As shoppers, we expect to be treated with respect and courtesy when we visit a store. Unfortunately, there are times when employees engage in behavior that crosses the line, leading to a customer’s decision to never return. In this collection of stories, shoppers share the disrespectful thing an employee did that ensured they would never return to a store.
All content has been edited for clarity.
Never Judge A Book By Its Cover
“My 19-year-old daughter was working construction and needed a truck. We went to a Ford dealership and it was 5 minutes before any of the salespeople approached us. A middle-aged man finally did. My daughter had done the research and knew what types of features she wanted. The conversation was a bit odd as whenever my daughter asked a question, he answered me. It went something like this:
Daughter: ‘Which engine does this one have, 4 or 6 cylinder?’
Salesman: ‘This one has leather seats.’
D: ‘I need to know the engine size and horsepower.’
S: ‘And it includes the upgraded sound system.’
D: ‘I really need to know about the engine. Also the towing capacity.’
S: ‘The back seat isn’t big enough for baby car seats. A young lady like you should be looking at a nice family car.’
D: ‘I work construction, you f****ng idiot. What the h*** is the engine size and towing capacity?’
S: ‘Uh… I guess I could look that up.’
D: ‘Uh… I guess I can check out the Dodge dealer across the street.’
Unfortunately, we got nearly identical treatment there. She ended up buying a Nissan pickup truck. And to my embarrassment (and a little bit of pride tbh) she drove her new Nissan next door to the Ford dealership where the salesman was talking to another woman.
She stopped and shouted out the window, ‘You messed up big time, you misogynistic a-hole. Lady, don’t buy anything from that jacka**. He’s a total f****ng moron.’
The lady smiled. ‘I kinda noticed. Did they treat you better at Nissan?’ She was walking off the lot towards the Nissan dealership as we left.”
They Turned Him Away Over That?
“Two days after my younger son was born (in 2004), I walked into a high-end, old-fashioned toy shop in the beautiful historic city of Chester in England.
I knew exactly what I intended to buy.
I walked up to the counter and said to the older lady staff member sitting there.
‘Could I see the 2004 Steiff year bear you have in the display cabinet please?’
I couldn’t believe the way she slowly looked me up and down, shook her head, then said, ‘I’m not wasting my time unlocking the cabinet when you obviously can’t afford one of our Steiff collection bears.’
I was 40 years old and had come straight from work to buy the bear as a present for my new son, before picking him and my wife up from the hospital.
Although I was in my work uniform, it’s the uniform of an auto manufacturer that pays skilled workers highly, I was bamboozled by her attitude.
All I could say in return was. ‘That bear is only £300, he’s for my newborn son, I’ll just buy one somewhere else,’ and walked out.
She smiled and said, ‘Bye-bye,’ as I walked out!
I found the same bear two days later in my local town, the shop owner was delighted to sell him to me, she said he was on consignment from Steiff because he was so valuable the shop couldn’t afford to own a stock like him on their own.
I paid the £285 requested in cash and took bear home to my son Dylan.
Dylan loves ‘bear,’ and these days bear lives in his original box, an investment for Dylan’s future or a bear to be loved by his children depending on what the future holds.
The toy shop in Chester is long gone, not surprising really, the way they treated people that wanted to be a customer.
If you turn away people that obviously earn an honest living, you don’t deserve to be in business.”
It’s So Easy To Just Be A Decent Human Being
“Years ago, I was at a popular grocery store here in my Southern hometown. An older lady was pushing her cart in front of me and then suddenly she hit the floor.
I looked down and saw that she had slipped on some sugar that was all across that particular aisle. I’m an emergency room nurse and a paramedic so of course I stopped to help her. I could tell her hip was broken so I told her not to move and when the manager and a few employees came over I asked them to call 911. This was before cell phones.
The manager refused and said he couldn’t call them unless she signed a paper releasing them from responsibility. He kept pushing the paper at this woman and I kept telling them to call 911 and that she wasn’t in any state to sign anything. She was in a lot of pain and also had a cut on her forehead which was bleeding. The manager finally called 911 and I followed her to the ER where I worked.
She ended up going to surgery for a full hip replacement and was in the hospital for several weeks. The EMTs that showed up with the ambulance were the same group I worked with and the manager told them not to take her until she had signed his paper. What he didn’t know was that one of the part-time EMTs on that ambulance was also a personal injury lawyer. He and I spoke with her family and they ended up suing the grocery store. They ended up paying for her medical care and compensation for her pain and suffering.
The manager got fired. I never went back to that grocery store either and they shut down a few years later. If you ever fall or get hurt in a public place like this NEVER sign any type of paper until you’re able to read it over or discuss it with an attorney.”
How Did He Think That Response Would Play Out?
“A few years ago, my dad got me a nice car radio for Christmas! I was super stoked as I just had a very plain jane one that did not have Bluetooth which was huge for me as I drive a lot and love to listen to my music when I drive.
I got it for Christmas and called to make an installation appointment and was told they only did first come first serve. Okay no problem, except I worked 8:30–6 pm Mon-Fri meaning I could only accomplish this on Saturday.
So I waited a couple of weeks in the hope that the rush would die down and could get in first thing in the morning. So I went in on a Saturday before they opened and of course, they opened the other door first. I told the guy I wanted to have my car radio installed and was told they were already booked for the day with a remote installation. I asked what could be done with my schedule and am told they are short-staffed. This is the moment he told me what he never should have.
‘It’s none of your business.’
Umm, I am the customer it is in fact my business as I am trying to get a radio installed since that is what we paid for. They could have told me someone was sick, someone quit, they messed up the schedule, or any excuse. Instead, they pretty much told me to flat out that I don’t matter to them. That their remote start installations were more important.
I would have taken any excuse but they wanted to make it clear I was not important. So at that moment, I told them to take it all back, refund my dad’s money and we went 2 blocks down and got a similar radio installed the same day at a much friendlier place. They sell much more than car radios and I have not been back since! Treat your customers with respect, we just want to try and make sense of bad situations.”
Some People Can’t Be Helped
“The cashier had just rung up my purchases to the tune of $337.43 and I was about to hand her my credit card when there was a crash. A large stack of plastic hangers lay scattered about the floor and on top of a crying toddler. Mortified, his mother ran to her child, a few feet away, profusely apologizing the entire time. She swooped him up with one arm and set about putting things back in order with the other.
The woman at the register was obviously perturbed. But, I couldn’t believe she would stoop to spew a venomous remark and cap it with the worst of racial slurs. I glared at her until she looked away. ‘Really? Really,’ I asked incredulously in disgust but walked away over to the mother.
‘Here, Honey, let me help you, that little bruiser has to be heavy,’ I said taking the hangers from her hand and laying them on the table.
‘Stay here, I’ll grab the rest.’
In a jif, it was done. ‘Now how about a cup of coffee, my treat? I can’t stand to be in here a minute longer.’
‘Yes Ma’am, that would be nice. Thank you for being so kind,’ the young black woman said smiling.
‘Miss, your sale,’ the cashier called to me as we headed to the door.
‘You made it as unwanted as your derogatory statement. But, my friend and I got all of the hangers back on the table, so you can start putting all of those clothes back on the rack. Have fun!'”
“My daughter and her boyfriend were shopping for wedding rings, and they invited her mother and me to tag along. We went to a jewelry store. The kids started looking at wedding sets and were approached by a salesman. My wife and I hung back a little and started looking in cases on the other side of the store.
In a short time, we were approached by a different salesman who apparently didn’t notice that we were with the young couple on the other side of the store. Oh, I should mention here that my wife, who had always been extremely thin her entire life, had recently started to develop a little belly fat, and she was very self-conscious about it.
Anyway, the salesman came over and it was clear that he thought we were in the market for engagement and wedding rings ourselves. Why not? We were both in our forties, although my wife looked younger. We smiled and played along, and while the salesman was getting a set out of the case to show us, he continued his patter, talking about how he knew I wanted to take good care of her, ‘especially with the little one on the way.’
Time froze. I have never seen my wife so deeply offended by anything anyone has ever said. And the instant he saw her face, the salesman realized he had made a faux pas of monumental proportions. And I, looking at the two of them, was trying my hardest not to burst out laughing.
Without a word, my wife turned around and walked straight out the door. The salesman was so flustered he couldn’t even speak. I shouted over to the kids ‘Mom and I will be waiting out in the car.’ They looked up from what they were doing, puzzled, but they could tell that SOMETHING major had just happened.
They joined us outside momentarily and we went someplace else. Here’s an inflexible rule that works at all times and in all circumstances: never mention that a woman is pregnant UNLESS SHE TELLS YOU. I don’t care if she’s nine months, bigger than a house, in labor and you can see the head of the baby crowning: unless you have a medical reason to do so, DON’T SAY A WORD. Just saying.”
That’s Just Unnecessary
“Browsing at Victoria’s Secret store one day, and a young black woman came in. Let’s just say she was full-sized. After mostly being ignored by the young employees, she finally managed to get the attention of one of them. She told them she wanted to look at bras, but wasn’t sure what size she’d need.
One of these size 1 waifs looked her up and down disdainfully and very loudly declared, ‘Oh we don’t sell anything big enough to fit YOU. There’s a Walmart across the road.’
I watched tears of mortification well up in the customer’s eyes as she made her way to the door. I turned to the two employees and said, ‘You should be ashamed of yourselves for being so cruel. It costs nothing to be kind and tactful. Maybe you don’t have anything in her size, but if you’d treated her with respect she might have come back some time and bought gifts for others. Anyway, your lack of respect just cost you my business.’ And I left and have never set foot in that store again.”