We hate running into Karens but we can't seem to get enough Karen stories! Check out this roundup of some of our craziest Karen stories! From parking lots and shopping malls to Starbucks and soccer games, where there is a gripe there's Karen.
If Only They Paid More Attention
“About eight years ago, I was starting a new job. I needed it. I had been laid off of a very good paying job about a year earlier and was working an ‘in-between job’ to get by until something better came along and this was it. I’m just a waiter but as anyone who works in the service industry knows not all serving jobs are alike. In the right place, I can bring home over a grand over the course of four nights.
Anyway as the new guy, I was given the task of opening up the restaurant. This meant arranging tables and setting them up, stocking the bar and waiters station, counting the register, confirming reservations for the day. As I was new and still figuring out where things were and went, I came in about half an hour early to get ready for our 11:30 opening.
Before anyone else on staff showed up to work, a loud knock came from our locked front door. I went to see who was there and two elderly women wanted to come in and be seated for service. I told them we opened for service at 11:30 and they weren’t having it. They wanted to be seated NOW, they have a Groupon which was set to expire and they demanded service. They insisted our website stated we open at 10:30 am. Told them we couldn’t have people in the restaurant while we were setting up but we’d be happy to take care of them when we open. They demanded to speak to a manager, told them I was the only one here, then they asked me if I was a manager.
I said no and they replied with, ‘I look too stupid to be a manager.’
They then proceeded to seat themselves in our outdoor patio area. Fine. They were out of my way I could proceed with my tasks, except they decided to start calling the restaurant. The phone would ring, I would go over to pick it up, they would swear at me, hang up and then do it again. After the third or fourth time, I just let the phone ring, and the other old lady got up and just started pounding on the door to be let in while the other was on the phone letting it ring.
Mind you, even if I did let them in the cooks weren’t even in to start their own setup and prep.
At this point, the other waiter on schedule showed up and asked what’s going on. I explained and he goes out to tell them the same things I did and they gave him the same work over treatment of yelling, demands, and insults. How dare we deny them service. We’re going to get fired, they’re going to have our jobs.
Then 11:30 rolled around, the kitchen was up and ready for service, we’re up and ready for service. The two old ladies barge in and shove their Groupon coupon in my co-worker’s face to which he replies ‘Ma’am. Our establishment does not accept Groupons. If you had read the name and address of the restaurant the Groupon is attached to and compared it to the name of our restaurant on the front door you’ve been pounding on for the past hour you would have discovered you are at the wrong restaurant.’
They slinked off.
Doesn’t end there. They went onto Zagat and posted a review about as long as this post over what a horrible restaurant experience they had, we were infested with rts, the place was filthy and we should all be fired and shut down.”
She Wasn’t Being Rude, She Literally Wasn’t An Employee
“So a bit of backstory: this happened about two years back when I was still in high school, and it was summer break. Wanting to enjoy the beautiful summer evening, a few friends, my uncle, and I went out for ice cream at one of our local shops. We were celebrating an invitation I had received to a very prestigious military school here in the States that I’ll just refer to as ‘WP.’ Since it was summer, there was a pretty long line at this tiny place, and they only had outdoor seating. Being that we were a pretty big group, I had my friends go save us a table. To make things easier, I made a list on my phone with my friends and my uncle’s orders so only one of us had to wait in the line. As I turned to head into the line, I heard it; you know that noise someone makes when they think they’re high and might? That condescending clearing of the throat.
Now mind you, I’m pretty weirdly built for a female. I’m pretty short like under five feet, but I’m bulky from being a wrestler and doing weight lifting. At the time, I think I just had some standard jean shorts and a random shirt with my school’s logo on it, nothing that would have made me seem like an employee at the shop. Not that the actual workers ever would have come outside to take orders or anything. At first, I kind of tried to ignore the lady and keep heading towards the line. As I was doing so, she made her throat-clearing noise again, and being me I decided to see what she wanted. Now I really didn’t want to say anything to some random lady, so I sort of just made eye contact and raised my eyebrows at her. She had that pretty stereotypical ‘Karen’ look, in the mid-30s with that short haircut, fake blonde hair, and tacky acrylic nails. When she realized I acknowledged her, she huffed before talking to me.
‘Well, it took you long enough! I want to order!’ this ‘Karen’ shouted.
Before I said one word to her, I knew this woman was going to be loud and really irritating, but I wanted to keep my cool and just explain the situation.
‘Miss, I don’t work here. I’m just grabbing what my group and I want so we don’t have to stand in-‘ I began.
‘I don’t care if you want to help your friends first! I watched you write down their order! You work here and now you will help me as well!’ she screamed at me.
Okay so clearly, I was dealing with a crazy lady. Great, that’s just what I wanted.
‘Miss I just told you, I don’t work here. I’m just doing my group’s order,’ I told her, hoping it would end everything.
After that, I turned to walk away to pick up my order. Turns out that apparently like most Karens, sudden movement upsets them. As I turn, I felt those fake acrylic press into my wrist. This woman actually decided to grab me! I quickly rip my arm from her grip as I turn around to face her. The mere fact that she had the audacity to grab me made me enraged. Even if I was an employee, there is no reason for her to place her hands on someone.
‘Look, lady! Even if I worked here, WHICH. I. DON’T. you have absolutely no reason to ever lay your freaking hands on me!’ I screamed at her.
Through this shouting match, my Uncle grabbed the manager to come to help me out. They came out just to see me wrench my wrist from this Karen’s grasp.
‘What the heck are you doing to my niece?’ my uncle roared, furious the crazy woman had gone so far as to touch me.
He grabbed my arm to check over my wrist. I knew I was bleeding a bit from when she dug her nails in, but I didn’t really notice it too much. The manager was trying to ask the Karen about what happened as Karen ranted about how I was rude, didn’t want to take her order, and how I assaulted her. Now obviously she didn’t have any marks on her while I was the one with nail marks on my wrist. The manager calmly explained that I didn’t work there nor do the workers come around to take orders. My uncle told the manager while I was okay the lady needed to go. Needless to say, I got my ice cream and had a pretty nice time after that.”
It Costs Nothing To Be A Good Person
“I got the call at around 6:30 AM, which was a little after my not-Starbucks chain coffee shop is supposed to open. One of the other managers had quit a couple of days ago, and for whatever reason, nobody covered her shift. The store was empty, and customers were lining up and angry. I should’ve just gone back to bed, but instead, I got up on my day off and went in to help.
Two important characters were two of my regulars, who I’ll call ‘Jason’ and ‘Sam.’
Jason is probably my favorite regular, always tipped well and left us good reviews on our company surveys, and was just all-around a nice dude.
Sam was the exact opposite end of the spectrum. He came in once a week and ordered eight large drinks (skim white mochas with hazelnut and vanilla). He then took them home and put them in his fridge and microwaves one every day. We dreaded seeing him as he majorly messed up our times, and caused any poor soul who’s in line after him to wait upwards of ten minutes to get their order. He’s also been known to tell us to remake all of his drinks if he tastes one and it isn’t ‘right.’ (It hasn’t happened on one of my shifts and I’m really waiting for the day it does so I can tell him to pound sand, but I digress.)
Another important detail is that my coffee shop was a kiosk inside a grocery store. So often, customers will order their coffee and then pick it up after they get their groceries.
Anyway, I got into the store at around 6:45 and start setting up shop. I had to explain to several customers, including Sam, that I just got here and it takes some time for the espresso machines and coffee carafes to heat up and to come back in 20 minutes. Sam said something about how I shouldn’t have been late, and I shot back that it was my day off and that he can take it up with my boss if he had a problem. He grumbled something and left to peruse the groceries.
I was putting the finishing touches on my open when Jason sauntered up. It’s around 7 by now. I explained the situation to him and told him I’m almost ready to open when one of my espresso machines finally fully powered on, which means it was ready to go and I can open it. Awesome! Since Jason is right there in line, I started making his drink first. Jason is happy, and he left a nice tip. He sat down and waited.
While I’m making his drink, who else joined the line but Sam. He opened by saying, ‘I’ve been here since 6 AM, and I should’ve been helped first.’ Well, you left, and you have eight drinks that you want. You can wait. I don’t say this to his face, of course, because I liked my job. I rang him in and he throws a 50 at me (his order is usually around $48) and sneered at me to keep the change. I finished up Jason’s drink and started the task of making Sam’s drinks. The entire time I’m on the bar, he was hurling insults at me. Talking about how lazy millennials are, how poor the management of my store is, you get the gist.
At one point, he started pestering me about ‘When’s the next time your boss works? I’m going to tell him how rude you were to me. I’m a regular and I deserve better.’ I started crying, and who else confronts him but Jason.
‘Hey, they’re obviously understaffed today, and she is doing a great job. They didn’t have to come in today, but they did and you should be grateful. If not, there are about a hundred other coffee shops in a 10-mile radius that you can go to instead.’
Sam shuts up, and I got to finish his drinks. Jason threw an extra $5 bill into my tip jar for dealing with that, and so do a couple of others in the line. I calmed down and got through the line, and finished out the shift without much further incident. I haven’t seen Sam since then, and the next time I see Jason I’m going to comp his drink. He deserves it.”
Karens Will Stop At Nothing
“I used to work in a public night shift service, kind of like an emergency room but for non-emergencies, to keep the hospitals clear of white codes (so anything from a fever to a sore throat, to prescriptions for urgent treatments), and a Karen walked in at 3:00 am asking for a prescription for hypertension meds. This wasn’t unusual, as people (old people, more often than not, but she looked 55~) sometimes didn’t notice they’re running low.
Anyway, the law (not a rule, not my decision, the law) stated that this service can only write prescriptions for potentially life-threatening conditions’ medications for a maximum of 72 hours coverage (so if you take one pill a day, I can only prescribe you a single blister. Here we don’t have bottles, but blisters). While I was writing the prescription Karen casually mentioned that she was an insomniac, and while cleaning the medicine cabinet she realized she was down to her last full blister. My pen stopped, I asked her to repeat, ‘full blister?’ She confirmed, so I took the prescription, tore it in half, then again, then I threw it in the bin, explaining to her the law. She got mad, started yelling, and threatened to call the cops. I told her to go ahead. The cops came, and she triumphally announced that I was refusing to treat her. I explained the situation, and they asked her if it was true that she had a full pack, and she of course (being a Karen who is always right no matter what) confirmed it. The cops looked at her (still with a look of triumph, waiting for them to arrest me), then at me, then asked her politely to leave, as I was in the right. She was livid.
The day after my boss called me and cracked up because she went there during the day to talk to the manager, and she (my boss) told her the exact same thing. Never saw her again in there, weirdly enough.”
Karen Needs Her Car
“I work as a valet at a small hotel in San Francisco, so small we don’t have our own garage. As such, we parked our cars in a public garage next door. The public garage was never too busy, so they resorted to renting out spaces to raise revenue. We rented spots as well as a rental car company that took up most of the bottom floor. One section of the floor was reserved for them and there was an area right next to it for employees to park.
I usually parked my car there, worked for five hours, then took my half-hour lunch break in my car. Today was no different. As I walked down to my car, I noticed a family standing in the middle of the garage. I assumed they must be lost, but since I wouldn’t begin to know how to help them, I simply walked to my car, sat down inside, and began to eat. After maybe two minutes of a blissful lack of customer service, I was brought back to cold, hard servitude by a quick, hard tap on my window.
I looked up just in time to see the matriarch of the family glaring at me. I turned on the electricity in the car, rolled down the window, and very politely asked, ‘Yes?’
The matriarch, with distinct anger, shouted, ‘We’ve been waiting here for fifteen minutes, and we have to get going! I need my car!’
Dumbfounded by the tone and level of her voice, I looked down at the solace of my sandwich, looked back at her, and said, ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t work here. I work at the hotel next door, and I’m on lunch.’
Undeterred, she began shouting again, ‘Nonsense! I saw you pull a car out as we walked down, don’t lie to me just so you can eat your sandwich! I need my car now!’
Thinking the lady could still listen to reason, I tried to explain again, only for my words to fall on deaf ears.
‘Get my car! I need to leave! I paid good money for this, so get off your rear end and get it!’ She shouted as I continuously tried to explain.
Finally, she crossed the line and lunged at my sandwich. My poor defenseless sandwich. Like a mother bird protecting her young, I blocked her grab and rolled up the window.
She was still slapping my window as I sat hoping the security guard would come. It turned out they were supposed to rent a car the day before, but the company had overbooked. They had to cancel some plans, so the company had given them a free rental for the next leg of their journey to SoCal.
An attendant eventually came down to see the lady in the middle of her fit and had to weather the rest of her tantrum.”
“These Tourists Are Crazy”
“So I was at a resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. My parents are Dominican so I speak pretty fluent Spanish. I was by the pool chatting with one of the lifeguards when ‘Karen’ in her thirties tapped me on the shoulder.
While holding a wet towel and using ‘Spanglish’, Karen said, ‘Excuse me, I need a clean-o towel-o.’
Confused, I responded, ‘Sorry, I don’t work here. You might wan-.’
After cutting me off, Karen said, ‘Yes you do, I just saw you speaking Spanish.’
‘So what I’m also speaking perfect English.’ I responded, growing frustrated with Karen’s lack of common sense.
Karen, gave completely unwarranted advice as her kind is one to do. ‘Well if you’re working with tourists you should speak English.’
The only response I had to this without coming across as rude was pointing Karen in the direction of the towel station.
Karen responded to this with, ‘Can’t you grab me one? I don’t speak Spanish.’
Completely done with that conversation, I responded, ‘No, you can figure it out.’
Karen walked away angry and I thought that was the end of it. I headed to the bar and luckily for me, I was able to overhear her screaming.
‘I need someone who speaks English in this place. I have a complaint about one of your employees.’ said Karen, clearly forgetting where she was vacationing.
An employee took her to the front desk to speak with the manager. Twenty minutes later I saw the same employee return to his post and I asked him what happened.
The employee said, ‘That crazy lady started screaming in English so we took her to the manager. She wanted to get someone fired but nobody knows who she talking about.’
I laughed and told him it was probably me.
He laughed and said, ‘Probably, these tourists are crazy.'”
Causing A Scene At Walmart
“I was shopping in the Walmart grocery section. A ‘Karen’ with two young children had her cart parked against the shelves on one side. I needed something that was blocked by the cart. She was shopping up and down the aisle, bringing things to her cart, and then walking back down the aisle. I was politely waiting next to her cart, waiting for her to move it.
One of the times she came back to it, I even said, ‘I need something behind your cart.’
She ignored me. She then turned her back and started walking to the other end of the aisle again. I had been waiting there for about five minutes, so I pushed her cart about a foot or so, so I could reach my item. With that, she turned and screamed, ‘You touched my cart!’
I should mention this was before the current events happening in the world. She proceeded to run back toward me yelling at the top of her lungs that I had no right to touch her cart. I told her I just moved it to get an item and told her to calm down.
She screamed, ‘No, you calm down, you’re causing a big scene.’
She proceeded to walk away, screaming all the way that I touched her cart. Always fun at Walmart.”
Read The Signs Please!
“A little backstory: one of the jobs I have is working for a city as a recreational aide. Basically, I handle light paperwork and paid registrations for classes that the city offers. One of those classes that you can take is Zumba. We also have a nearby football field, so people who attend games must also share parking with Zumba class goers who have specially reserved parking. The bottom line here is that people have to keep it civil if the parking lot gets a little crowded. No big deal! I also put up plenty of signage showing the reserved Zumba parking.
So one day this lady parked in a Zumba spot and gets out of the car. Usually, I wait to see if it’s a Zumba lady, but she seemed very obviously there for the football game since her daughter was dressed as a cheerleader, so I walked out and asked her if she’s there for football. This is how the convo went:
Me: ‘Hi there..so are you here for the football game?’
Me: ‘Well this parking lot is actually reserved for a Zumba class. I have a sign over there that says no football parking. So I’m going to have to ask you to park somewhere else, please.’
Her: in a very rude tone ‘Well I’m not from around here so I didn’t know where to park, and I’m not going to park far away and make my kids walk in this heat, buster!’
Me: ‘I understand that! Okay, but for future reference, please don’t park here next time.’
Her: ‘Well, LIKE I JUST SAID…I’m not going to park far away and make my kids walk in this heat buster! So let me just walk over and drop my kids off and I’ll move my car.’
Me: ‘Okay. Yes, I heard you. Thanks!’
Then we parted way and walked off. During my entire shift, I looked outside the building to see if she left yet. She hasn’t. An hour passed by, which is how long the Zumba class is. This lady said she would move her car after dropping her kids off! But nope, she didn’t. Whatever. So I come up with this genius plan.
I walked outside and placed the sign (it’s one of those large stand up signs) smack dab in the middle of the parking lot entrance, a bit close to her car so that when she tries to leave she’ll either have to get out and physically move the sign herself or do a three-point turn.
I cackled to myself with delight.
So I sat and waited patiently for her to come back. And lo and behold, she did, around the time the class ended. Which was way past when she said she would move her car. I watch as she placed her child in the backseat and got in the driver’s seat. She backs up, but oh no…the sign was in her way! bummer. She parked her car again, got out of her car VERY ANGRILY, and moved the sign over to the curb.
I watched this all unfold and just laughed my butt off. It was truly satisfying.
That’s what you get for being rude to me and not following directions, lady.”
Karen Didn’t Get What She Wanted
“I’ve been really careful going to the grocery store – mask, gloves, full-length clothing, the works. Back in April-May, our local QFC used to have workers spray and wipe down carts, but after a few months, they stopped. Now, there are self-serve wipes available for all customers to disinfect their cart if they want. Well, apparently some people didn’t get the memo.
Multiple times now, someone has mistaken me for an employee while I’m wiping my cart.
‘Can you do this one next?’ or ‘Are these clean?’ someone will say.
Then, the person will look closer at me and apologize. Usually, I brush it off with a laugh. Until today.
First, while I’m wiping down, there’s a sudden yank on the cart and it hits my arm. I look up to see a middle-aged lady trying to pull away with my cart. The mask was below her chin. Out of instinct, I grab the other side and pull back. This surprises her and she looks up… but doesn’t let go.
Me: ‘Excuse me, what are you doing?’
Karen: (no response. Yanks again.)
Me: ‘Let go please’
Karen: (no more yanking but doesn’t let go either)
After a 10-second staring contest, Karen finally says something to me.
Karen (whiny high-pitched): ‘I need a clean cart’
Me: ‘Then get one yourself!’
Karen: ‘I’m in a hurry.’
Me: ‘There are wipes right behind you.’
Karen:’Well can’t you clean another one?’
Me: ‘I don’t work here!’
K: ‘I need this one NOW!’
At this point, the cart is no longer clean, I don’t care. At this point, it’s the principle of the thing. Years of ‘letting it go’ were bubbling to the top now as I stared into the face of this entitled woman who has likely gotten her way all her life. Not this time.
Me: ‘Get bent lady. Step away from my cart and go get your own. And put that mask back on!’
She finally let go by pushing the cart back towards me. She grabs another one and loudly complains all the way into the store. Later, I see her getting stopped by the manager and arguing about keeping her mask on.
As a conflict-averse person, I felt really proud of standing my ground.”
Lost Cell Phone
“So I was in a big store in the resort with my parents that would be easy to get lost in. My parents were busy looking at things to buy while I just stood texting on my phone. We were out shopping that day so I had put make-up on instead of usually not wearing some because I felt bored.
So everything is fine until this American woman tapped me on the shoulders and said ‘Excuse me?’
I turned around in confusion. The woman looked rough like she just woke up from sleeping in the trash with a Karen haircut that looked like she did it herself. There were just split ends everywhere.
She said, ‘Hi, my son lost his phone in the store do you think you can look around for it?’
I said, ‘Oh sorry I don’t work here.’
My Scottish accent didn’t help the gear turn in her head that I wasn’t American like all the other staff.
She said, ‘Yeah you do, I saw you walking around with those customers over there!’
She pointed to my parents who I was walking around with until she tapped my shoulder. They had walked to the next aisle by then.
I said to her, ‘Those are my parents.’
I turned around back to my phone and walked off. She then grabbed me by the wrist so tight that it left a big red mark and said, ‘Oh don’t you dare walk away from me! I’ll call the manager and you’ll be fired and deported from wherever you came from!’ I live in Scotland. In the United Kingdom. A very successful country.
I know Tae Kwon Do, so I managed to get her hands off my wrist and create some space between us. She started yelling on the floor like she was in pain while her 5-year-old-looking son just stood there watching her.
My parents hadn’t realized I was gone and had gone to pay for their items. The woman checking them out looked over to the aisle and saw me standing there while a woman was crying in pain because I took her hands off my wrist, which was red from when she grabbed it. The woman checking out my parents came running over to see what happened. My parents also looked over, saw me, and came running over.
I told my parents what had happened while the woman proceeded to scream and roll on the floor with the cashier trying to help her up. My dad was not a happy person after that. He stopped the woman rolling on the floor, picked her right up, and said ‘Don’t you dare touch my daughter again!’
He then stopped grabbing her and walked off with my mom and me while the woman started to scream about my dad assaulting her by picking her up from the ground. Later that day in our hotel room, we got a knock at the door from security with the woman standing there with a firm grin on her face. The police officer had asked what happened and we started giving our side of the story. The woman went wild and started screaming again. When the security guy asked her to calm down, she grabbed his arm and tried to drag him out of our hotel room. He was not happy about that and put her in a restraining position and cuffed her.
He had asked us if we wanted to press charges with the police about the woman grabbing me, but I said no because I didn’t want to ruin this woman’s holiday especially if she had a five-year-old kid.”