A good employee should be open to critiques but some customers have some absolutely insane complaints. These workers share the most ridiculous grips they’ve heard from patrons.
Somebody Took A Bite Out Of What?!
“Back when iPhones first started to become popular, I was managing a team in a call center for a well-known (at the time) mobile phone company. One of my team took a call and I could see that the customer was being ‘challenging’. Eventually, the inevitable happened, the customer had issued those fateful words ‘I want to speak to your manager’. The policy at the time was that whenever a customer wanted to escalate, as long as some effort had been made by the agent, the call was escalated. (The same policy was in place for me, if the customer wanted to escalate the call past me they could do so.)
Anyway, I duly took the call, and by the sounds of things, the guy on the other end of the phone was virtually frothing at the mouth. (I must appoint out that my agent had remained calm and I listened to the call afterward, they did nothing wrong at all). This guy was an absolute tool. His complaint? He claimed that we had sold him a fake iPhone. The reason? There appeared to have been a bite taken out of the apple. I kid you not!
At first, I thought it might have been one of my colleagues who was just having a wind-up, but no, I checked the account and this was the 5th time he had called that day with the same complaint, my agent being the first to actually accede to his demands to speak to a manager.
I asked if he was calling from the handset, he wasn’t. I then asked that he use the handset to go to the Apple website using the Safari browser and look at their logo. he refused, insisting that as we had sold him a fake phone we would have made it go to a fake Apple website. He then started quite literally screaming down the phone that he demanded to speak to my manager and ‘take it all the way’. I refused point-blank and told him to speak to trading standards or the citizen’s advice bureau. I also advised him that I was adding a notepad to his account stating that if he called again with this ludicrous complaint we would bar his SIM card and repeated timewasting calls could see him removed from the network.
He went absolutely apoplectic at this and started swearing at me, I gave him quite a bit of leeway as I figured he was pretty much ’round the twist. But after repeated warnings, I told him that his phone was being barred from the network for a minimum of 24 hours, and released the call. I did bar the phone (he called back from other phones). He ended up being thrown off of the network.”
“I’ve been in law enforcement for 30+ years. The strangest complaints I’ve had was a man (Jim) coming to the PD to say his best friend ‘Stanley’ has been kidnapped. Kidnapping isn’t a common complaint so it immediately gets your attention.
Jim said he last saw and spoke to Stanley two days ago. I asked if he knew where Stanley is or who kidnapped him. Jim said he knows exactly where Stanley is and who kidnapped him. Jim explained Stanley was kidnapped by his ex-girlfriend, Shirley and she was holding Stanley against his will at her apartment. I asked what was preventing Stanley from leaving Shirley’s apartment. Jim stated Shirley won’t open her door.
Shirley’s apartment was a quiet distance from the PD so I instructed Jim to wait at the PD while I went to speak to Shirley. Upon arrival at Shirley’s apartment, I knocked on her door but received to answer. I could hear someone inside the apartment so I continued to knock while announcing my presence. Eventually, Shirley answered the door. I asked if Stanley was inside and Shirley said ‘Yes’. I asked to speak to Stanley and Shirley allowed me inside the apartment. Once inside, Shirley pointed to a corner of the room where I observed a reclining chair with a sheet draped over it. Something large appeared to be under the sheet. I asked Shirley to remove the sheet and when she did, I observed a large cage containing a colorful parrot.
I reluctantly asked if the parrot is named Stanley and Shirley said ‘Yes’. Shirley explained she and her now ex-boyfriend, Jim, bought Stanley a couple of years ago but the two had broken up a couple of days ago.
I returned to the PD to speak with Jim. I explained to Jim that this was not a kidnapping and instead was a civil matter. Jim asked me if I had spoken to Stanley to ask where he preferred to live. I acknowledged I had not spoken to Stanley and was not planning on speaking to Stanley in the future. I instructed Jim to contact his attorney for further instructions on how to obtain ownership of the parrot.
Jim wasn’t happy and stated Stanley would tell me he prefers to live with him if I would agree to speak with him. I showed Him to the door and wished him luck in his endeavor.
It was my one and only kidnapped parrot call.”
“When I was a high school English teacher, I had a parent make a stupid complaint.
One afternoon, the assistant principal of my school came to my classroom to talk to me. He told me that one of my 7th-period students would be accompanied by her mother, starting the next day. The reason was that the kid kept cutting her classes (not just mine) so mom was going to go to all of her classes with her to ensure that she actually went to class! The AP then told me that if a fight breaks out, to call the school’s police officer first, then call him. Fight? Do you mean the student and her mom? Yes, he expected that mom and student might start throwing punches at each other!
So, the next day all the 7th-period classes were canceled because our school’s girls basketball team had made it to the state finals, and the school was having a pep rally for them in the gym that day. This was the last class period of the day. The kids were to report to their 7th-period classes, and after we took attendance, we were to lead our kids down to the gym. So this kid and her mom come to my class, I take attendance and tell the kids we’re going to the gym for the pep rally. At the end of the pep rally, the principal tells the kids they can go home. This was on a Friday.
Next Monday, the assistant principal comes to tell me that the mother who came to class with her daughter had called to complain about me. She said that I didn’t teach the kids anything when she was there. She’s right, I told him. I taught them nothing. That’s because I took the class to the pep rally! He said ‘Oh yeah, I forgot about that. What the heck is this woman complaining about? Forget I mentioned it.’
The best part was when the 7th period came around. The AP had told me that mom was going to come to class every day for a while, but the girl showed up without her mom. I walked around the class handing back some graded papers, and when I got to the kid, I handed her the paper and asked ‘Where’s mom?’ She slammed her fist on her desk and said ‘You think this is f****** funny, don’t you?’ I laughed and said: ‘Dang right I do. Funniest thing I’ve seen all year!’ The rest of the class broke out in laughter while the kid muttered ‘This f****** sucks.’
Yeah, the kids all cussed like sailors.”
Guess They Did TOO Good of A Job, Eh?
“I used to be a mechanic
Lady calls in one day saying that she needs a new radiator. She has it in her car and is on the way to get it replaced. Apparently, the shop she trust’s diagnosed it, but we were closer and she really needed to get it done. She emphasized several times that she was in a rush. As in: ‘I’M IN A RUSH! I NEED YOU GUYS TO GET THIS DONE AS FAST AS POSSIBLE! I HAVE SO MANY IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO! BLAH BLAH BLAH ETC! HOW MUCH IS THE LABOR GOING TO COST ME?’
My boss the quick-thinking guy that he is, pulled up her info and told her that the radiator paid two and a half hours so it was going to be around $250 in labor. She said that was OK and that she’d be at there in around 20 minutes.
Now usually we were a pretty busy shop, but that day we were deader than a nun’s Friday night. So the two head techs flipped a coin to see who was going to get paid, and they and I all were going to pitch in anyway because we wanted to get this lady in and out and we were bored as heck.
So the lady pulls in, my manager and head tech go out to greet her, and she tosses the keys at them and says ‘Get it done, ASAP!’
So the head tech pulls it in. In an awesome display of teamwork and skill, we take a still steaming radiator and replace it with the brand new one she had, within an hour. So the head tech pulls the car around and we go in with smiling faces to talk to her and thank her for our business and generally be proud of ourselves.
Alas, this was not to be.
The lady was ticked. Super ticked. As in she was screaming at our manager about how we cheated her, we scammed her over, and we were gonna get sued by her lawyer husband, etc, etc.
So he of course relayed to her, that we were very slow and she expressed a need for urgency. We did our best and had 3 techs working on her car to get it out as fast as possible. He showed her the old radiator and reminded her that she watched us pull the old radiator out and put the new one in.
She screamed that she wasn’t paying any money because we had obviously cheated her on money because we did the job too fast.
My manager, who is normally a very kind and understanding guy, had experienced quite enough of this lady’s attitude. He told her that she had to choices:
1-He could call the cops and tell them that she refused to pay for services rendered. 2-(With a devilish smile on his face) Or we could replace the radiator with the old one free of charge.
She decided to take the 2nd option.
(We were sitting just outside the waiting area listening to her wail like a banshee) Our manager comes back out and says ‘Hey, you guys want lunch? You know that Chinese place you guys like so much, but it takes forever for them to get you your food? Why don’t you guys go there and eat in? My treat.’
He hands us a wad of money and tells us to go.
After we left (this is according to him, but I believe him due to her evil glare whenever we came back), he went back in and informed her that all the techs went on their mandatory lunch break and wouldn’t be back for an hour.
After we came back, funny enough, it took us two hours to put that old leaky radiator back in.”
“Hey, Gary. Defile Any Graves Lately?”
“I was the project manager for multiple bridge replacement projects for the Department of Transportation in the state I live in. Over the course of my career, I handled over 100 different bridge replacements.
This particular bridge replacement was over a drinking water reservoir, on an S-bend in the road. The water company had created a park around the reservoir, so there was a biking/ riding trail nearby, and people could fish in the reservoir. But the bridge was far too narrow to accommodate either the trail or people fishing, so we designed a wider structure with room for the trail and two ‘overlooks’ where people could stand and fish without getting in the way of traffic. The roadway was widened and a new trail was built on the approaches to connect with the existing trail. It was a really nice project and turned out great, if I do say so myself. Everyone in the area was really pleased with it.
Now, when you build any sort of public project – be it a bridge or a road or a trail – you need to do an environmental impact statement, to research what the impact of the project would be, investigate the history of the area and coordinate with multiple agencies. The research turned up some interesting Native American artifacts, but they were well outside the perimeter of the project. And since the bridge was over a reservoir, we already had lots of documentation from the time that was build (in the 1950s, before environmental studies were required, but the water company did a good job documenting everything anyway).
So the job gets built and the surrounding community is really happy with how much wider and safer the bridge is (we couldn’t straighten out that S-bend, but added guide rail and reflective markers); it was even covered by a couple of local papers. The good publicity was nice – you don’t get that too often at the DoT.
And that was that. I moved on to other projects, the files on the bridge were closed out, everything was done: every ‘i’ dotted, every ‘t’ was crossed.
Then, about eighteen months after construction was finished, I was contacted by a man who claimed that the bridge project had ‘desecrated’ his family graveyard, and we had to tear it all down, restore the graveyard and pay the family for this unforgivable insult. How DARE we disturb the graves of his ancestors!
Seriously, WHAT? The construction took a year, it has been completed for eighteen months and was advertised for four months before construction started. It took this guy THREE YEARS to notice that the project affected his family’s private graveyard? Why didn’t we know they were a family graveyard there in the first place?
We contacted the water company that owned the land – they didn’t know that there was a private, family graveyard on their land – and they owned the entire area where the project was built and more besides. We contacted all of the agencies that cleared the environmental document – they didn’t know anything about a private family graveyard anywhere in the area. There were no records of this graveyard – not even church records that this graveyard ever existed. No one, literally NO ONE, knew about this graveyard – except this family.
So we invite this guy and his family in to discuss the matter. Where was the graveyard, we ask. ‘Right next to the road,’ he says. ‘How far from the road?’ ‘It was right next to the road,’ he repeats. Was it five feet from the road? Ten feet from the road? ‘It was right next to the road!’
It was touching the pavement? ‘Yes,’ he says. ‘You finally get it.’ That put it within the existing right-of-way, of course.
How many bodies were buried there? He didn’t know – at least seven. He said that there were two markers.
Ah! Progress! We actually did find a marker – sort of. It was in the weeds, and tilted, and dirty, and the inscription said it was to commemorate a family reunion of seven generations who had all lived on that land. No names (other than the family name) were listed and no birth or death dates were on it. We had cleaned and polished the marker and set it on a new base as part of the project. It was an odd marker but it was NOT a gravestone.
That was one of the markers, the family said – and we moved it. And where was the other marker? We told them that we only found the one marker – and repeated that it said nothing about graves, just about this big family reunion. Well, they said, it was moved and they wanted it moved back – oh, and the road and trail had to be torn up and relocated, too. And they wanted fencing and…
Why didn’t the water company that owned the reservoir know that there was a private family graveyard there? Eventually, they admitted that 1) the family had sold the fencing around the graveyard during the Depression because they needed the money. 2) With the fencing gone, they figured that they could just farm the little extra bit of land because they needed the money. And 3) they didn’t tell the water company because they were afraid that the graveyard would reduce the price the company was willing to pay when the reservoir went in – and they needed the money. Besides the land was farmed out anyway.
But it was still the State’s responsibility to restore the graveyard now, and to move the road and the trail – and to pay compensation for defiling ‘their sacred ground’.
Further research showed that the property that the family-owned may have been near ‘a’ road, but it wasn’t near the road that the bridge was built on, and that the former farm that they owned was completely under the water of the reservoir, and had been for 40+ years.
The family didn’t care. They KNEW that their family graveyard was right next to the old roadway, and right beneath the newly constructed trail – and that they were owed lots of money for the stress and heartache they felt when they discovered that their family graveyard had been defiled. The same sacred ground that the family had grown crops on for years, and not visited in such a long time that they didn’t even notice that a year-old construction project had taken place. Never mind that any bodies would have been less than dust at this point – the last burial (according to the family) was in the 1920s.
The environmental unit decided to humor the family and do some more research, but they didn’t find anything. Literally nothing – no evidence, not even a hint that this graveyard had ever existed outside of the family’s imagination (admittedly, it probably had a some point – just not where they thought). It dragged on so long that I guess the family gave up on their demands. The road was certainly NOT moved, nor was the trail. The marker stayed where it had been placed, which was only a few yards from where it had been found.
But for months after the complaint first surfaced, my coworkers would ask me, ‘Defiled any more graves recently?’
That still isn’t funny.”
“You’re Either Mentally Challenged Or Lying About Your Name…”
“A client repeatedly sent me emails over a week, and I hadn’t responded to any of them. This went up to the Chief Operations Officer, and I was sitting in a termination meeting when our system administrator discovered the reason.
‘She’s been sending them to Phillip, and since that’s not his email name, they’ve all ended up in the system’s dead letter folder.’ I couldn’t tell if the Chief Operations Officer wanted to kill me just because, or the system administrator for not having the foresight to alias my name to alternate spellings. He dismissed me with a, ‘We’ll deal with the client from here on.’
An hour later, I was back in the Chief Operations Officer’s office, and once again, my manager and someone from human resources was there. The Chief Operations Officer said, ‘Sorry to say, she’s levied another complaint against you. She claims that either you’re mentally challenged or lying about your name.’
‘As you can see from this email,’ he continued, handing me a copy of the email, ‘She makes clear that ‘No one’s parents would spell their name, Philip.’ Therefore, either you’re mentally slow, or you’re lying.’ She went on to say that it likely was the latter and that I used this nasty scheme to get out of work.
She concluded her email with, ‘Have you not noticed that he never gets any email, and so never has to work?’ She’d consider letting this go only if I was fired with proof that I was, in fact, fired, not just allowed to quit. She also expected the company to blackball me from the industry.
The Chief Operations Officer looked at me and asked, ‘What in God’s name did you ever do to this woman?’
I looked back and said that unless we met in a prior lifetime, nothing. She was a new client, we’d never met, and I wasn’t the one who did her setup. We’d never spoken on the phone, and her name rang no bells.
‘Okay,’ he said, ‘We’re not firing you, but stay far, far away from her.’”
Flying Saucers, Huh?
“About a dozen years ago, I had a boss that was trying to get me to quit. (Never was sure why. I think he thought I could tell he had lied to get the job, and wanted rid of me. What he didn’t know was that we ALL knew he had lied to get the job.)
He’d call me into private meetings to berate me for job performance issues. Happened about every three months or so.
The first time, it was a complaint from someone in our home office. But I hadn’t been involved in the issue; it was another member of my crew that handled it. After the verbal beating, I went around to the complainant to make sure that things were all good now and to ask if they’d complained about me. They said, yeah, they complained, but not about me, about the other guy because he’d taken too long. My boss just decided I should be blamed for it.
The second time was, he said, from one of our out-of-state stores. I had handled that one, I remembered it, but I didn’t remember any problems. After the beating, I called the store. No, no complaints. He was happy with the way I’d fixed their issue. I asked him to call my boss and say so. Last I heard of that one. Boss had just made the problem up.
The third time was the winner. Boss came to my desk, said he wanted to talk to me. I’d been down this road before, and asked if I needed notes of any calls for this talk. He said no, which wasn’t quite a lie, as we’ll see.
We go into a meeting room, he says he’s had another complaint about me. I said, ‘Well, I’ll get it straightened out as quickly as I can. What was the complaint?’
‘I don’t remember.’
‘Oh. OK, who complained? I can call them and see what the problem is.’
‘I don’t remember.’
‘That’s going to make it hard to fix.’
There was no problem. He just got off on berating me.
I talked to HR about it, because I had witnesses, and their answer was so helpful. ‘Yeah, we heard about this, but we don’t want to make any waves, because he is after all a manager.’
The real issue was that the company was in the process of being sold and that’s why they didn’t want any waves.
I should have quit, but I got stubborn and decided he wasn’t going to push me out. And he didn’t.
The company being sold to its arch-rival did.
The same job, Help Desk lead for a national self-storage chain, now long gone.
I fielded a call from one of our stores in Virginia. Nothing wrong with her computers, which was a switch, but there was something I could help her with.
I asked what it was.
She wanted to know if I could keep the flying saucers away that kept landing in the back area of her store.
Yeah. And she was serious.
I asked if they were there now. She said no, but they keep coming back. I told her the next time they show up, to give me a call and I’d come out there and talk to them. See if we could come to an agreement of some kind.
She was perfectly fine with that answer.
Now, I doubt that the company was really going to pay for me to fly from Seattle to Virginia to solve this particular issue, but if she called back again, I’d sure make the effort.
Her store was just down the street from CIA HQ, and I’ve long suspected they were messing with her water supply.”
At Least She Apologized
“I am an automotive technician and had a client come into my shop asking for their A/C to be repaired. I diagnosed and fixed the issue. The A/C was then blowing cold as it should. I let the vehicle run with a thermometer and saw the vents were outputting around 40°F which on the 90°F day was great. That’s full blast cold with the recirculation function selected.
The client picks up their car and comes back about 10 minutes later. They said the A/C was too cold. My boss asks me about the job, I told him what I did and he tells the customer it was ok. The customer then gets mad and says ”It should never be that cold!’ ‘Well, ma’am my technician fixed your A/C system and got the system into top operating condition. Did you try to adjust the temperature setting to your comfort level?’ My boss asked.
‘I shouldn’t have to do that!’ She replied. Clearly, she was having a bad day or something. 99% of people who get their A/C fixed are just thankful to not be sweating bullets anymore but not this lady. Finally, my boss told her there was nothing we could do, that she would have to adjust her HVAC temperature and find a setting that worked for her. She stormed off and called corporate. Corporate calls us, we tell them what’s going on and they told the lady there wasn’t anything wrong. They also told her if she continued to try and harass the shop (us) then she would be barred from receiving any further repair work.
Two weeks later we got a letter in the mail from the customer apologizing for her behavior and stating she would continue to do business with us and was thankful for our work and honesty. We never did see her again though.”
The Chick With The Volvo
“I used to work at an oil change franchise, and we had some incredibly stupid people pull in. My favorite was The Chick With the Volvo.
So, it was a slow day. We didn’t have anything going on, and this woman pulls up in a fairly nice Volvo. She pulls up to a bay, we ask her what she wants, and she says an oil change. We get her info, take down the mileage (50,467, I will never forget that number), and pull her car into the bay while my manager talks up the extra services. She gets over the pit, I pop the hood and open the oil cap.
Black, billowing smoke comes out.
I call down to my pit guy, ask him to pop the oil pan. He starts coughing.
Black, billowing smoke comes up from the pit.
I get my boss and tell him we’ve got a problem. He comes out, sees the smoke, and says, ‘Don’t touch a STINKIN’ THING.’ He walks back into the office, and I follow out of curiosity. He looks at the customer and says, ‘Ma’am, there seems to be a very serious issue with your car. You might want to get hold of whoever did your last oil change and get their info for a warranty claim. Who did your last oil change?’
This lady looks him square in the eye and says, ‘Nobody. This is my first scheduled oil change.’
We both stare at her in shock. She’d gone over FIFTY THOUSAND miles without an oil change. My boss stares at her some more while slowly trying to explain that cars are supposed to be serviced every 3k-5k miles. This lady starts screaming at him; who the heck does he think he is, he’s not a mechanic (he’s ASE certified powertrain and electrical), he ruined the car, it even says so in the owner’s manual that it’s every 50k!
So, we ask her to get the manual. She does, looking all smug, like, ‘Now I’ve got these idiots,’ written all over her face. She whips it open, looks for the maintenance schedule, and finds the part we’re all waiting for. She’s not letting us look at it yet, and we can tell reality hit her because her face falls a bit. Then, she has the nerve to tell us that we’re wrong anyway.
My boss looks at her and says, ‘Lady, here’s what I’m gonna do. I’m gonna pop the cap back on, and leave the FACTORY FILTER on your car. We’re going to top off your washer fluid, and we’re not going to charge you anything. Then, you can go down to the Volvo dealership and tell them what you did to their $55k paperweight, have a nice day, get out of my shop.’
The kicker is, we got a call from the dealership a couple of days later, and the service writer is laughing his butt off. Says this really whiney lady came in and complained that our shop had ruined her car. They took one look at it, figured out what happened, and said they were going to have to charge her for a crate engine. SHE COMPLAINED TO THE SERVICE MANAGER that they weren’t going to cover it under warranty!”