We pay our bills with our customers’ money, of course. If you don’t have the customer, you’re not making any money. Well, this dynamic makes the customer the king. And long live the king! No matter what the situation.
My mom was working at an upscale cocktail lounge in Arlington, Virginia, just out of college. Fancy place – all DC business men. It was common for large groups of men to come in and get absolutely wasted.
One night, a guy decided, after a few cocktails, that it would be hilarious to untie the wrap skirt that was part of her uniform. Bad idea. My mother got furious and dumped an entire tray of martinis on his head.
She was promptly fired but still thinks it was worth it.
I saw it happen.
It was at a burger chain many years ago. I was working the drive-thru register, which was close enough to the front registers for me to hear conversations. One of my co-workers was taking an order from a lady who kept asking how much her total was, and then cancelling food on it and changing her mind. I guess she was trying to keep her order under a certain dollar amount.
Well, any cancelled food on an order needed a manager’s password – thanks to one douche who stole money by putting in someone’s order, telling them the total, and then canceling out the order and pocketing the money. So the manager had come by 3 or 4 times at that point. This was during dinnertime, mind you, so there was a line of customers going right out of our door, waiting to order.
Finally my co-worker pulled out a pad of paper and a calculator. He started writing this woman’s order down and totaling it out by hand. The woman asked him why he was doing that, and he told her “When you make up your mind about what you want, then I’ll put it in the register.”
This pissed off the lady, so she grabbed the notebook and tried to hit my co-worker with it. He snatched it back from her and told her “Get your crap out.”
My manager was only going to write him up for it, since the manager agreed that the lady absolutely deserved it, but the guy already had two write ups on file so she had to fire him.
Many years ago I worked at a home improvement store. I was a cart pusher, which was nice as I was outside all the time. Anyway we gather about 25-30 shopping carts together and push them up to the entrance where they are stored inside. Now to get them there we do have to cross the main drive of the parking lot in front of the store. And we always stop and let customers drive by first.
So as I push the carts up I stop because I see a guy in an pretty nice SUV. He is actually stopped in front of the entrance maybe he dropped someone off I do not know. So I’m waiting to see if he drives off and he then looks at me and waves me across, looks like he wanted to finish a call he had gotten or something. So I wave back and start pushing the carts across.
I am on the other side when something hits me across the shoulder blades and pushed me forward. At the same time I heard glass shatter, I turn around and the guy in the SUV had clipped me with his sideview mirror, which had then swung close and shattered the window on the door.
I’m just standing there wide eyed. 2 seconds later the guy gets out of his car swearing up a storm at me and yelling that I’m a low life and how I’m going to pay for a new window.
Now if I was the reason I would have taken the blame and fixed the problem. But this guy hit me, and then said that I’m not going to get anywhere in life because I broke his window. I blew up on him, completely, until about 5 minutes later a manager finally had the guts to come over and pull me away.
I didn’t have to pay for a new window as it was clearly on video that it wasn’t my fault, but I lost my job because we are not suppose to yell and cuss at the customer.
I am in my early forties. And for fun, I took a part-time job at a Legoland Discovery Center. I love Lego and love kids. It was a blast most of the time.
At Legoland employees build their name tags out of Lego bricks and attach minifigs. Kids who visit can trade minifigs with employees. The rule is that we have to trade because it’s fun for the kids.
Great! The only problem is that the center I worked at didn’t supply any good minifigs. We just built our own from the “build a fig” buckets. I worked in the photo and entertainment departments, and noticed that lots of our guests would bring in their extra minifigs looking to trade, but were always disappointed by the selection. So I began to buy tons of the mystery minifigs and had a large collection of my own at home. Each weekend, I put a bunch in my pockets and put them on my name-tag throughout the day so that I could trade. I liked having Ninjago or Simpsons or whatever. I wanted kids to leave happy about their trade and feeling like they got something special. Most weeks I spent $75 or more on minifigs for trading.
On May the 4th, I pulled out all my personal Star Wars minifigs because I knew we would be getting a lot of Star Wars fans that day. I had Vader and many Stormtroopers, etc. A woman came in with a three year old girl and insisted that I give her my Stormtrooper. She didn’t have anything to trade, but still I smiled and gave it to her.
Then the mom went and took a minifigs piece from the build tables and made her daughter trade with me for my Vader. I traded but was irritated because I only trade one of my personal ones per kid. There were lots of employees to trade with. The mom just wanted her kid to have my nice ones.
The lady goes on to another area and in comes a group of likely Star Wars fans. One of the girls had a Ninjago minifig in her hand that she had brought from home. She was looking for someone to trade with and was headed over to my section. I put Admiral Akbar, a fairly rare one, on my tag along with Leia, excited thinking that I’m going to make their day. In swoops the same lady who demand that I trade all of my figures with her kid who has three minifig pieces. I politely refuse and suggest that she ask the employee a couple feet away since we had previously traded twice already. She got very angry and began screaming at me because she had gone around the center and no one else had anything good. My manager came over and made me give her all of my minifigs, even the ones I still had in my pockets. I was written up for refusing to trade and not caring about the guest experience.
I was so pissed because I actually cared about the guest experience. Specially the experience of any kid who just loved Lego. I wasn’t fired but I quit the next week.
A guy just passed his training for a call center and a few days in, he answers the phone to a customer and they get into an argument. The argument goes on for nearly an hour until the customer hangs up. Then this guy calls him back to continue the argument.
No wonder the guy lost the job the very next day.
A woman came into a charity shop and complained about every single item loudly to the ten or so customers in there. Something along the lines of “This is all crap. Who pays for this?” Like we’re some boutique with clothes from the back of a van.
She clearly didn’t understand how rarely new clothes, still tagged, etc., are donated. Then she got in my face about it. I was so angry with her for chasing away the people that came in that I lost my cool. There was nobody left except her since she’d ranted them into leaving. I told her to get out and I ‘didn’t give a crap’ about the clothes or her opinions. She screams her way out of the shop broadcasting it to everyone on the street.
She came back once the manager was off their break and complained again. I lost my job fairly soon after that.
I used to work at pizza place in a small town when I was a teenager. One night I took a phone order from some woman and it went like this:
Me: Thank you for calling “pizza place”, may I take your order?
IW: Yes, I’d like a large pizza. Half pepperoni, half sausage, and half black olives.
Me: Ok, did you want the toppings combined or separated?
IW: No, I want half pepperoni, half sausage, and half black olives.
Me: Ok so you want 1/3 pepperoni, 1/3 sausage, and 1/3 black olives?
IW: No! I want HALF PEPPERONI, HALF SAUSAGE, and HALF BLACK OLIVES!
Me: I understand the toppings that you want, but I’m not understanding how you want us to put the toppings on your pizza. Do you want them separated by thirds? Combined together? Or do you mean put half the amount that we usually put on?
IW: What’s so hard to understand?! I WANT…HALF…PEPPERONI…HALF…SAUSAGE…AND HALF…BLACK OLIVES!!!!!
Me: Lady, there are only 2 halves to a pizza!
IW: I WANT TO SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER!!!
I got fired on the spot. It was easier for the manager to just hire another person than it was to lose a customer in a small town.
Oh, and the lady wanted the toppings divided into thirds. She told the manager the same thing and he just went with her math. She also got them for free.
I worked at a vet clinic and really liked animals, specially dogs.
So a woman brought in her 5 year old dog that had diarrhea for the past week, and was still untreated for it. She was tired of the dog messing in the house, so instead of having the dog treated for the condition she decided she would rather just have the dog put down (terminated).
I didn’t like that idea at all, I proceeded to call her reckless while explaining to her the responsibilities that are involved when you decide to have a pet. “You won’t down your child if it got diarrhea… right?”
I was fired. Whatever.
I have a speech impediment and back when I worked at Starbucks, this young kid would come in every day after school and order a caramel frap.
Every time I told him it would be “$3.50”, he would laugh uproariously and ask me to say it again. After a few weeks of this, he started bringing in his buddies as well. Each one would order the exact same drink then ask me to keep repeating the price for them again and again.
After a few months, I broke down. “You boys should know how much the drink is by now!” My manager overheard and claimed I am yelling at kids, even though they were all middle school age!
I left the place soon. But I still see those kids around town and they always shout at me: “How much are those caramel fraps again?”
The store in oak Hill was shut down and everyone fired because the manager was busted selling pot out of the trunk of his car. And I was one of the “dream team” of hand picked sonic employees selected from around the city to bring the store back up to speed.
Our new manager had the initials “JT” and he was very proud of the fact that he comes from 5-star fine dining restaurant manager, and this was his first fast food experience. He was strict, that’s ok, we were expected to be perfect. But he had a temper.
One day he comes in squealing his tires and as soon as he hits the front door, he’s screaming and cussing, while I’m trying to take orders. When I finish taking the order and turn around to see what is the issue, he turns to me and says “and YOU, you little piece of ..” So this guy is 5′-4″ and I’m 6′ and in roller skates. I rollover to him and stop a bare inch away and in a strong, clear voice I say “excuse me, SIR! I am a human being and when you speak to me it will be with decency and respect, do you understand?!” To which he reply “give me your apron” so I walk out and go directly to home office and talk to one of the executives, son of the owner, and relate how I love my job, I had worked for 9 different sonics, won multiple awards, over the last decade and had been invited to vip movie premier, featured in the news with his father, the owner. I can no longer work with JT for creating a hostile work environment and asked to be reassigned back to MY store where I had been working. I was told he would call.
So he called. Turns out, JT had sold his restaurant as part of a messy divorce and invested several million dollars into the Austin sonic’s association of franchise owners, becoming full partner and part owner of almost every sonic in the city. He had me black listed.
I can no longer work for sonic. I tried again to get a job several years later, but I was told they couldn’t hire me still.
My sister was the manager of a women’s clothing store. At the time she was dealing with some personal issues regarding depression and anxiety so she wasn’t in the greatest state of mind to begin with. A customer came in with a pair of pants that had ripped along the inner thigh seams, were well past the return period and had clearly been worn/washed.
The customer, who was a larger woman, went off on a sales associate, stating she’d only “tried the pants on” and that caused the seams to rip and she wanted a refund. She brought the associate to tears with her ranting and finally demanded the manager, my sister.
Enter my sister, and the customer starts yelling at her too. She promptly tells the customer that her pants split because she was way bigger than the pants. Then my sister blasted saying the customer wouldn’t even get a nickel in refund, and asked her to take her crap out of the store and never come back.
Then my sister went in the back, called her boss and quit before she could be fired. Her boss was actually willing to let her stay but she chose to leave anyway, until she could get her depression issues under control. It took a solid year but she’s much happier and healthier now.
I was a stockroom assistant at a well known fashion chain in the UK & US.
I happened to be behind tills changing hangers boxes when a customer explodes at the trainee cashier demanding to know where her order was. She’s screaming her head off yelling, “it’s unacceptable I paid extra” and emphasizing how she “made a specific detour” to collect her package.
She had ordered a jacket in another branch and had paid for next day delivery to the store I worked in. Customers aren’t supposed to come collect their orders until they get an email saying their order is ready to collect.
The poor cashier started last week and is basically cowering for dear life. I take over and ask to see her email which she explains she “doesn’t need” because she “paid extra” so her package “must be here”.
After 10 minutes of me trying to explain why her package isn’t ready to collect and her screaming, she storms off shouting that she’ll be “having words” with the guy who owns our company. I hand back to the cashier and carry on with my day.
The next day I’m prepping our delivery and I get called for a meeting with the store manager. I’m told I’m being let go for gross misconduct specifically “being unhelpful and challenging” to customers.
Turns out the customer was a “journalist” for the DailyMail and she called our head of company who she did indeed know personally and got me fired specifically.
This didn’t happen to me but I witnessed it live.
A friend of mine used to work in a pizza place and I hung out in their lobby playing on their Pacman machine, yeah, it was a long time ago.
So my friend is taking orders when a guy storms in, screaming about wrong toppings. Then he removes the pie from the box and frisbees it into my friends face. Wrong move, my 2 time Detroit golden-gloves champion friend didn’t like that at all.
What followed was the worst beating I’ve ever seen one man take. My friend lost his job and got a small jail time out of it.
I worked at a pretzel place where you hand make everything. I had just finished rolling and bounced over to register to help out a customer.
A lady asked, “Hi, can I get your salted nuggets? But are they fresh?”
I knew for a fact they were, I had just rolled them myself and put them in the warmer.
“Indeed, ma’am, I’d be happy to make you fresher ones if you want to wait five to ten minutes. But I literally put these in here less than five minutes ago.”
She seemed happy and content. “Sure, I’ll take those. Thanks.”
Not even five minutes later she comes back hollering at me that I’m a liar, that I must be stupid because the nuggets were hard.
I had just made everything. She keeps screaming. What gets me is even though she came back, she came back with less than half of the cup left. Must have been terrible, right?
So after I get called a liar, a moron, and she had the audacity to demand a refund and new fresh nuggets, I turned to a coworker and said, “Someone needs to help this biatch because I’m not.” loud enough for her to hear and stormed out of the store to the back room to cool off.
I didn’t get fired. Just warning. Everyone had seen that lady do what she did.
I had a customer that, for at least a year, came into our store and was a master tactician in getting free goods by making up complaints against our staff. He would do all sorts of maneuvers like wanting products he knew we didn’t carry to making up complaints about our staff to even complaining that he had been charged incorrectly.
If this guy was in the store, good luck if you were another customer. Because he would suck up all the oxygen in the place and demand service from multiple people at the same time. He got reduced prices and free merchandise and tons of coupons for his efforts.
My boss would never challenge this guy or protect his own staff from being exposed to losing their job to a customer who would happily see a member of our crew fired so he could get $5 off on his next purchase. My boss wasn’t entirely at fault since this was a giant corporation and he was merely towing the fabled “the customer is ALWAYS right” mantra.
I was already planning on leaving for a better opportunity and was going to give notice of resignation one week when this customer started giving me an incredibly difficult time about an issue I had nothing to do with and couldn’t help him with. It was extremely busy and he was holding everyone up with his crap.
I made a quick value judgment, realized I was already out the door and the only thing I was still there to do was to honor my appropriate resignation notice. I had no designs of ever working for this horrible company or any company like it ever again. I found myself in a unique situation and wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass. This guy had made life difficult for all of us for a long time. Payback time.
I cut this guy off mid-sentence and just went off on him in front of a number of customers and part of our staff. I told him he was nothing more than a cheapskate grifter and told him I would no longer recognize him as a living, breathing, member of human species.
Then I told him to go lock himself so the society can live in peace. The look on his face was beautiful. The entire store fell into silence and I just stared him down. He asked to speak to my manager and I doubled down by talking over his head, inviting the customer behind him to elbow up to the counter. I apologized to the new customer about the bad behavior of the guy who, at this point, had steam coming out of his ears.
Eventually when he realized he was getting nowhere waiting on me, he stormed off to find a manager. I finished my shift. I came back in the following day, was intercepted by a corporate manager I had rarely seen, taken upstairs and was getting lectured when I interrupted, revealed my intentions to leave the place, and quit right there.
I got a lot of high fives from the other members of the staff on my way out the door.
I used to work in this little thai place in town, and we had these teenagers who came in every Sunday. They were rude, demanding, and tipped nothing. Zero, literally.
One day they’re exceptionally awful to a new waitress, reducing her to tears, and so my boss calls me over. “Next time they come, you take them, and you earn that 0% tip.”
I do a bit of a double take, she can’t possibly mean what I think she means. “You mean?” She nods and gives me this smile that is equal parts devious and smug. A week later they come in 5 minutes into my shift. She seats them in my section, smiles at me and tells me to do my worst.
Here is a fairly detailed account of the wonderful 45 minutes that followed. I wait a good 5 minutes before going to greet them and bring waters. They’re ready to order.
“I don’t have a pen. I’ll be right back.”
Then I loudly tell my manager I’m going out for a smoke, and then go power smoke a cigarette, takes me about 90 seconds. They’re my only table and I’m not handling food yet, so I don’t wash my hands. I reek of smoke. As he opens his mouth to tell me he’ll have the same “pad thai no bean sprouts,” I give him the “just a minute” finger and pull out my phone. I text my fianc and ask if he wants to get dinner from my place or his tonight.
I take his order. I somehow misunderstand and write down extra bean sprouts. Their food comes up while I’m telling my boss and the other waitress a story about my cat. I finish telling the story before I get their food. I bring it out and walk away as they’re starting to complain about the sprouts. About 5 minutes after they get the food I get a second table. This one is a customer from a former job of mine and we spend a few minutes catching up when I go to greet them. The 0%’s try to signal me as I leave the table, but I stare straight ahead.
I come back for my new table’s order and see that their glasses are missing roughly four sips of water. This simply won’t do! I hang their ticket and come back to fill their glasses. I look at 0%’s empty glasses, look the guy straight in the eye, smile, and walk away. He stops me as I’m walking over with apps for my new table and asks for boxes. I tell him I’ll grab them right after I drop off this food. I play a game of 2048 all the way up to 1024 before bringing them one small box. They ask for two bigger boxes and the check. I promise I’ll be right back, and then ask my boss to keep an eye on the table I like while I go smoke again. Obviously I don’t usually take this many smoke breaks, especially not this early into a shift.
I come back and my boss tells me they came to her for boxes and to pay and told her they’re never coming back. She voids their check, gives me $20, and tells me I earned it.
I used to cut hair. I was cutting a lady’s hair when the child of lady waiting started running around the shop. I told the child several times to go sit with her mother and asked her mother to please keep her child seated next to her.
Well, in the middle of cutting around my client’s ear, the child ran into my work area, ran into me and almost caused me to cut my client. I looked at the child and firmly said “you need to go sit down with your mother now.”
Well her mom didn’t like that and came running back to me and yelled “Don’t tell my child what to do, I’m her parent.” I responded with “Then act like it.” She glared at me, grabbed her child and stormed out. Everyone in the shop was relieved the child had left.
A few days later the owner came and tried to fire me for it, but luckily there were enough other stylists and clients that came to my defence about the danger of the situation and I only got a write up.
A young couple meets me and asks for a neutral blue color in our most popular paint, eggshell finish. No problem there, I tell them to come back in a little bit. I make it and toss it in the shaker.
A guy loudly walks up to the other end of the desk and demands 2 gallons of our paint, beige color in a semigloss finish. I make it and put it in the shaker.
Remember the blue paint for the young couple? Its done. So I stick it on the desk, their color card on top of it for identification, near where they were standing. Should be fine, right? That’s what I thought, so I go back to whatever I was doing.
Next thing I hear is this loud guy nearly screaming “WOAH WOAH WOAH WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” I glare at him because he’s making a scene and I ask him, still politely, what he’s yelling about. He says, ever so loudly, “Is this your first day? Get me someone who knows what they’re doing.” Again, I ask what the problem is, since his paint isn’t ready yet. He says “you can’t do anything right.” I snapped, and replied matching his tone and volume as people as start to stare. “Oh, this isn’t the color you wanted?” NO. “this isn’t the finish you wanted?” DOES THIS LOOK LIKE SEMI-GLOSS TO YOU?! “It isn’t even the type of paint you wanted?” NOPE.”THEN I GUESS THIS ISN’T FOR YOU, IS IT?” and I ripped the paint away from him and gave it to the couple who was patiently waiting behind this ever so angry guy.
“Yours will done in a minute.” He of course cried to the managers, who of course sided with him and gave him his paint for free and then tried to fire me.
It was marathon day and tons of people were out and about and our restroom key got stolen.
It was packed butts to nuts, fire code violation level packed. I literally couldn’t open the restroom for anyone, not even if the president walked in. The only to open the restroom would be to break the door as there wasn’t even a spare key.
This was a famous chain cafe. One guy questioned me, said that I was lying and reached into my apron pocket. I just walked away and cooled off in the back.
When I came out, this guy was making a huge fuss about opening the restroom for him, I told him I couldn’t, and he said ‘can’t you see I have kids’, I replied ‘can’t you see I don’t have the key’, then he just explodes in my face. I was going to push over and knock over him and his baby carriage, but I stopped and that’s when I quit, because this job just made me want to hurt a baby.
I worked as a server at an upscale country club and had these two gentlemen come in for lunch.
One ordered and the other said, “I’ll have exactly the same thing.” I reconfirmed if that’s what he wanted and he replied, “That’s what I said right?”
I bring out their lunch and the second guy complains and starts getting rude with me because his lunch has onions on it. So I say, “Sir, you said you wanted the exact same thing but I can have the chef make you another one.” He says, “listen to me you little crap stuck in my crack, I know what I said and I never said I wanted onions.” I stood firm and replied, “If you ever speak to me like that again you and I are going to step outside and work this out.”
He rolls his eyes and moans to see the manager, who unbeknownst to me is sitting at the table right behind these guys having a meeting with another member. She turns around and tells the guy, “after the way you talked to my employee, I should let him. How about you both apologize and move on”
P.S. I didn’t get fired but thought I should share a story where a manager actually stands up for an employee.