Working in retail can be tough. Difficult customers, annoying bosses, weird hours, and sometimes the pay isn't that great. However, sometimes there's moments that make it all worth it. Just ask these people.
Retail workers on Reddit share the moment when sweet justice was served. Content has been edited for clarity.
“It Made My Blood Boil”
“I was at a Craft Store in my town, and it wasn’t too busy, but only one register was open. The cashier, a teen aged girl, I could tell was working as best as she could. The process was a tad slower however, because she had a stutter, and a bit of a lisp. As she worked through the line, asking the usual questions probably mandated by the big wigs (I’ve worked in retail, it’s a thing), the man behind me began to huff and puff. He muttered something about having places to go, he was in a hurry, etc.
I ignored him, until I heard him start to mock her to his kids, ‘W-w-would you l-like y-y-y-y-y-y-your reSCHKeet?’
The kids began to laugh. It made my blood boil. Especially since I could tell the cashier heard his mockery. That really made my blood boil. When a person doesn’t respect retail employees as people, it’s the best way to tell whether a person is rude or not.
So, when it was my turn at the register, she asked me in a small voice ‘Are you a member o-o-of the rew-w-rewards club?’ And I looked smugly at the guy behind me, and back at her.
Me: ‘The rewards club? Oooo that sounds great! Please explain it to me?’
She seemed surprised at first, but then looked at the guy behind me, and then it clicked. I have never given my information so slowly in my life. Never had I asked as many questions as I did. She smiled and answered my inquiries, while the guy behind me was seething.
Him: ‘Can you hurry up, please?’
Me: ‘And miss out on these great rewards? As if!’
I only held him up for about five minutes, but wow, it felt so good.”
“I Completely Lost It”
“It was ostensibly a normal day at our coffee chain. Things were a bit slow, but we chalked it up to the upcoming Easter long weekend that everyone is preparing for. I’d just come back from my ten-minute break, taking over for the barista. The fridges were stocked, the syrups were full, the sharpies aren’t completely dried out. Everything is surprisingly calm for noon on a weekday.
Calm, that is, until a man comes storming up to the hand-off point, lidless coffee in hand, looks me in the eye and said ‘This is half full!’
I look down at the coffee. It’s a flat white, filled to less than 1 cm below the top of the 16.5cm cup. It’s at least 90% full. He stares at me with the kind of fury that only a man with nothing better to do than terrorise minimum wage workers can have. I wait a second to give him a chance to be polite and ask for it to be filled further. He doesn’t.
‘Would you like me to top that up for you?’ I asked.
He responds by only gesturing at the coffee. I’m not important enough for the effort of words, apparently. I sigh. I steam the milk. I make sure I have his attention as I fill the coffee.
‘I’ll just let you know, filling a flat white to a centimetre below the top of the cup is the standard for us here at [Coffee Chain]. Many people like to take off the lids to add sugar and such, and since a flat white has no foam at the top to stabilise the liquid, it’s much more likely to spill,’ I said.
He ignores this attempt to save the patience of future baristas, and he takes the coffee, still lidless, without a word and stomps back over to his table.
His wife has an incredible, tired expression of This again? Really?
But, you know, maybe he’s right. He paid $5.50 for this coffee, he deserves to have it how he wanted it! It’s not like most of that cost comes from the four shots of espresso in it, rather than the 450ml of heated milk to go along with it. It doesn’t matter that adding another 30ml of milk is not going to change a thing about the taste. This is his coffee, and he gets to have it the way he wants it.
He sits down heavily, and in the struggle to put his coffee down on the table, he spills it.
I completely lost it.”
“How Would You Know That?”
“Years ago, I used to work in a record store in a mall. The city would sell chamber of commerce gift certificates that were accepted at almost every store in this city and literally every store in the mall, except mine. When people would try and use them we explain that we do not accept them. Most people were cool about it, some kind of annoyed, and honestly I understood their annoyance.
This one day, during the holidays, when we had seasonal help, this lady tried to buy some stuff with these gift certificates. I go into my speech, explaining why they are not accepted.
She wasn’t having it. She starts getting angrier and angrier and says ‘They told me these can be used here.’
This girl, who had been seasonal help for years, overhears this lady and comes over and has the lady explain what is going on. The angry lady repeats it all and ends with ‘They said I could use these here.’
The seasonal help girl says ‘They didn’t tell you that.’
And the lady says ‘How would you know that?’
My co-worker then says ‘Because I work full time at the chamber, and I sold you that gift certificate.’
The lady’s face turns bright red and then she says ‘oh,’ and then leaves super quick.
I mean, we had to put her stuff back, but it was worth it.”
“I Can Tell By Looking At Them”
“I work as a manager at a restaurant, and one night I had a guest loudly telling his server that if his fries were cold, he was going to send them back so she’d better make sure it was hot. I made sure his fries were straight out of the deep fryer and I personally brought out his meal. I guess all the other tables seated around him were watching to see his reaction after his loud performance that he would send his food back.
So I put the meal down and he took one look and dramatically sighed and said the fries were cold.
I replied, ‘I’m sorry Sir but they’re not.’
Now he’s mad and loudly said, ‘They’re cold. I can tell just by looking at them!’
I replied again, ‘The fries are hot.’
So he says, ‘Oh really?’
He dramatically picked up a fry and held it between his thumb and forefinger. He held it in front of his own face while locking eyes with me and squeezed his fingers together.
What came next was something that continues to fill my heart with joy six years after it happened. He let out a surprised shout of pain and dropped the fry onto the table. The tables around us who had been watching started laughing and clapping. His face turned red, he put his head down and didn’t say another word.
I just smiled and said, ‘Enjoy your meal!’ and walked away.”
“The Final Verdict Was Worth It”
“My manager was absolutely insane about that loathed phrase, ‘If you have time to lean, you have time to clean!’ Stop to take a drink of water? The phrase was bellowed across the store. Pause to retie that shoelace you keep tripping over? Storming over to you to snarl it in your ear as you struggle to balance on one foot. Slip on something and have to grab a shelf to avoid landing on your butt? Crank it up to Volume 11, people!
Now keep in mind, our place can only be kept so clean during business hours. Even mopping the floor is only ever done before or after hours, because nobody has the time to mop around half a dozen customers who are trying to shop for their product. So short of randomly tugging a clorox wipe out of its bottle and giving the front counter a cursory wipe, cleaning instead of leaning is utter tomfoolery. We have other duties, and it’s not unreasonable to do the minor aforementioned things.
But my manager won’t hear of it. So I finally got fed up and grabbed a disposable camera… or five… and was on my manager like a paparazzi on the tanned buttcheeks of a supermodel wearing a bikini. For five days that week, I filled my camera with instances of him ‘leaning’ against random things. I learned that he was a ‘Do as I say, not as I do’ kind of guy. It filled me with vindictive pleasure to get shots of him leaning but not cleaning.
The following week, I ninja’d into the breakroom and tacked Every. Single. Picture. to the Announcements pegboard. I wallpapered that cork board and the wall around it with pictures of my manager leaning against all sorts of things. I hung a custom made banner with my manager’s FAVORITE line above them all.
Then I left it alone.
The manager came in at noon.
My photos and banner disappeared without fanfare.
The entire day was spent blissfully unbothered by my manager’s usual bellowing of the phrase. The day stretched to a week. Then to a month. Six months later, I got a job somewhere else. I never again heard that phrase so much as whispered in that store.
I forget what it cost to get all that stuff made, but the final verdict was: ‘Worth it.'”
“He Looked Surprised”
“I work the pumps at a gas station/convenience store in a state that doesn’t allow customers to pump their own gas.
In our chain, we’re trained to do the following with debit/credit card transactions: get the details of what they want, take their card, swipe it at the pump, return the card to the customer, and then pump the gas. In the year and change I’ve worked here, this has worked as intended; there’s no confusion and everyone gets their fuel.
Until last night.
A guy drove up in some mid-range car not important to this story (and given that I’m terrible with cars, couldn’t tell you what make or model anyway). His particular vehicle had the tank on the passenger side, which is important. The guy himself was in his mid-thirties and pretty average-looking. Definitely nothing that would peg him as an imbecile or on any mind-altering substances.
I’ll be ‘Me’ and he can be ‘Wack,’ short for Wackadoodle.
Me: ‘Hey, what can I get you?’
Wack: ‘(as he’s handing me his card) Just $10 regular, please. Need enough to get me home.’
Me: ‘You got it.’
So I did my thing, which I’ve done thousands of times before. I walked over to the other side of his car to the pumps, ran his card, and brought the card back. He looked surprised, which should’ve been foreshadowing for the rest of my interactions with him. I chalked it up to me being deceptively fast and a light step (I’m a larger gentleman) and having caught him by surprise with the speed of my returning his card to him.
I then returned to the pump, prepared to open his gas tank and, you know, give him what he asked for. So I wasn’t prepared for him to start his car and drive off.
I blinked a few times as scenarios ran through my head. Did he have an emergency and have to leave immediately? Did he not have enough on his card to cover the $10 and suddenly remember that fact? Did he have more in his tank than he thought and not need any tonight?
Oh well, nothing I can do about it. I cancel the transaction and go on with my night.
Twenty minutes or so later, I was informed by my manager that an infuriated customer called, claiming that he’d gotten halfway home before his car died and that I’d stolen his money.
Given the fact that I had no other $10 card transactions that night, it was pretty easy for them to determine that the transaction had been cancelled. After explaining what happened, we could only surmise that the customer thought that I’d pumped $10 worth of gas in the 10 seconds it took me to run his card and give it back.”
“Get Over Here Right Now!”
“I used to work as a cashier at a retail store. As I’m walking around my aisle straightening up merchandise, a lady and her son are waiting in line at a checkout line (not mine). The son has on a pair of heelys (shoes with small wheels in the heels) and is running up and down in front of the checkout lanes as fast as possible, then rolling on his heelys.
Now the mom seemed like an incredibly soft spoken individual, and was softly saying things like, ‘Honey, please come here,’ ‘Stop doing that.’
The kid was having none of it, completely disregarding his mom like she wasn’t even there. I can see the mom getting irritated, and finally she snaps and yells, ‘Get over here right now!’
Kid just responds with an equally as loud ‘No!’ and proceeds to take off on another sprint.
Right across from the checkout lanes are shopping aisles, and this kid decided to run a little closer to that side this time as to avoid his mom as he rode by her. Cue a little old lady pushing her cart from behind one of those aisles. The kid doesn’t even have time to put his hands up before he smacks face first into this cart. It had some heavy stuff in there because this kid was moving, and the cart barely moved at all as he face-bounced off, and landed flat on his back.
It was something that should have been in a Three Stooges film.
The carts were the plastic ones with the small diamond shaped patterns, and the kid came running back to mommy, crying hysterically, with a red imprint of the cart on his face.”
“Can I Talk To Jim?”
“About 20 years ago, I was a programmer for a company which provided contract services to other companies. So, I’d get a gig, work it for a few months, then the salesman would find me another gig. My previous contract had been fulfilled, and I was on the bench waiting for another gig along with an unusually large number of my colleagues. The salesmen (I use that term because at that company they were all men) were frantic, trying to make all of the benched employees profitable again.
A salesman (Jim) came to me and said ‘I have an interview for you at (big credit card company in Phoenix) next week.’
I told him that I had a planned vacation.
Jim almost had a stroke. ‘Why didn’t you tell me about your vacation?’
Of course, I had told him. Reminded him several times in fact. And I reminded him once again.
‘Well you call me as soon as you’re back in town,’ he said angrily, and he gave me his home number.
You know how airlines are. They promise you’ll be back at a certain time, then weather happens, and crews timeout, and maintenance is required on the jet. Because of delays, I didn’t get back home until about two in the morning on a Sunday night.
I had strict instructions. I found Jim’s home number and dialed it. A woman’s voice sleepily answered ‘Hello?’ This was Jim’s wife. I was loving this.
‘Hi! this is Chris from work. Can I talk to Jim please?’
She put Jim on, and I said ‘This is Chris, I’m back from my vacation!’
He asked me why I was calling him so late. ‘I’m calling because you told me to, and you gave me your home number!’
I was being as perky as I could be at 2AM.
‘Chris, I’ll see you tomorrow.’
I did not get into any trouble whatsoever for following his instructions exactly.”
“He Looked As If He Ate A Lemon”
“When I first started dating a guy I went to highschool with, ‘E,’ I hit it off with his best friend pretty well. At the start, anyways. We’ll call him ‘T.’ He seemed pretty legit at first- we always joked with each other during video game nights, which were pretty dang frequent, and as far as I could tell, we were friends.
Til I casually one day mentioned being autistic.
He began harassing me after that. Always over Facebook messenger, always really hateful stuff about how I was making my diagnosis up for attention. He even at one point told me that even if I showed him the papers with the diagnosis from the therapist I saw when I was a kid, he wouldn’t believe me.
I eventually cracked when T wouldn’t let up and showed E, who ended the friendship (of his own choice, mind you. Important for later.)
Fast forward to a few years later. Me and E have broken up, he’s friends with T again, and the two of them are running a computer shop downtown together. My mom (who knows the whole situation with T, but who has never met him) goes in to get a repair done on a computer of hers. E’s not there, but T is.
They get to talking and T is just making small talk, eventually asking her how she knows E. She mentions (purposefully vague) that he used to hang out at her house with her kids and their friends every day after school.
T asks ‘Which friends?’
And my mom starts naming them all off. And says my name last.
She told me he looked as if he’d just eaten a lemon at the mention of me.
And his reply? ‘Can I just say I despise her? She’s a compulsive liar and she tried to turn E against me, wouldn’t let him talk to me or anything.’
She said he went on about me for the entire time he worked on her computer- which was a good ten minutes. She just sat there and listened, not saying a word.
Finally, as they were finishing up, he started to kinda get hit with realization because he pauses and asks… ‘So how do you know her, anyways? Are you guys close…?’
Mom: ‘Oh yeah, I’d say we are. I’m her mother, after all.’
He didn’t charge her a cent for the work. I literally howl-laughed into the phone when she told me all this. Most satisfying thing of my life.”
“That Triggered The Nuclear Option”
“I was 18 and in my first ‘managerial’ job. I was a swing shift manager at a fast food burger joint. Like every place, we had a couple of ‘usual’s’ who were mean for the sake of being mean. One of them, an over-the-top egregiously aggressive woman who found fault with everything, would go ballistic if you so much as failed to address her as ‘ma’am’ in every sentence.
Things came to a head when she was so rude to one of our counter clerks that she made the girl cry. I told the girl to go back to the break room and take a breather, and then calmly informed the woman that she was no longer welcome in our store. That triggered the nuclear option. I waited for the screaming and cursing to stop, waved her to the door, and then watched as she left.
I sent corporate her credit card number and license plate info, and they sent her a ‘You’re banned from ALL the stores’ letter, filed it with the local police department, and told us to call the cops immediately if she ever showed up in our store again.
Which she did. A few weeks later, she showed up ready to launch into another tirade for whatever imagined offense might occur. We politely kicked her out despite her screaming that the do-not-trespass order was fake, wasn’t legal, didn’t apply to her, her lawyer said. It happened again a couple of times, but eventually her luck broke and there happened to be two cops on their dinner break in the restaurant.
I was on shift that night. And I can tell you that I have rarely been so satisfied as when I showed the officers the order, identified the woman as the person referred to in it, told them about the frequent return visits and then watched them arrest her on the spot.
Best of all, I never had to testify- she went totally ballistic and scratched a cop’s face. No need to book her for trespassing when resisting arrest and cop assault were so convenient!
After they hauled her away, I noticed that her car was still in our lot. Oh yes. That call to the towing company was the most satisfying two minutes of my young life.
Sure, I could have just let it sit there until she came back for it. But make my register clerk cry? Yeah, enjoy your trip to the impound lot, ma’am.”
“I Was In A State Of Shock”
“So, this happened over a decade ago.
I was working in a clothing store, and it was a pretty great gig. I had decent hours, I got a 50% discount… the only drawback was one of my co-workers. I’ll call her ‘Bea.’ Bea was one of those people who would be pleasant, then would suddenly say something nasty and laugh it off. She would leave me nasty notes (things that said, ‘How stupid are you? How did you not know this?’) or would simply make the comments straight to my face. I talked to my manager about it, who talked to Bea, but not much was done.
Eventually, a promotion became available, and both Bea and I were up for it. We both were interviewed, and eventually, I got the position. I felt pretty good about that, but it only made the bullying worse.
Eventually, one night, when I was closing, I realized that there had been a trend that had been going on for a while. Bea would have a return, but the slip with the customer information would be missing. I was a little frustrated (and, if I’m honest, smug, because I always kept track of that slip) but then a thought occurred to me. I pulled out a receipt from a sale I did to Bea earlier and compared the card numbers, and lo and behold, they matched.
I was in a state of shock. I called my manager and explained what I had found. She had me go back through the last few weeks sales to see if I could find any more.
When Bea arrived at work the next morning, the police were waiting in the back room. I wasn’t allowed to be anywhere near the store, because they were worried she’d retaliate. I don’t know all the details of her punishment (I purposefully kept myself distanced), but I heard something about her having to repay them.
It doesn’t end there though.
A few months later, I was shopping at the other mall in town, and saw Bea working for another clothing store chain. The next day, I went by the store in our mall and chatted with my friend who worked there. I ‘casually’ mentioned that I noticed Bea was working there now, and asked what she thought of that.
My friend said that she didn’t know too much since Bea worked at the other location, but then asked if I knew anything she should know.
I said that I didn’t want to cause anyone to lose a job, but that doing a criminal record check on any new employees would be a good idea. Next thing I knew, Bea didn’t work there any longer.