October 20, 2023 | Scott Mazza

We Can’t Get These Customer Service Stories Out Of Our Heads


Let’s be real: Customer service is a thankless job. From dealing with awful Karens to clean-ups in aisle 4, retail employees have seen it all, often before they even hit their lunch break. On the other hand, at least they have a lot of good stories to tell, and we’ve collected the absolute best here—from the heart-warming to the horrific.


1. On Lock Down

I’m a locksmith. I was in the shop one day and a customer was in getting some keys copied. It was a nice and simple job. Suddenly while I've got the machine running, some shirtless guy comes in looking really frantic. I tell him I'll be just a minute longer, then I finish the keys and send the first customer on his way. Frantic dude: "Jeez, took you long enough, I need you to come unlock my car."

I'm already a little annoyed since it’s almost closing time, but I just figure he's got a kid/dog/groceries in the car and give him the benefit of the doubt. Me: "No problem, where is it?" FD: "A couple of miles that way, my girlfriend drove me over here. You can follow us to it." I get some info from him, the kind of car it is, his name/number/address in case we get separated, etc.

FD: "My phone's in the car so if you call it, I won't answer" Me: "Then how about your girlfriend's number?" FD: "Hers is in there too" Well, ok then. Since it's pretty much closing time, I just go ahead and set the alarm and lock the doors to the story as I leave. He doesn't like this and starts saying how I'm taking forever.

Yeah, yeah, take a chill pill. I get in my truck and follow him out there. When we get there, I grab my tools and head to his car. I take one look and instantly feel something is off. Surprisingly, there's nothing in there except for the keys on the seat. No kids or dogs, so now I'm just hoping it's actually their car. FD: "You'd better not mess up my doors, this is a classic."

I open it up in about 10 seconds and check the insurance card. Yup, it's their car. I pick up the keys and go over to him, tell him it's $40, and he just looks at me dumbfounded. FD: "Wait you mean I have to pay for this?" Ummm, yeah? Me: "Yes sir, we charge a service call when we have to go out to the location." FD: "Well I'm not paying for that, you did it in 10 seconds, I could've done that myself if I'd have known."

Me: "Well I'm sorry, but I can't do this for free." To be honest, I could've, but there was no real urgency like a life endangered, plus he was rude about the whole thing. Also, we normally would just bill someone in the situation, but we've been burned too many times, so we'll only do that for companies now. FD: "I'm not paying for that, I don't have any money." Then I get an ingenious idea.

Me: "Then if you think you can do it yourself, go for it." I throw his keys back in the car, lock the doors, shut them behind me, and leave. I get home about 10 minutes later, then after probably an hour, he calls back. FD: "I can't get it open, come back and open my car again." Me: "I can go out again, but I'll have to charge you for two service calls."

FD: "Screw you, I'm not paying you 80 bucks." Me: "Then you can call the other locksmith nearby, I'm sure he'll be happy to help y-" click I didn't tell him, but they charge $100 to unlock cars. Never heard back from him.

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2. Great Minds Think Alike

I work in a small, locally-owned toy shop in a little college town. However, we have a lot of down-to-earth people and families. One day, this couple comes in with three kids and immediately the kids go crazy, wanting to show their parents every single toy in the store. It's a small store but is broken into three distinct sections, which are rooms connected by walkways.

We have a card rack next to the cash register that has all sorts of cards. As the wife is being dragged by her kids around the store, the husband comes up to me and quietly goes "Don't let my wife see, we are big Star Wars fans" and slides me a Star Wars card and cash to pay for it. I quietly make small talk with him about the weather and ring him up.

I finish just in time as his wife and kids walk around the corner and then grab their dad to go beg and ask for toys. I'm chatting with the mom, and she sees a card on the card rack and says "This would be perfect for my husband but don't let him see this." She slides me cash, finishes the transaction, and winks. It's the exact same card.

They finish their shopping, purchase a few toys for their three kids and walk out, both chuckling to themselves about how clever they are.

Tales from retailPexels

3. Technical Difficulties

I work in retail in an electronics store. This tale takes place today and yesterday. So, a customer comes up to me looking for a new laptop. I show him around a few of the laptops and he states he needs something portable but powerful. Of course, these two things usually mean a 13-inch laptop with an i5 or i7. Me: So what do you need it for?

Customer: "Well, the laptop has to be powerful but I need it to be lightweight as I'm an international student." Me: "Right okay, well here's a few laptops we have that fit this description.” A note about these laptops: They're usually around $600-$1000 depending on the brand and specifications. Now, I notice the customer is carrying a laptop in a carrier bag.

I ask him about that one, just being a bit nosy but also making conversation as I show him around the laptops. Me: "So, what's wrong with that laptop?" His response made me stop in my tracks. Customer: "Oh. the battery has blown up and doesn't power on anymore.” See, that’s kind of weird and doesn’t really describe a specific thing.

Me: "Right okay, can I have a look?" So he takes it out of the bag and I notice it's a MacBook Air. Being the store’s Apple person I ask if I can take it. Then I notice that it has another computer shop’s sticker on the top of it, so I ask about that. Me: "I see you've taken it to the other computer store down the road, what did they say is wrong with it?"

Customer: "They didn't open it up, but they said it would be $400 for the problem I told them I thought it was." Me: (internally) "They've quoted this and haven't even had a look at it. No surprises there." So I took the Mac from the customer and walked him down to the Apple counter of our small store. I plug it into our Mac charger and notice the charger lighting up green but not switching to amber, which it should do.

So just out of habit, I perform a hard reset on the MacBook…and it turns on. Customer: " Oh my gosh, you've got it working." Me: "Yeah, I just want to run some diagnostics to make sure this isn't a fluke." I got the customer to change the language from his native to English and go to diagnostics. The tests came back fine and the battery reported fine.

Me: "It's in good working order with no problems, it just needed this reset.” Then I say, “However, your charger is toast so you'll need a new one of those." Customer: "That's amazing. Thank you so much, my dissertation was on there and I would have to start it again." I’ve actually just completed my dissertation so completely understand the situation and the stresses of university life. Customer: "How much will it be for the fix?"

Me: "Nothing, it was a fast two-minute fix, no need to worry." To this, the customer becomes all thankful and happy and tells me he wants to pay for dinner and I insist it's okay and just part of my job. So he's on his way with his Mac in working order and a warning not to use the charger and use an extra form of storage to back-up his work. But he still had something up his sleeve.

Today, he came back in to purchase the new charger and was looking specifically for me in the store. He had gone out and bought me a cake and macarons from a high-end cake shop. At first, I said I couldn't accept, but after much insistence, I did accept and the customer left happy. I left work later in the evening with a cake in tow and a smile on my face.

Not all customers are difficult and it left me with so much joy at the end of the workday.

Tales from retailUnsplash

4. Paper Trail

A lady came into my work to sell something using her passport as an ID. Something didn't look right. I stared at it a bit before noticing that the expiration date was in a slightly different font than the other dates on the passport. I held it up to the light and saw a rectangular outline around the date. I ran my thumbnail over it, and the edges of a sticker came up off the passport.

Underneath the sticker, the date had been scratched out. I pulled the sticker the rest of the way off before handing her passport back and explaining that we couldn't accept any altered/damaged/expired ID. I guess all that time playing "Papers, Please" finally paid off.

Tales from retailUnsplash

5. Every Little Bit Helps

So I work at a pet store, and my family owns it. We do boarding, daycare, training, grooming, and retail. I had a regular come in a few months back, and he wasn't doing too well financially since becoming disabled. He brought in his dog for grooming and I noticed the dog had a large number of fleas, I called and informed him.

I let him know that I would also give his other dog a flea bath for cheap so he could take care of it. Once he got there, he tried to pay with a care credit card that the state had given him. Unfortunately, we don't take that card. So he gave me his card information so I could charge him when he got paid. I sent him home with some flea and tick topical that we sell over the counter.

Well, the day came for me to run his card, and he called me to remind me. I thanked him, got off the phone, and didn't charge him. Today he called realizing he hadn't been charged, and I told him I didn't plan on charging him and was happy to be able to help. He couldn't talk for a bit, trying to compose himself. I got off the phone knowing I had made someone's day better.

I know how hard it can be living on disability, since my mom is on it. Sometimes even the littlest of things can help.

Tales from retailPexels

6. Nickel And Diming

Our store was liquidating to shut down and we were in our final days. We were no longer giving refunds on goods that customers had simply changed their mind on. It was incredibly stressful and customers were being outright rude despite the fact that everyone they were dealing with was being made redundant in a matter of days.

One day, a guy came in and asked if we could refund a suitcase he bought and changed his mind on. He swapped it for a few other things, but he was still short by about ten dollars or so. I prepared myself for today's shakedown and told him I was very sorry he couldn't have any money back, but we were still exchanging if he wanted something to go toward the value.

He started pilling sweets, biscuits, cakes, etc. onto the counter and asking if they added up to the difference. Eventually, we were still about 10 cents short. I told him we weren't quite there but we didn't have anything for 10 cents, so it was the best I could do. His response? "Well, I think you'll have trouble enough eating all of that! Cheerio!"

And off he went, leaving me with a giant pile of free food. Closing the store was an incredibly stressful time, but I'll always remember that friendly dude.

Tales from retailPexels

7. Mother Tongue

I work at a BBQ shop here in Australia. I've dealt with all kinds of customers in my three years of experience, and then today I had the most memorable experience yet. I had two Chinese men walk in and they looked to be in their early 20s or so. They walked around for a bit before I approached them and asked if they needed any help.

It suddenly became clear that they didn't know a word of English when one pulled out his phone and started using a translator. I soon fleshed out that they were looking at a BBQ we have in stock and some accessories, and after about 25 minutes of going back and forth with the translator, they had everything they wanted.

Normally this transaction only takes about 5-10 minutes on average, but I didn't mind as we were all being patient with each other. I rang up all the items and showed them a full breakdown of the items, which totaled around $500. I had all the products ready to go in a pile next to the register when he finished paying. Then he did something that made my jaw drop.

When it all finalized, he leaned in to shake my hand and said in perfect English: "Oh, just so you know, we speak perfect English mate." Both these men erupt into laughter while I'm sitting shaking my head and laughing, as well as thinking how the heck did I fall for it. After we all slowly regained ourselves, one of the men leaned in and said how well I took it. It totally made my week.

Tales from retailPexels

8. He’s A Charmer

I was working the drive-thru, and this man pulls up to the second window for me to give him his food. He has the cutest little baby boy in the back seat, so of course, after the greetings and handing off the food, I said hi to the baby. He had been staring intently at me and when I said hi, he immediately starts laughing and waving.

He was just the cutest thing! His dad turned around and looked at him and said, "Son, you're too young to be flirting. Stop it." Me: D'aww, honey, I'm sorry, but I have a boyfriend. If you were like 15 years older, you could fight him for me, but right now I think he'd crush you. And so we shared a laugh, he left, and I continued on with my work.

About an hour later, they return! The dad: Oh, he insisted on coming back to see you! turns around and says to his son now remember, no more flirting because she has a boyfriend. The baby just laughed and waved his chubby little arms around. It was a good day.

Tales from retailUnsplash

9. The Game’s Fixed

This happened a few years ago when I worked in a bead shop. We did jewelry repair too. Mostly simple stuff like reattaching clasps, restringing beads, or pearl knotting. Occasionally, when we weren't busy we would do repairs on the spot. Our minimum charge for any repair was $4 plus the cost of the materials. So one day, a lady comes in and she needs this necklace repaired ASAP because she wants to wear it that night at a dinner party.

I saw that the necklace just needed the clasp reattached, which is something I can do in under a minute. I told her the store policy and said I could fix it for her while she waited. She seemed cool with that, so I grabbed a jump ring and reattached the clasp for her. I rang her up and she took her necklace, leaving without a word.

The next day, we got a call from the lady asking to talk to "the manager." She told the bead shop owner she was upset about having to pay $4 for the jewelry repair because I fixed it in under a minute. Her words, "Last time I checked, only doctors made $4 a minute." It's something you didn't know how to do lady. I did it quickly because I've done it five hundred and sixty-two million times.

If you didn't want it fixed professionally, then do it yourself.

Tales from retailFlickr

10. Ring Around The Rosy

So 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 “failed” 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 the 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. The date is now 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 six times. I give her a ring and the number is disconnected. We decide that after two years, this woman may be gone or ill and no one knew to come to 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 says, “But why didn't you call me?!?!” Me: “Ma'am we did call you. We spoke with you several times as I see here in our notes, and you kept saying you would come to pick it up.”

“But after two years,” I continued, “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.

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11. You Can’t Buy Happiness

Here in England, we have 50p coins, and some of them are decorated to celebrate someone, an event, or a landmark. These can be quite collectible. Last year, a series of five coins were released to celebrate the author Beatrix Potter, and certainly, the older generations liked to keep them. By far the most sought-after coin featured a character called Peter Rabbit.

It wasn't uncommon for people to ask me to try and find one in my till for them where I worked. Fast forward to today. The coins are rarer than they used to be, but they are also sought after by fewer people. A lady comes up to my till, buys a few things with a total of £3.50, and pays with exact change, one of the coins being a 50p.

Naturally, I glance at it and remarked it was one of the Beatrix 50ps. Me: "That's one of those Potter 50ps, haven't seen one in a while." Woman: "Oh sorry, can I take that back? I've got four of them and I want to give all five to my granddaughter." So I give it back to her, and she can only give me a £1 coin. She now needs 50p change.

Woman: "Sorry about that love, I've been trying to track down these coins for months and I just got this one from across the road there!" Me: "Oh really? Which ones have you got so far then?" Woman: "I've got the duck, squirrel, the hedgehog, and the seal." At this point, I notice the line is growing, so I start fumbling around for a 50p to give her as change.

By chance, I looked down and happened to notice the Peter Rabbit 50p was half-buried in my till. The last coin she needed. I quickly fished it out, turned it face up so the lady didn't see the design, and gave her the receipt. Me: "Well good luck finding that last one madam, hopefully, it turns up soon!" Woman: "Thank you love, have a good shift."

She walks away but doesn't get far before looking at her change to put it in her purse. She turns around and looks at me as I’m now serving another customer. She walks past my till and silently mouths "Thank you!" I nodded my head and smiled. Rarely have I seen anyone leave our store looking as overjoyed as she was, definitely the highlight of my day.

Tales from retailWikimedia.Commons

12. A Picture’s Worth A Thousand Words

I work in photo finishing and I was helping a friendly lady who wanted prints off of her phone. She off-handedly mentioned that she recently lost all the photos on her phone so she was only able to get prints from the last few weeks. I found it odd that the photos would just disappear when the phone was still working.

She insisted, despite being "technology illiterate," that she didn't accidentally delete them. She also offhandedly mentioned that she thought her phone had a memory card in it. This needed further investigation. I fully expected her to not have a micro SD card, since many older folks call the Sim Card a memory card, but lo-and-behold there was one inside.

I put the card into one computer and it didn't show up at all, so I tried our Windows PC instead and it told me the disk was unformatted. Likely corrupted somehow by her cheap off-brand Android. I didn't want to get her hopes up, but since Windows was able to see it, I thought there might be a chance...So I took a deep breath, formatted it, and threw it into our recovery software.

I was able to recover 90% of the photos and video on that card. The lady had been waiting for her prints anyway, so I waved for her to come around to my computer and take a look. She looked at the photos on the screen and literally started bawling. It was all her most important pictures: Her grandson's grad, her dog that had passed a few months ago, family trips.

Years’ worth of pictures that weren't backed up anywhere. In the end, she bought a new Micro SD and I gave her a DVD of the pictures at no charge. After paying, she ran behind the counter and gave me a big hug. I later found out that she hand-wrote my boss a letter and said it was the best customer service she'd ever had. Today has been a good day.

Tales from retailPexels

13. Pay It Forward

Let's set the scene real quick. I'm a supervisor at one of the main grocery stores in Australia. I'm currently filling in a shift at another nearby store. At the time, I was manning the self-serve checkouts and I notice three kids come in by themselves (no parent) with one pushing a scooter. Now, these kids were about 10-15 years old probably.

They looked like your typical trouble-making kids you see running around everywhere, although they did comply with instructions when I told them they couldn't ride their scooter in the store. One of them grabbed a chocolate bar and purchased that and started to eat it while the others grabbed a 24-pack of soft drink cans.

The two with the soft drink cans proceeded to come through self-serve and start to put money into the machine, but then they noticed they were short. While they are discussing urgently why they were short and if the chocolate bar guy spent their money, one realized he had lost a $5 note. I was feeling in a good mood and spontaneously decided to cover the $3 for them.

They were polite and said thanks…but the reason I'm writing this is for what happened next. One of the kids found their $5 they dropped on the floor outside the store, came back, and offered it to me. I refused and said they could keep it. They then asked that I take it and if any other customers were a few dollars short, I use it to cover the extra, as their way of paying it forward.

I accepted, put the money in our loose change tin, and sort of wished their parents were around so I could tell them they had raised some awesome kids.

Tales from retailPexels

14. Girl Boss

A long time ago, in a galaxy far away, I was a young soldier. I loved the Army, and I wanted to make it my career. I did it for a long time. Then I got injured. I couldn't do the job I was trained on anymore. So I got out and looked for other jobs. I do medical screening now, and I'm older than everyone but two people in the entire building.

My immediate supervisor is 24. She's fairly young. One day, a person didn't like her vitals and insisted that my boss did them wrong. There was absolutely no way her blood pressure was that high, you don't know what you're doing, that kind of stuff. I came back from a break and this woman points at me and goes, "I want your boss doing it. Him! You! Show her how to do this."

I said, "Lady, she's my boss." She goes, "I don't have time for this. Read my vitals and deal with her after." My boss kind of smiled and I took her seat. I ran vitals again and got the same result. I said, "Well, I got the same result.” Then I dropped the mic. I said, “Unfortunately, I need a supervisor to sign off on a correction. Let me get my boss."

I stood up, turned to her, and said, "Hey, when you get a chance, can you confirm these corrections?" She said, "Yeah, I'm going to take a 10-minute break, but as soon as I get back, I'll knock that out." I turned to the woman. "Sorry, Ma'am. I can't overrule my boss.”

Tales from retailPexels

15. That’s Nutrageous

I work as a manager at a small chain of grocery stores. I am putting away my main order of the week when a woman comes in asking for a Nutrageous bar. I told her with a smile we had some right in front of the store—as I pointed right to a blank spot on the shelf. Turns out, we had sold out over the weekend, and I had just broken this poor woman's heart and shattered her dreams with false hope.

She had been searching relentlessly for weeks and couldn't find one anywhere. I apologized for the bad fortune and said I would order more straight away. The woman sighed, bowed her head, and walked out of the store like a dejected puppy. I turned back to the order, opened the tub, and right on top was a brand new box of Nutrageous bars. I tear open the box and vault over the counter like an officer sliding over a car hood, sprinting out the door like I had just clocked out.

I caught up to her just as she starts to pull away from my store, most likely on her way to jump off a bridge, hoping to find a Nutrageous bar waiting for her in the next life. She turned and saw me lumbering towards her, holding the candy bar like a newborn child I had just delivered into this world. I had never seen someone so happy over a candy.

She runs to me like she was a veteran returning home from duty and running towards their children for that first swirling embrace. I tell her to have it on the house and have a good day. Then just now, I get a call from my district manager demanding to know if I was the one who gave away a candy bar to a customer for free. “Shoot,” I think to myself, “I do something nice for someone and this witch calls my boss to tell on me.”

So I tell my boss, “Yeah, it was me.” He tells me that she called and was so happy with our company she would be choosing us for the local volunteer firefighter appreciation gifts this year. $2,000 in gift cards, $25 each for the volunteers. My boss says he is giving me a 10% commission for the gift cards. Minus the price of a Nutrageous bar.

Tales from retailUnsplash

16. Wii Woes

I worked in a store selling DVDs, CDs, games, vinyl, and a bunch of other entertainment-related stuff. This story took place the day after the launch of the Nintendo Wii. Our store had guaranteed that if you had pre-ordered a Wii by a certain date then you would get one. If you had not pre-ordered, then it was first come, first served for the remaining stock.

No one was able to place an order or reserve one after the release day as we could not guarantee when we would get stock back in. The day after the release, we had just opened and I was standing by the entrance of the door to greet customers when this big angry-looking guy comes charging through the door straight up to me ...

Customer: Do you have any Nintendo Wiis in stock? Me: Hi, I'm sorry we sold out of the stock we had yesterday. On hearing this, the customer stamped his foot and slammed his shopping bags against his side. I knew at that point drama was about to unfold. Customer: Right, well I want to pre-order one. Me: I'm sorry, we can no longer take pre-orders as it's now after release day and we cannot guarantee when we will receive stock back in since the product is in such high demand.

Customer: That's a lie! Me: What? Customer: You are lying to me. I was in here two weeks ago and was told if I pre-ordered I was guaranteed one on the day of release! At this point, I'm thinking maybe I've misunderstood and he has in fact pre-ordered, so I make an attempt at clarifying. Me: Oh, are you here to collect a pre-order? Do you have your order slip and receipt?

Customer: No I don't have a slip, you should have one for me because I enquired about wanting one weeks ago! Either give me one now or order one for me! My son wants one! Me: That's not how it works, unfortunately, we only pre-order with a deposit. If you have not paid a deposit then we do not have a pre-order for you. I cannot order you one either, as our system will not let us.

Customer: This is ridiculous! Get me a manager right now, as you are obviously incapable of sorting this mess out. I'm not leaving here without the Wii! As angry as this guy already was, he was about to get even angrier. I now had to inform him that I was in fact the manager on duty and the only one around. The guy flipped out.

He was pointing his finger in my face, calling me a liar, telling me there is no way some little girl was a manager. Just as I was starting to worry this guy was about to physically assault me, something wonderful happened. I felt something brush over the top of my shoulder from behind, and suddenly the customer’s face dropped and he was being dragged towards the door.

Unbeknownst to me, our security guard had just come on shift and was just entering the shop floor when he heard the customer screaming at me. He walked straight up from behind me, grabbed the guy by his neck, and dragged him outside backward, telling him "You're done." Once outside, the guy stood between me and the security guard.

He was almost foaming at the mouth with rage for a good minute before turning and storming out of sight.

Tales from retailPexels

17. A Teeny Tantrum

A few years ago, I was working at a used videogame store. I was behind the counter, doing morning inventory, when a teenager came in. Teen: Hey, I pre-ordered a copy of this game here last week. Is it in yet? Me: Let me check for you. Do you have an ID? I check his ID, and he is only 16. The game he pre-ordered was rated M, so I couldn't sell it to him.

Me: Sorry buddy, looks like this game is rated M. I can't sell it to you because you are under the age of 18. Is one of your parents in the car? Teen: NO! I PAID FOR THE GAME! I WANT IT! Me: Believe me, I want nothing more than to give it to you. You are right, you have paid for it. Company policy, however, restricts me from selling it to you.

Teen: DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? DO YOU KNOW WHO MY FATHER IS? Me: Buddy, I'm on your side. I want to sell the game to you, but my hands are tied. Just come in with your parents or a big brother or even an older friend. I can give it to you then. Teen: Enjoy the unemployment line. He exits. And I think nothing more about it. This happens once a week.

The next day, my boss calls me and asks to meet me at the coffee shop next door before my shift. He commonly does this to go over monthly numbers. Manager: Thanks for meeting me. Me: Sure thing. Manager: Yesterday, did you have a kid come in asking to purchase a game that he pre-ordered? Me: Sure did, he was underage so I didn't sell it to him.

Then I go over the conversation with my boss. Manager: I know you followed policy, but that kid's father is a well-respected businessman in the area. The boy's father called my boss's boss, who in turn called me. I'm sorry, I have to let you go. Me: ARE YOU SERIOUS? For following company policy? Manager: Yeah, it sucks, but the father is influential in town and he suggested we let you go, and here I am.

But you get two weeks’ severance. Don't worry about your shift today, I'm covering for you. I need your keys and your badge. Just like that I was unemployed. All because I followed corporate policy.

Tales from retailShutterstock

 

18. Putting A Karen In Her Place

This happened to me about a month or so ago and I am still relishing in the glory. I work at a large US auto parts store Now, this money bags guy is a regular customer, and when he comes in, we jump for joy as his purchases are in the thousands of dollars. I am helping this guy look up parts and getting them for him when this lady walks in and rushes to the seat cover aisle.

She grabs the ugliest bejeweled faux leather seat cover and rushes up to the front. Her: The prices on these covers outrageous! $60 for these?! (I do agree that the price is high and would have helped her). Me: Ma'am, I will be with you in just a second after I finish helping this man. Or my manager will be here in a moment and he will help you. I am sure—

Her: NO! You will help me now! I have money! And you will stop being a lazy jerk and help me right now! So my manager walks up. Manage: can I help you, ma'am? Her: Yes, tell your lazy employee to do his job! At this point, I stop listening to her and continue helping the money bags man, who actually points to the seat cover in her hand.

Man: Do y'all have any more of those? Me: Let me check. Yes, three more besides that one. Man: Can you please get them for me? So I get them, and as I’m in the process of that, the money bags man looks at the rude customer lady. Man: You gonna buy that?

Her: I haven't decided yet! But he grabs it and tells me he wants to buy all four with cash. I make the sale—and that’s exactly when he gets sweet, sweet revenge. He proceeds to take them out of the boxes and cut them into ribbons in front of the lady, then throws them away with a huge smile. He then returned to me to finish his shopping list that ended up being a whopping $4k+ sale.

The lady’s jaw dropped, but she couldn’t do a thing.

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19. There’s A Word For That

I used to work at a Brazilian supermarket in Florida. The customers were pretty much all Brazilians, leading to almost everybody speaking Portuguese. My parents are from there, but I was born in North America. Although I do know how to speak Portuguese, sometimes my American accent bleeds through, and sometimes I don't know a word or two.

People usually understand. But not this one lady. Boy, did she have something to say. I was behind the customer service desk so I couldn't leave, but the lady asked me where something was. It was around the corner, near a certain shelf. I couldn't remember what the word for "shelf" was, so I think I said, "fixture that holds things" or something like that.

"'Fixture that holds things'? What the heck is that? Do you even speak Portuguese?" “Yes, ma'am, I'm sorry I forgot the word for that (I point to the shelf), but what you're looking for is right around it.” Keep in mind, the shelf was in sight of both of us, but she didn't want to look. “You don't speak Portuguese. Get me someone else to help.”

I'm a little confused (I mean, it's just one word I didn't know) but my manager happens to appear and I figure she's not busy. Keep in mind, this is all in perfect Portuguese: “Maria, would you be able to help this woman? Apparently, I don't speak Portuguese so I'm not able to communicate with her. She doesn't understand anything I'm saying, because, even though it sounds like Portuguese, she said it's not, so, honestly, I'm not really sure what language I'm currently speaking.”

It turned out that Maria was well aware of this customer and she complained about everything, so she wasn't surprised that she was acting like an idiot. She almost stopped as she had to stifle some laughter during my monologue. The lady just kind of looked like someone had slapped her with an idiot stick. Serves her right.

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20. Phoning It In

I work in a phone shop. One day a couple of months ago, I'm stood outside the shop at 8:50 waiting for my manager to come down and let me in. There is a middle-aged woman standing outside as well, glaring at me, tapping her foot and huffing impatiently. Uh-oh. Bad sign. At 9 am, we open the doors and she comes stomping in, straight up to me.

I open my mouth, but she doesn't give me a chance to speak. She bought her phone three months ago, and it doesn't work anymore, apparently. She wants a refund. Now before this conversation goes any further, I feel I have to point out to her straight away that a refund is not going to be possible after this length of time.

After 30 days we can send it off for repair, but that's it. "Don't argue with me!" she screeches. Okay. I ask her if I can have a look at her phone. She rolls her eyes and hands it over. After a few seconds, it becomes clear that her internal memory has been filled up with photos of her grandson etc., and so there isn't any space to install a software update.

So there isn't actually anything wrong with her phone at all. With my best retail smile, I begin to explain this to her, and mention that she can always buy an SD card and move her photos onto that, and hey presto, problem solved. Nope, she wants a refund. We're back onto that. I tell her I'm going to go and speak to my manager.

I go upstairs and we laugh at her, the usual. But he still comes back down with me to back me up because she's getting pretty horrible and we then spend another 10 minutes or so trying to convince her that literally all we can do is send her perfectly working phone off for repair. She's now telling us she's going to go to Trading Standards, quoting the Consumer Rights Act at us.

Basically, she's the biggest cliché going. Unreal. Eventually, she admits defeat. But she still wants it "repaired." So I sit her down and start to take some details. "Why do you want my details?" I am literally on the edge here. Eventually, she tells me her first name. I start to type it in (she can see the screen) as Gill, and then she says "Mo you stupid girl, it's spelled J... I... L... L" (speaking slowly).

I raise my eyes to her and give her a big sickly sweet smile and apologize profusely. I then ask her for her surname. "Let's see if you can spell THIS right, shall we?" At which point, I sit back and I say, "I'm sorry, but I'm not going to serve you." She goes bright red and starts sputtering. Kicking off, calling me thick, rude, etc., etc. My manager comes over and tells her calmly to leave.

"I'm taking this all the way to the top!" "Feel free, but please leave."

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21. You Done Right

A mother just came into my (very small) retail store with her three middle school kids. Normally this spells disaster. However, these kids each had a couple of $20s and thoughtfully looked through the items in the store before selecting something, bringing it up to the register, buying it with the money from their pockets, and being extremely polite.

As they left the register, the mom told the kids, "Make sure you save your receipts so we can budget tonight." One of the kids replied, "I always keep my receipts" in the most polite way possible. Good on that mom for teaching her kids the value of money and financial planning. Just wanted to share because unlike most of the dross that comes through, they made my day genuinely better!

Tales from retailPexels

22. I’d Prefer Not To

This lady was talking to a friend of hers while making eye contact with me the whole time while I was on the till. Her friend asked her what she was doing. "I'm discarding what I don't want." She was leaving miscellaneous food items on the jewelry counter, and then promptly got in my line. I asked her, "Can you bring me those items you just discarded on the jewelry?"

See, I don't like my store looking like a disaster—imagine that. Her reply made my blood boil. She snakily replies, “No, not right now. I have places to be.” She places her items on my counter as I just stand there looking at her. She asks if I'm going to ring her up. I reply, "No, not right now." I step out from behind the till, walk slowly over to the jewelry counter, and pick up the items in question.

I take my time putting them in the returns cart. Nothing else is said for the remainder of the transaction.

Tales from retailPexels

23. A Little TLC

I work in a technology retailer as a technology sales associate, and I have a plethora of stories about people being tech-illiterate. This is not one of them. Today, a man who earlier today bought ink for his inkjet printer, was looking for a laser printer alternative. I went up to him and asked what he was looking for, in the hopes of finding the best possible printer for him.

After roughly 10-15 minutes of friendly back-and-forth, we pick out a few that would work perfectly for him. I assumed this new printer wasn’t a top priority considering he'd bought ink earlier. Since none of our printers were on sale, I told him I'd write down some dates the printers will most likely be going on sale on.

He looked pretty happy about that and thanked me. I proceeded to write down all the printers we decided would work for him, every possible sale day in the next month, prices of toner, and what each of the important notes was for each printer. I go to hand him my note, and he's wiping tears off his face. Me: Are you alright, Sir?

Him: Yeah, wipes his face, I just haven't felt cared for very much recently...I went in for surgery earlier this month, and nobody so much as gave me a phone call. Thank you for spending this time with me today, I appreciate it. I took my break right after that because I was about to start tearing up too and I didn’t want to make him feel embarrassed.

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24. I Scream, You Scream

So, I used to work at an ice cream chain where we prepared the ice cream with various toppings on a frozen piece of rock. On this particular day, I was working with one other person and it wasn't too busy. Two young guys came in, about high school age. They ordered a large bowl of ice cream with a few toppings; I mixed it for them and went to ring them up.

Me: Okay, so that'll be this many dollars. Guy: Okay, I have a gift card. Me: Great! scans card so it looks like you owe another $0.36 after the gift card. At this point, they both look at each other and shrug sadly. Guy: Oh...I'm sorry, I don't have any money with me, never mind.... Me: Oh hey, it's cool, only $0.36 I take the $0.36 out of the tip jar and put it in the till no big deal!

Guy: Wow, thanks! The two guys leave, and I thought that was that. It just felt good doing something nice. But that wasn’t the end of the story. The one guy comes back several hours later. I saw him come in and went to the register to meet him. Me: Oh hey! You're back. Did you need anything el...Before I finished, and without looking at me once or saying a word, he dropped a $20 bill in the jar and immediately turned and left.

I was so shocked I just stared after him until he walked out the door. So that was pretty cool.

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25. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

This customer came in and attempted multiple times to purchase gas this morning. All three of his cards were declined, but I was in a good mood and won $200 on last night's mega millions, so I figured I'd spot him $20 for gas. He then goes to the pump, pumps $5 in, and comes back inside…to demand change. Customer: Change from pump 3, please.

Me: What? C: Change from pump 3, I only pumped $5. Me: I offered you $20 in gas. I wasn't planning on giving you change. C: Let me speak to a manager. Me: My manager is here Monday to Friday from 5 am to 8 pm. C: Give me his number. Me: Sorry, but the company doesn't provide work phones so I can't give out his personal number.

C: Where's your Corporate number? (now yelling) Me: Outside on the door. Fast forward two hours, the authorities show up. The officer tells me someone said there was a cashier here who was refusing to return people's change. I explain to the officer that I used my own money to help someone out but wasn't about to give them my change from the pump for the gas I paid for.

The officer asked to see the tapes so I call up the manager. He’s irritated about coming in on his day off. About 20-30 minutes pass and the manager arrives and shows the officer the tapes. They come out of the back office, the officer apologized to the manager, and then left. The manager then tells me that if the guy came back to the store to refuse sale and tell him he's banned from the store.

Guess it doesn't pay to be nice.

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26. Closing Time

I work in a camera store, and if you're in the store before closing we'll take care of you until you buy something or wander out. Lately, I've been counting minutes to close, and then right on the hour the doors get shuttered, the open sign is turned off, and the phones are set to night ringer. Today, we closed at 5 pm.

I made a beeline for the front doors and was halfway across the floor when the doors open. A man and his wife start to enter. The man sees me, leans back outside to read our hours, turns to his wife, and says the words I never thought I'd hear a customer say. "Oh, they just closed. Let's come back tomorrow." Thank you sir, you are my hero. Also, we're closed tomorrow, but it is the thought that counts.

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27. If The Shoe Fits

I work in a shoe store as an assistant manager. I carry a store phone on me so I can answer it wherever I am in the store. Today, the phone would not stop ringing. People wanted to know what time we closed, where we were located, and a ton of shoe checks. So the phone rings and I answer it and it sounds like a little kid.

Kid: Umm hello, do you carry all-black high-top Vans for kids? Me: Let me check for you really quick. I'm sorry, we only have the low-top Vans in all black for kids. Kid: Okay, well I like those too. Me: What size shoe do you wear? Kid: One and a half. Me: Okay, so I don't have a one and a half but I do have a size two.

Kid: Okay, that sounds good. Me: Would you like me to hold it for you? Kid: Yes, please. Me: Okay, what is your name? The phone got really quiet like he was hesitating, then I heard someone in the background, it was his mom. Mom: Give her your name! Kid: Tyler. Me: Okay, Tyler, I'm going to hold this shoe for you. So when you and your mom come in, just come up to the counter and tell us you have a shoe on hold under your name.

Kid: Okay thank you. Have a nice day. Me: absolutely. You have a nice day too. It was the most wholesome phone call I have ever experienced in my four years of retail. I love that his mom had him call and ask about his shoes. Today was a good day.

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28. Basket Case

I work in a grocery store, and the bane of my existence is people putting their grocery baskets away incorrectly. We have a pile for them to be stacked onto, but people don't care, it's usually left alone while their baskets are placed to the side, or inconveniently in a way that hinders anyone else's basket. Last Friday, a mother comes in and does just that.

She places her basket into the pile halfway, with one half in and another half out, making the pile look awful. Her 7-year-old daughter sees her do this and stares at the basket. She turns to her mother and loudly says, "What is that? You think that's acceptable?" Her mother sheepishly fixed the basket, and that girl became my hero.

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29. You Catch More Flies With Honey…

When I was 16, I worked for my uncle. He was a tailor, but also had a clothes store next door to his main shop. He let me run the clothes store, which basically involved keeping it clean, serving customers, and displaying stock. He ran the business side of it, and I was paid to essentially sit there all day. It was a pretty quiet store in a quiet area, so it was a pretty cruisy job, great for school holidays.

Whenever we got new stock in, I would have to put the price tags on myself. Most of the clothes we sold were men's office workwear—suits, shirts, trousers, and the like. The average price for a suit was around $150-$200. One day, I had a belligerent customer come in. He saw that I was quite young, so he took to pushing me around.

He would swear and act very impatient, and would call me slow and stupid. I'd dealt with rude customers before, but this guy was far too much. To the best of my knowledge, I hadn't done anything wrong. He may have been having a bad day, but to me, that doesn't excuse the insults. He had come in quite early; usually, we opened at 9, but didn't get any customers until much later.

It was rare to get any customers before 11. That morning I had gotten a load of new stock in and hadn't finished putting on the price tags as it was a huge amount of new stock in. So, because of his rudeness, I decided to get the perfect revenge. I decided that I would charge him much, much more. Either he would decide it was too expensive, or we would make a lot more money.

He selected three suits, and I told him they were $500 for the first two, with the third being $700. They were actually around $200. We haggled a bit and I sold them for around $350 for the first two and $600 for the third. He was quite happy with what he saw as a major victory. I was quite happy I made an extra $700.

I told my uncle what happened, and he let me keep a percentage of the money as a bonus. My uncle knew that particular customer and had had issues with him before. Perhaps it wasn't the morally correct thing to do, but it serves to show you shouldn't be rude.

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30. Pack Your Bags

I work in a travel goods store. There were a few customers browsing around the store, but no one needed any help at the moment so I was just standing by the front desk. A customer came in; an elderly man with a deep Haitian accent and okay English. He came up to me and said that he wasn't looking to buy today, but he was planning on visiting family in Haiti that he hasn't seen in over 20 years.

He said that he has been saving up money for a while and finally started planning his trip, albeit still a few months away. He just wanted something inexpensive for the one trip. So I pointed him in the right direction and he told me he was going to look around. As I walked away, another customer waved me down. He was a younger guy in what looked like a pretty expensive suit.

He started asking me some questions about some high-end brands. After about 15 minutes of talking to this other man, the Haitian man walks over and said something along the lines of, "I'm sorry to interrupt but thank you for the help, I'm not ready to buy it yet but I'll come back in a few months when I have all of my trip money together."

The man in the suit then asked him what suitcase he was looking at, and the Haitian man pointed to the cheapest one we had in the front of the store for $20. Suitman said, "You don't want those, they don't last very long the way the airlines throw stuff around. How about one of these,” and he walks over to a mid-range $70 suitcase.

The Haitian man laughed a little and said, "I can't afford those!" The younger guy blew my mind. He said, "Don't worry about that, I will pay for it." The Haitian man kind of laughed it off, thinking it was a joke or something or maybe he misunderstood. Even I was a bit skeptical. But Suitman insisted he was serious, handed me his credit card, and said to let him pick out a color.

The Haitian man reluctantly picked out a suitcase and walked over to the desk with me. He practically burst into tears when the credit card went through. After some handshaking and many thank yous, the Haitian man left. Suitman proceeded to buy $600 worth of luggage for himself and his family. Not only was it one of my biggest sales ever, but it was also the biggest random act of kindness I had ever seen in my life.

After working in retail for so long, this is something I will never forget.

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31. The Odyssey

Our store was opening up a new department, and some of the day staff had been called in to help the night staff fill the shelves for tomorrow’s big opening. There was quite a lot of night staff raucously running around throughout the store, and a small handful of day staff cloistered in the new department, shuffling around slack-jawed.

I was at the new department’s computer going over the new stock when I see someone approaching from the foreground. I look up expecting to see a staff member, but instead, I see a very heavily pregnant woman slowly waddling up to the counter. This woman is in utter shambles, her hair is disheveled, her drooping eyes are sunken and engulfed in deep dark circles, she’s wearing pink pajamas complete with fluffy pink slippers, contrasted heavily by what is surely a contender for the best leather jacket I've ever seen.

That thing had chains coming off of its chains. It took her the better part of a minute to walk down the aisle and up to the counter, during which time my mind was racing. How did she get into the store, and how did she get this far into it without being stopped by anyone? This was not someone who would casually escape notice.

Anyway, she gets up to the counter and we converse. The whole time, she’s not speaking much louder than a soft whisper. Me: (Baffled and bewildered) Hey... Her: (After catching her breath, looks up and smiles weakly) Hey... Me: How did you get into the store? We're actually closed right now. Her: The front door was open.

We actually examined security footage the day after to see how she got in, and sure enough, the heavy automatic doors were open by about half an inch, and, despite her condition, after several laborious minutes, she had somehow found the strength needed to muscle the doors open wide enough to squeeze through. Me: I see...Well...We're still closed, so...

Her: I was told that you can still operate the cashier. (She meant register, but she said cashier.) Me: (Even more baffled and bewildered) Who told you this? Her: (Looking over towards the direction of the entrance) They said that the cashiers were locked, but that you had a card that could open it. Instinctively, I reached down to my belt for the admin control card and rested my hand on it for a moment.

Me: Yes...My card can override the system...However, all the money has already been counted from the cashier registers... Her: Oh...I see...Hm...What...What if I paid by card, that would work, right? Me: That would work, but we're...(deep inhale and exhale) closed, but I suppose, you've already come this far...Okay then, sure, let’s do this.

Her: Ah... Thank you. This is greatly appreciated. (She turns around and starts waddling off) Me: Wait. This register isn't operational yet. Once you have your items, take them to the register at the front, the one closest to the exit, I'll be there. She smiles and then nods. So she waddles off, a great deal faster than she had arrived, as if possessed of newfound purpose.

Meanwhile, I shook off some of the night’s zombification, and I slowly shuffled my way to the front of the store. After about 10 minutes, I saw her waddling into view and towards the counter. She was carrying her single item in both hands, and with great care, she reverently placed it atop the counter. When I finally got a good look at the item and my mind registered what it was, my heart almost broke in two.

It was Infant Cough Syrup. Suddenly, there was a moment of pure clarity where everything just made sense, and sure enough, after she paid for her item, thanked me once again, and left, I spoke to my co-workers who all confirmed the conclusion I'd already reached. She ran into several staff members, all of whom confronted her, but none of whom could bring themselves to turn her away once her purpose was revealed.

The night staff were the first to intercept her, all of whom apologized profusely that they couldn't help, but directed her towards their team leader who might. The team leader then directed her towards the new department where there were day staff. I asked what they would've done if it were any other night, and they said that they would've just given her the item.

Once she reached the new department, the day staff confronted her and directed them towards me, and a few even mentioned my admin card, and that she would most assuredly get served. She had tried several gas stations before she'd arrived at our retail park, desperation had brought her, and one way or another she was going to leave the retail park with what she came for.

There were a lot of people calling me a "hero" when I told this story, but later, I learned the heartbreaking truth of the whole story. I feel obliged to tell you about two people who I feel are more deserving of the title than myself. The first worthy hero was the elderly downstairs neighbor who, despite the late hour, had agreed to watch over the woman’s sleeping toddler and sick infant while she went out to get the medicine.

Even though the neighbor has now passed, I feel that that they are at least deserving of a great deal of posthumous respect. The second worthy hero is the taxi driver who had been driving her around that night. After the second visited gas station proved fruitless, they turned off the meter at its current price, and then later at the end of the night when they took her home with the medicine, they voided the entire fare and wished her infant child their absolute and sincerest best.

The first took time out of their night despite the great age and frail health, and the other took a major personal financial hit to hasten her way. These two are the ones I feel a more deserving of praise than I.

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32. Oh, Just Put That Anywhere

I was bagging groceries last night when a lady came through with a baby in a car seat in the basket of her cart. She had a LOT of groceries that I'm assuming she'd had under and around the car seat, so when I bagged them I was putting them back under and around the car seat. I wasn't sure where else to put them if not there, right?

It's not like I could put them on top of the baby, right? Well. As I'm placing stuff carefully under Baby, Baby's mom says "oh Hon, you can just put some of this stuff on top of him" and pats the canopy. The phrase, "But ma'am that's a baby" almost escapes me but I choke it down, nod, and continue putting stuff under the baby, under the cart, in the seat of the cart, etc.

At this point, the cashier (my favorite cashier) is trying and failing not to laugh at both the absurdity of me being told to put groceries on a baby and my increasingly desperate attempts at finding places for the bags. I got all but a bag of chips squared away, and there was just no more room, so as they walked away I set the bag of chips on top of the car seat.

I then turned back to the cashier and whispered in horror, "I put the chips on the baby." Which I believe is the most absurd thing I've said on the job so far.

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33. A Heavy Load

I'm a cart pusher and I don't deal with tons of customers. I did have a woman flip out and call me an idiot one, but honestly I feel this was worse. I saw these two girls, probably 17-19 years old, putting their cart up on the curb instead of a corral. I went over and said I would take it. What does one of them do? She shoves the cart so it rolls full speed, and I have to run after it while they stand there, watching me and laughing at me.

One of them said, "Haha you really did that!!" to the one who shoved the cart. I was embarrassed and felt hurt by this. It ruined my night that they decided to just make a joke out of me and my job. I am trying to feel better about it, thinking they are super immature, but this still was hurtful.

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34. Petty Is As Petty Does

I worked as a bagger at a small family-owned grocery store while I was in high school. One day, a man came through the checkout with a full cart of groceries. Me: "Paper or plastic?" Customer: “I’d like double-bagged paper and I’d like you to make each bag as heavy as you can.” Me, after a significant pause and wondering if I should ask: "Sure thing!"

A bit of a strange request, sure, but anything that broke up the monotony of the day was welcomed. I managed to load his entire cart into three fairly heavy bags and bring them out to his car. Customer: "In case you're wondering—I just had a fight with the wife and it's my turn to pick up the groceries." Me: "Uh-huh." Customer: "It's also her turn to unload the car."

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35. Put A Ring On It

I work in a fine jewelry store, and this was my interaction with customers who just left. Him: “Well, we want to go get married now so we need a size 5 ring.” Me: “Unfortunately, all our rings will be stock size 7.” Him: “Well...what about that one on your hand.” Me: holds up men’s ring they had just looked at, “ this is a men’s so it’s a 10.”

Him: Points at my engagement ring “No, that.” Me: “My engagement ring? It’s a size 5.” Him: “Well, we will just take that.” Me: “It’s not for sale. It’s my engagement ring.” The woman then gets annoyed and they speak Spanish for a bit together. Him, finally: “Well this is insane, and we’ll just go somewhere else in that case.” I honestly can’t...

 

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36. A Mother’s Love

I work part-time in a mid-sized retail store that is pretty close to a local school, so we get a lot of school kids in around 12 buying snacks and candy and whatnot during recess. A lot of the same kids, so over time I've come to recognize a lot of them. One of the groups was quite loudly talking about dabbing, and about how fun it would be to see an employee dab while working.

I could have taken the easy route and just dabbed right there and made his day, but I didn't, and it would turn out to pay off. A few days later, the same group of kids come in, but this time with the dab-kid's mom as well. They're still talking about dabbing, and getting an employee to dab, probably hoping I overhear it. This time, I was about to do it.

But then their mom walks towards me, with the kind of mischievous grin only a mother can muster. The kid, the mom, and myself share a moment—we all know what’s about to go down. The mother and I with mischievous grins, and the kid with a mortified look on his face. "Wanna dab with me?" She plainly asks. I dab. She dabs. The kid’s friends are looking on in awe.

Dab-kid is mortified, then hangs his head in shame, as his friends start to laugh. A plan that started out as a way to get a little bit of street cred suddenly backfired, as his friends watched his mom commit the ultimate act of embarrassment. Made my day, though.

Tales from retailPexels

37. Your Lucky Day

I was the customer in line at the checkout, and the cashier was ringing me out when a family (a mom, dad, and a ~7-year-old boy) pulled up behind me. The dad immediately wandered away while the mom started loading her groceries on the conveyer belt. After she loaded a few things, she turned to the boy and said, "You were really good today, would you like to pick out a chocolate?"

The boy got super happy, grabbed a kinder egg, and put it on the conveyer belt. Mom then tells him, "Don't tell your dad." Dad comes back and mom says she forgot something, so dad continues loading the belt while mom walks away. Dad then turns to his son and says, "You were really good today, would you like to pick out a chocolate?"

I have never in my life seen a kid look so happy. He picks another kinder egg and puts it on the belt. Sure enough, dad then says, "Don't tell your mom" I didn't say anything to ruin this kid’s wonderful two-chocolate day, but I had a good chuckle walking out of there.

Tales from retailUnsplash

38. Just The Ticket

So this happened a long time ago in my old job at a jewelry store. I was working on the shop floor and an elderly gentleman and his daughter came in and started looking at the bracelets and bangles. To give some perspective, this isn’t a prestige jeweler; unless something had a diamond in it, the most you could look to spend was about $400.

After giving them a few minutes to look, I went over and asked if they need any help. The gentleman said he was looking for a bangle for his wife for their anniversary but he wasn’t sure what to go for. I brought them over to the table and chairs and let him have a sit while I took 10 or so bangles and bracelets out of the display for him to have a look at. I brought them over and explained the difference between the metals, the clasps, etc.

I let him hold them, try them on his daughter to see how they looked on the wrist, that sort of thing. I probably spent about 40 minutes with them helping them choose something. He landed on something he liked and left happy with a new bangle for his wife. Such a nice man and it was a pleasure to see him off with something he liked.

Skip to the following Saturday, and I was on the shop floor again. A lady comes in looking around for something so I head over and ask if she needs anything. She clocks my name badge and says, “Ah, are you the person that helped my husband pick out this bangle?” It was the wife of the gentleman I helped, and she had come into town to find me especially to say thank you for “spending so much time with him to pick out such a lovely present” and how much she loved it.

Apparently, it had meant so much to the old-timer that he told her all about the experience in store. He had no idea really what he was looking for and I was just pleased to help guide him through the minefield that can be women’s jewelry! I’d never had such warm fuzzies working in that shop and still, I think about it a lot.

Tales from retailUnsplash

39. If It Ain’t Broke

I have removed myself from the retail game about six months ago, but I still think fondly of this one...I was the manager of the returns and exchanges area of a smaller computer and electronics chain, and I was called over to the returns area by one of our associates. I approached and saw a young college-age girl with a MacBook that had an obviously cracked screen.

Looking at the receipt, it was less than a day old. I asked her what happened, and she admitted to dropping it as soon as she took it out of the box, and that she didn't get any warranties to cover the damage because she was a broke college kid. She asked me if there was anything I could do for her at this point with it.

I told her that I was going to walk away and come back in a minute, and when I did she should tell me it was broken as soon as she took it out of the box. I came back, she told me that, and we swapped it out for a new one for no charge. The best part was this young lady came back in about two days later with a tray full of the most delicious brownies and kept saying how much she appreciated everything we did for her.

Tales from retailShutterstock

40. The Waiting Game

I work for a car rental place. I am the only employee at a location in a very small town, and I often have to leave the store to go pick up customers, pick up/drop off oil changes, etc. etc. When I do, I leave between reservations, lock-up, and put up a sign on the door with a number where customers can reach me immediately if they need to.

I usually never get any calls. However, yesterday a woman called while I was out dropping off a customer to a body shop. She seemed perfectly reasonable…at first. Me: Thanks for calling. How can I help you? Her: Hi. (Apparently having read my notice) Will you be back soon? I don't have much time. For the record, she had no reservation and had not previously contacted the store.

Me: Yes ma'am. Just dropping off a customer. It should be about 5 to 10 minutes. Her: I'll be waiting . . . then she hangs up. Literally two minutes later, she calls back. Her: Sir, I just can't let you do this. Me: Do what? Her: You abandoned the store and I am going to call the authorities if you don't show up soon. Me: *laughing from confusion*

Me: That won't be necessary ma'am. I'll be back very soon and officers aren’t…She hangs up again. I show up four minutes later and swear to god, THE OFFICERS WERE WAITING WITH HER, visibly unsure about why they were there. If you’re counting, she waited a total of six minutes MAX after I knew she existed, which is shorter than I've waited for fresh nuggets in a drive-thru.

She had no reservation, and with not having previously contacted a business that operates based on reservations, she literally called the authorities. Officer: What's the problem here? Me: I have no idea. You'll have to ask her. The officers, having already talked to her, look at us and back at each other, then back at me. They say: We hope you have a better day.

She doesn't even try to come in. Maybe she realized she had just gone through a manic episode and decided to give herself some time.

Tales from retailUnsplash

41. A First Time For Everything

This is the most exciting story I've got. This was back before the proliferation of smartphones, etc. It's about the time I worked at a gas station/convenience store for one whole day and ended up as a Manager and a District Manager's worst nightmare. I'd taken the job not two days before and was told to show up at 7 am on a Monday for training.

No big deal, right? The manager certainly seemed stable enough at the time, but I suppose that's what they say about all the crazies. So. I show up at 7 am, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to get to work. I'm immediately introduced to the young lady who's been tasked with training me by the manager. The manager spends the first 20 minutes of my shift not training me, but ranting and rambling about how she just worked a double graveyard and how she's bushed, and how this place just sucks her dry...you get the idea.

Then she reiterates that the girl’s going to be with me all day, training me step by step, and is then gone in a puff of smoke. Gone home to get some much-deserved sleep. She leaves her home number on a scrap of paper behind the counter "In Case Of Emergencies Only." Sensible enough. So we get down to business. The girl is shocked that I'm already somewhat register- and computer-literate, and so takes the opportunity to abandon me in the backroom doing a few hours of computer training that I gather is supposed to encompass the entirety of my day.

When I finish my computer training, I step out into the main store area to be relieved of duty. The girl instead informs me that we're now going to do some hands-on training. ...Weird... but fine...I guess...I mean, I'm not going to scoff at a few extra hours on my paycheck, so whatever. Let's do some hands-on work then.

The hands-on work goes on for about an hour and a half, bringing my day to about four and a half hours at this point, until the girl pulls me aside and announces, with a beaming grin on her face, “You know what? I think, yeah. I think screw this place. Me: Screw this place? Her: Yeah man, screw it. Screw everything. I quit.

Me:  Like in two weeks? Her: Like, I mean, like now. Me: ...what? With that, she tears off her smock and walks out of the joint, leaving me to mind the store alone. I don't know how to do cash drops, I don't know how to do most of this stuff. I've been here for four hours tops. You must be kidding me. She locks the door to the backroom, shoves the key underneath the door, and is gone forever.

So, like the nice young man I am, I call the manager’s emergency number. The phone rings and rings and rings for maybe two minutes straight before she finally answers, mid-snore, with a befuddled “...whuzzah?” I promptly explain the situation to her and tell her that I need help. She tells me to hold tight, and that she's going to call her Assistant Manager to come and help. You know where this is going.

The assistant never comes. I'm waiting for another two hours, and they never show up. I call the manager back. Same deal. Two minutes of continuous ringing. She promises something else. Hangs up on me. We go through this process four more times over the course of two more hours, when the next person on-shift is due to show up anyway.

He never shows. Naturally. So I call the manager until she finally just takes her phone off the hook so I can't call her anymore. This is the part of the story where I start to freak out. I have no other numbers. I know no one else who works here. I am alone. No way to clock out, no way to hide, no way to lock the doors, nothing. Just work. Only work.

Forever and ever and ever and ever. I can see that this is how I go, I'm sure of it. I'm in a really boring version of Final Destination. At this point, I feel the need to call out the dudes who ran the tattoo shop across the street. They'd been coming in for cokes and energy drinks and such throughout the day, and had taken a keen interest in my well-being.

They were pretty "up" on the situation, and kept me reasonably calm throughout the day. They noticed that I was starting to freak out, asked me what the situation was, and I explained. Just like that, these guys jump into action. They bring me their phonebook with all the numbers of the other stores in the area circled, and they go to the local taco cart and get me a plate of tacos and a coke "to keep my strength up."

I'm not into dudes, but I considered asking these guys to marry me right then and there. Fueled by tacos and sheer, unadulterated panic, I start making calls. Other stores are shocked by what's happened but don't have anyone to spare. They've got no one. But. One of them gives me the district manager's home number. Bingo.

I explained the situation to him and listened as he went from perfectly congenial to absolutely terrified. He tells me, “I'm coming down there to personally relieve you from your shift...” But then he says the perfect combination of words to set me off: “...but I'm going to need about an hour and a half. Is that okay?”

Welcome to my breaking point. I begin to shout and shout and shout. Me: No, that is not alright. Tell you what—either you get down here in half an hour, or I am going to open the cash registers, the safe, turn the gas pumps on unlimited run, and go home. Is that what you want?? FREE GAS AND FREE MONEY FOR EVERYONE WHO COMES INTO THE STORE UNTIL THERE'S NO MORE MONEY! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT?!

Him:: ...I'll be there in 20 minutes. I now see what has happened: I am now the crazy person in the situation. I'm the movie bad guy. I'm the one making demands. But you know what? He got there in 15 minutes flat. And you know what? He was very nice, all said and told. He apologized profusely, even helped me kick in the locked backroom door so I could clock out all proper-like.

It's 10:30 pm. Finally. But then the manager, in her pajamas, eyes bloodshot and wild, comes storming into the store, screaming at the district manager, who had apparently gotten her to answer her phone during his trip over. She’s screaming at him, “How dare you tell me how to run my store, I swear you've been telling me what to do for too long now and I am telling you for the last time—“

The district manager turns to me as she is shrieking, and he says something that makes me start laughing like a psychotic. “Go home. I've got this.” Well, you don't have to tell me twice, amigo. I'm gone. When I get to the door, finally, he calls after me and says, “I really hope this doesn't affect your future with the company.” I never went back.

Tales from retailUnsplash

42. Baring It All

I work at a clothing store, and we have packs of underwear hanging on a wall near the front of the store. The wall is split into two sections: The bottom is single pairs of underwear that go for $2, and then there are packs of eight that cost $20. They are not the same brand, they are different materials, they look different, and are on different parts of the wall.

On the part of the wall that only contains single pairs, there is a sign that says "5 for $5.” A woman walks up to our register with five eight-packs of underwear, and I make casual conversation before presenting her with her total. Me: That will be ~$100.00. Her: No, that will be $5.00. Me:...Well, no, that'll be ~$100.00. Her: No! They're five for five, it says so on the sign!

At this point, I know what sign she saw, and I know what mistake she's making, but in an attempt to show her the error of her ways I ask her to show me the sign. Her: Look, there it is right there, it's 5 for $5. Me: Actually, the 5 for $5 is referencing these single pairs that are only $2. Her face lit up with anger and disgust as if I had pooped on the floor and asked her to clean it up with her tongue.

Her: Well, why is that sign there?! Why are those packs with these packs?! These packs are on this wall and that sign says it's 5 or $5 and I'll take them at that price. Me: Usually I could adjust your price, but I can't sell you $100 of merchandise at $5. Her: Well, you need to remove that sign then because that's false advertising. Me: No.

Her: No?! Me: Yup, no. At this point, my heart was in my throat and I actually could have gotten in trouble for how I spoke to her, depending on which manager she spoke to, but instead, she just kind of walked out of the store. Even if the sign was ambiguous, assuming a sale of that magnitude is just silly. Like, use your brain.

Tales from retailUnsplash

43. Dream Job

So I work in a store where we use short-range radios with headsets to communicate with each other. It's a huge help to us and helps us be more efficient. Earlier today, my boss sends me next door to the grocery store to buy donuts for the crew. While I'm waiting in line, a young boy (maybe 7-8) is shooting daggers at me.

I'm wearing my sunglasses inside with my earpiece still in as well. As I'm leaving he yells to grab my attention. Here's the conversation we had: Little Kid: Hey! Me: Uhh, yeah? Kid: What’s that for? (pointing to my earpiece). By now I know where this is going. Me: (I cross my arms) I use it for work. Kid: Come here, I have another question.

The mom looks at me with an eye roll because her kid is eccentric and that seems to annoy her. Not me, weird kids always give me a laugh. I bend down to his level to hear, then he whispers: Kid: Do you work for the government? Me: (I put my finger over my earpiece) Eagle this is condor! Cover blown! I repeat eagle, our cover is blown!

Then I take me and my donuts and run out of the store as fast as possible while the mom is dying of laughter and the kid’s jaw is on the ground because he just met a secret agent. The highlight of my day.

Tales from retailUnsplash

44. Driving Me Crazy

This literally just happened. I work at a higher-end clothing store and I tend not to get too many out-there customers, but this guy took the cake. A man came in with about three small children, shopped around for about a half hour while running me completely ragged in the process, and then went to pay for his items. He has a store credit card with us, but he didn't have it on him.

I said, "No problem, I can look it up with your driver’s license or a state ID." "Oh, I don't drive. Here, I'll show you my passport." "Sir, our computer does not scan passports as a valid form of ID. The scanner only responds to driver’s licenses or state IDs." "But a passport is a better form of ID than a driver’s license. This is Uncle Sam right here!"

"I understand, but our computer system only scans driver’s licenses or state IDs." "But a passport is a government-issued ID!" "Yes, but our computer physically cannot scan a passport. I can only scan a driver’s license or a state-issued ID." "Well, I'll just take my business elsewhere then!" He proceeded to storm out of the store, and honestly, I was a little bit relieved, until about five minutes later he comes barging back into the store.

"Here, I found my ID, now please look up my credit card!" I swear to God, he pulls out his passport. "Sir, I cannot accept this as an f-" "Scan it! This is my ID! You are discriminating against people who don't drive!" "Would you like me to call customer service and see if there is anything they can do for you?” "No, I don't want you to call customer service. I want you to scan my ID and look up my credit card!"

At this point, my manager sees the commotion going on, comes over to help me out, and tells this guy exactly what I've been repeating to him for the last 10 minutes. We apologize to him for the inconvenience, and even offer him a coupon, but he just keeps yelling and ranting and raving. Finally, he takes his kids, swears he will never shop with us again, is reporting us for "discrimination," and storms out of the store for a second time...Then gets into a car and drives away.

Tales from retailPexels

45. Crystal Clear

Lots of women wear bras. I'd say a majority of women wear them to support their chest and to look and feel nice. There's a small minority who also seem to view their bras as magical extra pockets in which they can store money, their license, their credit cards, and their crystals. Betty Bra comes into the store on a fairly regular basis, usually to complain about how overpriced everything is.

She does this while pointedly mentioning the store owner by name and archly looking at me as though she expects me to fall to my knees and beg for the opportunity to give her a discount because she knows the owner. You and a million others, honey. The store owner freaks out if I give a refund one day after the 14-day return policy, so no dice on discounts from me.

Anyway, today she was complaining about the price of our crystal selection. You know the kind, you could buy a handful of them for two bucks at those "Natural Wonder" stores in big malls back in the 90s. Our store selection is a little more varied and popular among people who think carrying them around will make them rich, attract their soul mate, get them a job, or keep evil energy away from them.

Some of these people may possibly be crows in disguise. I don't put anything past customers these days. So this customer is walking around the tables with the selection of crystals in their various boxes and complaining. Her: "Why does STORE OWNER price these so high? I can buy the same ones cheaper at Another New Age Store!"

Me: "No idea, ma'am. I have nothing to do with the purchasing or pricing." And thinking, of course, why don't you just go to Another New Age Store and buy them there? Her: "And why would this rose quartz be so much more expensive than this one??" Me: "One is a small, tumbled crystal and the other is a larger, natural crystal.”

Her: "IT'S THE SAME TYPE OF STONE, UGH." She puts them down and stomps up to the counter with a Look in her eye. I smile blandly. She plants her hands on the counter and leans over to regard me closely. Her: "So you know a lot about crystals, huh?" Me: "...yes." As long as it has nothing to do with their energies, I know enough.

Everything else, I Google. She is satisfied with the answer, straightens up, and reaches down the front of her shirt, and begins fumbling around in her bra. I say nothing. She is a larger woman, so this act is taking a lot of uncomfortable contorting and grunting and flesh jiggling, and I suddenly decide I need to check the store's email.

Oh, look. A sale on plates that energize food. She finally clears her throat and I reluctantly note that she is holding her hand out to me, fingers extended, palm open. In the center of her palm are several tumbled crystals. Her palm, fingers, and the crystals are suspiciously moist. Her: "I bought these at Another New Age Store last week." I nod.

Her: "But they're not giving off any energy." Me: "It's only been a week. Sometimes it takes time for the vibrations from you and the crystals to get used to each other." (Note: I am making it up as I go along.) She looks thoughtful but keeps her hand out. My own hands are firmly on the computer keyboard. Her: "Maybe. But I'd appreciate it if you tried them out. STORE OWNER wouldn't have hired you if you weren't sensitive to energy."

The store owner hired me because I lied my butt off about my metaphysical and otherworldly experiences, because I know my way around computers and programs and graphic design and the other employees have an average typing speed 20 WPM combined, and because I'm a chump for applying for this job in the first place.

But in any case, she wants me to touch her chest crystals. Her damp, chest crystals. Not just TOUCH them, but feel their energy. I promptly balk. Me: "I'm afraid I can't." She looks offended: "Why not?" Oh, so many reasons, chief among them the chest sweat still glistening on the crystals beneath the fluorescent lights. Me: "I'm not comfortable touching another person's...crystals. Especially when they've been so close to you. The uh...energy, you see. It'll mess up my own."

She stares blankly at me for a moment, then her eyes widen. Her: "Oh. OH. Oh my goodness, you're an empath, aren't you? I completely understand! I'm one too, and I can't stand eating out because of all the collected energies in the silverware, it really gives me indigestion. Especially at the Olive Garden, since it's right by the senior home? All the energy of those old folks can really mess up your system."

I nod understandingly. Whatever it takes to not touch sweaty chest crystals. She shoves the crystals back into her bra like someone stuffing a turkey for Thanksgiving. Her hand, wrist, and most of her forearm vanishes down the front of her shirt until only her elbow is visible. The contortions and grunting resume, and once more I find myself completely absorbed in reading about the benefits of charging an apple with positive energy from a crystal plate.

Ions are mentioned a lot. Some higher Retail Power was with me, because the customer, per her complaining about the prices, wasn't interested in buying anything, and left without touching anything with her moistened fingers. But just to be on the safe side, I took the Lysol and spent a good half hour wiping down everything she had potentially touched.

You just never know when someone has been feeling up their chest crystals before going shopping.

Tales from retailUnsplash

46. These Boots Were Made For Whining

I come bearing a tale that is one of the most ridiculous customer encounters I've had in my almost 17 years of retail experience. Buckle up, kids. It's gonna be a wild ride. Relevant to the story: We are unable to take orders over the phone. Credit cards must be physically swiped/inserted at the register and we have absolutely no way around this.

The setting: a shoe store. Just a few days ago, I had just clocked in for my closing shift. The phone rings. Me: "Good afternoon, thank you for calling ShoeStore, how may I help you?" There’s a very elderly woman at the end of the line. "Oh hi. I was in your store earlier today looking at a pair of shoes, and I'm just kicking myself for not buying them. I'd like for you to ship them to me."

Me: "Unfortunately, we are unable to take orders over the phone, but I'd be glad to put them on hold for you.” Her: "But I live so far away and I can't make the trip alllll the way out there again!" Me: "Uh...I'm sorry about that, but I have no way of taking payment over the phone." Her: "Can I order them online?" Me: "Possibly, which shoe were you looking at?"

Her: "I don't know." A little back and forth ensues, with her attempting to explain what the shoe looked like and where it was located in the store. I'm somehow able to find it. It's a single pair of sandals from last year that are on super mega clearance because, well, they're old. Me: "Unfortunately, you won't find these on our website, they're from last year."

Her: "Well, what am I supposed to doooooo??!!" Me: go back in time and buy them when you were here? "I'm not sure, ma'am." Her: "OH! You can ship them to me, and when I get them I'll mail you a check!" Me: "Sorry ma'am, I can't send out merchandise that has not been paid for." Her, getting increasingly frustrated: "Is there anyone else there I can talk to? A manager?"

Me, trying to suppress laughter as my manager is staring at me, shaking his head at hearing my side of the conversation: "No, I'm the only manager here right now." Her: "Well then, you can buy it for me and I'll mail you a check." Me: "Excuse me?" Her: "They're not even $20. You pay for it and I'll send you a personal check. I'm good for it."

Me: "I'm not going to do that." Her: "Well, is there anyone else there who would?" Me: "No ma'am, no one here is going to buy your shoes for you." staring from my manager intensifies, we both exchange the “I can't wait to talk about this one” look Her: "Well, I mean this is ridiculous. All I want is those shoes and no one will help me. So there's nothing you can do?"

Me: "No ma'am, I'm afraid there isn't." Her: "Well then THANKS A LOT." I burst out laughing and regale my manager with the full conversation. A nearby customer overhears and also starts laughing. I spend most of my remaining shift hiding in the back room, I feel like I earned it.

Tales from retailUnsplash

47. Closed Is Closed

I'm only 16 but work at a local pharmacy and gift shop in my town. The customers are generally pretty chill, older folks. Yesterday was a special exception. We close at 3 on Sundays, and around 2:58 I stand by the door waiting for the "all clear" to lock the door. There's still a man in the back having trouble filling his prescription, but it’s all good because he's apologetic, realizing it's nearing closing.

Well, 3:00 rolls around and my boss gives me the thumbs up. Usually, if there's someone like the guy in the back, I just wait for him to finish up and unlock the door for him, and that was my plan today. But, as I lock the door, a car comes speeding into the parking lot, and parks right out front. Seeing as we have closed, I know I'm gonna have to tell this already angry-looking old lady that she's gonna have to wait till tomorrow.

I unlock the door and poke my head out. Me: I'm sorry ma'am, but we just closed, if there's something in particular you're looking for it’s possible they have it over in (neighboring supermarket). Her: What the heck do you mean you're closed? It's 3 O’clock in the afternoon! Me: Yes ma'am, we close at 3 on Sundays, I'm sorry for the inconvenience.

Her: Can't you let me in to get my prescription really quick?  At this point, I can tell it's not gonna be good. Me: Ma'am, I'm sorry but we have closed and are no longer allowed to process prescriptions. You're going to have to wait until tomorrow. Her: What about the man who's in there now? You don't seem to have a problem with him. Let me in!

Me: He walked into the store around 2:45 and we are having trouble processing his prescription. As soon as he's done he will be leaving as well. Her: it's only 3:05! Let me in! Me: Closed is closed, ma'am, I'm sorry. At this point I close the door and relock it, waiting for the man in the back to finish up. She begins pounding on the door, ordering to see my boss.

Luckily, he and the man just finished up, and they both walk up to the front door. As I unlock it for the man, this woman tries to FORCE HERSELF IN to get her prescription. At this point, my boss steps in. Him: Miss, I'm sorry but we are closed now. You'll have to come back tomorrow for your prescription. Her: What the heck is wrong with you people, you're denying me my medication! I need it!

Boss: How many doses do you have left? Her: Enough to last through Tuesday but I— Boss: Great, see you Tuesday. He closes the door in her face, which prompts more shouting. As we leave and lock up the door, she continues screaming at us until we all drive off. She was back today and got her prescription, somehow she survived through the night.

Tales from retailUnsplash

48. The Writing On The Wall

In college, I worked for a floral shop that shared a space with a bakery. We had the space for both businesses to operate and it naturally was a good partnership. This story takes place near the end of my senior year. I was six weeks shy of graduating with two degrees. Although I cared about the stores and wanted them to do well, my nonsense-tolerance had dropped significantly.

One day, a woman came to me for balloons for her son's 2nd birthday party. She had already picked up her cake. Woman (grumpily tossing her balloon choices at me): Ugh, I can't believe the bakery. Me: Oh, is there something wrong? Woman: Yes! LOOK at this cake! She opens the box. It's a nice-looking cake, decorated with icing and trains.

A scrolling script says: "Happy 2nd Birthday Jackson!" Me: ... Woman: DON'T YOU SEE IT?! Me: I think it's a lovely ca-" Woman: IT'S IN CURSIVE! WHY THE HECK WOULD THEY PUT IT IN CURSIVE? HE'S TWO! Me: Oh...well, it'll take me a couple of minutes to fill these balloons. I bet you could take it back, and they could scrape off the old lettering, re-frost the blank space, and rewrite it for you.

Woman (clearly hasn't heard a word I said): I CAN'T BELIEVE SOMEONE IS SO STUPID TO THINK THIS IS OKAY! Me (yelling above her): CAN YOUR SON EVEN READ?! She immediately fell silent, blushed a deep purple, and was silent while I filled her balloons. She paid without a word.

Tales from retailPexels

49. Father Figure

The owner of this convenience store near me is a family friend and asked me if I could cover because they were short on staff. There wasn't much to do, so I decided to walk around and reorganize misplaced items when suddenly a kid, who is maybe 3-4 years old, holds onto my hand. I kind of look around to see if someone lost their kid, and then I see a young lady give me a "go on" gesture.

I'm a bit confused about what she wants me to do, but whatever, I was bored and this kid looked cooler than my friends. So I asked if he liked candy and asked which one he liked. He didn't say anything and just pointed to some gummy worms. Me: That's cool. Me too! I like the sour ones because I can make a sour face.

This made the kid laugh. He says: “I love you, daddy,” then he hugs me. To be honest, I freaked out a bit and thought this kid couldn't possibly be mine. As I looked over to the young lady, she started tearing up. So I say, “I love you too, son.” The boy ran back to the lady, and the lady walks up to me and hugs me. That’s when I learned the heartbreaking truth. 

The lady tells me: “I'm so sorry for that, my husband just passed two days ago. This is the first time I’ve heard him talk since that day.” They proceeded to leave. The boy is waving his gummy worms at me and I do the sour face and he does the same.

Tales from retailPexels

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