Randomly rotten customer stories

We have a thread on times when customer service sucks ass. And rightly so. There is no lower life form than retail workers. With one exception–customers.

So share with the class.

Back when I was a bank teller, I had a good number of idiots I had to deal with. One of the worst was an old man with bladder control problems. Each time he came in, we’d issue him a new passbook. That’s because his old one was always soaked in urine. We didn’t dare put it in the printer, so we’d just issue a new one. We did, however, have to handle the old one. It was not uncommon for tellers to run off to the bathroom to puke while waiting on this guy. Yuck.

Another was this pair of rude morons who ran a nightclub. The senior moron refused to call ahead for change. He expected me to have whatever he needed on hand. (This is nearly impossible for tellers to do–there’s simply not enough room in the drawer to cover every possible coin request. We needed to plan ahead to order coins from the big vault.) One time he came in and asked for $100 in quarters. I told him that I had $90 on hand and just needed to get some from the big vault. He blew up, and went over to the manager and demanded that she fire me on the spot. What a prick.

Wow- I bow to your highly superior stories.

All I’ve got: a fireman in uniform (!) who instructed me to serve him first after summoning me with a whistle. I still wish I had told him off.

I once had a patient call me up and demand that I arrange for an ambulance to drive him home after his surgery. From Minnesota to Michigan. And he would be up and walking around later the same day after said surgery. And also I was supposed to have his doctor write a letter so his insurance company would pay for it. I laughed, the doctor laughed, the nurses laughed, and a good time was had by all.

Two stories from when I worked at Sears for part of one summer.

One obviously homeless slightly off-his-meds guy with crazy unwashed hair and clothes (and lots of clothes. In the middle of summer) who came in to buy something small. He kept a running monologue going the entire time he was in the store, covering all variety of craziness and socially inappropriate behavior. When he got to the checkout, he began searching for money, and pulled a gigantic wad of… stuff. It was all well sized and together, but it looked like every scrap of anything he had had for years was in there: Newspaper clippings, bits of fabric, gum wrappers, receipts, manifestos, business cards, alumnium foil, a large leaf (?), a dollar bill (success!), library card, a carbon copy, a carefully cut out and folded flat cigarette box…

He paged through all this, every three items coming to rest on something that jogged his memory and shifted his ramblings to a different topic, prompting me to remind him that there were others waiting to purchase things. He’d wheel around to see the three or four people huddling about 5 feet back in the line, and then he’d turn back to me and start right back up again. He had produced the first stack of stuff from a large fanny pack, and when that was exhausted after yielding only $2, he zipped open one of many pockets on one of his jackets and pulled another sheaf out. Luckily, $3 was enough, and he left peaceably after that.

The other story isn’t so bad as much as it was funny and incredibly awkward. You know how different cultures have different comfort distances for face to face conversations? Well, this one guy came in who had a different idea of what a comfortable distance was than I did. A much smaller idea. About 8 inches. He asked me to show him where certain things were, and every time I’d turn around, he’d be right there in my face. I’d immediately take a step back, and he’d take a step forward and ask me a question. We continued in this silly little dance for several minutes, me walking backward in circles and him following close in front asking about menswear.

The other day a woman came in and went completely and utterly bonkers when my co-worker wrapped up her food and rang her out. Her problem? My co-worker is very tomboy-ish looking and the woman was insisting that she now probably has AIDS because the “filthy lesbian” had touched her food. :eek: (That’s the shortened version of the story. She was really quite insane the way she was carrying on, telling my co-worker she “needs to pick a gender” and so on. :rolleyes: )

The woman called the manager the next day to have my co-worker fired and my manager, bless her heart, basically told her in so many words to kindly go fuck herself. :smiley:

When I worked in retail pharmacy (the pharmacy part was located in the center of a large grocery store), a customer had a heart attack a few aisles away. The pharmacist ran over to give CPR, as he was the closest person that knew it, and I was stuck alone. A customer came up and when he started angrily demanding the pharmacist and carrying on and shouting about “Don’t you KNOW it’s ILLEGAL for him NOT to be AT THIS COUNTER???” I quietly explained that he was admininstering CPR to someone.

He gave not one shit and continued to rant and rave until I had to call the store manager to haul his ass off. I was so angry I thought I’d had a stroke, my head was pounding so hard. A few years later he crossed in front of my car at the post office and it was everything in the world I could do not to run his stupid psychotic ass over. Asshole.

You don’t happen to work at the Bunny Ranch, do you?

Perhaps not a horrible customer, but an amusing story.

It’s my first week out of highschool, and I’m working at the local chicken place. First day at the register taking orders. The manager tells me she’ll just watch my first few transactions to make sure I have it down, and to be there if I need help.

Customer walks in and just stares at me from the door. I give him a polite smile and the official greeting [tm]. He continues to stare. I ask again if I can help him with something. He walks to the counter and looks up at the menu for a few moments, then just stares me in the face. A minute ticks by. I finally say, “Look, I don’t need your shit, old man.”

My manager almost suffers a coronary.

Turns out said customer was a good friend of my family. He’d just come there to give me grief, and was highly amused that I gave it back to him. Even ordered a rather large pack of chicken and side dishes to mollify the manager. You can guess who wasn’t allowed back on register for a few weeks.

In the same vein as ArrMatey!..

I’m working at Radio Shack, still pretty new in the job. A guy walks in, puts a RS brand computer monitor on the counter and says “I bought this monitor at a garage sale and it doesn’t work, I want my money back.”

He was the manager of another local store, bringing us a monitor for our stock. :wally

We did have a real customer come in to return a lightly-used metal detector. The reason? It didn’t find the ring she was looking for. :dubious: So, you would have kept it if you did find the ring? Fucking renters.

I never worked in any customer service position (yay me!). The closest I have are stories from my brief stint as a telephone surveyor.

Like the one lady who answered the phone and interrupted my introduction with, “How did you get this number?! I’m in the witness protection program!!” Well, ma’am, you’re doing a damn fine job of it. I wish I’d thought quickly enough to say, “Hey, Vito, we found her!” Oh, and if you’re wondering how we got the number, we used computer-generated random phone numbers.

But my personal favorite was when I was doing a survey about cars, and I asked a guy what he liked about Cadillac. His response: “Cadillac is the Cadillac of…cars…” He kind of trailed off there as he realized what he’d just said.

This reminds me of one of my favorite customer services stories.

The college bookstore I used to work for had a no-return policy for books purchased during finals, because we didn’t want to rent out books. In the spring, there’s a couple weeks between the end of the semester and the start of the summer sessions for the university and community college we served.

One day, a customer came in and wanted to return a book for an Asian American Studies class that had been purchased during the no-return period. The dates for this are posted on the counter, and customers who buy summer session books during this time need their class schedule with them in order to get a refund.

I explained this to him. The customer said he’d bought the book for the summer session, then got an internship in another city and had to drop the class. I recognized this as utter bullshit, because I built the databases of books and classes. I politely told him he would have to talk it over with the manager.

I fetched the manager. I was curious how this would turn out and on counter duty anyway, so I lingered at the far end of the counter, a respectful distance away.

The manager repeated the policy, and the customer repeated his story about the dropped class. I couldn’t help myself.
“That’s weird,” I mused aloud, as though there’d been a lapse in communication. “The main store hasn’t let us know about any Asian American studies classes being held this summer.”
The customer looked startled, then caught himself. “It’s for the community college!”

This was even bigger bullshit, as the community college offered no Asian studies classes whatsoever and had a restricted set of books required.

“I didn’t think they had an Asian Studies department,” I said.

“It’s a special class,” he replied hastily.

I wanted to keep probing just to see how far this would go-“Oh, it is? What campus? We need to know so we can get someone fired for not giving us the correct textbook orders, since we’re all about customer service.”

Unfortunately, the manager killed this plan by informing the student that while he thought he was scamming us, he would give him his refund. We had a good laugh about it after he left.

Can I play?

We have a regular advertiser with the paper who rides up in his Harley, stomps into the office and has LITERALLY thrown money at me, while talking on his cell phone, then walked out. He’s screamed at me, the owners (now former owners) about the tab he’s racked up. He also gives out our fax number to receive faxes, because “his machine is broken.”

Then there was the guy who came in to pay his bill who smelled like he just finished a fifth on his lunch hour, weaving back and forth, blotto. And told me to make it snappy with his change because he has to get back to work on a roof. :eek:

Today, a gruff old gal called wanting to place a yard sale ad. I asked her where it would be (for the ad) and she said, in a snotty tone. “In my front yard, it’s all sitting out there!” I told her that people would need to FIND her front yard, so an address would be helpful.

We won’t talk about the people who call wanting to know how often our weekly paper comes out . . . :rolleyes:

Hoo boy. Where to start…?

Oh, I know. There’s a guy who comes to the grocery store I work at who is constantly rude to everyone around him. He yells whenever he gets charged (what he thinks) the wrong price for something. He cusses out my managers, the cashier taking care of him, and the person bagging his groceries. His poor wife always apologizes to us while the jerk practically sprays spit in my co-worker’s faces as he yells.

I wasn’t safe either; the wife told me to bag things one way, he wanted them another way and didn’t say anything until he saw me do it wrong. I was bright and perky and apologetic, like I’m supposed to be, but the guy simply would not drop the subject. I wanted to cry, he was so mean- suggesting I was mentally retarded somehow because I OBVIOUSLY couldn’t do my job correctly, he’d see me fired, he knew the CEO of our grocery company personally, what the fuck was wrong with my ears, etc etc etc.

I can’t wait until he tries this shit with my manager Jess. She’s like a Pratchettian gnome (Buggy Swires ring a bell?) - all energy and mischeif compacted into a tiny frame. She’ll rip him a new one. Heeheehee.

When I worked in a bookstore, my coworker was attacked by a psychotic customer. I walked in about three seconds before the attack began - I walked in, wondered what a customer was doing behind the counter and then BAM! This totally insane woman was smacking my coworker on the head with a hard plastic toy truck. My coworker yelped and put her hands up to protect herself, the woman shrieked at her not to call her names, and my other coworker ran in to separate them. Crazy Lady grabbed her two kids (yay, she’s responsible for children!) and ran off. We called the cops. They showed up in about three minutes (ah, small town life), a couple people gave statements. My coworker sat in the store office for a few hours - she was understandably very upset - because our boss sent her home for the day.

Apparently, just before I walked in, Crazy Lady had asked my coworker if we’d had any books on dogs. While my coworker was looking up some titles, she started shrieking “Don’t you fucking call me a bitch in front of my kids, you bitch!” run around the counter, and that was right when I walked in.

As customer service jobs go, working in a bookstore has got to be one of the more pleasant, as your customers are usually at least literate. A very upsetting aberration.

BEFORE our boss sent her home for the day.

There, now it makes sense.

Ohhh let’s see if I can remember my best ones…

A 50-something man walks into the gourmet shop where I work, and I offer him a sample. Just for comparison, I’m 20, 5’1", and female. " “Are you going to feel you can take advantage of me now?” he asks, in a leering sort of way. “Women always use their gifts to take advantage of you, you know.” I laugh it off and tell him about our current promos.

Five minutes later, he approaches me with a bag of trail mix. “I am going to buy this,” he announces, “and I’m going to take the nuts out. I am going to lick them and suckle them, until they are moist and slipper.”

I turned /bright red/, covered my face in my hands, and looked away. A couple seconds later I recovered enough to ring him up. As I bagged up his trail mix, he said, “Oh, no, my dear, I don’t need a bag. I’m going to eat it. With my mouth.

I was working in a crystal/china store, and a woman asked me if I had any crystal elephants. I explained that, no, I didn’t, but we did have a crystal polar bear.
“I don’t want no damn polar bear, I want an elephant! Why would you say that?!”
“Well, ma’am, I thought I’d offer an alternative.”
“You shouldn’t have! I said I wanted an elephant! A polar bear isn’t an elephant! That’s stupid!”
“Just a suggestion. I’m sorry.”
“I don’t want no damn polar bear!” She then stomped off, muttering about how she didn’t want no damn polar bear, how stupid I was, and how stupid the suggestion was.

Ok, for this next story, you’ve got to know that the mall both my jobs are in is a 1/4 mile long tourist attraction of an outlet mall…

There was an awful line at the front register, so I told the next people in line – an elderly woman in a wheelchair, and a younger woman shopping with her – that I would help them at the second register, some 20-30 feet away. I picked up their boxes and started walking.

“Where are you going?!” She glared at me.
“Register Two, so you guys don’t have to wait!”
“Well she is disabled and should not be moving!!”

At this point, I go out of my way to be extra bright and sunny, because the idiocy is just laughable: the elderly woman is sitting in a wheelchair, being pushed. Pushed through a 1/4 mile long mall, no less.

Fuck’s sake. What goes on in people’s heads?!

Hey, my father-in-law shops at your store!


It was a college job. I was waitressing and hosting and taking phone orders for a Chinese restaurant. Interesting job because the other workers had been in the states for maybe five years tops. I learned a smidgen of Chinese.

I was taking phone orders one afternoon. I picked up the phone and the woman on the other end of the phone started screaming at me. She told me that her two year old wasn’t eating our sweet and sour chicken and she wanted a refund. Specifically, she wanted the driver to come back out to her house, pick up the chicken, give her the money back, and then drive away. I told her respectfully that I was sorry her two year old didn’t like the food, and that I would give her store credit. Wasn’t good enough.

Soon she was calling me every name she could, and I was just trying to calm her down and explain that I didn’t have any other option than store credit. I called her ma’am at one point, I remember, and that really set her off. She screeched at me and then slammed down the phone.

A minute later the phone rang again, and I picked it up. Same lady, only this time she went nuclear right away. She told me that never in her life had anyone hung up on her, and that she would get me fired, and she wanted to talk to my manager right away.

Feeling a bit numb, I got my manager. I listened to her yell at him all about me and how I was disrespectful and had hung up on her. He told her that he was sorry, and that he would give her store credit for her order. That was good enough for her, apparently. I went and cried in the bathroom because I was scared about my job, stressed over school, and lonely for my then-fiance.

What really gets me about it now is that she made a fuss over her child not eating a meal. Don’t two-year-olds generally turn up their noses over everything? I can’t help but think it was something else in her life that made her act so horribly to me. Of all things, threatening someone’s livelihood is, I think, the shittiest way for customers to behave.

Bwahahaha! :smiley:

This reminds me of the time I was working in a local discount store in my little bitty hometown not long after I was out of high school…

I had just gotten off of the register and was heading back to receiving to check in our truck when a customer walks through the doors and heads straight for me, bitching the whole time. The head cashier – Jill – is standing there, stunned, as I turned to the customer and said something along the lines that I didn’t have deal with her bitching and moaning at me, and that she could just leave (this was highly unlike me, btw!). I’ll never forget the look on Jill’s face as the customer walked right up to me and said, “Someone should have smacked your mother when you were born!” and I very quickly (but gently!) proceeded to tap the customer on the cheek.

Of course, Jill starts to lose it – apologizing on behalf of the store and all – when both the customer and I break down laughing our asses off. It was then she started to notice the resemblance… see, Jill was younger than me and lived in a different town. That, and my mother had not lived in the area for a little while and had only moved back a few days before. I almost felt bad for Jill. Almost. Poor girl never saw it coming. :smiley:

I did feel bad for Jill later after I had left the store to go to college and my Mom got her old job back - at the same store. My mother was one hell of a cut-up back then… moreso than I’ve ever been. They’re still friends to this day.

When I worked at a video store, the owner would sometimes put concert posters up in the window, if the musician requested it. She got no money for this, but just did it as a courtesy for local artists. As the store was in a heavily gay/lesbian community, and the owner was a lesbian, oftentimes (but not always) the displayed artists were gay.

Me: Hello, sir, may I help you?
Buttmunch: Can you put this poster for my concert up in your window?
Me: I can’t, but I can give it to the owner who can.
Buttmunch: Why can’t you just do it?
Me: Because it’s not my call to do so. I’ll give it to the owner, who makes those decisions. I’m sure she’ll put it up.
Buttmunch: Listen, asshole, just put it up.
Me: Excuse me? I told you, I can’t. I promise you I’ll give it to the owner. She’s the one who makes those decisions.
Buttmunch: Why the fuck won’t you just put it up? Why are you being a jerk?
Me: Just leave the poster. If the owner decides to put it in the window, she’ll put it in the window.
Buttmunch: You’ve got posters up for lesbians galore. Why can’t I just put mine up? Do I have to be a dyke or something? (This won him endless brownie points with the bemused customers.)
Me: Sir, I’ve explained the policy. Just leave me the poster.
Buttmunch: You’re an asshole. I’ll put it up myself. Give me some tape.
Me: I can’t do that.
Buttmunch: Because you’re an asshole. Are you a fag? Put up my poster or I’ll wreck the place.
Me: Sir, give me the poster and leave. If you don’t, I’ll call the cops. I’m sure the owner will give this poster all the recognition it deserves.

She did.

(In all actuality, this conversation took about 20 minutes.)