In the realm of customer service, encounters with entitled customers can be both frustrating and eye-opening. From retail stores to call centers, customer service employees have witnessed their fair share of demanding individuals who believe the world revolves around them.
In this insightful collection, customer service professionals share their firsthand experiences, shedding light on the often outrageous behavior and entitled demands they’ve encountered on the job.
Prepare to be amazed, amused, and perhaps even appalled by these tales from the front lines of customer service.
All content has been edited for clarity.
She Needed To Be Put In Her Place
“This incident occurred a few years ago, so the details may be a bit hazy, but bear with me as I recall the events. As someone with a stammer, I have good and bad days when it comes to my speech. Although it has improved over the years, the stammer still lurks, waiting for an opportune moment to strike. Unfortunately, there are still individuals who believe that people with a stammer are somehow slower or incapable of performing well.
At the time of this story, I was working at a bank. We were short-staffed that day, so to ensure the smooth operation of the front office and avoid inconveniencing customers, I had to leave my usual role and take over the ‘meet and greet’ desk. It was a bustling branch, always filled with frustrated customers, and the queues never seemed to shorten no matter how many staff members were present. To exacerbate matters, the air conditioning was on the fritz, subjecting both customers and staff to the sweltering summer heat. Like everyone else, I had loosened my tie, rolled up my sleeves, and abandoned my jacket.
After dealing with one customer, a well-dressed woman rudely pushed her way to the front of the queue, nudging aside the person who was next in line. Politely, I instructed her to wait her turn and attended to the other customer. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t sit well with the pushy woman, and she immediately became confrontational, demanding more staff members and proclaiming herself to be a ‘very important customer of this bank.’
I chose to ignore her and continued assisting the other customer, who expressed sympathy for the situation with a simple eye roll. However, the pushy woman lived up to her name and once again barged ahead of the next person in line, demanding to be served first and reiterating her importance.
‘That’s nice,’ I calmly replied. ‘Now, please go to the back of the queue and wait your turn like these patient individuals who were here before you. Next customer, please.’
At this point, things took an interesting turn. The pushy woman went ballistic, claiming that I had sworn at her. She stomped around the queues, trying to provoke the already irritated customers and staff members with her loud demands to see the manager. This went on for what felt like an eternity, although it was probably only five or ten minutes. Up and down she marched, adding more accusations to her list of grievances, making it seem as if I had physically assaulted her (though the thought had certainly crossed my mind!).
Eventually, her commotion caught the attention of the Operations Manager, Jack, who was responsible for the day-to-day branch operations and staff matters. Jack approached to assess the situation and introduced himself, offering his assistance. Immediately, the pushy woman’s demeanor changed, becoming charming and condescending. She insisted that I had been rude, demanded an apology, and sought disciplinary action against me. She wanted to make a formal complaint and requested a private room for discussion.
In an effort to diffuse the situation and restore peace in the banking hall, Jack took her into the main interview room. After a few minutes, another staff member relieved me of my duties, informing me that I was needed in the room.
I knocked on the door and entered. The woman, now feeling in control, pointed directly at me. ‘Yes, that’s him. I want him fired or at least reprimanded; otherwise, I will write a letter to your Head Office.’
Jack looked at me with a hint of sadness and shook his head. ‘I’m afraid I can’t do that,’ he told her.
Confused, she demanded, ‘Why not? Aren’t you the Branch Manager?’
Jack shook his head and replied, ‘No, I’m the Operations Manager.’
Predictably, the woman erupted again, insisting on speaking to the “real” manager, dismissing Jack as one of the ‘juniors.’ Jack was about to interject when I stepped forward.
‘I’ll fetch him for you,’ I calmly stated, leaving the room.
A few minutes later, I returned, sleeves rolled down, tie neatly done, and jacket on. I wanted to present myself at my best for the impending confrontation and dressing down that was sure to follow.
‘Where is he?’ she asked, scanning the room to see if someone was hiding behind me.
‘Madam,’ I declared firmly, ‘I am the Branch Manager. And I’m giving you one month’s notice to find alternative banking arrangements. We don’t want people like you in our banking hall. You will receive a letter from me in the mail. Good day to you, and don’t forget to join the back of the queue on your way out.’
The expression on her face was priceless—shock and disbelief mingled with a hint of humiliation. Jack, with a knowing smile, had played his part to perfection. Things rarely go flawlessly, but when they do, the feeling of satisfaction is unparalleled.”
Those Chows Are Mean
“I worked in veterinary medicine for over 36 years, and let me tell you, we encountered some truly extraordinary situations!
There was this incident when a lady brought in her chow for routine vaccinations. After signing in, she sat on the bench, patiently waiting for her turn. One of my technicians approached her, holding a clipboard and pen, intending to gather some information. As they engaged in conversation, her dog, who had been eagerly tugging on the leash to escape, suddenly lunged without warning. With no growl or prior aggression, the dog clamped onto my technician’s hand, sinking its teeth in and violently thrashing about, dragging her down to the floor!
Rather than attempting to assist in freeing my technician from the dog’s grip, the woman started screaming at us, accusing us of mistreating her dog while we struggled to break the dog’s hold. In the process, three of us ended up getting bitten, enduring injuries while trying to rescue our colleague!
Instead of showing any remorse for owning an aggressive and unrestrained dog, the woman continued to berate us, insisting, ‘You people had no right to attack my dog like that! It’s your own fault for approaching my dog!’
The consequences were severe. My technician suffered four broken bones in her hand and a severe infection that required a four-day hospital stay. To make matters worse, the woman had the audacity to file a lawsuit against our hospital, alleging animal abuse and claiming over $25,000 in emotional distress!
Refusing to settle, we shut down the hospital on the day of the trial, with every staff member involved present to testify. The truth had to prevail.
In the end, justice prevailed. The woman was ordered to cover all court costs and lawyer fees. Moreover, she was held responsible for compensating the medical expenses of everyone injured, including the cost of shutting down the hospital to attend court proceedings. Animal Control also imposed a fine on her for harboring an aggressive dog. Furthermore, she received a stern warning that should her dog ever bite someone again, not only would the dog be euthanized, but she could face arrest and imprisonment for harboring a known aggressive animal without appropriate containment measures.
It was a hard-fought battle, but seeing justice served provided some solace amidst the unfortunate incident.”
She Sounds Wonderful
“When I was sixteen, I started working at a local movie theater in my hometown, mainly on weekends. It had only been about a month since I started when a middle-aged woman walked in on a busy Friday night, accompanied by a group of younger children. As usual, I greeted her politely with a simple, ‘Hello, how can I help you?’
She had been engrossed in her phone when she approached the counter, but she briefly glanced up to convey the number of tickets she needed. She then added, ‘I also need three kiddie boxes, all with Sprite, and a large popcorn with Coke.’
I handed her the tickets and began preparing her order. First, I assembled the kiddie boxes, and then I made the large popcorn. As I reached the drink, I double-checked the screen to confirm the order as a Coke. However, being relatively new and still adjusting to the job, I forgot to select the drink option. Slightly embarrassed, I asked, ‘Ma’am, did you want a Coke to go with your popcorn?’
She didn’t look up from her phone, so I assumed she hadn’t heard me. I asked again, raising my voice slightly. Once more, she remained fixated on her phone, but this time she nodded in agreement.
I prepared her drink and handed it to her, but she appeared confused. Placing the cup on the counter, she spoke in a rude tone, ‘I didn’t want this!’
Let me emphasize that it was an exceptionally busy Friday night. She had likely waited in line for over fifteen minutes, and the previews for her movie were about to begin. I had taken roughly five minutes to fulfill her order, and her movie was nearly starting.
‘I specifically asked for a bottle of water!’
At that point, I apologized, saying, ‘I’m sorry, I thought you mentioned a Coke. I’ll have to fetch my manager.’
Needless to say, she was infuriated.
(A side note: I had to involve my manager since I couldn’t process exchanges. Moreover, I couldn’t simply provide her with a bottle of water when I had already charged her for a cup. A bottle of water cost $3.00, while the cup was $4.25. It would have disrupted inventory, and I also needed to refund the price difference, which would have left my cash register $1.25 short.)
She started yelling, ‘I don’t have time for you to fetch your manager! My movie is about to start! How could you mess up such a simple order?! You must be stupid!’
Perhaps my manager overheard the commotion because he quickly stepped in front of me at the register.
‘I apologize, ma’am. What seems to be the problem?’
She continued her tirade toward my manager, ‘You need better employees because this one is clearly incompetent! I wanted water but received a fountain drink, and my movie is about to start!’
Unlike me, trembling and on the verge of tears, my manager remained calm.
‘I’m sorry for the confusion. She’s new and still learning.’
My manager rectified her order, ensuring she made it to her movie on time.
After that incident, during my break, my manager approached me, and I couldn’t hold back my tears. I explained what had happened, and thankfully, he understood. He could see how caught off guard I was and that my emotions were overwhelming, so he allowed me to go home early that night.
I almost quit on the spot, but looking back, I’m grateful I didn’t. I continued working at the theater for some time and had nothing but positive experiences thereafter.”