There are few things that feel sweeter than watching an entitled person get put in their place, especially when it's in a retail or restaurant setting. We've all seen these people– they're the ones who walk into any establishment and think they own the place and think it's acceptable to berate and yell at the defenseless employees who actually work there and make a scene. Luckily, there are some true heroes out there who know how to put these dirtbags in their place. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I was managing a convenience store in the second largest city in Massachusetts. It was a hard-working, hard-partying, rough and tumble neighborhood with some interesting residents. It was pretty common for a customer to cut into the line and, while talking in their mobile, make their request. 'Yo, gimme a pack of Newport 100s and a mango wrap.'
Usually, I ignore such actions and wait on the next person in line…because it's a line and that's what one does….stand and wait…like all the other customers.
On this particular morning, however, this particular customer honestly and truly thought that he was entitled to behave like a rude and obnoxious dirtbag. He demanded the manager because they always need to speak to a manager, especially when they are wrong. I politely offered the obnoxious a coffee while he waited. Of course, while waiting he had to run his mouth and call me names. Then it happened, one of my newly trained customers came in to make his daily purchase.
'Good Morning, may I please have a pack of Newport 100s?'
'Good morning, of course you may. May I see your ID?'
'Yes, here you go.'
'Thank you, that will be $9.75.'
While I was getting his change, he remarked, 'Lemme guess, he needs to talk to the manager. You are making him wait…just like you did to me.' I just smiled and my newly trained customer knew. He sauntered over to the waiting customer, who was still spewing vulgarities about me and asked, 'Do you talk to your mother or your aunts like that? Do you call your baby momma those names? How about your side chick?'
The rude customer started to answer, but the newly trained customer cut him off, 'You see that lady? She is the manager. This is her house and she doesn't deserve to be called names, insulted or threatened because you don’t want to wait in line or show your ID to buy a pack of smokes.'
He took a deep breath and continued, 'If you want to do business here, then you need to pull your saggy britches up, put your shoulders back, look her in the eye, apologize, and use your Sunday manners and make your purchase.'
The rude customer said he wanted to speak to the manager to which the newly trained customer said, 'Yo, dude, she IS the manager and she ain't got the time to play with you! Be nice or be gone…pretty simple!'
The newly trained customer walked with the rude customer to the counter and taught him how to behave in the store."
"Back when I took a semester off from college to work, I worked at a local discount grocery store as a cashier.
This store is located in the central/downtown area of my city. Believe me when I say that when you work retail, you see a special kind of crazy and stupid from certain customers that you never even knew existed. In this area, customers like this were a dime a dozen.
I was cashing out customers on a slow day when a woman runs up to my checkout lane and throws a 20 pound bag of dog food on me. I had to lean against my counter to catch my breath while she berated me. Everything from 'Hurry up, I’m in a rush!' to 'They couldn’t find anyone slower than you to employ?' all while she was drumming her fingers on the counter and huffing at me.
Unbeknownst to me (due to the large bag of dog food LITERALLY covering my face and torso, blocking my view), another woman was in line now behind this Jezebel. After I rang her purchase through to the debit machine, the woman behind her looks me dead in the eye, winks at me, and remarks sarcastically, 'Hurry up! Can’t you see she’s in a rush to pay for her dinner and leave?'
I almost put my head in a grocery bag to muffle my laughter, but I couldn’t help it. That woman cursed at both of us as she left, but oh my was it worth the look on her face!"
"One of my first shifts as a grocery store cashier was a beautiful mid-spring Saturday morning. The sun was shining without a cloud in the sky, the air was warm, and the store was filled with the delectable aroma of freshly-baked croissants. Up to that point, every single customer that I had dealt with was pleasant and kind. As my trainer had said, it does really help to wear the 'I’m New Here' badge.
Several hours into my shift, an elderly woman entered my line. I still remember her purchase: just a small package of roast beef. I greeted her, asked her for a points card, and told her the total. It couldn’t have been more than $2. However, instead of bringing out a payment method, she just sneered at me.
'Okay, ma’am, would you like to pay with cash or card?'
'Cash. Are you forgetting something? You’d better give me a bag as well.'
'For your one item? Sure. With the plastic bag fee, it’s $2.05.'
'That’s ridiculous. You expect me to pay for a bag? I come here all the time and it has always been a common courtesy!'
Despite being a new hire, I knew for a fact that she was wrong. You see, our tills have little tags that say 'effective March 2017, plastic bags will be $0.05 and paper bags will be $0.10.' This event occurred in May 2018.
I said to her, 'I’m sorry that you feel that way, ma’am, but this policy has been in effect for over a year. If you would really like a free bag, you can take one from the produce section.' More than anything, I was confused. She carried a Prada handbag, yet wanted to dispute a common-sense courtesy charge?
'That’s absurd. And stop defending the company like a corporate puppet; they don’t pay you enough to do that.'
At this point, the quiet gentleman behind her, to whom I had paid no notice, stepped in. He tapped the woman on the shoulder and said, 'they don’t pay him enough to deal with people like you either.'
Without another word, she threw $2 onto the counter, picked up her roast beef, and walked away in a storm. Fortunately, I haven’t seen her since, but I always made sure to give that gentleman bonus points when he came through my line."
"Years ago, we were attempting to complete a safety demonstration on a Boeing 727 aircraft. I was working in the First-Class cabin, and we had to stop the demo several times for a woman sitting there. I suspect that she had been drinking because she was loudly talking over the demo to her seatmate, discussing 'important' business affairs, distracting others, and making it difficult for them to hear.
I asked her to keep her voice down, and she said, 'We fly a lot, and we’ve heard it so many times that we know it by heart.'
The second time we stopped the demo and I asked her to speak quietly, she said, 'I’m a CEO of a large corporation and I have business to do.'
The third time, she rolled her eyes dramatically and informed me that I was getting tiresome and should mind my own business! 'You go along and do your pretty little presentation and leave us alone to handle the important things!'
Before I could reply, a passenger seated behind her stood and motioning for me to let her speak, she leaned over the seatback to speak to the loudmouth, and sweetly said, 'I get it. You’re pretty important to be a CEO!'
'Dang right I am! And I worked hard to get here!' loudmouth replied.
'I’m sure you did!' the woman said. 'It’s not easy.' And her voice took on a hard edge, 'But you know,' she went on, 'these people don’t come into your boardroom and interrupt you when you’re making a presentation. And you’re in their office now. You need to afford them the courtesy of making their presentation without interruption and without being so rude. They’re doing their job, and the rest of us need to hear them. So, this behavior is going to stop, isn’t it!'
That last two words were a statement, not a question. And they were very firmly stated!
Surrounding passengers grinned in approval, some even snickering. Looking around and realizing that she was alone, loudmouth immediately shut up and sank down into her seat, looking properly chastised. We continued with the safety demo and she didn’t utter a peep until we were done. And for the rest of the flight, she spoke in near whispers.
Peer pressure can be extremely effective!"
"I worked for a high end cosmetic company for years and had a pretty big clientele. I’m originally from up North, but I moved to the Deep South when I got married.
One day, I was at work and I was pretty busy. One of my regular clients, I’ll call Lori, came in to see me. We had morphed into more friends at that time. Lori happens to be white. She saw I was busy and told me she wasn’t in a rush and she’d browse around until I was free. As we were talking, to the left of me I saw a black woman looking through lipstick testers. I turned to acknowledge her and asked if she needed any help. Her response?
'Oh no,no, you go ahead and help the white lady even though I was here before she was.'
I stood there speechless. So did Lori. I was stunned, confused, flabbergasted, you name it I was feeling it. In the 20 plus years I had worked with the public, no one, I mean NO ONE had ever spoke to me like that before. I looked at the customer (I was beat red and shaking at this point) and told her I’d be right with her. Lori, my regular, touched my arm and told me to go help the woman and she’d wait. She knew how stunned I was and I was so grateful she was so understanding. The black woman then said, 'I don’t want your help now. I’ll never buy anything from your line ever again' and waltzed away.
At this point, Lori was about 100 feet from my counter looking at jewelry. She heard the whole exchange between the woman and I. The woman started walking by Lori and all of a sudden Lori got in this woman’s face and said, 'You need to go over and apologize to her. I’ve known her for years she would NEVER treat anyone differently because of their skin color. She tried to help you and you chose to walk away. Go say you are sorry NOW.'
The customer stood there speechless. She took a minute to regain her composure and slinked away without saying a word.
Lori came over with the biggest grin on her face. 'I couldn’t just stand by and watch her talk to you that way. You are one of the sweetest and kindest people I know. I don’t know how you put up with rude people like that.'
I gave her the biggest hug and thanked her profusely for standing up for me. It never ceases to amaze me how some people feel that just because you wear a name badge that you are 'less than' they are."
"I once had customer who was plain rude. I was taking orders in the McDonald’s lobby. He was an idiot, needless to say. He started asking for small french fries and he was upset because they cost more than one dollar.
Customer: '$1.81 for freaking small fries? Are you kidding me!?'
He said it so loudly that all the customers in the tables turned their heads toward him for inappropriate use of profanity.
Me: 'No, I’m not, sir. '
Customer: 'Okay, keep the fries, but make them fresh. I want them fresh and give a medium Pepsi with very light ice! Don’t tell me you can’t do it. If you can’t, I don’t want it.'
There were four customers in line and I was the only cashier at that moment.
Me: 'Sorry, sir, we don't serve Pepsi at McDonald’s.'
Customer: 'You don’t know anything! It’s right there in the menu!'
I moved my head to look at the menu and checked if I was crazy yet.
Customer: 'Dr. Pepper, Dr. Pepper — that’s what I meant!'
The situation lasted so long that when he paid for his fries (fresh fries), they were ready and I gave it to him. I gave him the cup for his soda and maaan he was mad!
Customer: 'What I am supposed to do with an empty cup?!'
(Again, so loud that anyone in the restaurants turned their heads to see what was going on)
And then one customer behind in line intervened.
Customer 2: 'You fill it in the fountain, moron! Give the man a break.'
They argued for a while but I kept taking orders and of course gave that good man a discount when he did order."
"I was the retail worker who was being treated badly at the time. In this case, the customer literally threw the other customer straight out the door. I’m not exaggerating at all.
When I worked at GameStop in high school, it was one of those little strip-mall locations that is located in a plaza with other, larger stores such as Walmart and the like. We were a standalone store (meaning no security like you would have in a mall) and, because the plaza was new and in a location surrounded by subdivisions that were still under construction, it was also an extremely low-traffic store. Therefore, it wasn’t at all unusual for me to be alone in the store because we didn’t make enough sales to justify having two people on staff for most of the day. Plus, we rarely had multiple customers in the store at the same time due to low traffic.
This was the setting in which a short, rotund, middle-aged man came in to return a copy of Scarface for the PC. Now, GameStop’s return policy is pretty terrible at the best of times, but PC games are basically just final sale, excepting defects. This was back before Steam and other such DRM services had really taken off, so we still used CD keys, and if you opened the box, the CD was assumed to be used, which meant absolutely no returns under any circumstances. The only thing we could do was an exchange for another copy of the same game. It was very 'buyer beware.'
Now, this guy had clearly opened his game and he wanted his money back because he didn’t like it. I apologized and informed him that our return policy didn’t allow that. It was defective exchanges only. Well, then he changed his story and started claiming it was defective. I told him that my only option was to exchange it for another copy of the same game. He didn’t like that either and started getting extremely upset. He was shouting, calling me names, all kinds of horrible things. He was being quite aggressive about it, too. I kept trying to calm him down, and offered everything I could offer without being fired. I told him I could come back tomorrow to see if my manager could override the policy, call customer service, anything. It only seemed to enrage him further. This culminated in him trying to lunge over the counter to physically attack me.
Now, this is why I mentioned earlier that he was short and round– he didn’t get very far in his lunge and just kinda bounced off the counter without coming all that close to me. Still, his intent was very clear. It’s not like the counter was an unassailable fortress - all he had to do was walk around it to try again. So, I’m left standing there wondering if punching a customer in self-defense would get me fired because I really, honestly had no idea what I was going to do if he tried again to any greater success.
Now, this is when another customer entered the store. I should note that the front of the store was just a set of basically floor-to-ceiling windows and this was pretty late in the day, if I recall, so this other customer saw the whole thing play out through the windows while he was on his way inside. This other customer was enormous. I realize my memory has probably exaggerated his size a little, but he really was genuinely built like a football player– tall and very broad in the shoulders and obviously quite strong. So here he was, walking into the video game store on time to see a middle-aged man try to physically assault the teenage girl behind the counter. I’m sure I looked quite distressed.
Without a single word, he walked straight up to the counter from the door, literally lifted the angry customer off his feet, carried him back to the door and tossed him out onto the sidewalk.
"I was just coming home from my job and decided to stop at Kohl's. I found what I wanted and headed to the checkout.
The woman in front of me was paying her credit card bill at the checkout (which is perfectly straightforward), but she was paying with a check. Because of this, the young girl cashiering asked her for her license. This woman starts throwing a tantrum. I’d had a LONG day, was covered in dirt (I worked at a greenhouse), and just wanted to go home.
I looked at this woman and said, 'You know, it’s not her fault you have to show your ID if you write a check. It’s COMPANY policy and she’s doing her JOB. The reason they ask for it is so they can make sure the check is ACTUALLY YOURS and NOT someone trying to pull a scam. If you have such a problem with it, go to a manager and nag at them. This girl can do nothing about it!'
The woman looked at me with her mouth hanging open and finally said, 'OH.'
She got out her ID and didn’t utter another word.
The poor cashier looks at me after the hag from the underworld leaves and says 'Thank you.'
'No problem,' I told her. 'I’ve been a cashier and I’ve had my share of people like her. Sometimes, they just need to be put in their place.'
I bought my stuff and left.
I like to think I made that cashier’s day because most people wouldn’t stand up for people like her. Me, on the other hand, I have nothing to lose and I really HATE bullies!"
"I’ve seen it many times. The one that I remember with most fondness was when I was working in my own store about 10 years ago.
Every single one of my regular customers were delightful– it felt like a community and I generally had a great time in the shop. It was a plus size store, and we offered free alterations, so everything that left my shop fitted beautifully. This was the cause of great customer loyalty, as the women become accustomed to their clothing fitting them perfectly. However, it was not a cheap shop; it was premium clothing for special occasions, meaning that dresses could be very expensive.
This particular lady was someone I had never seen before– she didn’t normally buy designer apparel, and had come in to buy a dress for her son’s wedding. All went well, she picked out a gorgeous silk dress and we had it altered. The lady had curvature of the spine, meaning that the alterations took several painstaking fittings. The process actually cost me about a £100 (making the dress a financial loss for me), but I didn’t care. I offered free alterations for all, and everyone got the same offer, no matter what it took. I was only too happy to see this lady look just as superb as everyone else and pay the same price. She looked amazing and she was blissfully happy (for possibly the first time in her life). It was almost impossible to see that she had any physically diverse shape.
However, her blissful mood didn’t last long. During the protracted period this tailoring process took, the store went into our annual summer sale, where our discounts were substantial. That dress, had it been bought during the sale, would probably have cost perhaps £200 less (no free alterations, though). The lady spotted this and was furious. I tried telling her that I wasn’t able to warn everybody about the sale a month before; I never even knew myself when it was going to start (it was all down to sales figures). Also, her particular dress was actually sold out long before the sale. She wouldn’t have got it at all had she waited. However, she told me that she wanted the difference between sale price and what she paid refunded. She was incandescent with real rage, something I had never seen before and was very surprising under the circumstances. However, money can be an extremely motivating force to some people.
When she realized that wasn’t going to happen, she started to say that she wanted a refund or substantial discount because there was something wrong with the ‘hang’ of the finished dress (it was immaculate). She said that, with it looking ‘substandard’ and ‘embarrassing’ (she actually said it would be an ‘insult’ to her son to wear it to his wedding). She saw no inconsistency when she told me that she was prepared to take it (and presumably ask her son to swallow the insult by wearing it to his wedding), but only at sale price.
After I had politely demurred (and she had failed to show the dress to 'Trading Standards,' even after I had found her their contact details), she decided to become a 'Saturday Shouter.' This is a person who comes into a store on what they know is the busiest day, shouting for all to hear about their grievance. It works because the unfortunate retailer realizes that the loss of custom from upset customers can outweigh the refund amount, meaning that they decide to cut their losses.
The lady was obviously very experienced at this and came storming into my store whilst it was full of customers at the busiest time of the day. She may have done this kind of thing before, but never in MY store.
The two assistants that were working with me looked at each other and braced themselves– this was something that only usually happened in OTHER stores.
She immediately launched into a tirade about the poor quality dress, badly altered. My regulars (for they were her audience) gathered round in a state of sympathy, shock, curiosity…many differing emotions. When they saw it was an Anna Scholz dress, they earnestly assured her that, far from being ‘rubbish,’ it was of the best quality. They also reassured her that any problems would be instantly rectified in 'this shop.'
They then set about trying to get the lady to try on the dress to show them all the defect. She was extremely unwilling to do so, but the peer pressure that she had wanted to use on me had become targeted on her, so she went into the changing room and tried it on.
When she came out, a small crowd of women had gathered– 8 pairs of eyes greeted her as she emerged, wearing the dress. There was an audible intake of breath. Often, the transformation when someone puts on a gorgeous designer dress can be breathtaking. One goes from an everyday person to ‘red-carpet ready.'
There was an audible disbelief that the lady felt anything other than gorgeous, beautiful, elegant, and lovely in every way. The customers, all wonderful women (and, if I am honest, not people who really concerned themselves with money, and didn’t recognize that as a motivation in others), really couldn’t understand what the problem was….until the 'penny dropped.'
The women concluded that the lady, far from being a 'Saturday Shouter' (the customers had never heard of such a thing) was actually someone with body dysmorphia, not an unusual situation in a plus size store. They believed that she was so self-critical that she couldn’t see her own beauty. It became their mission to encourage her to see how lovely she was. She was hit with a tidal wave of love, as women implored her to see herself for her true qualities, relax, and really enjoy her family celebration. They tossed aside any thoughts about any faults in the dress, the gorgeousness of which they felt only illuminated the woman’s problem.
One customer (a beautiful lady who, notwithstanding being a size 24, no one would ever think could have had a problem with her looks), with tears in her eyes, revealed to the warmhearted group that her whole life had improved once she had decided to be kind to herself. There was a murmur of appreciation, but my eyes were fixed on the disgruntled customer. Her expression resembled a bulldog chewing on a wasp. I just about stopped myself from laughing.
I busied myself with putting the kettle on and one of my staff started to arrange a little mid-morning snack.
Looking impatient and frustrated, the lady went back into the changing room, changed back into her usual outfit, and tried to free herself from the self-appointed counselling team. She wriggled through the throng to get to me and was greeted with a smile and offer of tea and a piece of cake.
Ultimately, she left the store still clutching the dress that we all knew would make her look knockout at her son’s wedding. Had she ever suffered from any anxieties about her looks (I hadn’t spotted any, actually, and it was a problem that I was accustomed to watching out for), she would have been cleared of them for life.
The wave of love and admiring comments followed her all the way down the road to the car park."
"I’m a bartender, so one thing that really sets me off is when I see a customer harassing staff, especially if it’s obvious that they are extremely busy and doing their best to take care of everyone. The thing is that customers themselves are the biggest limiting factor here usually. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone wait 10–15 minutes to get served at a busy bar and start their order by saying 'now what do I want?' and staring around like they’ve never drank before. For the staff member, it’s incredibly awkward standing there waiting for them to make up their mind, totally aware all the people staring at you think you are just being a slacker for standing there when there are so many waiting customers.
So, I’m with friends at a well known local restaurant that also hosts local/regional bands regularly. My buddy’s band is playing, my employer is filling in on bass guitar, and we are having a GREAT time!
Suddenly, I hear the female bartender address an older gentleman: 'SIR, I see you, I’m aware you need something, but I’m taking another customer’s order. Please wait your turn!'
You’d be surprised how common it is for customers to be rudely dismissive of not just staff, but other customers as well, so this is an exchange I’ve heard plenty of times. I hear the man loudly and angrily complaining to a younger guy by him (I thought they were together at first, but they weren’t) immediately. 'I can’t believe she was so rude to me, I tell you what I’m not tipping that hag a darn thing!'
I had a solid buzz and calling her a hag really set me off because I knew she heard it too, so I immediately responded.
'Well I’ll tell you what bud, you go ahead and be a piece of trash if you want, but make sure to let me know what your tab is so I can make up for you.'
He clearly misunderstood me, because he asked me if she’d given me bad service too, thinking I was on his side.
I replied, 'No, I’m just a bartender too, so I know EXACTLY what she’s going through right now. And these people with me are also in the industry, so not only am I going to take care of her, but every one of them will too.'
By now the bartenders are all suspiciously managing to be occupied directly in front of us at the bar and doing their best to stifle what could not possibly be giggles, as that would be very unprofessional. The angry guy, now severely deflated, went to the other end of the bar to escape the situation.
A little bit later, I see him coming up behind me, so I prepared myself for a possible sucker punch incoming. Instead, he quietly approached me, leaned in, and whispered 'Sir, I just want you to know I tipped her $7 on $27. I didn’t want you to think I stiffed her.'
Of course, I politely thanked him for doing so and wished him an enjoyable evening.
There are few feelings more satisfactory than getting to stand up for a beleaguered staff member on the receiving end of an unjustified reaming from an angry customer. It’s only sad that I had to remind a man old enough to be my father how to treat others."