People In Customer Service Are Revealing The "Customer Crimes" That Aren't At All Illegal (But Can Ruin A Day Instantly)
I'm rethinking everything I've ever done in a store.
If you've ever worked a customer-facing job — everything from retail to customer service (and anything in between) — I'm willing to bet you've dealt with more than your fair share of impossible customers. You know: the customers who do everything all wrong, all the time.
If you've never worked in a job like this, it's safe to assume you've probably done some things — intentionally or not — that don't exactly make the employees' jobs any easier. Let's go ahead and call these...customer crimes. They may be technically legal, but PHEW, they sure are annoying.
1. "I worked for Barnes & Noble during the first year and a half of the pandemic. People need to know that the books aren't always clean or treated well by our customers. What do I mean by that? People would sit ON the stacks of books and get upset when I'd ask them to not sit on the merchandise. Parents would let their toddlers put books in their mouths constantly."
2. "Too many times I've dealt with customers who'll bring a cart full of stuff to checkout...just to say they 'only have $20 to spend.' It always ends up becoming a half hour of them figuring out what they really want to buy while a line of impatient customers get angry at me for not making the line go faster. And I always end up having to put away an entire cart of stuff."
3. "I manage a bank, and I can't stand it when customers complain about the staffing — especially these days. If I could have more employees magically appear, I would. I don't need your negative comments or you shouting, 'Is there someone else who can help out?!' NO, not everyone is trained to be a bank teller. In banking, everyone comes in to do different transactions. Yours might be simple, but maybe not the person in front or behind you."
4. "I was a manager at Macy's during one (and only one) Christmas season. This one lady was eyeing some folded polo shirts, and saw one that she liked near the bottom of the stack. She literally picked up the first eight or nine and THREW THEM ON THE FLOOR, then held the one she wanted up to her shoulders, looked in a mirror, frowned, and threw it on the ground too. She walked away."
5. "My hair is naturally really curly. The other day while I was cashiering, a creepy old guy asked me if my hair was 'naturally that kinky.'"
6. "People who get mad at me for something dumb and out of my control — like not being able to accept cash — then threaten to 'never come back here again' or that we'll 'lose their business for good.' Like, OK! I don't care!"
7. "I take calls for workers and clients on behalf of a local plumbing company (that serves mostly very wealthy individuals and their top-dollar homes). I had one customer call when a plumber wasn't to her liking, and she went on a total 'Karen tirade.' She ended our call with: "NOW I HOPE YOU LEARNED YOUR LESSON AND DO YOUR JOB NEXT TIME." I work 60 hours a week and will typically sleep in my office now because I get too tired to drive home. Lesson learned — I no longer trust people."
8. "It's the people who TAKE THEIR MASKS OFF TO TALK TO YOU for me. Like, I did that ONCE at the start of the pandemic (and realized as I was doing it what I'd done), so to continue to do it for nearly two years? It's a wonder my eyes haven't rolled out of my head yet."
9. "I work as a barista at a craft coffee shop. People constantly try to 'outsmart' me. I do not give a damn what you've read online about coffee or what you think you know — I'm the one working here. If you know so much about coffee, feel free to come behind the counter and make your own drink."
10. "I used to work at Walmart. One lady was so mad that I wouldn't take her expired coupon that she threw a can of soup at me. She didn't miss. I got my first black eye that day."
11. "When driving for Lyft, I try to obey Lyft policies as well as rules set by my state. They both STILL have a mask policy while riding in an enclosed vehicle. STILL, I have to purchase boxes of masks to hand out because no one brings their own, and, even then, I have to argue with passengers to wear them."
12. "I used to work at Victoria’s Secret. There were times I’d be cleaning the fitting rooms only to find used, soiled panties that had most likely been swapped out for clean pairs from the store."
13. "Back when I worked at H&M, some customers would shove the neatly folded clothes on the display tables onto the floor...so they could sit down on top of the table instead. I hated having to go up to them and tell them they weren't allowed to sit on the tables (that were not made to support the weight of people anyway) since I'd always get insulted or yelled at."
14. "People at the store I worked at would put in allllll this effort to lift these heavy-ass metal shopping carts straight into the landscaping. All four wheels in the mulch, at least 3 inches off the ground, rather than just walk them to the cart return a few feet away. The cart return would've taken way less effort."
15. "Know-it-all customers drive me mad. I worked at a winery, and a customer told me he 'had been studying wine much longer than I had been alive.' He literally told me he had 'no idea' what I was talking about, because we couldn't sell him the next vintage until we went through the one in the display — company policy."
16. "I work in member services for a membership for older people...wink, wink. I answer customer service calls for the company. Unsatisfied members constantly threaten us with 'I'm __ years old and won't live for that long!' So...you don't want to renew? Like, what could you possibly want me to say to that?"
17. "The worst crime one can commit at a restaurant is camping out at your table, long after your meal is over. I'm not talking about hanging around for a few minutes after you sign the check. This one family came into the restaurant I worked at, ate a meal, and had their leftovers boxed up to go. It's around 11 a.m. at this point — and they stayed at that table for SEVEN MORE HOURS, talking on their cellphones and watching videos at the table. Eventually they asked if I could have the kitchen reheat their leftovers which is, of course, a health code violation. They got upset about it, and after 11 total hours camped out at our restaurant, they left without tipping."
18. "I work in the bakery section of a supermarket. I hate when customers make up things entirely just to try to convince me to do something against company policy. For example: When I explained that we don't heat things up after we've baked them, one customer proceeded to bark at me that my 'colleagues always do that,' so I needed to do it too... No, ma'am. They do not...and I definitely won't."
19. "I work at a bank. I once had a client who signed off on a contract with my predecessor that he no longer wanted to comply with. He yelled at me and said: 'I will be your worst nightmare and make you miserable unless you fix this.' Well! I responded, 'You do not have the power to be a nightmare, so unless you want to be sued, you need to abide by the contract you signed.'"
20. "Customers demanding different prices on items is my #1 pet peeve. I used to work midday weekdays at a grocery store, when many (or most) of the shoppers were retirees. 'That's $5?! Well, I'm gonna give you $2.' As if the cashier is somehow above the CEO of the giant national chain. Most of the senior citizens would get upset that I wouldn't strike a deal with them."
21. "For me, it's the shameless entitlement and classism from the customers that really pisses me off. I worked at a Crate and Barrel in college. One woman came in and said: 'It must be so hard to work here.' I said: 'What makes you say that?' Her response: 'Being around all this stuff you can't afford!'"
22. "I really hate it when the next customer in line isn't paying an ounce of attention, and you have to literally SHOUT at them just to get them to move up to the register."
23. "When I worked for Starbucks, the worst customers were the ones who acted like they were the only ones there — especially on busy mornings. We’d set out a drink for “Anne” and someone else would grab the drink and complain that we made the wrong drink, prompting the always enjoyable “Are you Anne?” response. Even worse were the people who would just grab the wrong drinks and leave without checking the name, forcing the baristas to remake the missing beverages."
24. "This happens FAR too often: when the pin pad isn't working and customers try to stab it to death with the stylus. When working at a hardware chain as a cashier, I'd constantly have to tell people — a million times a day — that it only works when you touch it gently."
25. "It makes my blood boil when customers don’t stand in line, then call from outside said line to ask to speak to a manager and complain that 'the line is too long.'"
26. "People always treat stores like their personal trash can. Empty cups and trash in the aisles AND in between the magazines and candy at the checkout. LIKE, REALLY? You can't just hold onto it and toss it, or at least ask me nicely if we have a trash can behind the counter? Nope, have to litter all over the place."
27. "Having worked concessions at a movie theater during big opening weekends, I can’t tell you how many times people would be like, This line is so slow,' or, 'You need more people working to move the line faster!' The next thing out of their mouth is always 'Hmm, what do I want?' and they take forever to decide."
28. "At the doctor's office I work at, we regularly schedule appointments three months in advance. The sheer amount of people who will cancel their appointments with less than 24-hour's notice (and then FREAK when they realize they can't just come in a week later) is unbelievable. They'll scream at me over the phone. Many of our rudest patients are people who retired from 'important' jobs — the ones still working in them, interestingly, are usually some of the nicest people I interact with."
29. "I work for a company with 'tent rentals' in our name. It is noted on our logo, website, and social media. People call all the time and say: 'Do y'all rent tents?' It's so hard to not give a sarcastic response."
30. "I used to work at a grocery store in a very, very, very wealthy town. Let me tell you, the sheer number of people who would pay $10+ in ONLY CHANGE (from their designer wallets) would shock you. And then they act impatient while you count it, as though you're the one wasting their time."
31. "There's literally nothing worse than spending 30 or 40 minutes folding a three-tier table of cashmere sweaters, and the moment I leave the table, one uncaring customer comes over and begins unfolding every last one of them. They then drop the unwanted ones either on the floor or on top of the other unfolded sweaters — thus ruining all 30–40 minutes of my hard work. Death stares."
32. "I hate when customers throw money or credit cards at you. Can't you just hand it to me nicely? And then they just stand there with their hand outstretched for you to give it back to them the way they should have handed it to you in the first place. Rude as hell."
33. "I work for Verizon retail, and the number of customers that complain to me when they don't know how to use their iPhone is unbelievable. Going to your cellphone provider's retail store because you forgot your Facebook password is the equivalent of going back to the TV guy at Best Buy when you forget your Netflix password."
34. "I used to work retail, and the worst part of my job was the people who would just come in and bark what they wanted to me — without so much as a 'hello'. 'CEREAL.' OK, dick, Aisle 5."
35. "While working as a cashier at Walmart, I'd always wipe down the belt whenever things got slow enough to do so. Without fail, sooner or later a customer would come to my register and say, 'You look bored — I thought I would give you something to do!' Every customer that said this would have the same stupid grin on their face, as though they were being clever and funny, but after hearing it 20-plus times a day, it just became annoying and insulting."
36. "It's the dreaded 'It's quiet today, isn't it?' As if the five minutes you're in my store is an accurate depiction of how my entire day of work has been. And the bloody 'Oh, the weather is so lovely out there — such a shame you're stuck in here.' THANKS SO MUCH."
37. "I'm so over the strangers who try to talk to you about their MLMs when you're just trying to cash out their pretzel purchase. Happened to me when I worked at Pretzelmaker — a woman decided I was fat enough to join her Herbalife group and held up my entire line extolling its virtues."
38. "It really grinds my gears when customers blame employees for their own procrastination. News flash: The cashier at Kohl’s didn’t ruin your kid’s birthday, Christmas, or Hanukkah. You did when you decided not to shop early enough."
40. "Customers that stroll into stores 5–10 minutes before closing time is a crime. If you need to grab one quick thing, sure...but don’t go grabbing a cart and expect to have a full-on shopping spree with someone waiting to check you out. It’s very disrespectful of the employees’ time, and they have to stay until after you leave just to finish their closing tasks. Just wait until tomorrow!"
41. "People constantly tell me the payment pin pads aren't working. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it's because they don't read what the screen is telling them to do. If it's asking for your store membership card, it's not going to accept your credit card. If it says, 'Please wait,' then wait. If it's going too slow, sticking your card in before it's ready isn't going to make the process faster — in fact, it'll probably confuse the system and end up freezing entirely! I know they're annoying to use, I know! But following the instructions is the fastest way to get through the checkout process. TRUST ME."
42. "I work at a hot food counter, and I can't stand it when people change their mind and just dump the product into the garbage rather than returning it to the counter. Wasted food comes off of our bonus purely because of their laziness."
43. "I work at a regional fast-food chain where breakfast accounts for 65% of our business. When guests come through with a million substitutions, it drives me insane. People actually order things like: 'one ham biscuit, extra ham (warmed, not crispy), two slices of tomato between the ham and biscuit, biscuit extra-toasted.' If your order or modifications are that extreme, stay home and cook. We love to accommodate guests' wishes, but that's just being picky."
44. "One customer didn't like his mobile phone anymore and demanded that we upgrade it — free of charge — 12 months after his initial purchase. He claimed he was a 'deserving customer' and that our 'big, bad, billion dollar company' was 'too cheap' to give him a new one."
If you work in a customer-facing job and have some "customer crimes" you want to share with us, tell us about 'em in the comments.
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.