People who work in customer service talk to a lot of people throughout the day. Naturally, some of them are rude. For the most part, it's overlooked. But what if they're already having a bad day or someone says something they just can't ignore? That's when an employee might go off on a customer. No matter how justified, it usually ends badly for the employee.
Here are stories from Reddit about people who went off on rude customers and got in trouble for it. Content has been edited for clarity.
No Need To Steal This Identity
“I used to work at a car dealership and one day I had this customer that was just a pain from the beginning. He had a problem with every car I showed him and took up most of my day. I finally found something agreeable and we got to the paperwork. The dude refused to give his social security number to run credit. My manager got involved and finally got him to agree. I followed the manager into his office and the manager ran his credit report. He said, ‘he can’t buy anything unless he comes up with cash.’
His credit was terrible. I went back to the customer to explain and before I said anything he started saying that if we tried to use his SSN to steal his identity and buy something with his credit that he was going to do this and that etc. And so, in the middle of the showroom, I screamed at him, ‘Sir, who would steal your identity? You couldn’t buy bubble gum on credit!’
Honestly, my manager didn’t care.”
Quit Playing Those Mind Games
“I used to work at a convenience store. I hated it. I had a string of bad customers and then we got this regular that just rubbed everyone the wrong way. He would talk down at most of our employees, mostly the men but also any women he didn’t like. One thing he liked to do was when you went to hand him his change he would act like he was about to take it, then smack his hands on the counter, look at you and yell ‘PUT IT ON THE COUNTER.’ Then he’d casually scoop it up and be on his way. For the longest time I thought he might have been a germaphobe, but after a while, it became pretty clear he liked to play mind games. He wouldn’t pull this move on the more attractive female workers.
One night I just forgot and I went to hand him his change and he did his usual PUT IT ON THE COUNTER routine. I was just fed up with being pushed around so I slammed it on the counter and it went everywhere.
He got red and angry and told me he was going to tell my manager. My manager also hated this guy, so I smirked and told him to buzz off. He then immediately calmed down, said ‘well okay then’ and walked out.
The next day the assistant manager took me in the back room and told me the guy called corporate. He was about to send me home when the store manager called in and said to forget that guy, so the assistant manager talked corporate out of firing me.
He never came in again under my shift, so I guess he did listen to me.”
Being Busy Means Nothing To Him
“I got admonished but not fired, although I didn’t care at the time, it was just a side gig in high school.
I was 15 being a hostess and working the to-go counter at a popular sports bar chain. A big college football game was on and we were slammed. Our restaurant didn’t have bussers, servers where just suppose to clean the tables themselves. I had a huge list of people waiting to get a table, answering phones, getting to-go orders ready and helping servers bus tables so I could get people sat. I was obviously busting my butt and not standing around the hostess stand acting useless.
A couple in their 50s and their late teens/young adult daughter came in wearing their sports team jerseys asking how long the wait was. It’s a football game people, no one is going to get up until the game is over but whatever. I told them it could be a while and this was how many people were in front of them. Well, they watched me like a hawk. They noticed every time I sat someone. When they came back up again and asked, ‘so where are we now?’ I miscounted and told them the wrong number. I was off by like one. The 50-year-old jerk started screaming at me about how awful I was and said something about me being the worst hostess ever. I wasn’t rude to him even though he was a grown man belittling a 15-year-old girl. I explained I made a mistake and that I would get him seated as soon as possible.
He wasn’t having it and said he was leaving. I waved him out the door and said bye and don’t let the door hit you on the way out. His Stepford housewife looked at me appalled like I just crapped on her mansion floor. The daughter was also nasty to me, but again, her GROWN DAD CURSED OUT A 15 YR OLD GIRL.
That jerk called the store and complained. I got a write up because it was ‘policy.’ I am now a successful engineer and have the utmost respect for anyone in the service/retail industries. I still can’t imagine ever treating someone like that and I think that’s a true testament to someone being a horrible person.”
The Great Tipping Dilemma
“Someone I know was waiting tables and one night had a large table of 10(ish) people. They took up most of her section and lingered at the table for quite a while after their meal. They paid their bill and just drew a line through the tip section, so she inspected the table and saw that they didn’t leave cash either. She had had a rough week and snapped.
She followed them into the parking lot and berated the man who paid the bill, a whole tirade about ‘I only get paid blah blah blah, and I need those tips to survive, and you took up my whole section all night, etc, etc, etc.’
He calmly said ‘Let’s go back inside and talk about this,’ so they did. He walked with her back to the table, and he lifted up his plate. Two $100 bills (total $200) were left under it. He said ‘I put this under the plate so no other diners would grab it before you could find it, but I guess you’re not getting it now,’ and he put it back in his pocket.
A manager saw the altercation and asked the man privately what the problem was. He explained, and the server was fired on the spot.”
Are You Really Asking That?
“I worked at Jimmy Johns. Last Sunday some rich looking trophy family came in when I was working the register. The three kids stood there laughing at me while the mother and father spoke to me more pretentiously than I’ve ever encountered. However, at one point, the mother asked ‘How big are your 8 inch sandwiches?’ I stood there sort of perplexed and amused. Then, I replied after a moment, ‘Usually they’re 8 inches’ and then grinned a little. She got so mad. The dad pointed his finger in my face and threatened me with blah blah blah and called my manager over to talk.
At the end of my shift, my manager came up to me and gave me this whole talk about customer respect. Then he fired me.
The management there honestly does treat the staff like garbage. They literally fired me for answering a customer’s question.”
The True Spirit Of Christmas
“I was working Christmas Eve at my retail job. I’d worked fifteen days in a row and was absolutely exhausted. Most of those days, I didn’t even get a lunch break because we were ridiculously short staffed and the manager was more interested in chilling out in her office than helping us on the shop floor. I was finally heading off on my break and was taking two huge boxes of overstock into the stockroom on my way when a customer stopped me to ask the price of something. There was literally a price sticker on the box but it’s retail and Christmas Eve so I decided not to bother arguing. So I said, ‘sure, I’ll have to check that on the till. Give me a moment.’
I pushed open the doors to the back of house area, literally dumped the two boxes on the floor, and headed straight back to the customer. When I found her – middle-aged, middle class, yummy mummy type – she literally grabbed me by my shirt, demanding to see a name badge, which was nonexistent. She said, ‘Tell me your name now, I’m going to complain about you.’
‘I’m sorry, complain about me, why?’ I asked.
She said ‘You told me I’d have to go to the till to find out the price. Have you seen the queue? Horribly disgusting service.’
I pulled away from her grip, ripping my shirt in the process, and sighed quite loudly. ‘Sorry, I think you misunderstood. I said I would go to the till to find out for you. If you just give me the box I’ll go and do that.’
The customer then literally threw the box at me, hitting me on the shoulder. By that point, I didn’t care anymore so I kicked the box under a display table and told her to get out. I then went on my break.
My manager texted me the next afternoon – Christmas Day – to tell me not to bother coming in on Boxing Day because I no longer had a job.
I did think about pursuing an unlawful dismissal claim but I was so glad to be out of that craphole that I didn’t bother.”
The Straw The Broke The Baker’s Back
“I was working for a bakery because I just couldn’t find anything else after my last stable job let me go in favor of automation.
Anyway, so I’m working there for about 6 months and there’s always this one particular old Spanish dude who was a major headache and a frequent regular.
The bakery used a number system, however, we only really used it when it got busy and we couldn’t always keep track of who came in first.
So this guy comes in and takes a number, he gets 12. Our counter is at 99 from the previous day. I reset it to 0.
I call ‘#1.’ Nobody has one, so I call out the next.
This guy, though, this guy had his #12.
I keep calling out numbers while he butts his way through the line and up to the counter.
‘I am next.’
‘What number do you have, sir?’
’12 but I was here first.’
‘I’m sorry sir you’re just going to have to wait until I call your number.’
Well, he didn’t like that I said this to him, so, verbatim, he goes:
‘Shut up, prick.’
Immediately, synapses in my brain are just going off and I flip the rage switch.
‘I was next and you skip me! Idiot!’
I took his order out of spite, got him his coffee, slammed it down on the counter and told him to leave. He said no.
This angered me more than it should have but I was already having a bad week and this guy was the straw that broke the camels back.
I threw open the counter partition, went around to the line and grabbed him by his shirt collar, dragged him out the door and told him to eff off. I immediately got changed, handed in my uniform and went home because nobody should have to deal with pricks like that.”
Losing Her Cool At The Pool
“I worked at a water park when I was 15. My job was to assist people going down the slides in the slide-required tubes. We had single tubes. We had double tubes. The issue was when obese people would go down the slide and I’d have to help. This was not easy. So, I’d ask if they could help me push themselves off the slide. Well…one day we have 2 obese people who wouldn’t help push themselves down the slide. I asked twice for a little help. They wouldn’t help.
So, in response to their unwillingness to assist, I told them that I can’t push their fat butts down the slide and that they can rot up here. I was fired about an hour later.
Yep, not my best moment.”
He Doesn’t Like Pina Coladas
“I was working as a server at TGIFridays while in school. One evening I got a group of businessmen in for happy hour. They all ordered drinks, and one man, who I believe was from India, had a very very strong accent. He ordered a pina colada. I repeated the order back to the table. I delivered the drinks and was at the computer putting their food orders in when I got a poke to the back. I turned around to find the pina colada man standing there 3 inches away from me. He was yelling at me, while aggressively poking me in my shoulders with his finger. He went off on me, ‘I’ve never had an adult beverage in my life! Who do you think you are?! You should take more time listening! You have ruined everything!’
He went on and on. I had not heard or understood that because of his accent. Even though I repeated the order back. One of my co-workers intervened and said, ‘I don’t know where you’re from but we don’t talk to women like that and we definitely don’t touch them.’ I was extremely shocked and embarrassed and refused to take the table after that. I was then let go because my manager didn’t believe me or my coworker on what had happened.”
The Great Curly Fry Debate
“I got fired from my second job ever as a waiter at a steakhouse. This particular chain does curly fries. One night, a customer complained that his curly fries were in too many pieces and he wanted a new batch. I’d been having a bad night and asked him: ‘Are you serious, they’re freaking fries.’
Needless to say, I got fired straight away. I kicked the door open on the way out and shattered the glass, so they kept my last paycheck too. I actually didn’t mean to break the door. I had my hands full with my all my stuff and went to kick it open with my leg. The glass must’ve been loose and smashed. It didn’t look good though.”
His Rant About Squirrels Caused Allen To Lose His Cool
“I worked at a Subway with his guy, will call him Allen.
Allen was a bit ‘out there.’ He was alright for the most part but always seemed a bit ‘off.’
One day a customer came in, a lady I nor he had ever seen before. Anyway, she ordered a meatball sub and Allen started to make it. As he started making the sub he started talking about how he liked to eat squirrels and proceeded to describe in detail how to skin and field dress the squirrel, every gory detail, all while continuing to make her meatball sub.
As soon as he started I kept trying to get him to go into the back and make bread. ‘Allen, go make some bread. ALLEN! Go make some bread now!’
The woman was horrified and kept saying how that was not appropriate talk while making her sandwich. Finally, she had enough and then said she wanted to talk to the manager who at the time was not there. I finally get Allen to go into the back as I apologize to the woman and told her I would make her sandwich and it was on the house. Before I could finish making her sandwich, he comes back out and gives her the number to the Regional HQ and says and I quote: ‘Here you go and by the way when you talk to them could you do me a favor? Tell them I told them to GO EFF YOURSELF!!!’ At which I replied: ‘ALLEN FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GO MAKE SOME BREAD BECAUSE I AM PRETTY SURE IT’S GOING TO BE THE LAST TIME YOU DO IT HERE!!!’
Predictably it was his last day.”
There Would Be No Theft On His Watch
“I work at a gas station. Something stupid young punks were stealing frozen taquitos and shoving them in their pants. I walked up to them and asked if they had anything in their pants. They said ‘eff you PERV’ and started to walk away. I quickly ran around the adjacent aisle so I emerged in front of them. With a swift and furious swing of my foot, I crushed the box of frozen taquitos, and subsequently the gentlemen’s nuts.
I didn’t get in trouble because I was the best theft prevention they had. Come to think of it, after I WILLINGLY left, the store closed because of an unusual amount of theft.”
Always Bee Nice
“My sister worked at the local zoo as a snow cone vendor over the summer.
People were insanely rude. They would get mad when they invented flavors that the zoo doesn’t sell. They would get mad when the cash register told them that the change they expected was wrong because they can’t do math. All sorts of stuff like that. They’ve even reacted by throwing snow cones at her.
Fortunately, my sister learned that the bees that are everywhere around here in summer are not only harmless if you leave them alone, but that they really really like the syrup that goes into the snow cones. So she started placing little water bottle caps of syrup underneath her cart. This attracted loads of bees that kept most customers away.
Her favorite part was when people tried to brave their way up to the cash register only to lose their nerve and run while she called out cheerily, ‘Are you sure there’s nothing I could do for you, sir?!?’ She loves bees so much she’s bought t-shirts with bees on them that she wears regularly.
The manager suspected her when they found the caps of syrup. They gave her a safety lecture on customer allergies to the whole staff, so she stopped doing it. She’s pretty sure the only reason she hasn’t been fired is that it’s a seasonal job, and the temp workers are no longer getting hours.”
When The Hold Button Betrays You
“I was on a call with a woman who wanted something impossible. She wanted her own postpaid phone account to get off her ex-boyfriends. I told her that her credit wasn’t good enough unless she made the 800 dollar payment to pay off her phone and made a deposit. Otherwise, she could do prepaid but not with that fancy new iPhone. We went back and forth over and over for 40 minutes. She asked for a supervisor. I put her on hold and said to myself, ‘thank god, I can’t listen to your voice anymore.’
My heart stopped when I heard her reply, ‘EXCUSE ME! YOU LITTLE IDIOT! I’M GOING TO GET YOU FIRED. WHERE’S YOUR MANAGER?’ Well, my manager talked to her, and apologized for me and said I would be disciplined. She then put her on a separate bill under her boyfriend’s credit, which I had offered 5 times. I was put on probation. I quit the next day before they could fire me.”
A Stressful Night Ended In The Worst Way
“So I was moonlighting at a popular dive/hipster bar in my college town. I was working full time in addition to this spot. Starting out as a cook, I loved it. I made good tips and loved cooking. Eventually, I was moved to bouncer/barback at minimum wage without being tipped out. Respect for those who can do it but it ain’t for me.
One night, we had a callout so I was working as a bouncer and a cook. It was tough and we had an extra rowdy crowd. The night was smooth until the last order. The guy was with a large group and wandered off. I called his name and someone took the food who I thought was part of his group. I was wrong. He came back asking for food and I apologized and offered to refund his money. It took quite the process on our old register, and the customer started yelling and swinging his fist. I yelled at him to stop being violent and we will give him his money. I never cussed. He kept escalating the situation until I told him I would kick him out if he didn’t chill. He did calm down and the refund went through. I spoke very calmly for the entirety of the altercation.
I got fired the next shift for the error and for yelling at him. It sucked.”