Ask anyone who has spent a considerable amount of time dealing with customers if they've witnessed a temper tantrum, and they'll most likely be able to fill an entire book with tales of people flipping their lid over the smallest things. It's bound to happen at places where the "customer is always right." But more times than not, the customer isn't always right.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share the craziest freakouts, blow-ups, and temper tantrums they witnessed while dealing with customers. They range from tales of frustration building over a period of time to those of people just snapping for no apparent reason. All of the stories have been curated and edited for readability.
I Wonder If He Kept The Room
“I worked the front desk at a hotel a few years ago. One night, a guest came to check in around 10 pm and asked if he could get a room with two beds (he booked a room with one bed).
I told him we were sold out of rooms with two beds, but before I could offer him anything else, he took the bowl of apples we had at the desk and threw it against the wall. Then he took his OWN laptop, threw it on the ground and started kicking it around the lobby.
Security came out promptly and told him he needed to leave, which obviously prompted more screaming and kicking. Needless to say, he didn’t stay at the hotel that night.”
This Is Why Ya Don’t Spit In Someone’s Face
“I bounce at two popular busy bars across from a college campus. It can be a terrible job, but it pays for my tuition and housing, so I can’t complain.
One night, as I was bar-backing and roaming, I noticed a couple off in a corner having a very heated conversation. I kept my eye on them since I grew up breaking up fights between my parents, which instilled in me a proclivity to protect people. As I was switching out some bottles in the wells, I saw the guy slap this poor young woman as hard as he could and then shoved her to the ground. That got my blood boiling, but I decided to be calm and kick the guy out.
As I was walking him out, I made sure a female bartender was checking on the young woman and asking if she wanted to press charges. The guy was making a huge scene saying things like, ‘She deserved it,’ ‘It was her fault she got hit,’ ‘I’m the victim,’ ‘I’m going to close down this bar!’ Right before we got to the back door, he turned around and spit right in my face. Suffice it to say, I cleaned his bell and it made his now ex smile. Totally worth it.
I was always told that ‘a true warrior is the last to pick up his sword.’ The only time we ever engage someone physically is when they are trying to harm us, the patrons, or other employees intentionally.”
That’s Not Something You Want To Hear When You’re Pregnant
“I’m in retail, so I witness my fair share of adult temper tantrums, but ever since I became a manager it’s 10x worse because now I’m the one that gets called up to deal with the tantrums.
A few weeks ago, a woman wanted to return a curling iron that had clearly been being used for years and wasn’t even a brand that my store sold, so she obviously had no receipt and no original packaging, meaning it wasn’t eligible for return anyway whether or not it’s something she had bought at our store.
When I told her this, politely, of course, she puffed up and asked to speak to the manager. Okay, I’m a manager, but the store’s general manager will be here tomorrow if you want to leave your number and I can have her give you a call. Nope, not acceptable, she wanted cash for it. Even if I somehow was able to accept the return (my system literally won’t let me) it would be store credit only, never cash. I told her this, and she flipped out.
She screamed at me (literally, not figuratively), told me she was going to call the cops and corporate and the Better Business Bureau AND the attorney general, called me a witch and a harlot, and then told me karma was going to bite me in the rear and that I was going to have a stillborn baby. Which was really fun to hear considering I was nine months pregnant at the time. All because she couldn’t return her used curling iron to get money for her dealer. I had no doubt in my mind she was on some sort of substance, but the significant amount of teeth missing from her mouth tipped me off that it was speed she was after, and you obviously can’t pay your dealer in store credit.
Another customer in line piped up and said: ‘Hey lady, my husband is a cop and he was waiting for me in the car, want me to go get him?’ and that convinced the lady to leave. I then went to the back and cried, and went home early.”
Hopefully These People Don’t Forget
“The ancient supermarket across the way was closing up because a new store had just been built about a mile away. They had this huge ‘everything must go sale,’ and I was scavenging for closeouts, as was everyone else.
At the checkout, a 60-something woman was angry that ‘YOU PEOPLE’ didn’t have what she wanted. Then she proceeded to tell the cashier (in her 40s) she was ‘happy she was losing her job and she hoped she would become homeless.’ At some point, she also called the cashier a ‘nincompoop.’ The manager asked her to leave and she went on an incomprehensible tirade.
I just hope that old lady never walked into the new store because the entire staff of the old store worked there too, and I strongly suspect they will remember her.”
People Will Do A Lot For Three Pennies
“I work at a grocery store and the other day, I was working the register next to my buddy Carl.
This frail old woman with two items and her own bag came through his line. All was well with the whole order, and the woman grabbed her bag and walked to the side.
She started examining her receipt. At this point, Carl was already halfway through the next order. The woman then pulled out a calculator, mumbling to herself, looking distraught.
Swiftly, she turned around, shoved the calculator into Carl’s face, and demanded that he didn’t give her a $0.03 discount for her reusable bag.
That was our policy and I was sure Carl didn’t forget to ring that up. In fact, he didn’t forget, and the woman was delirious. She insisted the price on her calculator was correct and that Carl was wrong. Carl, sticking his ground, said he did give her the discount which only made her angrier.
At this point the whole line was annoyed, and the lady behind was in the middle of paying for her order.
But she would NOT STOP. She demanded $0.03! She told Carl to open the drawer, which he said he couldn’t. She reached for the DONATION jar and demanded he take $0.03 out of that. That one got to me. I opened my register, ready to just throw her the $0.03 when the woman behind frantically searched her purse for pennies. After 15 awkward yet notorious seconds, the lady finally fished out three pennies. The old woman grabbed them and left without a word.
Funny thing was she also left her calculator, which Carl deliberately did not move. Half an hour later, the lady was back, grabbed her calculator, and yelled, ‘I AM NEVER COMING TO THIS STUPID STORE AGAIN!’
Carl, ‘I HOPE YOU DON’T!’
I love Carl.”
Don’t Go Messing With The “Organic Integrity”
“I worked in a grocery store, and a woman asked me to slice her organic bread. She flipped out when she discovered that non-organic bread was also sliced on the machine. She stomped her foot and yelled, ‘But that messes up the organic integrity!’
It was my last week working there, so I simply told her, ‘Ma’am, please understand, I’m not emotionally involved in the situation.’ She froze and just walked away with the bread.”
He Didn’t Even Get To Leave With His Pride Intact
“A guy I was standing behind in line at the grocery store got mad at the cashier for charging him by the pound for grapes. He was adamant that the listed price was for the bunch and was making a huge scene and getting nasty with the cashier.
He asked me to come with him so he can show me (was within viewing distance from the register and I just wanted the line to move). We walked over to the grapes and he showed me the label and proudly said, ‘What does that say?’
I pointed at the small text under the price and said ‘per pound.’ He got even madder and checked out, talking crap the whole way through and left.”
Everyone Was Mortified By This Guy’s Random Outburst
“A couple brought their cat in who had been declining at home with something really severe. While they were deciding what to do, I flagged the cat as ‘about to check out of reality.’ We started CPR shortly after and got him back. The woman, who was the owner, decided to euthanize, and we made sure that everyone was comfortable and that she could properly say goodbye.
When they went back to the exam room, I followed to help her fill out the aftercare paperwork. She had some questions about the pet cemetery we use, and while I was trying to answer them, her friend kept interrupting to ask unrelated or stupid questions.
My last straw was, ‘Can we donate Fluffy for organ transplants to other animals, do they do that, how does that work?’
I looked up and said, ‘Excuse me, sir, but I can only speak with one person at a time and would like to focus on aftercare for Fluffy.’
The guy threw an epic tantrum complete with calling me demeaning names to my face, slamming the door, and according to a coworker, proceeded to tell anyone in the lobby who would listen that I had killed Fluffy. He then asked my coworker to file a complaint against me for being rude. She gave him HR’s number, but when he continued to scream, she told him to either leave or she would call the police.
The poor woman was mortified by his behavior. I managed to calm her down and help her choose what was best for Fluffy. She revealed to me that she had owned Fluffy for 15+ years and that she and her husband, who had recently passed away, got him as a kitten the first year they were married.
I really hope that she stopped hanging out with that garbage.”
The Gate With Comedic Timing
“The parking garage near my work is a frustrating place. The monthly customers have a parking pass that lifts the gate to get in and to get out. The thing is the pass and their sensor don’t work. You have to creep up to where you think the sweet spot might be, wave your pass around, reverse and try again, curse a bunch, endure people behind you honking despite them going through the same thing. It’s frustrating.
Not surprisingly, I witnessed a grown man throw the most excellent temper tantrum I’ve ever seen. The gate wouldn’t go up, and he just started screaming in his car and smashing on the horn, straight out of a movie. The worst part is is that the gate always seems to go up right when you reach peak rage. So he was yellin’ away, and then the gate was just like ‘Alright, man. I’ll open. Jeez.'”
This Guy Couldn’t Admit When He Was In The Wrong
“I used to work for Goodyear Tire about 10 years ago.
A man, 40s, well dressed, came in wanting an alignment done on his truck. When they told him a price, he got upset and said that he had purchased a ‘lifetime alignment’ from us and would not be paying. Our sales guy explained calmly that Goodyear has never sold lifetime alignments, but Firestone does, and perhaps he was mistaken.
The man became furious, insisting that we perform his alignment because he paid for a LIFETIME ALIGNMENT and that if we didn’t do it, he would be suing us for breach of contract. My manager got involved, but there was no calming this guy down. He had us check our system to pull up his information, but we quickly discovered that he had never been to a Goodyear store before, which made things worse. The next few minutes was him yelling incomprehensibly at our manager and other customers in the lounge, demanding action be taken on his vehicle.
Finally, the manager said he was calling the cops and the guy went on a full-blown profanity induced rampage through our store on the way to the door, knocking over coffee dispensers and cups, a magazine rack, and ended it by kicking open our door. The kick ripped the hydraulic door closer off the wall above the door, and he left.
Our manager ran into him a week later at a car dealership, where the guy was a sales manager. Our manager walked out and cited that guy’s behavior as the reason they just lost a sale, then he forwarded the security cam video of his rampage to the GM of the dealership.”
She Freaked Out Because She Had To Do Her Job?
“I had a job a few years ago where all but one of us had to do this annoying group task involving lots of back and forth trips to a laundromat on the hottest day of that year. We were academic counselors for a summer program, and we had to walk groups of 30 students about a mile away to do laundry because the college’s machines broke and these kids were getting stinky.
The only one exempt from this task was the one brown-noser who was always sucking up to the main supervisor. We all assumed she was exempt because she was such a suck-up, but I think the supervisor just forgot to assign a task to her because she was so useless.
On our third trip back, she was literally lounging in the lobby with her feet up on a chair doing NOTHING. The supervisor walked by, noticed her, had what seemed to have been a moment of realization and then told her to get a group and start doing the same laundry trips the rest of us were doing.
She went nuts. Bonkers. She was not screaming, but she was whining really loudly and quickly and repeating, ‘That’s not fair…this isn’t fair!’ over and over and over again. The fact that she felt it wasn’t fair is what infuriated me most. She then punched a hole in the lobby wall in frustration over having to do the same job everyone else had to do.
Two days later, the main supervisor got fired, and the assistant supervisor who this lazy worker was badmouthing in an attempt to get into upper management’s good graces was then made the top supervisor. This did not end well for the lazy one.”
The Cost Of Being Cheap
“When I was working at Petco, I used to see all kinds of adult temper tantrums. People needed to take care of their animals but hated how much that cost. Of course, they would take it out on the store employees. People that wanted fish were the worst. They would try to get away with spending so little on fish and never wanted to clean their tanks or buy the stuff to do that. Then they wouldn’t properly introduce new fish to their tanks and would bring in samples of their water that was just terrible and get mad when they couldn’t get another fish for free to replace the one they killed.
However, the biggest tantrum was from a guy that bought Flies Off (a cheap repellent for flies) in an attempt to get rid of fleas (relatively expensive). He used the whole bottle and came back expecting a refund because his dog still had fleas. He was told no and things went south quick. He was yelling by the check lanes about how he deserved a refund. Screaming at the manager in front of everyone making a huge scene. He then kicked over this spinning rack holding dog collars and yelled that he was going to come back and shoot up the windows. We called the police. He never actually came back, but what a total piece of garbage over a few bucks.”
She Didn’t Want To Follow Store Policy, No Matter How It Made Her Look
“Middle-aged moms with an obscene amount of money and free time make for a disaster, and well, half the population where I work fits this bill.
A lady, who was clearly shaking and had a sad looking man in tow, tried to come to the checkout register with all of her items laying in the cart, with the barcode standing up. While that’s nice, it’s policy to take every single item out of the cart to prevent theft and such.
I reached into her cart to take something out, and she flipped her lid. It was like her medication-induced Parkinson’s kicked into gear and she looked like I just took a crap on her son’s grave.
‘Ma’am, it’s company policy to take out these items.’
Her husband gave me the, ‘You messed up, boy’ look and just turned his head. I could tell he was embarrassed.
After arguing with the cashier for a solid five minutes, a supervisor had to tell her to calm down. She calmed down, but not before making her comments.
Seriously girl, you’re at a store in front of a bunch of kids acting like a crazy person, how do people justify their actions?
If you’ve never seen someone dead on the inside, look at one of these people’s husbands or children, they will be so used to this behavior their faces are almost glazed over with a saddened expression.”
The Building Wasn’t The Only Thing About To Explode
“I work for Walgreens and I have tons of stories, but the most recent thing that comes to my mind is the day we had to evacuate our store.
A maintenance guy was in our store working on getting us hot water again. He came out a little later with all of his things in hand, found a manager, and informed her dispatch just called and said they needed to evacuate the building because the pressure was too high from the valves or whatever. It was midday, relatively slow, and as I was making my way around informing customers they had to leave because THE BUILDING MIGHT EXPLODE, I came across an older couple (probably late-60s early 70s). The husband threw a huge fit and was refusing to leave.
At this point, all the other customers were outside, as well as my fellow coworkers. I calmly explained to the couple that we had been ordered to evacuate. He still continued to argue, said he needed the things he had in his handbasket, and then stood at the door and argued with me about when we were going to reopen. I told him maybe never because we might explode. He didn’t like that and it set him off more.
Finally, he left and the building did not explode. The gas people came out shortly after and gave us the okay, but can you imagine if we had been in serious danger? That crazy old customer and I would have died over some Preparation H and body lotion.”
It Was An Embarrassing Sight For Everyone
“A 60-year-old man was getting gas at a pump that allows you to pay for a car wash at the same time. He added the car wash to his bill.
He drove around to car wash where we had placed a huge sign reading: ‘Temp Out Of Service.’
He went inside and started screaming that the pump tried to steal his $7.99. The cashier explained that the ticket was good for 90 days and he was sorry. The old man slammed his fist on the counter, screaming that if the car wash was out of service, the pump shouldn’t have offered it to him in the first place. He demands a full refund including the gas for wasting his time.
Then it got bad.
He started calling the cashier an ISIS member and throwing things off the shelves before storming out. He called the guy all sorts of names. I thought his head was going to explode with all of the veins showing.
This man is my father. We don’t speak anymore.”