Customer Service Workers Are Sharing Their Wildest “Irrational Customer” Stories


[From BuzzFeed] We recently asked customer service and retail workers in our BuzzFeed Community, “What’s your wildest ‘Holy heck, this customer is almost hilariously irrational’ story?” And WHEW, BUDDY, did they come through with some tales o’ terror. So here are just a few of the most irrational stories shared:

1. This failed return:

“I used to work as a manager for a big-box chain. I once had a customer scream at me because they bought a DVD player (when they were still super expensive), and when they got home, there were encyclopedias in the box instead. Many things seemed wrong about this, but I was on the verge of making the return just to make them happy. Then I happened to open the cover of the encyclopedia and saw a ‘Belongs to:” inscription on the inside. On a whim, I told the customer that I ‘just need an ID to complete the return.’ It was the SAME NAME! I just held out the open book in one hand and the ID in the other. The customer left without looking back.”


2. This simple favor:

“Not me, but my boss at the time: I work at a property management company that deals with HOAs and CAIs. My boss once got a call from one of the residents in a community that we manage. She asked my boss to LEAVE WORK and DRIVE TO COSTCO to see if it seemed busy and had long lines at the checkout. She then wanted my boss to call her back with this information so that she could decide if it was too busy for her, personally, to go out or not.”


3. This actual demon:

“I was working at a well-known grocery store in the Northeast. I had many regular costumers who knew I had a horrendous seafood allergy (I can’t even be around it without a reaction starting), so I would ask either the customer or a nearby coworker to scan any seafood items. It was an efficient system.

“One day, a man came through with a netted bag of oysters. When I apologized for my allergy and explained he would need to scan the bag, his face twisted, and before I could react, he wiped his hands on the oysters, grabbed my arm, and rubbed the oyster juice up and down my arm. He then laid money down and ran out the door. My coworkers shoved some Benadryl down my throat and I was sent home.”


Pile of fresh raw oysters for seafood restaurant

4. This not-so-funny stand-up routine:

“As a teen, I worked at a furniture store where customers would come to a speaker and give their order number, and I would direct them to whatever area to pick up their stuff. TOO MANY customers would make a fast-food joke. I would play along for a bit, but some customers would push this stupid joke and then get insulted when I didn’t find it absolutely hilarious. I once had someone make an official complaint so that I got written up because I didn’t think their freaking ‘I’ll take a number 3 with a Coke!’ joke was funny!”


5. This cash register debacle:

“I worked at Chuck E. Cheese when I was in high school and college. At the time, we had distinct roles and I was not trained to be a cashier. I once had an older woman who wanted to buy stuffed animals from the gift selection. I pulled the prizes out, gave them to the cashier, and kindly told the woman to get in line. She proceeded to demand that I ring her up on the spot. I explained to her that I wasn’t trained and thus couldn’t do it.

“She threw a tantrum and proceeded to insult my intelligence for about 10 straight minutes, claiming I was too stupid to learn how to work a cash register, and saying how I would never amount to anything because I work at Chuck E. Cheese. Luckily, my manager came up and stood up for me. She went to the back of the line and paid for her stuffed animals while she kept saying horrible things about me and my lack of intellect.

“If anyone’s wondering: I graduated from college with a genetics degree, and I currently manage a laboratory and helped set up multiple COVID testing labs — but to be fair, I still don’t know how to work a cash register.”


6. This returned phone:

“When I worked in CEX (an electronics pawnshop), we had tons of irate customers. My worst was a guy who was screaming at another member of the staff. I offered to see if I could help (I was the oldest member of the staff, so people tended to trust me more — I was 26). He handed over a phone that looked as if it had been marinated in garbage and then set on fire. I politely told him that it was in too rough a condition for us to take. He yelled at me, spat at me, and tried to lunge over the counter to attack me. It was at this point that the police showed up to escort him away, as my manager had called them out of view.”


Old cellphones, some flip

7. This confused shipper:

“I worked customer service for an ocean container-shipping company. We moved containers of goods on boats from one country port to another. I once had a customer call and get upset with me because we couldn’t ship his item because our boats didn’t go to the destination he wanted. He legitimately couldn’t understand why we couldn’t just go to a different continent and drop off his shipment before heading to our original destination. I think I eventually ended up hanging up on him after he started screaming and cussing at me. I didn’t get paid enough for that job.”


8. This odd request:

“A lady once asked me for ‘nonstick tape’ and was genuinely offended when I told her, ‘Ma’am, tape is SUPPOSED to be sticky.'”


9. This shoe coup:

“I worked at a shoe store with a very reasonable return policy, and someone once brought back shoes that had easily been worn daily for three years, if not longer. The soles had deep holes in them, the sides were completely shredded, the canvas was filthy, and the laces were caked in dirt and moments from snapping. Three different family members brought the shoes in, and all tried to tell us that we sold terrible shoes that ‘fell apart quickly.’ Once, they bought a new pair, shoved the old ones in the new box, and tried to return them, pretending that we were the idiots.”


Old pair of sneakers

10. This blockbuster:

“My brother worked at a grocery store and once had a lady come in and scream at him (the 16-year-old cashier) because the Redbox outside the store didn’t have the movie that she wanted available.”


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