In the world of customer service, employees often witness moments that push the boundaries of courtesy and civility.
From outrageous demands to shocking behavior, these accounts reveal the downright rude actions some customers have taken.
Join us as customer service employees share their experiences of the most appalling behavior they’ve encountered on the job.
All content has been edited for clarity.
You Could Probably Guess What Store It Was
“I had a pretty bad experience at a certain supermarket, though I won’t mention the name. I’ve got quite a few stories from that place, but one incident stands out. The management made the mistake of putting me on the front desk to help customers. I used to be a bag boy, so I rarely had to talk to people beyond asking if they needed help with their bags.
One thing that frustrated me was the store’s return policy. They accepted returns and offered full refunds regardless of the product’s condition, where it was bought, or whether there was a receipt. This policy was seriously abused.
Now, onto the memory. It was my first week on the front desk. Being someone who isn’t naturally sociable, it took me a while to adjust to having to act like I cared enough to make small talk while processing transactions. There was this woman who walked in, two bags of rotisserie chicken on one arm, two bags of fried chicken on the other. She was at the back of the line, happily munching away on all of them, leaving breading, chicken skin, and grease all over as she moved up the line. I had seen her a few times as a bag boy, but since I never saw her actually pay for anything, I didn’t know what was going on. Until that day.
The customers before her were fine, but then this greasy mess of a person dropped all four half-eaten bags in front of me and demanded a refund. I raised an eyebrow in confusion. She had devoured the chicken in front of me, and now she wanted me to give her money for it? I followed protocol: ‘I’d be happy to assist you, ma’am, but I’ll need a receipt before I can proceed.’
This enraged her even more. She clenched the desk, glaring at me, and wheezed, ‘Your store has a return policy! The chicken was terrible, and I want my money back now!’ ‘Ma’am, I saw you eating the chicken in line. There’s evidence all over the floor behind you, and we have it on camera. It’s hard to believe the chicken was that bad if you ate so much before considering a refund. Also, I’d need to see the receipt.’
This made her furious. She clung to the desk, glaring at me, and wheezed, ‘Where’s your manager? I’ve never been treated so poorly! Bring him here immediately; you have no right to work here!’ I couldn’t keep up the act anymore. I dropped the pretense and my New York accent returned as I replied, ‘Sure thing. Give me a sec, I’ll be right back.’ I rushed to the back office to speak to the manager, who, along with being spineless, was the one who initiated the policy of giving refunds for everything. I told him about the woman demanding a refund, how she hadn’t paid, and how she’d been doing this for a while. He headed to the desk and gave her a full refund.
Later, I got a citation for refusing a customer’s request. I requested to be moved to a different department to avoid such situations.
After being moved to the deli department, I watched that same person come in every day, grab the same number of chickens, go to the front desk, and pull the same stunt repeatedly for over two years. Finally, the customer service manager changed, and the new manager didn’t tolerate that behavior.”
They Technically Did What He Wanted
“I used to work at a high-end pizza place where each pizza ranged from $25 to $38 – a price that matched the quality. Our pizzas were meticulously baked in an old brick oven, and on busy Friday nights, the wait could extend up to an hour due to the overwhelming demand. Despite the wait, the place was always bustling with customers.
On one such night, a rather demanding individual walked in, exuding a typical business d-bag demeanor. He placed an order for an extra-large take-out pizza, destined for a party he was hosting. I informed him that the wait would likely be around 45 minutes, perhaps an hour, given the rush that was typical for a Friday evening at 6:30. He agreed to the wait time, paid for the order, and then proceeded to step aside, much like any other customer.
Around 20 minutes later, he reappeared, inquiring about the status of his pizza. I regretted to inform him that the pizza had yet to enter the oven, implying that he would need to wait another half hour at least. Over the next 15 minutes, he kept coming back to check, his agitation becoming increasingly evident. The situation reached its climax when, just five minutes after our cooks had placed the pizza into the oven, he erupted into a furious tirade, hurling obscenities at me and pounding the counter. His demand? “I want my pizza right F*CKING NOW!”
Fed up with his demeanor and concerned about the kids witnessing his outburst, I instructed the cooks to pull out the uncooked pizza, slice it up, and box it. While far from properly cooked, I was done dealing with his antics.
An hour later, he stormed back into the place, his fury escalated. Apparently, he lived a half hour away and only discovered that the pizza was raw when he served it to his guests.
My manager, who happened to be my best friend at the time, intervened. Though he was a bit displeased with me initially, I explained that the customer had demanded immediate service in an abusive manner. My manager seemed to understand, and there was an unmistakable amusement in his demeanor. The disgruntled customer demanded a replacement pizza. With a tone of utmost understanding and diplomacy, my manager agreed. He took the order and then calmly stated that the cost would be $38. Unsurprisingly, the customer was incensed. Yet, my manager maintained his smile and explained that the customer had indeed received exactly what he had demanded – a pizza right at that moment. He also offered to make a new pizza, but with a condition: if the customer was willing to pay, and wait, this one would even be properly cooked.
In the end, the customer paid up.
My manager and I retreated to the back, shared a few laughs, and perhaps indulged in something a bit more than laughter.
Those were the days I miss dearly.”
Don’t Take It Out On The Coffee
“I have two stories to share:
During high school, I worked at a Dunkin’ Donuts where iced coffee was brewed in large 5-gallon containers. These containers were similar to what they use now, but back then they were larger and didn’t have a plastic bag inside. One busy day, both the drive-thru and front counter were packed, and I was the only other person working with a new hire who was struggling to catch on. A customer wasn’t satisfied with the iced coffee my co-worker had made, so I remade it for her. However, it still wasn’t to her liking, and in a fit of anger, she hurled the full cup onto the floor. Then, astonishingly, she walked over to the counter barrier, reached over, and pushed a freshly brewed 5-gallon container of coffee off the counter. After causing this chaos, she simply left the store.
The second incident also happened during high school when I worked as a pharmacy clerk, responsible for running the 1-hour photo machine. An irate woman stormed in, claiming I had ruined her photos because they turned out in black and white. I offered my apologies and offered to reprint them immediately. To my surprise, upon examining the photos, I realized that she had taken them using black and white film. Unfortunately, our machine couldn’t print color pictures from black and white film. I tried explaining this to her, but she was adamant. I even suggested a nearby specialty photo store that might be able to help, but she rejected the idea. She escalated the situation by involving her husband, my supervisor, and my manager. She even threatened to report us to corporate if her pictures weren’t fixed, all the while insisting she had used color film. However, she eventually called back and admitted she found the package for the film she used, confirming it was indeed black and white. Despite being proven wrong, she still threatened to report us for ‘not helping her.'”
She Had A Serious Problem
“I worked at a pharmacy one summer, and the pharmacist there was one of the nicest individuals I’ve ever met. He took immense pride in his job and ensured that patients thoroughly understood their medications. During his free time, he dedicated himself to reading about new medications and staying updated in his career.
One day, a woman in her thirties came into the pharmacy. She engaged in a pleasant conversation with the pharmacist, joking and exchanging friendly banter. They chatted for around 10 minutes before he inquired if she had a prescription. It was then that her true intentions became evident. She revealed that she was experiencing significant pain, and despite her doctor’s refusal to prescribe medication, she asked if the pharmacist could provide her with 20 pills of a potent narcotic. Clearly, he declined, explaining that he couldn’t fulfill such a request. Instead, he kindly offered suggestions, like consulting her surgeon or visiting the emergency room if her pain worsened.
In response, she erupted into anger. She insulted him, branding him as unintelligent and implying that he could only handle a menial job like counting pills. Her tirade continued until he firmly said, ‘I think you should leave.’ As she departed, she knocked several items off the shelf in her frustration. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the pharmacist, knowing how much pride he took in his work. He remained the same friendly person, but it was evident that the woman’s hurtful words had left an impact on him.”