Every worker in retail has seen a customer absolutely freak out at some point in their careers. Sometimes it's over legitimately upsetting things, other times it's over the most trivial and ridiculous problems. These stories detail workers sharing some of the silliest public freak outs they've seen at work
"I worked at Staples as a tech. It was the Monday after Black Friday.
We had a customer come in and say they were there to pick up their computer. I asked for a name and it didn't sound familiar but I checked anyway. Only seven were eligible for pickup, nothing under her name. Long story short, she did not have a computer with us at all, commence the screaming.
It went from 'I am going to end your face' to full-out red-faced screaming about how terrible we were. Spittle hit my face and her breath was god awful. After about an hour of off and on screaming, she realized that it was Best Buy, not Staples that had her computer.
It was probably the worst day of my life, but revenge was mine. We received a 0.0 on a secret shopper report a few weeks later. The store manager pulled the report I signed after the incident and compared the notes to the secret shopper report. She was the secret shopper. Since our tech stuff is filmed with a high resolution camera, we sent everything to the corporate office and received an amended report (perfect score) and I got a $500 staples cash card."
"A customer came in this morning and attempted multiple times to purchase gas, but all three of his cards were declined. I was in a good mood because I won $200 on last night's mega millions, so I figured I'd spot him $20 for gas. He then went to the pump, pumped $5, and came back inside to demand change.
Customer: 'Change from pump three, please.'
Customer: 'Change from pump three. I only pumped $5.'
Me: 'I offered you $20 in gas. I wasn't planning on giving you change.'
Customer: 'Let me speak to the manager.'
Me: 'The manager is here from 5 am to 8 pm, Monday through Friday.'
Customer: 'Give me his number.'
Me: 'Sorry, but the company doesn't provide work phones, and I can't give out his personal number.'
He starts yelling,'Where's your corporate number?'
Me: 'Outside, on the door.'
Fast forward two hours, and the police arrived. The responding officer told me someone said there was a cashier here that was refusing to return people's change. I explained the situation to the officer, who then asked to see the tapes. I had to call the manager, who was irate because he had to come in on his day off. After about 30 minutes, my manager arrived and played the tapes for the cop. They came out of back office, the officer apologized to the manager, and left. The manager then told me that if the guy came back to the store to refuse sale and tell him not to come back.
I guess it doesn't pay to be nice."
"I used to work at Dollar General in Indiana a few years back. I lived in a small town, so I saw the same customers all the time. After a few months, it actually became rare to see a customer that I didn't know.
There were these two women, total trash. They always came in together, wore the most obnoxious, revealing clothing despite the fact that the both were VERY overweight. They worse bright lipstick, bright eye shadow, obviously fake nails. It was pretty garish
So they come in and buy a $50 prepaid phone card, which was something they did every month or so. So it's not like this is a new concept to them. I ring her up and say 'That'll be fifty-three fifty.'
'What do you mean? It's a fifty dollar card, it should cost fifty dollars.'
'The card does cost fifty dollars, but there's also sales tax.'
'What?! They don't charge us sales tax at the Wal Mart!'
I try to explain to them that everything except for unprocessed food is subject to sales tax, even their phone cards. Even if I agreed with them and wanted to remove the sales tax, I couldn't because my register doesn't have a 'remove sales tax button.' After a few minutes of them complaining back and forth to one another, I buzz my manager up. She explains the same thing to them.
They eventually leave the store shouting things like 'Eff you! This is the worst service I've ever received! I'm filing a complaint and never coming back!'
Unfortunately, they were back the following week for their cheap plastic face paints."
"I am working the front cash register at a fast food restaurant. From the register, I can't even see the drive-thru, and in general, means I'm not making sandwiches for either side. I'm standing in position, taking an order, and someone pushes to the front of the line, interrupting the order I was taking.
'This is wrong!' she shouts, thrusting a bag at me and drink on the counter.
'I'm sorry about that. What was it supposed to be?'
'Not this!' I look into the bag, to see what is inside, in the hopes of being able to look it up. It's a sandwich and fries. The fries are hot, and the sandwich looks normal when I open it, so I assume she either got someone else's sandwich, or else had ordered something special on her sandwich. I have no way of figuring out what is wrong with it, without asking her.
'What was it supposed to be? I'll make you a new one,' I asked, looking up at her.
'I already told you what it was supposed to be when you took my order. If you don't know how to make a sandwich, you shouldn't have a job, you dumb wench.'
Then she opens up her cup of soda and throws the open cup at me. I ran to the back and got the manager, and hid there until my manager came to tell me she was gone."
"I used to work at a grocery store as a cashier. There are a few special needs people working there, but they do a good job and are in no way an inconvenience. One of them, Kyle, has downs syndrome, and despite the difficulties he encounters, he is a really hard worker and a super nice kid.
This lady came through my checkout lane and I forget what item she had, but it was damaged. I had to send Kyle to go get a new one. She still had a lot of items in her cart so it wasn't like we had to wait on him or anything. I could see she was visibly upset though. Maybe 20 seconds pass and I heard her mumble something like 'maybe you shouldn't have sent one of the special ones.'
I exploded on her. I've never snapped like that in my entire life. She ended up turning really red and decided to just leave her things and ran out of the store. My manager called me into the office and told me I wasn't in trouble, but that it had to look like I was getting reprimanded for the customers' sake.
Two weeks later I got promoted to a stocking job."
"At work, I keep bright pink sticky notes with me. I doodle, keep notes, and honestly just fiddle with them to keep calm during our favorite problem-customers-meltdowns.
Today, I was helping a gentleman with a purchase that required showing his ID. I had already set the ID back down in front of him on the counter. The purchase was made, yet he kept staring down at me.
'I need my ID.' He says, staring at my hands. In my hands were my clearly bright -pink- sticky notes. At first I was very confused and said,
'Yes sir, its right there.' As I nodded down at his ID. He didn't look down. His eyes clearly darted from my notes to my eyes.
'I see you holding it,' he says.
Now, this customer had already been rude earlier. I was already at the level of 'done with you.' I looked from my brightly covered paper in my hands, up at him, back to my paper, back to him.
'Sir. Your ID is right down there if you look-'
'I SEEEEEEE it in your hands' he spits, putting emphasis on the word see. He was trying to mock me. But how do you feel mocked when you know they're 100% wrong?
I finally point as well, right at his ID. The one right in front of him. The one NOT in my hand. The one that is clearly not bright pink.
'Oh, there it is.' and he just grabs it and leaves. No 'I'm sorry', no 'oh I was confused,' nothing."
"I work in a very high end chocolate store and I kid you not when I say we make the best chocolate in the world. How high end you ask? Some of our coworkers wanted to jazz our days up by attaching spoons to the pens we use for credit card receipts and draw some smiley faces on them. Our boss sat us all down and explained that we were way too classy of a store to allow that to happen.
We usually give out samples of fudge or ice cream whenever people ask for them, but when it's really busy and the store is full, we just put out a plate and let people go after them. A little risky perhaps, but we seem to have faith in the goodness of our customers, something I tend to doubt from time to time.
One busy day, we had a bunch of caramel bars out in the store for people to sample, and a group of people are gathering around them, all of a sudden, we hear a voice call out above the others.
'OH MY GOD! I found a tooth in the chocolate!'
My manager and I snap into action, all these companies and other industries have been in a lot of trouble when people find body parts in their food, so we wanted to defuse the situation as fast as possible. Unfortunately, if you find a tooth and start shouting about it in front of a bunch of people, you will start what we in the retail world refer to as a stampede.
My manager handled the situation wonderfully. She apologized profusely, gave the lady a bunch of free chocolate, and took the tooth away and threw it out. Our whole store empties out, as no one wants to buy the toothy chocolate anymore. Our manager also dons our version of a HAZMAT suit and removes the tooth from our proximity.
A few minutes pass, then we see the tooth lady open our door and walk back into the store. She walks up to the manager and in a very quiet voice tells her,
'So that actually was my tooth, it just popped out in the bar when i chewed it and I didn't want people to know. Could i have it back?'
My manager was very calm, and explained that she had acted as if the tooth wasn't hers, so we handled it the way we had to handle it if we found a foreign object in our product, we throw it away immediately.
The lady has a meltdown, 'YOU STOLE MY TOOTH!! YOU HAVE TO GIVE IT BACK! IT'S MINE!'
To which my manager responded, 'If you had been honest with us and not tried to incite panic from our customers we could have simply given you back your tooth. But you decided to cover up your problem and create one for us. Luckily, we address our problems immediately and effectively, something you could stand to learn from.'
The lady, obviously humiliated, straightened up, took one more caramel sample, and walked out the front door, minus one tooth."
"I worked at a local organic farm, and some stuff they sell includes delicious raw jersey milk from the creamery down the road. They pasture-raise their cows, and take excellent care of them and the pasture.
A tourist and her friend walk in, see that we sell raw milk, and the angry woman's friend asks about it. As I start to explain the benefits of raw milk, and begin to explain why this is okay to consumer, the angry woman butts-in and starts screaming at me about how it's insanely dangerous and how I'm hurting the public by trying to promote it.
So, I'm well-educated on the subject, and because I can literally drive by and see how these cows are being raised, know the owners and are aware of their pathogen testing and safety precautions, I start explaining all the reasons why she's wrong about this particular raw creamery. But she keeps screaming at me as if I'm magically going to agree with her. Her friend, embarrassed, wanders to the ice cream freezer and finds a local ice cream made with that very same raw cream. Cue the angry woman's meltdown.
Her: 'DON'T EAT THAT. DON'T YOU BUY THAT. THAT'S DANGEROUS.'
Me: 'Ma'am, when you make ice cream, you heat the cream first. The cream becomes pasteurized in the process. It's no longer in a raw form.'
AL: 'NO. YOU'RE WRONG! HOW DARE YOU TRY TO SELL HER THAT ICE CREAM!'
Then she stormed out while her friend looked very apologetic and sad she didn't get to buy the ice cream."
"I used to work in an electronics store, and I have a few stories. One time a customer came in claiming to have an issue with a dryer he had bought a few days previously. After explaining the 'issue' my duty manager informed him that the issue he was having was not a fault of the machine and was not covered under the manufacturers warranty.
After a bit of heated discussion over this the customer got increasingly angry and was asked to leave. As he was leaving he took a particular dislike to a dishwasher and decided he would kick it as hard as he could denting and breaking the door.
Needless to say, he was removed from the premises and his license plate was captured by cameras and passed on to the police.
In fairness, he came in the next day to pay for it. Once he had done he was politely informed that he was never welcome in the store again"
"Back in high school I was a big shot manager at the local roller skating rink. On Saturdays, we had a 5 to 7:30 pm 'family session' that was cheap and tailored to younger kids. After that ended, we would close down for 30 minutes, clean up and re-open for the 8 pm to midnight 'teen night' which was more expensive and basically a 'club atmosphere.'
As was common we'd usually get some teens pay the $2 'family night admission' and try to hide in the bathrooms or in the back to avoid the teen night admission. Since we had an off-duty uniformed police officer these situations usually handled themselves. One night I caught a couple kids hiding in the back and ran them out.
Their mother showed up about 30 minutes later demanding to speak with me, yelling and cursing at other employees in the process. I called her over to the window and told her why her sons would have to pay. She said she didn't know and I told her I'd take 50% off the teen admission because we told every single person who paid during family night that it ended, and the next session was more.
She flipped out and grabbed me by the collar of my shirt. While I was pushing her off, she straight up spat in my face.
The smell made me gag and some of it had gotten in my eyes and my mouth. The cop came over and put her in cuffs while I went to the bathroom to wash my face off. I could have pressed charges for assault on her, but I eventually decided not to. The cop ran her name, and she had violated her probation and was going to jail anyway. He left to take her to jail and her sons (who were both about 14) just glared at me from outside the rink. Some scary looking dude came and picked them up later and when we left that night I thought I was going to get jumped. This is when I learned my job was not worth the $10 an hour that I somehow thought was amazing pay."
"Boss sent me to drop off one too many warning letters to a certain doped out tenant. Guy literally threatened to kill the messenger. I guess the fact that the boss's name was on the letter makes no difference if you read at a second grade level.
Anyway, he threatened my life. I figured minimum wage wasn't worth having to worry about that stuff. I walked into the boss's office with the coworker who witnessed it, and told her I quit. She asked if she just evicted them, would I stay? I said nope. It'll just be worse, and they'll still know where I work. And besides, after a whole year of threatening them with eviction, you're not going to do it now."
"My third day as a waitress in an insanely popular restaurant, we were absolutely slammed during lunch. I had a ton of tables and thought I was on top of all of them, but wouldn't you know it, there was one two-top where every server thought another server had taken the order. So these people were sitting there being ignored for like 15 minutes.
When I found out they were mine, I went over apologizing profusely and saying I'd rush their order through right away. I get why they'd be upset, but they were huge pricks about it. I don't remember most of the specifics, but they were extremely nasty and kept telling me how awful I was and how it was entirely my fault. They got up to leave, the wife still slinging insults my way. At this point, the whole restaurant was watching this go down. As a last ditch effort to explain, I said 'I'm so sorry, but I'm new at this!' The hag of a woman just looks at me and yells, 'Yeah, well you SUCK at it.'
I tried to keep my cool and go back to work, but I hadn't developed a very thick skin at that point (that would change after several jobs) and broke down in tears trying to take my next drink order. Luckily the women at that table were super nice and agreed that the people had been way out of line and told me to take 5."
"Worked at a Chipotle over the summer. This lady comes in and orders a burrito. This is how our conversation went.
Me: 'Would you like White or Brown rice? '
The woman curtly responded, 'Brown rice.'
I told her, 'It's gonna be a three-minute wait on brown rice, is that ok?'
The lady scoffs dismissively 'Fine.'
Then she gets on her phone, and as I'm helping the next customer I hear her say, 'This black thug doesn't have any rice for me, none of them have any idea how to cook, I bet.'
I am half-black, but I was fully offended. So I finished helping my current customer, and then went to tell my manager. He came out and said something like, 'We don't serve prejudiced people, especially ones with attitude like you. Get out of my restaurant.'
So she started going off on him, me, and anyone who told her to calm down. My manager threatened to call the police, and she finally left.
That's the only time I've been given a racially-charged insult, and it stung."
"So this happened during my first retail job when I was in high school.
Home goods store. November. Full Christmas rush. Saturday. Store was shoulder to shoulder with grouchy middle-class white people. I'm running a register and at no point during my shift could I ever see the end of the line.
So I had just experienced my first customer full-meltdown. He screamed in my face about how I was a lying hag because his coupon was expired. My manager had to physically remove him from the store. (His wife later apologized and explained he has anger issues, but that's another story.)
I'm more shaken than anything, and as teenage girls do, I was tearing up, but trying to grin and push through. There was no one to replace me, and the place was mobbed.
Next lady in line was this tiny, blue haired elderly woman. She offered to wait until I had time to catch my breath and calm down, but I could feel the people behind her in line staring me down, so I insisted I was fine.
She grinned at me and loudly declared that old ladies always have to pay in exact change, and she was sure no one would mind waiting while she counted it out.
This angel made a 5-minute production out of counting out $5 or so in loose change while I calmed down and cleaned up as best I could. 'Oh, I'm so silly, I lost count and I'll have to start over!'
God bless that chaotic good old lady. I'll never forget her."