We all know them: the Karens of the world, who think they’re entitled to have the universe revolve around their wants. Karen knows no gender, and they know no rules either. These tales of rampaging Karens will make you say yikes—and be glad it didn’t happen to you.
A woman asked to cut me in the prescription pickup line because she was very sick. I was also very sick and could barely stand, but she was much older and the line was at least 12 people deep. I was going to agree. But then…
“Oh, just forget it”! she screamed. “I can already tell you're not gonna let me. You're heartless”!
“Well, you didn't give me a chance to respond”, I said.
“That's because you have no soul”! Karen yelled.
I just nodded and said, “You're right. Enjoy the back of the line”.
She asked a few people behind me and they all said, “No”. I heard one man add, “I don't have a soul, either. Sorry”.
It was not my intention to rally the crowd behind me, but I guess once you're fed up with rude people, you just…are.
I was at a large retail store, driving through the parking lot looking for a space when I met my worst Karen. I saw an empty spot ahead, and started to turn into it, only to be greeted by another car honking its horn, sitting in the space across from me.
The guy inside was waving his hands furiously and gesturing at me, while the woman in the passenger seat attempted to cover her face. I finished parking and got out, and gestured to the other driver with upturned palms and a “what's wrong” expression. I was actually concerned the guy might have been in some sort of trouble, or needed help, but I wasn't expecting what happened next.
He shut his car off and thrust his door open, actually hitting the SUV beside him, and screamed “You jerk” before even getting out of the car.
I listened to his rant about my deliberate and personal attack against him which I perpetrated by parking my car, and preventing him from pulling through spaces, to wit, he would now have to reverse out of his parking space…which was just an unforgivable inconvenience.
By the end of it, I was laughing. Not on the inside, I was laughing in his face. He didn't like being laughed at, apparently, and stepped back, shutting his door so he could approach me. He looked like he might take a swing at me.
I took a step closer and said in a stern tone, “Let me get this straight. You got out here yelling at me, because you don't know how to drive a car and that's somehow my fault, is that right”? and I leaned in so close our noses almost touched. He stepped back, and didn't swing.
He instead walked, or rather stomped like a little kid pitching a fit, back to his car, got in, and slammed the door. He reversed and slammed backwards out of the parking space...and into the big pick-up behind him. The pickup’s tow hitch obliterated his back bumper, and didn’t let it go. He was in a full rage again at this point and drove away, leaving the accident and, to the credit of universal karma, his bumper with license plate behind.
This entire exchange lasted a bit less than five minutes, but it's five minutes I'll always treasure.
I had a Karen jump into the road in front of my moving pickup truck, going 20 mph in a 35 zone, and begin to scream that only small cars were allowed on 'her' road—a claim which is patently false, as it is a public thoroughfare.
All because she and her group preferred to walk five abreast in the lane of travel.
Karen's husband, who looked worn to a nub, was able to get her moving along though she was, literally, hopping mad.
Karen did not care for being laughed at, but laugh I did.
It started out so sweet...until Karen ruined it. My neighbor’s son and a couple of other neighborhood kids set up a lemonade stand in his front yard with the goal of raising money to donate to the local children's hospital. They had a nice stand that his father helped them build, and a large painted sign saying that they were collecting money for the children’s hospital. Our neighborhood is in a rural area, so we have no sidewalks, but the road is wide with room to pull off and stop. The kids were doing a good amount of business at their lemonade stand.
Well, Karen decided that the kids were intending to keep the money and not donate it at all. So she called the Sheriff's office and accused these children of defrauding a charity. Karen also called the local newspaper to announce this major offense going on in our neighborhood. We live in a small town so the newspaper actually sent someone out to see what was going on, but not before the deputies showed up.
When the deputies arrived, a few of us noticed them right away as we do not see them much in our neighborhood. Karen also saw them arrive, and marched down her driveway holding her dog. Karen started yelling about how the kids were using the children’s hospital name to collect money to spend on themselves, and how they should all be thrown behind bars. Also, people were stopping in cars and parking “on her street” and scaring her dog, who at the time looked like he wanted to get down and play with the kids.
After her rant, the deputy turned and asked the kids for their side of the story, and that is when Karen made her first fatal error. She screamed at the deputy, “I am the one who pays your salary. It’s your job to do as I say, not take the word of some border-jumping Mexicans”.
She really hadn’t noticed that the deputy talking was Hispanic. I had a hard time not laughing out loud as the deputy started talking to my young neighbor in Spanish. The look on Karen's face was priceless. After talking with the young man, his friends, and his father, the deputy was satisfied that they did indeed intend to donate the money.
But Karen was not to be denied her justice against these children who had committed this vile offense on “her street” and insisted that they didn’t have a permit to operate a business, and should be written a ticket and forced to close down; besides no one had asked her if it was okay to open a lemonade stand in “her neighborhood”. At that point, the deputies had had enough of Karen, and so had I. The deputy told her that outside of the city limits there was no law against having a roadside stand, no permit is needed. As long as your stand is on your property and far enough back from the road, it’s allowed. We have farmers with roadside fruit and vegetable stands all over this county.
It had been about 45 minutes since this all started, and I asked Karen loud enough for everyone to hear, “Where are your children while you are out here in the street”? That’s when she made another mistake.
She snidely replied, “It’s really none of your business, but if you must know, my children are playing in my swimming pool in my backyard”.
I said, “So, while you are out here complaining about someone else’s kids, you left two children under the age of six all alone in a swimming pool? Your little girl is around three years old and you left her and her five-year-old brother alone in a swimming pool”?
That made both of the deputies take an immediate interest in Karen and she visibly shrank; it was like watching the air going out of a balloon. The lemonade stand was completely forgotten and things shifted to Karen. One deputy told Karen that they needed to go to her house and make sure that her children were safe, and that is exactly what they did. After making sure that her children were indeed okay, the deputies came back and asked several of us if she often left her children alone like that. I wanted to say that she did, but I told the truth and said that I didn’t know. The deputy said that they had no choice but to refer the case to CPS. I don’t know what happened with that, but a sale sign went up in Karen’s front yard about three weeks later.
I had recently purchased a home and was in the process of repairing it—and that mess was nothing compared to the "neighbor" I met. It was a steamy hot day, and I was waiting for the HVAC repairman, hoping he could resurrect the air conditioner without breaking the bank.
The front driveway was shaded with a huge pecan tree. There weren’t many trees on the block, so there were frequently cars parked in the shade. I didn’t blame them! As long as they weren’t blocking my driveway, I had no concerns with who parked there.
I was on a ladder on the side of the house and heard a car stop and park. I was hoping it was the HVAC guy, but it was a sedan with two ladies. Karen parked so that her car completely blocked my driveway. I waved and tried to get her attention before she exited her car. She looked directly at me, and chose to ignore me. I began walking toward her car, not even annoyed at this point. She could have some shade, she just can’t block the driveway. So, I waved again, but she was hurrying to exit her car. I asked her to move forward about six feet to leave my driveway clear. She ignored me.
The other lady with her clearly heard me as she turned and looked at me. Louder now, I said, “Excuse me. You need to move your car out of my driveway”. She continued down the street with an armload of paperwork. No response whatsoever. I followed the ladies. I was now getting annoyed with her obvious decision to ignore me completely.
I saw my HVAC guy approaching, so I flagged him down and told him I would have the driveway open for him in a minute. I again asked Karen to move her car ahead a bit. She acted as though I was not even there, so I repeated my request, and she repeated her performance.
Okay, so now I was annoyed. I stepped into her personal space and loudly repeated my request. She looked directly at me and stated that it is a state-funded street and she will park wherever she wants. I agreed, but I also informed her that she was impeding my access, and that isn’t within her rights. She repeated that she will park wherever she wants. I asked whom she is visiting and she said she has several friends who are on her roster to visit today. I said, “You will move away from my driveway or you can explain your rights to security" and I headed for home.
She decided to further state her rights, and I decided to make that call. The HVAC guy had parked closely behind her car. I called and security said that they’ve had problems with her in the past and he would gladly refresh her with the rules again. He was there in minutes. I explained that she is welcome to park in the shade, just not to block access to my driveway. I pointed to where she had gone and left to get the repairman started.
We were in the backyard when I heard a shriek. Apparently, Karen felt it was okay to push the security dude. By the time I got to the front yard, the authorities were arriving. They detained her at the request of the security dude, and her car was towed.
About eight years ago, I was starting a new job when I wound up in the most uncomfortable situation. As the new guy, I was given the task of opening up the restaurant. This meant arranging tables and setting them up, stocking the bar and waiters’ station, counting the register, and confirming reservations for the day. As I was new and still figuring out where things went, I came in about a half an hour early to get ready for our 11:30 opening.
Before anyone else on staff showed up to work a loud knock came from our locked front door. I went to see who was there and two elderly women wanted to come in and be seated for service. I told them we open at 11:30 but they weren’t having it. They wanted to be seated NOW, they had a Groupon which was set to expire and they demanded service. They insisted our website stated we open at 10:30.
I told them we couldn't have people in the restaurant while we were setting up but we’d be happy to take care of them when we open. They demanded to speak to a manager and asked if I was a manager. I said no and they replied I “look too stupid to be a manager”. They then proceeded to seat themselves in our outdoor patio area.
Fine. They were out of my way so I could proceed with my tasks…but that was just the start of my nightmare. They decided to start calling the restaurant. The phone would ring, I would go over to pick it up, they would swear at me, hang up, and then do it again. After the third or fourth time, I just let the phone ring and the one old lady got up and just started pounding on the door to be let in while the other was on the phone letting it ring.
At this point the other waiter on schedule showed up and asked what was going on. I explained, he went out to tell them the same things I did, and they gave him the same treatment of yelling, demands, and insults.
11:30 rolled around. The two old ladies barged in and shoved their Groupon in my coworker's face. His reply was unforgettable. He told them: “Ma’am. Our establishment does not accept Groupons. If you had read the name and address of the restaurant the Groupon is attached to and compared it to the name of our restaurant on the front door you've been pounding on for the past hour, you would have discovered you are at the wrong restaurant”.
They slunk off.
This happened to me at the pool today and I still can't believe how infuriating it was. I walked to a shaded area to set up my chair. I’m conscientious about not taking up too much space so others can use the shade, too. People bring their own chairs or towels to sit on since the pool keeps the chaise lounges stored.
I noticed that there are five towels on the ground taking up nearly all the shade, but no one was using them. After about an hour of the towels being vacant, a Karen walked up and this is how the conversation went:
Karen, snarkily: Is this your chair?
Me: Yes. Do you need me to move it? Is there a problem?
Karen: Your chair is not six feet away from us. What is WRONG with you? What if I have a sick child?
Me: Okay, KAREN, then maybe you shouldn’t be at the pool in the first place. And maybe you should think about not laying five towels down to hog all the shade and then not using the space for at least an hour.
Karen: (Something nasty I couldn’t understand as I was trying to peacefully listen to my podcast again).
Me: (Flipped her the bird).
Karen: Oh, that’s a real nice gesture to use in front of your son.
Me: I’m showing my son how to stand up for himself.
She didn’t have a word to say after that.
I was shopping in the Walmart grocery section when a Karen with two young children had her cart parked against the shelves on one side. I needed something that was blocked by the cart. She was shopping up and down the aisle, bringing things to her cart and then walking back down the aisle.
I politely stood next to her cart, waiting for her to move it. One of the times she came back to it, I even said, “I need something behind your cart”. Her reaction was chilling.
She ignored me. She then turned her back and started walking to the other end of the aisle again. I had been waiting there for about five minutes, so I pushed her cart about a foot, so I could reach my item.
With that she turned and screamed, “You touched my cart"! She proceeded to run back toward me yelling at the top of her lungs that I had no right to touch her cart. I told her I just moved it to get an item and told her to calm down. She screamed, “No, you calm down, you’re causing a big scene”! Then she walked off, screaming all the way that I touched her cart.
My ex-roommate and I shared a place for two years and she was a real piece of work. She was filthy rich, entitled, and selfish. We bought common kitchen utensils, an IKEA side table, and a Black & Decker blender together.
She wanted to move out to her own place and was packing all her stuff. On the day she moved out, I wasn’t at the apartment, but when I came back the entire unit was dirty with trash all over. I had noticed that she hadn’t returned the mailbox key so I messaged her asking for it. Her reply stays fresh in my mind: “Pay me my share of the used items and take the mailbox key”.
I read it twice and replied, “You can take whatever you want but I am not paying you back your share. You have used the items for two years. I hope you understand how depreciation works”.
She was adamant and said she had contributed to the items and wants her 50% back. I patiently said, “You paid 50% and used it for two years. How do you think you will get back the money from IKEA if you return it now? Do you understand that the item isn’t gold that appreciates in value”?
She sent me a hate message in CAPITAL LETTERS saying how narcissistic I was and how God would take care of me. I informed my building management about the key and they were understanding of the situation.
Finally, Karen returned the mailbox key to the management and sent me a long text which I didn’t bother to read and ended up blocking her.
My sister is a Karen. One of the worst. Sis had a very strange life. Three times she married rich criminals. She enjoyed a life of incredible (stolen) wealth: designer everything, five-star hotels in Europe, and one of her kids made it to the Olympic tryouts.
But it all came crashing down when she was around 60. She got a job at an airline ticket counter, on her feet all day wearing her Cartier watch, angry at the entire world for not knowing “who she really was”. She told me about a really bad day at work.
Ethel Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy's widow and celebrity human rights advocate, walked up one day, threw her ticket on the counter, and went back to her cell phone call. How disrespectful!
My sister put on her “Officious Airline Employee Hat” and interrupted seventy-something Ethel Kennedy to ask lamebrain security questions. “Excuse me. Excuse me. Ma'am, did you pack your own bags? Did anyone you don't know give you anything to carry on the plane”?
Sis got sat down and received a ferocious screaming rebuke by every airline exec at Logan Airport.
When I was 20, my husband, our daughter, and I rented the house I grew up in from my stepfather. I had lived in that house since I was 11, so all of our close neighbors knew and thought of me as part of their family. We were very close.
At this time I was in the Army and my husband was in the oilfield. I had just gotten off work, changed into civilian clothes, and picked up my daughter from my mom. I was tired after a long, hot day.
When I was nearly home, I saw a small dog running down the busy highway and decided to save it. I called it over to my truck where he jumped right in. I then pulled forward into an area that was safe so I could call the vet’s office that was on the rabies tag.
The dog jumped on my 18-month-old daughter, scratching her face, so I opened the door to place him in the back while I got contact information for his owners.
He bolted. Just as a car pulled up behind me. As I was trying to catch this dog again, the lady driving the car jumped out and began screaming that I was dumping the dog. I pointed out that it had a collar with tags. That didn't matter. She was adamant that I was dumping the dog and she was going to make me regret that mistake.
I finally got the dog while the harpy continued to screech at me. I pointed at the tag again, telling her that it’s not my dog; I saved it from being run over and was attempting to call the vet’s office to find its owner.
“Yeah right, I'm so sure that's what you are! You’re such an upstanding citizen! Call the vet’s office so I have proof you dumped that dog”! she screamed.
I told her she was a complete idiot. Why would I dump a dog with tags linking it to me? I called the vet, but no answer. I said this and said I was taking him home with me so he didn’t get in trouble while I got hold of the vet’s office.
I put the dog in the back while I went home. She followed me the whole way, driving on my bumper. She pulled into my driveway and continued to berate me, calling me names and accusing me of dumping dogs all over the neighborhood. Saying that since I had moved in, the neighborhood had gone downhill and that I was trash.
I’d had enough. I started towards her, screaming at the top of my lungs for her to leave my property or I was going to remove her myself. She jumped into her car, backed up to the street, then began to scream at me from the street, which drew the attention of my neighbors.
I got my daughter out of the truck and had tied the dog to the fire hydrant when I heard her say to my neighbor, “Oh look, I bet she neglects that baby too”. She and my neighbor both realized she had gone too far when I charged at her, ready to beat the snot out of her.
My neighbor told her that she needed to get in her car and leave. She got in but refused to leave. I got my phone to call my dad so he could tell her that it's not my dog. He calmed me down and said, “Let me talk to her”.
As I approached, I heard her crying on the phone. “Please hurry, I'm afraid for my life. I think she's going to hurt me! She may have a weapon on her! She's coming to my window to try to get me! HELP ME”!
I repeated what she said to my dad, who was now angry too. I knocked and told her “My dad wants to speak to you”. She refused. I told my dad this and he said he was on his way—don't do anything stupid.
My dad and the deputy got there at the same time. The lady jumped out and began to scream that I was attempting to dump that dog and that I had threatened her life. She wanted me detained and my daughter taken into CPS.
We told both our sides and the deputy called the vet’s office to confirm that it isn't my dog. The vet confirmed the owners and their address. Which wasn't me.
The officer told the lady to go home. The dog ended up back at his own home and I was not detained. Karen continued trying to make my life suck until she made the mistake of calling the feds on my dad for testing an RPG simulator he was designing in the backyard.
She was soon selling her house and the neighborhood went back to being the close-knit community it had been before she moved in and caused so many problems. We all lived happily ever after, free from Karen's antics.
Karen asked for my manager’s personal cell phone number to complain. The reason why was seriously ridiculous. She was mad that I, seven months pregnant at the time, would not carry a refrigerator up the stairs to her second-story room. She refused to believe our hotel had rooms without fridges and said I was just being fat and lazy.
When I refused to give her the number, she asked for corporate’s number. I wrote it down on a sticky note with a smiley face. She came down later and asked to move rooms. I made her pay the difference.
This was a Ken.
I was a forklift driver at a Pace Warehouse ages ago. The duty manager (Jamie) was telling me what needed to be done next when a guy stormed up to him.
“You have way too many handicapped spaces in your parking lot! There are SIX spaces and there is a car in only one of them. I demand that this be changed”.
Then just to sound even more deranged his next words were, “I mean if they are handicapped, how much can they carry”?
Jamie, who was a very laid-back sort, said very peacefully, “I’m sorry you feel that way but the number of spaces is determined by law. Before we opened, the fire marshall measured the size of our sales floor and gave us a maximum occupancy number, and that is what determines how many spaces we, by law, must have”.
The guy went, “Thank you. I did not know that. I am going to go home and write to my congressman right now”. And then he turned and stomped out.
While I was stationed in a hospital, there was this medical secretary who just never liked me. She was always gruff and condescending, but I just stayed clear of her.
Well, I had written a letter to the local newspaper about wage increases. It was one of those “share the pain” type of call-to-action letters.
Karen went after me full-bore and demanded to my union that I be censored, fined, and reprimanded in every way possible. I suspect she tried to get me fired. In the end, even though absolutely no one else took offense to my letter (freedom of speech and all that), it was suggested that I write a letter of “apology” to her.
I did take the advice, and I wrote a letter that was apologetic for expressing my freedom of speech and opinion that unfortunately offended her delicate sensibilities. Her reaction was unhinged. She stormed down to my office, screamed out loud that she did not accept my apology, and threw the letter at me.
Absolutely no one, including her union, backed her. There was an apology letter on file, and the matter was done.
I live in a vacation destination. Expensive lakeshore homes are often owned by wealthy families from big cities. I also work in automotive.
So Karen comes in and wants some maintenance done. Specifically an alignment. Now to be clear, alignments are NEVER an emergency. Karen got to talk to my business partner. I wasn’t really paying attention because I was working.
My partner explained to him when we are scheduling. He wanted the repair done immediately because he had new tires put on before he left the big city but didn’t want to pay their prices for further service.
My partner reiterated the schedule and told him if he wants to drop the vehicle off and leave it, if we get an opening or cancellation, we will do our best to get it in. I started paying some attention. This is a male-dominated industry and some of them get a bit abusive to my female partner, especially customers.
“Nope. I’m from [big city] and you need to do it now”.
“Sir, in order to do that I would have to start calling customers we have already made commitments to and tell them we cannot honor them”.
Then the words I will not forget: “Well, missy, you’re just going to have to start calling them or I will”.
At this point I have had enough. I simply looked over at him and explained to him there is no circumstance in which we will work on his vehicle.
He suggested that I didn’t know what I was talking about and was about to be fired. I shrugged, told him for a check for several million dollars I’ll sell him the shop, then he can fire both of us and try to convince the techs to work directly for him—but I was pretty certain that none would be in a position to work for someone with his attitude.
I did end up escorting him to the door. I will never forget him.
My latest Karen experience was when I was waiting in line to check out and the 15-and-under cashier offered to check me out as she had no one waiting. Just as I was starting to check out, a Karen came up and began chewing me out for being in the 15-and-under line as I obviously had 16 items. She proceeded to lecture me on what the sign stated. I knew exactly what to do to put her in her place.
So I took my items and split them into two transactions, explaining that since she didn’t want them rung together, I now have to take longer to ring them up separately for each family—as I was shopping for a couple families in my neighborhood that are afraid to go out due to Covid so I offered to do a no-contact drop for them on my way home from work.
Karen gave an exasperated huff after that and the lady behind her told her to get a grip.
I am an avid surf fisherman. I was on the beach after local bathing hours were over.
I saw this woman making her way toward me from about a block away. We were the only people for about four blocks either way. When she finally got to me, her first comment was, “Is there not a Fishing Only beach in Town”?
Well, no, there is not. She then went on a rant about kids swimming and dogs and hooks in the sand! When she finally wound down I asked her if she lived in our area? Nope, she was from Florida, here visiting family.
I then told her I am from this area and pay quite a bit in local taxes so she should go back to Florida and complain to someone there. I averaged about 200 days a year beach fishing back then, and she was the ONLY person ever to give me a problem.
I was sitting on the city bus, going into town. A young woman with a double pushchair and twins came on the bus and put the pushchair on the side. She looked tired.
A few stops later, this woman comes in the bus and starts yelling at the young mother. Just starts screaming at her. “These seats are only for disabled people. I'm disabled! You need to move so I can sit down”!
The young mother tries to tell her she can't go anywhere else with the pushchair. Nope, Karen won't hear it. The bus driver turned in his seat and told the woman, “There are plenty of disabled seats on that side”. He pointed, then continued, “These spots are also designated for pushchairs".
Didn’t really help; this Karen will not have it.
Finally, Karen sat down so we could leave. We got to town and Karen screamed at the bus driver, “YOU MISSED MY STOP”! Even though she didn’t ring the bell. “I'M GOING TO TELL YOUR MANAGER HOW YOU'VE BEEN TREATING ME”!
The bus driver smiled and told her to go ahead.
The woman then replied, “I'M THE QUEEN, I NEED TO BE TREATED BETTER! Well, I'm related to the queen, and you'll be hearing from your manager”. We still see her every now and then and me and my husband always call her “the queen”.
I was working in the gift wrap department in a major chain. It was Christmas so it was very hectic. This happened on my last day of work before I went back to college after Christmas break.
This lady asked if we could wrap a huge stuffed animal almost as big as me. I told her we have no gift boxes that large. We could a) put together two corrugated boxes or b) tie an attractive bow on the stuffed animal’s neck.
That apparently wasn’t good enough for this lady. I still can’t believe what she did next. She jumped over our counter and started going through all our boxes, to see if we were lying or not, I guess. Another girl and I got in trouble for calling security on her. But what else were we supposed to do when customers went wild?
A Karen once told me I couldn't work on my car in my own garage at noon because she didn't want my fast-looking car to influence her sons to "be hooligans like you".
I was on my way into a store and noticed a young mother with two small children walking up to the door from my left side. She was holding each child by the hand. As I approached the door I entered and held it open for her. Her reaction was seriously disturbing.
She proceeded to berate me for holding open the door! She screamed and cussed at me.
I simply replied, “I was only trying to be nice” and something like, “Nice language to use in front of the children”. Then I just continued on my way. I’ll never forget that, it caught me totally off-guard.
After I finished my master’s degree in history, I received a teaching assistant position to help pay the bills while working on my doctorate. This story happened after we graded and returned the first written assignment.
I was doing office hours and expecting some students to come in with questions. I had graded before, so I had a little bit of an idea what to expect. Knowing the vast majority of the students were fresh, we all went easy on the first assignment. About an hour after returning the papers, one of the students stormed into my tiny space waving the paper in the air and announced, “I’m not going to get into law school with grades like these”!
My mind went blank. I just stared and finally sighed something like, “Yeeahh”?
I think I was silent long enough that he had time to realize how silly he sounded. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I do remember that he took the class more seriously after that and passed with a decent grade.
I'd been working at a massage establishment and was wanting to find work closer to home, since I'd been having about a 45-minute commute to work every day. I got an interview for a closer place and scheduled it for 10am, an hour before my shift was to start.
On the way there, I ended up missing a turn, and after a little bit, realized my error and turned around. Once I was certain that I'd be late for work, I texted my boss to let her know that I was going to be late because of an interview.
Eventually, I arrived at work. With the other massage therapists currently in sessions, I was alone in the reception area. A lady came in to ask if we had something of hers that she thought she’d left behind after her massage some days prior. I began to look around, and the phone rang. I never could’ve predicted what happened next.
It was my boss. She screamed, “Rachel, you're fired! You can't pull that on me and expect to continue working for me! GET OUT OF MY SHOP”! Apparently she had sent a text firing me, but I didn't see it right away because I had been looking for that lady's lost item.
I hung up the phone, told the lady everything my boss just said to me, she apologized and wished me good luck, and she left. And, of course, so did I.
I was standing on a crowded train and a pregnant Karen started screaming at ME because she had nowhere to sit. Me, the person who was standing because there were no seats. She started screaming like it was my fault.
I moved to the Pacific Northwest last year and while I was finding the best spot to live I stayed at my mom's house. I had a German Shepherd and was eager to explore the dog parks in the area.
I found a dog park not too far from the house. After running around for a while, my dog started to squat to use the restroom. I don’t normally carry bags on me because dog parks already have them for free but when I went to grab a bag, a lady started yelling from across the dog park.
She yelled that I needed to pick up my dog's mess or we would get in trouble and she would report me. I was confused since the poop wasn’t even done coming out of his butt while she was yelling and I was clearly walking towards the bags.
The lady stood there with her hand on her hips, tapping her foot, giving me a dirty look, so out of sheer spite I stopped and decided I wasn’t going to pick it up now.
My boyfriend said he didn’t want to cause a scene so he went to grab a bag and the lady had the nerve to say, “That’s what I thought, I knew you weren’t going to pick it up” while continuing to put her hands on her hips, watching him the entire time and waiting till he picked up the mess.
My first job was a cashier position at a certain theme park centered around colorful plastic building bricks. I was working at a shop that makes “driver's licenses” for kids. Now, keep in mind that these were not meant to be high-quality photos. They were taken with a rather junky digital camera, then uploaded to our computer screens. The guests were then able to view what we were doing on the screens facing them, so they could tell us how to crop the photo into a headshot, choose their color scheme, etc. before we printed it on a plastic card for $5.
My job that day was to line the kids up for the photos, up to five at a time (hence the cropping). Anyone who has ever tried photographing kids, mainly ones under eight years old, knows that it’s near-impossible to keep them still for a picture.
This lady apparently thought it was supposed to be a professional photo shoot or something because she yelled at me for “taking the worst photos of her kids that she has ever seen in her life” and proceeded to make me take a few more pictures of just her kids—who were three and five at the time.
I managed to get one decent shot in after trying for nearly 10 minutes to get them to stand still. I then had the displeasure of ringing her up, where she still grumbled at the quality and the service. Then, as she was paying, someone else came up to ask me how it all worked.
Before I even had the chance to address them, Karen piped up. She told them: “This man here takes bad pictures of your kids and pastes the pictures onto a colored background and prints it out on a card for you”.
I just about lost it on this woman because it was so very obvious that I am not a man. It was clear she was trying to get whatever jabs in while she could because she knew I did nothing wrong and that I actually tried to fix whatever perceived mistake I made with her kids’ pictures.
I still have no idea how I stayed so calm.
I was working in the coffee shop of a busy ferry. It seemed that all 2,500 people on-board wanted to come through my coffee shop and they were all ordering one thing at a time.
Karen stormed up to my till as I was serving one customer.
Karen: Are you on a go-slow or something?
Me: No, ma’am. I’m on a 14-hour shift.
Karen: Well, why is it taking so long.
Me: There’s lots of people in the queue.
Karen: Well, can’t you go faster?
Me: I could, but you’re stopping me from serving this lady.
Karen: I just want to buy this sandwich and a drink.
Me: As do the people in the queue.
Karen: Can’t I just pay for this now?
Me: This lady’s drinks are in the till, so not right now.
Karen huffed. She waited, angrily. I finished with that customer.
Karen: Well!? Can you serve me now?
Me: (To the lady who was next in the queue) Do you mind? (She didn’t, so I served Karen).
Lady in the queue who had heard all of this: Some people have no manners.
A few years ago, I was living with my friends in a row house in Maharashtra. We were five girls, all working IT jobs with different shift timings. It had been smooth sailing for years…till we moved into this particular place.
Our neighbor was the biggest Karen we have ever encountered. She would scream at us regularly outside for stupid random things but the scariest was her coming to our door at 3am with her husband, thumping the door loudly and saying our going to the bathroom at night disturbed her sleep. She lived in another house altogether, but according to her, when we went to the bathroom, she would get disturbed because of the door noise. We girls couldn't hear anything if we were in different rooms but apparently she could from another house!
She ordered us to stop going to the bathroom at night, as according to her, our parents hadn't taught us how to close bathroom doors properly.
I was talking to this elderly lady at Whole Foods in Spanish because she didn’t know the English word for ginger.
Here came Karen in a motorized scooter cart. In a rather vociferous tone, she said, “This is America, why don’t you speak English”.
Okay Karen, you’ve got legs, why don’t you walk?
We attended an outdoor event at a winery this past weekend. Signs were posted to wear a mask in the public areas. Everyone was social distancing on the lawn. So while waiting in a long line for the porta-potty, there was an unmasked couple in front of a masked couple.
The masked woman requested that the couple in front of her wear a mask…and that’s when Karen erupted. She started yelling that she didn’t have one, she forgot it, she didn't need to wear one…blah, blah, blah!
The line was getting longer, around 15 deep. The woman behind me said, “Notice how the guys are keeping out of it”?
Well…after the unmasked couple finished with their business in the porta-potty, the masked woman walked in and then immediately walked out and yelled, ”You peed all over the walls and floor”!
The guy just ran.
I was at Best Buy years ago. I heard two people talking about a computer they were looking at and they had some questions. So I politely introduced myself and asked if I could help. I got them squared away and then went on about my business.
Then someone started clearing their throat. I didn’t think anything of it because I was engrossed in what I was doing. Finally, I heard an exasperated sigh and felt a rude tap on my shoulder. I turned around and saw a clearly angry lady standing there.
Karen: (Big sigh). I need help with a cell phone.
Karen: Well, are you going to help me?
Me: Ma’am, I don’t work here.
I couldn’t believe her answer.
Karen: Look, I know this isn’t your department, but I waited patiently while you helped that couple. I know you are just a lowly peon, but you could at least get me some help.
Me: Look, lady, I don’t work here.
Karen: That’s it, I am going to have your job!
And she stomped off. I shrugged it off and didn’t think about her again.
Five minutes later she came back with another guy.
Karen: I want this person disciplined. He was disrespectful, rude, and refused to help me.
Best Buy Guy: Ma’am, he doesn’t work here.
That’s when I had an epiphany. I looked down and realized I was wearing khaki pants and a blue polo shirt.
Karen: Good! I told you I would have your job!
Best Buy Guy: No ma’am, I can’t fire him, he’s not an employee. Now how may I help you.
But then she took her stupidity to the next level.
Karen: Oh, this is ridiculous, you stupid jerks are just sticking together. I’m writing to corporate to complain and I am NEVER coming to this Radio Shack again!
The Best Buy dude and I looked at each other and in almost unison said “Okay then” while watching her storm off.
My brother and I were at Dominos waiting to pick up our delicious pizza. The staff were very busy and we had been at the counter, standing at the designated social distancing spot, waiting to be served for around five minutes. The social distancing spot was a taped line around a meter back from the counter.
Karen walked in and stepped in front of us. Assuming she had made a mistake I said, “Excuse me, we were actually waiting”.
She looked at me and said, “Yeah, but mine’s ready though”. As if that were somehow justification for pushing in. My pizza was ready too.
The most annoying part of the situation was that the staff served her straight away, though we’d been trying to get their attention for five minutes while our food was going cold.
My neighbor was quite upset that I kept parking in front of her house. There's 10 houses in the entire block and usually not more than half a dozen cars parked at any given time. I didn't particularly do it on purpose, I just didn't want to do a U-turn and didn't think much of it.
One day, Karen came up to me and asked why I kept parking there and told me to park in front of my house instead.
Her demeanor and attitude were quite negative and hostile. I didn't take it too lightly. We went back and forth and I pretty much told her, “It’s public parking”.
She wasn't expecting that answer because she flew into a rage quickly after, accusing me of some conspiracy to possibly rob her.
Had she asked nicely, for whatever the reason, I probably would have complied.
She lost it and went inside the house, and called the authorities shortly after. As I was cleaning my car, the authorities arrived to inform me there was suspicious activity going on in front of her house. The guy was mad cool about it, laughed it off, and was on his way no more than three minutes after engaging with me—but the story didn’t end there.
About two years later, she came over on Christmas and brought me a small present and apologized, to my surprise.
Afterward, I stopped parking my cars in front of her house.
I was working a shift at the discount store. I was a floor associate who knew how to ring. The supervisor called me up to help get rid of the line, which was weird because there were already four cashiers and four customers in line, so there really wasn’t a point to calling me up. I took the next person in line, because this supervisor was rather rude and I wanted to stay on her good side.
I started ringing up this lady who was just getting one pair of pants and also had a 10% off coupon. The coupon wasn’t working, so I read the coupon to make sure there wasn’t a limitation to it. There was nothing weird about the coupon and I explained to her that the coupon is not working. The lady was being rude, complaining that I was wasting her time.
I go over to the supervisor to ask for help. The lady snapped that we obviously got the coupon before, and she didn't understand why it was taking so long. She was so rude, just for a minor inconvenience that wasn't even our fault!
The supervisor said that she has never seen this coupon before. As the supervisor and I were trying to figure out what was wrong with the coupon, a random lady came up to the customer. Suddenly, Karen turned into such a nice lady. Once her friend left, she turned right back into the devil herself. I was thinking to myself, does your friend know how UNPLEASANT YOU ARE?!
I teach 4th grade and today was the first day of school. Students are required to wear masks. I brought a pack of surgical masks to school in case a kid forgot theirs. A boy named Noah came maskless, so I provided him with a mask.
I explained to the kids about Covid and why they have to wear masks. I also talked about vaccines. Noah raised his hand and said that his mom told him vaccines are dangerous. I said, “You have to get vaccines to go to school. You're vaccinated, and you're fine, right”? He seemed to understand that vaccines aren't bad.
At dismissal, Noah's mom pulled up in her car. Noah goes into the car and his mom yells, “Why are you wearing a muzzle? Who put this on you”?
Noah calmly answered, “Mr. White gave me it, I gotta wear a mask to stop me from getting germs”.
She shouted at me, “HOW DARE YOU MUZZLE MY CHILD LIKE HE'S SOME SORT OF ANIMAL! HAVEN'T YOU HEARD OF FREEDOM? HE HAS THE FREEDOM TO BREATHE”!
“It's a part of the dress code made by the school board. The kids have to wear masks so the Delta variant doesn't spread”.
She yelled that Covid is a hoax. I told her that it wasn't and that if she didn't want her son to wear a mask, she should look into sending him to a private school. She responded by calling me a “liberal Marxist" and drove off.
I feel bad for her son.
A woman asked me to do something I was completely untrained to do. Mind you, this was my first day actually working there after basic training. I asked her if she had a rewards card, she then said she did and would get it out.
After looking in her purse, she said that she wouldn’t bother trying to find it because it would take too long. Eventually, she paid. Afterward, she mentioned wanting points on her purchase. I explained to her that after payment has been made, points cannot be redeemed from the purchase. Her reaction was brutal.
She proceeds to rant about how it was all my fault because I “didn’t ask” for her rewards card, even though I had. We had the manager step in, and it turns out there was a way to solve the issue, but Karen wasn’t having it, so she waited in anger while telling the manager that it was all my fault that she didn’t get her points. It was also my fault for not knowing how to fix a “simple issue” and that because I didn’t know how to void orders and refund payments on the first day of work, I was “ill-prepared to work”.
I was 15.
This woman was buying a bathroom vanity with no packaging on it. This wasn’t too big of an issue, but as I was trying to page the department for them to give me an item number, she hissed at me that she “didn’t have time for this”, that her “husband is waiting in the car so I’d better be faster than this”!
While I was trying to ignore her obvious self-entitled rage and just look up the item number on our company website, she suddenly pulled a manual out of the unit and slammed it down on the counter in front of me.
“Here”! she screamed. Normally, that wouldn’t do much but I realized there was a model number on the top-right of the page so I typed that into the computer and presto, there it was.
For some reason, she expected all this praise for taking the manual out, and because she was getting so hostile, one of my awesome coworkers came up and stood beside me in solidarity, and to help me feel safe.
When this woman hissed at us, “I’LL take the credit for this, thank you” I just casually replied, “We’ll both take the credit”.
She stared at me so hard she might’ve nearly had an aneurysm. I was shaking and red-faced after she finally left, and my coworker was so supportive about the whole thing, in total agreement that this woman was obviously a narcissist and didn’t know how to handle not being in total control of me the whole time.
We were in a thrift store in Germany. I saw some pictures on top of a cabinet and couldn’t reach them to look at them.
I asked a lady that worked there if they could be brought down for me to look at them. That’s when this woman comes up to me and says, “Those are mine! You don’t need to see them, I’m going to buy them”! She practically yelled it at me.
I held up my hands in surrender and said, “No problem lady. You obviously need them more than I do”. The lady that worked there looked on without comment except for a look of commiseration.
I had a couple of hormone-influenced Karen moments during the exhausting new mom phase after having my daughter. During that first month, I was blacklisted by our internet and cable provider after the screen froze on Disney Junior. I freaked out on a diaper company so fiercely after a diaper blowout and torn side tab that they sent me four boxes of diapers to calm me down. I was escorted out of my favorite coffee shop for yelling at them about being out of whipped cream. And I didn’t stop there.
I also cussed out the teenage boys up the street so badly (for the entire neighborhood to hear) for playing basketball during nap time that I didn’t get trick-or-treaters at my house for the next two years. Yikes! Glad that’s over.
I was sitting in the park, watching Netflix on my iPad. The park was right in front of my house and my parents were watching me from inside.
Then came Karen. She said that I couldn't loiter and asked whose iPad I was using.
I told her it was mine and started to get up to go home. I was confused how a child sitting on the grass at a public park would be loitering but I didn't ask her.
“Come back here. You stole that didn't you”? she said, grabbing my arm.
“Miss, please let me go”, I said, fighting back my annoyance.
“Give me the iPad”, she said, trying to grab it.
I didn't let her.
My dad came running out the house and to my rescue. “Ma'am, your hands are on my child. If you don't let go, I will call for help”.
She huffed and let me go. “You probably took the iPad for her anyway”, she mumbled, walking away.
I had scheduled a young woman for a very long surgery on a deep-seated brain tumor right next to her brainstem. Having explained the risks and benefits of the surgery at length like I usually do (including the significant risks), she was more concerned about how much of her hair I would remove to do the surgery.
The night before surgery, I got a terrible flu—fever to over 103, malaise, joint and muscle pains, the works. In the end, I had no choice but to cancel her surgery and schedule for another day.
I expected she would understand. I mean, who would want to undergo such a massive and dangerous surgery if the surgeon were that ill?
Well, I was wrong. The patient became furious, hostile, angry, and blamed me for inflicting emotional distress. She demanded that I immediately find another surgeon to do the surgery that morning (not possible) and later lodged complaints up and down the hospital system, filed complaints with the medical staff, and threatened to sue me. It took weeks to calm her—and our hospital—down.
It was the first time I had ever canceled a surgery in 20 years.
When I worked at Home Depot, Karen told me that she didn't want any Black men to install her flooring. I was in charge of arranging her order and told her that we don't select which individuals exactly will install her floor and that she'll get who she gets. She proceeded to have a fit about it, demanded white installers, and asked to speak to my manager.
I was so glad she did, because my manager's name was Dwayne and he was a real big Black dude.
Turns out she didn't want to speak to the manager after all.
Karen left her card in the EFTPOS machine at the McDonalds I was managing as a teenager. She then rang me to say I needed to drive it out to her, that I ruined her night, ruined her family's night, owed her free food, and that she'll be laying a formal complaint when I refused all of the above. She showed up 45 minutes later with steam blowing out of her ears, asking for her card back.
No formal complaint yet.
When I worked at a bakery, Karen bought a chocolate cupcake and ate half of it. Karen then asked if she could return her half-eaten chocolate cupcake—and the reason why was deranged. It was not because she didn't like it, but because she wanted to exchange it for half of a vanilla cupcake, "something less decadent".
Like most bakeries, we did not sell cupcakes "by the half". She became offended when I asked if she wanted to purchase a vanilla cupcake instead.
I worked at a grocery store and a coworker put a 99¢ sticker on my shirt. We were two of maybe five employees so we were all good friends and everything is funny when you gotta pass time on a shift so I just left it there.
Some woman came through my line and asked me why I had a sticker on my shirt and I just kinda laughed it off. She asked if I thought it was funny and I was like, “Not really but sorta". She asked if my coworker put it there to which I responded yes. She told me she was going to speak to the store owner because it was "disrespectful" to behave that way at work. She told me to call my manager and I did but he was a super cool guy and knew this lady was an idiot. She talked to the store owner and my manager about firing me to no avail.
I made a tiny mistake filling out a booking sheet for a company: I set the time 15 minutes later than asked. It was a two-second fix to log back into the account and click on the correct time in the drop-down box.
Karen sat next to me and watched me do it.
Karen logged in, took a screenshot of it—didn’t fix it—then sent said screenshot to my line manager and said nothing to me.
After the lecture from my line manager about "paying attention to the details", I turned to Karen and asked, "Why not just say 'Hey dude, you made a mistake' and just fix it"?
She didn’t look at me, continued clicking away at her keyboard, and said, "Yeah, well, if you can't do it right the first time, maybe you need somebody to tell you".
Poor Karen got very upset once when my partner parked his car a bit too close to hers. I was sitting in the car while he was in a shop, and big old Karen came waddling over to the car, red-faced with anger, bent down, and bellowed in through the driver’s window at me asking if I thought I could park any closer. However, there was something she didn’t notice.
Karen didn’t figure out that I wasn’t the driver however (even though I was sitting in the passenger’s seat), and she received the sharp end of my tongue, to which I always remember her calling me a “buttwipe” as she wobbled away furiously.
When I worked at a popular arcade chain I had a Karen absolutely berate me because I wouldn’t give her kid a prize they didn’t win. So she wanted a manager and when my manager came over, she was straight-faced the whole rant until Karen goes, “Whatever happened to the customer’s always right”? My manager got revenge on her in that moment.
He leaned in a little and said, “We don’t have customers here, we have guests. Customers are always right, guests are usually wrong. Goodbye” and waved a security guard over to take Karen out.
Best day of work ever.
I deliver appliances for Best Buy. We had a woman call and complain that her fridge was not pre-cooled before it was delivered and that she had to wait for it to come down to temp. No one in the office was prepared for that one.
I used to work in a public night shift service, kinda like an emergency room but for non-emergencies. A Karen walked in at 3am asking for a prescription for hypertension meds, which isn’t unusual, as people sometimes don’t notice they’re running low.
Anyway, the law states that this service can only write prescriptions for potentially life-threatening conditions’ meds for a maximum of 72 hours coverage. While I was writing the prescription Karen casually mentioned that she was an insomniac, and while cleaning the medicine cabinet she realized she was down to her last full blister.
My pen stopped and I asked her to repeat it. She did, so I took the prescription, tore it in half, then again, then I threw it in the bin, explaining to her the law. She got mad, started yelling and threatened to call the authorities.
I told her to go ahead. I knew exactly what would happen.
The authorities came, and she triumphantly announced that I’m refusing to treat her. I explained the situation, and they asked her if it’s true that she has a full blister, and she confirmed it. The authorities looked at her, then at me, then asked her politely to leave, as I was in the right. She was livid.
The day after, my boss called me and cracked up because Karen went there during the day to talk to “the manager”, and my boss told her the exact same thing.
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