18 Retail Workers Revealed The Moments That Drove Them To Quit, And I Don't Blame A Single One Of Them

    "I gathered my things, went to the office, woke my manager up from her nap, told her about the situation, and quit on the spot."

    People who work in customer service are literal saints. As if the Karens and Kens of the world weren't awful enough, there are also plenty of crappy bosses out there that won't hesitate to disrespect and abuse their workers.

    stressed retail workers from Superstore

    We recently shared a post about retail workers who quit on the spot, and another post about the most entitled customers that restaurant workers have ever dealt with. Both posts received many interesting comments filled with more customer service horror stories. We just had to share the most infuriating ones with you:

    Note: One of the stories contains mention of sexual harassment. 

    1. "I once had a supervisor who was very good at hiding his toxic work habits when the higher-ups came around. After two years of working as his ASM and doing all his duties, I called out sick for the first time due to a stomach issue, and I let him know I was headed to the ER. While in the ER, the nurse told me my dad was there to see me. My dad had been died three years prior. In walks my supervisor with a smirk on his face, and he said, 'Well, I guess you weren’t lying. I expect a doctor's note tomorrow morning before you clock in.' I ended up taking a week off, and in that week, I secured a new job. I quit my old job as soon as I returned. That supervisor was fired shortly after for failure to submit his paperwork accurately."


    2. "For a short time, I worked at the Gap. It was one of the worst jobs I've ever had. I am slightly bigger than the sizes Gap sells, and my manager and supervisor always made sure I was somehow reminded of this. Because I was unable to wear Gap clothing, they had me folding, cleaning, and manning the fitting rooms. Anyway, one slow day, I was restocking and working the fitting rooms. A mother and her three small children (all probably under the age of 4) came in. Eventually, with an armload of clothing items, she ushered her kids into a fitting room. Not too long after, they emerged without any of the clothing they took to the fitting rooms, and quickly left the store. I went into the room and was hit by a strange smell — almost like garbage and BO. They left the clothing in a pile on the ground. I reached down to grab the pile and my hand smashed into something sticky, lumpy, and moist. That's when the smell REALLY hit me."

    3. "When I worked at this discount department store, I was very meticulous with my till. I had never been off by even so much as a penny in the three years I had been there. Suddenly, two weeks in a row, my till was off by $20 and then $50, earning a write-up each time. Both times, it was the new manager who had collected and recounted my till. Note: There was a spot in the stairwell leading up to the managers' offices where the cameras couldn't see. I started counting my till and recording the exact amount I had before sending up with the manager. I kept my notes in my locker. The next week, I was short by $30."

    "I took my count sheet to the general manager and showed her that my till had been correct before the new manager took it to the office. She said she couldn't accept that as evidence, and I got a final written warning. I started looking for a new job and I put in my two weeks on my birthday. The new manager was fired less than six months later for theft."


    4. "My sister works at a coffee shop and was telling me about an elderly lady who comes in regularly, demands things that they’re out of (even after being told they're out), hits staff with her walker if the walk in front of her, and makes other customers get up if they are sitting at 'her table.'"

    5. "My last retail job (hopefully ever) was at Joann Fabric and Craft. The manager was a strict enforcer of petty rules and once sent me home for wearing a cream-colored shirt instead of a white one. My commute was half an hour each way, and I only made minimum wage. She once tried to lock my coworker's boyfriend outside who had come to pick him up during a tornado warning. We were all sheltered in the back and she tried to lock him out because she thought she'd get in trouble. Thankfully, I convinced her to let him shelter with us. One time I was the only cashier, so I didn't get a lunch break, and I was starving. I called the employee rights hotline on her. She claimed to be a stickler for rules, and letting employees take a lunch was legally required. Turns out all her rule-enforcing was due to her fear of keeping her own job, and not because she was a terrible person. Everyone working for that company deserves better."


    6. "I was working part-time at Walmart in the evenings for some extra holiday cash. I had specific days I wasn't scheduled, due to the demands of my real job. They would continuously call me to come in on the days I was working my real job, no matter how many times I told them I couldn't. They would then write me up for being a no-show. The final straw was when a 20-year-old shift manager screamed at me in front of customers and threatened to withhold my raise (25 cents) or fire me because I refused to be register trained. I told him he had no authority to fire me and to shove that quarter up his ass, then went back to helping the customer I was with. I walked out after my customer went to the registers to check out."

    7. "I had really bad anxiety in my early 20s and worked retail for six months. On my first day of 'training,' I was given a quick walk-around the store, where my supervisor told me about all the products they sold and had me start work right away. For the entire six months I was there, the supervisor and the manager would always complain that I was working too slow (though I was not provided proper training and was told to learn as I worked), and there were times I'd overhear them whisper about how slow and stupid I was. I would dread days where I was working with my manager because she would always yell at me for asking questions and for being slow. I eventually summoned the courage to quit, but that job really worsened my anxiety. The store is still running today, and I refuse to shop there anymore."


    8. "In college, I worked for a popular candle and bath store. They would make us come in at 2 a.m. to reset and restock the floor. It would take hours, and if anything didn’t match 100% to the paper model, you’d be stuck until you got it right. I would finally get home around 8 a.m. and have to go straight to class. Needless to say, I only lasted a few months."

    9. "I once worked at a place where one of my coworkers would sexually harass me. He'd make comments about my body and how I turned him on while I was just doing my job working in produce. He started to take pictures of me and posted them online saying I was his girlfriend. When I spoke to my manager, the rest of the staff basically exiled me, asking me why I'd say that he was doing those things. Two weeks later, when the bullying didn't let up and this man did not leave me alone, I quit on the spot. I was 17, and he was in his 30s."


    10. "It was the beginning of the end for me at this job when I got yelled at for being five minutes late. I lived out in the country almost an hour away and my commute was all back roads, so I always gave myself extra time, especially in the winter. I was usually at work 15–30 minutes early. On this particular day, it was snowing out. You would have thought they would've been worried I was in a ditch dead somewhere. I was actually helping someone make sure they got out of a ditch. But no, they didn't care. I always came in early and stayed late without extra pay, but that didn't matter as much as being five minutes late once on a snowy day."

    11. "My dad had a stroke around June 2020. My mom was a store manager at a fast food chain, and she told her boss that she'd be taking time off to care for/spend time with my dad and the family while he was in the hospital. It was pretty clear to us he wasn’t going to get better, and they only allowed one visitor a day, so whoever went that day would stay with him the whole day. At first, her boss was understanding, but after a few days, he started asking her when she was coming back. My mom reminded him that my dad was in pretty critical condition and she didn’t know how things would go. He asked to have the hospital call him to tell him directly. Well, that wasn’t good enough. He then asked for a note from the hospital. They were shocked, as they’d never had someone ask for a note in such a situation."

    "My mom finally asked her boss if he wanted a picture of my dad hooked up to machines as proof. He told her that was an incredibly rude thing for her to say. She quit, and my dad died in July."


    12. "I worked for a major home improvement store and was hired for the grand opening. We were hired a month beforehand and were never trained in our departments. Three months in, they realized they had hired too many people at too high an hourly wage and no one was quitting, so they told the department heads to push us as hard as they needed to get at least a third of us to quit. And, they did. I lasted another three horrible, terrible months. I hated it so much, I would sometimes vomit before going in to work; I’d be such a wreck. My last straw was when they scheduled me to cover flooring, decor, and paint by myself. I left for lunch and never went back. I still remember the feeling of leaving that place and deciding not to go back. Euphoria! I’ve never left a job without notice like that before or since."

    13. "I worked for a retail company for over seven years and became one of the top store leaders in the company. After the height of COVID-19, my family, who lives in another state, found out my dad had stage four cancer. My boss was apologetic at first, and assured me she was willing to help with anything I needed. A few weeks later, I asked for time off to go home to see my dad. She flipped out and started questioning how sick he really was. She insisted if I took time off that my leadership ability and the store would suffer, and that she would have to replace my position while I was away. Never once was my leadership in question before this, and she had only ever praised me for my work. I spoke to my family, took some PTO, and quit the day I got back. I reported her to HR the day after."


    14. "I worked as a cashier one fall term during college. I was living in the dorms at the time, and I told them that I wouldn’t be able to work during the Christmas break because I couldn’t be in town (I put this in writing as well). When the two-week schedule was posted for the last week of the term and the first week of break, I saw that I was scheduled to work during the break, despite the manager’s promise that I would be off. I asked her about it and reminded her that I literally had nowhere to stay in town during the break because the dorms closed. She said it was my problem, not hers, and there was nothing she could do about it. I said, 'Well, there’s something I can do about it. I quit.' The only time I set foot in that store ever again was to pick up my final paycheck."

    15. "When I was around 18, I worked for MAC Cosmetics. Being a makeup artist was my dream job, and I had (still have) such a passion for doing makeup and helping people feel beautiful. My HORRID manager would constantly body-shame me. She would tell me, 'Maybe you should try taking diet pills like your other coworkers.' I would just sort of brush it off, but feel like crap about myself. She would also give me hell if I didn’t wear heels on the job. We were on our feet all day. I wasn't going to wear heels. I had to wear glasses to work one day because I ran out of contacts. My boss had the gall to tell me, 'You shouldn’t wear glasses. Customers won’t be able to see your makeup.' Like, for real? Because none of our customers also wore glasses? She made me take them off."

    "I worked there for a year before the work environment was so toxic that I couldn’t take it anymore. My makeup artist dream was crushed, but I was relieved I didn’t have to deal with her anymore. I heard she was fired a few months after I left."


    16. "One of my previous jobs 'encouraged' us to only use the bathroom during our breaks. This was actually talked about during a meeting."

    17. "I developed tendinitis working the backroom at HomeGoods. They sent me home until I could be cleared by a doctor. This took weeks because my insurance was late being processed since the manager didn't give me the paystubs I requested for proof. I finally came back with a wrist brace and a note stating that I could not lift anything over 15 pounds. They put the note in a drawer without even looking at it. I tried repeatedly to explain to our truck lead that my doctor wouldn't let me lift the big boxes. One manager scolded me for stretching and shaking out my wrist during my shift and told me I needed a doctor's note to be working. I had provided one, but none of them even read it. I pretty much got fired for an injury I received on the job."


    18. Finally: "I used to work at Tim Hortons, and this woman would come in every day and order a drink that was '1/2 coffee and 1/4 hot chocolate.' Every day, I explained to her that she was ordering a drink that would be only three quarters full. I would say, 'Are you sure you don't want 2/3 coffee with 1/3 hot chocolate?' or, 'Are you sure you don't want 3/4 coffee with 1/4 hot chocolate?' She would say, 'No, I want 1/2 coffee and 1/4 hot chocolate.' Every day I would make her a drink that either wasn't full or had 'too much coffee' or 'too much hot chocolate' in it. I would just sort of pour a little bit out and add more in until she said it was right."

    Yikes. Have you ever worked in retail or customer service? Did you have to deal with a terrible boss or entitled customers? Tell us your story in the comments!

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