We have all heard the saying "The customer is always right". It's ingrained in your mind as a service worker. But, what do workers do when the customer is obviously wrong? Here are stories shared by service workers that showcase how they reacted when a customer is obviously wrong.
The Bait and Switch
“I was a furniture delivery guy in college. A woman ordered this high back red leather chair.
We delivered it and she complained about the grain in the leather. We explained that leather is a natural product and bears irregularities. If she wanted uniformity, she should buy vinyl. She got insulted and informed us in no uncertain terms that she was well off and would only buy genuine leather. We took the chair back to the store and exchanged it for the other one we had: a floor model. We brought that one out and she did the same thing, pointing out things in the grain that she disliked. We took it back to the store and asked the owner what to do. By then the chair was actually no longer made, so he told us to bring the 1st chair again. We delivered those same 2 chairs 7 times. She never caught on and eventually decided she really liked the ‘7th’ chair. Which was, of course, the one she originally hated” (Source).
The Valentine’s Day Cake in September
“Worked in a store that sells ice cream cakes. Woman came in with half a cake, we thought it’d be melted. Nope, much more concerning: Her son had a piece yesterday and got ill. They didn’t make the connection until the daughter ate a piece that morning and also became ill. To say the least, my manager was freaking out. If there’s some kind of food poisoning going on, the whole store could be shut down and it would be a huge mess. She passes me the cake and tells me to check who made it so we can call it in. I open up the case, look at it, and it took every bit of control I could muster to not laugh in front of the customer. The cake was a valentines day cake, and it was September. My manager had to explain to the woman that half-eaten ice cream cakes don’t hold for a half a year, and the woman kept insisting we test it” (Source).
The Cake-Throwing Crazy
“I used to work in a patisserie (we specialized in wedding cakes) and this guy ordered a Noah’s Arc cake. My boss made these cute little fondant animals going into an arc on the sides of the baby blue cake. The customer came to pick it up and as soon as he looked at the cake his nose scrunched up and he frowned. He said, ‘This cake looks absolutely horrible, I demand a refund!’ (as he had prepaid). I called my boss several times, but no answer, and I told him I could hold onto the cake until my boss was free and could call him back personally. He starts yelling at me (a minimum wage cashier) and demanding his refund. I told him I wasn’t able to because of my position and tried calling my boss again. He continued yelling, I asked him to calm down or I would have to ask him to leave. He yelled back at me one more time, ‘I want my F–KING refund!’. To which I told him again I couldn’t do. So his response was to open the cake box, remove the cake, and throw it at me. I ducked, it hit the wall, and I told him in no small way that he wouldn’t get his refund back and if he didn’t leave I would call the cops. The next day he called the patisserie and demanded to talk to my boss, she told him that since he threw the cake at her employee and that he wouldn’t just relax and let her call him back he wouldn’t get his cake and was permanently banned from the establishment. Basically, some guy ordered a cake and threw it at me when I couldn’t get him a refund without my boss” (Source).
Determined to be Displeased
“I once worked at Kinko’s, long ago. One dude was so angry, even as I started helping him. He asked for a bunch of copies, I made them and set them down in front of him. ‘How’s that look?’ I asked. ‘Well, you printed them upside down!’ Guy was edgy. So I turned the stack of pages 180 degrees. The guy says: ‘… I don’t like your attitude.’ Some people are determined to be displeased” (Source).
The Waddling Pizza Thrower
“I worked in a pizzeria. Well one night a woman called in an order for a Large pizza. The woman shows up about 20min later to pick it up. This woman had to have been about 7 or 8 months pregnant. The pizza had just come out of the oven. It was cut and boxed and the cashier opened the box to show the woman it was her pizza and that it wasn’t messed up. The woman took two of her fingers stuck it straight down in the middle and pulled them out. Looked the cashier (cashier happened to also be the manager) straight in the eye and says ‘it’s cold. I want a new one’. You can see steam coming off this pizza. It was not cold in anyway. It had just come out of a 550 degree oven. The manager explained that the pizza is not cold she can see the steam and that it had just come out of the oven. The woman was so pissed she picked up the pizza and threw it into the cashiers face. She then ran full speed out the door. The reason I mentioned that she was 7 or 8 months pregnant is so you can visualize a small pregnant woman run full speed which was in fact a giant waddle out the door. One of the drivers got the license plate and she was arrested. She gave the cashier 2nd degree burns from the scolding hot cheese. Seeing her run is one of the funniest things I’ve seen and i had to hold back my laughter because the cashier was hurt. I picked up the cashier and tossed her over my shoulder and ran her into the back where we clean the dishes and sprayed her face off with water to get the cheese and sauce off as quick as possible” (Source).
A Burger With Cheese
“I was working at a concession at a race track at the time, running the register. This one particular night it was super busy. It was the last race weekend of the season, we ran out of Coke, and the deep fryer caught fire. I was at the burger stand and the line was crazy. This one lady came and ordered a burger with cheese. Trying to be quick, I yelled back to the cooks, ‘ONE CHEESBURGER’. She looks at me and huffs, ‘No, I said a burger with cheese, not a CHEESBURGER!’. So I had to yell back, ‘SORRY, A BURGER WITH CHEESE! CANCEL THE CHEESEBURGER!’ It’s just one of the many moments in my customer service/ retail career that made me question my sanity just a little” (Source).
A Pan for a Penny
“In college, I worked for a kitchen/bath/bedding superstore. There was a special on high end pots and pan sets. Essentially, if you bought a particular set ($250ish) you got an accompanying pan for one cent. The signage was very clear that the bonus pan was only a penny if you bought the full set. It was in large print. I was a cashier, and I rang up the pan for the regular price ($75) because she didn’t have the set. She immediately exploded and said the pan was on sale for one penny. I didn’t work in that dept but knew that was bullsh-t. I call my the manager up, who calmly explained what the special was. She said we were trying to scam her, and manipulate customers, and actually made us call corporate because we were too ‘stupid to understand the sale’. After she and my manager spoke to someone, corporate said to give her the pan for a penny and tell her we appreciated her business. I, to this day, remain pissed that the woman was rewarded for throwing a hissy fit” (Source).
It’s Free … OK?
“I was working at a gym, and we had a raffle as part of some event. One of the prizes was a certificate that could be redeemed for a free 6-week session of one of our classes (depending on the class, this was worth up to about $200). Well, the woman who won the certificate came in and wanted to use the certificate to take our spinning (stationary bike) class. The only problem was that this particular class was free. For a good 15 minutes I tried everything I could think of to explain to this woman that she could just take the class for free and use the certificate for something else. She was adamant that she had to use the certificate for that class. I was yelled at, called a liar, accused of false advertising. The woman escalated the issue and spoke to my supervisor, who I think accepted the certificate and put a credit on the woman’s account. Some people just don’t want to listen, or accept the fact that they’ve misunderstood something. Later, one of my coworkers suggested that I should have offered the woman a voucher for a cup of coffee to make up for the misunderstanding. The coffee, of course, was always available in our lobby and also totally free” (Source).
A Cheeseburger Without the Cheese
“This reminded me of when I was in Japan and had to do this as a customer… I wanted a hamburger, but the lady said, ‘I’m very sorry, we don’t carry hamburgers anymore, only cheeseburgers’. I donned my best poker face and said, ‘Ah, I understand. A cheeseburger please, without cheese’. I got my hamburger” (Source).
Cabbage Is Poor Man’s Food
“While working at the store that was created in the very depths of Satan’s anus, Walmart, I was pulled from my regular spot in apparel to the registers when they were having a huge wave of people. Having done registers two or three times I was pretty used to it and was only a little challenged with remembering the fruit/vegetable codes and such. So anyway, I open a lane and up walks a very wide, very tall man with a cart overflowing with food. Cool, whatever, I ask how he is and begin ringing up his items. All is well and we’re about $350 into his transaction when the goddamn cabbage reaches me. It didn’t have a sticker and I didn’t remember the code so I quickly checked the chart by the register for the code, type it in, the scale weighs the infant sized cabbage and calculates the price, all is well. I go to bag the cabbage when I hear, ‘That’s not how much that is’. I double check to make sure it wasn’t rung up multiple times and explain that it costs X amount per what ever weight. ‘Cabbage is poor man’s food, it shouldn’t be that f–king much. I’m not paying that much for cabbage’. Once again I try to explain to him that it’s all based on weight and I can’t lower the price of his cabbage. After yelling at me and berating me over this, he wants to see a manager. Fine, f–k you, but fine. So I call up a manager who is obviously already very done with everyone’s sh-t and explain to him what’s going on. He tells the customer exactly what I did but offers to remove it if it’s really that big of a deal. Guy says no, it’s fine, whatever. At this point I’m nearly in tears and just want to get back to folding t-shirts. I finish ringing up his items in silence while the customer keeps telling me how I should at least offer him a discount or give him the cabbage for free since I caused so much trouble. Basically, a fat man screams at me about the price of his cabbage despite his entire purchase being around $400” (Source).
Why Are You Trying to Cheat Me
“Used to work in a Pharmacy. In Ontario, Canada if you are 65+ the government will pay for your meds once you have paid a certain amount in a year out of pocket (this was ~7 years ago so I don’t remember exactly what the amount was but it was around $250 or something). Basically starting in August you paid for all your expenses out of pocket until you hit the magic number then the government paid for everything minus the dispensing fee. Anyway, for months and months ahead of time we would give reminders to the older patients who came to the pharmacy saying ‘Ok. Next time you come in for a refill you’ll have to pay the full amount’. In approximately 80% of cases they did not believe me when the time came. Would start yelling at me, threatening to call their doctor/lawyer kids or grandkids. Pharmacist would inevitably have to come over and defuse the situation. Repeated every year for the 4 years I worked there” (Source).
Learn How to Drive
“Back in the day of working a sh-tty drive through, I had a guy in a new car come through and proceed to hit a pole or wall on his way up. He began to yell at me about how this car just cost him $40,000 and he is expecting compensation for the damage we did to his car and how it’s all our fault. I told him that if he is going to buy a car that expensive he should be able to drive it properly (which I know was rather rude, but 15 year old me had no patience for anyone like that) and then rang up his order. He then went off again about how we should be compensating him for his car and he couldn’t believe I was going to (gasp!) still charge him for his meal. Sorry buddy, I am not responsible for your inability to drive” (Source).
The High Heel Shoe Fiasco
“I’m a cake decorator. We recently had a customer pick up her cake which had a printed picture of a high heel shoe that she sent us, on top. She goes ‘what the f–k is this’ and starts flipping out. Banging on tables, screaming at the top of her lungs in front of other customers, trying to fight the owner, threatening to come back with a gun. We had to call the cops. Turns out, she had wanted a life-like edible version of the shoe, not a printed picture. So all this, because when she ordered the cake she did not know the difference between 2D and 3D” (Source).
I Can’t Be Expected to Wait in Line
“Worked on a ferry dock that sent cars over. On a fairly busy day a woman came and parked her car in the ferry line and then left. When the ferry came, we had to load the cars on the ferry (Customers drove them on first). Well, this woman wasn’t back yet so we had cause a huge confusion on the dock trying to fish out the cars and trucks behind her. We finally got everything loaded and sent the boat off (only about 5-10 mins late on a tight schedule). Woman comes back and sees that we skipped her and starts b–ching at me (an 18 year old lowly dockhand) and starts b–ching hardcore about how ‘we weren’t allowed to skip her’ and ‘should have went looking for her’. I told her that we’ve never done that and how she caused us to be late. She then asked for my superior who luckily backed me up. She then still not convinced called the owner of a ferry because of course she knew him 🙁 Thats when I thought I was f–ked because even though I knew I was right, I thought the owner would take the side of his friend. However, he stayed on my side and defended me, much to the anger of this woman. We got her on the next ferry, and I told the captain to put her car on the side that would get the most water from the waves and he smiled and did so. A few hours later the owner of the ferry came over and bought me an ice cream telling me he was sorry I had to deal with his b–chy friend. Basically, I got ice cream from my boss because b–chy customer thought time revolved around her” (Source).
Your Name Is Copyright Enfringement
“I had a customer read my name tag when I worked at a local coffee shop. He then looked at me and said, ‘that is a very peculiar name’. I mentioned to him I was named after an automobile. He then proceeded to tell me that I could not be named after an automobile because that is illegal. Me being polite just went along with him. Until he told me that I should change my name because it was copyright infringement and that he will report me to the right authorities. I really hated that job” (Source).
The Xbox Mods That Weren’t
“Working at a pawn shop when a kid and his parents come in. The kid wants to sell his original Xbox and wants an outrageous amount claiming he had modded it and installed a large HDD. Parents were backing him up during the whole thing claiming how he was so good with computers and technology. At the time I was modding plenty of Xboxs for friends so right off the bat I could tell the kid was full of sh-t. The Xbox still had the stock crappy dash board and warranty sticker had not been broken yet. Still couldn’t convince the kids parents otherwise. Finally I cracked the case open on the counter and showed the parents the stock 8gb drive. Needless to say they were pissed at their so and left with him in tow and the Xbox. Felt pretty good after that” (Source).
Crying for Ice Cream
“Back when I was working at a small ice cream store (we made our own ice cream), there was a woman who came in asking for a few pints of vanilla. While I was filling up the containers, she mentioned to me that she was going on the road and that she wanted it packed in such a way that it wouldn’t melt. I told her that I wasn’t aware of anything like that, but, since I was a new employee at the time, I asked one of my more senior colleagues to help me out. She came out and told the woman that we don’t have anything like that, and that we’ve never had anything like that. The woman insisted that she’d been given this packaging before, and when my friend firmly told her that was impossible, she started throwing a fit. Tears were in fact shed, until my manager came out and calmed her down. I wrapped it as best I could in paper bags, and she left, clearly still upset. My manager then turned to me and said ‘That woman has been here 3 times. She has always asked for insulation, we’ve never had any and never given her anything beyond extra paper bags'” (Source).
The Ghost Laptop
“I run a help desk. I don’t even know where to start. One customer at my last job called and said her laptop wouldn’t turn on. I had to explain to her that her laptop wouldn’t turn on because it wasn’t even there- there was just a docking station covered in papers and a monitor” (Source).
The Broken Cash Register
“As the cashier behind me finishes ringing up the customer’s order for groceries (well over $100) the man yells at the cashier that the total is wrong. The register added incorrectly. The cashier and him went over EVERY ITEM to make sure nothing was the wrong price or double scanned. Everything scanned was correct; the machine just added incorrectly according to him. This poor lady had to clear out the order(which is a very difficult process) take everything out of the bags and ring it up again. Same total” (Source).
Lay Off Me Lady
“Had the same thing happen to me. Worked at Rite Aid, register had a different total than the scanner pad. She freaked. She then says, after I re did the order 3 times ‘you’re too stupid. This is why you didn’t go to college, you moron’ I was in 11th grade in high school. I then told Her ” I didn’t write the program for the register, lay off me’ she freaked the f–k out and got my manager who had literally just gotten out of anger management training the day before. He was a Harley kinda guy, really cool dude. He banned her from the store lol” (Source).
UGH! THAT MEXICAN JUST TOUCHED MY PIZZA
“I was working at Sbarro (a semi-popular pizza chain located primarily in malls) in a rather affluent area. A b–ch came in with that oh so familiar attitude of ‘I’ve never worked in my life for money, and I’m a goddamned princess’. She ordered a slice of the stuffed pizza and our pizza maker, a very polite guy of Guatemalan descent scooped the pizza up with a spatula and put two fingers (with gloves on) on top of the pizza to make sure it didn’t fall. She then proceeds to scream ‘UGH! THAT MEXICAN JUST TOUCHED MY PIZZA!!’ I politely informed her that he had gloves on, the brick oven is 450+ degrees and he’s not a Mexican. She continues to rant and rave about it and demanded a discount, despite the fact that we gave her a new piece, sans ‘Mexican’ finger touching, and I told her that we would not be giving her a discount (despite the fact that she was buying her pizza in the time frame which corporate allows us to discount pizzas.) Meanwhile her poor husband (with child in tow) had a disappointed look on his face of ‘I can’t believe I procreated with this despicable c–t’. After she sauntered off, the woman behind her in line began to empathize with us, calling her an ‘ungrateful skank’. I then offered the woman and her two sons their pizza for free if we could get a little poetic justice. She happily obliged and took off in the woman’s direction in the all but empty food court. From completely across the court we heard our hero shouting at her calling her, among other things, ‘disgusting human being, scum of the earth, and arrogant c–t.’ All the while the uppity skank maintained her uppity salt of the earth composure and called the woman and her two young boys ‘lowly ni–ers’. At that, the woman screamed ‘F–k you, you white cracker slut!’ and promptly threw her slice of pizza in her face and took off. I honestly have never laughed so hard in my life, all of us did, and that woman glared daggers at us, as we laughed at her” (Source).
The Broken Purse and Used Wallet
“I worked retail as an assistant manager for a few years while in college. I had a woman come in and proceed to tell me she had a return. She said she needed to return her wallet because the purse that matched it had broke so she had no use for it now. I proceeded to smile and ask where the return was. She, then, proceeded to show me the wallet she was using and started pulling her money, license, and ect. out of it. This wallet looked beat to h–l and broken in. It looked like you would figure an old wallet would look. I stood there for a minute contemplating if this woman was for real. Turns out, she was! I told her ‘Mam, I cannot take back a used wallet because you bought a matching purse and it broke’. She went on a tirade from there. ‘Your other store took the purse back and I had used it… blah blah blah. I want my money… rawr rawr rawr. I want to talk to your manager!’ He looked at it and told her ‘No!’ She spent another 20 minutes getting the District manager’s number. She went on yelling about how we were racist and if she was ‘White’ we would have returned it! We were both minorities might I add. We didn’t return it because it was used to h-ll. It had her money, license, credit cards, and kid’s photo in in for Godsake! No, I am not returning the wallet you walked in using. Oh, without the receipt might I also add! Retail never ceased to amaze me!” (Source).
The Lysol Can From the 70s
“Dude came in wanting to return a can of Lysol. No problem except the can looked like it was from the 70s, was rusty, and his receipt was from a local store that closed in the late 80s” (Source).
Tylenol Is acetaminophen
“I’m a pharmacy technician and one time a patient told me her doctor said she could not have Tylenol, but acetaminophen was fine. They’re the same thing, Tylenol is just the brand name. She was convinced I was wrong” (Source).
True Fiction Crime Stories Aren’t Nonfiction
“I used to work in a small library. The books for adults were split into fiction and nonfiction, pretty standard. I had a woman looking for ‘true fiction crime stories’ with no other details. That’s not exactly a keyword I can look up, so I said, ‘That’ll probably be in the nonfiction section. Let me do a few quick searches to see if I can find something for you’. Then she proceeded to tell me that true fiction isn’t in fiction or nonfiction, it’s a separate section, and yelled at me for not knowing where it was. Long argument ensued, me being polite, however. She left empty handed and ended up coming back a couple hours later. Apparently she had done some research on her phone and found that I was right. Oh, but she was right too because true fiction was it’s own section. Sorry. I’m still bitter” (Source).