Nobody wins in situations where a customer complains so much that it escalates into a big scene. The customer will forever be known as the infamous patron that ruined everyone's day and is probably banned from the store for life. The employee trying to alleviate the situation is stuck dealing with an irrational customer who isn't going to take no for an answer. The customer's family is too humiliated to even admit their related to that monster.
At some point in their lives, these people witnessed their parents become "THAT" customer and experienced every ounce of secondhand embarrassment and drama you can imagine. These are their stories. Content has been edited for clarity.
"My dad is a union tire worker. He is gruff, logical, and curt. He doesn't appreciate people. He hates banks, conservatives, and corporations. One day, we went to Wells Fargo. He was depositing $3,000 in cash. He deposited the cash at the teller and we turned around to leave. At just that moment he remembered that he wanted to go to the junkyard to pick up tires or something.
He turned back around and went to the same cashier. He said, 'Oops. I forgot I needed some cash to get some stuff. Can I get back $200 of that cash?'
The cashier said, 'Sure! Just a second.'
She then went to the drive-thru area and talked to another cashier for a second. My dad was annoyed that she left, but waited like a champ. A few minutes later, she returned to tell my dad that because he didn't have $200 in his account prior to the deposit that he would have to wait 24 hours before his deposit 'cleared.'
He instantaneously burst into a fit of rage, screaming expletives about how much bull it was that 'cash' had to 'clear.' They somehow got him corralled into the manager's office where a long screaming match ensued and the cops were called. Before the cops could get there, my dad put his arm on the manager's desk and 'swept' the desk clean, including his computer and everything else on the desk. We then left immediately. I assume that they closed his account and sued him, but I have no idea how it ended.
I was around 10 at the time, but I've never gone back to a bank with my father."
"My dad just loved to argue, and he loved a deal.
We were shopping in a department store, and I found a pair of pants I was mildly interested in. The pants were tagged at (let's say) $40 and the sign on the rack said, 'All pants $25.'
I was mildly interested, I asked the salesclerk if they had them in my size, the clerk said, 'Those aren't supposed to be on that rack.'
My dad lost his mind and insisted on getting the pants for $25. He started asking for a courtesy discount on top of that. It escalated to the floor manager and the store manager.
Meanwhile, I didn't even want the pants. They were okay pants, I guess, nothing awesome, I just didn't care very much about them. I was more than happy to move on. I told my dad I didn't want the pants, but by then he didn't care about what I wanted. He wanted the pants at the better price.
Eventually, after like an hour of arguing, the store manager said, 'We're not giving you the pants at that price. Take them at $40 or leave them.' So we left them. Which suited me just fine, because I didn't want the pants."
"My dad is a pretty big hot head and thinks yelling loudly at customer service employees will solve things. One time, I brought my laptop into a Best Buy for a quick fix. They said I could come get it the next day after it was finished. We showed up the next day and they gave me a laptop that is 100% not mine.
I just let them know politely that there had been a mistake and it was not my computer. They apologized and went looking for mine. Ten minutes later, they said they couldn't find it. Cue rage machine father: 'YOU BETTER FIND HIS LAPTOP OR THERE ARE GOING TO BE PROBLEMS.' No mention of what kind of problems just one of those 'I'm screaming because it sounds threatening' sentences. They explained that they will keep looking and call me when they find it and that they will call me everyday with an update.
Being a relatively laid back person, I was totally fine with this. I was only worried I wouldn't have a laptop for my first week of college. Anyway, they called every day and every day my father would get on the phone and yell about how unbelievably stupid you'd have to be to lose a computer in the store.This happened for about four days. Every time they would get off the phone with my father. I would call them back myself to apologize for that and calmly say don't worry about it and reassure them it would turn up soon.
The guy on the phone was very gracious I wasn't screaming at him and told me if they didn't find it by end of day the following day, I could come in and pick a laptop and they would write it off to replace mine. Well, they never found my computer, BUT I did get a much nicer one for free! Which I honestly think had I not called to apologize on my father's behalf everyday, I wouldn't have been given the option to chose any laptop to replace it."
"One time, my grandad got a sausage roll at a football match during half time. When he got back to his seat he found it was overdone. The pastry was quite burned. The man was irate. He didn't take it back straight away as the second half was about to start, but he spent much of the second half angrily lamenting his savory snack letdown. So he takes it home, calls the customer service number on the back (I assume he had a few choice words for the poor soul on the other end but I wasn't present for this), and keeps the remainder of the sausage roll in the freezer for the next couple of weeks.
Skip ahead to the next match day, my grandad tells me we're heading out early so he can have his sausage roll replaced. The customer service line told him to go to Kiosk 3 at the front of the ground next to the ticket office. When we arrive, however, the shutters are down at the food place. The old man looks around growling and turning red in the face, stamps right over to window number 3 of the ticket office and slams his frozen burned sausage roll down like a freaking flaky gauntlet.
At this point, I'm trying to convince him the ticket office was a completely different department to the catering concession, but my grandad was having none of it. The lady working the ticket window continually attempted in vein to convince him the same. She told him they sell match tickets not hot snacks, but this just got him angrier and angrier. Across comes a colleague behind the glass, now there's just two people to rage at. Then a head steward comes to attempt to diffuse the situation and my grandad begins to wave the burnt sausage roll in this man's face. I was actually surprised he didn't whack him with it. I was mortified by the whole affair, wishing I'd have stayed back at the house until nearer kick off.
Eventually, after an hour or so, the shutters come up on the food concession. The fella at the counter goes 'You must be Mr. [last name]' and calmly resolves the situation, dispatching a freshly baked sausage roll with the steady hands of a surgeon. My grandad is satisfied with the result of his hour of insolent rage. As we're walking away, he turns to me and says, 'That's how you get these things sorted.'"
"Before I started primary school, there was an aptitude test my mother made me take to determine any 'problem areas,' such as in math, english, or critical thinking. I did pretty average on everything except problem solving (think puzzles and sequence tests). I excelled in this area.
The administer of the test told my mum that my doing extremely well in one area could potentially indicate Attention Deficit Disorder or Aspergers. They also added this was unlikely because I still did pretty well in the other areas, whereas if I did less than average on the other areas it would be a stronger indicator.
Well, instead of taking that for what it was, my mother zoomed in on 'may have ADD' and turned it into 'definitely has ADD.' She then made it her life’s mission to find a doctor or specialist to diagnose me. I have memories of going to clinics and having tests performed and having to do special exercises, all explained away with some made up bull crap from my mum. She was never honest about why we were really there.
I remember the last clinic very well, mainly because when the testing was done, it was determined that I did not have any sort of Attention Deficit Disorder. Well, mother DID NOT like that answer. I remember sitting outside his office because he knew it wasn’t going to go down well and he probably felt bad for me and didn’t want me to hear my mum screaming about how there’s something wrong with me and she wants a refund unless they change their diagnosis. I heard it all, but didn’t really understand what it was about. I asked as when we were leaving, but mum told me to shut up or I’ll earn myself a smack.
She ended up finding a pretty shoddy doctor who was willing to write a script for Ritalin and dosed me up. It never really clicked what it was all about until years later and she’s never apologized for it all. I think she still believes there’s something 'wrong' with me. Meanwhile, I don’t have a nasty habit of screaming at customer service or acting like I know more than a doctor, but someone else I know certainly does."
"My grandmother wasn't only a 'let me talk to your manager' type. She was a racist and advancing dementia completely turned off her filter for that. I've blocked out all the context behind it other than I took her to buy yarn and something went wrong. I think maybe they shorted her a couple bucks or wouldn't honor a coupon or something. Whatever it was ended in a 'let me talk to your manager' followed by a tirade to the manager about how they shouldn't be hiring Mexicans.
I just remember having to talk over her and say, 'Oh my God, you can't talk to her like that. Nothing you just said is okay.' This was followed by me trying to push her wheelchair out of the store as fast as possible with her digging her feet into the ground trying to get me to stop so she could go back to trying to ruin someone's day and me wondering if I'd go to jail for elder abuse if her ankles snapped in the process because nothing was going to stop me getting her out of that store. I got her into the car and then went back in and apologized until I was blue in the face. I wish I could say it was an isolated incident, but it definitely wasn't.
As an interesting side effect of caring for her, I have a tendency to wander off and pretend to look at things when we get to the register if I'm with someone and I'm not the one paying. I think she gave me an honest to God phobia.
My grandmother passed away two years ago, and let me tell you, it was a load off my mother and me. On top of the dementia, I genuinely would be shocked if she hadn't had undiagnosed narcissistic personality disorder (every checkmark on the symptoms list fits her perfectly). I have happy memories of her from my childhood, but all of that was so tempered by how she ended up later in life and slowly realizing that she'd always been awful to my mother and I just hadn't seen it."
"This was with my mother. We had purchased these Puma shoes (the kind that had like different types of car logos on the sides) from Foot Locker and liked them. They were like 70-80 dollars. They were the most expensive thing she had bought me in a long time.
Anyway, after a few days of use, the front of them got kinda scuffed up (they were really white with some red, so that would be expected). My mother was having none of that. She took the shoes and marched straight back to the Foot Locker store and demanded we not only get a refund, but also a replacement pair. For 10 minutes, she argued that they're Puma shoes, so they should be held to a much higher standard and shouldn't scuff so easily no matter what. All I could do was hold my head down as she argued with these poor minimum wage cashier's about this topic.
To make matters worse, the customers in line behind us started arguing with her too and telling her that Puma or not, shoes scuff and suffer damage. It happens. She was having none of that either. After about 20 minutes of back and forth screaming (from her end), she insulted them a bunch and they threatened to call security. She kept shouting back at them and the other people in line 'Why? Am I stealing from you?!' as if that was the only reason why security would be called...
Security was called. They came over and escorted us out of the place. The whole way home, she kept yelling and screaming about it and shouting, 'I should've split the shoes open with a knife. THEN, they would've had to refund and replace.'"
"The grocery store had this sign up that said if an item rang up higher than an advertised price, it was free. It was the '80s and stores did stupid promotions like this that I never see in stores today.
My mom was buying a box of Little Debbie cakes and they rang up for $2.85 instead of the advertised $2.50. So, of course, mom wanted her free cakes. The cashier didn't know what to do, so they summoned a manager. The manager told her to ring up the sale otherwise and he'll be right back.
He came back and handed my mother 35 cents cheerfully and said, 'There you go!' My mother pointed out the sign behind him and he said, 'Oh, the last manager put that up. It doesn't make any sense. I'm the new manager and I just haven't had the sign removed yet (it was a printed plastic sign that was nailed into the wall).'
My mom insisted they honor their sign. He said nah. Until this point, I, as an adult looking back, was totally on board with mom's actions.
My mom gathered her things, decided against taking the Little Debbie cakes on principle, and we got in the car. She wordlessly drove downtown to the main store of this 3-5 store chain, knowing the office was next door. We walked into this perfectly 80s wood-paneled office where my mother asked the secretary to speak to the owner of the store and was permitted to do so since this was a family-owned business and their 'corporate office' was smaller than the row of cubicles my staff occupies at work.
My mother unleashed a tirade about how she had lost faith in his brand and how his word was meaningless since they will not honor the sign. This guy stood up, profusely apologized, validated her anger, and then pulled out his wallet and handed her a $5 bill along with a promise that he will speak to the manager and the sign will either be honored or removed.
We got home and found that the ice cream we bought melted in the trunk because it was summer and it ruined the cereal and the bread."
"I think when I was about 6 or 7, I reeaaaaalllly loved animals, but we don't live near a zoo. I was always asking how or when we could go to one. I live in Canada, only a couple hours drive away from Montreal, which just so happens to have a really famous zoo, if you could call the Biodome a zoo (that's for you to decide). My Mom thought it would be a good idea for my 7th birthday to go to the Biodome with me and my two sisters.
As you would imagine, I was hyped. By the way, my Mom isn't really one of those parents who asks to speak to the manager, but she does it from time to time. We went to the Biodome during March break, because my Birthday happens to be March 14th, which is March break here in Ontario. Anyways, back to the story.
So we got there, on my birthday, after getting a nice breakfast for me at some place. An important detail of this story is that my Mom is really not too tech savvy, and she's also pretty cheap. This is important for the story because when she went to look at the prices of the tickets online, for some reason the website showed the prices in U.S. dollars. Not a big difference, right? Between Canadian and American money that is. Well, like I said before, she's a pretty cheap person, which isn't her fault, she doesn't make too much money, and she needs to support three kids as a single parent.
So, we're about to get our tickets, when all of a sudden, the lady giving us our tickets says the price. It was around $100.00, with tax. My sister was 18 at the time, so she was an adult, and then me and my little sister were charged as children. This normally wouldn't be an issue, my Mom would just grumble and pay, but she had already spent a lot of money on the hotel and the food for the previous two nights we had been in Montreal. She also had bought me a couple of gifts, so she was pretty strapped for cash.
She kinda threw a little fit. Imagine that. A grown adult, making a scene. She was probably exhausted, my little sister the night before kept waking up in the middle of the night and with her, my Mom was up as well. She eventually asked to speak to the manager after 10 minutes of trying to bargain with the lady handling us. The manager was on the phone before and had to hang up, so he was pretty mad. My Mom started off with 'But on the website, it said it was only $80!' It looked like the manager and the lady were fed up. The manager then asked us to leave.
It was probably the worst birthday, but also the most memorable birthday I've ever had."
"My mom needed to return some shirts at the mall because they didn't fit right. It was past the allotted time that she had to return them, so the employee said that there wasn't anything she could do. My mom started SCREAMING at this girl who was probably about 16 or 17. She was calling her names and demanding to speak to the manager. When the manager told my mom that they couldn't do anything and that the return policy was on the receipt, my mom threw a fit and knocked over a display that was next to the register and stormed out of the store. I was probably 6 or 7 at the time and I was mortified. I apologized for her behavior and picked up what I could before she started calling for me to follow her. The manager was super sweet to me though and told me that I was a good kid and to stick up to my mom when I could get away with it.
I just stopped going to stores with her. Now I just call her out on her behavior because I'm an adult and can't be reprimanded. She's gotten a lot better since then, but still has her moments. She's not very well mentally, not that it's an excuse but it does explain a lot of her behavior.
I work retail now and growing up with her definitely prepared me for it. My coworkers always wonder how I can stay so calm in those kind of situations. I realized at a very young age that my mother didn't always treat people the way she should. I've always been super self aware because of it, and it's definitely made me a better person!"
"I worked at Best Buy. I stopped in with my mom one day because she wanted to buy me the Star Wars DVD box set for my birthday.
I had a huge, HUGE crush on the girl that was working the customer service counter. Well, the DVD set rang up $10 more than it was priced, and my mom deliberately didn't say anything until after the transaction so she could claim the $5 Michigan Scan Law bounty.
My crush didn't know how to process it and the manager was busy, so my mom tore into her about how it was her job and how she should understand how to do things. At my job. To a girl I liked.
My life was misery for a while afterward."
"I'm diabetic and once me and my sister went with my dad to Walmart to buy some test strips because I was running low. We went through the self checkout where when we scan the strips, it tells us to wait for assistance because they need to explain that we're not allowed to return the strips and what not.
Anyway, my dad scans the strips and it tells him to wait for assistance. The manager is standing 10 feet away talking to an employee and my dad gets mad that she hasn't come over yet. So, of course, my dad walks over to her an politely ask her to- NOPE. He takes the strips to the next self checkout aisle and scans them on another machine, still leaving the message on the other one.
My dad proceeds to go to ALL OF THE SELF CHECKOUTS and scans the strips on EVERY SINGLE ONE. Me and my sister got so embarrassed that we went outside and sat on a bench to wait for him, where I cried.
My dad comes out with a bag about three minutes later and I look inside and see multiple employees trying to clear all the screens. I was so mad I didn't talk to him for the ride home."