The collective mantra for how an unhappy employee feels about their job: "They don't pay me enough for this job." Well, perhaps that apathetic perspective is what led to their career's fate. Sometimes it takes one move (either too careless or too bold) to get canned, effective immediately. Interestingly enough, those kinds of stories are the ones that most employees love to tell the most.
Retail workers, and other blue collar employees, took to Reddit to share their favorite stories of a co-worker (or even themselves) losing their job with the snap of a finger. These are the best of the bunch. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I worked at a restaurant that was having a meeting with everyone present, including the higher ups. It was a pretty normal meeting and everyone was discussing changes they’d like to see or changes they’d appreciate, etc. At one point the head manager asked if anyone else had something to share. This one dishwasher raised his hand and said, 'I know I’ve not always been the best, but I’m gonna work on that. From now on, I won’t get high in the stairwell by the dumpster. I’ll walk down the street on my break. You won’t even smell it on me anymore, promise.'
Dead silence in the room.
The manager spoke up, 'Did everyone else just hear that?' We all nodded. 'Great,' the manager continued. 'So, now I have to look like an imbecile and fire you. What were you thinking?”
The dishwasher was shocked and said, 'But, but I said I was fixing it. You guys won’t even know anymore!!'
He was walked out and removed in front of the whole staff."
"I was a cart wrangler for Walmart and it was one particularly hot day in Texas. Must have been 104 degrees and I had just finished bringing in some carts but was really thirsty. I was heading to the water fountain when the assistant manager asked what I was doing.
I told him, 'Getting a drink then heading out there.' He said I couldn't get a drink, that I needed to be out there because guests were complaining about no carts. I said I would, but I needed water. He said to get out there now or no job. I said, 'OK whatever, dude.'
He said, 'Do you really want to lose your job?'
I said, 'Sure,' and walked away and drank some water. I was walking out of the store to my car when he came after me and demanded my orange safety vest. I gave it to him and said, 'You can get your own carts now.'"
"I work for a cellphone company. I was working with my manager, two new employees, and another co-worker. I was standing with my co-worker and manager, and the two new employees were standing off at the other side of the store at a desk with the landline phones waiting for incoming customer calls.
We were currently helping my one co-worker with a customer. The store got a call and, apparently, these two new workers got into a scuffle as to who got to answer the phone. One thing led to another and the one guy punched the other new guy right in the crotch.
The guy who got punched immediately dropped to the floor and started screaming and calling the other an insult. All the while, another customer was in the store and the phone was ringing away. Both new employees weren't really working out and were kind of on thin ice to begin with. Manager fired them right after the customer was out of the store. Some would say the guy who got punched didn't deserve firing, but the way he laid on the floor screaming for five minutes was a bit overkill."
"I worked at a Nissan dealership for a few months. There was general incompetence and a service manager who was extremely unpleasant. He had been a service advisor and took his authority WAY too seriously.
Dealerships have these things called Friends and Family day, where regular customers come in and get discounts. Problem was, Dumb Boss decided to schedule it for two days before Christmas. Half our crew had vacation time they were gonna use. Boss called everyone in and told everyone, 'No one gets to use their holidays this season except management since our numbers are down.'
He basically told the entire service staff that the only one getting a Christmas was him - mandatory attendance or automatic firing. The entire service crew got together and agreed that no one would show up at all. No advisors, no parts guy, NO ONE. They forgot to tell me and one other guy, who didn't show up anyways because of his drinking.
I showed up for work. There was a 13 car line out the door and almost 60 people waiting for me to change their oil. The boss was furious. He told me I had 30 minutes to get all these cars done or I was fired. That's physically impossible. I told him to shove a wrench up his butt and went back up front. I busted my butt and did almost 19 oil changes in four hours. He refused to let me take a break and screamed at me when I went to use the bathroom. Most of these customers yelled and screamed at me, since there was no advisor except him, and he locked himself in his new office.
I finally said, 'Forget it', called the General Manager at his house, and explained what was going on. Eight minutes later, he came roaring in the parking lot and stormed into Dumb Boss' office. He ripped this guy a new one so deep, NASA uses the gravity to accelerate particles at CERN. Dumb Boss was sent home. General Manager started taking over, helped me get everything sorted out. He was cool, brought pizza and kept things smooth (ish). Worked a 16-hour shift, almost nonstop.
The next day was Christmas Eve. Dumb Boss calls me at 6 a.m. I ignored it. He left a message telling me I was fired for making him look bad. He then told me he was taking my tools as payment for his lost bonuses. Uh, WHAT?!
I went in the day after Christmas and talked with the General Manager and played back the message. Dumb Boss was escorted off the property and banned for life from any associated dealership in his chain (which meant pretty much everybody in the area). I got my job back, a healthy late Christmas bonus, and a few extra days off. Last I heard, Dumb Boss was selling junkyard parts three towns over."
"I worked at a dog daycare place for a little over a year. When I started working there, there was this girl who worked there that was a notorious witch and everyone hated her, but she did her job so our manager didn't have any quarrel with her. I started in June of 2017 and I hated her up until the day she was fired, which I will NEVER forget.
On October 31, 2017, this girl that I used to date but am still good friends with brought her dogs to daycare (two Australian Shepherds) and we just let them play and do their thing. One of the dogs is super sweet and laid back at home, but at daycare, she let all of her energy loose and barked constantly because she was really excited to be with all of her friends.
Well, on this particular Halloween, the dog was barking a little more than usual and was in MY yard, which was the complete opposite of the yard this co-worker was in. After about two hours of hearing the dog bark, she comes over, pulls the dog out of my yard, and carries the dog by the back of its neck over to her yard. In the process of this, she KICKED THE DOG IN THE FACE as hard as she could. I'm not even kidding you. She kicked this poor dog in the face because it was having fun and playing. I watched this happen with my own eyes and, that on top of the fact that the dog belonged to my ex who I was still close friends with, I was seething and immediately went and told my manager.
He called her into his office and asked if this was true. She tried to cover it up and explain why she did it and blah blah blah. He told her to pack her stuff and never come back. I never saw her again and I hope I never do."
"A number of years ago I was having real difficulty finding a decent-paying job so I was forced to pick up some part-time retail work to make ends meet until I could find something more substantial. One of those jobs was at a national electronics retailer best known for surprising absolutely nobody by going bankrupt a few years ago. About two or three months into my employment, our regional manager - who was by all reports a really sweet lady - said, 'Forget this noise' and quit for greener pastures very, very suddenly. The woman who replaced her was short, round, and extremely loud. Nobody knew anything about her other than she was an outside hire.
About a week into her position - and about three weeks before Black Friday - she sent out word that all employees of all local stores were to attend a mandatory meeting, where our holiday strategy would be clearly defined. Now, the majority of that meeting turned out to be basically no different than new hire orientation - seriously, no new or relevant information, nothing about upcoming sales, products, nothing that couldn't have been just as easily disseminated in a freaking flyer taped to the break room wall - until we got to the end, when our new regional manager began explaining how we would now handle our extended warranties.
A little background - almost every single product in the store could have an extended warranty attached (they didn't call it that but I forget the exact term) and every single extended warranty was basically useless and added anywhere from $5-$40 to the price. Corporate leaned really hard on us to sell a certain number of them per overall transactions. Low numbers were grounds for dismissal, so we were already expected to be pretty aggressive about selling this useless paper to begin with. Now, the new manager brayed at us that we were going to have the best-extended warranty numbers in the country, starting right then. Her brilliant plan of action was what she called 'The Five No's and Five Why's.'
This was her plan, exactly: we were to present the extended warranty to the customer and we were not to take 'No' for an answer until they had declined five times. Then, after the fifth 'No', we were to ask them 'Why?' Five times.
Now, my jaw was in my freaking lap because this was the absolute worst idea I had ever heard in my life. The retail rule of thumb is you get two no's, one when you bring it up and the next and final after you explain exactly what they're missing out on and then you drop it and finalize the transaction. If this stuff was actually implemented and enforced, we'd be chasing customers out the door.
The manager in question started splitting us up - a room of maybe 45 people - into small groups so we could role play 'Five No's and Five Why's' and as everyone else was filtering off to the sides of the large room, I was still sitting there in my chair because I could not believe this was real. The manager eyed me and blasted, 'HOW COME YOU AIN'T WITH YOUR GROUP?' into my face from point-blank range and I just stared at her, trying to choose the most diplomatic way to put this. I heard myself say, 'Because this is a terrible plan and I won't do it.'
The room went very quiet. The manager went very red.
Before she could erupt, I said, 'Look, this is just not a workable idea. The average customer will lose their patience by the third "no." By the fifth, we have lost that customer and we'll be asking them the five "why's" while they are getting back in their cars and driving to our competitors. What you are asking us to do is the opposite of customer service.'
Then, she started shouting. She roared at jet-engine decibels directly into my face for a solid minute (screaming so loud that her entire body shook) about what I will do because I will fall into line and so if I know what is good for me I will join my freaking group and freaking role play the five freaking No's and the five freaking Why's and I will not ever question her or anyone else for the rest of my life or she will fire me so hard my great-grandchildren will be drawing unemployment. She was staring at me, heaving, furious, her finger thrust at my assigned group like she was the Queen of Hearts and the full weight of 45 pairs of eyes were burning right through me.
My stomach was churning like a dishwasher and I thought, OK this is salvageable. This is humiliating but it is salvageable. The money isn't good, but it's steady and you need it. You are not exactly swimming in job offers. You need the money and you need it very badly. Your pride is not as important as the paycheck. Just apologize. I was telling myself, Apologize, swallow the humiliation, and stick it out until something better comes along.
I stood up and I said, 'Go eff yourself, you incompetent turd.'
Yeah, I was fired right there. I was happy about it."
"A Taco Bell employee made fun of my order. I asked for 'wild' sauce instead of 'fire' sauce. She pointed at me and laughed in my face - 'He said wild sauce!' - and then went around to every customer and co-worker in the store repeating the same.
I asked to speak to the manager. He said, 'Don't worry. I'm firing her right now.' I didn't even get to ask him anything. He took the initiative. I also received more coupons than I knew existed.
Also, apparently 'wild' sauce had existed previously, hence the mistake, just not at that particular time, and the coworker obviously had never heard of it. The manager had."
"I used to work for a company selling mobile phones. At the end of the day before we left, we had to have our bags checked by a colleague and signed off on, just in case one of us decided it'd be smart to steal a $600 iPhone. This was usually just a formality. Anyway, we had a new person start, and on their second day our manager explained to him the process and asked to have a quick check in his bag.
Nope, not mobile phones. Just two rolls of toilet roll. The guy said he had none at home so he just lifted it. The manager couldn't believe it, said it was only toilet roll, but that kind of behavior just two days into the job couldn't be tolerated and he told him not to come back. He was on probation."
"I work in a bakery. We try to be eco-friendly, so we wash our plastic pastry bags and re-use them a couple times before they get tossed. We had a new girl soak and wash the bags... with floor cleaner. We only caught it because someone smelled lavender coming from chocolate cupcakes.
The girl tried to wash the bags and fix it by soaking them in our sanitizer sink, which is filled with a bleach solution. She made chloramine gas.
Yeah, we're gonna have to let you go."
"I was the newest guy at a job delivering auto parts, so I got the oldest, rustiest, nastiest rear-wheel drive panel van. Well, the first week or so I had it, I was on the highway, and the driveshaft fell out the bottom of the freaking van and the rear wheels seized up. I went from about 50 MPH to about 0 MPH instantly. This was before airbags, so that hurt. This was also before cell phones too.
I had to walk down to a payphone. They sent the assistant manager out to pick me up. He made me walk back down the highway and collect the driveshaft. It was a hot August day and, after playing Frogger with cars on the highway, I was walking a mile down it holding onto a long, heavy piece of hot metal like Jesus carrying the cross down the highway.
They did not fire me for that, though. They found used parts and had a boneyard van and constructed a Frankenvan out of them and what was left of the one that just crapped out. After all, this place dealt in parts and had mechanics, so they cobbled some parts together. They gave me that to use, so, whatever ever, I used it.
Well, I used it for another week anyway. Then, some lady smashed into me. The accident was totally her fault, but it destroyed the Frankenvan. I mean, the gearbox just fell out. The thing sucked anyway. And I still didn't get fired. There was a police report. I had to fill it out. But, whatever, it said it wasn't my fault. The manager wasn't even too mad.
They made a third van for me. Frankenvan 2. The problem with Frankenvan 2 was that they were really kind of winging it for parts this time. So, the parking brake didn't work. Of course, nobody told me the parking brake didn't work. So, the next day I took Frankenvan 2 off to do some deliveries. The first couple were on flat ground, so it was no big deal. The next was on a bit of a slope, but not much. Well, I stopped, and grabbed the stuff out of the back, and took them in to deliver. When I came out, Frankenvan 2 was gone. I looked around in panic. Then, I saw it. Since the parking brake didn't work, it had rolled down the slight incline and was resting on a tree. The incline was so slight that it must have hit the tree going about 2 MPH, so there wasn't even really a mark on the bumper.
Now, I might have gotten away with this, been careful to use the e-brake, and reported it had nobody seen and had I made it back to the shop. But the guy I delivered to saw the whole thing. And he called my manager to rat me out and laugh at me. By the time I got back, I was fired on the spot. I had killed 3 vans in 2 weeks. I still don't really think it was my fault. But I also didn't argue with getting fired. One of those things that just wasn't meant to be."
"I arrived early to a movie showing of a blockbuster/mainstream film. It had been a couple weeks since it premiered, so the audience wasn't too big.
A teenaged employee subtly came through (without his uniformed hat) & walked down to open the emergency exit door next to the screen. Obviously, these doors aren't alarmed, since they allow patrons to exit directly to the parking lot after the movie. Upon the worker opening the door, another plainclothes teenager quickly rushed in. Just as the two turned to come back up, I noticed that, oddly, the door wasn't closed. In behind them came a uniformed adult, who I can only assume was the manager, who told them something inaudible.
The teenagers turned immediately around & began talking to the man. The conversation was brief. The plainclothes kid fast-walked out the exit door. The teen employee took off his shirt & started walking up toward the entry door to the theater, the manager quick behind. The teen stopped and turned to the audience. A commercial was playing onscreen, but he shouted over it 'THE DOG DIES!' The manager insisted, 'You need to GO,' and the two of them walked out. I had actually came to see the movie Valkyrie with eyepatch-bearing Tom Cruise. The kid must have thought we were the matinee for Marley & Me."
"Back in college I worked at a Liberty Tax office. One of our sign wavers ('John') got into an argument with some guy in a car at a red light. The sign wavers always get heckled and are verbally abused, so the argument was business as usual. My boss, the franchisee, happened to see this and talked to John about ignoring people and that getting into arguments out in public didn't look good for the company. It wasn't even a scolding or anything, just a quick, 'Hey, we get it. Just keep your cool.'
John proceeded to stab our huge inflatable 10' tall Statue of Liberty in the parking lot. He was let go."
"I used to work at a grocery store. I came in on a Sunday night and found out one of our managers had abruptly quit the previous night. He didn't tell anyone, just dropped his badge and keys on the GM's desk and went home. They found out Sunday morning. So, about 20 minutes after I started, he showed up arm-in-arm with one of my off-duty co-workers, a girl. He was about as wasted as you can be and still be standing.
He went and grabbed a 36-pack of Bud Light, which our cashier refused to sell him (can't sell that to obviously inebriated people), so he just threw a $20 at her before walking out the door. When another manager tried to stop him, he pulled out a knife. They let him go, but let my co-worker he came in with know she was fired. It's not a great idea to bring a wasted person to your place of work to buy more brews.
Best part: since I was a witness, I had to fill out a statement for corporate and the police. While doing this with my manager and store director, I also gave them my two weeks notice. It was completely unrelated. I was just looking for another job and got it right as another manager lost his mind."
"I fired someone on the spot once, it was his second day.
He dragged out a task that should have taken about an hour (untangling some ropes) for nearly the entire day. He was scheduled until 5 but at 4:45, I walked into the break room and saw him sitting there. I asked if he had clocked out (I thought maybe he figured once he was done with that task he was done for the day) and he said, 'No, I'm just waiting for it to be 5 o'clock.'
I told him not to bother coming back the next day."