The customer is always right? No way! These managers divulge the idiotic reasons customers have demanded to speak to them. Get ready, because these stories will have you heated, too! Content has been edited for clarity.
Movie Theatre Madness
“I managed a movie theatre, and I dealt with ridiculous complaints almost every day. I was in charge of customer review responses, and it was a headache and a half. Then, the discounted days brought in all sorts of crotchety older folks. One time, a woman complained there were children in an auditorium showing a, wait for it, kids movie!
When I was nine months pregnant, bitter, and waddling, an old man snapped at me for not moving fast enough to serve him a drink. One guy once demanded movie passes because he fell asleep in the middle of the movie and was angry he missed the ending. An elderly couple threw a fit because I wouldn’t accept coupons that were older than I was. Plus, don’t even get me started on the attempted scammers!
My most recent instance with an unruly customer was just the other evening. A man was practically counting the ice cubes as they went into his soda cup.
He looked at the concessionist and exclaimed, ‘There’s way too much ice in my cup!’
Naturally, the concessionist poured some of the ice out. When she dumped the ice, he became even angrier!
The concessionist then asked, ‘What soda would you like again? I just want to double-check.’
The man questioned, ‘What are you, new?’
He proceeded to cancel his entire food and drink order, half of which had already been made. Afterward, he stormed out of the movie theatre. The man came back inside about five minutes later and complained to another employee about how the concessionist wouldn’t give him the food and drink for free.
Surprisingly, the situation didn’t actually escalate to calling the manager over. The second he turned to flag me down, he saw me staring at him, realized I had heard the entire conversation, and just left.
I gave my concessionist a pep talk and some pointers on how I would deal with a similar situation in the future and they brushed it off. I honestly do not understand why people think they are allowed to act this way.”
The Restaurant Reject
“I’ve worked in restaurants for nine or ten years. I started when I was a teenager, and worked in different ones right through the time I graduated college. Eventually, I became a restaurant manager. This incident happened when I was a supervisor and not a manager.
It was a quiet night in the restaurant. We had a large horseshoe-shaped table in the middle of the restaurant where we served drinks. There was always one staff member on either end of the table and one staff member in the middle. This worked out great because all sides of the table were covered and we could serve customers as quickly as possible. Our regular customers knew how the system worked.
The girl who was covering the middle of the table had left to collect some glasses from the dishwashing station. One of the regulars walked up and I headed over to serve him, but he refused my service for no apparent reason. As soon as the girl who was originally there came back, the regular became extremely angry.
He yelled, ‘Where have you been!? I have been waiting to be served for ages!’
She explained, ‘We were out of glasses, I just went to the back to grab some clean ones.’
He was still shouting, so I headed over to him and asked, ‘Sir, can you please stop shouting. I can get you something to drink. What would you like?’
The man kept going on and proceeded to begin swearing at us both.
I responded, ‘You’re not getting a drink for the rest of the night. You can go home or go somewhere else, but you can’t stay here.’
He got even angrier and lunged toward me over the table with a clenched fist. He missed hitting me by a couple of feet and fell face-first into the shelves holding the glasses above the table. He smashed his forehead against the shelf, and all of the other regulars began laughing hysterically.
Afterward, he completely lost his mind and asked to speak to my manager. He even tried to get me in trouble for causing him to have a serious injury. We all laughed in his face, and he definitely is not a regular in our restaurant anymore.’
“She Accused The Bank Of Putting Cameras In Her House”
“I worked at a bank, and one day a woman came in to cash a check she had written from her own account. My co-worker was taking care of her while I was using the computer in my manager’s office. All of the bank stations were occupied, and my manager wasn’t at work this day, hence why I was in their office.
My co-worker scanned her check, and a note appeared on the computer stating the check serial number was out of range. Many customers will begin using an old checkbook after theirs is empty, so it wasn’t unusual for this to happen. As long as we verified with the account holder they did indeed write a check, it was a simple computer override that didn’t require any additional work.
My co-worker asked the woman, ‘Are you using a different checkbook than usual?’
She didn’t understand the question and proceeded to become completely irate.
The woman replied, ‘It’s my money, I should be able to have access to it.’
The co-worker gently responded, ‘You do have access to it, and I never claimed you didn’t. I just need to know if you are using a different checkbook.’
The woman became even angrier. Clearly, she didn’t have enough drama in her life already and needed to make a scene. She didn’t complete her transaction and stormed into the manager’s office where I was working.
The woman looked at me and yelled, ‘I have an issue with this bank not allowing me to cash a check I wrote myself!’
I explained, ‘We are more than happy to cash your check. We just need to verify if you are using a different checkbook or not since the serial number is out of range.’
From my guess, she didn’t understand what the numbers at the top of her checks were.
The woman continued to complain, and she even accused the bank of putting cameras in her house to figure out what checkbook she had.
I sternly told her, ‘We just verify the serial numbers for the protection of your own bank account.’
The woman wasn’t having it. She flipped me off and stormed out of the bank.
Since the incident, the woman has repeatedly called the branch, yelled at my co-workers, and accused them of sneaking into her house to set up imaginary cameras.”
The Honda Civic Hangup
“I worked as a manager at a marine business for a couple of years, and I was the head buyer for a long time. One of the products we sold was an anchor chain for boats. In fact, chains for boats were our top-selling product. The store would buy it in bulk and sell it for the same amount as online retailers did. In many instances, customers would purchase over two hundred and fifty feet of chain at one time.
One time, I had a customer come in the store who wanted to purchase over two hundred and fifty feet of chain. Keep in mind that the chain weighed around two pounds per foot. It was pretty heavy stuff. He wasn’t happy with the price the store had listed, and he began to complain about it to the sales associates.
He asked, ‘Where is the manager at? I need to speak to someone higher up.’
Unfortunately, I was the only manager available who could deal with the customer. I walked up to the customer, and he pulled his phone out of his pocket. He showed me a store three states away that was selling the same kind of chain slightly cheaper than what we sold it for.
I responded, ‘I’m sorry, but we can’t price match the chain. Besides, you will be paying more at the other business anyway. You would still have to pay for the price of shipping.’
He angrily replied, ‘I’m not paying for shipping! I will drive to pick up the chain before I pay for it!’
Great, go get the chain.
Fast forward two weeks later, the customer came into the store again.
I smirked and questioned, ‘So, how are you liking your new purchase?’
I found out he indeed bought the chain from the other retailer. Fine by me. I also discovered the customer picked up the chain in his tiny Honda Civic hatchback. He blew out both of the rear shocks on his car in the process because he didn’t account for the weight of two hundred and fifty feet of anchor chain.
Karma is so sweet.”
“I previously managed a retail store. One day, a supervisor called me in to talk to a customer who had a complaint about the state of our bathrooms. Our bathrooms were cleaned regularly, but sometimes a customer would come in and have an odd accident without telling a staff member. It wasn’t often our bathrooms were messy. In my mind, I was dreading finding out what was wrong with the bathrooms and I was expecting the absolute worst.
The customer complained, ‘The bathrooms are dirty, and they are in the most terrible state I have ever seen!’
They whipped out their phone and offered to show me photos they took of the bathroom, which I agreed to look at. The ‘terrible state’ the bathrooms were in? It was only one small dust bunny in a corner.
I was dumb-struck for a second.
The customer questioned, ‘Do you even remember the last time the bathrooms have been cleaned?’
I replied, ‘They were cleaned this morning.’
They pushed back, ‘Well, if that’s the case, you need to fire your custodians! If I come into the store again and the bathrooms are dirty, I am going to take my photos to the newspaper!’
I busted out laughing. We lived in a small semi-rural town, and our newspaper struggled to find news to write about as-is. I think even they would draw the line at, ‘small amount of dust found in a local store bathroom’.
I remarked, ‘I will make sure our cleaning staff is aware of the issue.’
‘Great,’ he replied, ‘I’m looking forward to seeing the improved standards in the store going forward.’
The cleaning staff and I had a great laugh about it later. The customer never returned to the store, and I never did see anything on the front page of the newspaper.”
The Grocery Store Grump
“When I was a supervisor in retail, I had a customer ask to speak to a manager. Allegedly when the cashier was scanning her items, she accidentally dropped a package of the customer’s chicken. The package was still completely sealed, and nothing was damaged or had gotten dirty. The cashier apologized and bagged the food. The customer was utterly appalled the cashier still sold her an item that had touched the floor for two seconds.
I offered to replace the item for her, but she was not satisfied.
She cried, ‘You gave me a soiled package of chicken! Do you know how disgusting this is? This was the worst checkout experience of my entire life, and I will never shop here again!’
We eventually settled on a solution that made her happy. I replaced the chicken with another more expensive one, plus I refunded the original item.
Fast forward to the next day, the customer came back with just the receipt and demanded to talk to me.
She claimed, ‘The chicken you gave me was expired and rotten! I threw it away, and I want a full refund!’
I explained, ‘Ma’am, you weren’t charged for this package of chicken. We gave you a refund for the chicken the cashier dropped, remember? We can’t give you a refund for an item you never purchased.’
She retorted, ‘I don’t care! I want the dollar amount refunded to me. I don’t want your chicken, I want my money!’
Afterward, she started crying and screaming. I repeated multiple times she had never paid for the chicken, but I eventually gave up. I called the store manager and let them deal with her.
Of course, the store manager apologized for the great inconvenience I caused her to have. He refunded the value of the chicken she never paid for, and he even threw in a store gift card!”
Apple Store Antics
“Years ago, I worked at an Apple retail location. One day, a customer came into the store to buy a new iPod. It was seemingly a normal interaction, but everything started to go downhill quickly.
Before I rang him up, I asked, ‘What kind of computer do you have? I just have to verify you will be able to use the iPod.’
As I mentioned, this was quite a few years back. The iPod the customer wanted to buy was the first generation of the device, and they only worked with the version of iTunes that could be installed on a computer with a special Intel chip. It turned out his computer did not have an Intel chip, so he wouldn’t be able to use the iPod.
I explained, ‘Listen, I’m sorry. You won’t be able to use this generation of iPods, but the previous generations will work with your computer. I can help you order a different one online if you would like.’
He replied, ‘No, I’ll just get a new computer instead.’
I responded, ‘Great! Let’s see what options we have available for you to purchase.’
The customer looked at me, confused, and said, ‘No, you don’t understand. You’re going to give me a new computer. I refuse to buy one. It’s your fault I can’t buy a new iPod, and the store is obligated to make it right.’
I cooly replied, ‘Sir, we can’t just give you a computer.’
‘We’ll see,’ he snidely remarked.
Shortly after, the customer demanded to speak to a manager. My manager came over, and they promptly kicked him out of the store.”
A Hairy Situation
“I had an insane woman flag me down at a Chinese restaurant I previously managed.
She very loudly exclaimed, ‘I found a hair in my food!’
She showed me a long, sauce-covered blonde hair on her dish. For reference, I had short black hair at the time and the entire kitchen and wait staff working this night had relatively short black hair. The woman had long blonde hair.
Instead of letting her cause more of a scene, I apologized and got the kitchen to make her a new serving to replace the meal. She and her children had already almost eaten the whole first serving, but I didn’t want to hear her complain anymore.
The situation really started to go downhill when she came to the front of the restaurant to pay. She refused to pay her entire bill due to the hair in her food, which she loudly announced to the room.
At this point, the restaurant owner came out and started having a screaming match with the woman for trying to rip us off. Her kids appeared to cry on cue.
I sent my boss back to the kitchen and told him I would figure it out.
I turned to the woman and calmly explained, ‘I would be happy to remove your meal from the bill, as long as you pay for the remainder of your food.’
She refused and called the cops because my boss had yelled at her. No joke.
The cops showed up and told the woman, ‘You need to pay the bill. By the way, you shouldn’t call emergency services for such petty reasons.’
I’m happy I don’t work in the service industry anymore.”
“I was previously a manager at a music and video game store. One day, I was called in to handle a customer complaint. It was a grumpy old man who needed to return a CD, and he claimed it was not working. The CD was expensive, and he was nearly tearing up trying to explain his issue to me. When I looked at the disk, it was very scratched as if it went through sandpaper.
The store had a no-return policy after a package was opened, as these were original CDs. The man came into the store claiming the disk didn’t work right after he first opened it.
We usually tested the CD, and if it played and didn’t skip, we just gave it back. I tested the CD it actually played.
After a conversation, he told me the disk didn’t work in his car. I offered to go outside to his car with him and try the CD again. I thought he might be pressing the wrong button or something.
After arriving at the car and looking at the stereo, I discovered his car had no CD player at all. He managed to jam the CD between the dash and the tape player, thinking the disk would play.
After I explained the CD would not work in his car, he started crying.
I felt sorry for him, so I offered to copy the CD to a tape. The tape would work in his car, and he could keep the disc for whenever he purchased a CD player.
A couple of days later, I gave him the copied tape. He was happy and returned to the shop multiple times to buy other tapes. He was super friendly to me and said I reminded him of his son who passed away in the war. He brought me pastries his wife made as gifts every time he came to the store.
It was one of the most ridiculous customer complaints I have ever had, but one of the best friendships formed because of it.”
Pool Party Problem
“I was previously a beverage manager at a popular casino in Vegas. One day, I had to cover for the outdoor pool manager while he was on his break.
It was in the middle of summer when the pool team called me and said, ‘There is a woman who is absolutely irate outside. She wants to speak to a manager.’
I made my way outside in blistering heat while wearing my suit and tie.
I walked up to the woman sitting in the VIP area and she whined, ‘My drink melted way too fast! I only had it for ten minutes before it melted!’
The last time I checked, being a beverage manager didn’t give me control of the elements or the laws of thermal dynamics. But, I tried to reason with her anyway.
I calmly replied, ‘Ma’am, it’s very hot outside today. We can’t prevent the ice from melting in your drink.’
She insisted, ‘You need to either get me a replacement drink or remake my drink with more ice!’
We couldn’t remake her partially consumed drink in the blender because it violated health codes. Thankfully, the pool manager came back from his break just in time.
I turned to him and asked, ‘Did anyone verify her VIP status?’
He shook his head and said, ‘No, I don’t think so.’
The managers always knew who the members in the VIP area were because they were each assigned to a member during the pre-shift brief.
Long story short, the woman snuck into the VIP area. I had security kick her out of the pool area in the blink of an eye.”
The Couponing Karen
“Quite a few years ago, I worked at a pizza chain as a manager. One night, I had someone call in and ask an employee if we would honor a coupon that was over a week expired.
My employee explained, ‘We can’t honor the coupon because it is expired, but let me ask my manager just in case.’
Before he got the chance to ask me, she decided to make a big fuss and was fairly disrespectful to my employee.
She whined, ‘The coupon is only expired by a few days, I need to speak directly to your manager!’
I backed what my employee had told her, we wouldn’t be honoring the coupon.
About twenty minutes later, the woman called the store again. This time, I answered the phone.
She asserted, ‘I need you to honor this coupon! It’s not even very old.’
I said, ‘No, we can’t honor expired coupons, ma’am.’
After I hung up the phone, she had the nerve to call the store again an hour later. We had caller ID so I knew it was her again. I didn’t answer the phone.
About an hour later, an employee came back to me and said, ‘There is a woman at the front of the store. I think it’s the same one who called earlier about the coupon. She said she wants to speak to you.’
I walked to the front of the store and the woman immediately started screaming at me.
She yelled, ‘I will be going elsewhere for pizza from now on! Your service is terrible, and it is awful you are refusing to honor a coupon for a loyal customer!’
I had never seen this woman at work a day in my life.
I replied, ‘Ma’am, you’re welcome to go elsewhere if you’d like.’
The ultimate kicker was the coupon was only a fifty-cent discount on any order. It wasn’t a big deal, and I would have absolutely honored it had she not treated my employee like garbage on the phone”
Stuck In A Jam
“I was a manager at a restaurant. The servers provided complimentary bread baskets for each dinner table.
One lady snapped her fingers at me and said, ‘You are running the most unhygienic establishment I have ever eaten in! I have a food hygiene certificate, and I can shut you down tonight if I wanted to!’
Why was she fussing?
Allegedly, there was some ‘jam’ on the bread, and I had clearly taken used bread from the breakfast rush and tried to cost cut by serving contaminated bread at dinner. In reality, I had cut the bread not even ten minutes before serving her. I even burned my hands on it because the bread was fresh out of the oven.
The bread definitely wasn’t leftover from the morning.
I apologized profusely and removed the offending bread basket from the table. Meanwhile, I was still dodging patronizing comments from the woman.
She yelled, ‘You really should know how to run a restaurant! You’re really dumb to serve old bread!’
I inspected the basket of bread when I took it back to the kitchen. The red blobs of ‘jam’ were actually drops of red drink from the bottle she had at her table. The woman poured the drink herself, not realizing the mess she had made.
Needless to say, I wasn’t shut down.”