Working retail and service sucks, and we all know why. It's the customers.
1. "As a woman working at a hardware store, I get a LOT of sexist comments from men. But the worst was when I was working in the tool rental department and a man walked in, looked at me, and then said, 'I'll come back when the men are working,' and walked out."
2. "When I was a 'baby goth' in my late teens working at Pei Wei, I used to draw on my eyebrows (and I was good at it, btw). One day a lady comes in and after I take her order she says, 'Oh, you must draw on your eyebrows because that's what all the other Mexicans do, is that right? And they let you dress like THAT?' (all black). The uniform was all black, sheesh!"
"Being called out for my race and 'being goth' by an old lady...smh."
3. "I schedule appointments in a doctor's office. A patient called to schedule an appointment ASAP because he had been out of his blood pressure medicine for three months and he needed it filled. I told him that we didn't have any appointments until Monday and he said, 'So if I die, it is going to be your fault!'"
4. "I used to work at a Poundland, we wore name tags and I repeatedly got told that my name (Koo) isn't a REAL name (sometimes the phrase 'especially for a white girl' was tagged onto the end)."
5. "One customer once told me, 'You have a lot of weight on you...but you're pretty with it.'"
6. "That I was a 'bad Christian' for not giving them — a so-called Pastor — a better deal."
7. "I used to be a waitress a few years back, and I had a table with a man and a woman. ... When I brought the bill to them, they started fighting over who gets to pay. The man gave me his card and told me to run it, so I did. The woman followed me but she couldn’t catch me. So when I came back for the man to sign the bill, the women said to me, 'One day you’re gonna have to face Jesus for your weakness.'"
8. "I just recently had a male customer at the small diner I work at tell me (as he was leaving through the front door) that if I lost some weight my seasonal allergies would go away."
9. "I’m a nurse. One time a patient told me my husband was going to leave me because I don’t trim his toenails. It all started because the patient asked me to trim their toenails and I said no."
10. "One of my first days on register at a fast casual restaurant a customer said to me, 'I know you’re in training, but I give you and F.' Not to mention I was 16."
11. "I’m a hairstylist and people are constantly saying rude things without noticing. Mostly questioning my intelligence or how I can afford things. I went to community college while working in a salon and I had a client once talk about how brilliant her daughter was and when she got to talking about her son she said, 'Well let’s just say he’ll be going to (said community college) too.'"
"Just an FYI, it’s the same college the First Lady teaches at. I’ve learned to not let it bother me anymore and let them think I’m poor."
12. "A regular customer at a movie theater I used to work at would talk to me all the time. I thought he was nice. He was talking to me about [my] upcoming trip abroad when he said, 'You know, you have your whole life ahead of you and you don't want to get tied down, so you should take some condoms with you.'"
"I was a somewhat innocent 20-year-old and he was at least in his 60s. When I got back in the country, he asked me out on a date via a note he left in the box office for me."
13. "The amount of times I was asked why I don’t get a 'real' job..."
"Who knew all that time I wasn’t actually working? Lol. Also if my job isn’t 'real' then I really shouldn’t have had to help those entitled customers."
14. "I asked a customer if I could hang up her coat for her and she said, 'I’m in a bad mood today, so don’t fuck with me.'”
15. "I had a customer ask ... for a cup of 'fresh coffee.' I don't work day shift, nor do I work at a restaurant that serves breakfast, so of course I was going to have to make 'fresh coffee' for this anyways, but before I can run off to start some, this old man grabs my arm, and talks to me like no human ever has in the seventeen years I've spent in the industry. 'When I say fresh, what I mean is I want you to brew a fresh pot, and the second the last drop falls in, that's when I want you to pour my cup and bring it to me' as if I was literally the stupidest person on the planet."
16. "Regular customer came up to the theater as I was closing one night. Empty lobby, and he came up to the counter while my back was turned. When I noticed him, I asked what I could get for him and he says, 'I was going to try and scare you, but you turned around before I could.' I laughed it off and said, 'Oh, I don't scare easily.' He replies, 'Clearly you don't know me very well.' Big yikes."
17. "'You're a c***!' I said they couldn't return something which they had bought SIX months earlier..."
18. "I worked at a video rental store (back when those were a thing). A man and his son came through the line and the kid had a little tube of mini M&Ms. I rang up the candy and set it back on the counter closer to the kid so he could carry them and finished unlocking the DVD boxes and rang those up. They left. About 25 minutes later the man comes storming straight to the front of the line, grabs the M&Ms (which his kid left on the counter amongst all the other impulse buy crap around my register) and said, in front of everyone 'You stupid fat c**t! Because you forgot to put his candy in the bag I had to waste my gas to come all the way back here because he won't stop crying! You're a waste of human flesh!!'"
"He stormed out and I was left shaking, tearing up to finish my shift."
19. "I was the manager of a clothing store in Quebec, Canada, the French speaking province of Canada. Most people speak French, some are bilingual (including me), and a few only speak English. Two woman my age (early twenties) come in the store speaking English. When they got to the register, I was prepared to talk to them in English, but they spoke to me in French, so I did [too]. During the transaction, one of them sneezed. I didn't say anything, because it's not super common to do so in French. The other one says really loudly, about me: 'That f*cking b*tch, she could've said bless you.'"
"They then begin to talk amongst themselves on how much of a b*tch I am for not saying 'bless you.' It was wild — like, they went from super chill to extra bonkers in 10 seconds. I told them, in English, that I understood what they were saying. They just rolled their eyes and left with their purchase, still screaming, while I stood there speechless."
20. "I was working at a clothing store while I was pregnant. I had an older gentleman ask me for a discount because he said I was 'experiencing the happiest time of my life and I should share my joy' with him. This was about 10 minutes after I had returned to work after puking for the third time that day, so that was a big old nope."
21. "My first job was working at a department store. A man sent his child to ask me where something was located in the store so I showed the family, then I heard the man telling his son to work hard in school or he would end up in a dead end job like me. ... I was a 16 year old working a part time after school job."
22. "At the time I had my head shaved. An older man waited in line specifically for me, came to my register and said, 'you’d look better with long hair.' I had shaved my head with my sister, who lost her hair from chemo."
23. "I've been in service for twenty plus years, and truly enjoy the work, overall. Among rude guests, however, there was one that took the cake. I am pretty heavily tattooed, and was working as a waitress at a well-known blues club. A mightily intoxicated woman called me over. She put her arm around my waist, pulled down my shirt (exposing my bra and floral chest piece) and said 'Why would you do that?! When you have kids, your tits are gonna look like tomato plants! Have some class!'"
"In a rare moment of being completely on the ball, I responded with fake tears, and said, 'I went to the doctor today, and she said I could never have children.' Excused myself to the restroom. Came back to a near empty table, with her husband apologizing, and trying to give me a twenty."
24. "I worked at a department store as a cashier while going to college. I am a bigger woman, with a naturally big chest. One day I was wearing a shirt that showed a very modest amount of cleavage. As I was ringing up an older woman and her children, the woman in a giddy, nosey mom voice, looks at my rack and looks back up at me and says, 'Ooooh looks like someone is lactating!' I was not lactating or even pregnant."
25. "I worked as a hostess in a popular, upscale Mexican restaurant during college. A lady comes in with no shoes and starts walking around the restaurant. I provided them menus and a table but politely informed her of Dept. of Health code that required shoes. She starts yelling at me that her shoes are wet and it's not a big deal. Then her husband comes over and gets in my face yelling at me that I have no right to tell them what to do, who am I to tell her what to do, this is why I work minimum wage, etc."
"For reference, he's a middle-aged 6 foot plus man and I was barely 20 and I'm under 5'2" and a female. I told them to leave at this point and he took the menus (that had metal capped edges) and threw them at my face. I then yelled at them to get out, my manager came out, and the couple left. I then get sent home for being rude to customers."
26. "My daughter lives in Chicago. She worked at a fancy equity theater ... They had some shows that there would be no refund, but they would be glad to change your reservation to accommodate. 9/11 happened and they were shut down for several days. They get back to work and customers are all understanding and the box office was making new reservations. But one guy ... wanted a refund for one of the nonrefundable shows. She reminded him that he would not get a refund but they would basically set him up at another show. He yelled into the phone that she was no better than the terrorists."
"Her supervisor saw her face and asked what was wrong and when she told her, the boss was like, oh hell no. She found the guy’s info and saw he was a subscriber and she called him and chewed him out, that she was cancelling his plan and he would be banned from the theater, for life, if he did not apologize to my daughter, then hung up. A very contrite man called her, apologized and told her he would be happy with any show she gave him."
27. "I worked at a grocery store and this woman who was always in a bad attitude comes in. She wants to send a money order and she’s having some issues so I try and explain what we need, etc. She got frustrated (even though it’s her fault) and her 50+-year-old self called me (who was 16/17) a 'dumb ugly' bitch.'"
"I was technically already off at that point so I left. My mom came to pick me up and she could tell I was upset. I told her what happened, she quickly turned the car around. I described the woman she found her and read her for filthhhhhhh outside the store. That woman was rude af all the time but my mom wasn’t having it."
28. "When I used to work at Hollister some teenage girls came up to me and were like, 'Oh, I thought only pretty people worked for Hollister.'"
"So yeah, my self-worth really suffered from that and I quit my job a few weeks later."
29. "I worked in a budget grocery store in Canada right when they started charging five cents for bags. A customer comes through my cash register with easily $250 worth of groceries and says she's going to need a lot of plastic bags. I let her know that it will be five cents a bag and ask her how many she would like. She then stops loading up her groceries and rants about how ridiculous it is that I am charging her for bags, that my job is useless and I am useless. She ends the whole tirade with, 'Honestly, you should just kill yourself,' and leaves all her groceries on my belt and walks out."
"I had no back up from management and they made me just go put the groceries back. I was 21. Thankfully I'm out of retail and I'll never go back."
30. "I was a server at a high end yet casual dining establishment. My daughter died in 2017 and I had a tattoo of her foot with her name on the arch across my wrist. It is very visible when I put drinks it plates on the table. This one day, after I set drinks down, a woman at the table grabbed my forearm and yanked it toward her. She said, 'What is this?' I told her it was a tattoo of my daughter's foot, and that she had died. ... Well, this woman informed me that I 'should have at least put wings on it' and threw my arm away from her."
31. About 20 years ago I was working at Pretzelmaker at my local mall. I remember that I was in a sour mood that day, but apparently my lack of sunshiney customer service attitude really made this one customer unhappy. Our interaction at the register was polite but brief; she started to walk away, then stopped, turned around and came back to me. I remember her words to this day, 'You know, maybe if you weren't so fat, you'd be happier. I have something that can help you.'"
"When I looked down at what she was offering me, it was her Herbalife business card. I took it from her and dead-eye stared at her while throwing it in the trash can next to me. She just gasped and stalked away."
32. "18-year-old me, working a register: (to customer) 'Hello, how are you today?' Customer: 'kind of snooty, aren’t you?' ... Like, how was saying hello rude?"
33. "I was working in a call centre trying to end a call with an older female customer (understand she just wanted someone to chat to, but we had been talking for a while after I had helped her and we were always reminded our calls were timed so to not chat too much.) After a few times of me saying ‘if there’s nothing else I can help you with, have a nice day.’ She took the hint and ranted at me about how terrible our staff and service are ending with she hopes I go BLIND one day."
34. And finally..."Date: 9/15/2001. Phyllis looks at me with my Persian unibrow, 'he’s not your cousin, is he?' Look at the date again."
What's the worst thing a customer has said to you? Let us know in the comments below!
Submissions have been edited for length/clarity.