Often times, terrible customers will drop what they think is a bombshell: They'll never come back again, and that salesperson just lost a customer! What they don't realize is that the business is doing really well, and no one will miss that insane shopper. The people in these stories recount times when that insane meltdown only backfired on the cranky customer. Who knows where these peculiar people wander off to? Probably to yell at the employees in the next store over. This crazy content had been edited for clarity.
“She Needs To Learn A Lesson”
“Sometimes, customers decide to drop business with you for the silliest reasons. For example, I work at a small, privately owned pizza joint. It’s pretty popular. We provide good food (many people say it’s the best pizza in town) and quality service. One time, one of the cooks on the line dropped a calzone as it came out of the oven. Instead of sending me (the waitress) out to explain things, she PERSONALLY went out there and apologized. Not only that, but she offered to make a whole new one and give them free garlic bread (this was coming out of her own paycheck). Seriously, she did NOT have to do that. So what did the customer do?
She threw the biggest fit and told us she would never come back because of ‘our awful and lazy service.’ I later went out there to check on the customer, and she told me that we, ‘Looked lazy when we dropped it, and we should have offered her a better deal’. I tried to explain that the garlic bread AND the new calzone were coming out of our cook’s paycheck and that we are doing our best.
Her response: ‘Good. She needs to learn a lesson.’
Had I not been an employee, I would have ripped her head off. She DROPPED SOMETHING. THAT’S ALL. Mistakes happen. Sometimes, things go wrong. When an entire staff at a restaurant is college students trying to pull off a part-time job and full time college, something is bound to happen. We are trying. So, next time the chef goofs and messes up your order, just have them fix it. Don’t get mad (unless, of course, they are rude to you). It makes our lives SO much more difficult.”
The Robots Are Taking Over!
“I work in a pretty popular grocery store in a pretty small town, and recently we installed self checkouts. Personally, I love working the self checkout, and in reality only one position has been lost. Yesterday as I was standing over the self checkout area making sure everyone was doing it correctly when one customer comes up to me to complain.
He told me, ‘I hate these self checkouts, robots are completely stealing your job, and I am against that!
I replied, ‘I’m sorry you don’t like self check out, but we have a whole row of regular registers that you have the option to use!’
He loudly stated, ‘But it’s STEALING your job!’
I tried to tell him ‘Actually, I am still here and I have more hours than I have this whole year because I’m the only person running it, so it’s not bothering me or stealing my job at all, so no worries!’
He glared at me and said, ‘YOU ARE BEING REPLACED!’
This went on for a few more minutes until eventually the customer stormed off.”
Could She Even Read?
“I work at a national chain craft store. My coworkers always joke about how stone-cold and deadpan I can get when people are yelling at me. There’s this huge fad out right now with this rubber band weaving loom. We carry them, and right now they’re on sale and so are the individual packages of refill rubber bands. The display they’re set up on is RIGHT in front of the door when you walk into the store, with the registers being immediately to the right of the door. Now, the store always has some sort of coupon out. Usually it’s a 40% off one regular priced item. If something is on sale already, the coupon doesn’t work on it.
So yesterday, this ornery looking lady comes to my register with a loom, about 15 packages of rubber band refills, and a handful of items from the clearance bins. There are one or two other small things that are regular price. She presents the 40% off coupon, and another 20% off the whole order. I scan all of her items and put them in the bag while she scrutinizes the screen on her side. When I get to the coupons, they only take a tiny amount off. When I tell her the total, this old lady asks, ‘Why didn’t you use my coupons?! That’s way too much! I can’t afford that!’
I replied with, ‘I did, but they don’t work on things that are already on sale. It took the 40 and 20 off of your non-sale items. They were pretty cheap already, so it only took a few cents off.’
She screeched, ‘That’s nonsense! This is totally illegal! It’s false advertising! It doesn’t say ANYWHERE that I can’t use coupons for sale items! Give me my flipping discount! I need these!’
I simply said, ‘I’m sorry, but it does say right here on the coupon that sale items are excluded, and on a very large sign on the loom display itself that no additional coupons or discounts can be used on the loom stuff. And all of this other stuff is already on clearance.’
This old lady responded with a loud, ‘WHAT sign?! There’s no sign! This is malarkey! You’re trying to steal my money!’
I calmly walk five feet over to the display and pick up the bright yellow sign that says, ‘No additional discounts may be applied to [loom] products’, and I hold it up to show her.
She visibly puffs up and bellows, ‘You little witch! I will NEVER shop here again! I spend a lot of money here! You just lost a VERY important customer!’
She storms out, and my manager runs up to me. She exclaims, ‘What on Earth just happened? Are you okay?’
I told my manager, ‘Yeah, that lady was just mad because she can’t read.'”
“I Did A Bad Thing. What To Know What I Did?”
“I was a cashier in the women’s shoes department at my store. My team is closing up the floor and wiping stuff down, running wood. The rest of us were waiting for the all clear to close the registers and head out. As I’m standing there, the phone rings and I pick it up.
Me: ‘Women’s shoes, how can I help you?’
Caller: ‘Hello. I did a bad thing.’
Me: ‘Oh. You did a bad thing?’
Caller: ‘I did a bad thing. It was really bad.’
Me: ‘Oh no. I’m sure it wasn’t bad. What did you do?’
At this point, I’m thinking the worst. Like a bomb threat or something. My team is all around me looking so confused.
Caller: ‘I DID A BAD THING. Want to know what I did?’
Me: ‘Sure. What did you-‘
Caller: ‘I PEED ON THE COUCH.’
I’m stunned. And I remember the ‘water spill’ that one of the other team members had cleaned up earlier.
Me: ‘Oh…which cou-‘
Caller: ‘LET ME SPEAK TO THE MANAGER.’
At this point, I’m happy to pass it off. I put her on hold and tell my manager that this customer had peed on one of our couches and was now calling about it. My manager talks to her and from what she told me, it went something like this.
Caller: ‘I peed on the couch.’
Manager: ‘Okay. Why did you do that?’
CL: ‘I got mad so I peed. And you know what? I’m not sorry about it. I want to talk to your store manager.’
Manager: ‘Okay, I’ll pass it to her. What’s your name?’
And at this point the customer hangs up, happily telling us that she peed on our couch but apparently her name was too much. That team member who had cleaned the mess up was driving home when he received the call that he might want to wash his hands ASAP. I hope he disinfected his car.”
Ms. Petty Customer
“This customer at work was notorious for her returns, to the point where I remember her, and how to spell her complicated last name vividly, six years later and 3,000 miles later. She shopped at out local pharmacy in town and at another two hours away. Sometimes, products have price discrepancies between stores in order to stay competitive in surrounding areas.
One day after a holiday rush, she came in wanting to buy a product we sold, but at the price of the location two hours away (only 51 cents cheaper). The cashier was like ‘Forget this, I don’t get paid enough for this,’ so they handed it off to me.
Before I could even speak, I was hit with, ‘I need a store code for store reduction because you guys are shady with pricing!’
My lines were backed up, I had a manager in my ear, a problem with trolleys in the lot and this witch was barking over 51 cents.
I looked her dead in the eye, ‘Sorry, I don’t have time for the headache that comes with paper work from this transaction.’ I grabbed 75 cents from my wallet, slapped it on the counter, and hopped on a register to help relieve my main isle.
I got an unavoidable ‘customer complaint to corp’ write up from this event, but my manager was laughing over it with me.”
He Had To Be Bluffing, Right?
“Yesterday, I was managing the floor at my store, greeting customers, and delegating tasks to colleagues. We had a launch on Friday of a new product, so we’ve been incredibly busy.
Last night during a really busy period, I was already with a customer when a man walked past. He was wearing headphones and appeared to be talking to someone, so I smiled at him and said, ‘Hey, how are ya?’
He ignored me and went to go browse at tablets. About a minute later, I’m still with my customer, my staff are still busy doing their jobs, and he begins to walk off still talking to someone through his headphones. As he walks by, my customer begins to walk off too and I say, ‘Bye guys! Have a good night!’
The man turns around and starts yelling, ‘Have a good night? I HAVE BEEN IN HERE, FOR FIVE MINUTES, AND NOT ONCE WAS I ASKED IF I NEEDED HELP!’
I tell him, ‘I’m sorry, but you were on the phone to someone and as you can see we’re all busy with customers. Is there something I can help you with?’
‘ON THE PHONE?!’
I merely replied, ‘Oh, it looked like you were speaking with someone, I thought you didn’t hear me when I asked how you were because you were in a conversation.’
He snapped back, ‘Well I WASN’T, and I just want you to know that YOU’VE lost a CUSTOMER! I have SEVEN THOUSAND DOLLARS in my POCKET right now that I WANTED TO SPEND, but you won’t be getting ANY of it!’
He begins to walk away. I tell him, ‘No worries mate, I hope your night gets better.’
He turns around. ‘I HOPE THAT’S NOT SARCASM!’
He storms off into the shopping center and starts yelling at random people, ‘warning’ them not to come in and announcing to the world that he’s going to go buy the competitor’s product. I had a chuckle when I saw he already had their product in his hand.”
This Employee Completely Lost All Their Cool
“This happened many months ago while I was at work. I manage a construction company specializing in flooring. This is about a lady who was doing a favor for her husband, who is also a contractor. I’ll warn you now that she is incapable of finishing a sentence without swearing and this is not how I treat my customers. I do have the authority to ask people to leave, but rarely need to. I’ve never had a customer like this before or since. She came into my showroom looking to purchase a small amount of floor tiles for a repair. She had come into the store a few times before to verify the color, so I’ve seen her before, but never interacted with her. I count myself lucky.
On the day she came in to purchase the flooring, my boss was out of the office, so I’ve been in the showroom all day by myself. This lady was yelling and being so offensive and so far beyond rude you’d need a map to get back to civility.
She interrupted. Every. Single. Answer. To. Every. Question. She. Asked.
She kept asking me questions about the process and time frame. She called her husband a total of four times complaining and cursing about me right in front of my face. She was angry about the flat-rate freight charge, claiming she’d rather drive to [distribution center located three hours away] and pick it up herself. No. Absolutely no way am I subjecting my distributor to her tantrums. She had a problem with having to buy more tiles than she needed. Boxes have a set amount of square feet. You can’t break them up. She should know this.
She has been yelling for a solid 5 minutes when I finally picked my jaw up off the floor. I LOST it. It’s one of the few times I’ve lost it, especially with a customer. I’m a mellow person and I hardly ever speak to people like this. It takes a lot to offend me. I’m a petite woman and often appear vulnerable, which is definitely not the word that anyone who knows me would use to describe me. If I do happen to get angry, I have a low shiver-me-timbers-scary-whisper voice. And if you hear it, oh boy, you done messed something up good.
She shouted, ‘I can’t BELIEVE how many TIMES I’ve come HERE TODAY and the store is CLOSED!’
Ha! Liar! I’ve been here all day!
‘I have my OWN business and if I ran MY compa-‘ but I cut her off.
I said, ‘Look lady. I think it would be a good idea for you to get your flooring from a different store.’
She didn’t like that. ‘I CAN’T! I can’t go somewhere ELSE! I was referred HERE! I HAVE to get it from YOU!’
I’m positive I had a very confused look on my face because when I replied with, ‘Let me get this straight, you’re treating me this way and you want something from me?!’
Oh, no. No, no, no. I don’t have security to call to help me. I have to deal with her myself and she clearly only speaks ‘scream’. I then slowly stood up from my desk, planted my hands on the table, and loomed my short little self over her, just to have my next statement sink in as deep as possible. I can dish it right back, should I need to. I have to, or I would be terrible at my job. Petite female + construction industry = Hard. In a calm and icy voice I instructed her that this is going to go exactly how I say.
I firmly stated, ‘You have 2 options. You can sit down and shut up or you can get out. If you want me to help you, you’re going to lose the attitude right now or you can go throw a temper tantrum somewhere else. Can you do that?’ Is there going to be and issue again, or can you park the attitude for 5 minutes, so I can do my job without being verbally abused and assaulted?’
She utters a simple, ‘Fine.’ She’s still acting rudely, complaining and mumbling that I need to hurry up because she, ‘just wants to get her groceries home.’
Seriously, lady? That’s the motivation behind this outburst? Seven times, she said this. Seven! I counted! Then please tell me why did you go grocery shopping before you came to order flooring?! So, I finish writing up her order and she hands me money. As she’s leaving, she starts up again.
She uttered, ‘I’m just stressed out, so THAT’S why I’m yelling, but I am NOT a monster.
I retorted with, ‘Sure, lady. Whatever, but I don’t buy that for a second.’
She got in my face with a loud, ‘YEAH WELL I JUST-‘
I cut her off with ‘BYE!’ GET. OUT. OF. MY. STORE.’
And she did. She left having no idea when her flooring is being delivered.
A week later, her husband came in waving the sales ticket inches from my face, like I’d EVER forget these people, to see when the flooring was going to arrive, because his wife surely doesn’t know. I hadn’t bothered to order it yet. It takes a day to ship so, I tell him the day after tomorrow. Now before y’all get cross with me for not ordering the material they paid for, I didn’t mess with the guy’s business. I knew what day he needed it by, and I definitely would have ordered it on time, but I was so appalled by her behavior that I put her on the back burner.
A couple days later, the husband’s employee comes in to pick it up. We shared an ‘I know, right’ look with each other. We both have crazy bosses.”
I’m Not Good Enough To Get A Shopping Bag?!
“So this happened to me a few years ago when I worked at a Dollar store. I was on register and there was a huge line, and a bit before this rush started, we were running out of plastic bags. So my manager told me to only give them to people who really needed them (like the people with their arms full of items, which I feel is fair).
This lady comes up to my register with two coloring books. I ring them up and set them on the little table area (where the card reader is) for her to take. I tell her the total. As she puts her card in, she looks at me and in a very snarky voice goes, ‘I don’t get a bag?’
I apologized and replied, ‘No, I’m sorry ma’am we’re almost out, so we need to conserve them for people with a lot of items, like that woman back there,’ and I motion to a woman in my line with her hands full of items.
‘So I don’t get a bag?’
‘No, I’m sorry. As you only have two coloring books, I don’t see-‘
She cuts me off ans shouts, ‘Oh, so just because I bought COLORING books, I’m not good enough to GET A BAG For the items I PURCHASED?!’
‘No that’s not-‘ but she cut me off again and started basically yelling at me and berating me for not giving her a plastic bag for her two coloring books. I tried to reason with her, but she ended up just walking out of the store without her books, telling me about how I’ve lost a customer and I made a mistake, how she buys LOADS of items here, and we’ll be sorry. She yelled everything she could think of. I stood there in shock and tried not to cry as she left. The rest of the people in my line gave me sympathetic looks.
I tried to get back to work and ring other people up, but it wasn’t working, and I was on the verge of tears. I called my manager to have her take over for a few moments while I sat in the balloon area and just cried since that was where my manager told me to go, even though it was in front of everyone.
I will never forget how ridiculous that was. Scarred me for life.”
That’s One Way To Close A Sale
“So I work in a pretty well known department store as the home supervisor, and this happened about a year ago.
I was going about my business when a co-worker calls me over the walkie-talkie saying that a customer needs help getting a towel down off the wall. I’m a tall person, so I’m thinking she just needs me to grab one off the top shelf, and I head over. I greet her with, ‘Hi! How can I help you?’
She snapped, ‘I just need you to grab one of those towels for me.’
She points to the display towels, which are literally just hand towel sized samples of cloth that are wrapped around a piece of foam to make it look like we have more.
I politely tell her, ‘Oh I’m sorry, those aren’t real. They’re just displays.’
She quickly replies, ‘Well then, I guess you just lost a sale!’
She looked very serious, and I just stood there for a moment completely dumbfounded that she thought that her threat held any merit. I then apologized and told her to have a nice day.”
Bonkers Breakfast Rush
“I work a small breakfast restaurant and have had a few people pull the ‘you lost a customer’ card. One man ordered biscuits and gravy, asked for extra gravy on the side. I charged him for it, but he was angry.
A woman asked for her bagel cut in half two times. I said, ‘Just to be sure, you want it cut into fourths?’ She and her friend proceeded to laugh in my face and call me stupid because I couldn’t understand what they were asking me. Eventually I had to get my boss, who had to show her cutting a bagel into halves two times makes four pieces. She left.
One time breakfast took longer than five minutes to cook, and a man who was in a time crunch decided to take it out on the waitresses because he chose to sit down and eat when he was short on time. I told a woman that non-service animals weren’t welcome in the restaurant and that does include dogs in strollers. When I handed out menus to a family at 8 am, I neglected to tell them we weren’t serving lunch. They complained to my manger.”
“The Doctors have To Take My Face Off”
“I work at a big name crafts store as a cashier. It was around mid-afternoon, so we weren’t particularly busy. Weekdays tend to be very quiet with the only big rushes coming in around 12 or after 3. This elderly lady with frizzy white hair comes walking up to my counter with her items and a coupon. Okay, standard stuff. This should be an easy sale.
So I start scanning her items, and while I do that, I try to start up a conversation. I find that it helps pass the time for the customer, plus I just love to hear other people’s stories. Well boy howdy did this woman have a doozy.
I wasn’t able to remember the exact dialogue but I remember that this was so sudden I almost got whiplash.
I started with, ‘So, how have you been doing?’
She croaked, ‘Awful. I’m 91 years old, so my health is going.’
I told her, ‘Oh, I’m very sorry to hear that. But wow, 91 years old, that’s impressive!’
She muttered, ‘The doctors- The doctors have to take my face off. I have cancer. They have to remove my skin. I have skin cancer.’
I could only state, ‘That’s awful, I’m very sorry to-‘
She interrupted, ‘It makes my leg shake in the night and look at my hand. It makes it so hard for me- it shakes. And they always say ‘oh you look fine’ and ‘oh you look great’, but they’re lying. I know they are. I’ve always had cancer. I keep telling my doctors. But they never find anything. They say it’s not there. BUT I KNOW I have cancer!’
I’m starting to realize she could be not quite there mentally.
She states, ‘I had a tumor in my lip once. It took them two years to get it out because they didn’t believe me. And I had- I had cancer behind my stomach. And then I had a blocked [unintelligible] that they had to go through my whole intensities and give me a bag to help drain it and…’
She keeps going on about her entire medical history while I try to ring her up.
Trying to get back on track, I say, ‘Right- that will be-‘
She mumbled, ‘I recently signed over my house to my grandchildren- and they say- they say I-‘
I interjected about the total cost. We finish up the transaction and I’m certain now she’s going to say her goodbyes. But no. After I hand her the receipt she goes right back to talking.
She told me, ‘Anyway, I’ve had to get 58 surgeries. Oh, and look at this!’
Then from the depths of her purse, she pulled out a Ziploc bag with papers inside, pulled out the papers to reveal that they’re just random blurry photos of random parts of her body. A couple of photos of her face. A few of her hands. A few of her feet. They all looked normal, but she’s pointing out these photos as if they’re PROOF that she has cancer.
I think she felt emboldened to keep going because nobody else was there. So there I stood. Looking at blurry photos. I didn’t want to seem insensitive and tell her to get lost, but I didn’t want her to hinder me doing my duties. I also wasn’t sure if she was mentally ill or not. I’m a very empathetic person, especially when it comes to cancer patients. My grandpa passed away due to liver cancer and losing him was painful. Even so, I know she might have been doing this out of fear, and just needed an outlet.
I took her hand and told her, ‘Well, you were strong enough to make it this far and I pray that you’ll at least be able to find some comfort.’
She laughed as if I had said a joke and then turned to walk away because she noticed another customer coming up to the registers.
It was a really strange and kind of uncomfortable encounter. I never saw her again, and I do hope that woman is ok though, despite coming off as crazy.”