If you work in an industry that sees you dealing with a lot of customers face-to-face, you're bound to meet your fair share of lunatics who have no clue how to interact with people in a calm and friendly manner. This is especially true for people working in the food industry, as people tend to get quite riled up when it comes to their grub. All we can do for the brave souls that have to deal with these people is wish them Godspeed and maybe back them up if we see a nutcase customer going after them.
Whether it's a woman who flips her lid because she can't get the birthday cake message she wants, or a man brazenly trying to steal coffee and becoming irate when he's called out, one can assume these imbeciles were raised in a barn because what else would explain their total lack of respect for other human beings? Here are some of Reddit food industry workers' looniest, most astonishing tales about their worst customers ever. Content edited for clarity.
She Was Setting A Wonderful Example For Her Granddaughter
“During the summer between my second and third years of university, I worked at an ice cream place. One day this woman came in and had a look on her face that told me she thought she was better than me. She was with her granddaughter.
They approached the freezer and she barked at me, ‘My granddaughter wants a large of that one in the corner,’ and nodded her head toward the second freezer. Now, bear with me here, because a freezer is rectangular and has four corners. The names of the ice cream are clearly indicated and usually, if people can’t see those, they’ll identify what they want with the color and a more precise location.
I wagered my best guess and pointed at one corner and asked, ‘This one?’ She became angrier. ‘NO. I said the one in the CORNER.’ Okay, then, one down, three to go. I pointed to the opposite corner. ‘This one?’ She became irate. ‘NO! ARE YOU AN IDIOT?!’ I looked at her and took a deep breath. I pointed to another corner. ‘FINALLY! I don’t know why they hire such idiots.’
I scooped it up, walked over to the register, and gave her the total. She threw a pocket of change on the counter and left. It was not enough, and I had to pay the difference out of my tips.”
“How Dare You Deny Me Of What I Want!”
“I work in a bakery/kitchen store in a very wealthy suburb of the city I live in. We get all types of customers, but the worst ones are the prissy housewives. We usually ask people to preorder cakes if they know they are going to need one on a specific day, but we also offer ready-made cakes and desserts in the store for those who have last minute plans.
Usually it’s only me and one other coworker there during the day, so things can get a little hectic if we’re busy. Thankfully though, we were pretty dead the day that Miss Angry Pants decided to come in.
I knew she was a witch right away from her leopard print jacket, Coach purse, and snippy attitude. She wanted a small cake that we had in the case and asked me to write ‘Happy Birthday, Dorothy,’ on it. ‘I’m sorry,’ I explained to her, ‘But that cake is too small to fit all of that on there. Maybe I could just write Happy Birthday?’ This, of course, was unacceptable and she started complaining about how she always got whatever she wanted from the bakery and how dare I deny her of that.
My coworker decided to take over at that point and tried to talk the woman down. She was still flipping out, her voice getting louder and louder. She finally allowed us to write only ‘Happy Birthday’ on the cake but was very pushy and rude the whole time. My coworker boxed the cake up and brought it around the counter to show the woman. She then yanked the cake out of my coworker’s hands (messing it up slightly) and threw money at her face.
I was so in shock that a woman who was at least twice my age would act so immature because of something so small. She stormed out of the bakery, screaming, ‘How dare you deny me of what I want! I am the public! I pay your wages!’
This happened about four or five months ago, and she actually came back in the other day and said, ‘I would like to apologize to you for what I said, but you didn’t give me what I wanted.’ What?! People never fail to amaze me.”
This Lady Needed To Be Exorcised Of A Demon
“I used to work at a grocery store and one day I was about to leave when the manager on duty asked me to stick around because he spotted a shoplifter. As she passed the registers, we walked up to her and asked her to stop.
She immediately grabbed my manager’s arm and bit down, then I pulled her off of him and we walked her upstairs. We sat her down in a chair and told her that we had to fill out a report.
While we were working on that, she pulled out a box knife she had found and slit both of her wrists. After about 30 seconds of bleeding, she stood up, held out her bloody hands, which were still holding the knife, and started chasing us.
We bolted down the stairs and slammed the door shut behind us. We called 911 and while we were waiting for the police to show up, she climbed into the ceiling, causing us to have to evacuate the whole store. The fire department found her up in the rafters after about 30 minutes. She ended up being ok, but ended up in jail for a while because of it.”
The Late-Night Crazies Will Leave You Traumatized
“I used to work as an overnight cashier at a small town grocery store. It was usually very uneventful; we were right between a Meijer and a Walmart, so most of the crazies ended up going to one of those places.
That is, of course, until one fateful December night. It was freezing cold around 4 am and I had just a couple hours left in my shift when I noticed two guys in their 40’s start walking in from the lot, both in their underwear. One was big, heavy, and very hairy. The other was short, very thin, and walked with a limp.
I wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it at first, since there was nobody in the store and I assumed they were just wasted or something. I called the manager up so he could get a look since watching crazies was always a fun way to pass the time.
When they got inside, things went from, ‘Haha, look at those idiots,’ to, ‘Holy crap, this is creepy,’ real fast. The fat guy was holding a leash which was tied around the little guy’s neck. The little guy appeared to have some sort of mental incapacity, as he was blabbering wildly. My manager took one look and walked over to the office to call the cops.
When the guys walked past me, the big one looked over and gave an ultra-sinister smile, then they went straight to the produce section. I tried to keep an eye on them, but then another customer came in, a middle-aged housewife who was one of our regulars. I warned her that there were some strange guys over in produce and she kind of laughed it off, as anyone who spends a lot of time out at night is used to dealing with crazies.
A short while later, the woman came back with her breakfast and I started ringing her out. Then the guys came back, their basket filled to the brim with bananas. The big guy immediately started harassing the woman, ‘You know what I’d like to do with these bananas?’ The whole time he was doing this creepy smile while the guy on the leash just cackled like an animal. I signaled for the woman to go ahead and leave without paying. The guys were very upset when she walked away and started throwing bananas everywhere.
Right about then, the first cop walked in the door. The big guy freaked out and ran off, literally dragging the other guy along the floor by his leash. He ducked into an aisle and dropped the leash, leaving the other guy on the floor as he tried to catch his breath. The cop started chasing him and eventually tackled and cuffed him. A couple more cops showed up and I pointed them over to the first cop, with one stopping to help the thin guy.
A few minutes later, the big guy was shoved into a squad car and an ambulance arrived for the little one. I never got the full story; the cops had no idea who the guys were, and we never got any sort of follow-up. The woman showed up the next night and we had a big laugh about it, but you could tell that it kind of freaked her out at the time. We also found little bits of banana hidden all over the registers for the next couple of days.”
Everyone In The Store Was Aghast At Her Behavior
“I was a cashier at a Meijer in Michigan which tracked our scanning ‘average items per minute,’ and for years I was always in the top 10% for scanning speed, usually in the top 5%.
One day this lady, let’s call her ‘Crazy Witch,’ came to the front of my checkout line on an ordinary Saturday afternoon. She had a regular ‘medium-full’ cart of groceries and her daughter was in the kid seat at the rear of the cart. So, ‘Boop, boop, boop,’ the scanner was humming along as I did my usual ‘top tier’ scanning speed.
Out of nowhere, this woman went into a rage and screamed, ‘YOU ARE GOING TOO SLOW! WHY ARE YOU GOING SO SLOW?! YOU HAVE TO GO FASTER! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?’
She went on and on in a series of increasingly shrill shrieks of horror that normal people would reserve for a time when they’d witnessed a puppy being run over. It was some seriously breathless wailing and shrieking in horrifying, over-the-top craziness.
Cashiers on both sides of me stopped to gawk, customers, too. The whole area became silent as she went on and on, and I just kept scanning. Finally, after threatening that she’d tell my manager and have me fired because I was ‘too slow,’ she said, ‘CAN’T YOU SEE? MY DAUGHTER IS HUNGRY! WE HAVE TO GO! GO FASTER! FFAAAASSSTTTEEEEERRRRR!’
Then the little girl in the cart innocently interrupted, ‘But, mommy, I’m not hungry.’ Crazy Witch stopped screaming and just switched to staring at me and fuming, literally pouting and huffing nonstop like a little kid. I just kept on scanning.
After the order finished she left, screaming back toward the crowd of awestruck witnesses. Several of them congratulated and consoled me as they left with their purchases. I was in a union and probably could have just shut my lane down, preventing her from buying anything.
The United Food And Commercial Workers Union would have backed me up, but I decided to just muscle through it. Now I’m my own boss, so if a customer ever screamed at me like that again, I would just tell them to suck my balls and say that I didn’t want their business.”
Some People Get Angry When They’re The Guilty Party
“I work the customer service counter as a cashier and usually I enjoy it because I get a helper’s high for assisting someone trying to find a certain item. Because I work the customer service desk, I’m usually the first and last form of defense when it comes to preventing theft.
One day, I greeted a heavy-set man as he approached my counter, and I saw four boxes of Keurig K-Cups in his cart: two of the 18-count flavors at $11.99 each and two of the 64-count variety packs at $34.99 each. It was expensive coffee that added up to nearly $100 plus tax.
When he got closer to the register, he angled his shopping cart in front of the counter in such a way that obscured most of the contents within. Unusual customer behavior often draws attention, right?
He started placing his boxes on my counter one at a time and watched me scan and bag them, then asked what his total was. I replied, ‘It’ll be about $65 with tax, but did you also wish to purchase that other box of coffee?’
He stared at me with a stiff face and asked in an agitated voice, ‘What other box?’
I leaned over my counter and pointed to the box of K-Cups, ‘This one, sir.’
The man tried to fake surprise and growled, ‘No, I don’t know how that got there and I don’t want it now.’ I thought to myself, ‘Right, and I’m sure you’ve never seen that bag before, honestly officer…’
At that point, this guy was having a hard time keeping his feelings in check because I’d foiled his plan to shoplift overpriced coffee. He slapped a $100 bill on the counter to pay for his honestly acquired items. I smiled sweetly at him as I used a currency marker to make sure it was legal tender and he frowned at me, but it passed. As I was closing my drawer and counting out his change to him, he interrupted me.
‘Wait, I’ll give you $0.64 so you can give me a dollar back, I hate coins.’ I sensed he was trying pull a shortchange scam on me so I said, ‘Sir, I’ve already shut my drawer and I can’t open it without another cash sale.’
He became angrier, and said, ‘Yes, you can! Just scan one of these stupid things and open the drawer!’ When he shouted that, I was a bit alarmed because the situation was starting to escalate beyond anything I’d ever experienced.
Then I heard a woman behind him shout, ‘For God’s sake! I will give you a dollar out of my own wallet if you will just take your things and leave this girl alone!’ He turned to gawk at her, didn’t take her money, turned back to me, and threw his fistful of coins at my face before storming out of the store. Needless to say, I had to have a bit of a sit-down afterward to regain my nerves.”
She Was So Self-Righteous About Her Special Lingo
“I witnessed this happen in my grandfather’s deli, The Bangall Country Store. It was a normal Saturday morning in Upstate New York, there was a big line, and the kitchen staff was working hard to fill orders.
Some prissy little witch (Think Meryl Streep from The Devil Wears Prada) came to the counter and said, ‘Can I have an ‘effin tea, please?’ My mom, who was working the register at the time, went off to make a cup of tea and brought it back to her.
The lady, obviously flustered, said, ‘NO. An ‘effin tea? An F and T!’
‘An F and T! A Financial Times?’
My mother simply gestured to the rack of magazines and newspapers behind the lady. She absolutely lost it, screaming about disrespect and lousy service and how she’s gonna report them to the Better Business Bureau. My mom just looked at her and calmly said, ‘That’ll be $1.75 for the tea and $2 for the Financial Times.’ Then some off-duty officers then took it upon themselves to walk the lady out while the rest of the line behind her cheered.”
Perhaps Too Many Stiff Ones Fried Her Brain
“I’m a bartender in New York City, so I get my share of crazies seeing as I work at a well-known dive bar. This happened on a Wednesday during the day shift, which meant I had one or two regulars sitting at the bar and a table or two of people in the back portion of the bar, so about nine people total.
This older woman walked into the bar wearing glasses and carrying a walking stick for the blind, and she was definitely not blind. She sat down and asks for Grey Goose on the rocks with a twist of lime and a soda chaser. I served her and she was pretty quiet, so I started up a conversation with one of the regulars. Then I looked around the bar and found her standing in the corner, mumbling to herself. All of a sudden she started speaking louder and louder, and soon was yelling.
‘You freaking pricks! I hate this freaking bar! Eff all of you!’ She then proceeded to point out each and every customer while proclaiming, ‘Eff you and eff you and eff you…’ I started to make my way out from behind the bar to get her calmed down and kicked her out. She then took a few lurching steps toward the bar, reached to the sky with her shot glass of soda water, spilling it everywhere, and began repeatedly yelling, ‘PATRICK SWAYZE WAS BORN TO DANCE!’
I walked up to her and told her that she needed to stop yelling and get out of my bar because she was scaring the other customers. She then grabbed onto my arm and started telling me what a prick I was and that she would never come back and spend money again because we’re all a bunch of freaking pricks. Apparently, she didn’t have any other insults.
Then she started telling me, ‘I have a bracelet! I have a bracelet! I have problems! I’m sick!’ so I walked her to the door and asked if she wanted me to call her an ambulance or someone else to help. She started smacking my legs with her cane and saying, ‘No! NO NO NO! I have a bracelet! I have a bracelet!’
I finally got her out the door and tried to pry her fingers off of my arm but she insisted that I walk her home first, claiming that she lived just across the street. I yelled to one of my more trustworthy regulars to watch the bar and that I’d be right back. I helped her cross the street, all while she was smacking people with her cane and screaming about Patrick Swayze. Then she finally let go of my arm and I ran back to the bar. Never forget, Patrick Swayze was born to dance.”
The Situation Was Both Deplorable And Deeply Saddening
“I worked as a jack-of-all-trades at Albertsons for many years. During that time, my favorite job was shoplifter apprehension. In July of ’97, I had this woman come through my line and she bought two cases of Budweiser and a carton of Marlboros.
Once she finished paying for her stuff and was headed toward the door, my manager pointed at her and gave me the signal that she was stealing something. I waited until she was about ten feet out the door before catching her by the cart and explaining that we needed her to come back inside. She teared up, but went back in with me.
When we got her inside she began removing items from her coat and purse, all baby food. I couldn’t believe it. She began bawling and told us that her husband would beat her if she didn’t get him his brews and smokes. She said she had to buy those, and that she had an 11-month-old baby at home that hadn’t eaten in two days.
At this point, we just stood there staring at her in disbelief. I can’t recall who spoke first, but I remember pulling a twenty out of my wallet and tossing it at her in disgust. We told her to never come back to our store again, and then called Child Protective Services.
A couple of days later I heard that the husband was in jail for attempted murder. He tried to kill his wife because she was going to steal for the baby and…got caught. He wasn’t mad about the actual theft, just her getting caught. Last I heard, the baby was placed with a foster family somewhere in Northern Idaho.
That was definitely a low point in my retail career. In hindsight, I was probably too mean, but all I could think of was how she would trade her child’s well being for that of a worthless jerk husband. That’s why I was appalled.
When Coupon Hubris Goes Too Far
“I worked at a grocery store in high school and one time a woman and her husband came through my checkout line with a huge order, probably around $200 worth of food. After I finished scanning and bagging everything, the woman handed me a few coupons. All of them went through fine except one; 40 cents off feta cheese. When I scanned it, my register beeped and said that the item wasn’t in their order.
I informed the woman that her coupon wasn’t going through and asked her if she was sure she purchased feta cheese that day. That sort of thing happened a lot, where customers would bring coupons with them but forget to buy everything they’d planned. They’d usually take the coupon back to use later or they’d run and get what they’d forgotten. Not this woman.
She immediately copped an attitude and said, ‘YES, I bought feta cheese today, there’s probably just a problem with the coupon.’ I agreed that that might be the case, so I started checking the receipt line by line while she and her husband looked through their grocery bags. Neither of us found anything resembling feta cheese, but she wouldn’t drop it.
I told her she could either take the coupon back or run and grab a package of feta cheese, but she kept insisting that it was in her order somewhere, and that I’d probably forgotten to scan it (in which case, congrats lady, you got some feta cheese for FREE instead of 40 cents off). I told her I was sorry, but without proof that it was in her order there was nothing I could do, and that my register couldn’t manually give discounts anyway (which was true).
She rolled her eyes at me and said, ‘Honestly? I think you’re being a little bit ridiculous here.’ I just stared at her dumbfounded for a few seconds, and then reiterated that there was nothing I could do without a physical manifestation of some feta cheese, at which point her poor embarrassed husband finally convinced her to let it go. He shot me a pained look of apology on the way out.”
He Genuinely Loved Being Such A Jerk
“There was a regular customer at the Tim Hortons I used to work at, and his goal (which he openly admitted to) was to try and get any workers he didn’t like fired. And, of course, he didn’t like anybody.
It started with a couple of coworkers on the midnight shift. One accidentally gave him a breakfast sandwich with sausage instead of bacon, or something like that, so he shouted at her for ‘trying to kill him’ then threw the sandwich at her and peeled out of the drive-thru.
With another coworker, he wanted a pastry of some sort but flat out refused to specify which one. He just would not tell her what he wanted, instead choosing to get progressively more and more angry as she guessed and chose the wrong one over and over because she had no clue what he wanted. Finally, he shouted, ‘JUST GIVE ME THE FREAKING DANISH!’
This ended with her telling him to get the heck out of the store, and he did, but he came back to whine to a manager. His excuse was that he was illiterate and that she was making fun of him for not being able to read the signs in the display case, even though he obviously knew all along that he wanted a Danish.
Then there were my encounters with him. He loved coming in during midnight shifts because he could act like a total jerk without anybody seeing him, and lucky me was pulling midnight shifts at the time so I saw him almost nightly. He always had a comment for me, like, ‘Make my coffee better this time, it tasted like crap yesterday,’ and a thousand others just like it.
He once actually complained to the manager that he came in one morning and I was on a smoke break (I don’t smoke anymore, but I did while I worked there as those who’ve worked there long enough probably understand). My coworker served him perfectly and in good time, he just didn’t like that I had a break. Seriously, he complained that I took a five-freaking-minute break. His excuse? ‘At my work, we don’t get breaks. We don’t need breaks.’ I found out later that he actually did work a job that gives breaks, as if there were ever any doubt.
Luckily, by the time I had to deal with him more regularly, my manager already knew he was a prick with a foghorn for a mouth. It was astonishing to see the change in his personality when I pulled day shifts, though.
He was a completely different person just because of the number of witnesses to any hissy fits he might throw. The times that I served him during the day, he was polite and quiet, and even tipped me a time or two. Super weird guy, and a complete jagoff regardless.”