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5 Retail Workers Share Their Worst Customer Horror Stories

From verbal abuse to disgusting tales, retail workers share their worst customer horror stories in this shocking article.

angry customer yelling at retail worker
Credit: Shutterstock/ Ljupco Smokovski

Retail workers know that interacting with the public daily can be horrible. While some customers are kind and understanding, others can be rude, demanding, and even aggressive.

In this article, I’ve interviewed some retail workers who have experienced some of the worst customer behavior imaginable. From verbal abuse to gross incidents, these horror stories will shock and disgust you.

“Get on the scale and prove it”

person on scale
Person on scale, Credit: New Africa/ Shutterstock

Just to preface this story, I worked in a grocery store that has a scale inside to weigh yourself. One time when I was working, I had this lady come in and I saw her keep getting off and back on the scale and doing like angry huffs of breath.

She then whips around and I’m standing right there cleaning some carts that we just brought in from outside.

She is like grilling me with questions about how the scale works and if it works properly and is accurate, to which I was like, “yeah it’s pretty accurate maybe just a few pounds off, but it’s not broken.”

Then she asks me, “how much do you weigh” and I’m like ??? but I tell her anyway and then she demands that I “get on the scale and prove it” bro I was BAFFLED.

So I get on the scale because at this point, I’m like whatever and it showed the exact weight I told her I was. She then proceeded to get mad at ME because there’s “no way she gained 10 pounds in one week…” and I was just like bruh.

I would’ve been baffled too. The fact that someone would demand something like this from someone they do not even know is absolutely insane.

“I grabbed this white roundish thing”

folded diaper
Diaper, Credit: Brian McEntire/ Shutterstock

When I was a cashier at a clothing store this lady walked up with this giant basket of stuff to buy. I’m scanning super fast because it was busy so I’m not really paying attention, and I grabbed this white roundish thing at the bottom and try to scan.

But then there’s no barcode, and then I realize there’s no words or identifying info that will like help me figure out what it is. But I’m holding it, and I’m like wtf I KNOW what this is, it’s so familiar? and it was warm.

And the lady looks up and gasps and apologizes so much because I was holding her baby’s DIRTY DIAPER.

I would’ve had to clock out after that out of pure disgust. Also, very concerned for this lady who puts dirty diapers in with her clothes.

“And that’s not even the worst part”

milk gallons in a store
Milk gallons, Credit: The Toidi/ Shutterstock

This one time a woman opened multiple gallons of milk and let her kids drink from them in the store which they then dropped, and we had to spend the next 2 hours cleaning the smell of milk from the floor mats.

And that’s not even the worst part. They tried to put them back on the shelves afterwards as if nothing happened.

This is so disgusting. It reminds me of the days where people would lick the ice cream in groceries stores as an “internet challenge.” It also makes me wonder how often things like this happen but go unnoticed until it’s too late.

“She started demanding to talk to my manager”

dog food bags sitting on the shelf in a store
Dog food bags, Credit: Tyler Olson/ Shutterstock

So I was working, and I had this lady ask for help getting this 50lbs bag of dog food from the clearance section because it had a tiny rip from moving that was taped up.

It was marked down to $45 from $49 (expensive brand) and when I told her the total after scanning it she freaked the fuck out. She was telling me I was a liar and accused me of changing the price because every other bag was marked down to $20.

Eventually she started demanding to talk to my manager and she lied to him saying I told her it would be $10. He ended up giving her the discount because he’s a coward and I would call someone to check her out when I saw her in the store after that point.

The manager basically taking her side makes this story so much worse. I honestly would do everything in my power to avoid her too. This is a prime example of a “Karen.”

“A man yelled at me for several items being out of stock”

angry man pointing his finger and yelling
Angry man pointing, Credit: Ollyy/ Shutterstock

My worst customer experience was when a man yelled at me for several items being out of stock. He screamed “The last four items I was looking for have all been out of stock but your website said they were in stock. This is ridiculous!”

I apologized, told the individual that I understood his frustration, and explained that our website is sometimes behind with our store’s inventory system, so the site is not always 100% accurate. He then made a comment about our employees being lazy and stupid and walked away.

Working in retail almost comes with a guarantee that you will have a negative experience with a customer. While the majority of customers are friendly and pleasant, it seems that there will always be those that give us retail employees a tough time.

You, my friend, have the patience of a saint. I absolutely cannot comprehend how people do not understand the simplest of explanations.

angry Karen customer yelling at cashier retail employee
customer angry at employee, Credit: Dean Drobot/ Shutterstock

In Conclusion…

Working in retail can be a demanding and stressful job, and these horror stories are a testament to that fact. It’s important to remember that retail workers are people too, and they deserve to be treated with respect and kindness.

Whether you’re a customer or a coworker, we can all do our part to create a more positive and supportive environment for retail workers.

Written By

Hello! I am an English and Entomology student at the University of Florida. I love roller skating, guitar, watercolor, beekeeping, video games, and good vibes!

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