that I'd NEVER seen before, who tried to get some controlled substance filled. The prescription looked legit, but I'd never seen this guy before and something felt wrong. Since he'd never been in our pharmacy before, I had to get basic information to create a patient profile, and he was being shady about it. The phone number he gave me was a fake. I repeated it back to him and switched the digits and he didn't even correct me. So there was something off. He was from a town over an hour away from my pharmacy. When I asked for insurance, he said he'd pay cash. Red flags all over. I switched terminals (so I was farther away from him) to privately call a few of the retail pharmacies around us and see if this guy had tried to fill this prescription there previously. Turns out, he had been to a neighboring CVS just a few hours earlier trying to fill this prescription, and they turned him down because they had got wind from another pharmacy saying that a similar guy had basically faked the Rx (something along the lines of they had gotten in touch with the doctor, who doesn't know him or something like that).
I went back to the counter to tell him why I couldn't fill it, and before I could even say anything, he looked me dead in the eyes and said, 'If you say a word to the police or to anybody else that I was here tonight, I will follow you home and kill you.' He then grabbed the prescription from my hand and bolted out the door. Words cannot even BEGIN to describe how shocked and scared I was. That has NEVER happened to me or to anybody I know, and I have friends that work in 24-hour stores in the middle of bad neighborhoods (known to be sketchy). I immediately called the main pharmacist/store owner, told him what had happened, and quickly closed shop with the other pharmacist and tech that were there."
James R. Martin/Shutterstock.com
"As an assistant manager for a large fireworks chain, I get some real winners. The best threat was from a mid-30's male with a mohawk, bad tattoos, and an even worse attitude. He was being rude to one of the check-in girls because he could not provide a valid photo identification for entry; of course, he wanted to speak with a superior.
So myself, and my co-manager approach this jerk. We explain to him that he can't come into our store because A: he doesn't have a shirt on and B: doesn't have a state issued I.D. on him.
His reason for not having his I.D. on him is because, 'I'm on vacation, why do I need my freaking I.D.!' We continue on explaining that we won't grant him permission to enter.
So to be cool in front of his younger companions, he says 'Forget this crap,' storms out the door and yells, 'I should take a match and burn this place down.'
We called the cops and he left."
"While working for a major retailer when I was younger, I got called up to speak to someone who was angry about not being able to return a video game without a receipt. I told the guy the same thing our front-end leader told them. The guy pulled a weapon on me and said we're going to return his stuff. I gave him the $70 or whatever it was, called our security guys, who followed him on video to get his license plate and called the cops.
The cops arrest the dumb guy."
"I used to work at an upscale boutique a few years ago and a customer tried to return a $1,200 dress that had clearly been worn; makeup stains, flecks of juice and significant remnants of whatever she had for dinner. She demanded a refund because the tag was still intact. I pointed out the stains and explained that because she clearly wore the dress, we couldn't take it back. Then she said, 'What if I get it dry cleaned?'
I shook my head, 'No.'
Her eye twitched, her face went red, and she began screaming that she was 'going to sue my stupid butt off,' and that her husband would close the store down.
The owner of the boutique, a Polish woman who took crap from no one, came out of the back, glared at the woman and hissed at her, 'Peasant!' The woman gritted her teeth and stomped out of the store."
"I work at a franchise party store where I'm a member of management. We had to enforce a ridiculous 'no return' policy for seasonal purposes.
Enter an elderly woman, 'I want to return this feathered, pirate hat.'
'I'm very sorry. Due to the date, and the approaching holiday, we are unable to issue refunds.' Yada Yada Yada, no return spiel.
'That's OK young man. You know what I'm going to do?' she says as she begins to wave her finger at me.
I raise eyebrows.
'I'm going take this hat. I'm going to bend you over. Then I'm going to tickle your butt until you laugh so hard, you die!'"
"The best I can think of is back when I worked for Circuit City, shortly before it died. I was a salesman in the computer/camera section and had gone to the front desk to reprint some price tags and saw the following. One of our customer service agents, who was a petite and sweet college girl, was being screamed at by a short, balding, fat middle-aged white guy. The conversation was like this:
Customer Service (CS): 'I'm sorry, this is outside the refund period.'
Balding Guy (BG): 'So? You can just return it, so just do it.'
CS: 'I'm sorry, I can't. You have 14 days to return and it is day 20.'
BG: 'Eff that. Return it.'
CS: 'I can't, I'm sorry.'
BG: 'If you don't return it, I will VIOLATE AND MURDER you!'
At this point, I stepped in and he threatened to murder me, too. I guess I wasn't his type for violating. I called our warehouse, asked for Bill, and told him to come pretend to be a manager. Now, Bill was the sort of guy you expect in a warehouse; he was a wanna-be biker, well over six feet tall, 250lbs, and just a bear of a man. I explained to him what happened and Bill showed up and just leaned over the guy with his arms crossed.
Bill: 'What is the problem?'
BG: 'Um, I want to return this.'
BG: 'Can I get store credit?'
Bill: 'You should leave and never come back.'
BG: 'Okay. Thanks.'
And just like that, he was gone. To this day, it haunts me that someone would threaten to assault and murder a 20-year-old girl over a stupid return, and then become instantly cave once a massive guy comes over. I think I lost faith in humanity that day, but every day not in retail helps me regain a tiny piece of that faith."
"I work at a retailer that sells popular body products. Fragrances come and go; that's just how it is, they can't keep them all forever! Well, sometimes people get so upset when I tell them their fragrance is no longer in stores, though most of them ARE online.
One day, a lady comes in and demands a fragrance we don't have in stores. I very politely tell her we do not carry it in stores, but she can still find it online. She loses it, starts screaming about how I am incompetent, and how she should be able to buy it in store if it is online. Keep in mind, she is YELLING at me, like screaming over a scented lotion.
I tell her most online-only products are marked that way and I give her a customer service card, because she is so irate and this company is obsessed with making customers happy, and I tell her she can have 20% off her purchase. She screams at me and tells me if I don't give her money to cover shipping, she's going to make me sorry. I tell her I can't just take money from the store. She says, 'Not from the store; YOU should give it to me.' She wants me to hand her money from my own pocket to cover her shipping. She says, 'I don't think I'm being unreasonable.' I just stare at her.
She said she was coming back, and I might want to reconsider.
She never did and I never did."
"I worked at Best Buy 10 or so years ago; this happened on Black Friday.
Most of the customers were in bad moods since they'd been waiting hours to come in and stand in more lines. But this one lady was a raging witch. After yelling at everyone in my department about how she NEEDED the laptop that was on sale despite it being sold out, she proceeded to tell us she'll have the store closed down because she 'works with the city and knows the fire marshall and we have too many people in the store.' So she called him, we told her to leave, and nothing happened to the store. However, we called them as well to report what she'd said, and she got fired from her job for abuse of power."
"A few years back, I was working at a movie theater. I was stocking the counters for the next rush with some fellow co-workers. A little kid, 10 years old or so, came up with a drink and asked for a refill of Sprite. I took his drink and asked him, 'More ice?'
To which he replied, 'No, Sprite.'
'Sure. Would you like more ice?'
'Uhh, Sprite please.' This went on for a little bit, none of us really sure what the other was saying. A simple misunderstanding, the theater was loud and I'm half deaf to begin with. We finally came to an agreement that he wanted both ice and Sprite. I filled his drink and he went on his way. I turned to my co-worker and explained the little misunderstanding to her. Apparently, the dad was right around the corner and heard a bit of what I'd said. He rushed up to me screaming, 'How dare you make fun of my kid like that? I outta talk to your manager and get you fired, you imbecile.'
'My manager is right there, sir.' He rushed over to her, started yelling at her. She replied by summoning the cops to walk him out.
Before they could get to him, he came up to the counter and said straight to me, 'I will CUT YOU the next time I see you.' He was then grabbed by the cops and led outside. His son came up to the counter and said he was sorry for his 'meanie' dad.
Three years later, and he still hasn't cut me, despite coming every weekend to see a movie."
Francois Etienne du Plessis/Shutterstock
"I worked at a gadget store in a mall that sold pretty neat stuff, but it was overpriced stuff that no one really needed. Most of our clientele were overprivileged, older white women who had had tons of plastic surgery and thought they were celebrities, and should be treated as such. I'm not stereotyping or exaggerating. It was bad.
So one day in March, this bleach blonde and tan Stepford Wife comes in with a kid in tow. The kid was holding one of our remote control helicopters, which were fun (they let us demo them), but easily broke and the warranty was dealt with by the company, not us. The warranty was 60 days and our return policy was 30.
Anyway, this lady says the helicopter broke and she needs to return it for a refund. It was a popular Christmas gift and guess when she had bought it? Not happening. My manager explains this. The lady goes off on her and throws a tantrum (nice example for the kid). Then blurts out this gem: 'I'M A BIG DEAL! I HAVE FRIENDS IN THE MEDIA! AND I'M GOING TO MAKE SURE THIS STORY GETS OUT EVERYWHERE, AND I WILL NEVER SHOP HERE AGAIN AND NEITHER WILL ANYONE IMPORTANT!' The lady grabs her kid and storms out. We laugh about it all day and beyond.
I waited for the breaking headline: 'Store Refuses Refund On Product Two Months Over Warranty - Scandal!' It never came, of course. 'I have friends in the media,' and 'Careful, they might have friends in the media,' became a running joke."
"I had a woman file a complaint with the State Attorney General against a store I managed for false advertising.
The promotion that month was a 'buy one, get one free' sale on different products throughout the store. The sign on product A said 'buy one get one free.' Another sign, on a different and totally unrelated product, B, in another department of the store, also said 'buy one get one free.' She was IRATE that the cash register wouldn't allow the cashier to sell her A and get similarly priced, but cheaper, product B for free. After going up one side of the cashier and down the other for the way the computer calculated the sale, I was called in to explain, as sweetly as I could, 'Ma'am, you buy A and you get a second A for free, or buy B and get a second B for free. You can not mix and match. It says here in our ad, "Promotional free items must accompany the purchase of the identical item at regular price." It's buy one get one free, not buy one, get something free.'
But it didn't say that on each and every sign, so we were committing fraud, according to her. According to the staffer from the AG's office, 'That lady is certifiably insane and we've told her we are going to dismiss her claim because there are no grounds, and that isn't even close to false advertising.'
The best part about it was all the time she must have sat, fuming, on filling out a formal complaint. I could have done an override on the register and given her B for free. I would have (and did many times for other customers), if she had talked to us like human beings, and asked nicely, maybe thrown a 'please' or two in there instead of immediately talking to us like so much dirt under her feet that didn't deserve to be treated with any kind of respect."