Never again. Customers explain the moment they knew they would never return back to a store after an unexpected grievance. Content has been edited for clarity.
“I was about 22 at the time, and I definitely looked like I was 22. I went out with my mom for Mother’s Day and took her out for lunch.
Well, my mother stopped at a store to pick up that week’s lottery tickets, and I said I would do it because I wanted a drink. I went in and grabbed my drink and some chips.
Then I asked for the tickets and the stupid woman at the counter said, ‘Hon, we don’t serve people under 18.’
I was internally laughing and replied with, ‘What are you talking about? I’m not under 18.’
Then she just replied, ‘Please leave the store before I call the police.’
I pulled out my driver’s license and showed her and she said, ‘I’m not interested in seeing your fake driver’s license.’
I was just completely freaking baffled. I didn’t look under 18, and I had a perfectly valid driver’s license. She was treating me like I was a kid.
As I left the store, she said, ‘You haven’t paid for your chips and drink’ and gestured towards the stuff I left on the counter. Forget that woman. As if I was going to put them back after being treated like that.
I just told her that she was crazy if she thought I was going to buy anything from her store after treating me like that. She told me to grow up.
As far as I know, my Mom still hasn’t been back to that place after I told her what happened.”
“I bought a laptop from Fry’s Electronics about a year and a half ago. And as part of the special pricing for that laptop, it included a two-year service plan. Fast forward to a few months ago and the hard drive failed. I know it was super easy to replace the hard drive as it was just unscrewing the back plate and sticking a new one in, but I didn’t want to pay for a drive since I had the service plan. I took it in for repair. I went to the service desk at Fry’s and checked in the laptop. The technician who did the intake told me he needed to note any cosmetic defects. He then said there was some loose cat hair on the laptop and it was considered a cosmetic defect. The laptop itself was shiny black and there were some fingerprints on the cover. He listed it as a cosmetic defect. There were a couple of dried water spots on the screen. Cosmetic defects as well. I was a little puzzled because I didn’t consider anything he noted to be an actual defect but let it go. He told me it would be seven to ten business days before the repair would be done and I said ok and left.
Three weeks went by and I heard nothing. I called the service department to ask about the status and the same technician told me he had not even taken a look at the laptop. Not only that, his manager had just shipped it a few days prior to Fry headquarters in California. I asked why. He didn’t know. I was completely fed up and ended the phone conversation. He called back and I let it go to voicemail. When I listened to the voicemail, he said he thought the ‘cosmetic defects’ were going to render the service agreement void and that was why it was shipped off. This turned out to be complete garbage, but in the end, it took Fry’s six weeks to replace the hard drive.
Six gosh darn weeks. I will never step foot in Fry’s again.”
“It was the West American Bank Back. Here’s the story. I was 20 and just got my first car, and my mom had to co-sign (actually I was secondary) loan. The total was something like 13k bucks for a used Chevy 1500. I paid my payment every month and mailed in my coupon book. Every month they would call my mom because they didn’t get paid. This of course angered my mom. I would contact my bank which was a credit union to get proof that not only did I pay, but they also cashed the check and it cleared. I took it down to the bank, got it cleared, rinse and repeat. After about a year of this, I had had it. While at my bank once again getting proof I paid, I asked to talk to a loan officer. My bank offered to take the loan for me, and even take my mom off. Two to three years later I now have the pink slip for the truck. It was completely paid off and mines. My credit which should be good now was complete garbage. I ignored it being a stupid 22/23-year-old thinking I just needed to get more under my belt. Until I was approached by a collection agency threatening to repo my now paid-off truck.
I went into West America Bank to try and get it figured out. Nobody there could find records. They showed they sent me to collections, but couldn’t tell me why or for how much. Days went by trying to get it figured out. After going through levels of managers they finally found out I had overpaid 96 bucks on my payoff. Because of this, the account was never closed. Now my account sat there untouched and ‘delinquent’ for years. They told me they sent all delinquent accounts to collections.
Then they told me, ‘Our system can’t tell the difference between a negative or positive balance on delinquent accounts.’
You were a bank. Telling the difference between negative and positive values was kind of the whole point of a bank. It took months to get them to remove all the stuff they put on my record. And of course a check for 96 bucks with no interest of course. I would do everything in my power to prevent anyone from using that bank now.”
“My parents had a hot water heater stop working a few months ago. Even though it was only six years old, they opted to replace it rather than repair it. Dad wanted to go with the local plumber and mom wanted to try Lowe’s. Mom won out so I helped them select, order, and set up an installation using the Lowe’s website. All told, it took less than an hour to set the whole thing up – from picking out the new unit to paying for it to scheduling an install. That was the only smooth part of the process.
After billing my credit card for the entire sale, I was told I would get a callback to confirm the purchase and to nail down the installation details – all within 24 hours. One day went by and no callback. Second day without hot water at the folks and still no callback. On the third day, I called the local store that was supposed to deliver and install the water heater, only to be told their records showed the job was already done and closed out as completed. Well, forget me then. Guess I must have missed their ninja crew and their stealthy ways.
After several more phone calls, emails, and suggestions that they remove their collective heads from their nether regions, someone in corporate finally got back to me to offer no explanation, no real solution, and a half-hearted apology for the inconvenience and confusion. And then tossed the whole thing back into the lap of a local store manager who offered me a 50 bucks gift card for ‘my troubles’ while he whined on about how he can sympathize with me because the new boat he bought this summer has been back to the dealer more times than he’s had it in the water this season.
Mom and dad got their new water heater delivered and installed the same day by a local plumbing and heating guy. Lowes lost the 1000 bucks sale, thanks to incompetence, really poor communication, and customer service. They also lost every bit of future business I would ever think to throw their way, which, as a landscaper and plantsman, amounted to around 35K to 40K bucks in plant material, hardscaping, mulch, tools, and supplies per season for the last few years. It certainly wouldn’t bankrupt them and it will narrow my margins come next season by a small amount. But they wouldn’t get a dime for a faucet washer from me or my family in the future.”
Near Death Experience
“It was at Taco Cabana. It was a local TexMex chain in south Texas.
I ordered chicken flautas one time. When I picked up my order, I noticed instead of the usual yellow corn tortillas, they had used red.
I paused and asked the girl, ‘These are chicken flautas, right?’
She told me, ‘Yeah.’
And I shrugged and went and started eating. About two bites in I realized they weren’t chicken. They were shrimp. It also happened to be the day I discovered I was allergic to shrimp. I ended up in an ambulance because my throat swelled so badly that I couldn’t breathe. One of the staff there called 911 for me.
I went back into that location after I was released from the ER, pretty upset. I understood mistakes happened, but mistakes like these could be serious. Shellfish allergies weren’t exactly uncommon. I just politely asked to talk to the manager.
I started to explain what happened to the manager, who interrupted me with, ‘Oh, so you’re the kid who caused all that drama.’
I said, ‘Sir, I wasn’t the one who got my order wrong. I even verified with the girl at the counter that my order was right. She apparently either didn’t know or wasn’t paying attention.’
He asked, ‘Were the tortillas red?’
I said, ‘Yes.’
His response was, ‘Well, red tortillas are always used for shrimp dishes, so I don’t know why you would have eaten them. You should have known better.’
I got really, really upset at that ‘you should have known better’ comment. I told him I rarely ate there and never ordered shrimp, so I wouldn’t have known what freaking color tortilla they used for what. But if what he said was true, then his employee should have known and realized the order was wrong when I was given it. I was going to be dealing with a giant freaking emergency room bill because they messed up.
He rolled his eyes and told me not to be a melodramatic child and that my parents’ insurance would take care of it. I stormed out of the store, livid. I was twenty years old and uninsured. I called their corporate number off of their website and got hung up on before I could even explain why I was calling.
I called in a favor from my then-boyfriend and now husband’s cousin, who was an attorney. He had contacted them and let them know I was retaining counsel and looking at a lawsuit. She also mentioned she would be getting in touch with local news stations because this kind of poor service would be a good human interest story since their mistake would be sending a poor college kid deep into medical debt.
They picked up my medical bills after that, fortunately. However, I still refused to eat there.”
“The long story gets me riled up every time I think about it. Nineteen years ago, my wife and I were high schoolers, dating. I was returning home after visiting her. I stopped by a Hardees, because I used to love that sourdough mushroom/swiss, grabbed some dinner, and dined in. About 90 percent of the way through dinner I heard sirens, saw a commotion outside, and looked out the window across the street. An apartment complex was spewing flames ten to fifteen feet tall out the windows of a unit about three to five stories up. It was probably about fifteen plus stories on this building. Yep, it was chaos, and I sat there watching.
After about ten minutes of watching, an older lady walks into Hardees. It was a small lobby, so although I didn’t pay attention to her walking in, I overheard the conversation. It went something along these lines like this;
Lady: ‘Hi. I just came home from work and they won’t let me into my apartment because the building is burning. I’ve worked all day and am hungry, but don’t have any money on me right now. Is it ok if I get something to eat, and I will come back and pay you after they let me into my apartment where I can get some money?’
Cashier, who was a young girl: ‘Well… I don’t know. Let me ask my manager.’
At this point, my interest became focused on them because she obviously lived in the burning building. I remember her accent was Eastern European, probably Czech or Russian. I remember the girl who was young and indecisive. I remember the manager too. And he was not a good person. It was an empty dining room, save for me and the older lady. The manager came out and the lady had to repeat the exact story to the manager. He looked across the street at the scene.
Manager: ‘How soon do you think you’ll come back with the money?’
Lady: ‘I don’t know, the firemen say they don’t know when they’ll let me back in. It could be tomorrow.’
He hemmed and hawed. He said, ‘No, we don’t do that. You have to pay. If you don’t have the money, I can’t do anything for you.’
I stared at him. And he caught my eye and looked away.
This lady was on the verge of tears. I was fuming at the lack of empathy. I walked up to the register, did my best to hold my tongue in check, and told him I would pay. I told the lady to order whatever she wanted, and I would take care of it. She ordered one hamburger and declined other side items. One hamburger. It was less than four bucks. The manager took the order, my money, and hollered at the order to the line to make the burger.
He gave me back my change, to which I replied ‘No, you can keep the dang change. I’m done being a customer here.’
I wanted to say so many things to him at that point, but I just walked out. I have never been back to Hardees again after that incident. And now I’m fuming mad again.”
On The House
“I was having dinner with my girlfriend at Bennigan’s. It was the first time we ever visited that restaurant chain. Anyway, I ordered some pasta, which according to the picture had a salmon steak on top of it. The food came over and there was no salmon on my pasta. I asked the waiter right then and there about it and he claimed the salmon was diced and mixed with the pasta. I was fine with it since I was starving. I took literally two bites of pasta and there was no salmon to be found. I summoned the waiter again and showed him there was indeed no salmon in there.
He told me, ‘No problem. Be right back.’
A few minutes went by and the manager showed up at my table and asked me what the problem was. I very calmly explained the situation and told him there was no salmon steak on my pasta. He also told me the salmon was diced and mixed in with the rest of it. I show him my plate and how there were no signs of salmon anywhere.
He stayed quiet for a moment and simply said in front of me, my girlfriend, and a couple of waiters that approached out of curiosity, ‘Maybe you already ate all of the salmon.’ It was quite the scene.
At that point, my rage was about to burst, but my girlfriend begged me to not make a bigger scene. And since she was a waiter herself I didn’t want to upset her. I would always regret not arguing back.
Anyway, I said fine. I would never come back here. They all left. I ate my freaking salmon-less pasta and ordered the check. They offered a free dessert which I refused and left without leaving any tip.
I was so incredibly happy when two years later when they went out of business.”
That’s Not Allowed
“There was a little local delicatessen near me. I was at work one day, and as a support worker, I was taking some of my clients out for their daily activities. It was usually just taking them into town for some personal shopping or to grab a coffee. I wanted to get some lunch, so I went into a bakery and got a sausage roll, and a drink. As we left, my coworker said we should take the guys to an independent cafe for coffee and support local businesses. Yadda, yadda, yadda. So I agreed.
We got to the delicatessen and went to the counter. The guys ordered coffees and muffins, my coworker ordered something too. And we all sat down. They all sat there drinking and eating, but I had my stuff I got from a different shop. I knew it was not really polite or whatever to eat food you got from somewhere else, but I figured we just spent like 20 euros there in total and we were the only customers. The lady seemed okay and she wouldn’t mind if I ate my sausage roll.
I started eating, and then she shouted from across the room, ‘I don’t usually allow people to do what you’re doing. It’s very rude!’
And then she began huffing and puffing around the place, muttering under her breath. I was a bit taken aback and put it back in my bag, red-faced, and sat there in silence.
As we left, I walked up to the counter and explained how I understood it was rude to eat food from elsewhere, but we actually made the conscious decision to come to this place to support her business. And before she told me off, I had been looking at the cheeses and cakes on the display, thinking how I would come here sometime and buy some. But she just lost a customer.”
Out Of My Way
“My sister-in-law got a job working at Sears, and we were in need of a new washer and dryer. Hey, we would be charitable and drive 130 miles out of our way to go buy these high-ticket items to toss a nice chunk of commission her way and support her in her endeavors. We were family, after all.
The first problem was she sold lawn equipment. But she had a friend who sold appliances. Okay, fine. We bought a lawnmower from her, and the washer and dryer from this friend. They set up the order in-store, then had the local store up here bring us the stuff. I paid for said things. And everything was fine.
The second problem was the local Sears guys came around and delivered the appliances. We got them in place, signed for the delivery, and they took off. I got the washer hooked up, and the vent hose on. I was feeling pretty good about this because I was a newlywed setting up my own appliances for the first time.
Confidence bubbled from me as I called to my wife, ‘Power cord!’ like the surgeon I clearly was.
She then asked, ‘Um. What cord?’
Sears sold us a dryer with no power cord. Well, this must be an oversight. We called the local store.
They said, ‘Uh, no. You buy that separately.’
We call the store we ordered from. ‘No, you buy that separately.’
I calmly told them I would have certainly bought the power cord if I had known I needed to buy it. They hemmed. They hawed. Finally? They decided they would comp us for the power cord, but I had to come to get it.
The store was 130 miles away.
I explained I was not coming to get the cord. Was there any way they could order one at the local store so I could just pick it up? You know, the guys that just delivered it?
They said, ‘That’s not possible, they don’t have any in stock.’
There was some more hemming and hawing, and finally, they decided they would ship it to me via UPS ground. This was a Saturday, so it wouldn’t be picked up until Monday. And maybe get to me no later than Wednesday or Thursday.
I called the Sears Hometown Store, which was apparently a local store run by real people, rather than some corporate guy, and he gave me a cord, free of charge.
They said, ‘Oh, yeah. I’ve got one just sitting around. Come pick it up.’
When the comped one arrived, I sold it back to Sears and pocketed the money.
Forget you, Sears. Never again.”
“I was eating at a pizza place once and when I left I forgot to take my backpack with my laptop inside. When I finally realized it was missing a couple of hours later, I went back and asked the staff to check if anyone found a lost backpack. They went back and checked and told me no. No one has turned a backpack in. If you’re wondering how I didn’t notice not having a backpack on, it was because I was also carrying a heavy equipment bag on my shoulder.
Since there was a security camera overlooking the room where I was eating, I demanded to see the footage to find out what happened. The staff said only the manager could access the tapes, and he was at home. So the very next day in the morning, I checked back again and demanded to see the manager. The staff made up some bogus story about the manager having to see his daughter in the hospital to stall me, so I threatened to bring the police into this.
A couple of hours later, I got a call from the pizza place about how a customer ‘turned in’ my backpack. I picked up the backpack, and upon looking inside it at home, lo and behold I found that some worker in the restaurant took pictures using my camera in their storage room. Some other minor things were also missing, but fortunately, the laptop was still there.
Haven’t been back to the place since. I could have also made a pretty good case for prosecuting them, but I was busy with school at the time and didn’t want it to be a distraction.”