Have you ever been an employee when an irate customer has asked the dreaded question, "can you get me a manager?" It can be so frustrating when they don't trust you to do your job. But it's even worse when you are the manager or the owner of a business, and they just don't seem to believe you. Nothing you can do will get in into their heads that you're the last obstacle for them--no one else is in charge of you and can change your mind.
Read these stories "I am the manager" stories to see customers get their just desserts. Content has been edited for clarity.
“10 years ago, I was a retail manager for Bath and Body Works. One day during the holiday season, a customer began going off on one of my seasonal employees. Like, psychotically screaming at her because we were out of Peppermint Twist body lotion. I walked up and asked the girl to go cover the registers and that I would talk to the customer. The customer began yelling at me. Another five minutes pass of her insisting it was in the back, with us hiding it from paying customers.
She said, ‘I WANT TO SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER!’
I said, ‘Miss, I am the manager on duty. This is a popular item. We have none in the back. None of our other stores in the area have anymore. You are welcome to look online but I doubt it is there anymore either. Have a lovely day.’
She turned purple and asked for our customer service number to complain.
It was December 24th.”
It’s Always Been The Same
“When I was 19, I was promoted to manager of the front of the house in this little seafood place I’d been working at since I was about 15. On the BOH manager’s days off, I’d be the only manager there. This woman used to come in and order the clam chowder about once a week, eat it all, and then claim it was made differently than the last time and demand that it be comped.
For some reason, the previous manager always just did it. But it annoyed me that she was being rewarded for being dishonest since we had the same recipe and followed it exactly since the place had opened. I was just WAITING for her to try it on me and finally, she did.
I was the only manager there that day and sure enough one of the waitresses said she needed a comp for a table and there was the cheapass. I went over there and she told me, ‘Last time you had all kinds of vegetables in this chowder! I’m not paying for it!”
I said, ‘Ma’am, we’ve been making that chowder the same way since the place opened and you know it as well as I do. So you can either pay for it like a decent person, or I can comp it and you are not welcome here ever again.’ Cue her demanding to see the manager. I nearly burst out in an evil villain style cackle when I informed her that she was looking at the manager. She tried to argue for a couple minutes and then finally gave up, paid, and never came back.”
A Police Encounter
“I own the building where the company that I’m part-owner of operates in. It’s in a nice office park with about a dozen other similarly sized, stand-alone office buildings. We have a dumpster that gets emptied twice a week that sits behind/on the side of our building that has a nice fence around it. The way it sits the parking lot of another building is close to it.
I was ripping out the carpet at my house and each night, I ran by work and dispose of some of it (we’re not running production that week, so there’s nothing in the dumpster). On the third and last night before trash comes the next day, I noticed a guy smoking by his car at the other office. As I’m getting ready to leave, a car comes screeching up the side drive and puts his brights on and yells at me to stay where I am.
I pause and it’s the same guy. He starts yelling at me that he’s calling the cops because he saw me dumping trash into the dumpster. I asked him what he cares and he said he’s on special patrol for this company (the one I’m an owner of and would be in charge of hiring anyone as it is) and I’m in violation and need to remain there. I asked him who he talked to and he said: ‘I don’t know his last name but his name is Fred.’ We have never had a Fred work there.
So he’s blocking my exit and I start hearing a siren. This guy says something like, ‘Here they come, now it’s over for you!’ So I just sit there another minute.
In rolls a county officer with his lights on he comes strolling up and then says, ‘Hey, what’s up?’
I said, ‘Hey Andy, I’m not sure but this guy here is trespassing on my property.’ His face at this point gets sheet white.
No, I didn’t press charges even if I could, but I didn’t see him around again. I don’t know if he was confused, mentally challenged, but he sure seemed to have a short fuse. Officer Andy did take his information though, which I think was more to scare the guy than anything else.”
Getting Nowhere In The Library
“I used to be a department supervisor for a library. Basically, this meant I was third from the top in the system according to the organizational chart, and if my manager was gone, then I was in charge of the building.
One day, a lady is in our department complaining about some bit of policy. I can’t remember what about, but think an entitled suburban mom getting mad we won’t bend policy for her. She finally demands to talk to my supervisor when I won’t budge.
I smile. I tell her that’s fine. Then I turn as though I’m going to get someone, but do a full twirl instead and hold out my hand. She looks at me like I’m nuts and I introduce myself as the supervisor and heard she had a problem.
The lady storms off to the front desk. A few minutes later, one of the workers there comes back with this lady. He explains that she had a problem and wanted to talk to the person in charge. Which was me that day because my boss was out.
The look on her face when the front desk worker pulled her into the office to talk to the person in charge and I was sitting there grinning was delicious. I explained that we still wouldn’t be changing our system policy just for her. Have a nice day.
It’s the only time I’ve ever been able to do that, but it was fun.”
Listen To The Expert
“I used to manage a vape shop. We would get unruly customers all the time. Lots of cheap people.
This one guy came in looking for a new tank. I showed him our three most popular tanks. ‘Too expensive.’ He then pointed at a tank on my discount wall. The tank was a first generation and it’s about four years old. So I was very upfront with him.
‘Yes sir, it is a cheap tank. But I will let you know it’s not a very good tank. It’s one of the first tanks in the industry and is not great.’
He insisted on buying it, so I sold it to him. And I let him know, ‘Alrighty sir, just be aware that we do not allow returns on tanks. So if you don’t like it, we can’t take it back.’
Cue three days down the road, he came back complaining and moaning that I sold him a bunk tank. I said, ‘Yes sir, I did. But I told you it was a bad tank and you still opted to buy it, against my warnings. I told you we won’t take it back.’
He threw a massive fit and insisted on speaking to the manager. And this was after insulting me and cussing at me multiple times. I smiled and said, ‘Okay,’ and walked back to the office.
Then I came back out and said: ‘I heard you needed a manager?’
Oooooh, he was angry. ‘GIVE ME A DIFFERENT MANAGER.’
‘Sir, I’m the only manager. Please leave my store. You are no longer welcome here.’
There were other managers. A district manager and a regional manager. But I had full autonomy in these matters and they’d be annoyed if I had bothered them with this nonsense.
His final words were, ‘You haven’t seen the last of me!’
I responded, ‘That’s okay, the police station is about 400 yards down the street. If I see you here again, they will be called.’ And he just angrily stormed out never to be seen again.
Sorry, bro. I straight up told you not to buy that tank. You insisted because you’re cheap.”
The Last Day At Starclucks
“Last year, I was working as the manager of a Starbucks inside a store in a national grocery chain. It’s literally my last day on the job, so I am completely out of craps to give. My direct supervisor loved me, so my references are set and I’m just throwing caution to the wind. Did you smile at me? Have a free drink. Your children are well-behaved? Free pastries, who cares?
And then, Drink Witch comes in an hour before I clock out. This insufferable pain in the butt orders her drink, then has me remake it, I’m not exaggerating here, four times. Finally, she says, ‘Well, it’s not quite right, but I’m in a hurry. I want a refund.’
I made that drink perfectly all four times, she’s just trying to scam us. I look her dead in the eyes and inform her that we don’t give refunds when drinks are made correctly.
She storms out in a huff and about 45 minutes later, I get a phone call.
Drink Witch: ‘I was in your store earlier today and your barista was rude to me.’
Me: ‘Well, ma’am, we have several baristas working today, can you describe them?’
DW: ‘A bearded man with a shaved head.’
Me: ‘Ma’am, that would be me, and I’m sorry you thought me not tolerating your scam was rude.’
DW: ‘I want to speak to the manager!’
‘Lady, I am the manager,’ and I hung up on her. To this day, I have no idea what she did after that or who she yelled at, but I completely don’t care. That thirty-second interaction made the entire job worth it.”
Don’t Underestimate Anyone
“A salesman walked into the reception area where I happened to be. I asked him if I could help him and he barely acknowledged my existence. A few more attempts and he said he wants to talk to someone more senior.
At that moment, one of the staff entered, who is older than me by quite a bit. The salesman immediately tried to flag him down and asks to speak to someone in charge. He pointed at me and says, ‘Well, the owner is standing right there.’
He gave me a distrustful look and then started his pitch half-heartedly. Glancing over my shoulder as though he expected the real manager to turn up any second.
For context, we were a software development company and he was selling printers and copiers.”
What Counts As An ID?
“I managed three gas stations from ’13 – ’15 for a small, corrupt family business in a college town. One was my primary store and I worked my actual shifts in that store, but I would also go to the other stores for a bit three or four times a week to check on inventory and speak with the store openers over there. Regardless, I wouldn’t be in any of the stores except at specific times between 5:45 am and 2 pm, so there were plenty of regular customers that never saw me at all.
One day, I’m working one of the other stores on the second shift in a rare instance. This woman comes in, sets a case of Coronas on the counter and proceeds to swipe her card before I even scan her items. I ask to see her ID and she hands me some court papers stating that her license is revoked until X date. I tell her that I have to actually see a state-issued photo ID because she could be 18 for all I know.
This triggers a bit of a fit, with her saying things like, ‘I’m clearly 26,’ and ‘You can’t tell me I look underage.’
Then she said, ‘The girl that works this shift sells a 12 pack to me every day with these papers,’ and then my favorite: ‘You must be new so I bet you just don’t know how things are run around here. I know the manager, why don’t you call them and have them tell you how it’s done.’
After letting her get it out, I calmly tell her that I cannot do that and that she can go to the highway patrol HQ five miles away and get a state issued picture ID. She asks me for the manager’s phone number, so she can call them. So I humor her and show her the store manager’s ‘after hours contact number’ on our contact sheet, and she calls it. Of course, my cell phone rings, and I pull it out of my pocket and answer it for dramatic effect. The look on her face was so worth it.”
Young For His Age
“I worked as a resident director aka the boss of the building for my university. Despite being in my 20s, I looked barely out of high school.
It was move-in day for all the freshmen. The usual stuff happens. There were crying parents and students. People were trying to move in items that are not allowed. It was a generally crazy day, but nothing unusual yet.
Cue to a mom with the typical can I speak to your manager body language and haircut. She walks up to my staff member and demands another room for her child. The mom yells. Insults my staff. Finally, she is screaming for a manager. I walk up and introduce myself and ask her to tell me what’s going on. The mom cannot believe her eyes. I, this young man, was the manager. She insisted on getting the real manager. I pull out my wallet and give her my card with my name and title clearly printed and informed her that I was the real manager. She continued to huff and puff until she ran out of steam.
Hours later, I get a knock on my door and it is the mom. She apologized for her behavior and explained it was stressful moving their child away from home. Emotions got the best of her and thanked me for treating her with respect despite her not showing the same.”
Momma’s Girl Doesn’t Take Nothing From No One
“I used to work at an arena where my mother was the head chef, and I managed the concession. All of the employees knew me as my mother’s kid, and addressed me with the same level of respect despite me not asking for it, simply because they loved her like a mother.
We ended up with a new employee taking some of her shifts, and he walked in one day and immediately tried to tell me around. I turned around and said, ‘no, I think you’ll do well manning the fryers, tonight, thanks’ and continued what I was doing.
He started to yell about how I couldn’t tell him what to do, and he’d get me fired, before I said, ‘I don’t think I can fire myself,’ and he got what I meant. The slow realization that I was second in command was priceless, and he avoided me like the plague after that. I was never mean to anyone without reason, but I knew from his training shift that he was a colossal prick and he ended up being fired for looking at underage girls on his Instagram during work hours.”
Misogyny In Cell Phones
“I used to be a cell phone tech in a retail store. We weren’t employed by the main company, we were contracted through another company, so our manager hierarchy was separate. I was the only tech on one night, which made me the acting tech manager. I am a woman.
A guy came in and was immediately belligerent wanting his phone fixed, came up to the tech counter. The conversation went something like this:
Me: ‘How can I help you?’
Him: ‘My phone is broken I need to talk to the technician.’
Me: ‘I’m the technician, what’s wrong with your phone?’
Him: ‘No, I need to talk to the tech out back.’
Me: ‘I’m the only technician on tonight.’
Him: ‘No, I mean the guy in the back who fixes the phones.’
Me: ‘I am the “guy” out back who fixes the phones.’
Him: ‘Why won’t you let me talk to the real technician? You can’t fix this.’
Me: (opened the window to the back to show him it’s empty) ‘I’m the only technician here tonight. What’s going on with your phone?’
Him: ‘You’re being very rude right now, I want to talk to your manager!’
Me: ‘My manager is not in right now, I’m the acting technical support manager. How can I help you?’
Him: ‘I need to speak to someone above you right now!’
Me: ‘There’s nobody above me available right now, you’ll have to wait until tomorrow during daytime hours.’
Him: ‘I don’t have time for that! I work for a living!’
Me: ‘So do I. As a technician.’
Him: ‘I’m not leaving until I talk to someone!’
Me: ‘I can get the store manager for you.’
Him: ‘Yes! Go get HIM! HE will take care of me! How stupid can you get, that’s what I’ve wanted!’
Me: ‘Ok, I will go get the store manager.’ (I did, she was also a woman).
Him: ‘Who’s this? I wanted the store manager.’
Manager: ‘I am the store manager, sir.’
Him: ‘She won’t let me talk to the technician!’ (Pointing at me).
Manager: ‘She is the technician, sir.’
Him: ‘Well, she can’t fix my phone!’
Manager: (to me) ‘Could we not fix his phone?’
Me: ‘He wouldn’t tell me what’s wrong with it, I don’t know yet if we can fix it or not.’
Manager: (to him) ‘What’s wrong with the phone?’
Him: (defeated at this point) ‘It’s not sending texts, it’s defective, I need a new one.’
Manager: (to me) ‘Can we fix that?’
Me: ‘Yes, it’s a known issue with that model. It just needs a software update, should only take about 10-20 minutes.’
Him: ‘Yeah, like software is going to do that!’
Me: ‘Will you let me try it?’
Him: ‘Ok, fine, try it. But when it doesn’t work I want a new phone!’
Me: (updated the software, it worked) ‘Ok, it’s been updated successfully and I backed up your contacts and photos so they’re all still there. I tested the texting and it’s working now. Is there anything else I can help you with?’
Him: ‘Took you long enough! And you’re very rude!’
Don’t Insult The Employees
“A customer was getting all witchy about a coupon. So, the cashier called me over. Normally, I’d just let it slide and accept the coupon, but then she had the audacity to insult my cashier, claiming she was incompetent. So I denied it because forget this lady. She got very annoyed and demanded to talk to the manager.
‘Sorry, the manager left for the day, but the supervisor is here.’
‘Well then, I want to speak to your supervisor,’ she hissed.
‘I am the supervisor,’ I said firmly. ‘This coupon is not valid.’
‘Fine!’ She huffed and left her stuff at the counter, muttering about never shopping there again.
The cashier was a bit shaken up, but I’m not very good at consoling so I just said, ‘Forget her, we don’t need her.'”
Parking Ticket Drama
“I got a parking ticket a few months ago. When I was waiting in line to pay it, I started talking to the lady next to me. Apparently, she just got fined under a new ordinance for keeping her work van parked in the street for a month. She was ranting and raving about how the city has become ‘Nazi Germany’ because of laws like this. ‘Those city councilors are terrible! How dare they!’ I quietly listened and nodded.
Well, I’m on the city council and I helped write that ordinance. We have it in place because people like her keep their cars in front of peoples’ driveways and make it impossible for them to pull out in the morning.
When I went to the cashier and was greeted with, ‘Good Morning, Councilor,’ her jaw nearly dropped.”