Do you ever worry that crazy customers are going to come back and get you?

Not like…literally murder you…I just sometimes get people that are so unhinged, I don’t know what else they’re going to do.

I work in the food industry- tiny business- we do store front and catering. Sometimes we don’t have enough of specific product for the store front, it has to go to catering. You would not believe how INFURIATED some people get when they don’t get what they want (we are in the dessert business which I think plays a part).

Today someone got incredibly angry and belligerent with me over a product we didn’t have and was carrying on about how I was providing such awful customer service, how I don’t do my job correctly, then he started accusing ME of being confrontational and was demanding to speak to “the manager” which is me, actually (although there is someone above me, he just wasn’t present), about how terrible I was- then he stormed out.

Normally crazy customers don’t get to me- especially ones on the phone, but I rarely have someone come into the store and be that enraged- it just left me feeling rather shaken- and I do sometimes worry that these people are going to come back to the store and continue their rampage.

That’s one of the reasons why people are able to get what they want when they throw temper tantrums in stores. The police or other protection ain’t going to get there in time. Most stores cannot afford to provide the kind of security or off-duty police presence required to keep the peace.

I worked as an armed guard in an inner city cell phone store for about two months. Every time there was a screaming customer, I would move over to where I was inside their field of vision, but still off to the side and behind the person they were screaming at. Then I just stood there and stared at them with a neutral or slightly amused look on my face. I felt that it created a lot more productive atmosphere than if I were in a more threatening position relative to them or if I looked angry.

Honestly, I wish stores WOULD have people arrested when they do stupid crap like making threats of physical violence. If those people spent a night or 30 in jail for it, they might reconsider being such jackasses.

Yeah. I deal cards and know some people that have done some pretty rash stuff. Not that I’m worried about it, but it crosses my mind every once in a while.

God I hated this when I worked at a store. It’s like they think acting like a three-year-old is going to miraculously make the item they want appear for them. It didn’t help that store management consisted of pointy-haired morons who would give customers the moon while making the cashiers look and feel like shit.

I got the full assortment of verbal threats (they’d get me fired, they know the manager, blah blah blah) but thankfully never anything that made me feel in physical danger.

When I worked at McDonalds an irate customer (“I SAID NO !@#& PICKLES!”) took his replacement burger back to his table then inexplicably stood up and lobbed said burger, box and all, at the cashier. He scored a direct hit too…right to the side of the head. Then he yelled obscenities and ran out of the store while the rest of us, including the cashier covered in two-all-beef-patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-and-onions, stood there in shock.

Did you look in “the back”? Because it’s obvious the “the back” is a mysterious and wonderful place where every item ever conceived by man or god is in stock. Every customer knows this. Every customer service person knows this too, but they’re too lazy and stupid to check in this very obvious place.

When I worked at a movie theatre, we served Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite. One day we ran out of one of those. A customer was outraged about this, and informed us that “it’s the law” that we keep these in stock. I have a vague memory of President Ford signing that bill into law.

To answer the OP, I’ve never been afraid of reprisals, but I had an employee who was terrified of them. She was afraid of bumping into rowdy punks in the train.

Over my decade in retail, much of that as a manager, I’ve found that 99.9% of the beligerant customers are all bark and no bite.
I had one instance of a rail-thin redneck type who got really close to my face and was daring me to throw the first punch. I think he wanted me to so he could either sue the store or get me fired. Man I wanted to punch that guy.
I only got physically touched twice. One older lady was mad I wouldn’t do something for her and punched me in the shoulder before storming off. I didn’t know wether to be shocked or laugh. I think I had a big shocked smile on my face and looked at my employees as if asking “OMG, did you just see that?”
Another guy wanted my attention while I was taking care of another situtation and literally grabbed my arm to stop me as I was walking by him. I warned him sternly that he was not to touch anyone in my store or he would be leaving immediately. He apologized profusely and waited quietly. I think I may have scared him.

Hehe…I should have edited that to show that the burger that he threw at the cashier did NOT have pickles on it.

Yeah, I get concerned about that sometimes. I think it stems from the time that I actually was assaulted by a customer when I was a shift manager at Pizza Hut. The customer paid with a check for a delivery but when we got the check in the store we could see that it was a temporary check and we were not supposed to take those as payment. I called him and explained the situation and asked if I could tear up his check and have him give me a credit card number over the phone. He swore a bunch of obscenities at me and hung up and I didn’t think too much more about it. Until he came screaming through the front door of the restaurant, that is. He screamed and screamed about how the customer is always right and about how temporary checks are legal tender and we are required by law to take them, etc. He threw a credit card at me and yelled that I made him leave a sick infant at home by herself to come up there and give me a credit card. When I reminded him I wanted the number over the phone he lunged at me over the counter. He didn’t hit me because I ducked out of the way but he sure tried. I quickly ran his card and sent him out of the store. I got tips from the two customers who watched the whole scene because they were so impressed that I kept calm the whole time. He later punched one of my drivers for being Iranian when someone sent a pizza to him despite the notes on the account not to deliver to him any longer.

I still know that guy’s name and I occasionally consider ordering him a bunch of pizzas or flowers or stuff to be delivered to his house every 20 minutes or so over the course of a Saturday, just to send him into a frothing rage. I have more respect for delivery people than that though so I don’t, but I fantasize about it from time to time.

I had a crazy customer ranting in my face a few years back. He made a fist and said he was going to kick my ass. I put my hands behind my back, and told an employee to wait until he swung, then call the cops. I then looked him in the eye and said, “OK, go ahead asshole”.

He didn’t hit me, just turned and walked away. I’m usually more of a coward, but for some reason on that day I was confrontational.

It’s always been in the back of my mind.

I have worked at:

Mortgage company (possible blame for foreclosure)
Company that runs 401K plans (possible blame for market tanking)
and now a company that runs low income housing (possible blame for being kicked out of apartment)

It’s always been a paranoid fear of mine.

I have had some wackos. In the fortune telling/spiritual adviser side, crazies are part of the price of doing business, but at least there I’m allowed to have a shotgun in the shops. The worst I have experienced wasn’t with an actual customer, but with a bounty hunter who was looking for a customer and thought he could intimidate his me into giving some information. As a librarian, I have learned 3 types of people cannot be reasoned with terroriists, teenagers, and tenured facility. I have experienced the last two at full-blown frenzy. To my knowledge I have not dealt with any terrorists.

I’m always amazed at how often when I say “Sir, if you don’t leave I’m going to call the police” they they’ll respond by folding their arms and saying “FINE!, call the police” and calmly waiting for the cops to arrive. Trust me, it never works out well for them. We always win since once we’ve asked you to leave, you’re breaking the law by staying in the store. I’m not really sure what they expect to happen when the cops show up. Luckily the new trick my boss (dad) has up his sleeve is that when they say that, he say’s “Let’s go wait outside for them” oddly, they usually agree to that. As soon as they clear the front door, he comes back inside and leave them outside to wait for the cops. At least they aren’t still in the building freaking out the rest of the customers.

Anyways this thread, specifically the title reminded me of something. Many years ago, I had someone arrested for shop lifting. After the cops got her into their squad and taken away they came back a little while later to take the report. As I was used to, I pulled out my ID for the cop so he could write down my address, but this time he said “Nah, we’ll just use the work address for your home address, you don’t need this one knowing where you live”. To this day, I use that tip and advise all my employees to do the same if they have an encounter with a customer that involves the police. When the police take the report, give your work address as your home address, or at least ask them to write it up that way in the report. So far, the cops I’ve dealt with haven’t had a problem with this and since the ‘bad guy’ can just go and get a copy of the report from the police station for $2.00, I really don’t need him/her being able to come to my house at 3:00am. Yes, I know, my name is still in there and they could probably find my address based on that, but doing this just makes it one step harder and gives them that much more time to blow off some steam.

I’ve got this image of a crazy redneck customer shouting, ‘I’m gonna getcha! I’m gonna getcha!’

When I worked at McDonalds drive-thru, I had a customer drive back through the parking lot to hurl his sandwich at me. He missed, but it really rankled because I had gone the extra mile to communicate his order correctly to the people in the grill area. I also had a woman throw a drink at me once, but it somehow didn’t bother me as much because I’d had nothing to do with her order. Mostly people would just throw their tantrums and storm out. (“I’m never coming here again!” :smiley: )

I work at a medical lab now and we have had some incidents which make me wish we had better security. We do paternity testing here, which obviously makes for volatile situations.

I used to work in a convenience/liquor/deli in Las Vegas, in the 80s. I usually worked swing shift, too. We didn’t just sell beer and wine coolers, we sold hard liquor, too. We’d get a lot of people who were obviously under the influence, and they’d get pissed because I wouldn’t give them free samples from the deli (yeah, I’m gonna give out half a pound of tuna salad) or let them come back in a couple of days to pay for today’s cigarettes and beer. Then there were the guys who wanted to date me. Man, I was working at a c-store, but that does NOT mean that I was in the dating market, or that I wanted to date any customer that came in the door. They’d ask my coworker what time I got off, and she’d TELL them. I kept telling her that no, she shouldn’t let them know when I was going off shift. I finally had to get the manager to tell her that if she thought the guys were so irresistable, that she was free to date them…but that she should NOT be telling these guys my personal information, or when I was scheduled to go off shift.

Not a “customer,” but I have had two people threaten me for writing less-than-glowing reviews of their books. One was an e-mail, which I still have jusssst in case; the other was a voice mail threat which I kept for a long time but which eventually disappeared. I think my voice mail reached capacity and it was deleted – I know I didn’t delete it. I let a lot of people listen to it for entertainment value. That woman was crazy!

Hell, I have a hiding spot picked out, yo.

But I’m more concerned about coworkers’ crazy exes than crazy customers. I work with a lot of other women, of all socio-economics status and backgrounds. I can clearly imagine some unstable ex stalking and possibly harming his victim at work. In fact, once one of my coworkers told me that her ex-boyfriend had been trying to get her back, and one Friday she told me that he had said that he would be coming by her work on Monday and he would be getting a lot of attention. I called in sick. He never did come by, but I can picture it.

There was a news story recently about a woman who went berserk in a cake shop because they didn’t have the cookies she wanted ready. Apparently she flipped out and well all stompy-ragey-smashy before they even had the chance to add: “But it only takes seven minutes to bake a new batch.”

LOL! Can I quote you on my FB page?