- Jun 2004 Archive
- Dec 2005 Archive
During the academic year, I work part-time at my college's
bookstore. Awhile ago I had an amazingly nasty customer. It was
the beginning of the semester, which is a very busy time for us as students are
all buying books for their new classes. We had all the cash registers running
and were moving quickly as there was a line of about a dozen students with
armfuls of books. As I finished helping a customer, an older lady stepped up to
my register, bypassing the line. Thinking she might not have seen the line as it
was a few yards back from my register, I pointed out that there was a line and
politely requested that she stand in it. To this she replied ,"That's nice,
but I'm in a hurry." Well, so are the fourteen people behind you, ma'am.
She stamped to the back of the line.
A few minutes later, to my chagrin, she was back at my till. I
went through the usual routine of asking if she'd found everything she was
looking for and various other pleasantries, but she merely glared at me. I went
ahead and rang up her purchases, at which point she informed me that she was a
staff member (faculty and staff get a 15% discount). I can't put in the discount
after the purchases have been entered, so I was forced to void the transaction,
which ticked my lovely customer off mightily. As per company policy, I asked to
see her college ID card; since there are several hundred employees of the
college, we don't know them all and thus must ask for ID. The lady
evidently felt that this was unreasonable, and blew up at me. I don't remember
everything she said, but it was along the lines of, "I've been working here
for fourteen years! I don't have to show an ID, what kind of business is this? I
can't believe someone like you is working here! What's your name? I'm going to
report you!" and so on. She then showed her ID to me for all of two
seconds. I calmly thanked her, rang up her purchases and said "Have a nice
day". She snarled something to me that could not be repeated in polite
company and stalked out of the store. My coworker at the till next to me just
shook her head. I've been working in retail since I was sixteen, and that is the
only time a customer came close to reducing me to tears. I'm still not sure what
she was so mad about.
I work as an assistant manager in a large chain movie rental
store. We have a lot of regular renters, and most of our people are great and we
enjoy seeing them. But not everyone is pleasant--from people who don't read the
policies to those who feel that we should bend the rules "just for
them." Two situations stand out though.
One lady makes everyone else look like an angel. She came in
on a weekday evening before the night got too busy and asked for the manager. As
the manager on duty, I agreed to help her out and asked what she wanted. It
seems that, the day before, her husband had come into the store to rent a game
for their sons' video game system. When he had come to the counter with his
choice, the customer representative had informed him that we were having a
special on games--instead of one for $8, he could get 2 for $10. The man
considered it and then rejected the idea as "too much money."
So when he went home and told his wife, she was livid! He
definitely should have taken up that idea! So she wanted me to give her a second
video game for $2. Generally, our policy is to offer them that kind of deal only
if they hadn't been told about it in the first place (or if they come back
within a few hours). I told her, I'm sorry, that's not our policy, but she
insisted I had to make an exception because her sons were "only 5 and
6!" What does that have to do with our store policies? I again politely
insisted that I was sorry. She stalked off to where her husband was looking at
some movies, and glared at me from halfway across the store for a few minutes.
The lady and her husband got in line carrying a few movies,
and I told the other employee working at the time that when they came up front,
let me handle them. I was prepared to offer to give her a second game for $5. I
thought this was a reasonable response--not exactly what she wanted, but a nice
peace offering. When she came up to the front, she barreled right up to my
register while I was helping someone else (instead of stopping at the please
wait here sign) and said, "You won't give me another game for $2?" I
replied, "No, sorry, but--" and she cut me off by throwing her movies
at me, one of them bouncing off my chest. She started screaming. "I can't
believe you can't make an exception for my five and six year old! Whatever
happened to customer service!" Everyone around stopped and stared at us.
She called her husband and kids and as they headed out the door, the husband
asked what happened. Still within the store, she says very loudly, "That
b**** wouldn't let me have it." Instinctively I called out, "Ma'am,
please watch your language or I'll have to ask you to leave." She screamed
"**** you!" at the absolute top of her lungs and left. Mercifully,
I've never seen her again.
The other event was quite scary to me and the others working.
It was right before the holidays, and we had 4 registers going with people
buying gift cards and demanding movies that had been out of stock for five
weeks. Even with the four cashiers, the line was back halfway around the store!
I was the "A" cashier at the time, right up by the front of the line,
and I finished with one customer and called for the next. I had started ringing
up the lady who came forward when the gentleman (I use that term veeeeeery
loosely) who was at the front of the line says, "Hey, you cut in line! What
the hell!" to her. I had already rung up her gift card and had to finish it
before I could clear the screen, so it was too late to ask her to go to the back
of the line (which I have done to many a customer throughout the past years). I
asked her to ignore him as I started ringing up her other items. She ignored me
and said, "I didn't cut in line--you must be blind!"
Of course this did not go well and he had to respond, and the
people in line behind the gentleman all joined in too. I tried to get my
customer out the door as quickly as possible, but even after I finished ringing
her up--with the guy being rung up right next to me--they continued to trade
insults. They left at the same time and I could still hear them arguing in the
parking lot. I was afraid that someone's car was going to get rammed! My manager
had to go outside and send them on their merry ways. Worse, my next customer was
one of the irate ones who proceeded to berate me the whole time she was at my
register for taking a "cutter." I just apologized over and over as I
rang her up. The whole time I was thinking: What is this, second grade? Next
thing I'm going to hear about how someone was using the water fountain for more
than 30 seconds.
This faux pas was committed by a fellow customer at a large
area discount store that sells kid’s clothing. A woman was pushing
around a shopping cart with a child (who was clearly her son) in it.
However, the son was five or six, which is typically too big for a cart, he was
sitting in the basket of the cart rather than the kid seat, and he was kicking
the clothing that his mom had put in the cart despite her repeated orders to
stop. An older woman, apparently the kid’s grandmother, asked her why
she didn’t just take the kid out of the basket. She replied sullenly,
“He won’t let me”. Hello!! If your five-year-old son won’t
“let” you take him out of a shopping cart, whose fault is that? The
kicker (sorry, couldn’t resist) is when she realized he’d left scuff marks
on the clothes and bellowed, “Now why’d you do that? Now I have to put
them back!” I don’t usually feel sorry for those big chain stores but I sure
did that day.
I've worked as a cashier for a large supermarket for about 7
years, and I've seen my share of rude customers there. Usually it's just
"average" rudeness, like talking on the cell phone or not responding
when I greet them, but there are a few who really stand out:
1. First of all, let me inform you that this man was a
regular customer and that he went through this routine every time he came in the
store. He would come in with a big fistful of coupons, then spend a hour
or so shopping. When he came to the register, the cashier who was unlucky
enough to have to deal with him would scan his groceries, and then he would hand
over the coupons. Of course, we have to check to make sure that the
coupons are correct, as the store does not get reimbursed for coupons for items
we didn't actually sell. Well, when we checked this guy's coupons, we
would always find that not one of them was usable.
He would always either have the wrong brand, not have the minimum number of
items, or not have the item at all. Once he tried to give me a coupon with
the part stating what item it was for torn off, evidently hoping that I would
just scan it without noticing. Then, when he was informed that the coupons
were incorrect and that he would have to either get the correct items or not use
the coupons, he would say, "Well, I don't want it, then," and
walk out of the store in a huff, leaving us with a full cart of groceries to put
back. Remember, he did this every time. I honestly don't know how
the man ever got any food.
2. OK, here's a good perv story. It was pretty
slow one night, so instead of running a register, I was putting all the items
that people had decided not to get back on the shelves. While I was back
there, a man asked me where we had the drink mixes.
We had recently rearranged the store, and while I knew where they were, I
couldn't remember the new aisle number, so I decided to lead him there rather
than give him directions that might not be correct. I showed him where it
was, and then started putting away the items that belonged in that aisle.
He got his drink mix, and then, instead of continuing his shopping, started a
conversation. OK, fine, I can talk while I work. Then I noticed that
he was staring at my chest. Now, I'm fairly well-endowed, so I'm used to
getting looks, but this was an all-out stare. His eyes never so much as
budged. Then, when he noticed that I noticed his staring, he said, and I
quote, "Well, those things fascinate me." Ugh! Just
thinking about it makes me want a long, hot shower. I probably
should have confronted him, but I hate to offend people even when they offend
me, so I just made an excuse and got back to an area with people in it as fast
as I could.
Since I work at a fast food restaurant, I have many stories
about bad customers, but here's one of my favorites.
The store in which I work for is set up like a deli - you
order in one area, pick up your food in another. So one day when I was
working in the sandwich area, making people their food which they had ordered, I
noticed an older lady walk into the store and head straight for the bathroom.
This woman caught my eye for she's not the type you see everyday walking into my
store - in her late 50's but in good health and dressed in a fur coat,
high-heeled boots and long red nails, (very snotty and upper-class looking).
About five minutes later when the woman came out of the
bathroom she headed straight towards my counter, trying to figure out what she
would like to order. Just as she was walking towards me I placed the tuna
sandwich which I had just finished making down on the counter, and the gentleman
who had ordered it picked up the plate. Just as he turned around to head
to his table the older woman approached him and stuck her long red nails into his
sandwich saying - "I just want to see what they put on these things."
The man was appalled (and so was I) for he did not know who
the woman was but had obviously seen her leave the washroom just seconds before.
(I was wondering if she had even washed her hands.) The woman proceeded to
pull the sandwich apart while the man stood silently, still holding his sandwich
on the plate.
After she was done with the sandwich and decided that she
would go somewhere else to have lunch, the man slowly went to his table,
sandwich in hand. I, on the other hand, started to make a replacement sandwich
for the poor man, and just as I was about to go around the counter, he
approached me and started with: "I hate to be a bother but that
"Yeah I saw," I replied, "I thought you might
like a new sandwich." And then we both laughed at how plainly rude
some people can be.
A few years back I worked at a whole foods store. Late one
night, a man came in looking for Organic Rolled Oats, which have a different
(higher) price than the regular Rolled Oats, which are not labeled
"organic." The organic ones were on sale and the non-organic ones
were not. We were all out of Organic Rolled Oats at this time (7 pm and about to
close). The man called me over to the bulk dispenser and asked me, "Why the
bulk dispenser wasn't working."
I looked at the dispenser and saw that it was empty. I said,
"It appears to be empty." He said, "But what's this stuff?"
pointing to a small plastic window on the front of the bulk dispenser that had
some oats in it. I said it was just for display. He said "Well can I have
that?" I said "Uh, I don't think you want that.. it's been in there
for months." I said I could give him a rain check since we were all out,
but he didn't want to hear it. He wanted the oats NOW. I said that we had oats
in the storage room, but the only way for me to get more oats into the bulk dispenser
was if I were 2 feet taller and about 50 pounds bigger and stronger so I could
lift the enormous bag, drag it over to the dispenser, haul it up 6 feet off the
ground and empty it neatly into the dispenser. I couldn't let HIM do it because
only employees were allowed into the storage room. Besides I didn't want to be
alone with a strange man in the back room of the store right at closing
The man was extremely angry. I have no clue why. 7 pm is a
heck of a time to go out and get oats. He showed me the non-organic oats (they
had a lower price to begin with but were not on sale) and said "Ok, I want
you to give me those oats for the sale price." I said no, they aren't the
same. You can't just pick any similar item off a shelf and get it for the same
price, regardless of the brand or whatever might be different about it. He said
the following: "What do you mean, no?! Don't you want to please me, the
customer?!" I said, "No, not really." The guy was speechless. I
mean how dare I not be intimidated into cheating the store so he can get his
So just then this other girl who worked with me at the time
(just as small as me - she couldn't get the oats either if that's what you're
thinking) walked past and he says, "YOU! Can I get these oats for this
price?" and the girl smiled dumbly and said "Sure!" and the guy
looked at me with this ignorant and triumphant smile on his face.
I was so mad. I just went to the back room until she finished
ringing him up and he left. Whoever you are, if you're reading this, I hope you
got a really good "winner" feeling every time you ate those delicious
This one will be short but sweet (so to speak). I work at a
full service restaurant. I have worked in food service, off and on, for many
years and I thought I had heard of everything until this day. It was a day like
any other. We were down to 2 servers. It was during the slow time between 2 and
4. The dining room wasn't busy but it wasn't empty either. So, these 2 women
came in (they were in their 50's or 60's) and requested a table. So I gathered
menus and started walking them to a table when one of the women asked me if it
would be possible for me to get a pan or a bowl out of the kitchen in case her
friend, who wasn't feeling well, needed to vomit. Yes Monty Python fans, not a
bucket (per se) but yes... bring me something to vomit in. I was completely
speechless. Eventually I regained my wits and my ability to speak and told her
that we would not be able to accommodate her request and suggested something
that they could take to go. After the fact, it weighed on me that the
woman must have thought that she was being polite by asking for something that
would control the mess while never even considering what the impact of throwing
up (sight, sound, smell) would be on the other customers WHO WERE EATING.
I have heard of people haggling over nothing, but this is
ridiculous!!! I worked at McDonalds a couple of years ago, when McDonalds
was famous for it's "Dollar Menu"; a selection of items that cost $1.
One day, a customer ordered an item off of the menu. Tax in this state is
7%. $1 + 7% = $1.07 Simple, right? Well, this customer came
through the drive thru and ordered a double cheeseburger off of the dollar menu.
I gave her her total ($1.07) and asked her to pull forward. When she
reached the window, she asked me to repeat the total, so I did. She then
asked how it was $1.07. I told her it was $1, + 7% sales tax. She
then said, "What the **** do you mean, $1?! It's 99 cents!!! It
says so right on the ***** menu!!!!!" I calmly explained that
it was actually $1, and that the menu was a dollar menu. She asked to speak to
my boss, so I called over a supervisor, who explained the same thing and offered
to show her the menu. The customer wanted to speak to yet another boss, so
she got a swing manager. Same thing. Two assistant managers and a
store manager later, the lady, still convinced she was right and having shouted
herself hoarse, sped out of the drive thru, having argued for 10 minutes over 1
Years ago I worked for a large furniture retailer that had
customers from all over the country. One woman I'll never forget.
She had visited the store and ordered a sofa, foot stool and
chair in black leather. The saleswoman who was assisting her had been with the
company for a decade and was a consistent award-winner. She knew the industry
inside out and was one of the nicest and most professional people I'd ever met.
She made a point of telling the customer that the chair, foot stool and sofa
were grouped together to make a display but were NOT part of a set --
furthermore, leather coming from animals meant that the surface occasionally had
slight shading variations, slubs, et cetera. The saleswoman made a point of
telling the customer at least four times in the course of the sale that the
items were not a set, were not sold as a set, and showed the customer the bill
of sale, pointing out again that they were not a set. She also reminded the
customer about the vagaries of leather as a fabric.
Immediately upon getting her furniture, the customer... sues
the store, including claiming intentional infliction of emotional distress. Why?
Because the sofa, foot stool and chair in black leather did not exactly,
precisely match each other.
The letters dragged on for the better part of a year. I left
before the thing got resolved but it still makes me smile.
I work in a doctor's office where we have signs posted all
around requesting that patients to turn off their cell phones. I was
bringing a sick young child and his mother into an exam room. Mom was on
her cell phone engaged in what was obviously a personal (not business) phone
call. I took the child's vital signs but needed to ask Mom
about his symptoms, medications, and medication allergies. I politely waited
another minute or two in silence but it was obvious Mom was not even attempting
to "wrap things up". I decided to interrupt. With
each question from me, Mom snapped out a quick answer and hurriedly returned to
her call. We went back and forth like this for several minutes. When I'd
finished gathering the information needed, Mom actually told the person on the
other end of the line in an exasperated voice, "Sorry, I'm at my kid's
doctor and the nurse keeps asking me questions!"
I work for a bank. A few years ago, I worked in customer
service but on the phones. I had a customer call in about her account.
Our policy is that a customer can call in to the automated system (vru) as
many times a month as (s)he wants but is limited to 2 calls to a representative
at no charge, but is charged $2 for each additional call.
The first thing she says to me is that she doesn't want to be
charged for the call. I explained that she could get her account info
through the vru. She says that it's down. I offered to go through
the vru with her. If it is down, of course I won't charge her for the
call. If it's not down, then she has a choice: either go thru the
vru or get charged the $2. She threw such a temper tantrum that she
threatened to kill herself if she was charged the fee. She asked me,
"How will you feel knowing that I'll be dead tomorrow because of
you?" All this for a $2 fee. I refused to waive the
fee and she hung up.
I called our incident management are explaining what had
happened. I WAS SO UPSET THAT I WAS SHAKING! The representative
tells me that they hear these threats all the time. It's a form of
manipulation. I asked her to call the local police and let them know that
we had a customer threatening suicide. I gave her the customer's address
and phone number. About 1/2 hour later the incident management
representative called me back to let me know what happened.
The police went to her house to make sure she was ok. She
started ranting and raving at the police officers. They had no business
checking up on her. I was stupid for taking her threats seriously. While
the police were there, my representative called her to make sure she was ok and
to see if the police were there. The customer was so abusive to my
incident management representative and the police officers that we closed her
accounts at that time and she was no longer allowed on any bank property,
including the atms.
Aside from my daytime job, I work part time in a pub as a
bartender. Drunks are really hard to deal with and requires a lot of patience.
Now this pub I work at is one of those neighborhood pubs in a relatively poor
area (basically a dive bar) where most customers are truckers and construction
workers. Female employees are harassed the most (I feel really sorry for
the crap they have to take.) and I've seen all sorts of rude behaviors and
violence myself, but this particular one stands out.
First, I must describe myself a little. I'm Chinese,
short and slim, and although I'm 25 at the time, I probably look more like 18.
If you wonder what in the world am I doing in this pub, it's because I was not
experienced at the time, and I know the owner and he's willing to let me help
Back to the customer, this guy, about 30, was drunk
before he even walked in. As he approached the bar, I just smiled and ask,
"Hello sir, can I get you a drink?". He look at me for a whole
minute, snickered, "You? You going to help me with a drink??" I
responded, "Yes, what can I get you?" He sat down, smiled and
said, "Well, ok... I'll have a beer, and can you make me a WON-TON
soup?" He really emphasized on the wonton part. Now everyone
knows that I can take pretty much take anything, but at that moment I was just
thinking where to punch the jerk as hard as I could, but before that happened,
the bouncer dragged him out of his stool and warned he can't talk to me
this way. He wanted to 'take this outside', but his friends
stopped and calmed him, then everything back to normal. This is one
of those rare moments where I almost let some idiot got the better of me. Thanks
for letting me share! And remember, don't drink and drive!!
I work for a small life insurance company, paying out claims.
Most of the people we deal with are very nice, but there are always exceptions-
I always try to remember that they are talking to me because they have just lost
a loved one, so I am usually pretty patient and sympathetic, but some people
really push the limits. I had paid out a claim in mid September and mailed it to
About a week and a half after it was paid the beneficiary
called to find out why she hadn't received it. My co-worker looked it up and
told her it was mailed September 15 (I don't remember the exact date). The
beneficiary told my co-worker she was lying and insisted on speaking with me,
since I had paid it. I confirmed the mail date, whereupon she called me a liar
as well, saying that it wouldn't take that long to get a check from our Home
Office to where she was. I agreed that it shouldn't take that long, but that we
had no control over the postal service. I also told her that it is company
policy to wait 10 business days from the mail date before we will do a stop
payment and issue a new check, so that if she hadn't received it by x date to
call and we would be happy to do that for her. She hung up, but called back a
few minutes later to shriek at another co-worker who told her the same
Come the 10th business day she called at 7:30 in the morning
(and she lived in a time zone an hour behind us, so it was only 6:30 am for her)
to demand that we cancel the first check and reissue. The co-worker who took the
call agreed to do that and began that process. Then she said that she expected
that we would pay her additional interest. My co-worker told her that we
wouldn't, because we weren't responsible for the postal service, but that we
would overnight the second check to her at our expense. She screamed at my
co-worker for a minute, then insisted that she speak with our manager, who also
wasn't in yet.
When he came in and called her back she was again very
belligerent but he reiterated that we weren't going to pay for the post office's
delay. The check was overnighted, received, and cashed within a couple of days,
but she continued to call every few days to complain and threaten to sue, to
report us to the state insurance commission, etc. because we wouldn't pay her
Near the end of October I answered the phone and it was her,
saying very sweetly that she had just received a check in the mail from us and
was it the additional interest? I explained that no, that would be the original
check that we mailed (why she thought we would pay tens of thousands of dollars
in interest is beyond me). I told her that check wasn't any good so she could
just destroy it, and so she went into her usual demands for more money. I asked
her if she had the envelope there with her, and she said she did, so I asked her
to read me the postmark date. It got really quiet and then she said "Oh.
September 15. I guess you guys weren't lying about when you mailed it". She
then hung up and we never heard from her again. Every time I deal with someone
who punches all my buttons I calm myself down by remembering her and the
vindication that came with that last phone call!
Here’s one for your customer’s section… During
college I worked at a Dillard’s department store near my home in the Kansas
City area. I recognized one of the customer’s as being the wife of one
of the Kansas City Chief’s football players (one of the more well known ones).
I only recognized her because I used to baby-sit her nieces while in high school.
Her arms were FULL of clothes and I kind of wondered why no one was helping her
because we were on a quota system & that kind of a sale would be a huge
plus! I went over and introduced myself, she remembered me and then
put me through the ringer trying to find just the right shirt/pants/skirts/etc.
I helped her for about 45 minutes, which is a lot for one person, but she was
going to be buying all these designer items and it’d be a good boost to my
quota. After ringing her up, I found out why no one wanted to help her.
One of the long time employees told me that she makes a habit of making very
large purchases, wearing the clothes, and then returning them to another
location. True enough, throughout the year I worked there, I waited on her
3 times for some very large dollar returns on obviously worn merchandise she
bought at the other locations…
Between my freshman & sophomore years at college I worked
at a local sit-down bbq restaurant. It was actually quite nice and we
always had a wait on the weekends. Here’s a few of the things that
1) On the night of a big game
(Kansas City Chiefs are BIG in KC) we were completely dead. Most of the
servers were let off early, but at half-time I had 2 tables come in. I was
covering the smoking section and they, of course, had to sit in that section.
There were 4 guys, all a bit on the tipsy side. After going up to the
table for their drink order, one of the guys grabbed my butt. I told him
to get his hand off me and went to tell the manager. The manager told me
to not worry about it & finish with their order! So these guys are
tipsy, they grab my butt, and she still wants me to serve them alcohol because
we’re not busy! The worst part is that I was so upset with the whole
thing, that I left one of the drinks off the bill and had to pay it back at the
end of my shift. They didn’t even tip me because I complained about the
grabby hands so they ended up costing me… I was much more careful about
my drink orders after that…
2) Just a general point…
Servers get paid $2.13 an hour with the expectation that they will get tips.
Although I do not agree with this practice completely, it’s the way it is in
the US. If you’re going out to eat, tip the server if you were properly
served! No, giving the server a printed bible verse or a coupon (a free
item is bad enough, but if it’s for a dollar off something, don’t even
bother because we’d still end up paying something for the item so what’s the
point – I can clip my own coupons). I know that on these occasions my
service was perfect, and due to the nature of the tips, they took some
forethought into it. I would’ve rather just gotten nothing…
Why do people have so much trouble understanding how to
behave in a line?
I took my daughter to a major department store to buy a pair of
slippers that she needed to wear on stage during a school musical.
The first register I went to had a line of 3 people but the
next person in line was obviously going to take a long time so I decided to
find another register. I get in another line with only one person in it,
I stand behind that person, waiting to be served.
This is actually taking a long time since the people in front of me do not
speak any English and the sales person asks them to apply for a credit card.
While somewhat annoyed I decide to wait since I am next.
Next thing I know a woman with an armload of clothes cuts in
front of me in line! She then starts going through another large pile of
clothes on the counter. I quickly asses that she had obviously left
clothes on the counter that she wants to exchange, but as we all know
you still have to wait in line at a department store even if you previously
dropped clothes off to return!
My daughter sees that I am mad, and she begs me to leave, but
she needs these slippers for the school musical and I've already been trying
to pay for them for over 20 minutes at this point!
I decide to see what the cashier will do to appease this
situation. To my dismay the cashier begins to help this woman who cut in
front of me (the cashier knew I was in line for sometime while she was dealing
with the credit application, so its not as if she didn't know what was going
I decide to speak up. I say, "Excuse me but I think
I am next." The cashier says "No, she was here before!"
I am so MAD at this point but I am still keeping calm and say, "Well in
my experience, the next person in line is the next person to get waited
The cashier sees that I am quite angry and says, "Well you
only have one item so I guess I can take you next." while looking
apologetically to the woman who CUT IN FRONT OF ME!
so I paid for my item and left, but seriously, line etiquette
should be its own topic. I let stuff like this go all the time and the
one time I decide to stand up for myself I look like the bad guy!
Page Last Updated September 15, 2008