Customers can certainly be fickle at times, especially when they're rearing up to lodge a complaint.
To be fair, most of those complaints are valid. They're paying customers, so they deserve to get what they paid for and we all get that.
But sometimes a customer is either looking for a handout or is genuinely out of their mind. If you've ever worked in the service industry, whether in a restaurant, in retail, or any job where customers are involved, you probably have some crazy stories of your own about unreasonable or outright ludicrous complaints.
Here are some customer complaints that prove beyond a doubt that the customer is not always right. Some of these people are definitely in their own special little world. You'll see!
"I am very important. Way more important than the likes of you. While you are making minimum wage because you're too stupid to do anything with your life, I am literally paid over $60 an hour. Well over $120k a year. You with me so far? Good. This pay literally means a minute of my time wasted is a dollar wasted. And here you are, expecting me to essentially spend an extra dollar, because your incapable self isn't able to understand the temperature I want my food, and ESPECIALLY after the fact that I already gave you MY MONEY to get this garbage you probably eat every day."
If you've ever worked in food service, you'll be familiar with the customer who eats almost their whole meal before deciding they hate it and demanding another serving on the house.
I used to work in the produce department.
Guy comes in and picks a pear off the shelf. Takes a huge bite in front of me.
I tell him he can't do that. He says he'll ask the cashier to ring up the core. I say it's by the pound so you seriously can't do that. He gets angry and proclaims, "In my country this food is all free!"
I tell him he can go back there if he wants that but still can't eat the pear for free in this country. So he just storms off.
He was busted for shoplifting.
Some of our clients get sent a survey after a meeting with us in order to gauge our customer service skills. I had a guy give me 10s in everything including "was your request completed to the level you expected?" Guy gives me a 7 in his overall rating (which significantly dragged my overall percentage down) because "this request should have been handled by someone older."
Screw me for being in my 20s and being good at what I do.
At a large shoe store the other day, I overheard an old lady asking an associate if they had a particular slipper in the "non-clearance" area. The old lady had found slippers she liked on clearance, but couldn't find anything like them that weren't discounted. The associate was genuinely confused, and asked if she was trying to use a coupon or something. The old lady got indignant and proclaimed "I don't use coupons and I DON'T buy things on clearance!"
While working at advance auto, I had a customer come in demanding a set of brake pads. I asked what he drove, he replied, "Doesn't matter, brake pads are brake pads". I said they are vehicle specific. I was than asked if I was stupid and told to stop trying to rip him off. Being the helpful human I am, I obliged his request. Walked down the isle containing hundreds of different brake pads, particular to your vehicle. Selected a random box, sold random pads to customer.
Two hours later, he attempts to return them stating they don't fit. I refuse the return stating " I cannot return used items". They we're covered in oil and what have you.
We had a customer try to get me fired because I wouldn't provide him an installer and a software key for a software version we no longer supported (all he had was an old box), because I knew for a fact it wouldn't work in his situation anyway. It wouldn't work with either his OS or his hardware. It was so old that the whole software line had been discontinued for years, and this wasn't even the version we had discontinued then, it was one we discontinued and replaced with a major update years before that.
I explained repeatedly that we didn't even have a way to generate keys for that anymore and it simply would not do what he was wanting. It wasn't a policy, we could do whatever to make customers happy, but it was completely pointless - it wouldn't work with what he had, and there was no way to make it work. I knew the software had essentially no utility in any modern scenario. We had ended support because the software basically had no modern use at all.
Keep in mind this product was less than $30 new, and that was a long time ago, before dollar apps and tons of inexpensive software anywhere. He also said that he had bought the product second-hand and never even had a key to begin with. He just had an old box. Not even a disc.
He screamed at me, called back and got someone else, and lied about what I'd said, said I'd sworn at him and abused him, called me every bad name in the book, and basically demanded that I be fired, he gets the software, etc. or he'd sue us and defame us online. It finally got to the company owner (whose office is in earshot of mine, so he knows damn well I don't abuse customers). The company owner is also head developer so he agreed to go back and generate a serial number for the guy and send him an old installer. As he was doing this, he repeatedly explained that it wouldn't work on his system, but we were doing this to appease him. The whole time, the guy is going, "It's about the principle, I paid for it, I want it! I demand I have it!" et cetera.
The guy held him on the line without explanation, then started to freak out because -- as we had promised -- it didn't work. The owner said, "That's what I told you would happen." The guy demanded to know how the company compensate him for this huge injustice and waste of his personal time, et cetera, demanded that we MAKE it work no matter the cost, just for him, and the owner said "You got exactly what you asked for, a product that we told you from the first time you spoke to <my name> wouldn't work for you anymore. It is too old to work on your new system, but we spent our time getting it to you anyway, because you insisted you have it. Now you do. That's all we are doing. Goodbye."
At McDonalds I had a customer who ordered a meal for his family (like a £30 order) to eat in. I began gathering the food and soon I had completed the order. I asked if he wanted help carrying the food over to the table and, offended, he scowled at me and said that he was perfectly capable of carrying a couple of trays. Upon picking up two trays of food and drink, one in each hand, he stumbled and dropped his entire order to the floor. The man demanded that I re-complete his order or refund him on the grounds that the trays were over-crowded and too heavy. I refused. The fool then pointed his finger at my face and said, "You give me my food or I'll knock your freaking head off". When I apologetically refused him again he called his family to follow him and kicked the door open (of which hit another employee entering the building having taken a park out) and stormed out, loudly saying "What a joke".
One time an older woman returned chicken wings to my store because she said they were "undercooked." I asked to see the package she bought them in and she handed me a package from our meat department. I said, "Ma'am, these are from the meat department, they're raw!" To which she replied, "Oh my, I tried eating a few of them hoping that it was just that part of the wing." I felt really bad and gave her extra money back. Hope she's doing alright.
I used to work at a coffee shop. A lady ordered a mocha and I forgot to add the mocha syrup. It was a dumb mistake so I fixed it, of course. She put it back on the bar a couple minutes later and said, "It doesn't taste right. I want a new one." Okay, I thought, don't know what else I can do, but sure, I'll make a new one. I get started on it and she goes to the restroom. She gets back from the restroom before I'm done making it but sees her old drink on the bar that I hadn't taken back yet and thinks it's her new one. She looks at and says, "Ah, it looks better already!" takes a big drink and says, "Now see, that's perfect," then leaves before I can tell her I didn't do a thing.
I was working the night shift at my dad's diner because the busboy got hit by a car. Towards the end of my shift, an older lady complained that my smile was creeping her out, made me call the manager (my dad), and demanded a different busboy forcing him to clean the table (it was only me, him, and the waiter). That was by far the strangest complaint I ever received.
I was managing a restaurant years ago, and a woman came in complaining that her three prime rib dinners she got from take-out last night, with baked potatoes, etc. were disgusting and made her whole family sick.
The hostess called me over. I verified what she said. Then had to inform her that we have never sold prime rib, or baked potatoes, and I was calling the police.
Never seen someone run that fast in my life.
Working at a hardware store, I overheard my manager and a little old lady's conversation an aisle over.
Manager: "Can I help you, ma'am?"
Lady: "I hope so, you're all out of my size of air filter!"
Manager:" Which size was that, ma'am?"
Manager: "Let me see here." Manager looks around the shelf. "Here you go." Hands the lady a 20"x10" air filter.
Lady: "I said I need 10"x20"!"
Manager keeps quiet, takes back air filter, holds it out in front of him, rotates it 90 degrees, and hands it back to her with a grin.
Lady leaves in silence, with the 20"x10."
A woman bought a white shirt. She then spilled red soda onto the shirt. To fix the stain, she used a detergent pen. She rubbed so hard it tore a hole in the fabric. Her husband tried to return it after they stained it and tore the garment, claiming that it must have been a manufacturing problem. No sir, that's not how it works.
I once managed the front desk of a recreational center, and this one parent yelled at me for a class starting without their kid.
They were 15 minutes late.
When I worked at a movie theater, a woman came up demanding a refund for her movie because the person next to her farted. Once.
But it was "really bad."
Of course she had to finish the entire movie before voicing her complaint.
I work at a library.
A patron comes in and knocks books off the shelves.
Turns to me and says, "PICK THEM UP! I PAY YOUR SALARY!"
We ran out of medium-sized fountain drink cups at the place I work at, so we were giving out large ones instead for the price of a medium. A lady flipped out and demanded that she get the drink for free since it wasn't the size that she wanted.
I work in a burger joint. One particular evening, I had a table of college kids, pretty standard for a Friday night. Anyway, I take their order. Very simple. Single no tomato, double with cheese add pickle, large fry, a few shakes. Lastly, a blonde girl orders one of our specialty burgers, the "Portobello and Swiss." A while later, I get the food dropped off, and when I'm checking back on them, the blonde, visibly upset, is demanding a different sandwich. I ask if there's something wrong, and she tells me her burger has mushrooms on it.
A woman managed to spill gasoline all over herself at the gas station I worked at and demanded we pay for new clothing.
I work in the frozen department of a grocery store, and one time a customer came up to me and asked me where the premade peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were, which we had recently moved an aisle over. I showed her where they were and told her we recently moved them, and she just flew off on a rant about how we, as a store, had for some reason decided to specifically target her and were moving around all of the things she comes in to buy and she really doesn't appreciate turning her trip to buy these pre-made sandwiches into a HORRIBLE SCAVENGER HUNT.
Server here. My favorite was when a man sent back his salad two milliseconds after I set it in front of him because he "wasn't expecting it to look like that."
I was a manager at a retail pharmacy. I had a customer complain and file a report that we didn't carry Walmart brand items.
I thought they were maybe confused, pointed out they were in a CVS (which looks NOTHING like a Walmart, but whatever). But he kept arguing that the customer is always right and we should carry Great Value items.
I worked at a local ice cream store in high school and we always had some pretentious customers. One summer afternoon, a lady came up to me and showed me that her ice cream had melted and wanted another one free of charge.
I gave her another one, but this time I made it sugar free. She had it coming.
I used to work at a cafe when I was in college. We had a guy come in once very angry because we messed up his coffee when he came through the drive-thru. Instead of sweetener, we added sugar. This wouldn't have been a huge issue to fix and generally people are level-headed and realize that mistakes do happen. However, he was throwing a hissy fit claiming he's a diabetic and that spoonful of sugar would have surely finished him had he ingested more than one gulp of the coffee.
Because he was freaking out like a rabid dog, my manager stepped in and offered him any other item on the menu for free because he wouldn't accept just a redo of the coffee. Buddy decides he wants a dozen donuts. No problem. I pack up the dozen, hand it to him. He then proceeds to eat not one, not two, but THREE lard-sugar-fat glazed donuts in front of my eyeballs even though he just claimed he was severely diabetic. Smacking my head.
I used to work as a bank teller. People who poorly managed their money were always coming into the branch to have fees reversed. You know the type of person -- someone who never takes responsibility for anything. Everything that happens to them is someone else's fault.
Anyway, one guy in particular was always overdrafting his account. He always had some story of how he was wronged and that the overdraft wasn't his fault. One day he came in wanting to have 10+ overdraft fees reversed. All the transactions were for online poker websites.
He said: "None of those transactions are mine. This is fraud! I don't even gamble online!!!"
I said: "Sir, you are wearing a PokerStars t-shirt."
I worked a 9.5-hour shift on a very very busy overnight at the convenience store. Morning finally arrives, I clock out, grab my keys and head to my car (across the parking lot). I still have my name tag on. An older woman comes up to me and asks me if I'd like to go to church with her. I politely decline, and tell her my wife was waiting for me at home.
She then asks what church I go to (which is not an altogether uncommon question in the South). I tell her that I prefer not to give out information about my life outside of work (even to my coworkers). I then said goodbye and thanked her for her offer (it takes me a bit to get out of customer service mode, which is a bit irritating) and went home.
Three weeks later, at my one-on-one meeting with my manager, he tells me that someone complained to corporate about me, asked if I remembered a customer inviting me to church, and handed me the complaint (which I still have hanging on my fridge);
"I want to express my concern regarding one of your employees. He works Saturday overnight at [Location], and his name tag said [Name]. On August 26, as he was leaving, I met him in the parking lot, and invited him to come with me to church. While he was polite enough, he declined, and then refused to answer me when I asked him which church he attended. It is clear to me that he is an atheist, and I must ask that he be fired. It is a terrible thing to be giving non-believers jobs, when there are plenty of good Christian-folk who do not have them.
"Thank you for your time."
I looked up from reading it, and even my manager was shaking his head at it. The response from my company was something along the lines of offering her a gift card, apologizing for the inconvenience, and dancing around the issue that they could not fire me for not going to church with a customer. My manager's response, "Good job at being called polite in a complaint, and remember not to do that thing again."
"I have no idea."
Still the most ludicrous complaint I've ever received.
I manage a women's clothing store. We had a big sale one day, offering 50% off everything, which was very unusual. Throughout the store, we placed black signs that said: "50% off your entire purchase." To signify the clearance section, we used red signs that said 50% off. I had a woman come up the register with arm-loads of clothes. I proceeded to ring her up and give her total, which was ridiculously low for the amount of clothing she was getting (think $50 top reduced to $14.99, plus another 50%). So I finished ringing everything up and gave the woman her total, and she's looking at me dumbfounded. "No, you made a mistake. The clearance items are free." At first I thought she was joking with me, but no... she wanted two discounts of 50% each on all the marked-down stuff. Her logic? The signs are different colors... I should get both colors.
I own a bookstore. A guy came up to the counter with books and gave me his library card. I said, "We're a bookstore, not a library." He yelled, "What am I paying taxes for?"
Clearly, not the schools.
I live in Canada. I had a lady pay me in U.S. currency, which was no problem because the exchange rate was pretty much even. But when I gave her Canadian change back, she absolutely lost it. After I told her I only had Canadian currency in the till, she literally started jumping up and down and screamed, "I hate Canada" like a 5-year-old girl. I was so stunned all I could reply was, "I really like Canada?"
I was standing in line at the gas station and I overheard a woman yelling "I'm an American, I demand to be rung up by an American." The guy ringing her up took off his Kufi and tried his best to sound like a redneck. She threw her things down and stormed off. I have made it a point to give that gas station repeat business because that was one of the funniest things I've seen go down in a while.
A woman comes through the drive-through lane and orders stuff. One of the things is a large diet drink. She pulls around to the window and I look over to see she is driving a full-size van with a live miniature horse in the back. I hand her the diet and she gives it to the horse. I'm thinking, okay that's weird.
I turn away to make sure her order is ready. I turn back around and she is livid. I ask her what's wrong, and she screams at me and throws a broken cup at me. She tells me off, ranting about how horrible our cups were. Apparently, the horse broke the cup and it spilled everywhere. I'm like really, you gave it to a FREAKING HORSE. What did you think was gonna happen? The cup even had dirt and hay on it when I got it back.
Just one of the many messed up people I've seen during my time as a fast-food employee.
I sold a woman a laptop. She came in a day later to return it and said it wouldn't turn on. I looked inside the box and the power cord had never been touched. I asked her if she had charged it. The clueless look on her face rearranges into a scowl. "Nobody told me you have to charge it. You can't just assume people know that."
Military member here. I was with my girlfriend who was sending a check at our Base Exchange, and we were just leaving the customer service lobby when an older man walked in. He had a bundle of dress socks in hand. He walked to the counter and slammed them down, claiming that he fought Asians for his country, therefore did not want to see socks made in China/Japan/Korea etc. being sold inside of the store.
I work at a bank inside of a grocery store. The customer was very upset that they couldn't buy their toilet paper and chips at the teller window.
I once had a shareholder complain that they only got their quarterly statement every three months.
Sub shop worker here. One time a woman complained that we made her sandwich "much too fast" and refused to eat it.
I worked at an Italian restaurant and received a complaint that we didn't have a burger and fries option on the menu.
"This cappuccino feels like it's half foam!"
After I launched our new website at work, one of our clients emailed me to complain that you couldn't use the website if you didn't have internet access.
First, I'm pretty sure everything on the internet doesn't work without the internet. Also, what did he want me to do about it? Print all 900 pages and leave it on his front porch like the freaking phone book? And if he doesn't have internet access, how the hell did he email me?
A woman was very upset that I wouldn't accept food stamps as payment...
...for her family portraits.
Not cash benefits, straight up food stamps. Ma'am, were you planning to eat the photos?
I worked at a famous zoo for many years. I worked with guest relations for quite a few years and heard plenty of crazy complaints. But the best I heard happened just about a year before I transferred to that department, and is not unbelievable compared to the other things I have heard working there.
Basically, every now and then during summer, the zoo would have animatronic dinosaurs. You know, for kids to come and see. They had done this for years and years off and on, and honestly, it was pretty well-done animatronics. Nothing I would pay to see as an adult really, but really fun for kids.
Anyway, apparently during one of the last summers I know that they had this event, there was a lady from England who came to the guest relations window furious and demanding a refund. As policy, they try to treat any complaint respectfully and politely, asking what the reason for the refund would be (they are much easier to give a return ticket than a flat refund).
Well, the lady didn't just want her ticket refunded. She wanted her entire trip from England to America refunded as well.
Her complaint: she came to see the dinosaurs, and they weren't real.
I was holidaying in Kenya in the late nineties and saw a middle-aged couple complaining loudly about something to the hotel rep. Suddenly the the rep just burst out laughing. The couple were complaining that they had been incredibly disappointed by their Safari and were demanding a refund. They had come all this way, spent all this money, and they hadn't seen a single tiger. Kenya is in Africa and tigers come from Asia.
I once had a customer complain about me because I answered emails too fast. You see, because he got responses within just a couple of minutes every time he'd ask for tech support, he assumed it was a chat session. Even though he was, you know, emailing us, and each ticket sent an autoresponse indicating "Thanks for your email, you'll get a response in 1 business day or less, our hours are X to Y", etc. When we left for the day after sending a response to one of his messages, he was incensed, because he felt I abandoned our "chat session".
When I indicated that this was an email thread and not chat, and we can only respond during our office hours, he said I was maliciously misleading him into thinking we were chatting by intentionally responding to him too quickly (not sure why, I guess out of some perverse pleasure), and therefore we hurt his business and owed him damages when we didn't immediately respond at any time.
Fortunately, my company isn't pants-on-head stupid about this kind of thing, so I didn't have to worry about it.
I used to work at an department store. I'm ringing up a customer and she uses her 20-percent-off any one full-price item coupon that they mailed out when you're on the mailing list (the coupon value is important here).
Next woman comes up with a two dollar thing from clearance and demands that I give her a coupon to use. I try to diffuse it with "if you sign up for the mailing list you'll get them pretty regularly." NO, she wants THAT coupon and she wants it NOW for this item. I try to explain that I cannot rescan that coupon (or pull it out of the drawer), and she can't use it on her purchase anyway since it's for a regular-priced item, not clearance.
She loses it, starts yelling at me that she's going to get me fired, she'll have everyone in the store out of a job, she's going to have the whole operation shut down (over 40 cents, just let that be known, this is happening because I'm denying her a whopping 40 cents off her two-dollar item).
I try to explain that I can't give her the coupon, I don't have the power to, I'm just a cashier (though I was seriously tempted to just pay for the thing myself if it would make her leave). She is still losing it. Her friend is pretending she doesn't know her. My manager comes over and gives the lady the senior discount of 10 percent, knocking a whopping 20 cents off her massive purchase. She smiles smugly at me and goes "SEE, I always win." Okay lady, you just accosted a minimum wage employee over 20 cents and looked crazy to everyone in a crowded store. Yep, you're the winner here.
I was in the return line a target and I heard a lady complaining to customer service about the color of the boxes in her 3 pack of kleenex brand tissue. She was saying "I don't want 3 different colors. I want all purple! Why don't you package them in all one color? YOU NEED TO CHANGE THAT". She kept going on and on about it, no matter how many different ways the target employee tried to explain to her that he, nor target, is in charge of how kleenex packages their products.
I used to work in a music and DVD store in the mall, and we had a tiny employee-only bathroom in the back office. It wasn't available to the public, but every once in a while you'll get someone doing the pee dance that can't make it to the public restroom 200 feet away.
There was a woman that came in and used the restroom, then DEMANDED a discount on her DVDs because, and I quote, "The soap in your bathroom made my hands smell like flowers. I HATE when my hands smell like flowers. You need to offer a citrus soap option to your customers."
I tried explaining that it wasn't a public restroom, we can choose whatever soap we'd like, and that none of this had any bearing on her DVD purchase. She didn't care.
After a half hour of this nonsense, my manager just gave her a 10% discount to get her out of the store for a whopping savings of $3.50.
While working in retail, a woman who had come in the day before was furious that we had not bagged one of the items she had paid for. She claimed to have paid for four sets of boxers but only three were in the bag. We looked up her receipt on our register and saw that we only charged her for three. We even looked back at the security tape to see that she had only brought three to the register.
After giving her a call back saying that she had only purchased and paid for three, she blew up. Personal attacks, profanity, and threats were made about how we were scamming her. In 20 minutes, she came to the store with her receipt to prove that she paid for four. We counted. One, two, and three. Instead of accepting the facts, she ripped up the receipt and said that she paid for four. She started knocking down clothes on the racks on her way out and demanded her set of boxers. The owner just gave it to her and told her not to come back.
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