We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us the most awkward thing that's happened to them as a retail worker. Here are the results…
1. The new accent:
"At my first job I was just talking normally to a customer and she goes 'Wow you have such a lovely British accent.' I’m American. I didn’t know what to do so I literally just said thank you and tried to subtly add some more British inflection into my speech."
2. The vape surprise:
"I was working in a vape shop and a gentleman wanted to return a bottle of e-liquid because it was the wrong strength. I went to check that the bottle had not been opened or tampered with. Not only had it been opened, it had been refilled with urine. THE BOTTLE WAS STILL WARM. Hats off for creativity, but I felt violated."
3. The unreserved customer:
"I used to work at a major lingerie chain. My first day, a girl walks in and asks 'I forget what it's called, but could you help me find this bra?', and proceeds to lift up her shirt."
4. The tester:
"I used to work in the clothing department of a large retail store. A woman once approached me and said 'I’m looking for a sweatshirt for my granddaughter. You look about the same size as her. Could you try this on for me and see if it fits?' I replied 'Uhh...sure...I guess.' I tried it on. Reluctantly. As I’m pulling it over my head to give back to her she has three more she’s getting out of her cart for me to try…"
5. The cheese request:
"I worked at a grocery store in the cheese department and had a creepy man come in multiple times wanting cheese made from human milk."
6. The confusing question:
"I got a customer the shoes she asked for in her size. While she was trying them on she asked if we sell them. I've never been more confused by a question."
7. The bundled fabric incident:
"One time an older gent came in and asked me if we stocked 'any of these', showing me some bundled fabric in his hand.
I told him that I was sorry and I couldn’t see what it was and he became frustrated and said louder 'any of THESE', shaking the fabric harder. He proceeded to let the fabric go by accident and it unfurled, sliding across the desk towards me as I realised it was an old pair of stained underwear. Luckily I managed to jump out of the way as they plopped onto the floor next to me."
8. The toaster:
9. The sad realisation:
"I worked at a farm and ranch store and I was helping an older couple with gardening supplies. After listening to their conversation and answering their questions, I figured out they were picking soil for their burial plots."
10. The miscommunication:
One time a customer said, “babe.” And I said, “yeah?” And he was talking to his girlfriend so I pretended to be needed in the back until they left.
11. The holiday greeting:
"Last year I was working in retail during the holiday season. On Christmas Eve I was exhausted after working long holiday shifts all week. After I rang out a customer and they were leaving, I tried to say 'Happy Holidays' to them, but instead of 'Happy Holidays', I said, 'Happy Birthday!'. They looked at me very confused and in an effort to play it off, I said 'Its not your birthday, it's Jesus' birthday!' They quickly and uncomfortably left the store."
12. The attempted return:
"I worked holiday season at a women’s clothing store, and a lady came in wanting to return a pair of underwear that had been very much worn…and were literally torn in half. I had to get my manager to finish the transaction because I was trying not to vomit."
13. The awkward small talk:
"I had an older customer tell me that her best friend had the same name as me. She then paused for a bit, and said 'Anyway, she’s dead now.' I had no idea how to respond to that, so I kind of just awkwardly laughed."
14. The litter tray:
"I work in the fish department of a pet store, and the department is in the very back of the store where we also keep the cat litter boxes. One Friday night I was closing and it was pretty quiet until two girls came in, probably around 15/16 years old. There had been a litter box laying in the aisle that I guess someone changed their minds on. So after a few minutes of hearing the girls laughing I look over and one of them is sitting inside the litter for what I assumed to be a funny Snapchat or something. I happen to look over just as she is getting out of the litter box and I see her pulling up her pants. once they leave I walk over and she had PISSED IN THE LITTER BOX."
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.