Skip To Content

    21 Karen Stories That Are Both Extremely Cringeworthy And Rage-Inducing

    "Complained about the food she got from a free food pantry...while she was getting $5K a month in spousal support."

    If you've been on social media at all over the past few years, then you undoubtedly have come across a post or two or 75 about a "Karen."

    But sometimes those Karens aren't just relegated to videos and Facebook posts you see online — they're actually your family members. And Reddit user u/SpecialEmbarrassed49 wanted to know just that when they asked the Ask Reddit Community: "Sons and daughters of Karens, what's the most embarrassing thing your parent did?"

    Well, the people who have Karens (and also some Kevins) in their lives came through with the stories. Here are some of the top-voted and best comments:

    1. "I am a nephew of a Karen. Was visiting her, and she needed to stop by Walgreens. She had a newspaper ad that stated that some candles were 50% off, so she bought like 10 of them. She got charged full price and flipped out. We're talking like paying a dollar per candle instead of 50 cents. The cashier and I both showed her that she was holding an old newspaper and that the offer expired a week ago...then she shifted to, 'Well, you could have told me more nicely,' and kept bitching. I just kept telling her we needed to leave. Once I finally got her out into the car, I said I had forgotten to grab a pack of gum. I went back in and apologized to the poor guy.


    2. "Back in the mid-'90s my mom rented Clerks for the family at the rental store in the Kroger we used to shop at (while having no idea how raunchy the movie is). She was so offended by it that the next day she went back in to scream at the manager at how outrageous it was that they would carry such an offensive movie at a family rental store and demanded that they permanently take it off the shelf, and the goddamned thing of it is they actually obliged her. They never carried Clerks at that location again, so if you ever tried to rent the movie from a Kroger in Lewisville, Texas, back in the mid-'90s and weren't able to, I apologize. It is entirely my mom's fault."


    3. "This was decades ago, but my mother used to sneak back to our table and 'adjust' whatever tip my dad/myself would leave. Hint: It was never adjusted upwards."


    4. "We went to some hotel one night for dinner. The hotel had a pool that was clearly only for 'hotel guests' as was indicated by dozens of signs surrounding the pool. My mother told my little brother and I we were allowed to use the pool and even had us wear our bathing suits under our clothing so we could easily get changed after dinner."

    "Well, they clearly have employees monitoring this, and not long after we jumped in the water security calmly walked over and asked to see our hotel room keys. Since we weren't staying there and didn't have room keys, we were politely asked to leave. My mother refuses and insists we were within our rights because we ate dinner there. A screaming match ensues, hundreds of people are staring at us, and finally the head of security had to escort us off the property before the police were called."


    5. "My dad once got banned from Ford (the only place that his car insurance covered the three-year late oil change he needed) because they had a vending machine that sold Arizona tea for $1.25, while the can said 99 cents. He didn't even buy it or want to. He was screaming at the front desk people because of it. The vending machine wasn't owned by Ford, and they were most certainly not in control of the prices. I have no idea what he hoped to gain out of the ordeal."


    6. "My mom attempting to change my sister’s diaper on the table in a crowded restaurant. Going ballistic when the waitress asked her to used the restroom. Then having me change her while she argued with the entire restaurant."


    7. "My dad once got into a screaming match with someone because of the TSA PreCheck lane at an airport; he couldn’t use it but insisted he could. He then started screaming at me because I told him I didn't think he could use it."


    8. "We were having a family dinner where we just decided to order in Chinese food. With around 15 people eating, it was quite a large order. One of the things we ordered were honey garlic chicken balls, which we got two orders of. This restaurant delivers these as an order of breaded chicken balls with a side of honey garlic sauce. My dad went to pick up the food, brought it back home, and we noticed that we got two orders of the breaded chicken balls, but only one honey garlic sauce."

    "Now, I get it. This is mildly annoying, but hey, it happens, and we still have tons and tons of food, plus a single order of sauce is likely enough for two orders of chicken anyway. My mom was essentially sent into a bloodlust because of this. She was very annoyed we didn’t get the second sauce, and while people were starting to sit down and help themselves to the food, she got on the phone with the restaurant. While I’m sure the restaurant staff was apologizing, she kept insisting that this was BS and that she expects to get everything she paid for, and that the restaurant had to rectify this. 

    She argued back and forth (while everyone else ate), but eventually got the restaurant to send a delivery driver with just the order or sauce. She of course sat down to eat after this, and just about everyone was already done. Of course, by the time the sauce got there, everyone had finished eating, and it wasn’t really missed. She felt so proud of herself getting the restaurant to go to ridiculous lengths over such a trivial thing."


    9. "My mother is not exactly a Karen, but she had a very bad Karen-moment once. She paid me a visit shortly after I moved to Switzerland. We went shopping for groceries together. Everything in Switzerland is at least twice as expensive — and my mother did let the entire shop know how overpriced each and every item I put in the cart was. While also insisting that we needed to buy bottled water because she couldn't drink tap water. (She does it at home, and Switzerland has the better water quality. So I have really no idea why that was a thing in the first place.)"

    "So from everything she complained about, the 12 bucks for four bottles of non-sparkly water was somehow completely fine.

    I never went shopping with her ever again after this."


    10. "My dad isn’t usually a Karen/Kevin, but one time he was. We’re from the UK, but parents are really into country music. So one of our summer holidays, when I was probably around 13, we spent three weeks driving around Tennessee, going to Memphis, Pigeon Forge, Chattanooga, and Nashville."

    "Did all the usual tourist BS: Graceland, Sun Studio, Tooties, Grand Ole Opry, stalking Garth Brooks, etc.

    We visited this one place — it was a museum with some sort of backlot studio tour, and my dad was really excited about visiting it. Except the backlot tour part was closed (think the roads were closed for roadworks). My dad was not happy about this, especially as he only found out after we’d paid and been around the main museum.

    So we went to discuss it with the ticket desk. Both sides made some reasonable points (there was a sign on the ticket desk, albeit it was a little small to have spotted, etc.). My dad was not getting far, and exclaimed, 'I’ve come all the way from England to visit this goddamn place!'

    Oh dear, using blasphemy against an employee of a country music museum in Memphis (or Nashville, forget which city we were in) absolutely did not have the desired effect. 'Well, y’know what, sir? I was thinking about giving y’all a refund, but I don’t think I want to do that anymore.'

    At that point my siblings and I all noped out of that one and headed outside. Never did find out if dad got his refund."


    11. "When I was about 9, my dad took my sister and I to McDonald's one evening. At this point he and my mum were separated, so he only saw us once a week (and those visits gradually petered out to my relief). He ordered a Quarter Pounder with cheese for himself, took one bite, and spat it out into the box. He then stormed up to the counter, ignored the line of people waiting to order, and started loudly berating the woman at the register (who hadn't even taken his order in the first place)."

    "He screamed, 'I asked for a goddamn Quarter Pounder without cheese; why the hell have you put cheese on my burger? You clearly don't know how to do the most simple of tasks. I want to speak to your manager...' And on and on it went. I felt such shame and humiliation, and I couldn't even finish my meal. If that wasn't bad enough, when he finally came back with a fresh meal, I told him in a timid voice that he had in fact ordered one with cheese, and he started screaming at me. Yeah...I wasn't exactly gutted when those little outings with dad ended."


    12. "My mom harassed my elementary school so much over small things and caused such a big fuss that they didn't let my niece, who they knew was my mom's granddaughter, come back. They just didn't wanna deal with her anymore, to the point of kicking my niece out of the school. Those poor teachers didn't get paid enough."


    13. "Not my parent but my step-grandparent. We went to a Thai restaurant, and they were severely understaffed because of COVID, so the food took around 30 minutes to come out. My food didn't come out for another 10 minutes; during those 10 minutes he kept calling over waiters and asking when the food will come, and if it doesn't come soon I'll give you a one-star rating. It was pretty funny for me, but I also felt bad for the people working there."


    14. "My dad is a bit of a Karen, but he never gets loud or obnoxious. Just really, really pedantic. He once called Walmart and went into this whole thing about the strawberries being $1 more expensive than what was advertised. I couldn't believe he went so far over $1."


    15. "My mom is a Karen. Every time we go out to dinner with her, it's an absolute nightmare. Her fork is bent; this dish wasn't as spicy last time; the waitress doesn't address her first; her food is 'cold' (read the physical plate wasn't hot, not the actual food); it's been too long since we've seen our server — even though she doesn't actually need anything. Each of these complaints are voiced arrogantly at the server and followed up with, 'I was a waitress, and we never had these issues.' She was a part-time waitress in the early '90s at a pizza joint. I can't eyeroll hard enough."


    16. "We went to get my glasses changed. My mother had walked into the store 10 minutes before closing, and she was mad because they wouldn't check my eyesight. The whole time I was praying we wouldn't get kicked out."


    17. "Daughter-in-law of a Karen. One time she tipped $2 on a $100 bill because she didn't like how the fish was cooked. I got up and handed the waitress $20 and apologized. Another time she walked into a salon with no reservation and then threw a passive-aggressive huffing fit because they wouldn't give her a slot right then and there."


    18. "My mom used to be a Karen. I can still remember her arguing with the cashier at Zellers when I was a kid over the price of clearance Christmas stuff. It got to the point that the people behind her were yelling at her to stop and hurry up. Sometimes the difference in price was a couple cents. I was so embarrassed and walked away to do something else while this was going on."


    19. "My dad is a male Karen. I’m talking arguing with the servers at a restaurant or demands for his coupons to work type of Karen. It's horrendous and oftentimes embarrassing."

    "I went to get new shoes at the beginning of a school year several years back, and we went to a specific store because he had a coupon. The store was having a sale, and the items we got did not match the coupon, but he was INSISTENT. Kept arguing with the poor worker for 10–15 minutes. As we were leaving, I whispered 'I’m sorry' to the employee, and she nodded in appreciation. Dad overheard me, and I got chewed out in the car on the way home. This wasn’t the worst thing he did, but it stuck with me because I ended up on the receiving end of his Jaren attitude."


    20. "My mom was almost arrested once. We were at the Mexico City airport flying to Juarez, and we were bringing back a bunch of plates and other things she got while in this huge box. We get to the check-in counter; a guy says she needs to have the box wrapped. My mother is deeply offended by this. She yells, 'WELL I'VE NEVER HAD TO DO THAT BEFORE!!! I BRING STUFF FROM MEXICO CITY ALL THE TIME, AND I'VE NEVER HAD TO DO THAT!'"

    "The yelling caused some bewildered stares in her direction. Keep in mind, this is a very white woman arguing angrily in absolutely flawless Spanish, so that’s already intriguing enough as it is. Guy again demands that she needs to go get the box tape wrapped, and that’ll be an extra charge of about 200 pesos (around $10). 

    Instead of doing that, she storms off, leaving a massive, unidentified box, fully unattended — you know, that thing the airport announcements always tell you NEVER TO DO! My dad and I had already checked in and made it through security while this was unfolding. Mom joins us at the gate in a huff, regaling to us this slight against her honor. Just as she finishes, five security officers walk up to her, AR-15s at their sides, and ask her is she’s [my mom's name]. She says she is; they yank her up and start dragging her away. Dad, a lawyer, has an 'Oh s***t!' moment, and we go running after her. To sum up, dad does his lawyer things, she doesn’t get arrested for terroristic threats, we somehow make our flight, and we did get that damn box of f***ing plates back home. I make fun of her every time we use them."


    And lastly...

    21. "My mom complained about the food she got from a free food pantry that she was taking advantage of while she was getting $5K a month in spousal support that she didn't have to report as income."


    You can read the full thread of responses on Reddit.

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.