High end retail is a lot like regular retail, except the stakes are just a bit higher. Not only do those who work in luxury retail have to deal with snobby and entitled rich people all day, but a lot of the time, their pay is commission-based, so they have to keep these rich snobs happy if they want to make any money. Read on to find out the most insane horror stories high end retail workers have about dealing with entitled customers. Content has been edited for clarity.
"Let me start by stating that I work in high end retail. The kind of place people come in to spend thousands of dollars on things they don't need. They basically come here for the luxury experience, and they get it. In my job, I can't leave until everyone is gone. I was working my 8th hour on Sunday and counting down the minutes until we close. The last minute goes by and the door locks. Freedom. Then the scumbag sales associate comes in and stands by the door. 'What's the problem?' I ask.
'I'm just waiting on my client. She's running a little late.' He says.
Seriously? I can't leave until this place is empty and now some hag is rolling in after hours? Who does she think she is!? So 10 minutes after we close, this old but not elderly woman walks in. You can see the money in her clothes and how she carries herself.
She spends about 20 minutes just inside the store, basically gabbing with the sales associate. I'm getting mad. Get in buy your stuff and get out. No. She has a rack of clothes put aside just for her. The closing manager tells me this lady is a big spender and is known for staying late. I could see the annoyance in the manager's face. She doesn't want to be here either, so we wait. An hour goes by. The sales professional and the old hag are still trying on clothes. I ask the manager if there's a cut off for how long customers can stay after hours. She looks confused. She doesn't know. She's just one of many managers and she certainly didn't get the job for her brains. I get her to ask the sales associate how long is needed. She comes back and he told her 45 more minutes. I tell her I'm leaving to by a sandwich since this is my dinner time. I bail and get my sandwich. I look at my bus. If I get on now, I can be home in 45 minutes.
Forget that rich old hag and that sales guy.
I walk back to the store anyway. I don't need any complaints, plus rich old clients are our primary customers. Mess with a big sale and you're history. I come back in and ask if there's any change. Nope. I eat in silence and relax a bit. I look at the time. It's been almost 3 hours after we closed and no change. The lights here are automated and will be going out in 10 minutes. I can't just roll in while he's with this old bat since giving a customer the slightest indication that we're rushing them is frowned upon here, sometimes even punishable. Since I have no faith in my ability to hide my disdain at her very existence, I call the sales associate. No answer. I call all the phones in his area. Nothing. He's ignoring me. I tell the manager and she goes and tells him. She comes back with no new news.
A few minutes later, CLICK. All but a couple of choice lights go out. I go to the manager and give her the I-told-you-so face. A few minutes later, the old queen of witches comes down with that dimwit sales associate apologizing to her. I unlock the door and let her out. Not before looking deep into her soul.
You're money gives you no right to treat us this way, you old hag. She leaves and I lock the door. The three of us wrap it up. The sales associate gives me a meaningless apology. He doesn't care. He wants that sale. Dagger eyes go his way. The manager and I leave. She looks relieved and apologizes. Her, I believe. I tell her no big deal and I'm going home to play video games before sleeping."
"I used to manage a luxury jewelry store. The kind with just a few items on display at any given time and most items were more than an average person’s annual salary.
One of the regulars was a woman who just oozed witch out of every pore. She would remind us, constantly, that she was 'Ms. Saskatchewan, 1970' which is a title that only a farmer and their sow should be proud of. It was also 30-ish years later.
My staff would scatter when we saw her coming, so I was often stuck helping her. On this particular day, she wanted a new strand of pearls.
We go through the showcase, and she puts on a strand of Tahitian pearls priced at $38,500. She hems and haws with her daughter, nods, and then...walks out of the store.
It took me a minute for my brain to register what was you going on.
I dashed down the mall after her, and when I caught up, said, 'Ms. 1970, you didn’t pay for those.'
I felt like Medusa was turning me to stone with the look she gave me.
Ms. 1970: 'Just put it on my credit card. You’re embarrassing me.'
Me: 'We don’t keep card numbers on file, it’s a security concern. It will only take a minute.'
She turned as if to walk off, and then undid the clasp, slid the pearls into her hand and FLUNG them down the busy mall.
I was too busy scrambling after the pearls to hear if she said anything else, but she stopped coming to the store after that."
"This story begins in a locally owned jewelry store. The jeweler has been repairing and selling high end jewelry for 52 years. He is over 70 and still works like a madman. His business is efficient, reasonably priced, and high quality, allowing him to stay in business as long as he has.
For repairs, the customer must leave their piece of jewelry with us for several weeks to place it in line. When the jeweler is ready to do the repair, we call the customer with a price quote, and if they approve, the repair is completed within 24 hours. If they decline the quote, the repair is marked as 'did not repair' in our computer system, filed in the 'completed repairs' bin, and the customer can pick up the repair at no charge.
Now, when the customer leaves a piece of jewelry with us, we give them a claims ticket that says, 'Not responsible for pieces left over 60 days from completion of repair.' We also take down their name, address, and phone number (multiple if possible) to ensure that we contact the correct person when the repair is complete.
Enter customer. The year is 2014. The month is February. She leaves her ring with us to be repaired. When the jeweler looks at it several weeks later, he finds that the original ring is too fragile and cannot be repaired. We call the customer and she says she will come get it.
Now, obviously jewelry is something you don't just THROW OUT after 60 days. The warning on the ticket is just to encourage customers to pick their items up as quickly as possible so that our safe isn't full of jewelry all the time. We also keep a clear record of phone calls to and from the customer including the date and time as well as whether we reached the customer or left a voicemail.
Fast-forward to January 2016: we are doing a bi-annual 'call everyone who still has jewelry here.' I notice that this repair has been here a LONG time and we have called her more than 6 times. I give her a ring and the number is disconnected. We decide that after two years, this woman may be dead/ill and no one knew to come pick up the piece. It was a piece of junk anyway, and on top of that, it was broken beyond repair, so we got rid of it.
The date is now April 2017: enter a woman to the jewelry store. She says she is here to pick up a repair, but when I look it up in the system, it says it was picked up in January 2016. Now obviously, this woman is furious that someone else could have picked up her repair, so we dig through our paper receipts from over a year ago and find our note that the repair was discarded.
We explained to the woman that the repair had been disposed of and our reasoning for doing so. We apologized, but there wasn't anything to do. My favorite part is when she asked, 'Why didn't you call me?!?!'
'Ma'am we did call you,' I told her. 'We spoke with you several times as I see here in our notes, and you kept saying you would come pick it up. But after two years, your number was disconnected and you did not leave another method of contact. If you look at our ticket, you will see that there is a warning that we are not responsible past 60 days. We did you the favor of keeping your item for two years, but there is nothing else I can do for you.'
Honestly, I'm not sure what she even wanted with that item anyway."
"Last week, a young girl came into my store alone. Since I work in luxury retail, typically when I see teeny-boppers or even young adults walk in, I know they're usually just going to waste my time or just do a quick walk in and walk out, so this is what I was expecting.
Young girl was getting ready to graduate high school and wanted a pair of shoes to wear to walk across the stage. She found a few pairs of heels she liked, had me running back and forth for about 20 minutes because she needed different sizes, wanted different colors, etc. She finally settled on a pair of shoes and spent about half an hour walking around the store in them, making sure she liked the height, could walk properly, etc. She took probably 30 or so pictures of herself in these shoes, then took them off and told me:
'I need to go get my mom's opinion.'
I cleaned up the mess of shoes she made and about 20 minutes later she comes back and decides to buy the heels. She pays with two credit cards, a fist full of cash and asks me about the return policy. I tell her she has 30 days to return them as long as they're completely unused and not worn. That was on Friday night.
Flash forward to Monday: I come back from my lunch break and see one of my managers doing a return for two women for a pair of heels. I go over to investigate and find out that just as I suspected, the girl who I just sold these heels to had sent her mother and grandmother back to my store to return them, and they were completely worn, as the sole and heel were dirty.
I tell my manager over the walkie to not accept the return because they were worn, but the girls mother was putting up a fight, and so they were issued a full refund. $400. Four hundred freaking dollars that goes back on me and messes up my sales. The worst part is, now we obviously can't sell the shoes since they were worn and can only damage them out.
Funny thing is, I knew she was going to do this. Most likely, she wanted a nice pair of designer shoes so she could show off to her buddies and post pictures of herself wearing them on social media and for graduation photos, but couldn't afford to keep them. I was furious my manager accepted the return too. It ruined my day."
"When I was a student, I managed to get a sales position at a very fancy department store and I got a first-hand look at how my city's wealthiest spent their disposable income. One story from early on sticks out as a favorite.
As you can imagine, we had our share of new-money businessmen who became regulars over the course of their career. Some dudes would come in and drop $5-10k on suits and shoes practically monthly. Most weren't too bad, but we definitely had a few who expected handouts for their 'patronage.' Today's story comes from my time in the fragrance department.
We can call our main character Gatsby. He was a guy behind a very successful startup that had recently sold for a substantial amount of money. He was very vocal about his newfound wealth and loved sharing stories of the racks of clothing and footwear he would buy in his international travels. He lived in a condo not far from our store, so he was in pretty much weekly buying new threads. No one was a big fan of him on a personal level, but he never caused real problems until this day.
This day, Gatsby came in and purchased around $4,000 worth of dress shoes, ties, and other accessories for himself, and a $2,000 bag for his new European girlfriend. He came into my lovely little men's fragrance stand and, after bragging about his new Ferragamos and started picking out a few new scents to complement his purchases. I played along and gave him a few recommendations, all of which he proceeded to ring up. He managed to rack up around $600 in cologne by the end of this. Things got tricky when I told him the total.
Me: 'Wonderful sir, great choices. Your total should appear on the screen.'
Gatsby: 'Oh, I don't plan on paying today.'
Me: 'Excuse me?'
Gatsby: 'I just told you how much I spent upstairs, don't you feel I deserve something complimentary for my business?'
Me: 'I'm sorry, sir. Unfortunately I cannot give you anything for free. We greatly appreciate your patronage. Have you visited the lounge? There are complimentary beverages for generous customers!'
Gatsby: 'Don't be ridiculous, I come into your store almost daily. I earned these.'
M: 'Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to pay or take your business elsewhere.'
G: 'Eff you, give me the bag.'
This went on for some time, with most of my fellow salespeople noticing it was Gatsby causing the fuss. By the time our exchange had turned into outright store removal, he tried to grab the bag from me and take off. Sadly for him, we had a pretty strict set of security guards around the store. We can call the most important one, Batista (this dude had the largest shoulders I have ever seen). Batista caught Gatsby as he tried to make a break for the door, literally lifting our 5'5" friend off of his feet, leaving the bags, shoes, ties, fragrances behind. Gatsby is thrown out, an immediate ban in put into the system, and the items he purchased were promptly refunded and restocked.
For the next few weeks, I saw this guy walk past the store with a piercing glare. I saw him shopping around on the weekends and almost ran into him a few times, but tried my best not to interact with him. Batista and I stayed pretty good friends over my time there, as well!
Luxury retail has some true characters."
"I work at a luxury skin care brand. Yesterday, I had an older woman come in and she asked me about the lotions we have. She asked a question along the lines of, 'Which lotion is best for after the shower? I want something good, but I don't have like super dry skin.'
I'm assuming since she made it a point to say she doesn't have super dry skin that she's looking for something lightweight. I tell her the lightweight lotions are all pretty much the same, they just differ by aroma so it's whatever smell she prefers. Then she points to the heavier lotions, 'What about these? Which one is your favorite?'
I say, 'this one is my favorite' pointing to the lotion titled something along the lines of 'Stress Relief.'
It gets its name from the specific blend of essential oils in it– lavender, sage, all stress relieving aromatherapy scents.
She goes, 'Haha, you're young.What do you have to be stressed about? You don't have stress.'
I'm confused because what is she saying to me.
I start to say, 'Well, I have a lot of stress, but I lik-'
She cuts me off, 'Young people don't have stress, just wait-'
I cut her off, 'Actually, I have a lot of stress. My mother has cancer, my grandmother just died, I'm going through a lawsuit-'
She cuts me off again, 'Okay, okay you have stress. It's just that you don't know how to manage it. You will learn.'
I say, 'I manage it quite well actually. Anyway, this is my favorite lotion because it is the most moisturizing out of all of them because it is the thickest."
The conversation ended there, but I am just bewildered because honestly, what are you saying to me lady? How did we go from 'what's your favorite lotion' to 'you don't know how to manage stress.' You know absolutely nothing about me except that I am younger than you.
I get A LOT of off handed comments from old ladies all the time, it usually doesn't bother me, but this one just triggered me because it was so out of the blue and she wouldn't drop it. I shortened the exchange, but she kept repeating herself which is why I got personal and told her my stress just because that's the can of worms she decided to open. I could tell it made her uncomfortable, especially because this all happened in front of another customer.
Firstly, it's bold to assume I have no stress just because I'm young (I'm 21, left my parents house at 19. I have been struggling, but making it work ever since) and I guess she assumed since I'm young I still live at home. I don't know what she was thinking.
Second, it's even bolder to assume I don't know how to manage my stress. All from a minute-long exchange and because my favorite lotion is the 'stress relieving' aroma.
Also, if my favorite lotion is the stress relief lotion, isn't aromatherapy a way to manage stress?
Like what are you talking about, lady? Just shut up and buy your freaking lotion."
"I work in luxury auto sales and one day I was selling a vehicle to a dad and his spoiled brat daughter.
Me, standing next to a used 2012 BMW 328xi Coupe: 'As you can see, this is going to be the best fit for your budget and needs, not to mention some of the high end features you were looking for.'
Spoiled Brat: 'I don't want a used car, I ONLY get new cars.'
Dad, giving me an exasperated look: 'Sweetie, I don't know WHAT your mom told you, but I am not buying you a new car. Besides, you don't get ANY cars. This is your FIRST ONE.'
Spoiled Brat, whining: 'But SUSAN got a brand-new Mercedes for her graduation!'
I stared at her, mentally banging my head against the glass of the BMW. I imagined it shattering and killing me in the process.
Me: 'Yes, but your dad told me that he has a certain budget to work with. This is a very nice car, with less than 20,000 miles on it. It runs and drives like new. (Turning to dad) Wow, that sounded cliché. I apologize!'
Dad, laughing: 'Sure was, but I think that I'll take it despite your cliché outburst!'
We headed inside. Dad and I negotiated a deal while Spoiled Brat tapped away angrily on her phone.
Dad: 'Well, I think that does it, I think we have a deal. Thank y–'
Spoiled Brat: 'Are you freaking serious? Dad, I am not driving some used car. Even Miranda, the poor girl, got a new Toyota.'
Dad: 'I am not buying a new car. Maybe you can ask your mom to do that. Oh wait, she would rather spend her money on a vacation to Italy and NOT take her daughter!'
Spoiled Brat launches into a tirade of cursing, screaming and generally throwing a tantrum. Dad stands up calmly, shakes my hand, and apologizes.
Dad: 'Well, it looks like my daughter has a lot to learn about appreciating free things. Maybe her friends will let her ride in their new cars, because she will be taking the bus. And she'll need to get a job now to pay for that.'
Spoiled Brat, now with eyes wide: 'I'm sorry, Daddy. I want the car now...'
Dad: 'Too late. You just dug yourself into a hole. Better ask your mom in two weeks when she gets back from Italy.'
Spoiled Brat proceeded to run outside crying, while her dad shook my hand. Oddly, I felt something crinkle into my palm and I looked down to find that he shoved a hundred dollar bill in there.
Dad: 'That's for wasting your time and costing you money. That spoiled girl isn't getting a car from me. Let her stepfather get her one.'
Me: 'Thanks. I definitely appreciate it. And best of luck.'
He walked out and got into his car and they both took off again.
Not two weeks later, the Spoiled Brat came back and was driving a broken down old Honda. Turns out that that is the car her stepdad got her. He paid a whopping $500 for it and it needed service. She didn't even look at me as she walked in."
"I was working for a well known cell phone company in a rich white neighborhood. A lot of these ladies are mean as fire and their children are just as bad, sometimes worse. This kid was worse. Her mother, even though she had an expensive looking manicure and salon style blonde hair, looked threadbare. The little girl, who was about 9 or 10, immediately caused a scene in my store. My other co-worker was out to lunch, so I received no back up against the little monster.
Little Girl: 'I WANT THIS ONE! I WANT THIS ONE!' pointing to the highest-end phone we have that just came on the market the week before.
Mom: 'Honey, why don't we start you out with an older model to see how you do with it? You already have an iPod and a tablet...'
Little Girl: reaching an octave that could potentially shatter glass, 'I WANT THIS ONE!!!!!!'
Mom: sighing and turning to me, 'Can we get [that] phone on [this] account?'
I go in the back to grab the device out of inventory.
Me: 'We have gold, silver–'
Little Girl: still screaming, 'GOLD! I WANT GOLD!'
I start the process of putting the phone onto the account and setting up the device.
Me to the mother, who refused to put insurance on the device for some insane reason: 'Well I highly recommend a case, these phones can be easily broken.'
Little Girl: 'NO I WANT EVERYONE TO SEE IT'S GOLD!
Me to the mother: 'We have clear cases.'
Little Girl: 'NO!'
The mother tried to convince her daughter to no avail to put a case on the phone, but eventually gives up.
I finish the sale and the little girl starts jumping around the store with her new phone. Her mother tiredly says goodbye, and they walk out of the store.
Right as they get outside, the little girl swings herself in a circle and the phone goes flying out of her hands straight into the concrete.
Both of them freeze and turn ashen. Then the little girl starts to scream.
The mother looks back at me with wide eyes and I just shrug.
The phone was completely shattered, the screen still worked, but they had to make a trip to the repair store so the mom could pay another hundred something dollars to have the screen replaced.
I'm sure the kid screamed the entire way."
"This is a tale from long ago at my first retail job. I was 20 at the time of our tale. I working in a somewhat expensive store, though we had a clearance section.
I was a cashier. Our store had a mailing list (like many stores) and if you were on it, they would mail you coupons. Pretty decent ones too. So I'm ringing up a customer and she pulls out her mailing list coupon for 50% off any one regularly priced item (that's important to note). I scan the coupon, put it in my drawer and wish her a good day.
Crazy Lady, mid to late 40s and dressed nicely, comes up next carrying an expensive bag with some $2 item found in the bowels of clearance.
Me: 'Did you find every thing okay today?'
Crazy Lady: 'I want a coupon.'
Me: 'I beg your pardon?'
Crazy Lady: 'I want a coupon, like the last lady just used.'
Me, cheerfully: 'Oh, well if you sign up for our mailing list, we'll send you plenty of great coupons.'
Crazy Lady: 'No. I want THAT coupon, and I want it NOW.'
Me: 'Oh...um...I'm sorry. I don't have any of those coupons. They're sent from corporate and I can't re-scan that one (also it's in my drawer and I have no access to it).'
Crazy Lady, no screaming: 'This is outrageous!! I want that coupon, and I want it NOW. I'll have you fired for this. I'll have everyone here fired for this!! How do you have a job treating customers so rudely!!?'
I wave over my manager and explain the issue.
Manager: 'Ma'am, we don't have any coupons in the store. Also, that coupon was for a regularly priced item. You wouldn't be able to use it on your purchase.'
Crazy Lady, still screaming: 'This is the worst customer service I've ever received. I'll see to it that this dump goes out of business!! I'm going to call corporate. You'll regret treating me like this!'
Manager: 'I'm really sorry you're upset. I can give you our senior discount on the item it's for 10% off if that will help?'
Crazy Lady: 'Yes, okay fine.'
She then turns to me with this smug look of satisfaction and says, 'See? I always get my way.'
Yep...you sure showed me lady, making an nuisance out of yourself and berating a person young enough to be your kid all to save 20 cents. Wooo, go you.
I didn't say that or anything. I just stared at her like the freaking lunatic she was while she walked out of the store and got into her overpriced luxury SUV. I cannot figure out the mentality behind freaking out over 20 cents to this day."
"I work in a gourmet supermarket/deli in the upmarket part of town. It's part of a department store that also includes a clothes boutique and a general home ware section.
Everything in the store (be it a mug or a pre-prepared dinner) is of a pretty high quality, so naturally, it's a bit more expensive than your average shop. I'm a college student who needs to save money, so I don't really take advantage of my employee discount a lot. Just sometimes for little gifts for my parents and birthday presents for friends.
Customers often complain about the prices and if you usually just smile at them and change the subject to the weather or if they'd like a gift bag, that ends the conversation.
However, one woman the other day was DETERMINED (for some reason) to get me to admit that the shop was expensive.
Me: 'That'll be $44.95 altogether, please.'
Woman: 'Urgh, that's ridiculously expensive!'
Me: 'Mmhm. It's really rainy weather today - shall I double-bag this for you?'
Woman: 'Yes, you better! I want to keep these items dry considering I'm paying SO MUCH MONEY for them!'
Me: 'No problem - can I get you anything else while you're here?'
Woman: 'Oh, haven't I spent enough already? It's all way too expensive in here!'
Me: 'Right, so you can pop your debit card into the machine there when you're ready...'
Woman: 'Don't you think it's very expensive??'
It had been a long day already and I was exhausted. This woman's tone was extraordinarily rude and she was just annoying in general, so I decided to give her a polite (but honest) answer.
'Yeah I do, that's why I don't shop here a lot. I'm in university and I need to save up money. But for the odd treat, I think this place is great. Everything is of a high quality and lasts forever. The food is delicious too! In my opinion, it's well worth the price.'
Thankfully, that seemed to shut her up."