Really Ridiculous Customers
Sometimes they’re idiots. Sometimes they’re jerks. But pretty much every time you have an unpleasant experience with a customer, there’s one thing that they have in common: their behavior or demands are absolutely ridiculous. These Redditors came together to share their stories of having to deal with nightmare customers, and they’re utterly unbelievable.
1. Environmentally Unfriendly
I made coffee for a living. I had a lady demand that we remake her coffee for the dumbest reason. The reason was that we had to use the pour-over method to make this particular coffee, and our utensils and measuring cups, filters, and such were plastic.
She watched as we began to make the coffee and then proceeded to flip out because we “were poisoning her”. She actually shouted, “What are you doing? You can’t use that plastic [stuff]. That will kill me”! Needless to say, we were a little shocked. No customer had ever had such an outburst before.
We asked her what was wrong, and she said that all our plastic likely had BPA and other dangerous stuff in it, and if she drank that coffee, it would be the end of her. We then had to MacGyver an apparatus out of other stainless steel tools in order to make her coffee.
She didn’t even say thank you, she just watched us and gave us dirty looks the entire time.
2. Going In Circles
I was talking to a customer over the phone. After going back and forth on an issue we couldn’t help with, the customer said something to the effect of, “Well that’s not good enough”. Being fed up at this point, I simply said, “Well, you not liking the answer doesn’t mean the answer changes”.
She snapped, “That’s really unprofessional”, And I said, “You thinking it’s unprofessional also doesn’t change the answer”. And then she said, “Let me talk with your manager”. That’s when I executed my mic drop.
To which I got to say, “I am the manager, we’re going in circles. If you’d like you can email me you can, in which case I’ll review your complaint to determine if it needs to be escalated”. She was not happy when she hung up.
3. The Fountain Runneth Dry
I run a convenience store inside a mall. Just outside our store is a lovely fountain, only it’s drained. It has been that way since before we got the store last year. One day, I was sitting around, enjoying the cool air on my face. Our store is located on a kind of odd angle, where one wall is shorter than the other, and you can see people walking by through the glass windows.
I sat around watching mall traffic while keeping an eye on my game, always alert for trouble. At one point, my idyllic view was interrupted by the sight of a man, clearly with a purpose, striding directly toward me. I didn’t even have time to give my usual chipper, “How you doin’ today”? line. The angry man asked me a question that threw me off-guard: “When are they going to turn on the fountain”?
I apologetically replied that I have no idea. A moment passed and the man’s brow furrowed. It appeared as though he was not sure how to process the fact that I didn’t have an answer. Then he said, apparently to make the situation clear to me, “They drained all the fountains”! It was my turn to be confused. Clearly, they drained all the fountains…I’d been looking at the empty fountain all day long, so I would know.
I don’t know why he thought I didn’t notice…Did he think it was my fault? Maybe he didn’t know that the mall makes its own decisions. So, I told him, “You’d have to ask the mall management. We’re just a convenience store”. He firmly told me, “I will”! And with his sense of duty now apparently locked onto a new target, he stomped on out of the store with the same clear sense of purpose.
4. She Didn’t Know Jack About Cocktails
I was a cocktail bartender. I had a woman bring back a Jack and Coke because she didn’t like it. I asked her what she had ordered. She said, “Jack and Coke”. I politely informed her that she wouldn’t be getting a replacement or refund and to order something she actually liked next time.
She returned to the bar several times and purposely spoke to a different bartender each time to try and get her drink changed. Every single one of them looked at her like she was crazy and then refused.
5. Good Riddance To Bad Rubbish
I worked at an outdoor gear place for a while. One incident comes to mind though, which involves an ex-Marine who worked at our store fixing bikes. He had to run to the back to grab a part, and as he was going back to the bike shop on the other side of the store, a customer who was already being pretty loud and aggressive with everyone decided to grab my co-worker by the arm very aggressively and try to spin him around to face him. It worked out horribly for him.
His Marine training kicked in, and the next thing I know the angry customer man is laying in the remains of a display about eight feet away. Of course, he jumps up screaming and yelling that he’s going sue us and get my co-worker fired, etc.
The manager comes out, hears the story, looks at the security footage, and tells the customer he is never allowed to grab employees like that. He said that he’s welcome to call the authorities if he would like because she’s willing to press charges against him for assault, and he was banned from our store.
No one at the store was upset about losing that customer. He was kind of notorious for being a jerk and constantly trying to game our return policy.
6. Dog Days
Several years ago, I used to work as a dog trainer at a very well-known pet supply store. While I was a dog trainer, it was still retail, so of course, I had to do 100 things outside of my job description. As a result, I was working the cash register, stocking, and yes, helping our loyal customers. The store I worked at was an absolute disaster with Karens, too.
Big, white suburban neighborhoods were situated around this store, so they came in like hordes. Well, on this particular day, it was vet day. Basically, a local vet service partnered with the store to offer quick walk-in vet checkups for things like vaccinations. Of course, put “cheap” and “Karens” together and you get the worst workday of your week.
This week, the store was packed. The line went all the way to the front, and we were the biggest store in the area. People were asking me questions left and right, dogs were relieving themselves everywhere, and kids were playing with the dog toys. It was the whole shebang. I was already like a headless chicken, having to juggle five tasks while also prepping for a dog training class. Yay.
But as I was making my way from the vet station helping another customer, I saw her, and she definitely looked like trouble. She had a dark tan, shoulder-length straight hair, sunglasses, and she was dragging a couple of kids down the aisle toward me. She looked like she was wanting to turn into the Hulk and was ready to fight. I prepped myself before I started to say, “How can I help—”
She stopped me in the middle of my sentence by saying one loud word, “Dogs”! She had a crazy gleam in her eyes. I tried to decipher her cryptic message and asked, “Dog…toys? Dog…food”? She then said, “Where are your dogs”? It took a second for my brain to catch up with her shrieks; to understand that she was hoping that we sold dogs.
Now, luckily, big box stores like this one tend to not sell dogs directly. Otherwise, they would get them from puppy mills. But now, unfortunately, I had to inform this lady that we were not that kind of store. I geared myself up for a battle, then said: “I am sorry, ma’am, but we do not sell dogs he—” She cursed and shrieked, then immediately spun around, pulling her kids like ragdolls the entire time.
She then stomped out the door again. It felt like I got hit and run over by words. This interaction was less than 30 seconds, so it was like a new record. It was then that I decided it would be best if I took my break before doing my next class.
7. They Were Allergic To Paying
Someone required that half of the ingredients in a meal that they were supposedly allergic to be replaced. Then, they pronounced the results as being unpalatable. We were told to give them a completely different meal for free, one which didn’t use anything they were supposedly allergic to.
They loved it until they found out that their “problem” wasn’t going to result in a free meal for their entire party. Suddenly, it was sent back as being undercooked. Meanwhile, about three-quarters of it had been eaten at that point.
My boss was a complete jerk, but that worked out on the side of justice on that particular evening. He promptly informed them that they wouldn’t be getting their meal replaced and still owed for the other four. The kitchen staff and I had to go stand between their table and the door and look unamused.
8. Pool Party
I was working at a public pool in my town, and the rules are that you can’t bring outside food or drinks into the pool. This rule didn’t please Karen, who was very eager to let me know that she had just spent 12 DOLLARS on this coffee from STARBUCKS.
She argues with me by saying that the public pool in the next town over allows it. I keep saying the same rehearsed response, that it’s our policy that outside food and drinks can’t come in the pool. I still can’t believe what she did. She dumped the coffee onto our computer, so I called the authorities. They arrested her, and the town prosecuted her to the full extent of the law.
9. Taking A Bow
Several years back, I was working at a small beauty supply store in the southern part of the US. Among other things, we sold little clip-in hairpieces. A family of four had come in and the mom and dad were discussing products in the first aisle while the two little girls were running unsupervised through the store, being loud and making messes.
It was truck day, and I had been stocking shelves out of a shopping cart, referred to as a buggy by many people in that area. It was chock full to the brim. I had gone to the stock room and when I came back 30 seconds later, I saw one of the little girls pushing my cart around the corner of the opposite end of the aisle.
She was standing on her tiptoes and still could not see over the handle. I heard her say something to her mother and her mother told her, “Put that back where you found it”. By that time, I had nearly caught up with the kid, who had turned the basket around. She pushed the cart up to me and said proudly, “Ma’am, are you lookin’ for yer buggy”?
I replied, “You do not need to be messing with that”. That’s when the mom’s Karen came out. She came roaring around the corner saying how I should not speak directly to her child and that if I had something to say, then I should say it to her. Never mind the fact that the kid had run into a shelf, slipped a bit on the tile floors, and almost turned the basket over on herself on the opposite side of the store from her mother’s location.
I did not bother to argue about safety concerns and instead went back to stocking shelves. A little while later, the mother asked me to help her match the color of her hair to the hairpieces. I helped her pick one out, then heard her confirm to her husband that it was the one she wanted. I then went up to the register, while she rounded up her kids.
When she got to the checkout, the hairpiece that she put on the counter was a different one than what I had seen her discussing. I asked her about it and she indicated that the other one was more than she could afford, but she planned to come back for it. I rang her out and they left. The next day, I got to work and the opening clerk said, “I got one of your customers today”.
I said, “Oh yeah”? I didn’t get customer complaints often, but that particular week, I had someone else come in, while I was off, saying that I was rude. They had been unhappy that I had prevented them from shoplifting but they gave some other bogus reason to complain. When my coworker confirmed this, it was in a tone that made it clear I was in for a ride a bit later.
So, I asked, “Have you ever seen me be rude to a customer”? “No,” she answered. “It always seems like you’re sweet, but to hear them tell it, you’re big and bad”. About that time, the door opened, and in walked the hairpiece woman and her kids. It was about to go down. She started laying into me about how she had come to return the hairpiece that she got yesterday.
We did not take returns on hairpieces in the first place. However, she said that in the process of trying to return it with my co-worker, they had found a discrepancy between the item that she was trying to return and the one I had rang up. So, my coworker had asked her to come back during my shift so I could assist with the return.
This woman pulled the product that she wanted to return out and it was a different product than the one she purchased from me—in fact, it was the one that I had heard her tell her husband she wanted…and it was in a different product box. I told her as much, and she started screaming, saying that I better not be calling her a liar.
She also started making thinly veiled physical threats. In the meantime, one of her darling kids had come back around the sales counter where I was standing and she was trying to get my attention to get in on the action. I was ignoring the girl, but she kept tapping me on the hip. I whirled around and curtly said, “Don’t touch me”.
Then, remembering the scene from the day before, I snapped my head back to the mom and smiled sweetly. Through gritted teeth, but with the most upbeat voice, I said, “I am sorry, could you please tell your child not to touch me and remove her from behind the counter. It’s not safe for her to be back here”. She snarled, “That’s better”.
She barked a command at her kid, then made it clear that she would be back in an hour to continue her reign of terror. Shortly after she left, our store manager arrived unexpectedly early for the closing shift. We brought her up to speed on what had been going on. When the lady came back, I happened to be in the stock room.
My manager closed the stock room door and told me in the sternest voice ever: “Do NOT come out”. I could only hear snippets through the door, so I don’t know exactly what happened. I got the picture that we must have given her some money back as a one-time thing, probably because the other option was to refer to corporate, who would have given her money back.
But then I very clearly heard the woman’s voice ring across the store, “Go get her and bring her out here. I am going to snatch her up and…” “You will not lay a hand on my employee,” my manager emphatically interrupted. I did not hear any of the exchange after that, because I was so shocked at my sweet, proper manager’s firm retort.
My coworker, apparently, was similarly surprised. The consensus among the employees after that was that we were pretty proud of how tough our manager could be if needed. They also decided that if I was being rude to a “customer,” it was probably someone stealing.
10. He Landed In The Thick Of It
A guy came into Wendy’s and bought a milkshake. It was standard stuff, except he came back with his girlfriend 10 minutes later with about one-tenth of the milkshake left in the cup and complained that the consistency was too “milky”.
He explained that a milkshake is a flavored, cold drink, and if they wanted a thick shake, they should have ordered a “thickshake”. Oh, but then the whole situation took a wild turn. The woman just turned to her boyfriend, took the cup, and threw it in the employee’s face.
Without missing a beat, the employee picked up a caramel sauce bottle, and squeezed it in the woman’s face, then flicked some sprinkles into the caramel sauce dripping from her forehead for effect. He lost his job almost immediately, but I’m sure he thought it was worth it. I sure did.
11. We Don’t Do That Here, Lady
One of my managers had to explain to a Karen, during a lunch rush, why she couldn’t take the onion out of the French onion soup.
12. Greasing The Parts
At the time, I was the front desk receptionist at a car dealership that had an attached service and parts department. I dealt with all kinds of people, but this one customer particularly left me dumbfounded. It was around 7 pm, about an hour after the service and parts department had closed. The sales department was open until 8 pm, so I was just going about my business as usual.
A woman walked up to my desk and slammed a 19-liter jug of motor oil down on the counter. That scared me since I was looking away at the time. She immediately demanded that I sell her the oil. I was confused and just kind of…looked at her for a moment. There was no checkout counter at my desk as we were in an entirely different part of the building.
Also, where did she get that? The parts department was closed and the window into the storeroom was locked with a fold-down metal cage. I finally got myself together and told her that the parts department was closed and that I would be unable to sell anything. Her reaction was priceless. She immediately got angry, blowing her top while gesturing to the closest window demanding that I give her the oil.
I suggested for her to go to another shop nearby, as they were open until 9 pm. Surely, she could get oil there. She didn’t like that answer and scoffed at me. “I need Kia brand oil, for my Kia brand car”. She said it incredibly matter-of-factly and stared at me like I was the dumbest person on the planet. That again caught me off guard.
I have pretty bad anxiety, so I was still mentally and physically reeling from her slamming the bottle down and I was not getting very collected thoughts. I tried to explain that any brand of oil would do and that I’d be happy to help her figure out what would work best so she could pick it up there…but she just kept shaking her head at me.
Finally, she shouted out that she would just come back the following day, that I had been absolutely no help, and stormed out. I noticed then that she had a kid with her. What a great example she set for her children. I did figure out that she had pulled the oil jug down off of a display case in the service department. That was extra amusing to me, imagining someone taking something off of a clearly not-for-sale display shelf because she was mad.
13. Well Done
Where I worked, people would often ask for their “undercooked” burgers to be remade. It was usually no big deal, but every once in a while, you would get a ridiculous customer.
This one time, a customer came up to the counter and told us their burger was undercooked and demanded we re-cook it. Unfortunately, they decided not to tell us until they were three-quarters done with the food. So, my manager happily obliged and had their burger remade. But he had the perfect trick up his sleeve.
After it was finished, he cut the burger into fourths and gave the customer a fresh quarter of a burger—well done. The look on their face was pure justice.
14. I’m Like A Bird
I was the only person on shift, which made me the de facto manager. Five minutes before closing, a woman came in and she was SO angry that we didn’t have any decaf coffee. She demanded to speak to the manager. I told her that was me because I was the only one there, and the coffee pots were cleaned for the night because we were closing up shop.
Her reply stunned me. She screamed at me and told me she was going to “find a real manager and get you fired”. She then threw half a cup of cappuccino machine sludge at me, and she was about to jump the counter. I was holding a hammer under the counter thinking, “Don’t do it, don’t do it”. I picked up the phone like I was about to call the authorities. She then left and I locked the door.
A few seconds later, she came back AND RAN FACE-FIRST INTO THE GLASS DOOR. LIKE A BIRD. What an idiot.
15. A Giggling Fit
It was getting near closing time and I was cleaning the self-checkout machines while my manager was topping up the coins and receipt paper. This woman, just shy of 50, came up to the checkout and just stood there with her mostly empty cart. I was waiting to see if she would walk up to the actual register for service, but no; she just stood there.
I finally asked her, “Do you need help”? She replied, “No,” and kept standing there. Then, she started giggling loudly to herself in a way that made other people around her uncomfortable. I just kept cleaning and my manager continued filling the machines, all of which were devoid of customers. Finally, the woman spoke loudly, to no one in particular, saying the rudest thing ever: “Do you want to work or not”?
I let out a long breath, then dropped my cloth and spray bottle down. Suddenly, my manager stepped in and replied loudly, “She does have work! She’s cleaning right now”. Then she motioned for me to keep cleaning. Well, the woman giggled again, really loudly and snottily this time, and said, “I want a checkout”. My manager replied, “You had your chance. She asked you if you wanted help. You said no. And now, you’re going to have to check yourself out”.
The lady started freaking out and demanded to see the manager. My manager destroyed her with one sentence: “You’re looking at her”. The woman sheepishly checked her own items out while we both watched her. And then my manager giggled loudly, just like the woman had done. It was glorious.
16. Comparing Pineapples To Oranges
I worked at an Italian restaurant as a waitress. This lady in her 40s ordered a Hawaiian pizza and pitched a fit saying how we got her order wrong. I asked her what was wrong with it, and she said it wasn’t a Hawaiian pizza and the toppings were wrong. I looked at it—and almost burst out laughing.
It had diced tomatoes, pineapples, and ham—exactly what the menu stated. I showed her this, and she said, “What are you talking about? These are yellow! Pineapples are orange”!
Confused, I got my manager, and he tried explaining that pineapples are quite yellow—not orange—and if she didn’t like it, she could order something else on the house. She got mad and said no, that she wanted the Hawaiian pizza, but with the right pineapples.
She started explaining what they looked like, and I said, “Wait, do you mean ORANGES,” since she completely described oranges. She said, “NO, PINEAPPLES,” and started describing oranges again. At that point, I took my phone out, Googled oranges and pineapples, and showed her.
She pointed at the oranges and yelled at the top of her lungs, “YES, THOSE I want those”. My manager told her we do not have those and that she could either pick something else or eat what she had. She left.
17. That’s What They Call Owning
This is the best interaction I ever had. This Karen griped about not wanting to pay the price for the services performed on her computer, which was exactly the price quoted when she dropped it off. She demanded to speak to the service manager. I called him from the back.
The service manager listened to her spiel as to how she should get a lower price for an irrelevant, pea-brained reason. The service manager made eye contact with me over her shoulder; I did not react. He then said no, the price quoted was the price that would be charged.
She said that was unacceptable, and she would be complaining to the owner, who was “a good friend” she claimed. There was obviously something she didn’t know. The service manager observed that he was evidently not that good a friend, since “he” was me, the person she was originally speaking to when she asked for the service manager.
Her face was glorious, and made the whole thing worthwhile!
18. A Lucky Gamble
This just happened. A guy walked in and asked me, “What’s the $8 lottery package that my wife always gets”? I looked at him, but I couldn’t place him. In fact, he didn’t look remotely familiar to me. He was not wearing his mask, mind you, but so far, I’d been pretty good at recognizing the people I’ve only ever seen with masks on since we bought the store.
However, I had no clue who this is. So I asked, “Sir, did you just ask me, a complete stranger, what your wife’s preferences are”? He reiterated, “Well, she always gets an $8 package”. I told him, “The lottery doesn’t have an $8 package”. Then, he asked, “Well, what are the standard games”? So, I rattled off all the games until we figured it out.
I handed him his purchase and said, “OK, here you go, sir, and may I highly encourage you not to tell your wife that you asked a complete stranger what her preferences were”. I thought that would nip it in the bud, but he just wouldn’t quit. He still seemed to think there was nothing amiss and replied, “Well, she’s in here all the time”. I still said, “But she’s not here now, and I don’t know who she is”.
So, he clarified, “Well, I come in with her sometimes”. To end the situation, I said, “OHHH! Well, I have a pretty bad memory so that must be it”. What was unsaid was, “It couldn’t be that I see a few hundred people a day and you’re all just faceless blobs in my memory if you don’t come in here pretty much every day and actually have meaningful conversations”! Sheesh.
19. It Matters How You Slice It
A dude ordered a pizza that had fresh jalapenos on it; they were cut lengthwise. When I gave it to him, he flipped out and asked why we put bell peppers on it. I told him they were jalapenos, but he wasn’t having it.
He walked right into our kitchen and told the chef he couldn’t believe he didn’t know the difference between bell peppers and jalapenos. The chef took out a whole jalapeno and said, “This is a jalapeno, right”? The guest replied, “Yeah”. Then, the chef cut it as it appeared on the pizza and said, “And that’s what you have, right”?
The guest had a stunned look on his face and said, “…Yeah”. He left me an awful tip.
20. Cheesed Off
This happened while I was serving at Steak ‘n Shake. The customer had a coupon for a burger, fries, and a shake for a certain price. On the coupon, it specifically stated that cheese on the burger was a 39-cent upcharge, although it did have a picture of a burger with cheese on it. I was not prepared for her ridiculous tantrum.
This lady THREW A FIT in the dining room that I was treating her unfairly, it was false advertising, etc. I told her I agreed that it was false advertising with the picture, but the text specifically stated the upcharge, and unfortunately, I couldn’t do anything about it. Also, the difference was literally cents.
The lady at the next table overheard everything and got up and put 50 cents on the table to cover it. She then said something to the effect of “I’ll pay for your darn cheese if you just shut up”.
This ticked the cheese lady off even more. My manager obviously sensed the issue and came out. Took the cheese up charge of the bill. Like what the heck, Karen?
21. Three Strikes
Some years ago, I worked an extra part-time job in the evenings at a small national retail chain in the U.S. that specializes in woodworking tools, supplies and machinery. The vast majority of our customers were great, but every so often we would get one that was a real peach. On the night in question, it was 15 or 20 minutes before closing.
I was at the front counter where the registers are, doing busy work to fill the time before I locked the doors. The sales floor was completely empty, except for me. I heard the doors open and looked up to see a customer walking in. “Hi! Welcome to our store”! I said to him in a genuinely friendly tone. Fish-eyed, he turned his head to glance at me.
He made momentary eye contact before walking past without saying a word. Strike one. A few minutes later, I saw him walking up to the counter, so I asked, “Hey there! Did you find what you were looking for”? Again, without a saying a word, he tossed a few packs of euro hinges on the counter. Strike two. Then, I asked, “OK! Have you shopped with us before”?
I needed to know as it was part of my job to enter our customers’ information in our computer system if they’ll let us, and if they’re in our system, then we ring them up under their account. Rather than answer me, he tossed a postcard-sized piece of paper onto the counter. Strike three. Ding! Ding! Ding!
Now, if someone’s in our system, and they give us the month of their birthday, we send them a birthday coupon every year, good for 10% off of everything in a single purchase. There are a few exclusions and conditions clearly printed on the coupon. I picked up the piece of paper he’d thrown in front of me, and it was indeed his birthday coupon.
I used the information on it to pull up his account, noted a key piece of information on the account, and gleefully told him, “OK, sir. I see your birthday isn’t until next month, and unfortunately, the birthday coupon is only good for a single purchase during the month of your birth”. As I said this, I was holding the coupon up and pointing to the text I was referring to.
I am 90% certain I had my best customer service smile on my face at that point. After standing there and staring at me for a few seconds, he let out a snort of what I presume was disgust, then he turned on his heel, and started heading for the door. “Wait”! I called after him. “You forgot your birthday coupon”! Without stopping or turning, he made a dismissive wave of his hand, went through the door, and disappeared into the night.
Adios and good riddance. At this store, our manager was a super-cool guy who encouraged us to bend over backward to help customers, which I gladly did. Customers came in all the time trying to use their birthday coupons early, and it was never a problem. We’d happily give them the discount anyway, with a friendly reminder that it was supposed to be used during their birth month.
But hey, Ihe wanted to act like that. He couldn’t be bothered to show me even common courtesy, nor would he speak even one word to me. That was his choice.
22. Sizzling Mad
Once, I had a guy order a Grade 9 Wagyu scotch fillet medium rare. We sold this steak for $63. He got the steak and cut it into tiny pieces because it was slightly under medium rare. It was a real jerk move. Usually, if someone says their steak is undercooked, you just chuck it back on the grill for a few seconds to get it to the right doneness.
So, we got this $60+ steak back in pieces and had to cook another one for this guy, and we did. I couldn’t believe what he did next. He did the exact same thing. He cut it into tiny pieces and said it was undercooked. This guy had now squandered $120 worth of food. The whole kitchen was livid.
He then ordered a pasta dish, which I made and sent out. The guy ate the entire thing and said it was garbage. When he went to pay, he said to the waitress, “Just charge me for a bowl of chips. It’s OK. The boss will understand because we’re friends”.
I don’t know if the waitress did or not, and I’m not sure what the boss thought about it either because he was out for the night. However, thinking of that guy really gets me mad.
23. A Slight Overreaction
The staff did not know it at the time, but our ketchup dispenser was empty. A boy, aged 10-ish, was just smashing down on the handle trying to get ketchup, but none was being dispensed. A staff member noticed the kid smashing the ketchup dispenser, so I went out to see what was going on.
“Oh, the ketchup is empty. I’ll get a new bag from the kitchen. Give me two minutes and I’ll be right back with some new ketchup”. I removed the empty container, took it back to the kitchen, cleaned the dispenser, and placed it in a new bag. When I took it back out to the condiment stand, I was met by a Karen.
K: “WHY DID YOU TAKE THE KETCHUP AWAY FROM MY SON?!
Me: “The ketchup was empty, so I replaced the bag”.
K: “WHY DID YOU TAKE THE KETCHUP AWAY?! GO GET YOUR MANAGER”!
Me: “Uhhh, okay. One minute”.
I walked about two meters, turned around, and introduced myself as the manager.
K: “WHY DID YOU TAKE THE KETCHUP AWAY FROM MY SON?!
Me: “Ma’am, please lower your voice. The ketchup was empty. I explained to your son that I needed to take it back to the kitchen to refill it”.
K: “NO YOU DIDN’T! I WAS STANDING HERE THE WHOLE TIME. YOU TOOK THE KETCHUP AWAY FROM MY SON”!
Me: “Ma’am, please lower your voice. You were not with your son. He was here alone, trying to get ketchup, which was empty”.
K: “DON’T YOU TELL ME WHAT TO DO! DO YOU KNOW WHO YOU’RE DEALING WITH”?!
Me: “Nope. Ma’am, please get your belongings and leave this establishment”.
K: “I WILL NOT LEAVE THIS ESTABLISHMENT! I AM GOING TO BURN THIS PLACE DOWN”!
Other patrons were now visibly upset with what they were witnessing. I was so done at that point, so I called the authorities. The Karen gave a statement while the officers question me. I also gave a statement. I couldn’t believe my ears. Karen told them that I struck her son, pushed him out of the way, and moved the ketchup to an area where her son couldn’t get access to the ketchup.
I disputed the claim and offered to provide video evidence (with sound) of what actually happened. They watched the video once, thanked me, and walked out to the eating area.
Officer: “Ma’am, does your son has someone who can look after him”?
K: “HIS FATHER IS AT WORK RIGHT NOW”!
Officer: “Okay. You’re being placed under arrest for making threats and a false report”.
Cue more yelling, threats, and tears. In the end, she was charged with making the false report (but not the threats), and received a lifetime ban from not just our restaurant, but the entire mall where our restaurant was located.
I felt bad. Not for the Karen, but for her son. He has to live with that…
24. A Watery Chuckle
I work in a large airport at a small convenience store on one of the busiest concourses. I hear it all, especially about our prices. Although we try to keep our margins as low as possible, we still have to pay our rent as a business, and it’s about $14k a month. One day, I had an older woman come in and set down an expensive brand of water that was priced around $5.15 after tax.
I knew that she was going to say something about it, so I prepared myself mentally. Indeed, she did say something, and it threw me for a loop. She asked me, “Wanna know something funny”? I said that I did. She said, “This same water in another airport is $2.50″. I stared blankly at her for a solid 10 seconds. Finally, I said, “I think I missed the joke”.
She then proceeded to insult me, but she still purchased the water before leaving in a huff. Best day I’ve had in a while.
25. Bare Bones Diet
A trio of ladies ordered a pork sandwich and two cheeseburgers. It sounded like a normal order, but it wasn’t.
They were on the Atkins diet, so they wanted no buns, no cheese, and no toppings of any sort. So, I brought out three plates, two with just patties and one with a pile of pork. Then they asked, “What is this? This is NOT what I ordered”!
I said, “Well, ma’am, that’s a pork sandwich minus the onions, coleslaw, cheese, bun, and fries”. I’m not really sure what they were expecting.
26. They All Scream For Ice Cream
I used to work at a zoo snack bar. We had some of those ice cream carts that had wheels, and we would roll them out to different areas of the park, then stay there for the remainder of the day. One day, I was stationed at the “playground,” which was one of the worst places to be.
Children at that location would run rampant throughout the park while their parents sat around on benches, chatting with friends or just not paying attention to what their children were doing. I would have hundreds of kids come up to me on a daily basis and BEG for ice cream, but of course, I couldn’t just give it to them.
I’d always ask if they had any money, and they never did. I would then tell them to go ask their parents for some money if they wanted ice cream. On this one particular day, it was exceptionally hot. One kid had a full-out temper tantrum when I told him I couldn’t just give him ice cream.
He was on the floor crying and screaming, and I just continued to help other customers around his howling body that was sprawled on the ground. The brat finally pulled himself together and went to find his mother. About 15 minutes later, Bratty and his mom strolled over to the cart.
The child was sniffling and happy that he persuaded his mother to get him ice cream. They started checking out the selections. We had about 15 different ice cream options, all with prices clearly marked. The kid picked out the most expensive option, and the mom was like, “Whatever you want, sweet baby”.
I handed her the ice cream, and she unwrapped it and handed it to him. He immediately started drooling and slobbering all over it. It was a day that was hot, so it started melting quickly. She asked me how much it was, and I told her, gesturing toward the clearly marked sign. She freaked out.
She started screaming at me about how she was not paying that much. I was just like, “Sorry, ma’am, there’s nothing I can do. He already started eating it”. She started flipping out at me and finally gave me the money, all in change, mostly pennies and nickels. Oh, but it got worse after she asked for napkins.
The park wouldn’t let us hand out napkins because too many people litter, and the amount that it cost daily to clean up all the napkins in the park was too much for the park to afford, or so they said. I politely explained why we didn’t have napkins and apologized for the inconvenience.
This woman went bananas. She grabbed the now disgusting drippy ice cream from her son’s mouth—who started another temper tantrum—this time with better reason—threw it at me, reached into my tip jar, and pulled out the money. She stomped away with her crying son.
I had to try and wipe the ice cream off my shirt using leaves from a nearby tree and was forced to sit at my stand for the rest of the day, unable to do anything about it.
27. Do You Know Who I Am?
I used to work in a call center and I had plenty of Karens who wanted to talk to someone above me because they thought the world existed to cater to them. I always went back into their account to review the notes to see what was done.
9 out of 10 times they were given whatever they wanted even if it wasn’t justified. It was so stupid—enabling these people’s behavior is what gets them feeling so entitled in the first place. I once told a woman if she didn’t pay for her services, after 60 days they’d be interrupted. Her response took me aback.
She responded with: “Excuse me? I’m a valued customer and that is not how I will be treated”. or something to that effect. Absolutely ridiculous.
28. A Customized Experience
A customer showed me a ring and asked me about it. I told her that it was a sterling silver lotus ring. The customer then proceeded to show me that it did not fit her. As she wedged it halfway down her finger, she said, “But it does not fit me, see”? Did I look like a jeweler who could resize rings on the spot? No. So I explained to her that we had only one piece of that design left.
A while later, the same lady asked if the artist was local. I said that I wasn’t certain that she was from the city, but that all the artists represented in the shop were American. That meant that if she wasn’t from our state, then she was from another state. Then the lady said, “Well, duh. If she’s not from here then she’s from somewhere else”. Sigh.
I wanted to eye roll since that was my standard response whenever someone asked about local artists, and I had never gotten such a sour reply before. Most people just wanted to confirm that the thing was at least made in America if not locally. And then she asked me which way her husband had left, so I just pointed to the only exit and said, “That’s the only way out”.
29. She Was Left Crushed
I was working at Dairy Queen, and I would make some darn good Blizzards. This lady came through the drive-thru screaming that she wanted a small Oreo Blizzard. No big deal. When I handed it out, she jabbed at it with her spoon and looked at it like it was a deceased mouse.
She stated, “The Oreos are too pulverized. I want another”. The Oreos come pre-shredded, but whatever. They cost us $0.25 to make, so I made her another one. I mixed it for about half a second, leaving massive chunks of Oreo on top, barely mixed in. I handed it to her, and she said it looked perfect.
Her ulterior motive was that she wanted the “mistake” for free. She asked, “Well, what are you going to do with that other one? Can I have it since you can’t give it to another customer”? I just smiled. I was going to enjoy this. I said, “I’m sorry, the Oreos are too pulverized,” and threw it away right in front of her.
30. She Lost Her Nuggets
Before I was a chef, one year, I worked at a state fair at an “Orient Express” booth. A woman ordered a plate of sweet and sour chicken. About ten minutes later, she came back with every fried chicken chunk broken open, with the chicken consumed, and demanded a refund. She claimed there was no chicken in the breading.
31. It’s Never Enough
Oh heck yeah. Buckle up. I worked as a manager at a chain BBQ restaurant which we will call Popular Charlie’s. There was this lady who we called “Nacho Lady”—I’ll get into why. She was that kind of overweight, holistic living, essential oil, serviceman’s wife. The kind of person who talks to her two-year-old daughter like a coherent adult because she’s going to change the world”.
She had all the “Karen” aesthetics to match. We all dreaded her when she came in. We call her Nacho Lady because whenever she comes by, she orders our nachos at our takeout area. No big deal. But she would want everything on the side. Again, no big deal in most situations because I understand that nachos get soggy really easily, especially to-go.
But what some people don’t like or understand is seeing the actual proportions for everything. Two ounces of anything really isn’t that much. That goes for the cheese, chili, beans, nacho sauce, and all the works. Even though it is all proportioned equally, the customer doesn’t like what they see, and that’s when the backlash happens. The Karen moment started happening.
She didn’t like the actual proportions and demanded more, but refused to pay for it. Our takeout specialists were good at standing up for themselves and the rules.
Of course, she didn’t accept it, so she had to speak to a manager. Myself or two others depending on the day. She would also order two kids’ meals, pork sandwiches, and fries. Again, no big deal, but she was very particular about this one as well.
The pork had to be dry (no BBQ sauce) in a separate container. Kids’ buns toasted, which we don’t usually do. The fries had to be dropped off as soon as she walks in the door so they are crispy and fresh for when she takes them all the way home.
Because of her extreme specifications, it got to the point where only a manager was allowed to take her order and only a manager could review the order with her. This was always the most nerve-wracking part because she would sit down at our waiting table in the takeout area, open every single box and inspect everything.
Also, the way she went about was very…Karen. This is when all the issues would happen. The fries were never hot and fresh and crispy enough, and I sent them back to get new ones. There wasn’t enough of portioned pork for the kid’s sandwich, and she demanded more. There was not enough cheese sauce and shredded cheese, and she demanded more. There were not enough tortilla chips, and you know the rest.
The list went on. And to top it all off, she somehow got a hold of a ton of “free kid’s meal” coupons that were blank—meaning no manager signature, dates, or any sort of validation that she got it legitimately. A coupon is…no big deal…but a typical coupon can only be used one at a time with one transaction.
Only, a Karen being a Karen, she demanded we used two out of the giant stack so she gets her kids’ meals for free. This got to the point where things had to be run by the General Manager. Even if it means calling him on his day off. He was a bit of a wimp and always allowed it, but then she started costing us money.
It wasn’t feasible for her to keep coming back and having her as a customer because 9 times out of 10, we would end up having to send stuff back to the kitchen. A lot of waste. My other manager, Billy, was a fierce woman who never let anyone walk over her, she was awesome. She finally stepped up and made a call over the General Manager’s order and 86ed her.
When that moment came, we all huddled in the office and watched the security cameras as Billy ripped her a new one. That was an unforgettable day. I left and got out of the restaurant industry and management because of how horrible that field can be, but I do love that I have a “Karen” story from it.
32. They Are All This Together
I work for a grocery store that only sells all-natural foods. That means no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors, and such, as well as any items with certain ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup. We have an internal list of ingredients that products cannot contain and even have had to cease carrying some top-selling products after reformulation introduces one or more of them.
Being the type of store that we are, we get people from all over the political spectrum and quite a few on the extreme fringes. This is about a guy who came to our store multiple times. I will refer to him as Mr. Q since I do not even know his name. Mr. Q was a semi-regular customer since before my employment. My first experience with him was indirect.
I was overseeing the front-end and placing some orders with vendors. He went through the line of one of my cashiers, Melissa. Unfortunately for her, Melissa did not have anyone else in her line, so the guy stood there yakking her ear off. Then I heard that chilling phrase. I do not recall what the full sentence was, but he said the magic words: “QAnon”.
This immediately made my ears perk up. He could have been someone more on the left, making fun of the QAnon thing or he could be a believer. Once I knew that he was spouting off right-wing conspiracy theories, I told one of the other managers that I was going to go rescue Melissa who was just smiling and nodding.
This involved getting myself to a phone out of sight and then paging the staff member to the loading dock so they could hide for a few minutes. This particular incident happened pre-pandemic, so the store’s general manager was still there. As I used the phone right outside his office, I got an odd look from him, until I told him, “Crazy at her lane”. He does not suffer fools, so he just chuckled.
This visit was done with. Then, after the pandemic started, my store adopted the policy of “masks must be worn, but if you claim a ‘condition,’ then you don’t have to wear one”. This annoyed us because we had so many liars. Mr. Q, of course, was one of those. He was relatively quiet until he checked out. At the exit door, he stopped and turned around.
Then, he started loudly proclaiming how the whole pandemic was a hoax because otherwise “people would be dropped like flies in the streets”! We just rolled our eyes at him and he left quietly, thus, ending that visit. Then came the third and final visit. This happened after our store had decided to go to a “mask-mandatory” policy without the medical exemption.
We got battle-hardened by this since we had to fend off people screaming about how it was against the law and how they were going to sue us, etc. That’s when Mr. Q came in, and things started to get interesting. One of the other managers, Aaron, spotted him but he was occupied with a customer, so he alerted me. He also said, “That guy is a fool, so good luck”.
Our strategy for dealing with people without masks was to just grab the box of the complimentary ones we offered, approach the person, and ask them if they needed a mask. Most of the time, by then, it was people who simply forgot to put one on…but that wasn’t the case with Mr. Q. Our conversation went like this:
I asked him, “Hi! Did you need a mask today”? He simply replied, “I have a medical condition”. I clarified, “Sorry, but we still need you to wear a mask to be inside the store. We do offer curbside shopping though. But, since you have a list, we would be more than happy to shop for you and then take payment and bring the bags out to your car”.
He, of course, became annoyed and said, “Are you aware of the United States Constitution? Do you know you are violating my rights”? I stood my ground and said, “Sorry, sir, but this is private property and we do require a mask”. By this time, Aaron had finished with his customer, so he came over to back me up and said, “Yes. We are not a government entity”.
That’s when Mr. Q did the unthinkable—he proceeded to dramatically say that he felt sick, then he fake coughed on Aaron and me. So, of course, All semblance of “customer service” and “courtesy” went out the window at that point, and Aaron said, “You need to leave now. You are no longer welcome here”. Mr. Q took that as an invitation to go on a random rant about his rights.
So, Aaron told me to call the authorities. Mr. Q then went on another tangent and said, “You guys are poisoning people with the products you sell! What do you have to say for yourselves! I know my rights”! In the meantime, I went over to the phone and started dialing. By that point, we had called them so many times that we knew half the department by name.
Now, Mr. Q realized what I was doing, so he wisely abandoned his cart and left the store. Aaron pulled out his phone, started filming, and followed the guy out. Mr. Q then spent the next five minutes pacing our parking lot, screaming at Aaron. It was truly unhinged. His rants alternated between us poisoning people and targeting Michelle Obama.
Aaron repeated to Mr. Q that he needed to leave and that he was now banned from the store. Then, when he saw Aaron was filming him, he started yelling about how Aaron must be like Michelle Obama too. Thankfully, he just kept pacing. I joined Aaron outside after calling the authorities and getting one of the back-end managers to come up front to watch over the cashiers.
Unfortunately, he left before the authorities arrived. And since he did not buy anything, we did not have his full name to give to them. After showing the general manager the video, we got the verdict that Mr. Q was banned from thereon. That means that the next time he shows up, we call the authorities immediately and then tell the guy he is banned, in front of them.
This would allow them to arrest him on subsequent visits. He wisely has not shown up since then.
33. We Cooked The Cluck Out Of It
We sent out an order of grilled chicken that a customer had requested. We made sure it was well done as they wanted, so we left the chicken on for a little bit extra before sending it out. The customer sent it back, saying it was uncooked. We were all confused, but we were going to make sure it was cooked this time.
The chicken got thrown in the microwave for a minute, then back on the grill for another few minutes. The meal was then sent out again. Meanwhile, everyone had the vibe that this customer was searching for a free meal. The customer sent it back again for a second time, stating that the chicken was still raw.
All the line cooks were mad at that point, as the chicken couldn’t get any more cooked without being burnt. Still, they weren’t about to give this lady a free meal. We ended up cutting it into cubes, per our manager’s order. We microwaved it for a few minutes and grilled it again for even longer.
The customer still complained but ended up eating this disgusting chicken. The chicken, at that point, must have been like eating warm sawdust.
34. Left In A Stew
I owned a restaurant. I had a table of three come in and order a fish stew. It would take 45 minutes to make one because it was all made on the spot; it said so on the menu. I also always made a point of saying, “That’s gonna take at least 40 minutes to make, are you willing to wait that long”?
The customers said they were sure that they wanted the fish stew. I transmitted the order to the kitchen, gave them some bread, tuna fish paste, and stuff to get them going, and got them their drinks. Fifteen minutes after I left, the lady waved me over and asked if the fish stew was going to take much longer.
I told her it would be at least another 25 minutes. She asked if there was any way of making it cook faster; there wasn’t. She said other places that she knows never take that long for their fish stew and started spewing names of well-known restaurants in Lisbon.
I told her I understood but that there was nothing I could do and that I did ask them if they were willing to wait. She told me it was a disgrace and that we should be ashamed of our service, then asked for more vino. When the fish stew was finally ready, I brought it over and asked them if they needed anything else.
They told me they didn’t, and I promptly took off to tend to other tables. Five minutes later, I came back to check if they liked it and if they needed anything else. They said everything was OK. I went away again, and about five minutes after that, they waved me over again and told me there were two flies in their stew.
I looked over, and there were, in fact, two lifeless flies in their stew. It was an odd occurrence because my mother ran the kitchen, and she was a hygiene maniac. I apologized profusely, of course, and asked her if she wanted the complaints book or if she’d like to order something else.
She said she’d like the complaints book and to talk to the manager. I was the owner, so I put up with her, apologized, and told her that, of course, there would be no charge. She filled out her complaint in the complaint book and went to the bathroom.
As I was clearing her table, I made an infuriating discovery. I found a Ziploc bag with three deceased flies beneath her chair.
I waited until she came back from the bathroom and said, “I found this near your chair. If you ever come back to this restaurant again, we will not serve you. In fact, I will spread the word about you, and there is no place in this area where you will get away with this trick again. Now [get out]”.
She went away, saying that it wasn’t hers and that she was going to call the health inspectors to come and shut us down. I got a picture of her from the security camera footage and sent it around to other restaurant owners in the area.
35. A Bunch Of Suck Ups
I work at a vacuum repair shop. People don’t pay attention to their vacuum cleaners as much as you’d think. I can’t tell you how many times someone comes to pick up their vacuum and says “Oh this one isn’t mine” or “Mine didn’t have scratches down the side”.
I’d always reply: “I can tell you it is, and it came in with all those scratches on the side”. After the first two times it happened to me, we started taking pictures of the unit with serial numbers and customer information. We’d send them home with the serial number and require them to bring it back for pick up. We thought that would fix everything—but we were wrong.
Despite the evidence, I’ve had a lady close to tears because we didn’t have her vacuum. Even with the pictures, we had of it at drop off, her information, and the matching serial numbers, she wasn’t buying it. Sure, it’s a big conspiracy and we just love taking in vacuums and switching all the information around because it’s fun. People need to pay more attention.
36. A Red Flag
We have one of those self-serve lottery machines. Do you play numbers? Mega Millions? Scratch-Offs? You can do it all here at this machine. Except this one grown woman who, I swear, was deliberately just not listening despite saying repeatedly that she did not know what she was doing. I still persevered and tried to explain the process to her.
I said, “OK, so right in the middle of the screen are three big blue boxes. Touch the middle one”. The lady touched the Powerball button, which was on the far left, on a row of four boxes. I tried to correct her by saying, “No—that’s Powerball. You need to hit the red rectangle at the top right of that window where it says ‘Close’ to close this”.
She proceeded to touch the little tiny red button by the quantity bar. I repeated that she had to touch the box with the word ‘Close’ in it, but she was not listening. Of course, stared intently at the bottom of the screen where there was literally no red at all. This back and forth went on for a good twenty minutes. Somebody just end my misery for me.
37. A Tuna Travesty
I was a line cook in a fairly upscale seafood restaurant. Once in the middle of a busy Saturday dinner rush, we got an order for an ahi tuna tartare. The way we plated our tartare was pretty elaborate and took a good seven minutes to create. I happened to be tasked with building the tartare that day. I sent it out, and it was beautiful.
There were wasabi and sriracha aioli designs surrounding the slices of cucumber, and seaweed salad and ginger piled around the perfectly stacked raw tuna marinated in ponzu and eel sauce.
I sent it out the window, and it came back almost immediately. The reason why shook me. The lady who had ordered it “doesn’t do raw fish”. She requested we sauté the fish and rebuild the plate for her with a gross pile of well-done cooked tuna chunks slopped in the middle.
38. Stuff It Lady
I worked at a restaurant where we offered a grilled two-pound lobster for $60. It was hefty enough, but you could also get it stuffed with crab meat and bread crumbs for an additional $10. So, a woman at my table inquired about the additional price and said, “Ah, well, I’d love to get the stuffing, but I’m not going to run up the bill that much”.
I told her I completely understood, smiled, and ordered the basic grilled lobster. As it turned out, the kitchen made a mistake and prepared the lobster with the additional stuffing anyways. I brought it down to her and explained to her that there would be NO additional charge since it was the kitchen’s mistake, and to enjoy it! BIG MISTAKE.
She ate the ENTIRE lobster and then waved me over and said, “Yeahhh, I know this had the stuffing and everything, but that’s just not what I ordered, and I’d like them to remake it for me. I’m just not very full because it was mostly bread crumbs”.
I told her politely that it was exactly the same amount of meat, just with bread crumbs and crab added. Then, she said that it seemed like we had removed a lot of the lobster to fill it with bread crumbs. At that point, my manager came over and assured her this was not the case. Still, she demanded that we make her another.
She started making a real fuss about how “this wasn’t what she ordered” and that the enhanced version of the dish left her hungry. Needless to say, the kitchen was mad. We remade it, didn’t charge her for the second one, and even tried to comp her dessert to keep her happy. But that wasn’t the worst part.
After all that, she stiffed me on a $140 tab, making sure to write on the bill, “the service was HORRIBLE” because I think she picked up on our disgust at her lack of tact.
39. Having Her Cake And Eating It Too
I used to work part-time at a bakery inside a grocery store. I dealt with my fair share of Karens during this time. Just to paint this picture of how it would work, we had a binder with laminated copies of about 100 different designs the decorators did regularly.
A customer would look through the book, pick a design they wanted, and fill me in on the details of when they wanted it, what size, what flavor, if any color changes were necessary, etc. Our decorators would come in at 7 AM and stay for however long it took to complete their orders.
So usually, they were gone by early- to mid-afternoon. The bakery closed along with the store at 9 PM. One day, maybe around 8:15 or 8:20 pm, a woman comes in and says she needs a cake. I figure she’s referring to the cakes sitting in our cooler, which we keep at the ready in case anybody just wants something quick and simple.
So I motion to the cooler and ask her if she sees anything she likes. Then it starts—every retail worker’s nightmare. Apparently, I’m a brilliant comedian because she starts laughing, and goes, “No, sweetie, I need a wedding cake”. Alright, no big deal. I grab an order form and take down her information, and then ask what day she needs it.
Mind you, the store was closing in ~40 minutes, so even if I could decorate a cake, I wouldn’t be able to help her. I tell her that there are no decorators present at the moment, but I could make sure it was ready for her first thing the next morning. She’s clearly upset by this but says that’d be fine.
I continue taking her order and ask her what size she’d like. Our bakery was not an upscale joint, and our prices reflect that; just about everything comes in frozen. Our cakes come in a variety of predetermined sizes.
She pulls out her phone and thrusts it in my face, saying “Whatever that is”. When I saw the screen, I nearly burst out laughing. On the screen is a very beautiful cake. Smooth white frosting, 7-8 tiers, decorations made in fondant, and blown sugar.
Before I even continue taking the order and dash her hopes when she sees the finished product, I tell her that that just wouldn’t be possible. I didn’t mean to offend our decorators, but I told her the truth; most of them were exceptionally gifted home bakers who didn’t have formal training in terms of a culinary program or decorating school.
I then politely refer her to a more upscale bakery that I knew of that was more equipped to help her than we were. Then the dreaded six words came. “Can I speak to your manager”? At this point in time, I had been working at that bakery for a little over a year, so I was capable enough to close the department on my own.
As such, I was the only one there. I told her this but offered to leave a note with the customer’s name and number so my manager could call her tomorrow. “Fine then. Let me talk to a store manager”. There were anywhere between 1-3 store managers who oversaw the entire grocery store and all its departments on staff a night.
So I go to our phone and page a store manager over to the bakery department. The whole time we’re waiting, she’s staring daggers into me. A manager I was fairly friendly with came to the counter in a few minutes and asked what the problem was.
I briefed her before she went to talk to the customer. The second we get over there, the customer starts spewing lies about me, saying I was rude and refusing to help her. I tried to defend myself, but the manager just told me to keep doing my closing work out back.
10 minutes later she comes back, shaking her head and rubbing her temples. “That witch was crazy”. The customer service industry is a blast.
40. A Ban Challenge
Today, a guy bought something at my checkout. After paying, he went, “Actually, I am banned here. What do we do now”? I stared at him for a solid second, my brain probably making the Windows XP shutdown sound. I was shocked by his audacity, to not only come again after being banned but also telling me about it, after buying something.
I asked my supervisor, who sighed, saying that he got lucky in that case and that I should tell him to take his things and leave. But that wasn’t enough for him. He started provoking me, saying, “And what about the next time, huh”? I explained that I wasn’t authorized to decide about the duration of his ban and that, in case of doubt, he just shouldn’t come again.
He still went on, now outright harassing me, “Yeah, what do you want to do? Do you want to call the authorities? Huh? Huh”? At this point, I was about to cry, because he just kept harassing me and I didn’t know what else to tell him. Then a lady in line stood up for me, telling him to leave me alone because he was making me nervous”.
Yeah, I can see you’re shaking. I wonder why,” he blurted out. I was, in fact, shaking because it took all my strength not to cry in front of everyone. After telling the lady to mind her business and being rude to her too for a bit, he finally left. My heart goes out to the lady, who was third in line, and told me, “Honey, don’t ever let a man talk you down like that! Always remember: Big ego equals small elsewhere”! That really lifted my spirits!
41. Mussel Madness
A horrible woman came in and ordered mussels. After my friend brought their plate out, the woman claimed that the kitchen took the meat out of the shells. My friend tried to explain that live mussels are placed in the pan, so it is not possible that there are more shells than meat pieces.
The woman then spread out the shells and meat on the tablecloth to prove her point. She discovered that she was wrong and stormed out. The awkward part was that the woman was at a table with three other friends who were mortified and paid for the meal leaving a HUGE tip.
42. A Few Sandwiches Short Of A Picnic
I used to work for a sandwich restaurant where you filled out your order on a paper bag and wrote your name on it. When it was done, we would call out your name, and you would come to pick it up. The sandwich-making process took about five minutes, so most people would go and fill up their drinks and sit down to wait, but some entitled folks did not do this.
They would come in, order, walk to the end of the prep line, and just grab the sandwiches that were there as the actual owners of those sandwiches were approaching. Then, they would sit down and begin to eat them.
The sandwich thieves would then get very flustered that the sandwich was nothing like they ordered and push angrily to the front of the line to yell and complain. Meanwhile, the people whose sandwiches had been taken would begin to do the same.
We would have to make a ton of replacement sandwiches because a group of idiots didn’t understand the concept that if they didn’t fill out the bag for that sandwich, and if their name wasn’t on it, it’s not theirs.
43. Thirsting For A Fight
I work as a server part-time. About a month ago, I had a table consisting of a mother, a father, and their son who was around 10. They seemed like a normal family at first—but the whole experience turned sour very quickly.
After I put their order in and got them drinks, I had to visit my three other tables that were sat a couple of minutes before. I took about five minutes, introducing myself to a party of 10 and getting their orders. Then I walked over to “Karen” from the first family because she was waving at me.
She told me that they needed more water. The cup was still half full, but I told her I would bring it as soon as I could. I then went to my other two tables and got their orders…And that’s when it happened. All of a sudden, I heard the Karen screaming at a boy who worked in carryout. I went over and see what was wrong. She was upset because I didn’t get her the water immediately and she then started screaming at me. I ran back and got her a whole pitcher of water because she was clearly thirsty.
She proceeded to scream at me because I didn’t get her a son a refill of Sprite even though they didn’t ask (and his cup was 3/4 of the way full). I apologized and went to get the Sprite while alerting my manager of the issue.
While I was getting another Sprite, her husband got up and started cursing in my manager’s face, about three inches from her. Here’s the worst part—they didn’t stop yelling and complaining, so my other manager gave them their meal for free and a gift card.
Mind you, this was all over WATER. It took about three minutes after I told them I’d get them water for them to start going insane. I ended up apologizing to my other tables for the disturbance, but they were very understanding and apologized on behalf of the psychotic family.
I couldn’t help but wonder what happens to their son when he doesn’t do exactly what they want.
44. Being Extra
I love the Karens who seem to think extra food is free. You’re not going to go anywhere and get extra meat or queso guacamole for free. I had a couple come in and they got a salad. They asked for extra meat, then queso, then even more queso.
I told them they would be charged for each scoop. She flipped out. She started cussing at me about how it’s wrong and she shouldn’t have to pay for more than one, why must we be so expensive because the other location does not do this? But I had the perfect reply.
I gave her a big smile and let her know I am the general manager of that store, so I knew she did not get that treatment there. Sorry, extra food is not free. She then started screaming for a corporate number and the store owner.
I told her I couldn’t give out people’s private numbers and told her to leave. She is now banned from both stores. She did put in a complaint…but guess who sees them and makes return calls? Me. She hung up on me when I called.
45. Like Money In Your Pocket
I used to work for Kohls. While there, I had one customer come to the service desk with her receipt, saying that the cashier did not take off her 30% coupon. Usually, this is an easy enough fix, but when I looked at her receipt, the total was $0.00. She had already used Kohl’s cash to cover the whole thing. I told her the computer system takes the dollar off coupons first.
It is only afterward that it will then take the percentage off. This is how it works, irrespective of the order in which you scan them. Since her Kohl’s cash took care of the total, I told her that the system couldn’t take 30% off of $0.00. Apparently, she didn’t like that…not one bit. She then started yelling at me and telling me that I was stealing money from her.
I explained to her that Kohl’s cash is just a coupon we give to customers and not actual money. She then told me that she wouldn’t be shopping at Kohl’s again, and she threw her 30% coupon at me before leaving.
46. Trim The Fat
I had a guy eat his entire 14-ounce prime rib, except for the fat. He had made a pile of the fat on his plate and asked me to weigh it so he could have a pro-rated refund equivalent to the weight of the fatty bits. Roasted prime rib contains a ring of fat in the middle and is often served with some fat at the tip.
People usually enjoy eating the fat with the meat. By itself, the fat probably didn’t weigh much, but after the guy had ravaged his plate, the pile of disembodied fat resembled a neat stack of biological debris.
47. Burrito Bust
I was the assistant manager at a burrito place. During our annual town festival, it got packed. There were 30 chairs in the place, and there would easily be twice as many people waiting for meals; the line would run out of the door.
One day, it was so busy that we were just yelling for names, handing people their orders, and politely explaining that we were breaking the fire code and we needed the customers to head outside to the festival tables. We had a guy complain about the wait, and our cashier told him we were working on it.
He got his order and immediately asked for it to be remade. He said with the wait, he knew his food was cold. So, we made it a priority and rushed it out in a few seconds. He then went to stand in the window and eat. I don’t have time to argue with him. I started fuming when I saw him coming back to the cash.
He started complaining about how he wanted another burrito because the one he had was wrong. He wouldn’t tell me how or why it was wrong, it was just wrong. The owner came flying out of the kitchen, pulled the register open, and pulled out $20.
He walked over, pulled the half-eaten $7 burrito out of the guy’s hands, handed him the bill, and told him to get out. It was pretty nice. That day I learned that if you are a big enough problem, my boss would literally pay you to go away.
48. Cold Cash
I’m not a manager, just a guy who doesn’t put up with stuff. When I was working at the movie theater, I had a woman come in wanting like four movie tickets, which was like $26 or something at the time, and she dumped out a bag of change that wasn’t rolled up or pre-counted.
I asked her if it was counted and she said no. I told her I’m not counting it and that she can step to the side and count it out herself. She threw a fit, saying I had to do it for her. I told her I don’t. That goes back and forth for a minute until she gives out her famous line: “I wanna speak to the manager”.
I just said “no”. She kept demanding and I kept saying no. My manager finally came out because she could hear the woman screaming. She asked what happened and the woman said that I was the rudest employee ever. My manager looked at me and just said, “We are not obligated to count out that large an amount of loose change”.
After she left, the woman kept yelling and I finally told her to go or I’ll gladly call the authorities. I wasn’t actually going to, but it usually scares people straight. She scoffed at me and told me I needed to bag up her money for her. I just told her to have a nice day.
49. A Magical Appearance
Hoo boy. This brings me back. So, when I was a younger man, I was an assistant manager at Blockbuster Video. For you young’uns out there, before Netflix you would have to go to this place called a video rental store and actually pay money to rent a movie. Once upon a time, they even came on these boxy things called VHS tapes.
So, one day I was working an evening shift, and the phone rang. This woman I’ll call Karen was on the other end. She said she got a call earlier in the day about some videos being overdue. She was absolutely livid. I brought up her account on our computer and sure enough, three movies were still out and were due back a week before.
She went ballistic; absolutely screeching at me over the phone that her daughter rented those movies for a sleepover and had returned them. I checked the return bin, but nothing. I even walked out to the floor and check the copies on the shelf to see if maybe it was them. No dice.
Finally, she just screamed at me, accusing me of trying to rip her off. She said she was going to tell her husband, who was an attorney, and he’d sue us all out of existence. I went about the rest of my shift—but I had no idea what was coming. Lo and behold, about an hour later this woman came marching in.
She came right up to the counter and slammed a stack of three VHS tapes on the counter before us, yelling some profanity at the poor clerk. I had witnessed this from the other end when I was checking in returned movies. I looked at the stack of movies and sure enough, they were the ones her daughter had rented and “returned”. But it wasn’t over.
The next day I was also working there and this man in a suit came in. Real friendly guy who asked to speak to management. I walked over to chat with him, and he told me that he was the lawyer. He wanted to apologize for his wife’s behavior. I kid you not, he actually said, “We’re trying to get her under control. The doctor just prescribed her Xanax”.
50. It’s Never Enough
I was eating at a cheap, greasy-spoon kind of diner that has been around since the ’50s. All the meat is frozen, and pretty much nothing but the coffee and eggs are made fresh. You know what you’re getting when you come to this place.
A couple comes in with their two young boys, about six or seven. The mom makes a minor scene about not wanting a booth, but a table. There is an entire wall of booths and multiple tables, but she specifically wants the one in the middle of the room that needs to be bussed since the people that were using it JUST left.
She makes a scene about having to wait for the one busboy handling the entire section to take care of it, even when the manager went and got him to take care of it immediately. At this point, I’m not paying too much attention, but they’re sitting literally right next to us.
They order appetizers, steak, shakes for the kids, etc. Their waitress is handling several other tables at the same time—like a third of the floor—and serves some coffee and sliced pie to an elderly couple that came in after the family. Big mistake. Karen throws an absolute hissy fit because “WE WERE HERE FIRST, HOW COME THEY’RE GETTING THEIR ORDERS FIRST”?!
The manager comes back out and explains in the most placid tones possible that multiple fried goods and a steak take time to cook, but hot coffee is available all day, and sliced pie is on a display up front so there’s no prep time. Karen calms down, but still fumes.
She doesn’t allow the boys to get their food (they had a buffet option) until she and the dad’s food comes to the table. Once the adult food arrives, Karen just starts tucking in; both boys are just tall enough to see over the edge of the buffet, but not nearly enough to reach tongs or reasonably serve themselves.
A waitress from another section sees them struggling and comes over to help, asking what they want on their plates. Another huge mistake. Karen FLIES to her feet and makes a BIG scene, this time about “How dare you tell my kids what they can and cannot eat! Who do you think you are handling their food”?!
Cue the manager coming out again. The waitress is an older woman, we’re talking white hair, and is nearly in tears thinking that she has done something terrible. The manager asks her to go chill in the back a bit while she smooths things over with Karen. Karen now demands balloons (they had them as a special birthday thing) for the kids.
They get balloons, and Karen calms down. The husband and kids are pretty quiet throughout this. The kids seem visibly embarrassed, and the husband is acting like this is pretty normal. The husband’s steak comes out last. He’s unenthusiastic about it, and Karen calls for the manager A FOURTH TIME to chew her out over the steak being overdone, dry, etc.
They send it back and demand another. Then a third. Let me reiterate; this is a place you go for like, greasy burgers and fries, fish and chips. Steak is on the menu, but realistic expectations and reason mean you’re not expecting high quality. You’re getting what you pay for.
The manager just kept calm and kept apologizing for their “sub-optimal experience”, but beyond filling minor low-cost demands (for example, the balloons) didn’t offer up much. When Karen basically shouted that they would never be coming back, the manager was just like “Sorry to hear that, have a nice night”. An absolute pro.
51. Listening In
I have been working throughout COVID in a supermarket. A few months ago, I found out that I have permanent hearing damage and hearing loss from an illness I had from January to February. I am currently in the early stages of an audiology referral and my employer has been really helpful. They are making sure that I can still work in the same roles as before with the same level of confidence.
One day, a customer arrived at the till who, for some reason, misinterpreted one of the offers that we run. Essentially, she wanted the discount but did not want one of the items required for the discount to go through. She did not realize that I have to scan everything and, therefore, charge her for the extra item in question so that she could get the discount.
I processed the transaction in this way but not without her raising her voice and attempting to grab the item that she didn’t want out of my hands. At that point, I was quite confused. I could hear parts of this customer’s sentences, but she was speaking very quickly and I did not understand why she was getting so incredibly agitated over some frozen peas. Around this time, she also started to badmouth all of my colleagues and myself, saying that we “shouldn’t work here if we don’t know what offers are on in the store”.
She also said that the staff members “know nothing,” implying that I was the one who should lose my job because of her adamant misreading of an offer. Through this, I finally understood why exactly she was so angry. So, I asked one of my colleagues to come to the tills in order to assist the customer.
She did not want to engage with me, nor was she capable of having a civilized conversation at that point. My colleague arrived and I began to serve the other customers waiting while the woman went on to my colleague about how I was “incompetent” and “useless”. But that’s not the worst thing she said—she repeatedly stated that I “wasn’t listening” to her, even though I had given her my full attention.
The repeated emphasis this woman put on me not “listening” really hit a nerve. The last thing that I wanted after going through the wringer with various illnesses for the past seven months was to be told that I was losing my hearing. It was permanent, and it was not something that could be fixed in the same way as the previous illnesses.
I have to work a lot harder on the tills due to the aforementioned hearing loss and as much as I try to not care and ignore it, this was just too much for me to handle at the moment. I started to cry in the middle of a transaction while this woman thoroughly berated me for something that I had absolutely no control over.
Somehow, I managed to pass it off as hay fever which I don’t think anyone believed. Eventually, it clicked into place for the customer that she was incorrect, and she very quickly went on her way after realizing that she had just completely humiliated herself in a store full of people. There was no apology made to any of my colleagues, or to myself and the other customers in the store.
I had been debating whether or not I needed to get a lanyard clearly stating I have a hearing loss, but it is still very early into the investigation process and I didn’t want to buy one before I had any thorough tests done on my ears. But this was the event that cemented that I absolutely needed to get one as soon as possible.
Regardless of my hearing loss, that kind of behavior is absolutely unacceptable and a completely different kind of demeaning. It was the most insulting reaction I have ever seen, and over a bag of frozen peas, no less. If she didn’t want them, we had a perfectly acceptable food bank to which they could be donated.
52. A Short Wick
I work at a candle store and this happened yesterday. An older woman came in—she was probably in her 80’s but still seemed to have her wits about her. Anyway, she was going on and on about needing a small gift for a guy who did some work in the building she lived in. I told her that we carried a line of skincare and bath products for men.
She scoffed and says that would be weird. So, I said, “How about a candle”? This was because, you know, I work at a candle store. Her response made me curl a fist. She basically said, in an angry voice, “I can’t give him a candle. He’s not gay”! I was trying very hard to bite my tongue and remind her that we have tons of male customers and even my straight boyfriend likes our candles.
She then had the nerve to say, “That’s good for him, but I cannot give the man a candle because he’s not gay”! At that point, I was over it and I walked away. My manager then stepped in because she has a lot more patience for ignorance than I do. After she left and we vented about her, my manager told me that the woman ended up buying a notebook that says, “Slay the day”.
53. An Adult Behaving Like A Child
I had dinner with a crazy family friend who refused to eat anything brought to the table. We were at an old country-style restaurant that didn’t have menus; you eat what they bring out. She insisted that they make her special portions of their traditional recipe dishes, prepared precisely how she wanted them.
She then went back to the kitchen to supervise that they were following her instructions exactly. She told us—with pride—that she had them remake her vegetables three times. I was 12, and it was my birthday dinner. I’ve never been so embarrassed. I asked the waiter to take me into the kitchen.
I told my folks that after she went back, I wanted to see the big kitchen. What I actually did was apologize to all the cooking and wait staff for my guest.
54. Get Out Of My Hair!
When I was younger, I was a cook for a really popular Denny’s. It was basically the cult spot to go to. At the time, I had bright pink hair. One day, when things were tapering down a bit, before the bar rush, my other cook for the shift took a break, leaving just me.
One of the waitresses came back saying that one of her customers had found a hair in her french toast. I saw the plate. Everything had been eaten aside from two little pieces, with a long black hair between them. I made her a new order of French toast, bacon, and hashbrowns and brought it back to the table.
As I put it down, I got my revenge. I told her, “Here is your remade order. I would like to point out that your waitress has short blond hair”. I removed my hat and said, “I have pink hair, and you have long black hair, conveniently the same color as the hair you found. Next time you want free food, go to a soup kitchen”.
I then went back to my line. My night manager and GM were both huge stoners at the time and thought the whole thing was hilarious.
55. Onto Bigger, Better Things
I was a manager at Little Caesar’s about 15 years ago. I’d typically work three or four closing shifts a week, and then one opening shift. Back then, they ran the $5 pizza thing, but it was typically only on Wednesdays.
Throughout the week, they usually ran “2 pizzas for X dollars” specials. This happened on one of those nights. A male Karen placed an order via phone, and then came to pick it up. I believe he ordered something like a “two pizza” deal, but then wanted bread and sauce when he got there.
Well…he didn’t have enough money for the bread and sauce. He only brought enough for the pizza. I told him that I’m sorry and that there was nothing I could do. He looked at me and said angrily, “My kids want that bread”. I repeated to him that there wasn’t really much I could do.
I couldn’t give away food without it being paid for, as I would get in trouble. Keep in mind, he was there while there were several other customers in the store. Had he been alone, I might have just handed it over. His reaction was otherworldly—He threw an absolute fit, called me several names, and then told me “This isn’t over”! and then he left with the pizzas that he paid for.
I found out the next day that he talked to the store manager, and he obviously fabricated quite a bit of the story. The manager then called me at home and screamed me out over the phone. Apparently, I belittled the guy for being “too poor” to afford bread for his kids and I embarrassed him in front of other customers.
In reality, I apologized probably three or four times, and just told him that I would be in trouble if I just start giving stuff away. That was far from all. She decided to write me up for a lack of customer service skills and ended up comping the guy an order of up to $40 to be used whenever he wanted.
He came in the very next day when both the store manager and I were working. I was nothing but pleasant to him even then, and I even apologized if there was a misunderstanding. He still acted like a jerk while I was taking his order. He threw in a few “the customer is always right” mentions and “the younger generation doesn’t know how to treat customers”.
Whatever, I’m glad the store manager was there that day—because I had a plan. I made his pizzas very well, then I tossed them, put them onto the oven conveyor, making a slight mess, and then told the store manager that I refuse to work there anymore, especially not for a “has-been who treats her employees like garbage”.
I walked out and told the guy to enjoy his pizza. I worked there for two years. I had a 9-5 manufacturing job a few days later at a small family-owned company right near home. I had no clue that some companies actually treated their employees like human beings until I worked there.
56. Nothing Comes For Free
I’m not in retail anymore, but I was managing a popular mid-range handbag store. Think “typical Karen bag”, about $200-400. Anyway, most customers were fantastic. This one woman, however, was this Shrek-looking large redheaded lady who stomped in and demanded that we repair her 20-year-old bag for FREE.
If we couldn’t do that, she demanded that we exchange this old ratty, smelly 20-year-old bag for a brand new one for her. Recently policy changes resulted in new prices for this service, but free repairs had about a one-year warranty on a new bag…not a 20-year-old one. I told her as such.
I was pretty young to have had the role I did, so she, dissatisfied with my answer, asked to speak to a manager. I told her I was the manager and she began turning as red as her hair. She screamed and yelled about how she’ll call corporate and never shop here again!
Well, that sounds like a real loss, losing a customer who is too cheap to repair a 20-year-old bag and hasn’t bought new from us in just as long. I give her my best customer service grin and say, “I’m so sorry, that’s just the policy”. She demanded the company’s number.
I gave her the customer service line that you can find on Google, unbeknownst to her. She huffed away, forgetting her keys on the counter. She’s halfway out and she remembered, turned around, red as a beet. She huffed in my smiling face and snatched the keys off the counter.
It was hilarious. She came back months later, worked with a different person on the team, and didn’t even look my way.
57. Sole Cost
I no longer work retail, but I used to work at an extremely discounted store, something like Marshalls, TJ Maxx, etc. This incident actually happened a few nights before my last day. We were about to close, and this lady came up to my register to check out. She handed me a pair of Michael Kors baby shoes and asked me how much they are.
I told her the price—$27—and she flipped! She retorted that the price could not be correct. I calmly said, “They are $27, ma’am. Did you still want them”? She replied, “I want them but not for that price”. She clearly wanted a discount. I had to clarify: “I’m sorry, ma’am, we don’t do discounts. We’re already an extremely discounted store”.
She said in disbelief, “$27 for baby shoes?! That’s crazy”. So, seeing her reluctance to pay that much, I assumed that she did not want to buy them anymore. Thus, I offered to put them back for her. She stopped me angrily, saying, “Uh hello? I said that I want them”! I acceded to that but firmly maintained my stance by saying, “OK, ma’am. They’re still going to be $27 though”.
She refused to believe me and asked me to check again. So, I flipped the computer screen around and showed her the price. At that moment, she did not know what to do because she was wrong, so she snapped at me to get my manager. The said manager came, confirmed the price, then left.
I thought that was the end of it, but no. Karen then said, “I just don’t understand why they are so much”? I tried to make her understand by saying, “Well, these are Michael Kors, one of the more expensive brands we carry here. If you were to buy these anywhere else then they’d be at least $100. You’re actually getting a pretty good deal”.
She still refused to budge and said, “I just don’t believe you. That’s not the real price. And you should know, I work for the Attorney General, and it would be a shame if you lost your job because you’re making up prices”. Still trying to maintain my cool, I replied, “There’s no benefit for me to lie to you”. She finally became quiet.
What was she thinking? Consider this, lady. I get paid $9 an hour to scan items. What on earth makes you think I make commission? If you want Michael Kors goods then you have to pay Michael Kors prices, even though this was already a bargain.
58. Salad Swindlers
I did a rather large takeout order for a family; it was around $65 to $75. They didn’t tip, which sucked, but it was takeout. They came back four days later with the salad—probably the cheapest thing in the order—and complained that it wasn’t fresh. It looked like they had left it sitting on the dashboard.
The bartender came and got me out of the kitchen. She was a sweet girl who didn’t really have the mean side you needed to deal with ripoffs. They wanted a full refund and gave me the receipt. They had used something to cut off the date and time I made their food.
I looked at the receipt, and I asked where the rest of the food was if they wanted a full refund. Before they could even answer, I told them that I had personally made their food four days ago and that they had already pulled a similar trick like this before. They denied it, but I just told them not to come back if they didn’t like my food.
59. Hiding Out Hooligans
I used to work at The Outback. There was a family who the wait staff knew well and their behavior was absolutely diabolical. At least twice in the past, they had ordered, eaten, then disappeared in the bathroom until the bussers cleared the table thinking they were gone.
They would then demand a refund, as they hadn’t finished eating because the WHOLE FAMILY decided they had to take a raging pee at the same time. The first time I saw the family, I had several servers and the manager tell me their story, point out their table, and told me not to bus it until a manager gave the OK.
As I kept an eye on the table, I watched them eat, get up, and disappear. Time began to pass. I saw the husband come out of the bathroom with the son and quickly disappear, pushing his son back into the bathroom in a rush. They must have been in there for 30 minutes.
Obviously, we never bussed the table, and the server told me the husband had a look of discontent as he paid his bill that night. We never saw them again as long as I worked there.
60. Agree To Disagree
This Karen was trying to return a board game that was open and obviously played without a receipt. I offered store credit, but she wouldn’t take it and asked for my manager. He came up to the counter and discussed the situation with her.
It devolved into the old argument: “Well, in my day the customer was always right”. My manager then cocked his head slightly before shutting her down: “Iiiiiiiiiiiiiii’ve never really subscribed to that theory”. Store credit was given.
61. Faking It
I’m a former fast food worker reporting about a male Karen. He came through the drive-thru and handed me what I knew to be a fake $100 bill. I knew it was fake, but the process was to make sure the deposit box bill feeder didn’t accept it. Well of course it didn’t, because it was super fake. Naturally, the male Karen did NOT like what I was insinuating.
So he pulls around and comes inside, yelling and calling me names because I wouldn’t take his fake 100. He called for the manager and I bailed to the back because I wanted to leave the twilight zone.
62. Limits Are For Other People
This happened around the time when Walmart had just announced its pickup service. We had no sort of “do your shopping for you” or personal shopper positions, so I should have seen the immediate red flag when my customer service manager (CSM) approached a coworker and asked if I wanted to be a personal shopper.
I was mid-transaction, and the coworker was chanting to herself, “Please say yes, please say yes, please say yes”. But I was 19 and naive and still believed cranky last-minute Christmas shoppers were the only problem creatures. I also wanted to make my co-worker happy, so I said, “Uh, sure”. My CSM briefed me on the woman who had only $85.
I was told to make sure that she stayed around $85, and that was the only introduction or warning I got before I was sent off with the lady, who I never learned the name of, but I will call Audrey, as she was just as cartoonishly whiny as the little girl from the old Little Audrey cartoons. The first red flag that I saw was that she immediately walked over to the garden center to see the Christmas clearance items.
I had just met Audrey, so I assumed she was certainly old enough to know her limits. She was probably around 65 if I had to guess. So, I followed her. But boy, oh, boy, was I entirely wrong. We walked around the garden center and she took notice of the special perfume and cologne sets that companies get specifically as Christmas gift ideas.
She grabbed one and said that it looked really nice and that she would love to try it out. She then placed it in her cart and proceeded to pick out sets for various family members—some nice slippers that massage your feet, and not one, not two, but three Christmas yard decorations with lights.
I politely informed her that she already had easily over $150 worth of stuff in her cart, and she asked me whether I was sure. So, I totaled up the price of all the stuff in her cart and then added on sales tax. She reluctantly put back several of the perfume sets and two of the lawn decorations, and we departed for the next area of the store.
Since she was old-fashioned, she still used a landline phone and informed me that she needed AA batteries for it. She said that she wanted to get rechargeable ones, to save money, and I agreed that may be a good idea…until she picked out $30 batteries. We spent a lot of time there because she specifically wanted batteries that indicated on the package that they were good for phones.
I got her to put back two more Christmas items, but some of her more expensive items remained in the cart. Then I asked her if she was ready to check out—she informed me that she still had to get her groceries. I had easily spent 45 minutes with this lady but I was long overdue for my break…my stomach sank so far that I had to scoop it up off the floor.
But I followed her as she picked out her groceries, all the while reminding her that she had a limited amount of money. At that point, I fully understood why my CSM would lie about this. Once again, I informed her that she had over $150 in her cart so she put a few items back; though, she did not believe me when I still insisted that she was over budget.
Instead, she insisted that we head to the checkout to confirm. Maybe she was one of those people who had to see her total to believe it, or maybe she was just being dumb, but I was too mentally exhausted to deal with it, so I just followed her to a checkout lane and unloaded her cart of items for her. When he recognized her, the cashier looked at me and nodded.
He then asked, “How long did it take”? To that, I indicated that it had been over an hour and he rolled his eyes, saying that sounded about right. But my ordeal was far from over—the cashier rang up all of her stuff with me there to bear witness, and he did not know her limit this time.
So, he did not say anything when we passed it. We made it to something like $193, and Audrey looked at her total and said, “Oh”… She took off a few slabs of meat, which brought it down around $20, and then handed the cashier a flavored drink enhancer and stared at him expectantly. The total was still $172, and she passed him another flavored drink enhancer.
I informed her that we might have to take off one of her more expensive items, like her perfume set or her slippers. She insisted on the slippers but decided the perfume could go. Great! That brought it down to $161, which was still progress. She inched the total down a few items at a time, all the while insisting certain items were off-limits.
I thought she put back the batteries and replaced them with regular batteries since those were much cheaper. The guy had since turned off his light but he still had a line. With his replacement cashier now present and the light still off, we were all trying to talk the lady down from everything she still insisted was necessary.
When we got her down to $120, she started asking us if she could just have some of her items The cashier seemed to know where this was going and told her she could have them if she paid for them. We tried several times to pry more items out of her transaction, but she insisted she needed everything that was left in the cart. It was a nightmare.
She started asking the replacement cashier if she could help her afford the items, to which the cashier told her no. She could literally lose her job for trying to do that. She then turned to the man behind her and asked for money, and he was about to offer to pay the remaining cost until the cashier gave him a look and requested that he please not do that. Clearly, this woman had done this before.
She then told the lady that she was not allowed to solicit at our store and that she was going to have to put some stuff back. Defying the advice, the nice customer behind us gave her $10. The lady put back another frozen item and was at $115. All she would need to do is to put back her cheap plastic lawn ornament…but she continued to whine about how she really needed it and how it would make her yard look so much nicer.
At that point, I sighed and decided to just take the item off her transaction, pay for it myself, and give it to the lady. I was done with it entirely. The cashier, however, told me that I could not do that and that I could lose my job for it. But I took the item to punch out for my break, grabbed my wallet from the back, then purchased the item and gave it to the lady.
I told her that I did not even have a yard and I just wanted it to be over with. The CSM later decided to just ban the lady from the store. I was also allowed to take it easy for the rest of the day. A very stressful ordeal, but the closest thing I could have gotten to a happy ending. And no, I didn’t get in trouble, much to my relief.
63. A Warm Send-Off
A table of four was seated in our dining room, proclaiming that they were hard to please. One of these co-dependent diners requested a room-temperature salad consisting solely of mixed greens, avocado, salt and pepper, and a mixture of Tabasco and olive oil.
While I thought this was a little off-beat, I went ahead and had the pantry guy pull the salad greens out of the cooler to warm up. I made the Tabasco vinaigrette, sliced up the best avocado we had, and put the salad together.
The food runner grabbed it from the cold pass, put it on a tray, and away we went. Then, I heard an audible complaint from the dining room. The server came back with the barely touched salad.
Apparently, the salad was still too cold, and the customer had requested that we “put it in the microwave for a minute or so, so it will soften up”. I double-checked with the server that this, verbatim, was requested by the customer. She, with a straight look in her eye, solemnly nodded yes.
I chucked that plate in the industrial microwave, hit it with about 10 seconds of acceptable radiation, and pulled it out. It was melting in front of my eyes. I threw it on the tray, and the server ran it back out.
The server arrived two minutes later and told me, “She said it was the best salad she ever had and hopes that we add it to the menu”. I finished my shift, went home, and drank myself into oblivion.
64. A Journey For Some General Tso’s
I used to deliver Chinese food. One night, I delivered to some guys who were obviously tripping. The guy who answered the door’s pupils were popping out of his eyes, and his friend had built a fort out of what I’m pretty sure was a combination of pillows and garbage bags. The delivery went OK.
I acted cool enough about it so they wouldn’t freak out, but we got a callback later. My boss did not speak the best English, and what ended in a shouting match over the phone turned into a journey for me. The guy was demanding a refund because his food was bad, so my boss was happy to oblige under one condition—we get the food back.
So, I ventured back out to their humble abode, wishing I’d bought some form of self-defense for driving delivery in such a bad neighborhood. I came to the door, and Mr Pupils was much less friendly this time. He asked me, “What is up, man, is this some kind of sick joke”?
I laughed and said, “No man, they really want the food back”. However, this was not why he was upset. He told me, “No, the fortune cookie man”. He handed me the paper, which said something so inconsequential that I don’t even remember what it was.
I told him, “That’s just some Buddha man. Looking at things from a different perspective, ya know”? Apparently, I was wrong. He informed me it was a Chinese threat and that they had poisoned his food. There I was, stuck, and this jerk wouldn’t give me his half-eaten General Tso’s meal because he was saving it “for the FDA”.
I didn’t want the stuff, but my boss paid me well and was always flexible with my college schedule. So, I told him that he had the right to do that and that I wanted to call my boss to let him know I couldn’t get it back. I stepped outside, and he slammed the door on me.
My boss said, “Don’t worry about it,” and I really should have just left, but I wanted to let this guy know it was OK since he was tripping. I knocked, and he opened the door and flung the General Tso all over me. I just kinda stood there, making eye-to-eye contact with this jerk. Then he said, “Be sick, you traitor,” and closed the door.
65. Aw, Muffin
I love letting Karens scream themselves hoarse for a few minutes, then asked with a completely straight face: “Do you want a cookie”? Then right before their heads exploded, I’d point to the bakery case and say: “It’s free! You can have a free cookie while we try to work this out for you”.
Most were too stunned by the switcheroo and ashamed of their overreaction to stay mad even if they declined. For those who accepted, it’s even harder to stay mad while munching on a free cookie. Nine times out of 10, I could quickly resolve whatever issue they had by offering a minimal consolation like a gift card or a coupon.
66. It’s Never Enough
I think the one standout I remember was a few years ago when my company, which was a cell phone provider, gave everyone unlimited data for like three months for no charge. It was essentially a stress test on our network, but everyone was getting free data so it wasn’t like anyone could complain. Or so I thought.
I talked to one lady who had demanded a manager because unlimited phone data wasn’t enough, they wanted unlimited data on their hotspot as well. She then threatened to “get us all fired” because we wouldn’t give her unlimited data through her hotspot, which was actually a feature we didn’t even offer paying customers at the time.
She ranted and raved for a while, and we ended up passing her between like five levels of supervisors before she gave up.
67. On The Edge
A lady demanded that I call her a manager today. She wanted to complain about how some items did not have a price on them while others did. She started interrogating me about pricing protocol, but I was on SCO duty today. Though, since I’d never seen her in the store before, I lied and said that I had nothing to do with stocking.
The manager arrived and Queen Karen launched into a full-fledged rant. Then, while she was at the counter complaining, she added a very hand-flailing, gestured complaint that the counter edges were too rough and sharp. She went as far as to say she was lucky that she did not injure herself, otherwise she would have called the health board. I wipe that counter down probably 200 times every day.
I assure you, there is nothing sharp about it because I would be among the first to raise a concern about it if there was. The employees where I work are very aware of how something small like a sharp edge on a cart can end up with a potential lawsuit in this crazy economic and opportunistic climate in which we live right now.
My manager handled it well, but the other associates and I couldn’t stop laughing about it all shift. Their loud proclamations about how such-and-such—mostly random things like the color scheme, etc.—could have been fatal for us were just absurd.
68. His Theory Went Up In Flames
The only pizza we had at our restaurant was a simple Margherita pizza. One guy had me make him a meat lovers/combo pizza with white sauce, which we didn’t have. So, I had to reduce some Alfredo sauce. It took roughly 15–20 minutes to make, and he sent it back because the bottom of the pizza was too dark for him.
He insisted I cooked it too close to the flames, and that’s why it tasted too burnt for him. The issue was that we used a three-deck conventional oven with no flames in sight.
69. What A Piece Of Trash
When I worked at a restaurant in Cincinnati throughout high school, I got to see some interesting things. I worked at a family-owned restaurant that was a Tex-Mex place that had good food for cheap.
This guy got the taco salad which had a lettuce base, meat, onions, beans, tomatoes, dressing, and cheese. Then, one could add whatever they wanted on top for the extras. It was a really hot day in the summer, and this guy got take-out. It was a very standard order at the beginning of my shift.
Toward the end of my shift, I got a complaint and was surprised because I didn’t think I had messed up. The manager told this guy to come back in, and that we were going to assess what we did wrong, and if we messed up, we would refund him.
He showed up with the taco salad that had been sitting in his car for hours; the time on his receipt was close to four hours old. The lettuce was soggy, the cheese melted, and the container was watery. This guy had this thing obviously sitting in his car for quite some time.
He expected us to refund his money and give him a free fresh salad. We refused because it was his own fault. If he had taken it anywhere and eaten it within an hour or so, it would have been perfectly fine. He proceeded to throw a temper tantrum.
He finally conceded to us not giving him free food. He then walked towards the door with his gross salad and said in a loud voice for the whole dining room to hear, “Trash can’s full”. He opened his salad, dumped it on the floor, and walked out as if he got us back.
70. Would You Like Fries With That?
I used to work as a manager at a sandwich shop. Our policy for any pickup orders was to not cook their fries until the customer came in so that they have fresh fries. This is always told to the customer on the phone. I had this one witch call in her order and ask me if I could cook the fries immediately so that she didn’t have to wait for them.
I told her I couldn’t do that because if she doesn’t come in to pick her order up within about five minutes, those fries will be soggy and cold. She seemed to understand this. Well, guess what happened? She ends up showing up about 45 minutes after she placed the order and proceeded to yell at me because her fries weren’t ready.
I explained to her that if I had cooked her fries when she placed the order, they would be very cold and soggy because she took 45 minutes to pick her order up. She didn’t care. She continued to yell at me about how she was a nurse and has no time to wait for the fries.
I told her oh well, you either need to wait for them to cook (which takes literally two minutes to cook) or leave. She waited. What a witch.
71. Something’s Fishy
I worked at a grocery store in high school, and last summer I came back for it as my summer job. We did this ten-for-$10 deal where we’d have a bunch of stuff sale for a buck a piece, and then the 11th was free.
We were open 24 hours, but all of our sales kicked in at 6 am, and we weren’t allowed to change it early in the register, as it’s clearly stated on the first page of the flier and in the app—this is important. I’d sometimes work the third shift if they needed someone to fill in.
So we had this woman come in with literally a cart full of tuna at 4 am. There were easily 300-400 of them, as she had just taken the stand-up display boxes off the shelf. Of course, none of them ring up as on sale, and she starts screaming at the girl in front. The girl is explaining that this is how our policy works, and she’s yelling about false advertising and how she deserves the price change.
I go up and tried to placate her, and she starts fuming all over again. I zoom in on the bit where it says are prices are only good at 6 am—and she goes PURPLE. “ARE YOU REALLY ARGUING WITH A CUSTOMER RIGHT NOW”?! I tell her I’m not, just pointing out what the ad says and she insists on seeing the manager.
He tells her the same thing the two of us already had, and she screamed about not knowing “Why she even bothered to shop here”. I didn’t go back to that job this summer.
72. Make Way
So, I work at a grocery store chain and Tuesdays are what we refer to as “Specials Day”. Basically, it’s my job to change out last week’s special with the current week’s special. It is a long and painful project that I volunteered for when I got promoted because I like doing projects that other people do not.
That day, I was doing my thing in the specials aisle. I started getting gradually more and more annoyed since the whole process would be three times faster if they just let me do it when the store was closed, but, for some baffling reason, they wanted the customers to interact with me as I was occupied with 10 pallets of random things.
Near the end of my ninth pallet, I had myself basically pinned into a corner of the aisle. This was a strong nonverbal language that should have signaled to the customers, “Hey, maybe don’t walk this way. I’ll have to step around my pallet, move my pallet jack, and reset myself if you do”. But lo and behold, trouble was headed my way—a lady came walking down the aisle, approaching me at the end.
I am a chill guy, but I don’t really talk much to the customers because my store is in an upper-class area and the wealthy folks don’t like getting spoken to by some sweaty dude in a uniform. So, when she kept walking towards me, I realized that she was going to try and walk around my pallet or, God forbid, walk on it.
I quickly moved my jack and the pallet and looked up at the ceiling, questioning God for creating oblivious customers. Apparently, that look at the ceiling really truly infuriated her. At first, as she walked through the suddenly clear path, she apologized half-heartedly in that way only some types of customers can pull off.
But her apology read more like “Oh, I am sorry wage person. I sure hope I didn’t inconvenience you with my presence”. I nodded my head at her “apology” and turned back to move my jack and pallet back to where I was working. Apparently, not only did she expect me to move, but she also really expected me to graciously tell her it was no problem that she made me move my entire working station so she could save 15 steps.
Between not accepting her apology and looking at the ceiling for about three milliseconds, she decided right then and there that I was a menace and needed a talking to. She started with the basic criticism of me being a retail grunt who didn’t have a big fake grin on my face the entire day. She topped it off with the classic line that always gets my blood boiling: “I do not think you should be working here if that is going to be your attitude”.
She said that while looking at me like I was an animal in a zoo exhibit. I did not reply and just kept working. “What’s the worst that can happen”? I thought. I cannot please everyone. Then she got in line. Now, the line to the checkout is situated about 10 feet from where I was working. At that point, the villain, in her mind, had her walkway obstructed.
She went out of her way to loudly criticize me and complain about how I should not be allowed to work at the store. Now, I will be honest with you, I should have just let her have her moment. If I had let her just screech and complain, it probably would have ended there. Maybe a phone call or strongly worded email to corporate. No biggie. I should have just smiled and kept working.
But there was a part of me that needed her to know that yelling at customers about how terrible I am is not how we did things at our store. So, I told her, calm as I could, that she needed to stop making a scene. And when I say something snapped in this woman, it was like someone hit a light switch. Immediately, her phone was recording me and everything got a lot more dangerous.
She was asking leading questions like, “Did you just tell me I can’t talk to other customers”? and “Do you think you have the right to break my first amendment”? and “Who’s the manager here”? Now, there are two things you can do when someone gets their phones out and records you. You can walk away, potentially get followed, and then you can ask them to stop recording.
Or you can be a fool like me and ask them to stop recording you right away. The latter method, naturally, led to her screaming even louder and accusing me of being a terrible person. She randomly started threatening me, saying that she could have me fired whenever she wanted. At that point, I was just trying to get her to leave.
She had made the scene worse by recording and trying to be the next viral “look at how bad I was treated” internet star, and it was clear that she just wanted to capture my angry reaction on film. I am glad to report that I did not get angry with her. I did not raise my voice at all. I just stood there and let her scream at me. As she finally finished paying for her groceries, I asked her again to please leave if she was going to continue making a scene.
This led to her sitting behind the cashiers and between the doors and waiting for me to walk away so that she could leave. I informed her that I needed to see her leave. She said that she was not leaving until I was out of her sight. I stood my ground and told her that she needed to leave or I would be forced to call the authorities.
Oh, God. She had the wrong reaction to that statement. Most of the time, if someone says, “Hey, this might need to become an official matter,” the natural human reaction is to reevaluate what they are doing and decide if they want to continue. For reasons only God knows, this customer’s reaction was “Good, call them. I want them here”.
Here’s the thing. I was not ever going to call them. It was a bottomless threat. What was I going to say to them? “There is a lady screaming at me and recording me”? Worst case scenario, this woman makes the whole situation into some kind of bigger issue and I end up on the news. So, my bluff having been called, I walked into the office and called my direct manager.
I told her what had happened and she basically told me to get back out there and deescalate the situation. I went back to the registers and I actually decided that the best course of action was to tuck tail and just apologize. So, I did. I said to her, “I’m really sorry you had a bad experience today. I hope you can come back and shop here. I understand what went wrong and I will gladly give you corporate’s information”. And then I told her to have a good day, indicating the door as I said that.
She sort of accepted my apology. Of course, she still went on about how I was terrible and how I should not work there, but at least she calmed down a little…until she mentioned she was an “investigator”. Not seeing a uniform or a badge, I asked her what I thought to be a natural and reasonable question.
I asked, “An investigator for who”? Her exact reply was, “Do not play stupid. You know what kind of investigator”. Then she went on to say that she was going to call corporate, let them know that I was only harassing her because she was an immigrant (which was ironic since I am an immigrant too) and that I should expect not to have a job in the next 24 hours.
I just sat there and took it. There was nothing else I could do, really. Sometimes you just have to let them screech so they will leave. As she finally turned to leave, she noticed that I was watching her. So, she came back and said that I could not watch her leave because I was “going to attack” her outside.
I clammed up even more at that comment. As a final shot, she told me that she had “the means to retaliate” in her car and that she’d “gladly use it” if I come outside. She finally left and I called my boss, breaking down in tears of pure frustration, telling her how the de-escalation went. My boss assured me that she was just a crazy lady and that she, my boss, would have my back if this turned into a bigger deal.
73. Time To Make The Pizzas
My older brother was working at a Domino’s back when he was in high school. I was about 12–13 at the time, and I was waiting for him to take me home. I was sitting there, and this mom came in saying she had called in an order of pizzas a half hour earlier—it was only 20 minutes.
When she got there, she was seriously mad that the pizzas weren’t ready, and they only had almost half of them done already. She began yelling and cursing, “Where are my pizzas? I’ve been waiting for twenty minutes”!
The manager came over and apologized, asking her to be patient, and told her that it doesn’t take 20 minutes to cook 20 pizzas. She got all mad, so he distracted her and gave her a couple of medium pizzas that were reserved for customers who had just ordered.
He gave them to her at a discount, just to get rid of her. When the other customer came in asking for his pizza, the manager apologized, explaining that they had a really big order just before he came in. The guy said, “Oh, that’s no problem man. You guys take your time”. The change in types of people is astounding.
74. Too Hot To Handle
I used to work at a pizza place that also sold single slices during lunch; we were usually pretty busy. I took a fresh pie that I had personally cut up to the front hot box. A minute later, a guy walked in, ordered a slice, and asked me to reheat it. I explained that I had just put the pizza in moments ago. It was still piping hot.
I got a “that’s what they always say”. He didn’t believe me and asked me to reheat it. He obviously thought I was lying or lazy. So, I reheated the already burn-the-roof-of-your-mouth hot pizza slice. After a minute—the customary reheat time—I took it back out. Five minutes later, the service bell was going bonkers.
The guy told me, “I’ve been sitting here for five minutes now, and this pizza is still too hot to eat. I want a refund”!
75. What A Dough Head
I’m a kitchen chef in a pizzeria. We occasionally get this lady who orders a pizza and then tries to complain about it in order to get it for free. We always deny her and she always threatens to give us a bad review on Yelp or complains to whoever is unfortunate enough to be on the phone with her.
I can still remember my worst moment dealing with her. One time, she ordered a pizza with gluten-free crust and complained that the crust was “too doughy”, so she demanded it be given to her for free. Gluten-free crusts are as crispy as a cracker when they come out of the oven and are almost the same while we make them.
Even if someone didn’t bake it in the oven beforehand for whatever reason, it’s virtually impossible for it to be doughy. For about a week, all of us would tell each other, “Make sure that it isn’t too doughy” as a joke when we had to make gluten-free pizzas.
76. A Little Bit Of Heat Went A Long Way
I was cooking brunches at a tennis club because I needed the extra cash. I had the same customer with two different incidents.
The first time, this woman sent back bacon because it was “too salty”. I warmed the same strips back up and sent it out to her again. It was “much better”.
She came in the next weekend and sent back her fresh fruit crepes because they were “too sweet”. I rewarmed the plate and sent it back out, and she said it was “great”.
77. She Fried My Nerves
A woman ordered fries for her and her friend after church. I brought out the fries, and she said, “Oh, these are too cold. We want new fries”. I went and made the fries myself, cooked them longer than normal, and immediately served them after taking them out of the fryer. They were still steaming.
The woman looked at them, touched them, and said, “Oh, these are ICE COLD”. I had to get the manager to deal with it.
78. Showering The Troubles Away
I am a shift manager two days a week and a cashier for three at a truck stop and rest area. We have fast-food restaurants, showers, parking for big rigs, and passenger vehicles. Today’s troubles, like most of the trouble I encounter, revolved around showers. A driver came down, plopped his wet towels on the counter (even after my cashier directed him to a towel bin), and then threw his key onto the pile.
The cashier asked him, again, to place the towels in the bin. He finally grabbed them and said, “Oh, so you guys do not have to touch them”. I replied, “Yes, policies have changed some due to the pandemic”. In truth, that has been the policy for at least the three years I have worked there, but this seemed to be the quickest way to resolve the matter.
My cashier asked him what shower he was in, and instead of speaking, he held up the numbered key. Though, his finger was blocking the number, so we could not see what it was. When my cashier reached for it, he raised it higher so he had to stretch to get it. At that point, I was starting to get really irritated. His behavior was just so unnecessary.
I told the driver, “Way to make it complicated”. This man lost his mind. He got right into my face and said he would hit me hard. I told him to leave, and he started flexing like he was actually going to throw a punch but said, “I’m not going to go for you. But want to know what I will do? I will find your family and mess them up”.
I pulled my cellphone out and started recording. The store manager then arrived at the building and heard the tail end of our shouting match with each other. He stepped in between us when the driver came too close. The driver started shouting at him, ” Don’t get involved, bro. You don’t want none of this”. My boss replied, “This is my property”.
The driver calmed down very quickly, and they stepped outside. My boss told him exactly the same things I had; that he was not to return, etc. The end. Fast forward to the end of my shift—we had yet another driver issue. So, the policy for our showers is that we hold onto something as collateral until we get the shower key and the towels back. 99% of the time, it’s a non-issue.
The other 1% of the time, it’s a mess. This time, a driver came down, and since my cashier had a few people in line, I thought to ask the driver if he had brought the towels down. The driver said that he had not because he had not been told to do so. The cashier clarified that they had, in fact, told him. The driver just shrugged and said, “I don’t care, man. I have a Lyft outside waiting. Give me my keys”.
He had left his personal keys as collateral, but since we did not get our items back, I told him he would have to get the towels. He became belligerent to both me and my cashier. At that point, the overnight manager was in, so he got some too. This went on for a few moments; then, in what I thought was a bluff, he said he was calling the authorities.
Spoiler alert, it was not a bluff. Like the guy at the start of my shift, I started recording on my phone. And this guy actually threatened me. After about seven minutes or so, a couple of officers arrived. The guy was belligerent with them too, and he pushed the cashier to the point where they told him he needed to back up and calm down.
One of the troopers came to the back desk where we dealt with the showers. The driver, at that point, looked like he was about to break down in tears. The trooper asked about our policy, and it was explained. The driver told him what he told us, “I am here for a shower. In and out. I do not have time for this. I have a Lyft outside. I just want my keys”.
In what I thought would be the best moment of my day, the trooper escorted him upstairs to the showers and made him get the towels. We gave him his keys and receipt for the shower, but I added that after today, we did not want him back on the property. The trooper and the driver walked away, but the trooper made sure that he acknowledged what he had been told.
He asked him, “Did you hear what the manager said? You’re not welcome here anymore. If you return, you will be charged with trespassing”. I left a note for my boss about what had happened and went home. If the driver had simply said, “Oh sorry, guys. I forgot,” or if he just didn’t act the way he did, then we would have just given his things back. But he wanted to be petty about it.
I am better at the petty game. My takeaway from today is that my boss is pretty awesome. He had my back, stepped between me and a guy who audibly threatened to harm me and others. He probably will not appreciate that I let the second incident go as far as it ended up going but it is what it is. Sometimes, in retail, you just have to defend yourself.
79. Sundae Funday
When I was a kid, I worked as the shift manager at a Hӓagen-Dazs dip shop. It was on one of the busiest streets in town, and in the summer, we would have lines out the door all day. Most of our customers during these periods were tourists, so we never really worried about losing their repeat business.
One gentleman ordered an elaborate quadruple-scoop banana split with oodles of everything. I obliged and whipped up the mother of banana splits, complete with sprinkle-covered spires of whip cream delicately drizzled with hot fudge and caramel.
This thing had Oreo bits, brownie crumbles, and Heath bar chunks—the works! After I had completed this culinary masterpiece, it turned out that, with all those goodies, my creation was almost $15, and the dude was not having it.
I pointed to the huge board behind me displaying the prices of all of these delicious items this man had purchased and told him I would get in trouble if I gave him any more than a ten percent discount, but he just refused to pay.
So, right there in the middle of a scorching hot summer day, in an ice cream shop full of tourists and their kids, I got revenge on this awful customer. I held up this magnificent work of art, enough frozen goodness for at least three people, and offered it up for sale for three dollars.
Needless to say, some dude with his kids right behind the original customer grabbed it up and shared it with his family. The original dude was livid. So, I explained that he had ordered a custom sundae the way HE wanted it, and I sold it as a second-hand sundae that may not have been the way the purchaser wanted it.
All in all, the whole thing cost the company pennies, and the look on that jerk’s face was priceless.
80. Picture-Perfect Pizza
I had one guy send back his pizza because it didn’t look like the picture of a pizza he had on his phone. The picture had nothing to do with our restaurant or compared to anything we offered.
He walked it back to the kitchen himself, told us it was overdone—I would have said it was closer to underdone—and shoved the picture at us. We tried to make something similar to what he requested, but if he wouldn’t have been such a jerk, we would have been much more willing to accommodate him.
81. Meet Dave
What’s the male version of a Karen? Would it be Dave? I’m going with Dave. So I’m opening a call center offshore, and this customer Dave refuses to speak to anybody who isn’t American. I’m American but was working at that site during that project phase, so when the call escalates to me his first question was “Are you in the US”? At that time that was a no—an unacceptable answer for Dave, which flew him into a rage.
He hung up. He spent three hours calling and hanging up. He’d ask to speak to an American, they’d transfer to me, then he’d ask me if I was in the US. Three hours of the same process.
82. Three Strikes And She Was Out
I was a regular at a local Mexican restaurant. Unfortunately, I decided to take a girl there for a first date. I asked her beforehand, and she said that she loved Mexican food, so I thought, “Perfect. I know the staff. They’ll take care of us, I’ll look good, what could go wrong”? Famous last words.
We went through two rounds of drinks while she scoured the menu, asking the waitress or me what things were. She finally settled on some enchiladas. The food came out, she took a few bites, and said, “Gross, this isn’t what I wanted”.
She sent it back, ordered a chicken burrito, and had the same reaction. She got a menu again, and about this time, I was going from, “Oh, this is cute, she doesn’t know what she wants, to, wow, are you really ordering a third dish right now”?!
Finally, she ordered tacos, ate them, claimed that Taco Bell was better, and talked trash about the restaurant and staff, which was a big no-no for me. They busted their rears to deal with her nonsense. Dinner ended with her complaining that they charged me for two of her dishes instead of just one.
She grabbed the check from my hands, pulled out a coupon, and insisted I use it. At that point, I decided to make my opinion known and declined her coupon. I laid down a $20 tip on the $60 check. It was a nice tip, but after everything they went through, I wanted to show appreciation to our server, who bent over backward for this girl.
My date saw what I tipped and called me passive-aggressive, suggested I was siding with the restaurant, and hanging her out to dry. I didn’t disagree; it was the quietest car ride back to her place ever.
83. Burger Beast
I had a lady order a 1/4 lb burger, and she received a 1/2 lb. She only had to wait about two minutes. She brought it back immediately, complaining that she had to wait over five minutes for her burger, which was “completely wrong”.
I asked her what she ordered and what she got, and she explained that she got a half pound and couldn’t afford the extra calories. She kept complaining to me, not letting me get in a single word. So, I just walked away while she kept whining and got my manager.
He was able to calm her down long enough to get the burger back from her and give it to the cook, who just removed the extra patty and served it back to her. She angrily scarfed it down, left her garbage all over the table, and stormed out.
She was screaming that she was never coming back and was going to tell everyone she knew about our “horrible service”. Then, she came in the next day with family AND friends, praising our service and product the whole time she was waiting in line.
84. Smoke Signals
We had a new employee start yesterday. She seemed to be a very sweet girl in her late teens and had a great sense of humor. I took a liking to her instantly. She had never been in charge of a register before, so I was put in charge of training her. I showed her the ropes and let her take over, staying close by in case she needed me.
When it was quiet, I taught her what the procedure was when it came to smokes. She asked me if she had to ID everyone and I told her that she would have to use her judgment. If a person seemed younger than 21 to her, then she should go for it. If they looked older, then it wouldn’t be necessary. She seemed to understand, and she was getting the hang of the register quickly.
I figured that I could stop shadowing her and let her do her thing. I told her that I was going to do some stocking, but that I would be close by if she needed anything. In fact, I would be no more than an aisle over. She smiled and said OK. About 10 minutes went by, and I heard somebody yelling. All I could hear the girl say was: “I am sorry, sir,” in the most terrified tone.
I came over to find this old man screaming at her. She was hunched over and looked like she was about ready to cry. Apparently, he had told her that he wanted a particular brand of smokes. She gave him the wrong ones twice and was slow to find the right ones, and then she asked him for his date of birth when she rang it up.
He was yelling about how he was in a rush and needed to go. He saw me and said, “Hey, can you ring me up? This woman does not know anything”. I looked at her and saw the tears rolling down her face. That was not OK. I told him to not talk to my coworker that way and informed him that it was her first day. He said, “I see that, but I have to go”.
I told him that he obviously did not because if he did, then he would not be screaming at her. He replied with a threat, saying that if I said one more thing, he would never come back to support our store. That was fine with me. I did not want customers who disrespect employees in the store anyway. In the cheeriest tone I can muster, I told him to have a fantastic day.
He stormed out muttering and I consoled the new girl. She was full-on sobbing at this point. What a horrible first day that had to have been. All because some mean person could not show a little empathy.
85. The Color Of Meat
I was working in customer service at a Food Lion. A woman came in with 80/20 ground beef her husband had bought two days prior. When I asked what the problem was, she told me that her husband had bought “bad” meat. When I asked her if it was spoiled or had a problem, she said that the beef was pink.
It was one of the days that I got written up for laughing at a customer to their face.
86. Know Your Onions
I had someone send back a sandwich because it had a piece of green onion on it. We didn’t have any green onions in the kitchen. We never had green onions, so I had no idea what she was talking about! Then, I looked at the sandwich and scoffed.
What she was calling a green onion was a tiny, minuscule, almost unnoticeable piece of stem from the spinach that she had specially ordered to be chopped rather than just placed on the sandwich like a normal person. I wouldn’t have been quite as mad if she hadn’t already eaten three-quarters of the sandwich.
87. Off The Deep End
One time a Karen tried to return an expensive handbag that had obviously been used. She said I was calling her a liar and her anger escalated as she paced back and forth at the till point. It escalated so quickly.
Karen then proceeded to tell me that she was going to call in some guys to “come after me” after I finish work. Throughout this, I am politely repeating my request that Karen leaves, but in hindsight, I think this must have been rather annoying…as Karen proceeded to grab the bag and launch herself over the till at me in an attempt to hit me with it.
At this point in time, a colleague who was yet to start their shift (and therefore appeared as a customer) was on the shop floor and witnessed it all. They tackled Karen into the wall, knocking down glass shelves that had been displaying around 30 bags. Karen is now a crumpled mess on the floor. Appearing shocked, she stumbles upright and runs away.
88. Behind The Doors
I just finished working the weekend and, boy, reopening after a lockdown has really brought out the geniuses, huh? Yes, please take your sweet time, ignore the store hours since they are clearly just a suggestion. It is not like we have lives or would like to get home before it starts pouring out. Keeping in line with the genius parade, on Friday, some dude waltzed in 10 minutes before closing.
I greeted him and asked if I could help him find what he was looking for since we were closing soon. He didn’t really answer. Fast forward nine and a half minutes—I caught him talking to my coworker for the greater part of his visit, and I knew immediately that he would be trouble. He was mostly about random topics, but clearly, she did not care. Unfortunately, she was too nice to cut the guy off and say that she was busy.
I start the closing ritual for the store, which involved turning off the open sign, flipping the sign by the door, closing the doors, etc. I also tried to make more noise than usual so that the guy noticed what I was doing. Of course, he did not, since he was too far into his story about wanting to be a hairdresser or something.
I waited about 30 seconds before I abruptly interrupted. I asked my coworker if she was ready to close her register. That tipped the dude off and he finally left…he did not even buy anything. We have had more people like this, all just waiting for the store to close. Then, we have those who are the other way round. We had a woman who was standing at the doors for a while waiting for us to open, and then got into her car and left as I was walking to unlock the doors. This has happened quite a few times and I cannot really wrap my head around that logic.
89. She Tried To Out Pizza The Hut
Once upon a time, I worked at Pizza Hut. I had a customer come in and say, “I would like a Meat Lover’s pizza with no meat”. At that time, that would mean she’d only have sauce and cheese, and the pizza would cost more. We made it and told her, “Here’s your cheese pizza, ma’am”.
She replied, “I didn’t want a cheese pizza! I wanted a Meat Lover’s pizza”! She did this many times.
90. Say Cheese, Please!
I worked at a rather high-end restaurant. A young lady asked me what was on the cheese plate, so I brought over the cheese cart that had a very lovely glass-domed cheese board. I pointed out to her all the different cheeses and told her what they tasted like.
She ordered the sampler, and I carved out several slices from the different cheeses right there and laid them in front of her before I was on my way. Ten minutes later, I heard from another server that the plate was sent back to the kitchen. Apparently, the young lady said she “got bored of just cheese”.
This “young lady” was an adorable 11-year-old girl with more poise and politeness than most people I had ever met. She was trying her hardest to act like her parents and their grown-up friends and even had me pour her grape juice into a wine glass.
So I went back to the kitchen because I knew no one throws out a cheese plate, and sure enough, it was sitting in the corner, ready for the line to snack on after service. I ran through that kitchen and got every fruit, berry, jelly, chocolate, cracker, and anything kids would like and built a new cheese plate. That kid was so happy.
She thought she was going to be in trouble for ordering it and not eating it. There was not even a crumb left when I cleared the table.
91. Doing What’s Right
Work at a Barnes and Noble cafe. About an hour before closing, a Karen comes in and I proceed to take her order. Karen wasn’t a regular, yet she was getting snooty just because I asked her what she’d like and if she wanted it hot or cold.
She tells me in the most condescending way she wants an iced mocha. I go to make the drink. I hand it to her, tell her to have a nice night, and turn around to talk to the two other people at the counter. As we’re talking, she shouts at us that it’s wrong, and demands we make another drink.
Her complaint was that it was cold and she wanted it warm. Whatever, I apologized and made another one even though the first time I asked her, I held up the clear cup and wrote everything in front of her to verify it was right. Anyway, I grabbed the paper cup and started to make another one.
All the while, she was talking about how young people don’t respect anyone, and she kept berating us for talking while working, making fun of personal stuff like the movie we were discussing, how we were dressed, our accents (this is in Alabama and she’s obviously not Southern).
After about two minutes of this, I was fed up, so I finished the drink and went to hand it to her. But as she was taking it, she uttered the most triggering words: “I bet you stupid disrespectful kids don’t even know how to spell mocha, especially him”. She then pointed at the one Black barista. I’d had enough. I yanked the drink back out of her hand and threw it in the garbage can like it was a baseball.
I then ripped my apron off, came out from behind the counter, got right in her face, and I really laid it into her. I inform her that her behavior wasn’t something we tolerate, tell her there was a camera above us with sound recording everything, tell her that because she bought a five-dollar drink doesn’t give her the right to talk to anyone let alone us that way and ask her who in the heck she thinks she is. But I’m not done yet.
I get even closer and tell her that the store might want her business, but I sure as heck don’t, and she can take her refund and get out. I don’t even go to the register, I take five dollars out of my own wallet, some odd cents out of my pocket, back up, and throw it at her feet. I point at the door and tell her to get the heck out of my cafe.
I’m not even a manager but it felt right at the time. The whole time, Karen’s eyes are as wide as dinner plates in shock. She sheepishly picks the money off the floor, every cent, gains her voice, and starts screaming at the top of her lungs that we’re not getting away with this, she’s gonna call corporate and get our useless butts fired, and then she’d find out where we lived, burn our houses down, and hurt every last one of our pets and family members.
And that’s not all—once she made it to the doorway, she throws her shoes at us, hitting a display stand of chips.
She leaves and peels out, nearly hitting two people in the parking lot. I pick up the shoes, throw them in the nearest trash can, pick up the chips, calmly put my apron back on, go back behind the counter, and finish what I was saying about the movie.
The other two baristas didn’t know what to say and kept warning me about how I’m going to get fired. Nothing ever came of it, no real manager ever talked to me about it, and I never heard from her again. I felt bad about it, as I’d never been that angry and have never gotten that angry since.
It wasn’t even what she said to me that set me off, but how she talked to the two that did literally nothing wrong. I realize now I’m not sorry for it and she really deserved to be thrown out of the store. Most of the time it’s not worth it to react that way, but man sometimes you just have to stand up to Karens.
92. She Got A Raw Deal
I worked in the seafood department at Central Market in a very upscale suburban neighborhood; it was basically HEB’s Whole Foods. The customers have been bred into monsters by this company and its “the customers get what they want” attitude.
This plastic face and chest, leather-skinned, bleached hair, middle-aged, Escalade driving, pink tennis skirt wearing trophy wife got two pounds of wild-caught Florida Key West pink shrimp. It was $17.99 a pound. These things are bright pinkish orange.
They look cooked, and customers always initially think they are, but they are not. The shells are still on them, so you have to peel them and devein them as well. They’re also placed next to the rest of the raw shrimp, and all the cooked shrimp are on the complete other end of our case. I couldn’t believe what this lady did.
They were returned four hours later—just the tails—saying they didn’t taste good. They called later and said they all got sick from them and complained that the texture was terrible and they tasted raw. Their whole family ate all two pounds of raw shrimp. I’m sure they heard me laughing through the phone.
93. Regular Pain In The Necks
My mom owned a restaurant. A family of four adults and three children would come in to eat dinner about twice a week. Every time, something would be wrong with the food.
They would complain, and my mom would give them a discount. The last time they tried that, my mom was not there, and I was in charge. They ordered three whole lemons cut into wedges for their soups.
Normally, we don’t charge for extra lemon, but these people were getting on my last nerve because they were already complaining about how the food was cold, etc. I charged them $.75 for the lemons; we got them three for $1. They started complaining that I was overcharging them, and they wanted a free meal.
I told them, “You come here every week, order the same food, complain about everything, and your kids run around like this is a park. I am not in the mood to put up with this. If you go without paying, the [authorities] will be called”.
They started saying that they knew the owner, that I would get fired, etc. My response was, “Ok, we can call her right now. She’s my mom”. They shut up, paid, and left. They came back the next week all nice and without any complaints about the food. I did get in trouble with my mom, but it was worth it.
94. With A Smile
One day, I had an old guy come through my register with lumber. I said hello to him and instead of greeting me back, he immediately told me had eight pieces of the stack of lumber on the left. I proceeded to count them and he snapped at me, saying, “I said eight”! I told him that we were supposed to count them. I completed counting and rang up those eight pieces.
He then told me that there were 10 pieces of lumber on the right side of his cart. Once again, I counted them. He said to me, “What school did you go to”? I was so confused by his question that I did not even know what to say. What was interesting is that, despite how cranky he was, he kept smiling at me as if his rude remarks weren’t uncalled for.
He was also wearing his mask with his nose hanging out. Once he finished paying and I gave him his receipt, he left the store without saying thank you or anything to me. That guy is definitely up there as one of the worst customers I’ve ever had. Absolutely no manners and I am still disgusted by his behavior to this day.
95. Kosher Crackpot
When I worked in a diner, I had a patron order a cheeseburger with no special instructions beyond “medium-rare”. It was brought out to them, and they started complaining that there was cheese on the burger and that mixing meat and dairy wasn’t kosher, etc.
I explained to her that the cheeseburger comes with cheese and that if she did not want cheese, she should have ordered the hamburger, which I offered to serve her instead. I asked the patron, “But you ordered the cheeseburger, right, not the hamburger”?
They responded, “Yes! How hard is it to find a kosher cheeseburger? This is discrimination! I’m calling up the Anti-Defamation League and telling them about you! I demand to speak with the manager”! I was about to get the manager to deal with this loon when the older man in the booth next to her got up.
He approached us and said, “Ma’am, I’ve seen much in the way of anti-Semitism in my life. I grew up Jewish in Poland, survived Auschwitz, and saw many people [lose their lives]. It is you, not him that are giving Jews a bad name”.
The woman turned bright red, put a $20 bill on the table, and walked out before the manager even came over.
96. Hotel Havoc
I used to work as a front desk agent at a boutique hotel. A guy who was obviously very full of himself came in with an online reservation that he had booked at a shockingly cheap nightly rate. He proceeded to give me a hard time about EVERYTHING, from telling me he shouldn’t have to give me his credit card info since he had prepaid his reservation, to telling me “Um yeah, I’m pretty sure I can find the elevators, I’m not stupid”.
He was just being an all-around jerk. About 10 minutes after checking him in, he came down and demanded that we give him a bigger room with a king bed and a view, even though he had booked a standard queen bed online. I complied, as we had extra king beds available. 10 minutes later, he came down again to complain about the size of the room.
He told me, “I’m only going to give you one more chance to make me happy,” and asked for the general manager. After much arguing between him and my manager, we ended up giving him our nicest suite AND free parking since we had “Given him trouble”. He got all this for a way cheaper rate, like $40 per night! Oh, but he outdid himself.
Get this: He informed us shortly after the ordeal, while on his way out to dinner, that he was not even going to be in the room for the majority of his stay, as he was visiting friends and would be staying at their home. What the heck! So I made it my personal mission to make his life a living nightmare from that point on.
I reset his room keys every time I saw him leave the hotel—which was quite frequently, 3-4 times a day. It was particularly funny when he came back tired from a night out and had to come all the way down to the front desk to get his keys fixed. Needless to say, he was very frustrated by the end of his stay. I doubt he’ll be staying with us again.
97. Fusion Food
I worked at an Italian restaurant, and this guy ordered a salad. It seemed straightforward enough, but I was so, so wrong. When I asked what dressing he wanted, he kept going back to the pasta sauces and asking, “Sugo, that would be good on it, wouldn’t it! I’ll get that”. I tried to explain, “Sir, those are for pasta. You got the Mediterranean salad”. He responded, “You’re right; maybe carbonara,” another pasta sauce.
I couldn’t get what he wasn’t understanding. He seemed like a normal smart dude, but he couldn’t comprehend the difference between the dressings and sauces.
98. No Connection
A very grumpy high-society woman came to the store saying her brand new 3,000-dollar Microsoft surface bought by her husband was defective because she could not get internet when she was on the move. I quickly realized she was talking about Wi-Fi, so I tried explaining to her how Wi-Fi actually works. Boy, was that a mistake!
I told her that she could not use her Wi-Fi outside her house, but that she could share her smartphone internet connection. She would have none of it. She said I was lying to her and making fun of her. She even asked to speak to my manager, who then proceeded to tell her the exact same thing, almost to the word. She left screaming.
99. You Got Told
I worked at a restaurant that was very popular for brunch, and Mother’s Day was probably our busiest day of the year. I had a customer call the evening before and ask for a table for six. He was incredibly rude when I informed him that this would simply be impossible. He kept getting more and more worked up, asking to speak to my manager.
At first, I didn’t want to pass the phone over. My manager, Mac, wasn’t the nicest guy and we were in the middle of a busy dinner shift. But Mac came up behind me and demanded to know why I had been on the phone for so long. I was like “Screw it, this customer isn’t going to listen to me anyways” and gave the phone to Mac.
Mac asked how he could help, and listened for about 15 seconds before telling this dude something like, “So you’re tying up my hostess in the middle of dinner even though she’s already told you nicely that we can’t fit you and your goddarn family in the night before our busiest day of the year? Screw you buddy”! And he hung up the phone.
100. The Best Offense Is A Good Defense
I had a raging Karen in the first lane of the drive-thru yelling at me. I just listened and listened, and when she was done I let her sit there a second. Then I said, “Ma’am, you can choke”. Not expecting that answer, she just drove off in shock. It could have gone totally different, but I’m glad it didn’t.
101. On The Edge
When I was a kid, my family owned several pizza places. I didn’t hang around them much because I was fairly young, but my older sisters worked at the big one waitressing and cashiering.
She told me that one night, the well-dressed father of a large family that had ordered several large pizzas tried to get out of paying for them because the pizza didn’t have sauce/cheese/ingredients all the way to the “edge”.
The family had eaten the entire pies except for the crusts. My sister refused to refund his money, he threw a huge fit and reduced my sister to tears. He kept yelling and demanded to see the owner—my dad. Dad came out, saw my sister sobbing, and got the story from one of the cooks. He didn’t say a word.
He just slammed the guy’s head through the wall and well into the store next door. The guy had to be taken away on a stretcher. The staff and a couple of customers told the authorities that the customer had tried to hit my sister so my dad wouldn’t get taken into custody. Dad didn’t get physical often, but when he did, he played for keeps.