March 28, 2023 | Eul Basa

The Sneakiest Customer Ploys

People come up with all kinds of weird ways to get free or discounted stuff. Sometimes these methods involve sneaky tricks played by the customer. From confusing cash transactions to ricocheting oyster shells, these Redditors have seen it all. Have you ever tried pulling off any of these sneaky ploys?

1. The Callback

So, at work today, a customer calls me up, and asks if we have a certain product in stock. I tell him we do, and the price. He asks if we price match, I tell him, “Yes, but we would need to verify with the store, either by phone or online stock check”. He asks what time I'm here until because he “likes dealing with the same person”, and I tell him.

Fast forward two hours after I've finished work, my manager is texting me to call her about a price match issue. I call her, and what she tells me is infuriating. She says the customer is claiming we didn't need to check anything, and that I gave him many options. He also told her I'd agreed to a lower price than we had mentioned, and that I'd already checked it. This sneaky guy tried to pull a fast one by lying but I could have gotten into some serious trouble, and all over ten dollars.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

2. Between A Rock And A Hard Place

In high school, I worked a service desk at a supermarket. Whenever somebody returned a small appliance, we always cut open the box to make sure all the parts were with it. One day a guy showed up looking to return an air conditioner. I cut open the box, and there was nothing but a rock inside. He ran out of the store pretty quickly.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysFlickr, Forrest Wheatey

3. Money Talks

I worked at a grocery store a couple of years back. One day, this older woman comes to my line, buys only a pack of Reese's peanut butter cups, and pays with a $100 bill. Before I can count her change back to her, she snatches it out of my hand and walks out. A few minutes later, she comes back in and claims that I shorted her $80 (I think she said $80, it was some ridiculous amount).

Most of the cashiers in the evening were teenagers (including myself) so she probably just assumed that they would be stupid and give her the money, but there was no way I was going to be scammed by her.

I called the manager over and asked him to count my cash drawer. Of course, the woman asked if she could go outside for a smoke in the meantime and didn't come back. She actually came in again a few months later and tried the same thing. This time when she grabbed for her change I kept it out of her reach and slowly counted it back to her. She didn't come back in.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysShutterstock

4. Gaming The System

I worked at GameStop years ago. A little old lady brought in her grandkids and told them to pick out whatever they wanted from the used PS2 wall (which at the time was still 1/3 of the store). She asked us for a used PS2, with extra used controllers. These kids must've picked out 20 games. She bought and paid for all of them.

As she was leaving, we reminded her (as we had to, it was policy) that everything used could be returned within seven days for any reason. She replied, "Oh I know. My grandkids are only staying with me for five days. I'm bringing all this stuff back on day six! It’s cheaper than renting”! There was absolutely nothing we could do.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysFreepik, asier_relampagoest

5. The Nibbler

This lady used to come into my job and order this HUGE breakfast all the time. Same one, every time. And every time, about a third of the way into it, she would say something was the matter with it, it was inedible and didn't want to pay for it. We complied many times. After personally seeing this happen a few times, I started to wonder how she got a bad breakfast every time? And WHY did she keep coming in and ordering it, considering what bad luck she kept having?

I came to find out the bizarre truth about her. A regular customer knew her. They told us she had gastric bypass surgery and could no longer eat very much. So this lady would just come in, eat till she was full, which wasn't much, and then complain that it was bad. Being that she hardly ate it, we always believed her and didn't make her pay. The next time she came in, I refused her service. She FREAKED out. When I asked her why she continued to come in even though her meal was ALWAYS bad, her response was: "I'm waiting to get a good meal".

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

6. I’m Not Lovin’ It

I used to work at McDonald's. This particular night, I was handing out orders to the cars at the second window. This woman had ordered a couple of value meals and a happy meal. We got the happy meal done first and I handed it out. She looked in the bag, then looked up at me and very sweetly said, "I'm so sorry, but they put fries in this bag, and I wanted apple dippers”.

So I apologized, took the bag, and replaced it. The manager on duty happened to be nearby and said to me, "But the order said fries". I told her, "I know, but she told me she wanted apple dippers". An hour later the store gets a call and said manager goes to answer it. She comes back sometime later and says, "Remember that order where you replaced the fries with apple dippers? She just called and complained that she got apple dippers in her happy meal when she clearly ordered fries, which is what her receipt shows. She was wanting a couple of free value meals to make her happy over this "screw-up".

My jaw just dropped. I was only 17 at the time and hadn't really seen just how messed up people can be yet. I said, "I swear to you, she looked me in the eye and told me to replace the fries with apple dippers. I wouldn't have changed that if she hadn't". Luckily I didn't get in trouble, she believed me, but I was so angry that there was this customer who seemed so nice when she was there in front of me, then called back all angry and tried to get me in trouble. Just so she could get $10-$15 worth of free food.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysShutterstock

7. Networking

I worked at a university IT help desk. Someone was annoyed that I wouldn't break policy and let them back on the network after they were kicked off for a month due to repeated, blatant piracy resulting in DMCA complaints sent to us. They then asked to go talk to my boss about it and I told them where their office was and continued working.

Five minutes later, he comes walking out with an odd grin, with my boss following behind and looking like she's trying really hard to be serious and not being successful. My boss comes over to me, and says "He says you ignored him to play a computer game, and then were rude and insulting to him”. The customer has a look on his face like "ha, you're going to get fired now”! Well, he didn’t know who he was messing with.

My boss then goes "Of course, I know you're one of our best employees, so I figure that he's either making it up, or he deserves the treatment, which one is it”? I’ve never seen someone's face go so quickly from happy to "oh dang”. I explain what he's mad at me for, and then she tells me she's going to lock his account for the month out of our control to make sure he can't try to trick any other help desk employees into letting him back on.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysFlickr, University Libraries

8. Pet Games

Oh jeez. I work for a grooming salon and we are supposed to verify that the customer has paid for the services before we give them the dog. Harsh, I know, but some of these grooms run upwards of $100 and the store doesn't want to lose that—plus I don't want to lose my commission!

Anyway, a lady comes back from supposedly paying and shows me a receipt. It's a little crinkled but nothing I believe is out of the ordinary. I give her the dog. It turns out she had shown me the receipt from the previous time the dog had gotten groomed. I didn't check the dates or anything. I felt like a total idiot while explaining it to my manager the next day.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

9. Billing Department

I work at a movie theater connected directly to a mall. You know those pens you use to make sure a bill is real and not fake? I marked a $100 bill with one and it passed. It was the right color, though it seemed a bit darker than usual. I just assumed it was because the pen was really old and dry. So I called the manager to get change for it. It was a new shift, so I had a new register with not a lot of change. I hand it to my manager, the big GM who rarely works where I do. He is usually at other stores.

He begins walking to the back and holds the bill up to the light right before he turns the corner. He stops in his tracks. He comes back and says, "We can't accept this…it's a $5 bill”. I am standing there with a blank expression, but on the inside, I am freaking out. The customer says he got it from some check-to-cash place in the mall. My manager says, "Alright, we just have to call the authorities and tell them. You can wait here while we get it figured out”.

The guy walks out. The authorities are called, and a dude in a suit shows up. The guy checks the bill for everything ever in a big book he has with him, and everything gets sorted out. The theater didn't lose any money, and the guy who came in probably lost $5. Now, I check EVERY $100 bill for the security strip and watermark. I'd never heard of someone re-printing on a different bill to trick the pen. So, if you handle cash at work and use a pen to check it, always, ALWAYS check for the security strip and watermark. I'm glad I didn't get written up or fired because of that.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysFlickr, Ivan Radic

10. Marked

I worked at Burger King in Hamburg, Germany while I was studying there. We were slammed at lunch with people backing out the door and this guy paid for his lunch with a 20-mark note. He waited 20 minutes, then came back in and demanded another 30 marks in change claiming he had given me a 50-mark note. I had no way to prove to the customer or my manager what he had paid with, so I had to give him the 30 out of my drawer. At the end of my shift, my till was 30 marks short. The same manager who made me give him the money docked my pay 30 marks. It took me six hours of work to earn that.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysShutterstock

11. Jean Jeanie

I was working at Old Navy and we had just gotten in the "Rockstar Skinnies", and they came in an array of ghastly colors. A woman comes up to my register holding a bright blue pair. It was very obvious these are the pants that are in the front of the store, on display everywhere—but she’d planned the most ridiculous scam. I ring her up, and tell her "That'll be $34.94" and she promptly says "No, they're on sale". I look at the back of the tag I scanned, and there's a sloppily slapped-on clearance sticker reading $2.95.

I explain that it must have been a mistake, these are brand-new pants. If they were on sale it would show up in my system. She demands a manager and my supervisor calls her out, which made the woman storm away grumbling about how Old Navy is lame. We potentially would have honored a sale sticker if it made it on there somehow (even though it was obviously her) if she would have at LEAST put a realistic price on there. Do you really think you're going to get away with paying $3 for a pair of jeans?

The Sneakiest Customer PloysFreepik, peoplecreations

12. Dinner To Go

I work at a fine dining restaurant, and every year we have a truffle dinner. It's amazing, we make cocktails, desserts, and 13 courses all with different types of truffles, with a wine pairing per course. Needless to say, the price of a ticket is steep. It's usually over $200 per person, and some years even more. Upwards of 98% of the people who come here are valued regulars or friends of the owners or chefs so we let people pay at the end.

Well, this year we had one couple go out for a smoke and just never came back. We figured out who they were in the reservation book and quickly called the number, thinking they were drinking a lot and that they had probably made an honest mistake. Well, both numbers were fake and they had dined and dashed on us. It was obviously planned out.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

13. Phony Phone

I sold a guy a phone years ago when I worked for a wireless carrier. I spent an hour getting all his information transferred and set up his new phone. He comes in the next day with a shattered screen. Apparently, he didn’t remember that I was the rep who helped him and he proceeded to tell me that is how it looked when he left the store. Needless to say, the phone was not replaced.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysFlickr, Jay Tamboli

14. Playing Telephone

I work in customer service for a major cell phone company. "I never received the phone I purchased" happens all the time. It's actually very amusing because then I can do this: "Oh, gosh Mr. Derp, I'm so sorry that you didn't receive your phone. The tracking number indicates that it was delivered to the address you requested about three days ago. Have you possibly checked with a neighbor who may have retrieved it for you”?

Mr. Derp: "Nope, no one has the phone. It must have been stolen. I'm going to need a new one”.

Cue a big evil grin from me: "Hmmm okay then, Mr. Derp. The reason I'm asking is that I'm pretty concerned. The serial number of the phone we sent you is actually showing as being in use for three days on the same line you're calling me from right now". That’s usually when they hang up.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

15. Fruit Folly

I used to work as a shift leader at a chocolate shop that served fondue. We'd serve bananas among other things to dip in the chocolate. One time we had gotten a bad batch of bananas that we had to throw away early because they got so bad so fast. So we were telling customers that they would get extra of everything else but we had no bananas.

Well, a lady came in and wanted a fondue, and we gave her the “no banana” speech and she was totally okay with it. Big mistake. As soon as we took the fondue out to her she went crazy and freaked out about not having bananas! Her son even said, "They said before that they didn't have any”, and she just shushed him and continued yelling at me.

I don't know what happened but the next thing that came out of my mouth was, "Well Ma'am, I told you we had no bananas. If you want them so bad we have some spoiled ones in the dumpster out back. Feel free to help yourself". My co-workers burst out laughing behind me but she wasn't so happy. She ended up calling our pushover manager and got a free fondue, not because of what I had said, but because there were no bananas!

The Sneakiest Customer PloysFlickr, Sofitel So Bangkok

16. Ticket Taker Trouble

Many years ago I worked at a little dingy movie theater in my hometown. It was my first job, super easy and lax. Of course, you get some angry customers, but nothing too serious. However, we did have this one guy who came in every single weekday for the first show (he was probably in his mid-50s) and I opened the box office every day of the week.

This guy used to come, and I’m not even joking, almost every single movie he would walk out 30 minutes to an hour in and come up to me and demand a refund because "his movie was awful". I had to then call my manager Corey every time. Corey would talk to him about it, and had to follow procedure and then refund the guy. One day this guy doesn't show (thank God).

It's about 1:00 pm and a little bit of a crowd picks up. I'm the only one in the box office and I’m trying to get through the line, then this guy comes up. But it's a little different now. He has a ticket from another movie theater (I'm not joking, not even a theater in OUR chain. Just a theater nearby). So he starts ranting about how he went to that theater, the service was awful, the movie was awful, he slides the ticket to me and says "I want a refund".

I'm too flabbergasted. I don't know what to say. I TRY to explain that we can't refund tickets to any theater but our own, even if it's one in our chain. This guy starts cutting me off mid-sentence while I'm trying to explain, and there's still a line and stuff and impatient customers. He starts raising his voice and saying it's stupid because he's "been a patron for years”!

So I say, “Hold on, let me call my manager”. He comes in knowing very well what to expect. I start taking other customers while Corey is dealing with this guy. After the line dies down and it's a break between shows he's still talking to him (it's been about 20 minutes). The guy is still demanding that he should at least get in for free because he spent money on the ticket to the other place, all this nonsense. Finally, my manager tells him he was not going to do it, and then said, "I really don't care if you never come to see another movie here again", but put it a little more nicely. The guy throws the ticket at him and tells him to screw off, and luckily never comes back.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

17. Getting Carded

When I was a kid, I worked at this mom-and-pop deli/grocery store. It was a small town so I knew virtually everyone that walked through the door. One day, we were really busy and there was actually a line of customers. The store was set up like a bodega, so the cash register was just in front of the store by the door, not like a supermarket checkout line.

Anyway, there were about six or seven people waiting to get stuff when in walks a teenager that I hadn't seen before. She's pretty attractive and very smiley. She grabs a pack of cigarettes and puts it on the counter, very nonchalantly, while I'm trying to get everyone settled. I start calling out prices to people of what they had in their hands: "Bill, $4.75, Chris, $5 bucks, You (girl with the cigs), I need ID".

"Oh, I don't have any. I just need this pack though, is it ok if I don't show my ID this one time”?

"No, it's not ok". I take back the cigs, like a boss, and tell her to go get her ID and come back.

Three days later the owner comes to me and thanks me. When I found out why, I was stunned.

It turns out she received a letter from the state licensing board stating that her cashier denied a minor from purchasing tobacco and that the girl was part of a sting to try to catch stores violating the law. If I let her slide it would have cost the store thousands in fines and possibly losing their license to sell cigarettes. The owner wound up giving me a raise instead.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

18. Take A Seat

I was managing afternoon tea at a really nice hotel in my town. There was a table with two women—one of whom was employed as a manicurist in the spa—and a child around five years old playing on a DS. They enjoy their petit fours etc. and when we present them with the bill they start complaining that the DS was stolen from their table when they went to the restroom. I explained that none of my staff had seen it nor had they taken it.

Fast forward 30 minutes and they are demanding that we comp their bill (around $30 per person) and replace the missing DS. The whole time the little girl is squirming and looking like she wants to say something. Next thing I know she looks at the lady making the fuss and says she is sitting on the DS. Sure enough, everyone stops talking and the woman looks defeated. She was sitting on the DS case the entire time and was aware that it was there. It was so stupid, to say the least.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

19. Did You Turn It Off And On Again?

I work as a Tech Support rep for a cable company. I basically take calls and troubleshoot internet failures and cable issues. It's a very easy job, we were provided on-the-job training and decent pay with bonus opportunities. The job is meant to get me through school. Anyhow, a man called in and just wanted to complain that his internet service was out the day before.

It was about 10 o'clock, and our customer service department closes at 8:00 pm. I tell him this and ask him if his service is on now. He says yes, but he wanted to lodge a complaint. So I said it was understandable, but that he'd have to call in the morning and that I couldn't help him unless there was an issue with his service. His answer was infuriating. He says, "Oh, well ALL of my stuff is off then. How does that sound”?

Then he laughs at me like I'm an idiot. So I said "Sir, you just said all of your service is working fine. Are you just saying that to keep me on the line"? So he curses at me and I escalate him to a supervisor. I found out later that he told the supervisor that I threatened him and refused to troubleshoot his issues. And that I refused to get him to a supervisor. But I got the last laugh.

I simply said to replay the call. They did and made fun of how idiotic the guy was.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

20. Which Watch

My dad is a watchmaker. He's been doing it since he was like eight years old and he learned from my grandfather. Suffice it to say he's about the best watchmaker in all of California at this point. Historically, when you fix a watch you make a little personal mark with the date on the inside of the back of the case so that if the watch broke down you could give the customer a warranty.

One of my dad's customers, who was a jeweler, kept bringing watches back. My dad would look at the movement (motor) and it would look like it hadn't been serviced in years. You can tell because the oil is dried up and there's dust and stuff inside. But when he looks inside of the case back…there's his signature and date from only a few weeks before.

This kept happening so my dad started to write the watches' serial numbers down and it turned out that for every service this guy paid for, he would just switch the watch back and bring in another watch. What's worse is that this guy was a multi-millionaire and my dad was just a laborer. He was stealing my dad's time. Screw that guy.

I work with him now and we have a computer database for that stuff. People still try that stuff but we quickly call them on it and they usually shut up.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

21. Spreading Yourself Thin

When my Pop was about 17, he worked at a restaurant supply store. Basically, it was a store that carried all of the basic supplies/appliances a restaurant would need, and also some industrial-sized packages of food. Well, this guy comes in and asks for a huge jar of mayonnaise, which my dad sells to him. A while later, the same guy comes back and says that his boss told him to return the mayo since it was the wrong brand, and he apologized that he opened it before being told this.

My dad figures, “hey, no problem” and takes the jar to throw away before he gets the brand the guy wants, no charge. So apparently my dad was very familiar with the approximate weight of a giant jar of mayo at the time, and immediately realized something was up. He opens up the jar in front of the guy, and scoops out some of the mayo only to reveal that he had filled the rest of the jar with sand in an attempt to get more for his money. This being 1964, he looks at the guy and tells him to screw off and never come back. The guy looks at the owner, who tells him the same thing.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysShutterstock

22. Locked Up

I worked at a small bike shop in high school. I had a guy come in once and try to return five or so U-Locks with no receipt. This, coincidentally, was the number of that type of U-Lock we tended to keep in stock, and the store was small enough that I could look over and see that the rack was empty. So I tell him I can't do anything without a receipt.

He goes out to his car to get it, leaving the locks on the counter, and never comes back. So he pretty clearly had walked in, grabbed them off the stand before I had gotten out from the back, and tried to "return" them. I'm still not sure what I would have done if he had tried to take them with him…

The Sneakiest Customer PloysFlickr, nikki

23. Dollars For Dumplings

I deliver Chinese food, and a few weeks ago I had an order that was like $62, and I had about $40 on me for change. When I get to the house, the customer hands me a hundred and asks me if I have changed, and I say I think I have just enough. As I'm fumbling with another member of the household (the customer's brother/husband whatever) by handing them bags, I go to take out my money, and she takes it out of my hands and says, "Oh I'll do that for you". I’m still mad about what happened next.

Kind of rude, but a nice gesture I suppose since I'm somewhat busy. "Oh this will do", she says and closes the door. I know I had a few dollars over what she needed, so not only did she not tip me, I actually lost a couple of bucks. It was a fairly far delivery order too, but I'm not going to start trouble for such a small amount, but it sure did make me mad.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

24. Box It Up

A guy had an Xbox 360 (classic model) in a new Slim box and tried to return it. He claimed it came that way and that's why he was returning it. After pointing out several things that alone would make it ineligible for return such as past return policy, information on the 360 suggesting it was years old, and the serial number on the packaging wasn't the same as the receipt meaning it wasn't even the same packaging purchased.

After some yelling and such, a higher-up in a separate department came in wondering what was going on, and with the authority to do so, okayed the return. The fact that he just gave $300 cash to a customer returning a product we didn't even carry didn't phase him. So I guess that situation was screwed from both ends. You win some, you lose some.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysFlickr, N0fX

25. Macy’s Sale

I was working at Macy's and this lady would come in all the time and buy brand-new merchandise that we had just put out of the floor, but the ticket would be wrong and marked down to almost nothing. We honored the price the first time but she kept doing it over and over, even after we told her no. So one day I followed her—and what I saw was shocking.

She had actually brought a reticketing machine and was switching the tags of the brand-new merchandise with clearance tags. So she was taken out of the store.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysShutterstock

26. Drive On

I'm an automotive service advisor. I had a customer refuse to pay for his car after repairs were completed. He told me he was going to step outside to make a call, when he got in his car with a spare key and started it. I stood in front of the car to tell him he can't leave without paying. He proceeded to try and run me over. When I sidestepped the car, I broke his windshield with the back of my fist.

I called the authorities and had him taken into custody, but then they brought him back and I said I wouldn't press charges if he paid his bill and never brought his car back. He paid and left, and I felt like a boss. Five months later I get served with a subpoena as he wants to sue me for $4,500 and he wants to sue the shop for $7,000. He lost the case with prejudice (due to the sheer craziness of this kid), but I learned it's actually against the law for me to try and stop someone from leaving with their car and not paying. Oh, and I was invited to take the case to Judge Mathis but I didn't want to take time off.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

27. Regifted

About five years ago I was working at guest services at the mall. A man in his mid-20s walked in. He had a $500 mall gift card and he wanted cash for it. I explained that there was no way that I could give him cash for the card. He replied with a story: "Well, my fiancée got me this card for Christmas and a week later she dumped me. She's not talking to me so I can't give the card back, and having this card just makes me think of her”. Right away, I knew something was up.

I was really suspicious and couldn't refund him anyways, so I asked him, "Why don't you just use the card”? He starts up, "Like I said if I use it then I'm thinking about her and the things I buy will make me think about her”. I asked, "What's the difference with cash? How would buying things with cash make it better”? He smiled in a nervous way, but it was a joyful smile. They type of smile that a broken man could never make when his fiancée had dumped him a week after Christmas.

He was happy, and that didn't make sense to me. "You're lying”, I stated. He nervously chuckled, "My dad got it for me for Christmas, and I just wanted cash instead”. He left right after, and didn't say goodbye. After a few seconds of being stunned, I realized he left the card on the counter. I couldn't help but swipe it to check the balance, because after all that, how could I trust that there was really $500 on it? There was no money left on the card. I guess he thought he could use a sob story to get me to give him the money without checking on the card.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

28. Apples To Apples

I used to work for Apple, as an AppleCare senior advisor. I get this guy that says that his Macbook Pro has been running slow since he upgraded his OS. He's reinstalled and done all that stuff and has also been to an Apple Authorized Service Provider who said they identified an issue but didn't know how to fix it. There were no notes from the service provider so I needed a second opinion, so I sent him to a local Apple Store. He needs to get this fixed because he's going back home to India in a few days.

He called me back angrily, saying that the Apple Store reinstalled the OS and did nothing else, so I gave the Apple Store a call. They found nothing apparently wrong with the machine but they reinstalled the OS anyways to be sure. Now, I still want to help this guy out, he's only got a couple of days left on his warranty and I want to make sure his stuff is fixed, so I grant warranty exceptions to force the replacement of the main board, HDD and RAM and send him back to the same Apple store. The guy tells me he's pushed his flight to India back a few days to get this fixed.

He calls me back the next day, angry again. He’s outside the Apple Store and says the Apple store people wanted to charge him even though I had granted the exceptions. I talk to the genius that spoke to this guy and she tells me that they were happy to repair the machine at no cost. He stormed out when he heard it was going to take overnight to complete.

I tell the guy the way it works but he refuses to go back to that Apple store. After 30 minutes of arguing, I got him to go to another Apple Store to get the work done that day. He calls back again, the machine hasn't been repaired, unfortunately, I can't remember why. I'm just about to give this guy a new computer when I decide to call the last Apple Store to tear them a new one.

They tell me that he never entered the store…at all…his genius bar appointment was marked as unattended. WHAT?! Then it clicks, this guy is lying to me. The guy has obviously played the game before and knows we'll give him a new computer if he gets screwed around enough. I call both Apple stores again just to confirm their stories.

I track this guy down on Facebook. It's active but mentions nothing about going to India. I call the original service provider he apparently went to and they had never heard of him. I can't tell him he is lying to me, so I send him an email stating that a fault MUST be found before I replace the computer. I fill our case notes with a point form version of what's occurred and I stop returning his calls. Luckily for me, I left Apple two days later. Apparently, he never did get a new computer.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

29. Travel Perks

I used to work as a housekeeper/maid in a hotel (not a particularly fancy one, about £110 per night), and we'd frequently have people whine and moan about something. We've had people switch rooms six or seven times during their three-night stay because "it's too hot", "it's too cold", "the bathroom's too small", "the bed's too small", etc...

We had one man and his dog stay in the annex building (the three smallest, coldest, worst rooms), and I had to service the room. I did. The next day, I see a small dog running around the main building and ask the receptionist why. When she told me, I was furious. He'd complained bitterly about there being no tea, coffee, spoons, towels, or toiletries in the room. I got the blame, and he got the biggest room free of charge for an extra week. Of course, he didn't think to shut his suitcase, so we quickly worked out that he had taken everything. He still got the room for free.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysShutterstock

30. Free Ride

I work at an amusement park-type place that uses a system of cards (like credit cards) that we swipe at each attraction. You can pay by the hour or by the attraction. As long as it flashes green on my scanner you're good to go. We regularly have customers that buy a one-hour pass and then try to share it with five people. So five people get on the ride at the same time for the price of one.

They usually by sneaking the card through the bars and back into line. Luckily, our scanner flashes red if any time limit cards are scanned more than once in five minutes, so as to stop the sharing. Then we have to explain to the often adult people that this is wrong and they can't ride, usually causing a fuss and threats and name calling towards me or my coworkers. Fun times.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysFlickr, Doug Waldron

31. Price Match

We had some people pull into our car park one summer. A guy comes to the till to buy two patio kits at £50 each. I tell him the total is £100 and he says he bought one for £50 the day before in another branch. I say, “Yes but you're buying two, so it's doubled”. He then starts to argue that I'm overcharging him.

This went on for ten minutes with me explaining that he was buying two so it was more expensive than one. That’s when I realized his big idiotic plan. His entire scheme was to attempt to hold up the queue to a point where I'd give him one for free by acting like a dumb jerk. Once he realized the queue had disappeared, you know, due to it being a huge DIY store with multiple cashiers, he suddenly clicked and paid up, never to be seen again.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysShutterstock

32. Stick To Your Ribs

I used to work for Outback Steakhouse. One time, a gentleman came in and ordered Prime Rib. Now, it is store policy to remind people that "Prime Rib" does not constitute a rack of ribs, because people are stupid. This gentleman proceeds to become incensed that we would dare question his intelligence, and haughtily orders "the best prime ribs you have”. Facepalm.

A runner subsequently brings out his "prime ribs”. Sure enough, about 15 minutes later, he begins protesting aggressively that he ordered RIBS and demanding that an order of ribs be prepared for his obviously refined palate. However, as if that wasn’t bad enough, this gentleman had actually eaten about 3/4 of his "prime ribs" before staging his con.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

33. Taste Test

I had a woman outraged that I made her pay for a stuffed toy that she had given to her baby, who was strapped to the front of her, and then watched him stick the whole thing in his mouth. When I caught her trying to put it back, I told her she had to purchase it. First, she told me she thought our merchandise was there just for kids to walk around with. No.

Then she told me it was ridiculous because he's just a baby. I said that is why adults need to supervise their children. Then she said that the policy was outrageous and there were no signs posted saying that she had to buy it. I told her there were no signs because, for most people, it's common sense. Then she told me she had never had this problem before.

At that point, I told her that other stores had probably never seen her do it. I asked her if she would give her child anything that had been in a stranger's mouth and that there are no stores that allow this kind of behavior because it's a health hazard. Five dollars later (I wasn't letting this woman go), I wanted to follow her to the next store and lick every shoe she wanted to try on. After all, it's no big deal, it's just a little saliva!

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

34. Wired Up

Years ago I worked at a small hardware store where they were constantly getting huge rolls of copper wire taken. One day this guy and his girlfriend come in to return a roll. I was a few months in on the returns counter. They had no receipt and when I scanned the item for the return it was only doing the price per foot.

I couldn’t figure out how to get the SKU or the price for the whole roll. I called the manager and he comes out and right away knows something is fishy. There’s no way these people bought a roll and returned it. So he asks when they bought it and they say two weeks ago—the common response—and my manager tells them, “Oh really, because the last time we sold an entire roll was over three months ago”.

The guy starts to get brave and tells him, “So you’re saying I took it”?! And my manager says yes. They end up leaving and they leave the roll behind. Before they leave the store the guy says, “I’m coming back and bringing the authorities”. My manager says, “Go ahead, that way you can explain to them how you took the roll in the first place”.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysFlickr, Theen Moy

35. Free Pass

So I worked at this parking structure near Disneyland. It was for this mall that was mostly designed for tourists, but now just idiots going to the club show up. Well anyway, this convertible pulls up to my booth and these two jerks pull up with two girls in the back and hand me their ticket. I take it, it's a three-dollar charge, so he gives me $20. I open the register and the gate opens.

Just as I am about to give him $17 in change, he tells me he has exact change. Delighted (because I hate giving change for twenties…it depletes my ability to make change) I hand him back his 20. He takes it, looks at me, and says "Suckerrrrr”! and drives off. I just stood there, motionless, wondering why me.

Then I pulled out my wallet and put three dollars in the drawer. I didn't want my bank to be short. Working at a parking structure, people treat you like scum, but that was one of the worst days at work.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysShutterstock

36. BOGO Froyo

I used to work at a froyo place, where you're charged by the ounce. I've had a lot of customers "happen" to try to lift the scales while I'm weighing the cups. The craftier ones would try to push their bags next to it and cover their hands.

The thing is, the cups the customers typically get average about to $4-$6, so when I suddenly see a whopping full cup, filled to the brim with peanut butter cups, ring up to $2, it was all too obvious.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysFlickr, Tom Ellefsen

37. Can’t Compute

A pretty common thing when repairing computers was for customers to bring in a fried computer for an easy upgrade and then try to blame it on us. Generally, we were pretty good about catching it beforehand. But one time when I was fairly new, I made an embarrassing mistake. A guy pulled it in the middle of an evening rush with his whole family in the store (seriously) and it completely slipped my mind to actually boot the computer before trying to install the new ram.

Long story short, the processor was fried and we wound up having to swap it too. When I figured out what was going on I mentioned it to the managers, they decided not to call the guy a liar in front of his family or other customers and were nice enough to not dock my pay the $100 for a replacement processor for the guy's piece of junk computer. I'm pretty sure this is common in just about every service industry too. It's enough to make me never want to do customer service ever again.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

38. Book Exchange

Our store had a line of books at $25 each…they weren't cheap. One Christmas, the publisher decided they were going to sell them at Costco in a gift set—without our store's knowledge. This jerk publisher even prints a price on the gift set packaging ($130) then labels the shrink wrap with the $30 it would sell for at Costco. Of course, the $130 was made up. The gift set never sold for that much because it never existed outside of Costco. In fact, the "original" price didn't even add up properly.

Out of the woodwork came every dishonest guy in the city who would separate the books and try to return them to our store at their individual prices in an attempt to make $100 at our expense. Luckily we quickly noticed a small difference in the printing on the books that made them easy to identify. I'd ask them a few questions to figure out who was trying to scam us and who just had a deceitful mother-in-law.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

39. The Italian Job

I used to work at a large supermarket chain with stores all over the world. My particular store was in the middle of a massive tourist district, and for some reason, a LOT of older Italians lived there. Anyway, every day I would be at work, one lady would come in, and sometimes her friends would do it too, and they would have this massive smile on their face.

Then they would come up and explain that something was wrong with a particular product they had bought. They did it every day, and it was always the same deal. She would come in, buy something, take it home, eat half of it, then come back the next day and try to return it. Bread, cereal, cigarettes, fish, fruit. And if something wasn't refundable, like a half-eaten fish or chickens, or fruit or something, the one making the return would get furious then storm off, only to come back the next day to do it all again.

And there was NEVER anything wrong with anything she brought back. Everything was always way before the best-before date, and there was never anything wrong with any of the items. Then more and more of these Italians came in and did the same thing. One man always brought something to me and asked how much it was, and when I told him, he'd say "Too much too much, make it lower", and when I told him I couldn't he'd curse and leave.

I put up with all of this, until one day, I couldn’t take it anymore. The original lady came to buy cigarettes. I sold her the packet and broke a $100 bill for her. She came back five minutes later with the money in her hand and said I still owed her $55. I kicked her out and banned her, and was subsequently reprimanded as she'd complained to the store manager. I quit about a month later.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

40. Language Lesson

I work in a restaurant that sells chicken, turkey, and meatloaf primarily. You pick your meat and pick two sides and cornbread. You figure it out. So the woman has sort of an elaborate order, no big deal. I turn around to tell the meat carver what I need but I talk to him in Spanish. He's Mexican and his English isn't too good so everything moves faster and all around more pleasantly if I ask him in Spanish. I also speak it fluently.

So I get the meat, get the sides etc. She pays and goes on her way. The next day or so my manager says that corporate received a complaint and is requesting her next meal be free. I ask, "What was the complaint”? She said you were speaking in a different language while handling her food". If someone is truly offended or uncomfortable by my speaking Spanish then say it upfront. Don't go calling. Everyone I ask usually just says that she was trying to get a free meal. Which she did.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

41. Brown Bananas

There was this old lady who would buy some fruit and veggies, then about a week later she would come back into the store and complain about the quality of the fruit and veggies saying that it had gone off. The type of thing she would complain about was that the bananas she brought had gone brown. The worst of it was the manager of the fruit and veg section of the supermarket would give her replacement food.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysFlickr, Joel Kramer

42. It’s In The Mail

I used to work at Papa John's. One day some lady called in asking why she was "receiving mail with the wrong name on it and if we could change the name". I told her that we were just a delivery store and didn't deal with the mail that got sent out. Her answer was unforgettable. She said that she "suffered a great amount of distress" because Papa John's didn't recognize her as a loyal customer by sending her mail with the wrong name on it and she wanted a free pizza for her grief. My manager let her have it. (The pizza that is).

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

43. The Breakup

I was a waiter in college. A young couple comes in, eats, and the guy goes out to have a smoke. Twenty minutes later, the girl is still sitting there. I asked her if everything was alright and she started getting choked up. She says that she has been trying to call him and he is not answering. She thinks that he might have left her there and she doesn't have any money.

Feeling bad about this, I tell my manager that I would like to pay for their meal, and he tells me not to worry about it, he will comp it. I go back and tell the girl and she is so happy, she actually gives me a hug. As I am walking outside to seat some people on the patio, I see her get into the guy's car, who was waiting for her in the parking lot. It was a great ploy, and because we comped the meal, she technically didn't take anything without paying.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

44. Reverse Psychology

I work in a bar. A lady sat on one of the stools and a screw came through the covering and scratched her leg (enough to make it red and scrape some skin, but not enough to make it bleed). She kind of kicked off about it so we apologized profusely, removed the stool, and gave her and her friends a free round of drinks. They seemed happy enough with this, but when they next came to the bar they demanded more free drinks saying the manager had told them they could drink for free all night.

He'd definitely not said this and would never say this to anyone (a group of six, drinking for four or five hours for free, you're losing some major $$). I told them they couldn't drink for free, an argument ensued, and threats of lawsuits were given, so I came up with a plan.

I told them they could drink for half price. They were too wasted to realize their supposedly £30 round that I was “letting them have” for £15 only cost £15 in the first place. And I only gave them half measures.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

45. Paper Money

I used to work at a game store a little more than ten years ago. Once, a woman came in dressed fairly trendy and asked for two PlayStation Portables (PSP), two Xbox 360s, and a handful of games and accessories. My store was pretty slow so this would be a pretty big sale for the day and I was excited about it. She goes to pay and hands me a credit card which was not laminated and appeared to be printed out on a home color printer.

I told her it wouldn’t work and she said just scan it anyway. So I scanned her fake credit card which clearly did not have a magnetic strip and it didn’t work (of course). She told me to just “put the numbers in” on the computer. I refused and she asked why, seemingly legitimately confused. I told her I just couldn’t. She told me she would be back with cash. I put everything back on the shelves. She did not return.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

46. Tools Of The Trade

This happened on September 12, 2001, in the States. A guy in Spartanburg, South Carolina calls and says that his weed trimmer was in the twin towers in New York City the day before, and it got destroyed when the airplane hit and the building collapsed. He then demanded I replace it under warranty. I don’t understand some people…

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

47. It’s Not Delivery

We don’t deliver the pizzas we make, it’s carryout only. I had a customer call and have a long/angry conversation with me because I wouldn’t deliver to her. She proceeds to say (a couple of times), “you must be new here. I know the owner personally”, to which I responded, “Well, I’m the owner's daughter and we don’t deliver”. Can’t beat that.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysShutterstock

48. Charity Case

I used to work for Hot Topic and they “sell” items for charity. What's really occurring is that you are making a donation and you get the item for free. The money does 100% go to the charity, but we had to start ringing them through the register because California changed their “donation” laws to charge tax. Jerks. Anyway, this lady came in wanting to return 96 of the charity bracelets.

This lady had bought 100 of them to SELL at a music festival because they said "music=life" on them. She didn't realize her target demographic shopped at Hot Topic and knew they were charity giveaways so they didn't buy them. I explained to her that she didn't really purchase anything, but she wouldn't give up. I gave her my manager’s number and from there, the story escalated. He turned her down flat, so she called the home office. Every day. For almost a month.

This finally gets around to the CEO at the time, who absolutely takes no nonsense from anyone. She finds out about this and calls the customer for her address. She sends her a personal check along with a note telling her that there was no way Hot Topic was going to take money away from a charity and she'd rather take the hit herself. But there was a catch. If the lady cashed the check she was never allowed in our stores again. I had heard about all this but the story was confirmed when I went to the home office and a copy of the letter was posted at one of the HR personnel's desks.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysWikimedia Commons, Scouts Canada

49. Bad Credit

I work in a major electronic retail chain. Two construction workers walk in. They see the most expensive laptop, look at me and say, "Hey you, get me two of these", while his friend is hitting him saying "No no no stop man don’t". I knew something was weird but I got the laptops and they went to pay. One hands me a prepaid Visa card. I knew that it was fake or something but I tried it anyway. It doesn’t go through.

So I called the credit card company and asked them for the name that should be on the card as well as the amount. Turns out the card had $6.78 (They tried to buy $2,000 worth of stuff), and belonged to a woman named something or other. I decided to have some fun. So I said, "Sorry I just had to get authorization. It's been approved for $3,000. I just need to confirm the balance is $4325.46” I made something up while my manager was calling the authorities.

"Oh yeah, that's correct". "Alright I just need to get your name and phone number as the account information has been lost. This is your card, correct”? "Sure, yeah it is, here's my driver’s license". (He hands me his driver's license). I was laughing so hard in my head thinking that these two guys were that stupid. When the five-o finally got there, the guys broke down and started crying, saying, "He's lying I don’t even have a gift card". I showed the authorities the card, and the guy said, "That's his, it's not mine”!

Finally, we got the video of it showing he gave me the card. I watched him cry as the fuzz carried him out of the store. Oh good times.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

50. Seafood Surprise

Being a klutzy server, I once dropped a stack of oyster plates on my first day. My table joked that oysters came on their own plates anyway. As I was laughing it off with them, we heard a shriek from a few rows of tables over. A woman insisted some rogue sharp piece had ricocheted over and cut her leg. I see her pinching her cut to "drain the blood". Her husband has her elevate her leg onto a chair and she starts deep breathing.

My manager rushes out with a free bottle of wine and to gauge the wound. The woman isn't in my section, but when I go to check in on how she's feeling, her response was unforgettable. She responds, with wide eyes, "I FEEL LIKE I'VE BEEN SHANKED". Shortly after comping her meal and 20 minutes into over-apologizing and babying her, my manager realizes she is displaying a shard of glass as the culprit. The plates were ceramic.

The Sneakiest Customer PloysPexels

Sources: Reddit,



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