We all know the 'Karen' type, and some of us are even related to them. They're the entitled, 'I want to speak to a manager now!' people who will do anything to get what they want. No matter how it'll effect their loved ones.
People related to a 'Karen' share their horror stories. Content has been edited for clarity.
She Went Straight To The Top
“Grocery store had this sign up that said if an item rang up higher than an advertised price it was free. It was the ’80s, and stores did stupid like this that I never see in stores today.
Mom was buying a box of Little Debbie cakes and they rang up for $2.85 instead of the advertised $2.50. So now mom wants her free cakes. Cashier doesn’t know what to do, summons a manager. Manager tells her to ring up the sale otherwise and he’ll be right back.
Comes back and hands my mother 35 cents cheerfully and says ‘There you go!’
My mother points out the sign behind him and he says, ‘Oh, the last manager put that up, it doesn’t make any sense. I’m the new manager and I just haven’t had the sign removed yet.’
Mom insists they honor their sign, he says nah. Now, up to this point, I as an adult looking back am totally on board with mom’s actions.
Mom gathers her things, decides against taking the Little Debbies on principle, and we get in the car. Mom wordlessly drives downtown to the main store of this 3-5 store chain, knowing the office is next door. We walk into this perfectly 80’s wood paneled office where my mother asks the secretary to speak to the owner of the store. She is permitted to do so, since this is a family owned business and their ‘corporate office’ is smaller than the row of cubicles my staff occupy at work.
Here my mother unleashes a tirade about how she has lost faith in his brand, and how his word is meaningless since they will not honor the sign etc. This guy stands up, profusely apologizes, validates her anger and then pulls out his wallet and hands her a $5 bill along with a promise that he will speak to the manager and the sign will either be honored or removed.
We get home and find that the ice cream we bought melted in the trunk because summer and ruined the cereal and the bread.”
She Knew What She Wanted
“I was 13 when this happened. My mom had made a reservation at a hotel for a trip, but when she got there the lady said there was some error with the reservation and that my mom’s payment didn’t go through. So, the lady offered us a double bedroom for a discount.
Rather than just taking the room, thanking the lady, and leaving, my mom decided the best course of action would be to scream, in the middle of a hotel lobby, ‘NOBODY IS GOING ANYWHERE TIL I GET MY FREAKING ROOM!’
She then proceeded to pester the lady, who clearly couldn’t do anything about it, until eventually she called the police on my mom for public disturbance. Mortifying.”
Just Follow The Rules
“When I was a young child on a long distance flight, my mother let me and my brother sleep on the floor. For safety reasons, the flight attendants told my mother that we were not allowed to sleep on the floor. She started to argue with the flight attendants who then turned to the pilots. The pilots threatened to turn the plane around unless we get up from the floor but she continued to argue.
The pilots announced they were about to turn around because of my mother, so all the passengers got upset. Eventually, she caved in when she had all passengers and flight crew on a Boeing 747 against her.”
Made A Mountain Out Of A Mole Hill
“I was with my parents on vacation, and the hotel put charges on the bill by accident. My mom marched to the front desk and demanded to see the manager. There was a long line, but she cut right in front of it. The manager wasn’t very helpful, probably because she was rude.
So my mom, went to all the other customers in line and told them that the hotel was a scam and they were ripping us off with fake charges. She made a scene. The hotel called the police and we were taken off the premises by actual cops. I died inside.”
Was It Worth It?
“Ugh, my dad. He can be such a prick if you get his order wrong, it could be fast food or a nice sit down restaurant. He often yells at wait staff if they ‘undercook’ his steak. It has to be well done or he claims to have lost his appetite.
One time we went to Burger King when I was youngerm and we sat down to eat. He took one bite of his burger, spit it out and immediately started complaining about it being under cooked. He cut in front of everyone in line to yell at the cashier, then he asked who was the cook.
When the cook appeared, he launched his burger hitting the poor kid directly in the face with a lidless burger. He’s now banned for life from Burger King.”
One And Done
“My mom asked me to call her a taxi via an app.
She ended up calling me multiple times, complaining about how the driver didn’t use the route she thought was best (she never owned a car and doesn’t know how to drive), even though the guy just used the best possible route the navigator suggested.
She ended up getting out halfway and using subway. The driver proceeded to call me in tears, completely shocked, unsure of what he did so wrong, and apologizing. I felt like total trash.
I never called her a cab again.”
“My dad just loved to argue, and he loved a deal.
We were shopping in a department store, and I found a pair of pants I was mildly interested in. The pants were tagged at (let’s say) $40, and the sign on the rack was ‘All pants $25.’
I was mildly interested, I asked the salesclerk if they had them in my size, the clerk said, ‘Those aren’t supposed to be on that rack.’
My dad lost his mind, and insisted on getting the pants for $25, and started asking for a courtesy discount on top of that. Escalated to the floor manager and the store manager.
Meanwhile, I didn’t want the pants. They were ok pants I guess, nothing awesome, I just didn’t care very much about them. I was more than happy to move on. I told my dad I didn’t want the pants, by then he didn’t care about what I wanted, he wanted the pants at the better price.
Eventually after like an hour of arguing the store manager said, ‘We’re not giving you the pants at that price. Take them or leave them at $40.’
So we left them. Which suited me just fine, because I didn’t want the pants.”
He Stood Up To Her
“My mother-in-law is truly a Karen. Going out to eat with her is always a nightmare. Her orders have 14 special requests, but she’s not at all kind about it, she is defensive from the get go, like you’re an idiot who’s already messed the order up.
‘No dressing. Not on the side. Nothing. Completely dry. Do you understand? I will send it back!’
The one I will never forget though was dinner at Joe’s Crab shack. It’s one of those places that every so often plays a song that the entire staff is required to drop everything and do a little synchronized dance to. It’s quick, everyone gets a little kick out of it, it’s part of the fun. Now my mother-in-law knew this, it’s not like she’d never been here. But apparently she was not willing to wait two extra minutes for her dry salad, so she starts going off as soon as the dancing starts.
She gets a manager, who clearly knows Karen well and offers a quick apology (for doing their job), a discount and her dry salad. But Karen’s not completely satisfied. She tells us that even though dinner for our party of eight is on her, she’s not tipping the waitress one penny. She proceeds to complain loudly for the rest of the meal and antagonize our waitress over petty things.
I worked too many years in customer service and I’m a decent human being. I made sure to get my bill separate so I could tip for the entire table. I wrote a quick note on the receipt, something along the lines of ‘Way to stay positive even when the customer’s a nightmare.’
I was a little afraid of the wrath of Karen, it was one of my first interactions with her too, but when the waitress came and hugged me, Karen and I locked eyes. She knew. I didn’t care. Don’t be a brat, Karen.”
He Got What He Wanted
“One time I was in a record store with my dad. He bought a record that was $19.99. He paid using a 20 dollar bill. The clerk took the money and put it in the register and gave my dad the CD in a plastic bag. I started walking off when I noticed my dad wasn’t moving.
As I turn around, I hear him say to the record store clerk, ‘You still have to give me my cent back.’
The clerk replies that they don’t return one or two cents because they don’t accept them and as such don’t have them in the store. My dad replies by saying that is ‘Judicially impossible’ and asks for the manager.
To make a long story short; one of the clerks gave my dad a cent from his own wallet.”
“I Was Mortified”
“My mom needed to return some shirts at the mall because they didn’t fit right. It was past the allotted time that she had to return them, so the employee said that there wasn’t anything she could do. My mom started screaming at this girl, who was probably about 16 or 17, calling her names and demanding to speak to the manager.
When the manager told my mom that they couldn’t do anything and that the return policy was on the receipt, my mom threw a fit and knocked over a display that was next to the register and stormed out of the store. I was probably six or seven at the time, and I was mortified. I apologized for her behavior and picked up what I could before she started calling for me to follow her. The manager was super sweet to me though, and told me that I was a good kid and to stick up to my mom when I could get away with it.”
“This is What They Do”
“This is my favorite example of my mom being an absolute whacko. We are from New York, and I met her in Los Angeles where she was vacationing for a few days. There is a restaurant we had been to before, and really wanted to visit again, I guess you could say it’s a ‘hot spot.’ This was at lunchtime, no reservation.
We arrive at the restaurant and there are a bunch of open tables, its early, probably before noon.
My mom asks for a table and they say ‘We’re so sorry, but if you don’t have a reservation, we unfortunately do not have any tables for you. If you’d like, you can leave your phone number and we can call you if we have any cancellations.’
My mom starts huffing and puffing, pointing at all the tables, which are of course reserved for 12:00 and 12:30 reservations but are currently empty. She’s making a whole scene and just storms out of the restaurant.
I try to explain to her the way restaurants work, that there are empty tables because other people are going to be coming in later with reservations. She is storming down the block just ranting, ‘NO! You don’t get it! I’ve worked in restaurants my whole life. This is what they do. It’s LA. It’s like a nightclub. They don’t like the way we look. This is ridiculous.’
While she’s ranting, the hostess comes running down the block. They had a cancellation and they could seat us immediately. I was humiliated, I didnt even want to eat there anymore.”
He Just Didn’t Understand
“Okay, so we were going to a theme park in the capitol of the country. I must have been around 19, which makes my one sister 16, and the youngest around 9. My dad had been planning this for a year, and we were psyched to go.
After you go into this place, you see a huge lake, and on each side there are several shops. A restaurant there, a souvenir shop there. And also, there is a Build-A-Bear shop. This shop is not a part of the park itself, but it does have an entrance from the park.
Anyway, my dad didn’t have custody of my sister at the time, and only saw her very sporadically. This was by his own choice, since his anxiety meant he couldn’t care for her properly. She lived with a foster family. This was one of maybe three times a year he got to actually take her somewhere, so this trip was a BIG deal.
He told her she could have one thing from the park, whatever she wanted he would pay for it. And, being a nine-year-old girl, she said she wanted a Build-A-Bear.
My dad was unfamiliar with the concept of Build-A-Bear, so he didn’t know that the price of the bear isn’t the total price. On top of it comes the clothes, the shoes etc. So the shop person takes my sister through the whole thing. You know, stuffing, putting the heart in etc, and rings up the total.
My dad totally lost it. Like, red in the head, screaming at this poor girl in the shop lost it. And I felt so embarrassed. Firstly, this girl didn’t make the prices. Secondly, this was the trip of the year, it was all four of us for the first time in forever. And thirdly, you don’t yell at people like that.
I get that he was angry, since he didn’t know the process, and felt cheated. And also, he felt backed into a corner, since he had promised my sister that she could have anything. But you don’t do that. Ever.
Luckily, the rest of the trip went by without a hitch, and my youngest sister doesn’t remember this happening. She has two Build-A-Bears now, and she named each of them after one of her sisters.”
“This Made My Mom Flip”
“I remember when I was like six, my whole family (all six of us) went to the dollar store. I don’t remember much, but I remember when we were in the car about to go home my mom was looking at the receipt and she noticed that the cashier gave them $1 less in change than they were supposed to. My mom was furious and made us all go back inside. She started yelling at the teenage girl cashier about how they’re bad people and this is wrong. Then the girl said something like ‘Ok geeze,’ and then rolled her eyes while giving back the correct change. This made my mom flip. She started screaming at the top of her longs about how they’re evil and how she needs to fix her attitude and stuff like that.
Another one was when we recently had a fire in our house. A bunch of ash and fire extinguisher stuff got all over the house, and we got a cleaning company to clean the house. It was like two dudes and two girls. I don’t know what exactly triggered my mom, but apparently she didn’t like the way they were cleaning. She started yelling at them and lecturing them that they should know how to clean, especially the girls because they’re female. She then showed them how to do it whole continuing to yell at them.
A lot of the bad outbursts were the same way she treated us when she got mad. She’s got a lot calmer since then.”
“I Never Want To Be That Person”
“Spent two hours in the lobby of the MGM Grand in Vegas circa Jan ’99. We had arrived with family friends to attend a hairstylist convention (friend’s mom owned a salon and mine managed it), and we discovered our family suites had a window view of their dumpster area about a minute after walking into the room.
Cue my mother storming back down to the lobby, and demanded the head manager at the front desk switch our rooms immediately. Watching her make a scene and get even angrier once security was threatened on her was mortifying. I was 10, tired and embarrassed, and just wanted us all to have fun.
Luckily, the head manager offered a vacant Presidential Suite for ‘all of the trouble’ after getting my mother to calm down. Looking back, I realize he did it just to shut her up and restore calm back to the lobby for other guests. To this day, I am overly-nice to retail and food service workers to compensate for her behavior even though she’s not even around anymore. I never want to be THAT person.”
Not The Cashier’s Fault
“I was around 19/20 when my dad and his girlfriend came to visit my brother and me. We went to Best Buy and they had a new season of his favorite show out on DVD. He grabbed it and took it to the counter where the cashier tried to ring it up.
It wouldn’t work, and suddenly the cashier got this nervous look on his face and says, ‘This isn’t supposed to be on the shelf yet… I can’t sell it to you’
Well you would have thought someone told my father they were taking all he had. He lashed out at this poor cashier yelling at him how it wasn’t his (my dad’s) fault, they ‘messed’ up and put it out early and they have to sell it to him, blah blah blah.
I got super embarrassed, his girlfriend does nothing, so I am stuck trying to yell my dad to calm down and then physically push him out of the store while he is still yelling. All I could do is look at the cashier and say ‘I am so sorry.’
I then lashed out at my dad in the vehicle. We didn’t have a good relationship to begin with anyways. His girlfriend tries to defend, him saying he is just stressed and he is upset he has to go home and won’t be able to see my brother and I for a long time blah blah blah. In the end I told him, to take me home and didn’t talk to him again for a while.”
She Came Up With A Solution
“This was with my mother. I had purchased these Puma shoes from Foot Locker and liked them. They were like $70-80, can’t remember. They were the most expensive thing she had bought me in a long time.
Anyway, a few days of use, the front of them got kinda scuffed up (they were really white with some red, so that would be expected). My mother was having none of that. So, she took the shoes and marched straight back to the Foot Locker store and demanded we not only get a refund, but also a replacement pair. For 10 minutes, she argued that they’re puma shoes, so they should be held to a much higher standard and shouldn’t scuff so easily No matter what. All I could do was hold my head down as she argued with these poor minimum wage cashier’s about this topic.
To make matters worse, the customers in line behind us started arguing with her too and telling her that puma or not, shoes scuff and suffer damage. It happens. She was having none of that either. After about 20 minutes of back and screaming forth (from her end), she insulted them a bunch and they threatened to call security, and the line she kept shouting back at them was ‘Why? Am I stealing from you?!’
Security was called, came over and took us out of the place. The whole way home, she kept yelling and screaming about it and shouting “I should’ve split the shoes open with a knife. Then they would’ve had to refund and replace.'”
No More Emails
“My mom asked to speak to the manager after her food took too long during lunch. He spoke to her and personally apologized, and added a free meal etc. Then she went home and wrote an email to the address listed on their website, complaining again about the situation.
Then a year later, I started working there, and one day, my mom had come in for lunch. Her order ticket had her full name on it on the kitchen line. Coincidentally, a friend from high school was working in the kitchen at the same time as myself, and recognized that we had the same last name. I confirmed that it was my mom’s order when the manager had a look so he could make fun of me for making my ‘mommy’s food’.
Then it hit him, my mom was ‘The Polenta Lady.’
Her email, as I had found out went straight to the owners, and they pinned it up on the line for a month. Then they gave the manager an ear beating for the incident.
My mom continued to come in regularly over the next year. Each time she ate lunch there, everyone on the line would start proclaim loudly, “She’s here! Make sure her order is perfect or else she’ll write another email!'”
“Everyone Was Staring At Us”
“My dad is the stereotypical ‘cheap’ parent. Wants every bang for his buck, tips the minimum amount unless the waiter/waitress is on their A game, gets angry at staff that have nothing to do with anything, you know the drill.
We were in Orlando for a vacation at Universal, and we were staying in a really nice hotel because we were celebrating me graduating from college. So we get there, check in, get to our room and everything is fine. Except, the internet is down. It was a complimentary internet, and my fiancé and I were like ‘Meh, it’s fine,’ but my dad freaked out and we went down to ask what was up in the lobby.
My dad walks up to the counter and asks ‘Hey, why is the internet down?’
The clerk responds with something like, ‘Oh there was a dead line or something, we have people on the way to fix it.’
My dad doesn’t accept this answer and says: ‘Well how long is it going to take to fix?!’ rather loudly.
At this point, I’m aggravated that he’s making a scene. The clerk mumbles out a response like ‘We don’t know, probably about an hour.’
Then my dad says, ‘Are you aware that your customers, are upset? And that we paid good money to stay in your hotel? What if I had a business meeting? What if I needed the internet for something and now I can’t use it at all!’
This poor clerk has nothing to say, because they are already trying to take care of it. I literally dragged my father away from the clerk. Practically everyone in the lobby was staring at us.
The internet was fixed within the hour.”