Normally, an average day of work should feel fairly routine. Unless a lunatic customer walks through the doors and does everything they can to make the employee confused, frightened, and traumatized. The poor workers in these stories dealt with some of the strangest, most upsetting requests in their entire career. That was the final straw for many of these employees, and hopefully they never have to encounter such monsters again. This content has been edited for clarity.
“I have been off my medication for depression for about a month now due to circumstances. This week I have been feeling it pretty bad, and will be going back on ASAP. Getting up in the morning is like running a marathon for me right now, it’s exhausting just running a brush through my hair. I get to work, and I start feeling like maybe today will be okay, maybe it won’t be like the last 2 where I have been told I am slacking off because of my lack of energy.
It was a whole lot worse, folks. I am a cashier at a Mexican restaurant. I also do prep, dishes, bussing, line cooking and grill work. We had a 2-hour lunch rush today, and that’s when it happened. A young blonde soccer mom type walked in with her 2-3 year old little girl. She started to order 10 tacos, all with mods on them, all annoying to start with. She requested 2 empty soft taco tortillas. We either sell those in a pack of 5, or as a taco (with a chosen protein inside.) I explained it to her, and she told me she would pay full price for 2 plain tortillas. I asked my manager who told me no, we can’t do that, sorry. I tell the woman, when the worst part happened.
Soccer Mom: ‘I’ve been coming here for years…is your owner here?’
Me: ‘No ma’am, he is not.’
Soccer Mom: ‘Well cancel the whole order we are leaving!
Soccer Mom turns to her child.
Soccer Mom: ‘Well, the lady won’t give me your tacos. Your yummy, yummy tacos. So you don’t get to eat, because of the lady. We are not getting yummy food today because of the lady. Say thanks to the lady.’
The baby cried. I wished them an excellent day. I thought that was it, except for the piece of my heart that shattered. The owners come in. The female one tells me, ‘Do not deviate from the menu. She is acting poorly, but it is your responsibility to take control of this situation. Next time, just give her the taco shells!’
Male manager comes in 20 minutes later and tells me, ‘She is writing on the Facebook reviews, and we can’t do anything about it. She can ruin our reputation. Next time anyone acts like that, call me, you need to learn how to handle this.’ But there wasn’t really anything else I could have done.”
He’s Called “Snip” For A Reason
“Pharmacy assistant here. A couple of years ago, I worked in a large pharmacy chain, in one of its busier stores within the ‘burbs. One community service we offer is ‘Controlled Pharmaceutical Supply,’ where the doctor has requested us to only release one day’s worth of the patient’s medication, meaning they need to come in every day. This means there’s less chance of abuse or selling them.
Meet Snip, a youngish guy who was probably around my age. He was a long-term daily patient that was put on the service because he was noted to be mentally unstable. I never had any issue with him before this incident. His nominated pick up time was 3pm, but over a series of weeks, he had either been coming earlier or later. On this particular day, I served him at 8am and signed it off. He came back in at 4:40pm (20 minutes before closing), asking for his supply, as if that morning never happened. In other words, he thought he could try to trick me into releasing two lots of tablets.
Me: ‘You’ve already picked your pills up, remember?’
Snip: ‘No, I haven’t!’
Me: ‘I served you this morning at 8am. We signed the book together.’
Snip: ‘Please just give me my tablets!’
I go to grab his paperwork and pointed at the day’s date, time, and our signatures. He continued to argue with me.
Snip: ‘I lost them yesterday! Tell the pharmacist to give me my tablets NOW!’
His face starts to scrunch in anger, he’s shuffling his weight around as he reaches into his pocket.
Me: ‘Snip, you know the rules. You know I can’t do that.’
Next thing I know, he’s stomping around the shop, kicking chairs over and terrifying other patients. I call out to him to cut it out, to which he responded by striding over to my counter and brandishing a pair of scissors at me. Thank god the counter was wide enough to put some distance between us. He starts yelling incoherently about stabbing me. I stood there unfazed. At this point, the pharmacist started yelling at him and calling for security. Security removed him at 4:55pm.
A few years later, I was visiting my brother in the hospital and heard a huge ruckus coming from a room down the hall. The door was open and I saw Snip screaming bloody murder and being (barely) restrained by four orderlies. Some things never change.”
That’s A Bathing Suit?
“I work in a sketchy retail store, located in an even sketchier neighborhood. Unsurprisingly, I’ve had some questionable customers. This lady is one of the most memorable.
Background: I’m working in the clothes department of my retail store. It’s not big by any means, and this lady has been patrolling the (limited number of) aisles for several hours. At the end of the fourth hour, she finally decides to do some shopping. Although I’m the only one in my department right now during a crazy busy day, this doesn’t stop her from requesting me to stand outside the change room door while she tries on 25 outfits. I know the exact number because she went into great detail in explaining the math of outfits possible with her 5 pants and 5 shirts.
Somewhere in between my sneaking away to do other work and her complaining about the lack of deaf accessibility devices in the change room (she is not deaf), I return to find that she’s picked out another outfit.
‘Look!’ She tells me. ‘I found a bathing suit for my cousin’s birthday party!’
She holds out to me the skimpiest, frilliest underwear set that we sell. I’m sure there has been more material in some loose threads I’ve pulled off my work shirt. At this point, I’m feeling a mixture of horror and laughter building up in me.
‘I, er, I don’t think that’s… technically considered… swimwear…’
She looks at me, annoyed.
‘Nonsense. I’ll just sew it!'”
Truly Trashy Friday
“I used to work for a video store, which is this thing that used to exist that was kinda like Netflix. I was a Shift Leader (one step below assistant manager), and I was working with my coworker, whom we’ll call Dave, on a very busy Friday night. Dave was the sweetest, most mild-mannered person I ever met.
Friday nights at the video store were always a chaotic mess from about 6:00pm to 10:00pm. Huge lines of people wanting movies for their weekend viewing pleasure, and a very limited number of cash registers and employees to ring them up. The store I worked at had a fantastic Store Manager, and as a result, incredibly low turnover. Everyone there knew what they were doing, and we moved the crowds out fast, provided no customer insisted on being difficult and taking up a register for ten minutes while they tried to figure out what phone number or name they put their account under or something like that.
So one particularly crazy Friday Dave and I are working the registers up front, doing our usual hustle to get through the hordes of movie-renters, when in walks The Horrible Witch. She had the sort of tan that one can only achieve by lying around and barking orders at the pool boy all day, every day. Her bleach blonde hair was teased to near-Jersey Shore levels, and her acid-wash skinny capris screamed, ‘I regret becoming an adult and am actively attempting to revert to my teenage years, despite clearly pushing 40.’
The dead, yet somehow angry, look in her eyes was both haunting and repulsive. She had three boys with her, ranging in age from roughly four to nine-years-old, and she gave the impression that motherhood was the worst decision she ever made. She didn’t bother us while picking out movies, and while she was curt and generally terrible to Dave while he rang her up, she wasn’t an exceptionally bad customer. Dave managed to get her rentals in order while she alternated between rolling her eyes at him, making heavy sighing noises before answering questions, and screaming at her kids to, ‘PUT THAT CANDY BACK RIGHT NOW!’
Dave handed her the movies she rented and wished her a pleasant evening as she left, and then went back to ring up the next customer in the incredibly huge line. Less than thirty seconds later, the Witch angrily storms back in, clearly looking for something. Dave sees her and asks if she forgot something, and she snaps that she left her keys on the counter. Dave checks the counter, and also the space behind his register and around the cash-wrap, but doesn’t see any keys. While still ringing up other customers, he asks me and the other people working that night if any of us have seen a set of keys. No one has. A couple of helpful, generally nice people waiting in line even hear this and do us a solid by looking around the front area (since we can’t really come around when there’s a huge line of customers). No one sees any keys.
Dave is trying to helpful, but he has other, less horrible customers who need his attention, so the Witch winds up storming around the cash-wrap area, searching for her keys amongst the display cases that line the registers. This wouldn’t be a problem, except that she’s searching by pulling all the product down from its neatly organized space and just leaving it in piles on the floor or the counter. We’re busy, and she’s clearly ready to explode, so we don’t even try to stop her. We both know it’ll be easier to just clean up her mess than it would be to try to reason with her.
After tearing our cash-wrap displays apart, she starts loudly accusing us of hiding her keys out of spite. She’s become absolutely certain that we threw her keys in the trash. She demands that we dig through the trash RIGHT THIS SECOND and give her back her keys. We explain that we haven’t seen her keys, and we certainly didn’t throw them away. Dave even takes a moment away from his register to show her the small trash bin we keep up front, which is almost empty and clearly doesn’t contain any keys.
Witch is not satisfied. She wants us to check the big, outdoor trash can by the door. Despite the fact that her truck is parked right in front of the store, and that no one could have thrown her keys away in that can without her seeing them, she is insistent that we drop everything and go pick through the garbage. Honestly, if it were a slow time and there weren’t any other customers waiting, one of us probably would have thrown on some gloves and just done it. Years of retail make you highly likely to do something you know is stupid, because it’s always easier than trying to convince a customer that their request is, in fact, stupid. It’s Friday night though, and there’s no way we’re closing a register to placate her obvious personality disorder.
She storms out again, and Dave looks out the window a minute later and informs me that she has dumped out our outside garbage, right in the middle of the sidewalk, and is forcing her children to dig through it. Nothing like adding a little child-labor to your harassment of innocent retail clerks to really take things up a notch. He mentions that she’s probably going to leave that mess there, and he’s not wrong. Witch gets a cab ride home from someone, so the next time we look outside she’s gone, leaving only a pile of video store garbage and her shiny new truck in her wake.
Later that night, after closing, we’re doing our standard restocking and straightening of the concessions out front, when Dave yells for me. I look up and he’s pulling a set of keys out one of the candy bins. The same candy bin that the witch’s child had been digging through before she started screaming at him like a volatile harpy. Now, I don’t know if said child just happened to drop the keys and forget, or if it was purposeful revenge for the screaming, or if he realized that he’d dropped them but was too terrified of his psychotic mother to speak up, but either way, her keys had been there the whole time.
Without a word, Dave took the keys and walked out to the parking lot, where the witch’s shiny new red truck was still stranded. Because Dave was such a nice guy, I assumed he was going to toss them in the back and maybe throw a note on the windshield or something. Instead, I watched him hold the keys in his hand and slowly gouge a scratch from the back of the tailgate to the front headlight, and then throw those keys in the same trashcan that Witch has upended during her rage.
He walked back in, saw me staring and said, ‘She made me pick up garbage. Forget her and her keys.’
And with that, he quietly resumed his closing duties.”
“Worst Three Hours Of My Life”
“I’m a server at a popular 24-hour diner chain. I tend to work odd hours, and this particular evening it was from 11pm to 7am. These tend to be very slow hours at said diner. We can go hours without a single customer. Except for tonight. This lady and her son, who looks to be no more than twelve, come in for breakfast at midnight. They stay at the restaurant until 3am. Three hours. The worst three hours of my life. This lady behaves almost antithetical to how manners would dictate one should behave in public. She snaps her fingers at me, yells at me, calls me slow (even though I’m running back and forth for her a million miles a minute), swears at me, and asks me if I’m pregnant multiple times (I’m a little heavyset, but I don’t look THAT bad).
At 3am, I give her the bill. It’s almost $100 for the two of them, because she ordered so much. She’s flabbergasted.
Lady: ‘What do you mean $98.79? You seriously think you’re getting a tip after this, you little turd?’
Me: ‘That is the bill, ma’am.’
Lady: ‘I’m outraged! I’m filing a report with the police! I’m writing to my congressman about this!’
Her poor kid. They both leave and I don’t get a tip. In fact, she was a penny short on her bill (I didn’t realize until after she paid and left, but whatever). I really hope things go better today. I’ve requested that my manager ban her if she ever shows up again, but he didn’t give me an answer.”
Plaid Man vs. Spare Change
“When I was in college, I worked as a volunteer usher for various shows and concerts on campus. We got some really big-name artists like Lady Gaga and Snoop Dogg, so things would often get crowded and quite interesting. This story is about another facet of that job: concessions. The club in charge of the ushering often sold chips, candy, and water to patrons. Our prices were $1 for food items and $2 for water, which is way cheaper than anything else you can buy at a concert. This comes into play later.
This event in particular took place during a country/rock concert put on by a pretty big star, so the venue was packed. I was working concessions that night and my good friend was working with me. Now, rap and country concerts were usually notorious for people coming in completely wasted. 90 percent of the time these folks were harmless, and usually they were pretty fun to talk to when they came over to the table.
This time was different. A young man in plaid weaved his way over to our table, accompanied by his girlfriend who was having some serious trouble staying balanced in her stiletto heels. He grabbed some Sun Chips and a Snickers bar and I told him the total of $2. Plaid Man rummaged around in his wallet for a bit before whipping out a crumpled $20 bill. This was a problem for us because by that time in the night, our change fund was running low. This night, more folks than usual wanted to pay in high-denomination bills. I checked the cash box, but I already knew there wasn’t enough.
Me: ‘Sir, I’m terribly sorry, but right now we can’t make change for such a large bill. Do you have anything smaller you could use instead?’
Plaid Man: ‘No! I don’t have anything else, this is a concert and everything else costs at least that much. Why don’t you have change?’
Me: ‘I do apologize sir, but other customers have used large bills this evening, and we used up all of our change. However, if you’d like to wait for a few moments, after some additional transactions we may be able to take your bill.’
Plaid Man: ‘I don’t effing care! I want my Sun Chips and my lady wants her Snickers. WHY DON’T YOU HAVE CHANGE?’
At this point my coworker friend had gone into deer-in-headlights mode and looked a little frightened. I was frightened too (we’re both rather small females), but seeing her upset made me more angry than anything else. I stood up so I was slightly closer to this guy’s height and managed a sort of half smile.
Me: ‘Once again sir, I apologize for the inconvenience. As I previously explained-‘
Plaid Man: ‘This is effing RIDICULOUS! How can you be such idiots not to carry enough change??’
At this point, he was leaning on our flimsy plastic table and his wobbly girlfriend was egging him on every few seconds. I was still trying to talk to him calmly, but if he came any closer, I had prepared myself to punch him in the face. However, just when I thought my flop sweat was going to drown me, there was a tap on Plaid Man’s shoulder. A large man in a black shirt stood there, a very large and shiny badge hanging around his neck. The small smile on his face just dared Plaid Man to try something.
Policeman: ‘Sir, I think you ought to come with me.’
Surprisingly, Plaid Man went quietly, his girl clip-clopping after him. After the initial shock of the whole situation wore off, we got back into the swing of selling things, and everyone who had seen the incident was very sympathetic. Soon enough, we had enough small bills that Plaid could have bought his Sun Chips and Snickers easily, had he only had the patience and politeness to wait five minutes. Maybe half an hour later, that friend and I were talking to patrons and making a sale when the same police officer from earlier came up to the table.
Policeman: ‘I just wanted to let you know that the young man who was bothering you earlier wants to sincerely apologize. Have a good night, ladies.’
I don’t know what went on between Plaid Man and that policeman, but I’ll be forever grateful for the rescue. That was by far the worst customer I ever had doing that particular job.”
The Phantom Squeaking
“This past Saturday, madness hit the bargain store I work at. It was so, so busy, but I didn’t mind as it makes the day go by more quickly and there were quite a few sweet customers to make up for the few crabby ones. Everything was cool. Until the SQUEAKS.
At some point, and for over 10 minutes, a squeaky toy was incessantly squeaking, nonstop, as quick as it could be squeaked. WHEEKuh WHEEKuh WHEEKuh. Everyone within a 30-foot radius of this toy is starting to get twitchy eyes and wild looks. WHEEKuh WHEEKuh WHEEKuh. Customers come through my line, begging with their eyes for an end to the madness to come. WHEEKuh WHEEKuh WHEEKuh.
Finally, I spot the culprits! A 2-year-old with a small squeaker, sitting in a cart, and his older brother with an obnoxious squeaker made to sound like a pig, chiming in his own occasional noise to the atrocious squeak melody. I overhear the mom make a joke to her husband that the squeaky dog toys would NOT be making their way home with them. So this lady can hear the toy, she knows it’s annoying, she just doesn’t realize it’s driving us all up a wall! She’s gotten lost in our beautiful deals and is so honed in on her checkout starting soon, that she doesn’t notice. No big deal. I’ll just super sweetly and discreetly request she ask him to stop.
‘Ma’am? Would you mind asking him to stop please?’
She stares at me. She tilts her head back. Her face is blank. She’s thinking. She’s… offended?
‘WHY?’ she exclaims.
I gently respond with, ‘Well, it’s just a bit loud, and it’s such a busy day.’
That unleashed something inside her. She loved it.
‘You want me… to take away this toy… from my TWO-YEAR-OLD?!’
Note that at this point I had no further contact with the woman. I was a bit stunned but didn’t roll my eyes, give a dirty look, anything at all. I shrugged my shoulders and kept checking people out as she went on her tirade. Here are some highlights of the intense rant she gave my poor coworker checking her out/all the other cashiers on her way out/my store manager:
‘People are SO rude! You the rudest person I have EVER met in this store!’
‘From a TWO-year-old?! REALLY?! HE’S A LE BONHEUR PATIENT (Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital is a local, but nationally ranked hospital). YOU WANT TO TAKE A TOY FROM A KID WITH CANCER?! WHEN IT’S THE ONLY THING TAKING HIS MIND OFF OF THINGS?! When he’s FIGHTING for his LIFE?!’ She does her best to try to cry, but totally fails.
‘Now I have to go to other location 50 minutes away because I can’t even come back here!’
We’re pretty sure she stole the dog toys. I guess I should’ve thanked her, because everyone in my line after that was EXTRA sweet to me, since they saw how it all went down. From old couples, to young men sympathizing, they told me, ‘You were not rude at all, you were sweet as could be, pay no mind to her. I’m sorry she’s like this.’
“I HOPE YOU DIE IN A FIRE”
“This story takes place about 3 weeks into my fast food job. I primarily worked the food line, and this was my first week of 3rd shift (6pm-2am). This type of place gets teens, stoners, and all sorts of weirdos after it gets dark, but I never saw anything like this.
It’s a typical Tuesday, around 11:30pm, when I can hear some woman screaming through the headset. Mind you, the guy wearing the headset was 10 feet from me, so this woman was LOUD. He was pulling it away from his ears, grimacing. The night manager heads over to check the security camera, and comes back shaking his head. All of a sudden, we hear huge banging noises. The four of us on duty stop what we’re doing and head over to the monitor. We see this crazy woman leaning out of her car and hitting the speaker box with a baseball bat.
The night manager heads for the back door. Me and the other newer employees look at each other in shock. Is he really going to go outside and confront this crazy lunatic? The next thing we see is our night manager on camera, and he goes behind the woman’s car and starts beating on the trunk. He is screaming what we could make out to be, ‘GET OUT OF HERE!’
She pulls around to the window now, having ordered nothing, and she pushes the window open with her baseball bat. She’s driving what can’t be any newer than a 1980 Cadillac that’s poop brown in color. It’s at this point that we all realize this lunatic is really the Day Manager, and she’s really violently wasted. She starts yelling incoherent swear words and badmouthing every single employee she could remember, pointing her bat at those that were present. When she got to us, me and the other new guys, she kind of froze, she screeched, ‘Whoever you people are, I hope you die in a fire! No one loves you!’
Her tirade complete, she sped off in her car, jumping the median that blocked cars into the drive-thru. The night manager grabs the phone and calls the cops, letting them know which direction she’s heading and the car color, make, and approximate year. When he got off the phone he casually just walked back to the register.
Me: ‘What was that? What was wrong with that day manager?!’
Night Manager: ‘She’s… well, this has happened before. Not usually this bad though.’
Night Manager: ‘Yeah, once or twice a year for these past few years, she’s basically had a total meltdown and done something like this. This is the worst I’ve seen though. The general manager doesn’t care. The day manager will always do her probation and community service. She doesn’t actually steal from the store, and she always shows up on time to open in the morning. If you value your life, pretend like nothing happened tonight. She will act like nothing happened.’
Me: ‘Uh, okay?’
I show up the next morning at 9:30. She had biked to work, but she was there on time, cheery as ever, smiled, said hello, and we had an awkwardly normal shift. For the rest of the time I was there, she didn’t have another meltdown, but I didn’t stay too far past a year.”
Wild Waterpark Encounter
“I was at a water park when I was maybe 12 or 13 with some friends. I was walking up the stairs to one of the water slides, and I was obviously holding the handrail going up. I guess my hand must have still been wet from just getting out of the pool, but that didn’t stop the guy behind me. This guy was a few stairs below me, and he told me to quit holding the handrail, because I was apparently getting him wet. My friends and I thought he was joking with us, so we just laughed. He gets really upset and tells the 18-year-old lifeguard on all of us. The lifeguard just quietly responds with, ‘I’m sorry, but it is a WATER park sir, you have to expect to get wet.'”
Drowning In Beans
“My first job was as a bagger at a higher-end grocery store. This one day, a lady rolls up to the cashier who I’m bagging for, and she has like 40+ cans of beans in her cart. There is no occasion that calls for this many beans.
She demands that my cashier start ringing them up while she, I’m not kidding, goes and gets more beans. The weirdest part about this bit is that there was PLENTY of space for more cans of beans in her cart and she had clearly already been down the canned beans aisle.
Anyway, she turns to me and tells me to double bag the cans in paper with no more than 6 cans to a bag, which is by far the most ridiculous bagging request anyone has ever gotten, and that’s if you completely ignore the fact that I was about to bag over 50 cans of beans for one customer.
My cashier and I just share an uncomfortable glance at the sheer amount of beans in this woman’s cart, and he starts ringing the lady up. I follow her stupid bagging request, fighting with the paper bags (and losing) in desperate attempts to do double bagging with bags that were clearly never intended to be doubled. I’m careful to put no more than 6 cans in each bag, which means each double-paper-bag combo is about 20% filled with cans of beans and 80% empty on top.
Panic starts to rise as I start being overwhelmed by the number of beans coming down the belt at me, since scanning 6 cans is about 30x faster than bagging them in double-paper. I also very quickly run out of space in her cart, since the paper bags are ginormous and take up so much cart space, even though they’re mostly empty. so I frantically grab another cart and start piling practically empty paper bags on top of other in the world’s worst Tetris game.
FINALLY, the job is done and I am not happy. But of course, this being a high-end grocery joint, I HAVE to offer to help take her cart out to her car. My cashier must have seen my face because, god bless him, he steps in before I get the chance and offers to help take the two carts out to her car. They leave out the door.
When my cashier comes back in, he informs me that the lady told him to tell my manager to fire me because I can’t follow simple instructions.”
That Stingray Really Stung
“I worked on a beach as essentially a cabana boy a couple summers back. My job was to set up hotel guests with towels, beach chairs, and umbrellas on the private beach the hotel had. It’s a very nice place, filled with wealthy customers, so these people really had no respect for others. They would regularly ask me to kick other guests off their spots on the beach because they wanted the spot the other people were at.
A couple complained that there were too many flies around and asked me to get rid of them. Favorite one was a father that asked about stingrays. The hotel is located right by a stingray breeding ground, and they stay in shallow water. If you step on one of them, they definitely sting you. This guy asked if people get stung. I said yes, about 1-2 times a day unfortunately. He slipped me a $20 bill, asked me to make sure his kids didn’t get stung, and told them to go play in the water.
I gave it back and tried to explain that I can’t go into the water because I’m on duty, and even if I could, I can’t prevent the stingrays from stinging them. Sure enough as I’m saying this, one of his kids gets stung and he immediately blames it on me.”
Worst Time For A Work Question Possible
“I was at work, and I was 9 months pregnant when I started having contractions. As they started to get regular, I gave myself 30 minutes to get my stuff in order and take off. A coworker emailed me, asking me to stop by. I sent her a quick message explaining the situation. I let her know that I wouldn’t be able to talk with her in my remaining 20 minutes or so. As I turned off my computer and gathered my stuff, the coworker literally ran into my office. She loudly asked me, ‘Can you answer a question?’
I said, ‘I can if it requires a yes or no answer,’ to which she seemed to ignore my desperation. She replied, ‘It’s about process…’
I wound up cutting her off, shaking my head, and quickly leaving. This was at 11 am. At 1:30 pm, my coworkers received an email announcing that my healthy baby boy had been born.”