It's truly no secret that folks who work in retail are unsung heroes. For every polite and easy customer they encounter, it seems as though they have to deal with a dozen nasty ones.
1. "A customer brought back a jumpsuit for a refund because it had shit in it. She claimed it was like that when she bought it. It stank so bad that you could smell it through the taped-up plastic bags she had put it in. It would never have gone unnoticed by the changing room staff, the customer, or the cashier if she actually bought it like that. Someone at the refund counter actually accepted it and put it in the trolley full of other returned items for us to put back out. There was a note stapled to it that said, 'Warning: feces inside.'"
2. "I work at McDonald's and this happened just a few days ago. I handed a woman her tray and asked if she needed sugar with her coffee. She turned her nose up and said, 'I won’t answer. You all are not educated.'"
3. "I used to work in concessions at a movie theater. One time, our popcorn kettle caught on fire. Smoke filled the lobby and I was using a fire extinguisher to put out the fire, all while a customer stood at the counter and yelled at me that she still wanted popcorn. I could barely even see her through the smoke."
4. "I worked at a gas station. Once, a guy came in, grabbed a foot-long sub from the sandwich case, opened it up, pulled a hair out of his own head, and stuffed it in the sandwich. He came up to the register and demanded a refund."
5. "We had a patient call the police on us because she came to our dentist's office for an appointment that she didn’t have. She insisted that we see her at that very moment, and when we explained we were fully booked and would have to schedule her another day, she went ballistic and called the police. She went outside to meet the police and never came back inside! Truly bizarre!"
6. "When I was a manager at a health food grocery store, a customer was perplexed that we did not stock 'goat eggs.' I gently explained to her that goats do not lay eggs, and she went on a rampage saying that our store was supposed to carry EVERYTHING. She demanded to speak with the manager. I was the manager."
7. "A woman came in, grabbed an herb-roasted rotisserie chicken, plopped down in the casual seating area, ate 85% of it with her bare hands, then brought the carcass to customer service and tried to return it."
8. "I once had a customer scream obscenities at me because apparently we sold her burnt pizza multiple times. I worked at a take-and-bake pizza place, so she cooked the pizzas herself. But I guess somehow it was our fault she didn't know how to use an oven."
9. "My favorite incident was when I worked at the deli counter and an 80-year-old accused me of attempting to sell her 'fraudulent turkey' because the slices tore if you cut them more than two millimeters thick. She yelled, 'That's not turkey! I know my turkey!'"
10. "Our store is carryout only — we don’t deliver the pizzas we make. We once had a customer call and have a long and angry conversation with me because I wouldn’t deliver to her. She proceeded to say (a couple of times), 'You must be new here. I know the owner personally,' to which I responded, 'Well, I’m the owner's daughter, and we don’t deliver.'"
11. "Someone yelled at me because her fries were deep-fried. I had to resist the urge to give her raw fries."
12. "I worked at a family-friendly resort hotel. As this one guest was unloading her car to check in, a bird pooped on her Coach purse. At the check-in counter, she demanded we pay for a replacement purse, since 'our bird' ruined her purse. My coworker smiled and said, 'How do you know the bird doesn't belong to the hotel next door?'"
13. "I had a woman try to return something without actually bringing the item."
14. "I used to work at a game store. One time, a woman came in and asked for two PSPs, two Xbox 360s, and a handful of games and accessories. When it was time to pay, she handed me a 'credit card' that was not laminated and appeared to come from a home printer. I told her the card wouldn’t work and she told me to scan it anyway. I scanned her fake credit card, which clearly didn't have a magnetic strip, and of course it didn't work. She told me to just type the number in on the computer. I refused, and she told me she would be back with cash. I put everything back on the shelves. She did not return."
15. "I sold a guy a phone years ago when I worked for a wireless carrier. I spent an hour getting all his information transferred and setting up the phone. He came in the next day with a shattered screen. Apparently he didn’t remember that I was the rep who helped him and proceeded to tell me that the phone was like that when he left the store. Needless to say, the phone was not replaced."
16. "I worked at Ulta, and someone tried to return some liter-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner, but they had filled them with water and froze them. The temperature and condensation were a dead giveaway, so we refused to return their items. They proceeded to call corporate and complain, so they got a $100 gift certificate and we got bitched at."
17. "I was working at a place that had soft-serve ice cream on the menu. One day, a lady came to the counter and said, 'I'm really sorry, but my daughter dropped her ice cream and she's really sad about it. Do you think you could give me another?' I was about to, then I realized our ice cream machine was broken that day and we hadn't sold any. I looked back at her and told her that the ice cream must've not been from us because of the machine. She turned bright red and mumbled, 'Oh, then I guess it must be from Dairy Queen or something,' and left quickly."
18. "I worked at Aldi, which has a return policy where you get your money back plus an item of equal or lesser value. One customer routinely returned a gallon of milk with just a quarter remaining, claiming it was 'rancid.' He’d then get a new gallon and his money back. This went on almost daily for two weeks until the district manager finally put his foot down."
19. "A customer called my company and complained that my shirt was untucked so that they could get free coupons. This woman made such a mess out of nothing, and I almost got written up over it."
20. "This person came in with a coupon for a free iPod. The fine print said, 'Guaranteed and payable by Bill Gates.' I asked why Bill Gates would pay for an Apple product. They left."
21. "I worked in a grocery store. One night, a guy kept walking back and forth in front of the doors while jerking a plastic bag around. Finally, after his third try, a big jug of wine broke through the bottom of the bag and smashed right in front of the doors. He started yelling that our bags were crap and that we better get him another bottle. I walked him outside and told him we couldn’t replace it because we didn’t have any wine jugs filled with black cherry Kool-Aid. No, wine doesn’t smell like that."
22. "I was working customer service, and part of my job was to answer any incoming phone calls. We got a call from a guy claiming to be from technical support. He told me that he wanted to update our systems, and to do so, I needed to follow his instructions. I obviously knew this was a scam but decided to play along. He told me to log in to our computer, ring up a gift card for $100, say he paid cash, then read off the gift card number for him. He said that would update our systems! Still the funniest scam attempt I've ever seen."
23. "I wouldn't take a raw rotisserie chicken out of the oven and sell it to a customer, so they threw a gallon of milk at me."
24. "I worked at Arby's, and we closed for a week while our store got remodeled. We were all there one day during that week preparing to reopen when someone called and claimed we'd messed up their drive-thru order the previous day. They demanded that we remake their order for free. The manager had to fight laughter while telling him that we'd been closed for a week."
25. "When I was at Little Caesars, this lady came in with her pizza box and proceeded to tell the cashier she had bought the pizza the previous day and it was burnt, so she wanted a new one. There were only two slices left in the box, and it was a day old. They still gave her a new pizza. Not worth the fight for a $5 Hot-n-Ready."
26. "I once saw someone trying to return an empty 10-pound bag of ice because it had melted too quickly."
27. "I work at the fish counter in a supermarket. A few months ago, a guy in a cowboy hat actually threw the fish I had just handed him back at me because he didn't like the way I had wrapped it. Unfortunately for him, it was his second incident. He has been banned for a year by security."
28. "I worked at Chick-fil-A in high school and had a woman yell at me because I wouldn’t sell her a cheeseburger."
29. "Today, an old woman got mad at one of my coworkers because he didn’t know what school her granddaughter went to."
30. "Just the other day, a women screamed at me because our restaurant has Sweet'n Low instead of Splenda. When I gave her the sweetener, she yelled in my face about how insulted she was that I would give her such garbage. Even after finding her some brown sugar in the kitchen, she was unpleasant for the rest of her meal."
31. "I worked in a charity bookshop and my first customer ever yelled at me because I told her we didn't sell bowling balls. I have no idea how I lasted two years at that place."
32. "I’m a server, and one time a customer asked for double the meat on a meat lover's pizza that already came with four types of meat on it. Well, he got the pizza and yelled at me, refused to tip, and left a bad review about me all because there was too much meat on it. Again, he wanted double meat on a pizza that already came with four types of meat. I even offered to make him a new one with less meat and he declined four times. He sat there the whole time picking off the meat one piece at a time."
33. "My first job was at a grocery store, and they had just started charging for plastic bags. This one guy didn’t want to pay the five pence, so he threw a block of cheese at my head!"
34. "I once had an older man yell at me for not giving him his change in two dollar bills. He demanded to know why we didn’t have two dollars bills. Maybe because they’re not in circulation and we were a pizza shop? He also informed me that they’re worth twice as much as one dollar bills (uh, duh). He made me give him his change in quarters because he refused to take dollar bills. I thought he was just trying to be funny, but a few minutes later, a customer came in and said, 'Did you know there’s an old man outside yelling about two dollar bills?'"
35. "Postal office clerk here. One customer screamed at me when I told her we couldn't send her mail because it had no address on it. Yup, no address — just the person's name. She then proceeded to yell that she always sends letters like that and that her letters always arrive that way."
36. Finally: "I used to bartend. This lady came up to the bar and said she had dropped her phone in the toilet. I was like, 'Oh wow, that sucks!' She said, 'Well aren't you going to go get it out for me?' She left the phone sitting in the toilet she'd just used. I politely reminded her that I was a bartender not a toilet-phone-recoverer. She called me a choice name and stormed off."
Have you ever dealt with or witnessed a nightmare customer in action? Tell us your story in the comments below!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.