Every worker who interacts directly with customers has had some nightmarish encounters. Whether in a grocery store or a gas station, the phrase that the "customer is always right" can really go to some shoppers' heads and cause a lot of damage. Some people will do anything to get free money or items and forget that workers are people too. These employees share their worst experiences handling customers and how it all played out.
All content has been edited for clarity.
The Chicken Lady
“I worked in a supermarket as a customer service employee for about 3 years, and we had this one common customer that we called Chicken Lady.
She originally got the name because we caught her multiple times attempting to steal chicken from the store. And I am not just saying steal like packages of chicken (thighs for the most part), she would open up the package while trying to hide, and either stuff the chicken in her pockets or her purse or anything else she had on her, which is disgusting enough as it is – raw chicken in your pockets.
But it gets better. One time we watched her as she left the store when we thought she took something. And when she got to the car, we found out that we were right, since she pulled a few chicken thighs from her pocket. But here is where things get really gross, she takes the raw chicken out of her pockets, and then proceeds to take a bite out of it. And at this point I am doing everything in my power not to start gagging and stuff, and she is just standing there next to her car and continues to eat most of a like half pound chicken thigh, completely raw! I don’t think I was able to eat chicken for like a month after that.
And that is the story of Chicken Lady.”
He Needs To Stop Grabbing People
“I work in a mobile phone shop.
On a daily basis we get customers who come into the store and demand a new phone since they have broken the one they got at the start of the contract. We go through the normal routine of telling them it’s not the company’s fault and that they would have to replace it themselves.
One guy did not see the logic in this. He started asking me why it was that way. Of course, I don’t make the decision nor do I know the reasoning behind them, so I said, ‘I don’t know.’ This agitated him A LOT. He started grabbing for me and calling me inappropriate names, so I told him to get out. My manager started phoning security and the guy disappeared.
Fast forward to the end of the day, guess who was waiting for me outside? He grabbed me and started shouting, ‘Who do you think you are talking to me like that?’
I kneed him below the belt and then walked (ran) off.”
Those “Commie Stations”
“My favorite angry customer story happened about two summers ago while I was working outside of our grocery store at our gas station. This guy pulls up in this rusted-out beat-up Ford, rolls down his window and asks how he can pay with a check here. I tell him that everything is paid at the pump and that we can take cash, credit, debt, store gift cards or prepaid fuel tickets bought in the actual grocery store.
He gets annoyed and says, ‘No, how do I pay with a check?’ to which I tell him we can’t accept checks out at the pumps because we don’t have a cash register out there and the pumps can’t take them, but if he wanted, he could use a check in the store to buy a prepaid fuel ticket. He then goes off and yells, ‘What kind of commie station is this that doesn’t take checks? My check is as good as cash!’ I responded with, ‘I’m sure it is, but I have no way of processing a check. I can talk to my manager later and see if we can rethink our policy, but right now we can’t take them.’ He yells at me for about 2 minutes before gunning his engine and driving off.
Not even 30 seconds later, he pulls back in and asks for directions to the nearest ‘American gas station.’ I gladly pointed him in the direction of either the Holiday or Kwik Trip stations, knowing neither of them took out-of-area checks (he had an out-of-state plate on his truck). A few minutes pass, and he comes flying back into my station furious and asks me how to use his check card at our pumps because the other commie stations wouldn’t take a check. I showed him how, walked back into my kiosk, and laughed my head off.”
He Got Some Sense Knocked Into Him
“I work at my family jewelry store, and we design and hand make our own stuff.
Many years back, we had a lovely mall store with these tall, narrow glass showcases inset into the walls. The glass fronted to the mall aisle, there was a stand inside that we would put our best items on, and there was a 2-foot wide, 10-foot tall glass door on the backside. We kept these scrupulously clean, as any respectable business would do.
Well, one day some loud, rude prick comes strolling in with his trophy girlfriend. He starts yelling around the store, asking for some designer from New Mexico (this was in Tucson), so we told him politely that he could find that specific line in NM. He cuts us off, shouting (everything he said was shouted) that this guy made the best jewelry and that he would only buy from him.
We tried to ignore him, but then he started in talking about something I don’t even remember – something that was trendy at the time. He was just trying to show his knowledge off. I got stuck waiting on him. I’m this scared 16-year-old kid just trying to make a buck for the family, I didn’t know what to do. Then the guy starts wondering why we didn’t carry any 18k gold, yelling about how it was better. You couldn’t answer him because he’d just cut you off and ask another question.
He headed over to one of the narrow showcases, pointing at some larger designer piece in the window. He was sure he’d seen it somewhere before, yammering about his New Mexican designer again. He was moving kind of fast, and for some reason didn’t see the huge brass door handle on the glass door. He must have thought the case was just open in the back. He hit that thick glass so hard that it made a harmonic ‘thwang’ and wobbled. He kind of fell back a little, dazed, rubbed his forehead, and left quietly. The woman that he was with just lost it, and left laughing so hard that she couldn’t stand up right. Now that I think back on it, they were probably a bit trashed.
We left his forehead print on the glass for a few weeks, it was so satisfying.”
People Will Do Anything To Save A Buck
“One repeat awful customer who will always haunt me is this one lady. She would come into the store empty-handed on a busy day (after one encounter, it’s not like she’s hard to miss), then come up to the register half an hour later with miscellaneous broken and opened items, demanding refunds or store credit. Before a revamp in our return policy, we handed over a lot of cash to her because there really wasn’t anything we could do. By the time I left that particular location, we were just giving her store credit which she would use to buy damaged (inflicted by her) items at a 30% discount with invalid coupons she fought tooth and nail to use.
She was so rude and upsetting and pretty gross, we often gave up arguing with her. We would try to follow her around the store, but she would always come in on a weekend and it was impossible. Sometimes she would come in with her daughter and a man who I assume was her husband. Her daughter had a deformed hand and I SWEAR would purposely touch EVERYTHING on the register and all their items with it and make sure it was always in plain sight of the cashier. Her husband would yell at her as she argued with us, obviously urging her to come up with more ridiculous stories for her fraud or encouraging her to argue more.
Then there was also that one guy who threatened to kill me and several managers because Milkbones were 20 cents cheaper at another grocery store. He didn’t even want a price adjustment, he was just checking. Then about a week later he came in and asked for a job application.
I’ve encountered some pretty frantic and nasty repeat customers. It’s always the ones that keep coming back who are the most memorable. People get really bent out of shape when their pets are involved.”
“I used to work at a gas station. At about 10:45 one evening, just before close, I had a woman come in. She stood patiently in line while I finished checking out three customers. She stepped up, held out her hand, and after the previous customers left, said, ‘Give me all your money.’
I looked at her for about 5 seconds, then hit the button on the register to open the cash tray and reached for the 20 stack. She proceeded to say, ‘I’m just joking, sheesh,’ at which point, I said, ‘What, seriously? Just pay for your gas and get out.’
I think that is the angriest and most scared I have ever been at the same time.”
She Got What She Deserved For Free
“First of all, our store is a bit different with prices. We have no way to look up the price of an item unless our price sticker is on it. If a customer gets something with no price, we have to find a similar item to get a price from.
So, this lady brings up a very nice comforter set up to the counter. She said it didn’t have a ticket on it, but according to her, ‘They were all the same price back there’ and handed the cashier a second $40 comforter set to scan the price from. The cashier wasn’t new or dumb, so she didn’t fall for it, and she called for a price check, and started ringing up some of the other stuff the lady had bought.
This annoyed the lady, and she started complaining about how our service stinks and that we shouldn’t make her wait and that we don’t know what we’re doing and on and on. The employee found one by the same brand that was about $150, except a size larger. So, the cashier said we could give it to her for $140.
‘THAT’S RIDICULOUS, I WANT TO TALK TO YOUR MANAGER. Y’ALL BE TRYING TO SWITCH YOUR PRICES AND THAT’S…’ she went on and on. So we call for a manager, and of course up comes the one that always sucks up to the customers as hard as she can. I knew this lady was going to get whatever she wanted.
So as we are telling the manager what happened, the lady has been making a scene for almost 5 minutes now. The manager starts her suck-up routine and starts apologizing for everything. The manager then says she will take the comforter down to $125 for the inconvenience. I rolled my eyes because the lady just got a pretty big discount for doing nothing but being mean.
‘NO, THAT’S STUPID, IT’S FORTY DOLLARS. I AIN’T PAYING ANYTHING BUT FORTY DOLLARS BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT IT IS BACK THERE.’
Apparently, this wasn’t what my manager expected at all. She just stared at the lady with a confused look on her face. After that, she did the most awesome thing I’ve ever seen her do. With the straightest face ever, she took the comforter, put it on the floor behind the counter and said:
‘Well, it looks like nothing is going to make you happy, so maybe you should try K-mart next door. They have a great selection of things that you can actually afford.’
My mouth literally dropped open, and so did the other employees’ there who were watching. The lady just stormed out of the store, calling everybody there every name under the sun, and we were all smiling as big as we could.”
Some Customers Can’t Keep Their Cool
“I’ve been a Target employee for some time. Here are a couple of stories that come to mind:
Someone once brought a thermos that we sell into the bathroom, left a little gift in it and placed it back on the shelf to be discovered by me a little while later.
We also had a lady ask for Playboy DVDs. I almost burst out laughing in her face, but kind of kept it together. I told her we didn’t have them, but she insisted that we had them. After arguing with her for a little while, I realized she was talking about Gameboy games. She realized her mistake after I brought her to the Gameboy games and yelled at me because I didn’t know what she meant.
Someone also called in saying they were going to blow up the store, and we had to evacuate the store. We got nearly everyone out except one customer who refused to leave until she got her stuff. I explained that there were no cashiers and that she wouldn’t be able to get it. She still refused and demanded she be allowed to continue shopping, putting us at risk because we had to stay in there while we tried to get her to leave. After arguing with her for several minutes, she finally complied and left well after the amount of time that we were told we had before the explosive went off.”
Corporate Will Do Anything For A Customer
“Here’s from my stint as a handbag manager. Having women use a $500 bag and try to return it was fairly common, but this one woman… she swore up and down that she had NEVER used the bag and only kept it for 5 months because she never got around to giving it away as a gift. This bag was completely torn up – damaged leather, torn lining, ink stains on the lining.
I obviously refused the return. After arguing in circles for a few minutes, she wanted to call corporate. No big deal, I’ve had plenty of customers do this in front of me. No, this woman wanted ME to call corporate for her. She was screaming so loud, I figured I would do it to appease her. Big mistake. After navigating the phone tree and being put on hold, while this woman was screaming all the while, I finally got through to a live person.
After explaining the situation to the person on the other end, with screaming in the background, the corporate higher-up decided I should do the return because of the customer service issue at hand. With my blood boiling, I thanked the person on the other end of the phone and returned over $500 to the woman for a handbag that had been through who knows what.
The story doesn’t end there. Apparently, the person from corporate I ended up speaking to was the CEO’s assistant. I received a rather long winded e-mail explaining my customer service issues, and spent the rest of the month having to grovel under the store manager to make up for it.”
Do The Math
“So Kmart has these Rewards Cards things. One percent of every purchase you make goes into the card. Those points build up and you can use the money on the card to pay for future purchases. They work at Kmart and Sears.
So this lady comes in one day. She has a bunch of groceries. After ringing them all up, she hands me the card and says she wants to use all her points on it. I scan it and double check with her. ‘You have about $5.40. You’d like to use all of it?’
She goes into a rage and says that there is supposed to be $40 on it. She’s yelling at me about how I do an awful job, Kmart being a horrible place. I’m asking her if that’s her usual card, maybe it was her husband’s card that had that much cash (she replied that no, it’s their only card). I finally ask her why she thinks she has $40 on it.
She tells me that she bought $400 worth of appliances at Sears the previous day. I stop her mid-rant and explain to her that one percent of $400 is $4, not $40.
She doesn’t believe me. I get some paper and my pen and work it out for her. She goes into a rage about wanting to see a manager. I point her over to Customer Service, and she storms over there.
The managers (of course) refused to credit her for $40, so she cancels her card and storms out. THE VERY NEXT DAY I see her shopping again. If she hates the store why keep coming back?”
Extra Mayo, Please
“I work at Publix. I was working the deli one day, when a lady in a mart cart rode up into the sub line and asked for a sub. I get the bread ready and asked her if she wanted mayo on it. She tells me to put extra mayo on the bread.
After that, I got the meats she wanted, as I put them on the bread, she told me to put more mayo on the meat, to which I did.
I put the cheese on the meat, and she asked for more mayo on the cheese. At this point, I’d used about half of the container of mayo I had.
After I put all the veggies on her sub, she asked me if we sell our mayo. I told her I would have to ask, to which she told me that she likes to spread mayo on after each bite… I accidentally made a gag motion. She got super mad at me, grabbed her sub and left.
The next day, I was working in the bakery, when the same lady came in. She saw me and asked if I worked in the bakery. I told her yes, that this is where I was hired. She told me that she thought only smart people worked in the bakery, but she guessed that idiots could work there too. She asked for two donuts to which I replied, ‘Would you like some mayo on those?’ I haven’t seen her since… she probably had a heart attack from all the mayo in her bloodstream.”
And He Thought He’d Get Away With It?
“I used to work in a higher end electronics store. One day I was a bit bored and applied for one of our store credit cards just to see what I’d be approved for, and also for the assist on the credit rating.
I was approved for $5,000.
I totally forgot about it while I waited for the card to get mailed to me.
A couple weeks later, one of my staff asked me to come to the computer section.
Some guy was there trying to buy two high end laptop computers….WITH MY CREDIT CARD.
He must have gotten into my mail somehow, found the card, and made a bee-line for our location.
We basically sat on his head until the cops showed up.”
Oh, The People Of Walmart
“I used to work for Walmart at the Customer Service desk. One day, I had a customer bring up a driver’s license that they had found on the floor near the front door. I figured that I should try to page the person with the intercom to the front, using the name shown on the license. After 10 minutes or so, nobody had come up to claim it, so I set it in the back and asked a manager to come up to lock it in the lost and found. At this point, I assumed it was the end of it all and that the person might call later to see if it was left behind.
Roughly 20 minutes after my original page, a very loud-spoken woman gets in line with a child around the age of 4. She is sitting in one of our electric carts, yelling at her child (who is standing next to her) to sit on the chair in the corner of customer service. I finish up assisting the person in front of her and go to move the items they returned off the desk, so I can assist this blaring mother and her child. Before I can even move anything – no, before I can even make eye contact, this woman begins screaming at me asking what I want from her. At this point, I had completely forgotten about the driver’s license. I was so dumbfounded at the fact that she was screaming at me for what I thought was for no reason. I maintained my cool as much as I could and explained to her that she waited in line and came up to me, so I needed to know how I can help her. She then claims that I have been screaming her name over the entire store for almost 10 minutes straight. This is where I remember driver’s license and become relieved that someone is here to claim it. I was under the impression the customer would feel the same way after finding out I had their license as well.
This thing screams even louder and begins to tell me about how I have wasted over 20 minutes of her time. She starts throwing her items on my counter telling me that I’m going to check her out up here, and that she refuses to wait in line. On top of that, she starts to tell me that I wasted so much of her time, that all her frozen food is ruined and says she wants a $50 gift card and for her grocery trip today to be free. At this point, I’m floored – I’m ready to jump over the table and cut her license up in front of her face. I somehow manage to maintain my cool and call a manager up to handle everything. A manager comes up and this woman keeps screaming, telling my manager that I deserve to be fired. My manager luckily takes my side and tells the woman that she can replace her frozen items for new ones that have been in the freezer and lets her know that she won’t be getting any gift cards. This lady continues to throw a fit and starts screaming at her young 4-year-old daughter to follow her (keep in mind she’s still in one of the electric carts). She left her stuff near the front door and didn’t purchase anything. I was given an extra break due to the whole situation and was glad it was all over and done with.
A week or so later, a couple people from corporate show up, schedule meeting with me and my manager. Yup, that’s right – this woman even called Walmart corporate and filed a complaint. She told them all about how I deserved to lose my job, how ‘rude’ I was, and how I had wasted her time by not sending someone to find her in the store and deliver her license. The meeting started off with corporate making it sound like I was in the wrong. I asked the both of them if this woman ever mentioned that she spoke with a manager, and of course, she didn’t. To wrap it up, they pretty much had me explain what happened and then checked with the manager that came up that day. After hearing my side and having my manager back me up, I think they figured out that this lady was just an insane person looking for free stuff. I didn’t hear anything of it after that.”