The Best Customer Service “Gotchas”
Everyone dreams of putting those pesky Kevins and Karens in their place, especially when they decide to wreak havoc on poor customer service employees. These satisfying “gotcha” moments prove that karma really does exist.
1. Just Being Neighborly
One of my favorite stories from my brief time in customer service was when a man who called up the night after a minor hurricane started screaming that his service didn’t work. He said that he had complained multiple times and this was the last straw. Clearly our service sucked, and it was our fault his cable was out. He kept cutting me off and calling me rude names. But I had the perfect response.
Finally, I just interjected: Sir, your cable isn’t out because of an issue with our service, your cable is out because a tree branch fell across the cable line. What’s that? How do I know? Because I saw the branch fall. I’m the one who went out in the rain last night to get the branch out of the street. In fact, I know you know it’s a branch, because I could see you looking out your window at me moving the branch that fell on your property.
Not only that, but when I was done, I went inside and called into work on my day off to arrange a bucket truck to come out and rerun the cable so you could beat the rush of calls that came in all across the island due to the storm. You didn’t even have to call. A truck is already on route. Well, that shut him up.
2. Nickle And Diming
I used to work for a grocery store in high school as a cashier. One busy Saturday, an older lady came through my long line with about $150 worth of groceries. Among her items was a prepackaged piece of meat from our deli department that is normally priced by weight. Her meat did not have a printed sticker on the package and I would’ve needed to find a bag boy or manager to run to the deli to get it priced.
Because we were super busy, I decided to wing it, and set it on my scale. “Looks like it’s almost a pound, so…let’s say…$2.77? Does that sound fair?” I began to ring it as a miscellaneous item. Her answer sent a shiver through my spine. “No it does NOT sound fair!” she yelled in a screeching voice. “You need to get that priced!” Groans from the line began behind her, as I found a bag boy to run to get the price sticker.
A manager came by to see what the commotion was about and the lady explained the situation. I explained why I had made the decision I made. The manager of course stuck up for the lady (which we laughed about later) and she accepted the apology. We then waited for what seemed like an eternity of eye-contact avoidance and thumb twiddling.
The bag boy came back and handed me the pork. I smirked and showed her the price. “$2.78. Huh, I would’ve saved you a penny!” The man behind her chortled. Never saw her again.
3. What A Gas
I was working at a gas station in a very rich part of town. During a nice summer day, a prime example of the jerk variety of the human species drove his super-expensive Lamborghini in and, in that haughty, I’m-rich-so-you-must-do-what-I-say voice, demanded that it be filled with premium. Which the attendant started to do, only the guy immediately snatched the nozzle from him and screamed that “you’re too stupid to do this on your own”.
We’re in Oregon, by the way, where you can’t pump your own gas because of state fire laws. Well, being that he’s a jerk and an idiot, gas spills out from the nozzle all over his sparkly jerk-mobile. At this point, he truly flips out. He storms into the store, where I’m working as the cashier and de facto manager. He immediately demands to speak to the owner, and that we are going to pay to have his car repainted AND he’s not going to be paying for his gas.
I try my best to calm the situation, but he’s got a good rage going and doesn’t want to be calmed down. While he’s spewing forth, I notice that an officer from the local department is about to come into the store to get snacks or a drink or some such. This gives me a nice idea. “Sir, I’m afraid that the gas is in your tank and you pumped it yourself, so you are going to have to pay”.
Cutscene of an explosion. Jerkface then asks, “So what, exactly, do you think you can do if I just go and get in my car and leave?” Thank you, good Lord, for timing. He says this, at full bellow, right as the officer walks through the door. My response? “Well, personally I can’t do much, but the nice officer standing behind you will probably be able to do something”.
Jerkface turns around to see the officer, with a very predatory smile on his face, nodding vigorously. Yeah, he shut up, paid, and we never saw him again.
4. Watch Your Manners
I used to do cellphone customer service for a call centre in Canada, though it was an American cellphone company. Got a call from a right-angry Texan who had been passed around from agent to agent with no one really listening to him, making him even more angry (and understandably so). So, he gets to me and he’s just a whirlwind of yelling and swearing.
I can barely make out what he’s saying. In my sternest Person-In-Charge voice I say, “Sir, that’s no way to talk to a lady!” Right away he calms down and goes: “Yes, ma’am. Sorry, ma’am”. And we resolved his issue within a couple of minutes. Oh, Texas. I love your old-school gentlemen when they’re not drowned out by your extreme fundamentalists.
5. Take A Picture, It’ll Last Longer
I worked at a photo printing lab, and we got people in all the time who claimed we were stupid and had messed up their pictures. One woman had us print 800 vacation pictures. They were bad quality, dark, and out of focus. Basically a nightmare to work with. But that wasn’t all. When she came to pick them up, she insisted that we had ruined them, that they were perfect in her camera, and that she had a very expensive camera and so there was no way the pictures could be dark or out of focus.
We finally gave her her money back, even though we had done nothing wrong and were out a lot of time and paper. She called us 30 minutes later and told us she was at a store across town, and they had reprinted all of her pictures and they were beautiful, in focus, and nice and bright. I had to tell her that the same person who owned our store also owned the store across town, and that not only would it have taken that store several hours to reprint 800 pictures, but their printer was down that day, so they couldn’t have printed anything. She hung up on me.
6. Owning It
I used to work at a restaurant chain that started about 15 or 20 years back and has about 15 stores in total. People all the time would complain and release their vague threat “I know Tommy! (The owner, guy who started the chain) Do I have to call him to get some good service?” It came from so many people, but we had to put up with it because that’s what you do in the restaurant business.
But one time when this happened, Tommy was actually in the restaurant. He would come in once every couple months or so and just act like a regular customer, just to kinda evaluate how things were running from a non-owner perspective (of course everything magically went smoother for him than any other customer, imagine that). Anyway, this lady (that had been a total witch the entire night) starts complaining, talking about how her meal was cold or bad or whatever, even though she had powered through 4/5ths of it.
She wants her money back for this atrocity! And then she drops the shocker. “I know Tommy! He wouldn’t stand for this!” The only thing was, Tommy was sitting almost directly behind her, and pretty obviously didn’t know her, and she didn’t recognize him. After getting a bit of the old discreet “Go ahead” nod from him, I just said, “Ma’am, Tommy is in the restaurant right now. If you could just point him out I’d be glad to let him know what you think of his restaurants”.
She stammered, gave the, “No he’s not, I would’ve seen him!” until the owner stood up and said hello. He put on the kind of sickly sweet personality, where you’re ever so polite but totally awful at the same time. She shut up and paid pretty quickly after that.
7. Milking It For All It’s Worth
I worked at a concession stand for a children’s baseball park. It’s a large park (nine or so fields) and we get lots and lots of customers. Having lots of customers, we have to make things in large quantities and the quality isn’t especially swell. But hey, it’s a concession stand, not a restaurant. Anyhow, it’s about 20 degrees out and people are ordering hot chocolate by about five cups at a time.
Only two of us are working. The process for making hot chocolate is putting an extremely large container of water in our extremely large microwave, and then stirring in an extremely large amount of cocoa powder. It’s nothing fancy, but it tasted pretty good all things considered. Late in the day, I was working the register, and my co-worker is running around making everything.
A lady came up to the side window, screaming at my co-worker about how he’s ruining the hot chocolate. My co-worker can’t hear her, seeing as how she’s yelling through a window. At a guy working around a lot of refrigerator fans, among other things. She finally comes to the front counter and tells me he’s ruining it. “Why” I asked. Her: “He’s going to ruin the milk! He’s going to ruin it in the microwave!”
Me: “There is no..”. Her: “HES GOING TO RUIN IT!” Me: “Peter!” Co-Worker: “Yeah?” Me (pretending to get super angry) “DON’T RUIN THAT MILK!” Her: *stares at me* Co-Worker: “What milk?” Me (still yelling): “THE HOT CHOCOLATE MILK!” Co-Worker (comes up to the front looking VERY confused): “There is no milk!” Me (to the lady): “Hmm. I suppose we don’t use any milk”. She left looking very scared to talk to us ever again.
8. This Comes Right From The Top
I used to work in an old family-owned gas station/garage in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Since it was family owned, about 90% of the business came from regulars who had either business accounts or got their families’ cars fixed at the shop (and had for generations on both sides). As such, the random passers-by getting gas on their way to and from cities on either side of the town made up a mostly negligible amount of business.
The gas station side of the business made up maybe 2% of the business, and of that maybe .5% was non-regulars. So my boss couldn’t care less about some of the annoying customers who came in. One day we got a particularly witchy soccer mom. This was during the summer a few years ago, so the gas was very high compared to the rest of the year.
She was convinced that our pumps were purposely calibrated incorrectly so that less gas was pumped. Her proof was that she always got $XX.XX in gas and it always went to XX% full. Well we had just had our equipment recalibrated for the year and knew it was all good. She kept complaining to me about it, and being a high schooler I didn’t care, either.
But I kept up appearances and was polite, kept telling her that we had just had our pumps calibrated. She didn’t care and kept complaining. Eventually she asked for the manager. But I knew something she didn’t. The office was right behind the counter, and my boss was in there listening the whole time. As soon as she asked for him, he simply yelled out “SCREW OFF!” And that was about it.
I just shrugged at her, and she left. My boss was awesome with jerk customers.
9. Stop, Drop, And Roll
A customer was lighting up in a supermarket, and a staff member asked them to stop. They refuse to stop. Customer escalates to me, as customer service manager at the time. I grabbed a fire extinguisher (large, CO2), walked up to the customer, and said “If you don’t put that out now, I will be forced to assume you’re on fire and act accordingly”. Customer dropped the smoke, stamped it out with her foot, and left the store.
10. Sticky Fingers
Used to work in a pawnshop. We got lots of jewelry in and a lot of times the person bringing in the jewelry would have no idea that some of their stuff was fake. Nine times out of ten they would get angry and leave their stuff with us to be thrown out. My co-worker accidentally left a really gawdy but fake gold chain out on the desk one day. A customer came in, noticed the chain, and told us that we’d better put it away before someone took it.
I was about to. Then I realized I could have some fun. We ended up leaving the chain on the desk and would casually watch people as they came in to do business. Indeed, we caught a number of people trying to lift the chain. One guy in particular was talking us up and gradually pulling the chain off the counter. When he had successfully pocketed it and left the store, my co-worker and I began to crack up.
Sure enough, about a week later the guy came back in with the chain and tried to sell it to us. When I refused to buy it, he got angry. Then we showed him the security cam footage of him taking it. We weren’t even mad. Someone that dumb deserves to live his life that way until he walks out in front of a bus or into a wood chipper.
11. The Truth Hurts
A customer wanted to return a computer that was about a year old when I worked in retail. I asked him what was wrong. “It just don’t work”. I powered it on, it gets into Windows, connects to the wireless network, goes online. I open Office, everything seems to be working properly. I show it to him, ask him what’s wrong. “It just don’t work”. I asked him what was actually wrong with the machine (let alone why would you return a computer a year later)”.
It just don’t work. Are you saying if a car don’t start, it works fine?” At this point I had enough of the guy: “No sir, I’m saying if there was a car and everyone could start it except one person, I wouldn’t blame the car”.
12. You Get What You Pay For
I was eating at a Taco Bell once, and I was waiting to ask for some sauce while another customer was yelling at a kitchen employee. She had pulled apart her burrito and was complaining that there wasn’t enough stuff in it. I shut her up with one sentence. I leaned over and said, “looks like 89 cents worth of food to me!” She stormed out.
13. Lady In Shining Armor
I worked at a Walgreen’s photo lab right after high school, and it was my first job. There was a really nice lady who used to come by every now and then to have her pictures developed, and whenever they came out we would chat about them because I thought they were great. One day while we were talking, another customer arrived. When I asked her how I could help her, she started yelling at me because she didn’t like the way her photos came out.
She threw them on the counter and was really angry with me and wanted to speak to my manager. I called for my manager and she came over and tried to calm the angry lady down. The angry lady started pointing at me and said that I messed up her photos, and blah, blah, blah, threats, better business bureau, yak, yak, yak. I don’t know what to tell her other than I’m sorry and that I didn’t know what was wrong.
I told her I processed them like I was supposed to and that most of the work was done by the machine, to which she immediately replied “then what good are you?” Suddenly, the nice lady with the cool pictures pipes up in this authoritative tone: “How dare you? How dare you say that to him and accuse him of ruining your pictures? He already said he was sorry. Do you realize that what you said is going to cost him his job? Shame on you”.
The angry lady just got quiet, realized how she was acting, and left. I thanked the nice lady, and it made me tear up a bit afterwards because having someone stand up for you feels good.
14. Get It To Go
My friend was in line at KFC when a woman began rattling off a long order. I’m talking two family buckets of extra crispy, sides of biscuits, bowls of gravy, you name it. At the end of the order the female cashier asks the large woman, “For here or to go?” The woman blows a gasket and screams, “GIRL, I CAN’T EAT THAT MUCH!” To which the cashier replies, without the slightest bit of hesitancy, “GIIIRRRRLLLL, I DON’T KNOW YOUR WORLD”. It was the most boss thing that has ever occurred in a KFC…to my knowledge.
15. Putting Him In His Place
Recently I put a customer in place in Best Buy. I went to do an exchange at Best Buy. Guy walks up behind me, starts complaining about the wait to pick up a .com order, and I tell him to get in the line with the giant hanging “BestBuy.com orders here” sign. He then complains to a manager about how lazy his staff is, and how he has been there for 30 minutes to pick up a Monster Cable…hilarious as that purchase is.
I called him out, and the guy turns red from embarrassment and anger, then storms off. Then I debriefed the manager on how he was there for less than five minutes before being helped and the staff was doing a great job. The manager gave me a $20 Gift Card for calling the guy a jerk to his face. I just didn’t want the Customer Service guys to get in any trouble for this guy’s slander.
16. Speaking In Tongues
I worked at a drug store in high school. I had a German couple check out at my register, and they were incredibly rude. They were complaining in German about the customers behind them in line, using vulgar language and whatnot. Apparently, I wasn’t moving fast enough for their liking, and the woman called me a name in German. But she didn’t know one thing.
She was obviously not aware that that was the terribly impractical language that I took in high school. When I finished their order, I stared her in the eye and said thank you in her native tongue, and they both looked shocked and embarrassed. It felt good, man.
17. Do It Yourself
I work at Jimmy John’s. At JJ’s, if you’ve never been, it’s mostly self-service; you get your napkins, and if you need a bag, you get them yourself. Our sandwiches are wrapped in a way that you generally don’t need one, and everything is made “to go”. A lady came in one day and ordered like 4 or 5 sandwiches. As always, I redirect them to the end of the bar to pick up their sandwiches and grab whatever napkins and bags they want.
Now, if someone asks us to bag something FOR them, we will. People generally don’t (unless they’re really old in which case we’ll do it for them regardless) but nobody minds if they do. This lady never asked once for someone to bag her food. She stood at the bar, quiet, bagging all of her sandwiches up and then left. 15 or 20 minutes go by. Then the other shoe drops.
Her husband calls the store and asks to speak to a manager, AKA me. I pick up the phone and the conversation goes like this, mostly verbatim: ME: Hi, how can I help you? GUY: shouting Yeah, since when is it ya’lls policy for people to bag their own food? My wife just came from there and told me she had to bag everything herself! ME: I’m sorry sir, but it’s technically always been our policy. Everything is self-service here at Jimmy John’s. We certainly would have — cuts me off GUY: WELL I’M GOING TO BE SURE TO TELL EVERYONE I KNOW ABOUT THE KIND OF SERVICE YOU GUYS OFFER OVER THERE.
ME: Okay, well, thanks, I guess? I mean, it isn’t any sort of secret. hangs up
18. Up And Down
I stopped to get gas today, and while talking with the cashier I mentioned that she was probably tired of people yelling at her about the price of gas—but that since she is the one standing there she probably gets it a lot. She said that every day someone complains to her, like she can do something about it. A guy then came in and demanded, “Why the heck is gas $3.76 a gallon?’
Without missing a beat, she said, “Because it went down 10 cents this morning”. He just looked at her, paid and left.
19. Playing Games
I worked in electronics at Target. Over at Guest Service one day, I saw a woman with her teenage daughter heatedly speaking to the guy at the counter. After a few moments, he pointed over at me in electronics. The woman’s head whirled round, dragon like, toward me. The rest of her body realigned with her head and she stomped in my direction.
When she reached the counter I pleasantly asked, “How can I help you?” She slammed a receipt and PS3 controller on the counter, “I paid 55 dollars for this and I can only return it for 40!” I asked, “May I see your receipt?” She nodded and I picked it up, “See, 55 dollars!” “Yep, I see that,” I said, “You bought this last week when the store gave away a 15 dollar gift certificate with the controller””.
So what!” “You would shop at Target again, right?” I asked. “Not if this isn’t resolved!” she spat. Her daughter next to her was embarrassed. “Hypothetically, if there wasn’t an issue, I’m guessing you would and you would use that 15 dollar gift card on your future purchase. If we let you return this controller for 55 dollars then you would have a free 15 dollars. That is why the return price is 15 dollars less…I can do the return for you over here if you don’t want to go back to Guest Service””.
I didn’t want to return it, I just wanted to know why the return price was so much less,” she said. She picked up her controller and receipt and began to walk off. Her daughter, clearly ashamed of her mother, thanked me and followed her mother out.
20. Citizen’s Shaming
My boss once had a customer snag her shirt on the register counter. She went ballistic in ten seconds flat. She began shrieking about us replacing her shirt, that our counters were unsafe, and that she wanted compensation for her shirt. My boss is a very, very calm man. He apologizes, says he’ll have someone from maintenance fix the counter, but the woman isn’t satisfied.
She’s holding up the entire line and refusing to complete her purchase, and the other customers seem pretty annoyed at her. The woman wouldn’t give up, and finally the guy behind her in line has had it. He gets his wallet out, hands her a $20 bill, asks her if this makes her happy, then tells her to please shut up and leave the nice man (my boss) alone.
The woman made some terrible noise, left her items on the counter, and stomped off. The line applauded the man with the $20 (who still had it, the woman didn’t take his money), and my boss gave him a hefty discount.
21. All Hands On Deck
I used to work at Tesco, in England, as a team leader. Basically doing a manager’s job, on a bit more than checkout operator’s wage. I wonder why I gave that up to become a teacher…oh yeah. Anyway, at Christmastime, for some reason, we were quite busy. We had a good 35 checkouts in the store, and 35 of those 35 checkouts were open.
Yet there were still lines. Ultimately, if thousands of people decide to do their Christmas shopping terribly late, and you have every single till open, what can you do? Anyway, this woman comes over to complain that she had to wait. I explained that the checkouts were all in use, and we could do nothing. She asked why I wasn’t on a checkout.
This was something often asked, with the simple answer being that if I’m the one who has to sort out any problem in case any of the 35 checkouts break, or needs something, or a customer can’t walk the five paces to change their broken packet of biscuits—and I’m on a checkout—nothing would be done. Anyway, this woman demanded that everyone should be on the checkouts.
Which they were. “I want to see the store manager!” she demanded, “You need to have more people working on the checkouts. Where can I see the store manager?” “Well,” I replied, “He’s currently sat on that checkout there, because we are so busy”. She shut up. I really don’t know what she wanted us to do.
22. With All The Toppings
I used to work at an amusement park, and between department transfers, I started in food. My stand made funnel cakes and corndogs. The average wait time on a busy day could be upwards of 30 minutes in the sun, which I’ll admit sucks. It’s not any cooler in the stand standing over a 450 degree fryer. Anyhow…This guy comes up, orders four corndogs.
I ring him up and ask him if he wants any ketchup or mustard brushed on. He declines. I take his money and hand over four corndogs. His little girl bites into one and then tugs on daddy’s arm and says she wants mustard. I politely inform him that since she’s already bitten out of her food, we can’t brush it on; however if he’d head 50 steps to an adjacent building, he could skip the line and just grab some condiment packets.
Apparently this was unacceptable. Up until this point he was just a normal guy. Then suddenly he changed to a monster. “DO YOU KNOW WHO I WORK FOR?! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM!?” I tell him no. He then half-chuckles to himself and points out his pregnant wife sitting at a nearby table and then begrudges the time he spent in line. I again reassure him they will give him some mustard packets if he walks next door.
He loses it”.
I’M THE GOSH-DARN REGIONAL REP FOR COKE IN THIS AREA, I WILL BUY AND SELL YOUR BUTT, KID”. This self-aggrandizing and demeaning talk towards me lasted a full 60 seconds or so. Then I told him “we only carry Pepsi products”. He was flush with embarrassment and rage, and anyone within earshot is laughing at him. To spite me (really his little girl) he didn’t go get mustard packets. He forever was known as MustardMan.
23. Good Parenting 101
I worked as a lifeguard for my first “real” job. One night, at the indoor water park, a child came up to me. He asked me very quickly where the bathroom was. I pointed him in the right direction and he quickly said, “No I need one closer!” I swore in my head as he pooped himself in front of me, poop running down his leg. I radioed him into first aid and we took him in and paged his parents.
Eventually his dad came in and we chit chatted about his son, no big deal (it happens more often than you think). His dad told us to change and clean him, though, and me and my manager refused. The dad was furious and yelled why not. We replied he’s not our son. That shut him up.
24. A Helping Hand
I used to work at a video store, and after a while I got pretty desensitized to people throwing little hissy fits about late fees. One day a gentleman tried to rent a movie and I had to let him know he had accumulated some late fees on his account. Cue standard rant about having returned them on time, blah blah blah, “…and I’m just going to cut up my membership card when I get home!!”
I reached under the counter and grabbed a pair of scissors, held them out to him and said, “Well, you can do that here if you like”. He gave me a venomous look and left the store in a huff. And it felt so good.
25. I’ve Got A Package For You
Working at a shipping store, a customer tried to drop off a package to be shipped back to Clearwire (an internet company). He had the box wrapped in shipping paper and twine. Instead of a prepaid shipping label, he had printed out the directions on how to obtain the shipping label. I tried to explain to him that he needed to go back to his email, click on the link, and print the shipping label.
He was adamant that he did everything correctly and kept saying he was going to leave the package there and that it was our problem. My boss, hearing this, comes from the back and explains that if the customer leaves the package, my boss will throw it out the door. The guy turns around, leaves the package, and says again, “Not my problem”. He got exactly what he asked for, and then some.
My boss, true to his word, follows him and throws the package towards the customer. The package bounces a few times on the sidewalk right past the customer and the guy keeps on walking. The package stayed outside for 15 minutes in heavy rain before my boss relents and took the package inside. The package was still under a counter four months later when I left the job.
26. Paying The Price
We had a building where I ran a family sewing factory with a small store attached, which my mom ran. One day a guy comes in to deliver some rolls of fabric and this woman decides to park in the middle of the lot. Not even in a parking spot…she just turned off her car wherever and got out. Then she went shopping elsewhere. The trucker had to leave, so I had the car towed so he could get out and back on the road.
The next day I hear a very loud voice demanding to see a manager. He shoves a ticket in my office manager’s face and says, “You’re paying for this”. I walk in and ask what the problem is (I’m 6’6″). He tries to get all up in my face and asks sarcastically, “Who’s paying this ticket?” I got loud and replied, “You mean where I had to tow a car because they were too cheap to put a quarter in a parking meter on the street and parked in the middle of my lot?”
I was a good 10″ bigger than he was…he left. Then I called the authorities and made a complaint against him for threatening behavior to my employees, just in case he tried anything funny.
27. I Know You Are But What Am I
My roommates and I decided to go grab some subway before we went out one Friday night. One of them is half-Ecuadorian, and the Subway employees were both Hispanic. While I was in the process of ordering my sandwich, the two workers were speaking to each other in Spanish. When it was my friend’s turn, he ordered in Spanish, which I thought was simply a gesture.
I couldn’t figure out why both employees looked like ghosts and stammered their way through the entire ordering process. When I got back in the car, my friend told me the real story. He said that the two workers said, “Look at this pretty boy, pretending to be cultured. What a loser, he doesn’t even know the language”. At which point my friend decided to place his entire order in Spanish, and thank them at the end of the transaction.
28. Checking It Twice
I was working in food service at a cash register. A customer came up and placed an order, I rang it up, and she wasn’t happy with how much it cost. She started whining and being a real witch. My co-worker came up and stood next to me, looked over what I did, and just kind of stood there polishing a counter. She squawked, “Get me your manager!” I say, “Ok sure, but ma’am this is the correct price”.
Co-worker standing next to me is actually the manager. He looks at the woman and goes, “Yup,” and continues polishing the counter. “Buh… wha… uh… ok fine!” shouts the woman and walks away. The two of us crack up laughing.
29. A Case Of Mistaken Identity
I used to work in the main office for a large chain of furniture stores in the UK. I worked in the evenings, phoning customers to let them know their furniture was in, and arranging a delivery date. One night I phoned and asked for Mr. or Mrs. Jones. The guy on the phone starts ranting to me about people phoning up his elderly parents trying to sell things.
He went on and on and on and wouldn’t let me get a word in edgewise. I think he may have even used the toilet while he was ranting at me. When he finally wound down, I said, “Are you finished now sir? This is —- Furniture and I’m phoning to arrange a delivery date for your parents’ new three-piece suite”. Yup, that one shut him up completely.
30. The Best Man For The Job
I was working at CompUSA a few years before they closed. A well-to-do looking gentleman and his high school-age son approached the counter and ask to return a 2.5″ hard drive enclosure. I overhear him telling the girl that the enclosure was defective because his drive will not fit in it. She says that sounds unusual because we sell a lot of them and hadn’t seen any returned.
Upon hearing this, he tells her in a very condescending tone that he “is an engineer and his son attends (insert expensive private school) and they could not get it to work so it must be defective”. The customer service girl calls me over since she didn’t really know much about computers and would rather have an “expert” look at it.
When I come over he has the drive enclosure and his hard drive sitting on the counter. I immediately notice that he never removed the OEM bracket from the original drive and that was why it wouldn’t fit. I say, “I think I know what the problem is and just need to grab a screwdriver”. To which he responds, “If neither me or my son can figure it out, I doubt you’ll be able to”.
I proceed to take the bracket off and slide the drive into the enclosure in about 10 seconds all with a grin on my face. He picked it up and hurried out without saying anything or making eye contact.
31. Too Good To Be True
A well-dressed business passenger bought a plane ticket on Continental from Indianapolis to Manchester. There are no direct flights, so he would have to connect in Newark, New Jersey. After arriving, he strolls over to the Manchester gate and sees a small 50 pax regional jet parked outside. He thinks nothing of it and boards the airplane a while later.
After taking his seat, and just prior to the boarding door being closed, the flight attendant makes an announcement: “Welcome aboard flight #### service to Manchester, NEW HAMPSHIRE!” This guy goes completely wild. He starts scrambling to get his things and get off the plane, all the while yelling at the flight attendant, gate agent, pilots, and other passengers.
He was trying to go to Manchester in the UK (airport code of MAN) and he bought a ticket for MHT. The gate agent was getting completely verbally harassed by the guy at the podium as she tried to rebook him to the proper destination. She took it all in stride and was really trying to help the guy even though he was being a complete jerk and going on and on about how it was a mistake in the computer.
And then she saw how much he paid for the ticket. Her exact words were: “You only paid 300 dollars for your ticket and you really thought that was going to get you to England?” He was quiet after that.
32. Ironing Out The Details
I work at Ikea in Customer Service. On a daily basis, we have customers come in with items that have been used, broken, old, without their receipt, some even not Ikea products, and they are DEMANDING a refund. But the couple that really takes the cake tried to return to me a broken and rusty ironing board. It was obviously used and without a receipt I’m limited with my options.
We can only offer store credit if the item can be returned to stock in original packaging. Obviously, it wasn’t. With a receipt you have 90 days to return your item in any condition. After I refused the return, they asked for my manager. My manager offered to look up their receipt, couldn’t find it so we couldn’t take it back. They then asked for her manager.
Every time they got a “no” they asked for the manager above. Eventually it got to our store manager. They quickly found out they’d messed with the wrong guy. This manager is a BOSSS, 6’5″, hulk-like, and Swedish; he started as a cashier and made his way up literally from the bottom to owning the store. He came on down to the belligerent couple who were causing a scene because our customer service was apparently SOOOO poor.
After inspecting the item and removing their iron cover (which none of us did before, the item was that appalling we really didn’t want to touch it) he finds the date stamp. It was from 2002. The couple got real silent because the entire time they said they’ve had it for less than three months. Our store manager said in the calmest voice I have ever heard in my life, “I think it’s about time you leave my store”.
33. Too Big For His Britches
I worked at the local CVS for a summer back in college. I was at the register one night when a lanky teenager came up carrying four different boxes of rubbers. He put them on the counter, produced a receipt, and asked for a refund. I noticed that each of the boxes had been opened. I told him we couldn’t refund the items given that he had opened them.
He looked me straight in the eyes and said seriously that he had tried one from each of the boxes and that none of them fit because they were too big. I didn’t know what to say to that except that we definitely could not give him a refund. Without any embarrassment, he scooped up the boxes and left. They were all “XXL,” “magnum,” and “plus-size” brands.
34. That Took A Turn
I used to be a low level manager in a call centre, it paid the bills…anyway, a customer had called us and been perfectly pleasant, giving us his account details, and business got underway. At the end of the call, he asked for one more thing that we couldn’t have done, and was informed of this. He immediately got extremely aggressive with my member of staff.
At this point her hand shot up in the air (cue me) and she handed over the headset and chair so I could view the details. I was called a bunch of names, and then we got down to the grand finale. The threat. I’m paraphrasing but here’s how it went: Him: “Listen, I can see your company’s address on your website, I’m going to come down there and mess you up”.
Me: “Good, you gave my colleague your name and address details first then, I’ll make sure to hand them over to the authorities somewhere in the few hours it’s going to take you to drive down here. We’ll be waiting”. Dial tone
35. Getting To Know You
My folks used to own a Tastee Freez in South Carolina and I worked in it most summers as a teenager. Since it was a small town, everyone knew each other and most went to the same church. One Sunday night, one of the ladies from church called in at about five minutes after 10:00 and tried to order a 20 piece chicken nugget, and when I informed her that we closed at 10:00 and the grill and fryers were already cleaned and closed for the night, she got irate with me.
She started yelling in my ear about how she knew the owners of the place and she was going to get me fired and did she know who I was talking to. I calmly replied that yes, Mrs. Greene, I knew exactly who I was talking to, since my parents and I lived right across the street from her and she had asked us in church that morning what time we closed for the night.
We were never on speaking terms again.
36. The Honey Trap
I used to work in a Deli restaurant, and this lady comes in and rudely orders her food. I told her that everything should come out all right and that I will double check for her to make sure her order would be correct. She insisted on getting LOTS of honey mustard on her sandwich. I typed in extra honey mustard on the ticket. Sure enough her order comes out and there seemed to be plenty of honey mustard there.
But when I deliver it she yells at me for not having the extra honey mustard I promised her and told me to “get a ton more honey mustard” for her. I go to the back of the store, get an entire new gallon jug of honey mustard, and plop it on her table. Her friends were laughing and she was steaming mad. She complained to the manager, who thought it was hilarious and actually laughed in her face.
37. The Human Touch
I used to work as a croupier at clubs, and during a shift change my colleague accidentally made a wrong payment to a playing customer. Gamblers being what they are, the complaining that ensued was pretty awkward and no matter how much my colleague said he was sorry, the customer kept on wining. Finally, I just had to take over the situation with the perfect reply.
I said: “Sir, people make mistakes, we are not robots. If you want to play with machines, there are slot machines in the other bar”. He shut up and the other players seemed relieved.
38. They Grow Up So Fast
I worked in electronics at Target at the time, although it wasn’t the customer who suddenly shut up, it was me. This was around 2004, when GTA: San Andreas just came out. An older woman walks up to the electronics desk and addresses me. Customer: “I’d like to buy Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”. Me: “Is this a gift for someone?” Customer: “Yes, this is for my 4-year-old grandson”.
Me: “Well, ma’am, just to let you know, this game has been rated ‘M’ for Mature, and has a lot of aggression, profanity, drug use, and other adult content”. Customer: “That’s okay, he’s already been exposed to all that…”
39. Out Of Pocket
I worked at a pharmacy as a technician. This patient brings in a prescription for a very expensive, name brand only drug, but has good insurance. I fill it and the patient causes a scene at the cash register because the copayment is 30 dollars instead of the usual 10 that the patient pays for generic meds. The patient whines and moans about the “broken healthcare system” and “those insurance companies”.
I inform the patient that, without insurance, the drug would cost her thousands of dollars every year out of pocket. Patient then proceeds to shut up.
40. A Taste Of Their Own Medicine
Once upon a time, I worked at a Kinko’s, which is famous for having irate customers. But we had a secret weapon to deal with jerks. We had a guy on our shift with honest to goodness Tourette’s where he would tic and swear loudly, then continue the conversation. We found that if we told the irate customer that he’d have to “talk to the supervisor,” then send up Mr. Tourette, they’d be shut up by having someone swear in their face.
I think it just shocked them out of their panties-in-a-bunch state. Worked great.
41. Don’t Keep Me Hanging
I worked at a hotel front desk in a ski resort in Lake Tahoe. People would call (with disturbing frequency) several MONTHS in advance of their reservation to ask: “Is it going to be SNOWING the day I drive up on April 5th?” The best solution was to say, “Hold on, let me check” and then the staff would take cockfight-style bets on how long the customer would sit on hold before they gave up. Sometimes it would be like 15 minutes.
42. Sticker Shock
I work at CVS. Items are usually marked up higher than places like Target or any supermarket. One customer comes in and buys some useless item. When she sees that it’s $10.99 or something similar, she goes off at me. “YOU CAN’T LIE TO ME ABOUT THAT PRICE. THAT IS $6.99 AT TARGET THERE’S NO WAY YOU CAN TELL ME THAT’S $10.99!” All I could say was, “Well if you really want to pay $6.99 for it, then go to Target”. She got the heck out of there.
43. Crossing A Line
I work at Best Buy in the warehouse, and we cover breaks for the guys working the cameras up front. A co-worker was covering a break when this guy came up to one of the front lane registers. There was a bit of a line and we only had two lanes open. One of the front lane guys is handicapped. It doesn’t affect his job, it just takes him longer to walk around.
The customer finally made his way to the front of the line and paid with a credit card. The front lane rep needed to see the last 4 digits of the credit card and asked to see his card “real quick”. The customer FLIPPED OUT. He said, “Oh NOW you want to do something real quick”. Then he muttered just loud enough for everyone to hear: “I should have known not to get in the short bus line”.
My co-worker who was observing the cameras saw everything and was not very happy. He walked up to the customer, grabbed all his merchandise, and said, “Nope, you’re not buying anything today. You can leave”. Never been so proud of him.
44. Can’t Defy Physics
I work at Toys R Us. That should be bad enough. But for a specific story, I worked the back of house. Those are the guys who bring down bicycles, power wheels, and other large items that are purchased from the back of the store up front to the customer. This one time, this man purchased a large power wheel (Barbie Jammin’ Jeep ’08 model I believe).
When I brought it out, I see the customer standing next to his car. A small, two-door Nissan. I immediately inform the man that the box will not fit in his car, and that we can hold it for him if he wished to come back later with a larger vehicle. He said that wouldn’t work; he had to get the jeep now because he’s been searching for weeks for it. I again tell him how the box is larger than his car and it will not fit.
He tells me that’s bull and has me attempt to load the car into the trunk, then the front seat. After 20 failed minutes, I tell the man I can no longer spend time on this. I tell him I can write down his information, put the jeep on hold, and wait for him to return with a different car. He says he’s going to continue to try and put it in his car. I leave him be and resume my work.
About a half hour later, I get a call from the customer service desk that I have to bring a returned jeep back to the storage area.
45. A Little Sunday Shopping
I used to work at Home Depot over the summer as a cashier. The very best was the woman who came up to my line with a cart that had only a single small box of nails. Odd, I thought, but maybe she just didn’t find what she needed the cart for. So I ring her up and she says, “Well what about the rest of my order? I need 800 lbs of Quickcrete, 50 10′ 2x4s, ten 8′ 4x4s.”..
She starts reading off all of the ingredients she needs to make a massive deck, or a dock, or something. She then asks me sweetly if I’ll help her get them while she waits in line, holding up the 10 people behind her while I pull an entire back yard’s worth of lumber and concrete out for her. I told her we couldn’t do that, and gave her the number to call to have her order pulled.
She freaked out. Spent about 20 minutes screaming at me, even after I called the head cashier and had him handle her. See, she would run over to my lane while I was with other customers to tell me how “unprofessional” I was being, and that this is why everyone goes to Lowe’s nowadays, because there they care about the customer.
46. Dedicated To The Game
I was working in an indie model/wargame/TCG shop. A group of kids around 13 years old turn up after school to play Yu-Gi-Oh inside. As their game drags on, one kid asks us where the toilets are. We direct him to the bus station, but he complains about the 30-second walk. He remains playing. Suddenly, we hear laughter from this kid and a pool of moisture forming down his trouser leg and onto our carpet.
My boss and I stare in utter disbelief as this kid shakes his leg, and remains playing his card game. Boss goes crazy and forces the kid to clean the carpet before banning him for a week. Kid returns next week to the nickname Wazzers.
47. Extra, Extra, Read All About It
During high school, I worked at a Burger King. There was this one woman who would always come into drive thru during the afternoon and ask for a Whopper Jr with extra onions. And I mean, a LOT of extra onions. And no matter how many we put in, she always came into the store and complained that there weren’t enough. Still, this was in the middle of the afternoon, so we didn’t care.
However, one day, we had four buses full of US Army enlistees at the store at the same time. Convoys of chartered buses would go by periodically, and they usually stopped at our store because the bus drivers knew my boss. Now, these people were always the nicest, most respectful people you can possibly imagine, which was a welcome change after dealing with jerks the whole day.
They also always ordered a ton of food—all king-size, tons of double and triple whoppers, the whole nine yards. My boss would always have me give them the “senior discount” (15% off), and they enjoyed that immensely, because it said that they were getting a senior discount on their receipts. Anyways, nice as they were, they strained our store to the limit because they ordered so much food.
So we were almost literally going hammer and tongs to keep up, and then the worst happens. Onion woman comes into drive thru. My boss told me to just grab two handfuls of onions and put them on the sandwich, because she didn’t need a scene when we were as far behind as we were. I could barely close the burger because of the onions, but I managed it and we gave it to her.
Now remember, the store is completely full of US Army enlistees. They probably have not had fast food for weeks (I think they were going from boot camp to get their first assignments). And the line was out the door. So onion woman pushes her way past all of these people, rudely shoving them out of her way, and comes up to the counter screaming that she didn’t have enough onions.
My boss is angry, so she takes the sandwich, hands it to me, and tells me to do whatever I want with it. I knew just what to do. I dumped the ENTIRE TUB of onions on this (probably about 1.5 LITERS of onions), and wrapped it up really, REALLY tight, and taped it shut (Note that the wrappers were somewhat elastic…). My boss hands it to the woman, and she opens it right on the counter to “make sure we have enough” even though it’s like six times bigger than normal.
The thing EXPLODED ALL OVER. SO freaking awesome. All the guys trying not to laugh. One of their officers (a quite young 1st Lt.) was waiting by the counter for his food, and finally he just gave up and started laughing his butt off. The men took this as a cue, and she had about 250 men dying laughing at her.
One of the best days of my high school life. She didn’t come back for a month, and she never, EVER complained about not having enough onions.
48. Wet And Wild
I used to work in Best Buy services. It was sort of like Geek Squad before Geek Squad and it dealt with everything like TVs and VCRs and junk. One day we had a guy come in and complain about his little video camera not working. I agree to take a look at it even though there’s not much I can do but send it back to the manufacturer for him.
It will take some time, but that was 90% of the problem people had with services. Naturally, this guy wants a new one on the spot and he starts getting REALLY loud about it. So I call the manager. While I’m waiting for them to come up, I’m still tinkering with the camera in the back. I get some tools out and, hey, look I got the thing open for the guy. When I saw what was on it, I knew we had him.
A minute or so later I come back out when the manager gets there. The manager is talking to the guy as I move a computer up to the counter. I jump in and say, “Hey, I don’t think we should give this guy a new unit”. The guy gives me dagger eyes and the manager is like, “Oh? why’s that?” Then I play the footage of what is unmistakably someone running around a pool, dropping the camera, which tumbles into the pool.
He had taken out the tape but it was recorded to the memory stick. Guy takes his camera and quietly leaves the store.
49. If The Shoe Doesn’t Fit…
I work in a shoe shop. One of the services we supply is to check how well school shoes fit on our younger customers. Once a staff member has signed to say they are a good fit, the customer is able to bring them back if there are any problems. This one time, a mother came back in with her son a week after being fitted with a pair, loudly mouthing off that the shoes were too tight and causing blisters.
Even though she was being a psycho about it, we offered to get her a new pair. Once back in the kids department, she spotted the girl who fitted the original shoes and went crazy at her, demanding that the girl should be there while a better pair was fitted so she wouldn’t make the same mistake again. Despite the mom saying some pretty degrading stuff about her, the girl agreed to sit in on the re-fit in an attempt to help out.
She remembered the customer, even to the point of remembering the child’s name, and was visibly upset about doing a bad job. Returning to the till, the fitter offered to put the exchange through as a final gesture of goodwill. She then froze, realization dawning on her. “These aren’t your sons shoes” she said to the customer. They have a name tag inside saying Tommy, and your son’s name is Billy.
Turns out the kid had swapped his shoes with another boy in his class. Laughed that witch out of the shop.
50. The Old Switcharoo
When I was a server, I was that server that everyone claims they would always be if they did one day become a server in a restaurant. I filled up glasses when they needed to be refilled without asking, I brought out a bowl of lemons if you asked for lemons; if you wanted extra ice, you got a whole extra glass full of ice. Heck, I was even careful enough to write down every order even though I could easily memorize it and get it right.
One particularly busy night, I’m working a party of about 20 people. It’s a Friday night and the kitchen is slammed. Everything was going smooth, I thought—until I bring out the drinks and salads. There is one idiot that starts off saying I didn’t bring her anything right (wrong dressing, drink had a lemon, too much ice, etc.). I play the gracious and apologetic server correcting the issue despite knowing she is wrong.
The meal comes out. It goes from bad to worse. She explodes about how I can’t seem to do anything right and what a screw up I am. I proceed to congratulate her on the fine example she is setting for the kids at the table on how to treat another human being, and what classy language she was using. I then proceeded to show her where I wrote down everything she asked for.
The type of salad, the dressing she wanted, how she wanted it on the side, pulled the straw I gave her from under her bread plate and told her that I did give her one. I also talked about how I heard when her sister had ordered another dish, that she told her sister that she wanted that dish instead, and advised that she maybe should have simply asked for me to change the order instead of trying to play it off as if I was truly a “screw up” as she claimed.
I said maybe next time she would do a better job of making sure the server was not in earshot when she says something like that. I then told her that I would go and have the kitchen fix the meal she really wanted, instead of the one she ordered, and that it would take about 10 minutes before it was ready. Needless to say, the whole table was quiet. Then came the most glorious moment.
Her father piped up and simply said, “Honey, It’s about time someone called you out on your antics”. The old man gave me a $100.00 tip when he paid for the meal, strong handshake, and a thanks.
51. On The Edge
When I was a kid, my family owned several pizza places. I didn’t hang around them much because I was fairly young, but my older sisters worked at the big one waitressing and cashiering.
She told me that one night, the well-dressed father of a large family that had ordered several large pizzas tried to get out of paying for them because the pizza didn’t have sauce/cheese/ingredients all the way to the “edge”.
The family had eaten the entire pies except for the crusts. My sister refused to refund his money, he threw a huge fit and reduced my sister to tears. He kept yelling and demanded to see the owner—my dad. Dad came out, saw my sister sobbing, and got the story from one of the cooks. He didn’t say a word.
He just slammed the guy’s head through the wall and well into the store next door. The guy had to be taken away on a stretcher. The staff and a couple of customers told the authorities that the customer had tried to hit my sister so my dad wouldn’t get taken into custody. Dad didn’t get physical often, but when he did, he played for keeps.
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