We'd like to think that the majority of people on this Earth are reputable, honest people that have some set of morals they adhere to. However, it's an unfortunate fact that there are still a lot of individuals out there that like to scheme, con, and grift as much free stuff as they possibly can.
For some reason, the food industry seems to attract a lot of conniving people trying to cheat there way into not paying for their eats. Whether it's someone making up a story about a bad meal and demanding compensation, or a shopper concocting a plan to return fraudulent goods, it always adds more stress and work for the employees. Here are some of Reddit's wildest, most anger-inducing stories from food industry workers about people who unabashedly tried to get away with scamming.
They Would Do ANYTHING To Please The Customer
“I used to work at Aldi, which has a return policy where you get your money back plus get to pick an item of equal or lesser value.
One customer routinely returned a gallon of milk with about a fourth if it left, claiming it was rancid. He’d then get a new gallon and his money back. This went on almost daily for two weeks until the district manager finally put his foot down. Aldi will do ANYTHING to please the customer. It’s insane.”
He Tried To Pull A Sleight Of Hand Trick
“I worked at a Jewel-Osco many, many years ago. One day when I was on the opening shift as a cashier, a man came through with two 24 packs of Pepsi. Since it was opening shift, we’d counted our registers and confirmed that they had the correct amount. We didn’t carry too much cash, and we all know how much was in the drawer to start.
The man ended up paying with a $100 bill for the sodas. I counted back his change with mostly 20s, which I had just counted. I don’t know how he did it, but he shuffled them in his hand and showed me that I supposedly shortchanged him. At that moment, I knew he was a real wanker.
My store wasn’t crappy, so I told him that I would call a manager over and have them double check the register. The manager came, counted down the register, and explained that the drawer was balanced, which meant I didn’t shortchange anybody. He added that if for whatever reason the drawer turned up $20 over that night, we would give him a call. The manager tried to take his info down and asked for his name, and the guy thought about it and said, ‘Steve…Bush!’ Sod off, ‘Steve Bush.’ You’re a lying sack of crap who tries to scam 16-year-olds out of $20.”
His Pockets Must’ve Been Pretty Greasy
“Back in high school when I worked part-time at a KFC, there was this one fat man who would come in, order a two-piece quarter pack, and then claim we forgot his chicken. Like, when we turned around to fetch his drink at the end of the order, he would open the box, take out the chicken pieces out, and hide them in his pockets. Hot chicken. Right in his pockets.
I got so fed up with everyone just giving him extra chicken all the time that I demanded he turned out his pockets one day when he tried to pull his scam and WOW! LO AND BEHOLD this guy had his pockets full of drumsticks.”
The Guy Thought He Was A Pro-Swindler
“I worked at Arby’s as a teenager in the early 90s. One day a guy came in, ordered a sandwich and fries, and wanted to pay with a check. Since this was the olden days, people paid with check all the time.
However, this guy tried to tell me it’s ‘easier for the bank’ if he makes it out to himself instead of to Arby’s because…well, he fired off some convoluted, off-the-cuff bullcrap designed to gish gallop me into buying his story. I was young and naive, but not that naive.
He got mad when I denied him and called me stupid. I asked if he’d like to talk to the manager and he agreed. Three minutes later, my manager was giving the guy stink eye and he ending up leaving with no sandwich. Nice try, jerk.”
McDonald’s Is An Interesting Place To Try A Grift
“I used to work at McDonald’s and gosh, I have many stories, it’s like we’re the opening boss in any role-playing video game. Get past McDonald’s with your scam and move on to bigger and better things…
One day we were closed for refurbishment and some poor sap had to mind the store while the construction crew went about their business (me). The phone rang and a customer asked, ‘Are you the manager?’ I confirmed that I was indeed the manager and then listened to him ramble about how we always mess up his order and that we didn’t give him the Big Mac Meal he ordered at lunchtime.
I eagerly clarified that it was my store and that he came in around lunch, and he said yes. The silence when I told him that we had been closed for two days was a thing of beauty: ‘…Oh, must be the wrong store…’
Another time, a customer came into the store and said, ‘I Ordered a Fanta and the lid came off because you didn’t put it on properly and it ruined all my food, so I want you to replace my order.’
‘When was this?’ I asked. He explained that it was the night before so I asked what he ordered and he said it was two large double cheeseburger meals.
‘So, do you have the receipt?’
‘Do you have the food?’
I explained that there was nothing I could do, unfortunately. He then lost it and started screaming at me, ‘You ain’t going to replace my food when you didn’t put the lid on properly? It’s all your fault!’
‘Nothing I can do,’ I repeated. Then he claimed that he was burned by his beverage. His face was priceless when I reminded him that he said he had purchased a Fanta, which typically don’t burn people. His empty-handed walk of shame out of the restaurant was a thing of real satisfaction.”
It Was Easy To Spot Her Half-Baked Plans
“When I worked at the service desk of a local grocery store, we had this lady who was super skinny and wore sunglasses and long sleeves all the time. One day she came in with a friend and tried to return beauty items (we didn’t have a beauty/makeup section) and claimed she had no receipt due to ‘short-term memory loss.’
It was so hard not to laugh in her face because she had attempted to return things this way numerous times. We all knew what she was doing.”
This Must’ve Happened At A McDonald’s
“I used to work at a place that had soft serve ice cream as a part of the menu. I was working one day when a lady came up to the counter and said something along the lines of, ‘Hey, I’m sorry but my daughter dropped her ice cream and she’s really sad about it, do you think you could give me another?’
I was about to before realizing an important fact: the ice cream machine was broken that day and we weren’t selling any. I looked back at her and told her that it must not be from us because of the machine. She turned bright red and mumbled, ‘Oh, then I guess it must’ve been from Dairy Queen or something…’ and quickly left. Nice try, lady.”
It Was Insane How Often People Tried This Scam
“People take receipts from the trash outside or inside of establishments and look for items on the receipts they can steal. Usually, they’re things you can stuff into a coat and get $5 for. What they do is go trash diving, get a nice list of possible items to steal, and go smash stores around you or, if they are ballsy enough, steal from the store itself. After they get the receipt and the items, they go to cashiers to attempt returns.
If they are smart, which they usually are not, they aim for the max cash return possible. After $10+ or so many stores make you take store credit or insist you return to the card it was purchased from. As a result, thieves will do tons of returns at many locations to get a hundred dollars or whatever their goal is.
I was made aware of this after watching my manager eyeball and call out a thief, ask her to wait, check the camera, and then confirm that the receipt didn’t belong to the person who was attempting to return two rolls of tinfoil. She put her hand on the items and asked her to leave. The woman buckled and left without asking why or asking for the items back. She explained to me the scheme and I was impressed by the effort.
Fast forward some months and I had an elderly man return some pills with a crumpled receipt. I don’t know why, but my suspicion meter was raised. It wasn’t raised enough for me to call bullcrap and the receipt was from another store, so I couldn’t just hop on the camera archive and investigate without roping someone else in at another store. I processed the return because whatever, the old man got the wrong pills and had to find his crumpled receipt which he actually kept because that’s what old men and women do, right? Wrong.
This guy stopped to check the small trash bin near the store entrance on the way out, checking receipts about 10 feet away from me. I like to think I summoned my hiring manager when I said, ‘Excuse me?’ in the sharpest tone possible because he dropped everything and scuttled his senior butt out of there as fast as possible. It was so blatant that I was offended more by that than the theft he got away with. Raw desperation, though, would be the guy trying to steal sausages, and when I caught him he said, ‘I’m hungry.’ Those words will ring in my ears for a while.”
If Anyone Would Know The Policy, It Was Her
“I used to work at a pizza place that didn’t deliver the pizzas we made, it was carryout only. One day I had a customer call and have a long/angry conversation with me because I wouldn’t deliver to her.
She proceeded to say (several times), ‘You must be new here, I know the owner personally,’ to which I responded, ‘Well, I’m the owner’s daughter and we don’t deliver.'”
They Ended Up Having To Pay The Piper…Literally
“I used to be a cashier at a local grocery store where we had a self-scan checkout. At night, very few employees were on. The store stayed open until 12 am and around 10:30-11, there were just two people working the front end.
One night around 11 pm one of the self-scan checkouts started blinking. There was a couple standing there waiting for someone to come assist them, so I went over and asked them what the problem was.
They immediately seemed nervous, so I looked at the items on the belt and compared them with the items on the screen. Something didn’t add up. Every single item was rung up for $1.20 or so and was labeled as a marked down ‘general merchandise’ item. But the things they were buying were all dairy, produce, and grocery products. Also, none of those items would ever be labeled as general merchandise, and I’d be hard pressed to find they all rang up for $1.20.
I told them, ‘Sorry, I need to void the transaction as there seems to be something wrong! Let’s take your groceries to the next checkout so you can get on your way and I’ll sort the problem out.’
We brought all their groceries over to another self-scan lane and I personally rang out each item. The total came out to like $150 or so! Then they begrudgingly paid and went on their way. Apparently, they had ripped off a general merchandise tag from one of our discount racks and pasted it to their hand to just swipe it and send an item down. I guess the machine realized something was fishy when each item came up at the same price.”
He Didn’t Expect Anyone To Examine The Accident Closely
“I used to work in a grocery store and one night, a guy kept walking back and forth in front of the doors while jerking a plastic bag around. Finally, after his third try, a big jug of Merlot broke through the bottom of the bag and smashed right in front of the doors. He started yelling that our bags were crap so we’d better get him another bottle.
I walked outside and told him we couldn’t replace it because we didn’t have any jugs filled with black cherry Kool-Aid. No, Paisano doesn’t smell like that.”
This Woman Basically Had A Surrogate Con Artist
“I had a customer who would send her aide to the store and among the groceries bought were two bags of frozen shrimp. About a week later, the aide would return with a ziplock bag containing the ones she didn’t want, which was less than a single bag, for a refund on both of them.
We allowed it and it happened a couple of more times until the aide came in and explained to us that her charge would constantly take them out of the freezer, dethaw the whole bag, eat some, and then refreeze them. The aide said that she would be ok, in fact, happy, if we said no. We did, and the lady now files a complaint against us weekly trying to get a $10 gift card for her issue.
Also, one time I had a guy argue with my associate about a Playdough feature that had a factory sign on it that said .50¢. He said that it meant half a cent each and wanted 2 for a penny. He was doing it out of spite. One of my egghead peer assistant managers was baffled and said ok, but when my store manager approached him at the register, he told the customer he was not right and to keep his penny because he didn’t want it.”
Even Kids Will Try To Lie And Steal
“I work at Chick-fil-A and one time while I was on shift, I walked through the dining room to go to the bathroom and I overheard a group of kids saying, ‘If you say you didn’t receive your order, they’ll just give you food,’ so I walked back to my register.
A few moments later, one of them walked up to me and said, ‘Hey, it’s been like ten minutes and I still haven’t gotten my food.’ I told him and his friends to leave.”
She Tried To Pull The Same Scheme Twice
“I was a cashier in a grocery store and one day a lady came up to my register with a grocery cart full of your typical crank making supplies (lithium batteries, draino, etc) and even asked me for some dry ice, but I knew what was up as soon as her scabby self walked up.
I rung her stuff up, knowing darn well that someone was going to end up putting it all back. She pulled out a single check to pay which had a man’s name on it, a different last name than her ID, and the signature on the check didn’t look like the man’s name at all. I told her I couldn’t accept the check and she proceeded to argue and demand a manager, who I happily called over.
He told her that there was no way we were accepting the check unless he came in himself to say it was legit. She asked us if a phone call would work and dialed a number as we told her no. She handed my manager the phone and some guy who was clearly messed up answered. We told him wrong number and hung up, then told her to leave before we called the police.
She left…and then came back later in the night (guess who was the only cashier that stayed late) and tried the same crap again with the exact same check without realizing I was the same cashier that told her to kick rocks earlier. When she tried to pull the same stunt, I just told her to leave and never come back. She started demanding a manager and I just called the police right in front of her and told her they were on the way, but I couldn’t keep her there against her will. She left on her own. Crazy crank heads.”
Does She Know What The Definition Of Insanity Is?
“I work at a cafe inside a big store and we have some regulars. Some are really nice, while others…not so much. We’ve dubbed this one woman, ‘the breadstick lady,’ and she comes in probably every other day.
She gets the same order every single day she comes in: two breadsticks (like a little pan of them). She’s gotten to the point where she will walk into the store, hold up two fingers, and we know to throw them in the oven since they take about 10 minutes to make.
We also sell drinks, which can be found at the registers to check out groceries as well. She will buy the breaksticks and then grab two or three cups from a register and not pay for them. Every time we ask to see the receipt for the cups, she says, ‘I thought the breadsticks were a combo? two breadsticks and three drinks?’ and every day the answer is no. It’s crazy to see how many times she’s attempted this and it doesn’t work, but she continues to try!”
The Crazy Lady Pulled Out The Most Unexpected Defense
“I work at an Italian deli/specialty market. It’s family owned and has a super tight-knit cast of employees. It’s also in a rougher part of town. One day, a presumably homeless woman came into the store. No big deal, we’re by the shelter and a lot of the homeless folks are friendly and just getting something nice to eat.
However, this lady was clearly out of her mind. Whether it was substances or mental illness wasn’t clear. Honestly, it was probably both. She was in the store for an hour just harassing employees and customers. Eventually, the owner (an Italian man after whom the store is named) had to intervene. He firmly asked the lady to leave, but she had a surprising response: ‘Oh, it’s okay, I work here.’
Imagine the surprise on the owner’s face. HE certainly didn’t remember hiring her. Dumbfounded, he told her that was impossible since he’s in charge of the hiring, to which she responded, ‘Oh, are you hiring?’ Honestly, I’ve got to respect a good gambit. Unfortunately for her, it didn’t seem to pan out. I don’t have any new coworkers yet.”
The People’s Antics Led To Additional Work For The Employees
“I worked at a Winn Dixie when I was a teenager. They had these really good sales on crab meat, like $5 for a 1lb can. One day this woman came in with four cans asking for a refund; the cans were bulging and hot to the touch. She claimed that they were like that when she bought them. ‘Really? Sure you didn’t leave them in the car all day?’
The store also had a policy that they would sell meat that was about to expire for 50% off. People would grab steaks out of the meat department and hide them in the freezer section, under or behind other products, then come back later to buy them. Not only is it pretty obvious when someone is digging through frozen peas to pull out a steak, it’s really obvious when they come through the register with a frozen steak.
They also had a buy one get one free if someone found expired bread. People would hide bread in other sections of the store then come back for it a few days later. I remember one lady had a cart literally overflowing with bread, half of it expired.
As a result of these shenanigans, we had to comb the store every night for products hidden in the freezers.”