Tales Of Consumers Making Outrageous Requests

Quickly, I’m going through some final rounds of edits on an article I’m writing for Reader’s Digest and they want some tales (by the end of today!) of consumers making unreasonable and crazy requests (We need to round out a little counterbalance to the otherwise ass-kicking stories and tips about getting great customer service). Can you think of any? Either stories from our site or news stories you’ve seen or stories from your life.. So far we’ve got the judge who sued the Korean dry-cleaner for $54 million for losing his pants, the bride who sued a florist for $400,000 for using the wrong shade of flower, and a traveler who was kicked off a plane for refusing to remove her meter-long stuffed crocodile from the emergency exit aisle. Can you think of any others? Since we usually focus on good consumers and bad companies, it’s a little hard for me to come up with good examples! Leave your thoughts in the comments.

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  1. SarcasticDwarf says:

    *puts some popcorn in the microwave and sits back to enjoy the carnage*

  2. seraphicstar says:

    check out customers_suck on livejournal… so many sucky customers…

  3. dweebster says:

    I wanted to leave a “Best” Buy without submitting to a command requiring I put my property on the floor and dig a receipt out of my wallet in front of a group of strangers – that’s pretty unreasonable, huh? ;)

  4. MikeB says:

    Check out CustomersSuck . com Some good tales there and some bitching and whining too. My personal favorite is Vinegar Boy (Under Sucky Customers / Classics) 2nd page.

  5. Scott Steg says:

    How about when someone who made $14,000 a year starts to complain that he can no longer afford his $720,000 home?

    [hollisterfreelance.com]

  6. girly says:

    What about celebrities who close down stores so they can browse ‘in peace?’

  7. Ben Popken says:

    Customerssuck is great but there’s so much, I’ll look up vinegar boy but post direct links if you can.

  8. noquarter says:

    Although the lady had a good reason for doing it, I think this qualifies.

  9. girly says:

    Maybe there are so few examples because customers are usually not the crazy ones…

  10. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    @dweebster: don’t start that again.

  11. Parting says:

    A 50 year women screaming at employee in gift card shop, because the employee refused to accept a student rebate card, which gives 15% off. (By the way, on rebate card, it’s written that a piece of student id is required to get the rebate).

    The women completed by saying to the student employee : “You’ll work for minimum wage all your life!”.

    The kick : rebate card wasn’t even activated (like a gift card, if you steal it, you get nothing:)

    Women stormed out of the store. Bad customer ot lousy criminal ?

  12. savvy999 says:

    Off the top of my head:

    Woman who got kicked off of SWA flight for not wearing undergarments, then cried all the way to the Today Show [www.nbc4.com]

    Woman who sues BestBuy for $54MM over lost laptop [www.informationweek.com]

  13. Parting says:

    @girly: If they spend enough money, then it’s ok. It’s like gift shops who arrange ”wedding days”, where families shop for someones wedding. Shop is closed to all customers, but these with an invitation. Still, the owner turns a very good profit.

  14. MikeB says:

    @Ben Popken:
    Vinegar boy can be found here [www.customerssuck.com]

  15. Ben Popken says:

    @mbouchard: Here’s the direct link for “Vinegar Boy.” Whoa, that is one crazy lady!

    [www.customerssuck.com]

  16. B says:

    What about the “Southwest was mean to us because we were too pretty” girls. Does that count as an unreasonable request?

  17. Greeper says:

    Talk to anyone at a restaurant. Frequent topic on washington post’s food chat is how ridiculous diners are and how they want to be comped for every minor thing. Last night I watched a lady go ballistic because her salad dressing wasn’t on the side. THey brought her a new one and she went apeshit when the bill came because they charged her for it.

  18. nuch says:

    A woman having not one, but two managers called to complain about me because I made her a cappuccino that wasn’t to her satisfaction and (while I did offer to replace it with what she wanted at no cost) refused to acknowledge that cappuccinos were supposed to contain regular drip coffee in addition to espresso. She kept shouting about how it was “ridiculous”, and when the managers backed me up, asked for the 800-number to further the complaint. She verbally harassed me in front of a line of customers for about fifteen minutes, and eventually had to be asked to leave the store.

  19. nuch says:

    Oh! Or the guy who would follow customers around Borders and touch himself, but claimed that since it was through his clothes we couldn’t ask him to stop.

  20. Jim says:

    Don’t forget the Home Depot “make up my own receipt with filth on it to get on the Consumerist and impress everyone” guy.

    Oops

  21. nuch says:

    There was also a woman once who brought her dogs up to the second floor (where both the cafe and the pets section are idiotically located), and I was designated to let her know that the health department required no pets being allowed on the same floor as where food was being served. She didn’t respond, just stared at me far longer than was comfortable while I stood there awkwardly. When I repeated the request to take her pets to another floor, she verrrry slooooooowly put her book back; her dog tried to sniff me, and she yanked him back. She then verrrrry slooooowly walked to the elevator, so she could go downstairs and complain about the “rude cafe worker” who “asked [her] to leave for no reason”.

  22. nuch says:

    This wasn’t an isolated incident, but a customer at Borders once asked me to help her find a book. When pressed for details she said that it was “green”, and “about this big”.

    We also frequently had people come in looking for something that was published in the NYT book review, sometimes as far back as a year prior to the current date; they would become extremely agitated when we couldn’t determine what the book was based solely on that criteria. Those were the same people who would ask to speak to a manager and complain about the untrained (one guy actually said “stupid”) staff who couldn’t provide a detailed synopsis of every book he had chosen.

  23. SkokieGuy says:

    The two women who complained they were treated poorly by flight attendants, because they were good looking (on Consumerist).

    Retail Renting (as described on this site) certainly deserves a mention, it’s an entire mindset of entitlement that most will find outrageous

    The classic is of course the spilled McDonalds hot coffee incident of years back.

    Soup Nazi?

    Can’t wait to read the article Ben!

  24. B says:

    @Ben Popken: In case you’re wondering, I’m betting the kid drank the Malt Vineger because he thought that it was like Malt Liquor.

  25. ? graffiksguru says:

    Only one I can think of right now is the lady who sued best buy for losing her laptop for $50 mil or something around there.

  26. mac-phisto says:

    uhh, ben…


    + Watch video

    editor of popular consumer watchdog blog asked to write about naggy consumers? careful now.

  27. toddvm says:

    I am sure that everyone’s aware that an article “well crafted” by the Reader’s Digest editor’s could do a lot of damage to all the progress we’ve made in consumer rights. So my comment is to be choosy and make the story submission’s about truly absurd consumers and not the ones who are so frustrated that they exploded without knowing there are people (like us) with well polished practices that get better results.

  28. valarmorghulis says:

    While working customer service for Earthlink (before they laid us all off and out-sourced), I remember a call from a customer that was demanding we refund him over $500.00 in long distance fees. I explained to him that since we were not the telephone company, and did not make those charges, we could not ‘refund’ them. Furthermore, he had stated that the number had been guranteed as local by the previous rep he had spoken to, and his propriatary ELNK browser had verified it was local. Interestingly enough we had a police of telling people that since we are NOT a telco, we can’t say for sure that a given number will be a local call or not and it should be verified with the actual telco. He said that he was not warned of this. The notes on his account differed. I asked if he used the ELNK email address associated with his account. He said he did. I then told him that the previous rep’s notes stated that he was told about this potential issue, and that they also show an automated entry stating that the rep had sent his ELNK mailbox a message reiterating this policy and what procedures he should take. He said he never recieved it. I then informed him that ELNK’s propritary browser forced you to acknowledge an identical message as the email when adding a new number (even the first time). Unfazed by this “BS” he demanded a supervisor. Eventually he was escalated all the way to a director who offered to split the difference with him as a credit on his ELNK account.

    The kicker; he called back two days later to close the account, and it all started over again when he was told we swould not be “cutting him a check” for the credit.

  29. Parting says:

    When I worked as customer service for a local land-line provider, a guy called screaming saying that the bill was way too much to pay, and that usually he paid a lot less. After 5 minutes trying to figure out who the customer was, it turned out he was calling about his ELECTRIC heating bill.

    When I politely told his that he is calling a phone company, not his electricity provider, the guy continued to scream that I should transfer him to them. Urhg, I don’t even know the phone number of this company.

    Then the weirdo hand up, and I’m wondering, the phone t o call customer service is on the electricity bill, how can you make a mistake and call a totally different company?

  30. Three Word Chant says:

    [consumerist.com]

    The bank robber dressed as a tree certainly falls in the bad consumer category.

    More appropriately..the guy who tried to buy a plasma TV for $4.88 – [consumerist.com]

  31. SoCalGNX says:

    Some of us actually have completed degrees in midlife so how do you know the 50 yr old wasn’t a student?
    @chouchou:

  32. bonzombiekitty says:

    @SkokieGuy: not to open a can of worms, but the McDonalds thing isn’t nearly as ridiculous as people make it out to be.

  33. QuantumRiff says:

    Those damn consumers that demand that they get what they actually paid for, and get treated well? The nerve….

  34. CPC24 says:

    I used to work in retail, and we had some great stories. One jerk tried to return a non-returnable item, then got mad and hit the manager with it. Luckily, it wasn’t heavy. He flipped her the bird and told her to “F*** Off” several times.

    One guy tried to return an item that was 18 MONTHS old, with no receipt and no extended warranty. When the manager told him to go, he threw it down and left.

    Also, there were several people who would curse and yell at me if a price rung up 50 cents higher than the sticker. One even called me an M.F.

  35. TheHoff says:

    I just got through all 7 pages of vinegar boy. Awesome.

    Sorry Ben. got nothing for you, just wanted to chime in on th vinegar boy.

  36. The Porkchop Express says:

    @girly: no, no…you see crazy customers everyday and you don’t know it. Having worked with the general public for nigh 15 years, and I can tell you we are all crazy at some point.

  37. girly says:

    I recall a story about a sales clerk at Macy’s (then Hudson’s) that got a bit of a beating for rolling her eyes at a customer. But I don’t think the customer made an unreasonable request, they just had a crazy reaction to the clerk’s unprofessional behavior.

  38. girly says:

    @Lo-Pan: I believe it.

  39. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @bonzombiekitty: Since Ben himself has had that argument with someone I doubt that one will get submitted by Consumerist.

  40. trishasaur says:

    When I worked for GameStop, many years ago. A woman wanted to return her opened XBOX for cash back.

    I explained to her that we could only replace it with the same item, unless it was defective and no more were in stock, at which point we would issue a store credit.

    She then preceded to remove the XBOX from it’s box and smash it onto the tile floor. She was very pleased with herself when she proclaimed, “It’s defective now!”

  41. kelmeister says:

    @danisaikou:

    I used to work for a small, independent bookstore (now defunct). On Christmas, an elderly woman came in looking for a gift, and after following her around the store for a half hour, she finally decided on a coffee table book-sized atlas, one of those from National Geographic that’s got a lot of photos. On the cover was a big gold sticker proclaiming “NOW MORE COLOR” or “NOW INCLUDES ALBANIA” or something. She was very insistent that because it was a gift, the sticker had to be removed. But, we pointed out to her, it’d been put there by the publisher, it didn’t have a price or anything on it; but no, she wanted it gone. My manager spent a good 45 minutes trying to get it off, using Goo Gone, lighter fluid…you name it, he tried it, but by golly, he got it off. He pushed it across the service counter to the lady, and the woman immediately demanded a discount off the book because “we ruined the cover.”

    Or the woman who, on a Sunday night before we closed, bought a $70 atlas because it was the only thing we had in the store that had two pages of information about some obscure African nation her son was doing a report on. And yes, the report was due Monday. And yes, she returned the book Monday night.

  42. girly says:

    @girly: oh and BTW, I would be too afraid to work with the general public. The potential for violence is too scary.

  43. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot says:

    You might want to check out the “Not Always Right” blog – it has some doozies! [notalwaysright.com]

  44. FLConsumer says:

    How about expecting a pleasant, competent shopping experience at Mal-Wart, Circuit Shitty, or Worst Buy?

  45. Toof_75_75 says:

    @mac-phisto:
    lol @ that video…not a bad point!

  46. scoosdad says:

    I was reminded of this one in the Comcastmustdie thread here this afternoon:

    [comcastmustdie.blogspot.com]

    The story of Gina Coleman, a woman who battled Comcast for a long long time to get money refunded to her, and just when Comcast finally capitulated and agreed to give her the refund, Gina ups the ante and demands free cable from them as a condition of accepting her own money back.

    My head is still spinning over that one, and it provoked a great deal of emotional followups from two camps:

    A) Gina was crazy for screwing her own refund;

    or

    A) The people in Group A who say Gina was crazy are card-carrying communist Comcast flunkies!

    (I participated in Group A as a good Consumerist, and was heartily accused of being a Comcast shill, thank you.)

  47. Milstar says:

    years ago while filling in as a cashier I had one lady go crazy because I placed two 64 oz cartons of juice in a single plastic bag (our bags hold 15lbs easily – this is only 8lbs)

    So I took out the one container and then placed each in a seperate bag with some other stuff.

    Nope still not happy- long story short the solution to her satisfaction was 1 64oz juice container per 2 plastic bags inside of each other. For a 40.00 dollar order maybe 20 items tops I used almost 20 bags – yeah almost 1 bag per item.

  48. Toof_75_75 says:

    @kelmeister:

    Too bad she didn’t just hit up the internet for that African info…

  49. The Porkchop Express says:

    What about that lady that opened the pickles (i think) and then pretended to slip and fall in the grocery store? I think I read that one on here.

  50. I worked at a video game store a long time ago, and one day a woman barged in because her kid didn’t like the games she had bought him for Christmas the week before and he traded them in. She accused us of “ripping off” the kid because the trade-in value wasn’t as much as she’d paid and demanded that we give back whatever he had traded in. Of course, when we couldn’t find the original games (somebody had probably already bought them), the mom called the police. I laughed, but the store manager freaked out and gave her some money, after which she smugly called the police station back and told them they didn’t need to come anymore.

    I also had a friend once who worked at a bakery in a grocery store and someone tried to get a refund for a cake they’d already eaten. Of course, the manager caved there too.

  51. zimakitty says:

    Back when I was a manager at Macy’s, I had two guys “shopping” for a present for the girlfriend of one of the guys. When I asked him if he knew her size, he told me that she was about my size – looking at my chest – and then that he didn’t know, but that she was a “handful.”

  52. Amelia Subverxin says:

    A couple personal experiences from working in retail…

    I had a customer open a bottle of shower gel and squeeze while sniffing to get an idea of the fragrance. She squeezed too hard and got gel all over her fingers. Then she wiped her hands off on my clean white shirt!

    A woman was purchasing some candles and while I was waiting for her credit card authorization to go through, I started wrapping the candles in newsprint. She said, “Excuse me, I’m in a really big hurry here. Could you please quit wasting my time and ring me up so I can go?” Fine. I had enough time for another employee to come over and finish wrapping the candles while I was still waiting for her credit card to go through.

    And the kicker… During Thanksgiving weekend 2003, I had a man who ignored the three people waiting in line for the next register and went straight to a register where a total stranger was already being rung up. I told him numerous times that there was a line and he ignored me until another customer in line yelled at him. When he did finally get in line with his daughter, another woman at the registers told our cashier that the man grabbed one of her coupons in all the commotion. I saw that he had a mailing list coupon in his hand with a mailing label on it. He refused to give me his name, while the other woman correctly gave me the name and address on the label, so I gave the coupon back to her. The guy left my station at that point and went to another register bank at the other end of the store, where my manager happened to be working.

  53. IphtashuFitz says:

    Wow, I never heard of the whole “vinegar boy” thing before. What entertaining reading!

  54. The Porkchop Express says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: That does happen way too much also. I know we are supposed to be right, but I think the stores should still have the right and the balls to sometimes say no to stupid requests and people that are trying to rip off the store.

    God I guess I hate both sides of the consumer/company thing.

  55. TangDrinker says:

    behindthecounter.com has a ton of them, too.

    I think everyone should have to work either retail or food service, preferably on the weekend, for a month or so, so they will understand what is reasonable or not.

    When I worked as a manager at Waldenbooks I often had parents come in with their kids and sit on the floor and copy information from the books for their papers (this was in 1995 – before most people had online access). I normally didn’t say anything – it was a pretty dead store. I did draw the line when the parent would ask to use our copy machine (we didn’t have one) or get outraged when I wouldn’t let them “borrow” it to make a copy from the mall copier. Waldenbooks is not a library.

  56. mir777 says:

    Try bitterwaitress.com – specifically, here:

    [www.bitterwaitress.com]

    There’s not too many to scan through.

  57. sh3n3rd says:

    I used to work at Microsoft. There was a real, actual letter (I saw it myself) that was an “invoice” sent to Bill Gates by a woman who said her husband never had sex with her because he was always on his “broken Microsoft computer”. I’m not sure how she quantified the dollar amount for this and came up with her “per incident” and “aggregate” amounts….(lol) But the bill was like $36,000 for a year’s worth of unhad nookie. And it was Bill Gates’ fault. No seriously. It was. ;)

  58. I had a customer follow me around the Gamestop I worked at and berate me because we had only one Playstation 2 left the week before Christmas, and he didn’t want it because the plastic seal was half torn.

    I told him it was the only one, and that if I could make PS2s appear I wouldn’t work in retail, but he followed me around the store yelling at me for about twenty minutes after I told him he was free to buy or not buy the only remaining PS2 in the store. I agreed that the seal being halfway torn was suspect and offered to let him open it the rest of the way to verify that the contents were, in fact, brand new and unopened but he declined.

  59. picardia says:

    Do you remember the woman a couple of years ago who called 911 because Wendy’s or Burger King had gotten her burger order wrong?

  60. TangDrinker says:

    @Milstar: It could be that she had heath/medical issues carrying items. My MIL has severe arthritis and has to carry most items one at a time, each in their own bag. She lives in Florida, though, so I’m sure they’re used to that.

  61. The archive for Behind the Counter is still up – a hilarious blog of a Wal-Mart employee.

    Among the goodies…

    “I want to return this.” This lady slaps a toilet plunger up on the counter. OK, that’s not a problem. It looked clean. (that was my first mistake) I get her receipt and grab the plunger to look for the tag. “Oh, here’s the tag,” she says as she pulls it out of her purse. “I tried it out in the commode and it wouldn’t work.” She neglected to inform me of this only after I touched the thing by the business end. (that was my second mistake) I realized that this plunger had been in some nasty toilet bowl surrounded by god knows what and now she wants to RETURN it?”
    [www.behindthecounter.com]

  62. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @Lo-Pan: [consumerist.com]
    Yes you did.

    I also like: Woman Embezzled $2.89 Million To Finance Shopping Addiction
    [consumerist.com]

    and LoJack Foils Customer’s Car Theft Scam
    [consumerist.com]

    I think the last is especially good since it shows not only a customer in the wrong but proves LoJack can catch criminals.

  63. SVreader says:

    When I worked at a chain petstore, we were sometimes out of certain types of dog food because of the ordering system (which we low-level employees had zero control over). One guy flipped out when his preferred dog food wasn’t available, and instead of say, complaining to the manager, yelled that I should fly to the company’s headquarters and take his complaint personally to the execs.

  64. sh3n3rd says:

    I totally agree with the person who said everyone should stand behind a counter sometime. It’s like the counter makes you a sub-standard being, and not worthy of respect. And as a barista I had to wear (gasp) an APRON..which only made it worse.

    I had a lady want a hot tea; then it wasn’t hot enough; then it was too hot; then it didn’t taste right so she wanted a different kind; then AFTER she paid for it, and knowing it costs extra for steamed milk…wanted some milk for her tea.

    Yeah, but she wanted 3/4 whole milk and 1/4 skim milk since we did NOT carry 2% milk (the HORROR!)

    Since we were not allowed to re-steam milk, I had to dump out a whole pitcher of milk. She literally put a TEASPOON in her damn tea.

    I thought she was finally happy…until she came up 10 minutes later and asked me to warm up her tea, and give her some more STEAMED MILK!! (another pitcher wasted)

    And right after that, a guy stuck his hand in his mocha cup and flung his whipped cream at the other barista bc he doesn’t like whipped cream.

    WTF is wrong with people?

  65. warf0x0r says:

    I used to work in a Casino and one night the TITO, Ticket In Ticket Out system, went down. TITO allows “Guests” to use a paper ticket to retrieve their winnings from a machine or a cashier rather than collecting coins. When the system went down it required that a slot attendant verify the pay and do a hand pay for the winnings. Hand pays take substantially longer to pay out and are typically reserved for large dollar amounts depending on the denomination of the wager.

    So people were waiting for hours to get small amounts of money and they were obviously upset. (At this point I would like to note that the casino sent vouchers to everyone playing that night for straight cash, Between 10 and 30 dollars, if you used your club card that evening.)

    I was a cashier and that evening I had to tell everyone who came to me with a TITO ticket that they would have to go back to their machine and turn on the service light to get payed because the system couldn’t verify their tickets. I understood that people were upset as I would be.

    Then a woman appears in front of me demanding, and I quote:

    “I demand you pay me 75 dollars because where I work they pay me 25 dollars a hour and I’ve been waiting 3 hours to cash this ticket.”

    The ticket was for $5.05 on a nickel slot.

    I explained that I could not give her any money because of the status with the system. To which she said something on the lines of that isn’t acceptable. I decided that since she was rather curt and seemed to feel that she should be granted her work wage because of this inconvience I would call a VIP person to come and deal with her. I called them VIP’s but basically their the people that issue comps and what not. Perhaps she could get a comp room or what not. When the VIP showed up she was still demanding $75 dollars. I saw them walking away and the VIP just had this look on her face that made me feel so sorry for her, the VIP that is.

    *As a consumerist reader I do have to admire this woman for trying to be reimbursed for an inconvenience. But of all places a Casino?!? I’m willing to bet she didn’t get anything aside from a $10 comp.*

  66. @Lo-Pan: Yeah, there’s enough unreasonableness (is that a word?) on both sides.

    I do have to say, what I loved the most was when people whose unreasonable requests I denied would loudly proclaim “I’m shopping at Best Buy from now on!” as if Best Buy would ever let you return a game for a refund without the damn box.

  67. brennie says:

    more amusing than outrageous, but I worked in a Florida theme park for many years. Summer temps in the 90’s and brutal humidity. guests routinely demanded that we ‘do something’ about the heat…..

  68. revmatty says:

    Back in the early 90’s when I was assistant manager for a Wherehouse store I had a truly horrendous customer. This was in the middle of Christmas rush, I believe it was about a week before Christmas on a weekend but I could be wrong. This lady was trying to buy several hundred dollars worth of product and her check was declined by whatever check verification system we were using. She demanded that I call the service, which I did, and then demanded that I ORDER them to approve her check.

    Then it went downhill. The verification service person talked to her and told her they couldn’t approve her, then told me they couldn’t approve her and she lost it. She screamed at me to call another of our stores where she was a regular customer. I tried to explain that that was irrelevant but she insisted. Like an idiot I tried to mollify her rather than tell her to get the hell out of my store. I called the other store and the manager said “Do not take any checks from her under any circumstance. And call the police.”

    Which fortunately another employee had already done. Then she demanded my name, and my district manager’s name and number because she was going to have me fired (highly likely considering how much the DM hated me). After a 15 minute profanity lady session of her yelling at me (and other customers who asked her to watch her mouth) she picked up a counter display and threw it at me as she marched out of the store minutes before the police arrived.

    Merry Christmas to all, and all that.

  69. qitaana says:

    @SoCalGNX: I got my BS at 33, and will probably be 37 or 38 when I finish my PhD. I do ask for a student discount when it’s offered, and occasionally get an odd look, but actually having a student ID solves that problem promptly. I’m guessing the lady in that tale wasn’t willing/able to show a student ID to satisfy the requirement of the discount.

  70. qitaana says:

    and oh, I read all 7 pages of Vinegar Boy. It’s hilarious. Go go gadget gas-station-worker!

  71. revmatty says:

    @revmatty: I will note that the DM not only backed me up but advised her to never enter another Wherehouse store as long as she lived as she wasn’t welcome.

  72. brent_w says:

    The Goose lawsuit lady?

    [consumerist.com]

  73. @qitaana: My student ID doesn’t have any dates on it, and it’s for a large well known school.

    I guard it with my life.

  74. powerjhb says:

    Saw this on waiterrant.net:

    A customer got upset that two waiters would not let him dine-n-dash, so he fired two shots at them.

    He also has some more run-of-the-mill waiter stories as well.

  75. Darkwish says:

    Here’s the link to the customerssuck.com comic strip:

    [www.customerssuck.com]

    Great reading there.

    Here’s a good example from eBay that I see all the time:

    Seller is suspended for repeatedly listing illegal copies of movies/games/watches/handbags/etc. and then demands that we credit all fees (happens automatically when they are removed), demands reinstatement of their account (not going to happen without following proper procedure which includes faxing lots of legal documents), demands reinstatement of the listings of illegal items (not going to happen period), then demands discounts/no fees for future listings and if we don’t do all of that, they’re going to a lawyer and sue eBay (good luck with that).

    I get at least one of those a day.

  76. The Porkchop Express says:

    @brennie: Totally forgot about those people or the “it never rains at disney” crowd

  77. pendroid3000 says:

    I used to work for a shoe store (That shall remain anonymous). We had a costumer come in, returning a pair of $150 Asic tennis shoes, very worn in, DEMANDING we give him a full refund because they made his feet stink. The kicker was he was a rather large fellow who, excuse me, but STANK. He remained at my register, arguing for a good 20 minutes with my manager, eventually getting his refund after threatening to call Corporate.

    To my knowledge, it is the person who causes the shoe to stink, not the other way around. *sigh*

  78. SoCalGNX says:

    By mid life, I meant 40s and 50s. the 30s is still quite youthful of an age.@qitaana:

  79. Zyada says:

    My husband works for an upscale grocery store. Just before Christmas, a woman ordered a large catered meal for a party she was giving. The day after the party she reported that the meal had made her guests ill and demanded her money back.

    This wouldn’t be quite so bad, except that she has done this at least three years in a row now. You’d think after the second time, her guests would know not to eat at her house!

  80. Milstar says:

    @TangDrinker: I would agree and be accomodating to that but she was only in her 40’s at most and had her husband with her- should have included that part

    Either way there are so many cases of how a cashier should bag someones groceries, but god forbid they do it themselves.

  81. kimdog says:

    I used to be a manager for Pier 1 imports. A woman had ordered two upholstered chairs, and was there to pick them up. These chairs had a polystyrene frame, and were very light-weight. We brought the boxes out to her pick-up truck, and offered her some twine to tie them down. In fact, my asst manager offered to help her tie them down. She was very ho-hum about the matter, and then told us not to worry, she had some rope that she would use.

    An hour later, she’s back at the store. One of the boxes flew out of her truck on the interstate, and she didn’t notice until another motorist honked until they got her attention. She claimed she turned around and drove the same stretch of highway, but couldn’t find it. She demanded a (free) replacement because we didn’t tell her that the boxes might fly out of the back of her truck. I was gobsmacked.

    Thankfully the corporate office backed me up after I told her that we had no responsibility for merchandise after it left the store. And I reminded her that we had offered to help her tie them down. I gave her a 20% discount on a floor model she could take with her that day. She wasn’t happy, but she finally shut up.

  82. 17-A says:

    My friend is a waiter at Olive Garden, and one night a lecherous guy came into his restaurant and suggestively asked the hostess to “make sure I get a real pretty waitress.” She was obviously uncomfortable complying with this request, so my friend solved the problem by proclaiming, “I’m pretty! Give him to me!”

    He then went out of his way to act as flamingly homosexual as possible every time he had to wait on said lecherous customer.

    “Any dessert tonight? ;)”
    “JUST THE CHECK.”

  83. brent_w says:

    Oh … don’t forget about god:
    [consumerist.com]

  84. redhelix says:

    I remember when I worked for Geek Squad, we had who dropped off a desktop that was abso-freaking-lutely loaded with viruses and spyware. I called his house recommended our adv. diagnostic & repair service (about $199) and antivirus over the phone, and he said he’d think about it.

    The next day he comes barging in, about 87 different kinds of pissed off that the service was so expensive. He claimed we made up the existence of viruses and spyware to pry money out of our customers. Literally, screaming.
    My boss, who was and is the awesomest boss ever, took about 5 minutes of this before telling him that he loaded his machine up with this crap from looking at so much porn – in front of his wife. All you’d have to do is type “www.” in a browser and you’d see a mountain of obscene URLs come up.

    Owned.

  85. noquarter says:

    How about that lady who took a hammer to her local Comcast office? ([consumerist.com]).

    I think it was a pretty reasonable response to Comcast, but Reader’s Digest people might not.

  86. Narockstar says:

    What about the Kmart riot from last year? That was my favorite.

  87. lowlight69 says:

    not much of a story but when i was working at a bike shop for extra money a guy tried to pay with a check, when i asked for ID he got upset, said he had written checks her all the time without a problem. i said there was no problem i just needed to see his ID. he then tells me he doesn’t have his ID with him. (I saw him drive up to the store) then i looked at the checks and they had a woman’s name on them, and they were not joint (as in two names on the check) i said i would not accept the check. he got pissed, but i just stood my ground, he walked out empty handed. i still think they were stolen checks.

  88. theblackdog says:

    Woman tried suing a store for being attacked by a goose
    [consumerist.com]

    Hell Ben, didn’t you try using the Bad Consumer tag?

  89. theblackdog says:

    Had a woman complain to my restaurant owners that she had eaten a bad tuna sandwich from there and demanded her money back. It fell apart because the owner had eaten a tuna sandwich from the same batch and did not get sick…later she revealed to someone she had tried to scam us.

  90. forgottenpassword says:

    the customer is ALWAYS RIGHT!

    lol

  91. Gari N. Corp says:

    How about the Florida home-owners who just decide to stop paying the mortgage on $2 million houses?

    [bigpicture.typepad.com]

  92. SVreader says:

    @exaggeration17a: Haha! That’s awesome.

  93. StevieD says:

    Hmmmm.

    Customer: I have never bought anything from your business, but I am willing if you are nice to me. My brother is driving through your town tonight. He will be passing through between 11PM and Midnight. Do you think one of your employees will want to make an extra $5 and meet my brother so I don’t have to pay freight on the XYZ.

    Customer: I am moving to Peru next week. Do you have a XYZ in stock, built to Peruvian electrical specs?

    Customer: Hey, I wanna get the XYZ. I know the catalog says it is 9′ long and weighs 3100 lbs, but do you think it will fit in my Camry?

    Customer: My babysitter is sick and I have nowhere to put my kids. Can your Office Manager watch my kids for an hour or so while I have visit my boyfriend?

    Customer: Your catalog from 1979 says the xyz is $2100. Can you price match that price?

    Customer: My car broke down, do you mind if I park the car in your freight driveway until a week from Friday when I get paid and then I can afford to repair the car?

    Customer: I bought these xyz’s from your competitor about 3 years ago. The competitor says the warranty is only 90 days. Will you take them back and give me a cash refund?

    Pick a story, any story. They are all true.

  94. B says:

    @theblackdog: The goose lady is good, but a lot of the “bad consumer” tags are crooks, not people making outrageous demands.

  95. csdiego says:

    A friend of mine worked in booking for a large downtown theater. He got a call from a woman who wanted “a handicapped seat. You know, the ones in the front of the balcony.” He explained that the theater’s section for patrons with handicaps was at the back of the main level for easiest access from the elevator. She said, “You’re discriminating against me as a handicapped person! I need to sit in the front of the balcony!” He told her that the seats in the front of the balcony were reserved for patrons with subscriptions. She said, “I don’t need a prescription!” He offered to put her in touch with the subscription department, but she declined, saying she was going to report the theater to the authorities. Somehow they never heard back from her.

  96. Darkwish says:

    @Zyada: She probably had to replace her dinner guests each year.

  97. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @exaggeration17a: That is awesome.

    What about that guy that blogged about his Christmas shopping where he wanted them to honor out of date sales and wanted a discount on an item being sold to raise money for charity because they were out of the one he wanted (that was on sale)?

  98. forgottenpassword says:

    I once complained about a chillidog that I ordered specifically with chilli on the side. When it came it had chilli slopped all over it. I was a bit pissed & returned it & asked for my money back because I was going to be late for work if I had waited for them to get it right. They were a bit rude about it all but gave me my money back.

    DO you think I was in the wrong?

    Note: I routinely ask for chilli on the side because they ALWAYS ….ALWAYS put wayyyyyy to much chilli on their chillidogs (you have to literally eat it with a fork because it is so much). I prefer to get it on the side so I can put it on myself…. i dont like a lot of chilli on my chillidogs.

  99. Darkwish says:

    @exaggeration17a: That’s great! That sounds like something I might have done!

  100. StevieD says:

    @forgottenpassword:

    No, you are reasonable. Sonic has cups and lids for such requests. Besides, I do the same thing. For the same reasons AND I take my dogs back to work to eat at my desk and the travel time makes the buns soggy.

  101. MercuryPDX says:
  102. aduzik says:

    @danisaikou: A cappuccino doesn’t contain regular drip coffee. It’s one third espresso, one third steamed milk and one third foam. That’s it. No drip coffee, no sugar. I’d have made you make me a new drink, too, if you tried putting drip coffee in it. But I wouldn’t have called a manager.

  103. mk says:

    @danisaikou: every bookseller has a tale of customers who want the orange book or something similar.

  104. forgottenpassword says:

    @StevieD:

    LOL! How the heck did you know it was sonic I was talking about? LOL!

    Yep, I always request it in those small white cups w/lid when i get a chillidog at sonic.

  105. littlemoose says:

    I worked retail for many years during high school and college. One time, on a busy Saturday, a customer cursed me out in front of a long line of people over 84 cents. Cents. I wanted to give her a dollar to make her go away.

    Another woman once tried to return a pair of boys’ jeans, obviously two years old based on the tag inside, because her son had worn a hole in them.

    and, @chouchou: I once had a customer tell me that I should “go back to school.” It might have offended me more had I not been a college student on holiday break, but still, what a rude thing to say.

  106. mon0zuki says:

    “Woman who got kicked off of SWA flight for not wearing undergarments, then cried all the way to the Today Show [www.nbc4.com]” (Savvy999)

    Actually, she was wearing undergarments. She was perfectly within her rights to be wearing what she was wearing – the flight attendant simply decided that, because she was not dressed in a turtleneck floor-length dress that she was “inappropriately dressed.” She doesn’t look at all under-dressed in the photo on the site.

    It isn’t unreasonable for her to cry either: I can say from experience it’s EXTREMELY humiliating to be confronted publicly about something that you are, supposedly, doing wrong.

  107. Frank Grimes says:

    I used to manage a retail store for Bose. This didn’t occur in my store but in the Short Hills, NJ location. A customer purchased a Lifestyle system (worth about $1500). He brought it home and it worked flawlessly. The problem was that he had one random classical disk, an import, in his collection that contained 72 minutes of music. For some reason, we think because the way the disk was configured, the system couldn’t play the last track. The guy brought the head unit in and sure enough, it couldn’t play the last track. Tried the disk on a few others and the problem persisted; it was the disk, NOT the system. Bose was apologetic but what you can do, we called our tech support, spoke with the product manager, and lead designer for the system trying to find a solution for this guy’s ONE track of music. We finally realized that we couldn’t do it and offered the guy a refund or a FREE upgrade to a better system because of the inconvenience. He refused and returned the system and proceeded to write a multi page screed to Amar G Bose, the then chairman of the Company (and founder), about our terrible service and awful products. He demanded that we address this problem that was affecting ONE track of music on ONE cd that he owned. The guy was a grade A asshat but we caved and sent him a new system for FREE (the one he returned) because he was so “dissatisfied” with his experience. To this day my friend that was managing the store seethes when he recounts the story because we did everything we could to satisfy the guy, yet he rejected every attempt.

  108. mon0zuki says:

    @savvy999:

    “Woman who got kicked off of SWA flight for not wearing undergarments, then cried all the way to the Today Show [www.nbc4.com]“

    Actually, she was wearing undergarments. She was perfectly within her rights to be wearing what she was wearing – the flight attendant simply decided that, because she was not dressed in a turtleneck floor-length dress that she was “inappropriately dressed.” She doesn’t look at all under-dressed in the photo on the site.

    It isn’t unreasonable for her to cry either: I can say from experience it’s EXTREMELY humiliating to be confronted publicly about something that you are, supposedly, doing wrong.

  109. skippywasserman says:

    @mbouchard: You, kind internet person, are all kinds of flavors and colors of awesome for being so very helpful. Either you or the weed Missus W’s been growing on the back 40. Maybe both.

  110. KogeLiz says:

    @danisaikou: i dont think that’s what they’re looking for.

  111. KogeLiz says:
  112. yuppie_magnolia says:

    I worked at a Mellow Mushroom in a small Southern town. For those not familiar with this pizza franchise, the logo is a dancing mushroom, the decorations are psychedelic murals and neon beer signs, and the slogan is “Baked on the Stone.” ‘nuf said, right? We had a particularly nutty customer, an older mother with two young children, who came into the restaurant, ordered and paid at the counter, sat down and ate dinner. Then, the woman asks to see my manager. She told my manager she wanted him to re-decorate the restaurant because it promoted illegal, immoral activity, it bothered her and was not something she wanted her kids around. He politely thanked her for her input and she left.

    She returned in a few days, with kids in tow, and when she didn’t see any changes she asked again for the manager. She wanted to know why he hadn’t done what she asked. Didn’t he want her business? Couldn’t he re-decorate an area “for the kids”? He thanked her again and declined. She got very upset, throwing around a lot of cussin’ in front of those precious kiddies, and stormed out.

    She came back two more times, with the kids, to berate my manager for not wanting her business badly enough to repaint the restaurant for her. She even upped the ante on the last visit, asking if we would kindly stop serving beer while we were re-decorating. Um, no. Oddly, we were always packed, the weekends were mostly families, and we never had any other serious complaints.

  113. forgottenpassword says:

    the goose-woman was right. Businesses have a responsibility to make sure there are no safety hazards to customers on their property (this includes the parking lot). They KNEW about the nesting goose, but decided to do nothing about it. Goose then attacks customer visiting the business….. result…. business is at fault.

    Same goes for businesses with horribly pot-holed parking lots. If a customer hurts themself in one… business is at fault. And I have seen some really badly pot-holed parking lots!

  114. tomok97 says:

    I used to work at a large chain grocery store in a neighborhood with a large Jewish population. Every Christmas Eve we would close at 5:30pm. And every year, at least one customer would accuse of being anti-Semitic for closing on Christmas.

  115. thedragonlady says:

    Customers behaving badly … really? How much time you got?

    My all time can’t stand, get the **** out of my store:

    Family runs an independent hardware store. At least once a week, some idiot comes in to return something purchased at a big box competitor. They then get angry when we won’t take it back. They assume we sell the same “made in china” crap as the other places.

    They absolutely refuse to understand that we are not going to return their money or give them credit on something we didn’t sell them in the first place! We’ve had to threaten cops and removal by force for some of the more abusive of the bunch.

    Natural selection isn’t working fast enough …

  116. D.B. Cooper-Nichol says:

    @forgottenpassword: False. No business has to coat the world with rubber to avoid any possible injury, to anyone, under any circumstances.

  117. SomeoneGNU says:

    @danisaikou:

    While I feel for your abuse, cappuccino isn’t supposed to have drip coffee AND espresso?

  118. forgottenpassword says:

    @D.B. Cooper-Nichol:

    so… removing an animal (from a business’s parking lot)that may attack a customer is “rubber-coating the world”? True, a goose isnt the exact same as a rabid dog, but they still attack people… especially one guarding a nest. Bottom line… it is the business’s property & they have a responsibility to keep it safe from a known hazard.

  119. BugMeNot2 says:

    While in a New Balance getting some new running shoes, there was a customer in front of me that was trying to return some shoes without receipt. Not only did they looked heavly used (the guy claimed he never used them) but when the clerk checked about model it hadn’t been in production for 4 years. The guy started to get all pissed off. In the end he got like a 10 dollar gift card to get him out of the store

  120. dweebster says:

    @Greeper: I got a little huffy years ago at a Denny’s that served me a salad with several shards of glass (that I found while biting into it). The waitress was kind enough to offer to replace it with one that did not have glass (uh, I’ve lost my appetite for salad, lady…). When the bill came and she actually charged me for the salad ala glass that cut into my tooth and tongue, the manager was able to find the intelligence to at least take THAT off my bill (still charged me for a sandwich). The situation was so insanely weird and I was late from my lunch break so I just paid and got out. But everytime Denny’s Restaurants gets firebombed or busted for refusing to feed people of certain colors I feel a little smile of karma is shining on them.

  121. mzhartz says:

    I used to work in customer service for a Print On Demand publisher. I wish I could remember all the stories.

    One guy had an ebook only and was disappointed when his royalty statement didn’t have any sales. He went on to say that he knew he had sold copies of his ebook because all the angels had bought a copy. When we refused to pay him royalties for books he didn’t sell, he said he was going to send a lethal gas cloud to our location to kill us all.

    One of my coworkers had an author that was frustrated because she kept making edits, and after a certain point, additional edits were an extra charge that she didn’t want to pay. She later went on to proclaim that my coworker was not real, that she was a figment of her imagination and a Disney character.

  122. dweebster says:

    @SkokieGuy: Oh, not the bleeding heart McDonald’s defense again.

    Read the ACTUAL FACTS about what McDonald’s knowingly did despite over 700 formal *reports* of people burned by their coffee because they kept it far above the proper temperature:
    [www.lectlaw.com]

    Some anti-consumer group even has the balls to put BILLBOARDS up in my city referring to the McDonald’s coffee incident as some sort of evidence of “lawyers gone mad” and we need to sign up for laws that kill off our rights of redress against companies that do this shit. Frankly, if McDonalds pulled the shit on someone close to me that they pulled on this lady they’d have much more to worry about than a fucking lawsuit.

    “The judge called
    McDonalds’ conduct reckless, callous and willful.” ’nuff said…

  123. Parting says:

    @SoCalGNX:
    It was obvious she stole the discount card in the first place (it wasn’t activated, like a gift card in a store, no money on it = never activated). And to get the discount, you have to present a valid student id with the discount card. (I have a friend who’s in her 60s and she’s doing a Masters in Philosophy for fun, she has her student id with her, she’s proud to present it to get the discount.)

    The worse part, when the woman got that no one will give her a discount (sales girl was very polite to her, suggested to return to whenever she bought discount card and get it activated, since mistakes do happen); women started to get personal and screamed that the girl would work minimum wage all her life.@qitaana:

  124. JustAGuy2 says:

    @aduzik:

    That’s what he said. The CUSTOMER was insisting that the cappuccino should include drip coffee.

  125. Parting says:

    @dweebster: Well the amount she claimed, that was mad and disproportional to the damage.

    It’s like the girl who’s suing Best Buy for 50 mil for a lost laptop, 10000$ would be more than enough to cover loss of laptop and time and moral damages.

  126. modenastradale says:

    @Greeper: There’s no call to go “apeshit,” but if you request dressing on the side and your order doesn’t come out that way, you obviously shouldn’t have to pay for both salads.

  127. DrGirlfriend says:

    My husband witnessed a good one about 3 years back, at Radio Shack. An elderly woman wanted to return a (landline) phone which she had obviously used — it even had some sand in the nooks and crannies. This was in South Florida, and she was a snowbird (someone who only spends the winter in FL, then goes back home the rest of the year). When she was advised of the 30 day return policy, which clearly didn’t apply on phone that was bought at least 2 years prior, she said, “But I live in New York and only come here for the winter. I’ve used it less than 30 days total”.

  128. chrisburp says:

    I worked at the return desk of a store whose name rhymes with “Ostco”. We would normally bend over backwards for customers, but there were some people I just said no to, especially the ridiculous ones.

    A guy returns a big package of ground beef, and tells me that he bought it a week or so ago, and now it smells funny. I look at the date on the label….and it’s almost four years old! (Obviously cleaning out his freezer)

    Another time a woman in a fur coat walks in and brings me a small plate with a small sliver of cake that’s wrapped in cellophane and even has a plastic fork with it. She tells me she didn’t like the flavor…Obviously she got this at a party and tried to get a refund for one of our giant sheet cakes! (I don’t even think she even bought it—just a party guest)

    One more– a guy comes tries to return a Braun shaver— I think at the time it was around $175.00.
    He tells me he didn’t like the quality of the shave he got.
    I notice it’s a little light… I shake it and all I hear are tinkling noises.. I look inside–all there is, is like three broken slivers of plastic. The guy then tells me he was so upset of the crappy shave he got he slammed the shaver down on the floor and then his dog ate it. And he still insisted on getting a full refund!

    The first two examples–Ostco policy would be to return it anyway… I just said no. The third, the guy argued up to the warehouse manager who told him to take a hike (politely)

  129. Parting says:

    @chrisburp: Well they are not customers unless they’ve bough it :) And breaking an item in a ft of rage, well that’s your problem.

    Sometimes I wish we could refer this type of customers to a psychiatrist, and get a commission for the therapy ;)

  130. Sam2k says:

    How about the guy or gal who asked amazon for a free laptop or something during their christmas special sale and got that awesome response from the CSR.

  131. Sam2k says:

    Here it is.

    [consumerist.com]

  132. msp123 says:

    minor point, but worth noting, that in most cases the parking lot of a business is not property of said business, but the city/county. there is some gray area as to how much you are responsible for your parking lot but as far as potholes and other safety concerns, they are responsible for documenting and reporting the problem. at my business we cant do anything about, for example, a fender-bender…

  133. booleyhitt says:

    Not to plug another site, but I agree that checking out customerssuck.com is a great place to start. I’ve been a member there for over 10 years, and some of the stories there are absolutely jaw dropping.

  134. Hamm Beerger says:

    @msp123: The city/county owns the parking lot? I don’t think so. The individual businesses may not own the lot (hell, they don’t even own their own building, they have a lease) but it ain’t public property.

  135. dweebster says:

    @A.W.E.S.O.M.-O: Yup, “Best” Buy would require the box, but apparently wouldn’t bat an eye if it were filled with beans…

  136. consumerd says:

    @Ben Popken:

    I agree! Holy crap!

    What did she think vinegar was going to tastes like? Ever have an Italian salad with Italian dressing?

    My thought was she wants and apology for what?!?!?!?!?

    I would say another good example was the sprint canceling some contracts and letting customers go. Like the one where where she wanted a check on the 5 grand in credits she had.

  137. jplanet says:

    If no one has mentioned this site yet, check it out! [notalwaysright.com]

    The stories are great!

  138. bertram says:

    I worked at a Radioshack as a temp for the Christmas shopping season. I remember when a customer came in to one of my co-workers and was trying to exchange a home phone that she claimed that people had a hard time hearing her on the other end. Seemed like a run of the mill defect, he took a look at the receipt and it was dated back 8 months (I think the return and exchange policies only went as far as 90 days for anything). To make sure that the phone was as bad as claimed my co-worker tried the phone on the store phone, worked no problem. She then went off on a rant on how she had to drive 20 miles to get to the store and that she didn’t have the time to make it down to the store within the 90 day return period. The assistant manager got in on the debate claiming that the phone worked fine and that there was still no way she could exchange for a different phone. She then demanded that she speak with the store manager (which was off at that time). She demanded that the AM call the SM and that she speak to him promptly, the AM then replied that my SM would not be willing to speak to her off the clock and to call the store the next day. She then went off on a rant that the AM should drive up to her house and prove her wrong, about the phone. The AM then claimed that it was not his problem and she should take this up with the phone company. The debate went on for 20+ minutes until she tired out, and agreed to call the store the next day. We all got a little chuckle out of that.

    In the end the SM gave it to her straight and she never came back to exchange her phone again. Some people…sigh

  139. msp123 says:

    um, yes, actually. granted, laws differ and i certainly dont know every single state ot city’s laws, but i guess i was talking more specifically about a shopping center where several businesses share the lot. for example, i work at a large chain store and our parking is shared with several other stores in the complex, so if a customer is harmed or whatever, is it our fault or the fault of the grocery store next door? or the hallmark next door to them? which store should the customer enter to complain to the manager? the store that has the biggest budget for restitution?

  140. dweebster says:

    @chrisburp: In my eyes, Costco has been extremely generous with their return policy. I’m not a big fan of the Big Boxes, but something about them paying employees a living wage, stocking some pretty good stuff and having a very customer-friendly return policy makes it worthy of receiving a hefty portion of my shopping dollars. The employees there even seem to have good attitudes for the most part – even bathed in florescent light all day and night!

  141. IJReilly says:

    How about all the stories that are on this site?? You can call it “uneducated whiny bastards that want unreasonable service they are unwilling to pay for”

  142. IJReilly says:

    apparently realism isn’t welcome

  143. stagefrog2 says:

    I used to work tech support for a major university. We once had a mother call in to say that her daughter would commit suicide if her internet were not fixed immediately. (She didn’t.)

  144. enine says:

    I worked at a grocery store through college and was told this story by another cashier when she was on break right after it happened.
    Customer puts a bag of dog food on the belt and hands her food stamps to pay for it and she had to explain that dog food is one of the items the law does not allow food stamp purchases. So he went back out of her line and back into the grocery section. Later he returned to her line with two large steaks and paid for them with food stamps and told her “now my dog will eat better than you”

  145. barty says:

    “Customer” (I use the term loosely) comes into store with a 3 year old computer and decides he doesn’t want it anymore. Feels that just because he put it on the store credit card, he is entitled to a FULL refund. Pitches a fit when manager tells him that its well beyond the refund period.

    In another case, customer comes in with a 2+ year old tape deck (hey, we’re talking about ~1998) and demands a refund or replacement because it allegedly stopped working. I offer to send it to our repair center free of charge (usually about a 1 week turnaround depending on what day of the week it was) after informing her that I can’t just give her a refund after all this time. Still not good enough. “Customer” threatens to camp out in front of store to make a scene about alleged “poor customer service”. I never hear or see from this lady again, I suspect she probably figured out what a butthead she was being and started acting like an adult again. She was evidently looking to pick a fight the second she walked into the door.

  146. humphrmi says:

    I have good one.

    A coworker of mine (who shall remain nameless) used to work at an ISP as their sysadmin and general tech support. This ISP provided newsgroup access. Every once in a while, they would re-sync their newsgroups, and some would fall off their server, either because they had questionable content and the upstream host deleted the group, or lack of activity, or just plain glitches.

    Usenet is infamous for hosting porn, some every day normal porn and some of it, shall we say, less normal.

    So this guy gets a call from a customer. The customer can’t access a newsgroup he frequents. The guy gives my coworker his name, account name, phone number and the name of the group. Which happens to host pictures of little boys.

    My co-worker is incredulous – he asks the guy, “You do know, that I now know who you are? And that you want access to newsgroups that host illegal content?” The guy didn’t care, he just wanted to know when his newsgroup would be back on the ISP’s servers.

  147. facework says:

    A movie projector broke 3/4 of the way through a showing of Titanic. The audience was informed that the equipment could not be fixed right away, but we would all receive a coupon for a free movie and could wait for the next showing. Everyone was asked to exit to the lobby for the voucher.

    One woman was so incensed at missing the end of the movie that she started shrieking at a hapless employee in the middle of the lobby. She cursed, swore, called the movie theater employees 360 degrees of stupid. Then she hurled her popcorn on the floor. After that she hurled her drink on the floor. She pitched a handful of candy and hot dog wrappers into the drink puddle. Then she demanded a refund for her concessions.

  148. This story might be too long for Reader’s Digest, but feel free to excerpt. Back when I worked for a camera store/photo lab in Arizona:

    A woman come in with a several dozen rolls of film, wanting double prints. Our manager (who was an incredibly sweet lady, totally not the evil/clueless manager-type we’re all used to hearing about here) tells the woman that if she spends $10 bucks for the preferred customer card, she’ll get the double prints free and save about $50. The woman says she’ll buy the card, drops off the film, and then adds that she used to manage a photo lab, had just moved to Arizona, and might be looking for work.

    A few hours later, woman comes back for her pictures, looks at them, and demands our photo tech reprint dozens of them because the colors are wrong. Of course, we’re a “the customer is always right” kind of place, but this lady went so far as to write directions like “+2 red, -1 blue” on each print she rejected, because she “didn’t have time” to actually talk to the tech about what she wanted. Our tech follows the directions, but the woman insists the tech didn’t, so the tech (a conflict-adverse 18-year old girl that the entire shop treats like a fragile little sister) explains that the woman can’t assume all machines are calibrated identically (especially since the customer used to work with Kodak machines and our shop used Fuji), but the customer won’t listen. The tech reprints a bunch of photos again, finally getting something close enough that Crazy Customer stops complaining.

    (While waiting for the reprints, Crazy Customer explains to another of my co-workers that she actually moved to Arizona because she left her husband for a co-worker at the lab she worked at — all the photos we’re developing are from the cross-country drive after the two of them fled their hometown. She also asks if we’re hiring.)

    Then Crazy Customer claims nobody told her the frequent customer card cost $10, she’s not going to pay that, but we have to give her the $50 of free prints anyway. My sweet-as-anyting manager finally draws the line here, and tells the woman that she will not get free double prints after bossing around our favorite photo tech — either pay for single prints and get single prints, or buy the stupid $10 card.

    That’s followed by 20 minutes of back and forth between my manager and the Crazy Customer about how the photo lab business works, how much photo paper and chemicals cost, profit margins on double prints, etc, etc. At the end, the woman says she needs to call somebody, borrows a cell phone from the employee she told the adultery story to, and uses the employee’s phone to call 911.

    Yes, she called the Phoenix Police Department because we wouldn’t give her free double prints. She seemed confused when 911 hung up on her. After that, my manager gave the Crazy Customer her negatives back, and told her never to come into the store again.

    After Crazy Customer left, my manager called the other photo labs in the neighborhood to warn them about her.

  149. eskimo81 says:

    I’ve got a good one for you.

    I work at a store that sells office supplies, technology and furniture. One product we used to carry was a touchpad (which you’d use instead of a mouse).

    We had a customer come into our store and ask one of our associates for one, which we were sold out of at the time. The assocaite took his name and phone number, and put one on order for him promising to call him when it came in.

    A few days later, he called back again and spoke to me, asked me to order one for him, which I did (not knowing about the first order).

    A couple days after that, he went into another one of our stores, claiming that in our store we don’t know what we’re doing and that we won’t order it for him, and he put one on order there too.

    A few days after that, we get an email from our purchaser, that our supplier has discontinued the product, and we need to call the customer.

    So, we call him and he gets irate on the phone that we can’t get this thing for him anymore. But that’s where the story gets really interesting.

    A few days later, I’m working a night shift, and a man walks in (it’s the same man, but I didn’t recognize him, as it’s been about a week and a half since I took the order from him). I approach him and ask him if he needs help, and he says he’s just looking.

    I’m watching him in the store, because he’s acting a little oddly. He’s walked around the furniture section, opening all the drawers in the desk to look inside. He’s tilted all our LCD monitors around so that he could see behind them, he’s in the mouse section moving every mouse around and he’s basically searched the entire store, like he’s looking for something he’s misplaced as if it were his home.

    I approached him again to ask him if he was sure I couldn’t help him with anything, and again he said he was fine. After a few more minutes of searching the store, he came up to the front counter, slammed his fist down and screamed “WHERE’S MY TOUCHPAD!!!”

    Immediately I remembered who he was, and he told him again that they were discontinued and we don’t have any more. He then accused me of hiding them on him, and told me that he wasn’t about to let me lie to him like that.

    At that point, I told him that I wasn’t hiding anything, but if he’d like to make a complaint, he could talk to my manager. I gave him her card, and he promised this wasn’t the last I’d hear from him and he left.

    A few days later, my manager came to me and asked me why someone called her up screaming that I was hiding a touchpad on him. Then I explained the story to her, and she told me she thought something seemed off in his story and not to worry, she’d make sure he understood that I wasn’t hiding anything on him.

  150. KogeLiz says:

    I’ve got a good one for you!

    I worked at a diner and a patron of mine asked if he could return his food because it was cold!!!!!!

  151. satoru says:

    @girly: This is pretty common in Europe. Mind you they don’t do it for just anyone. You have to be on their ‘list’ of elite customers who buys EVERYTHING new EVERY season. So they know that person will be dumping literally hundreds of thousands of dollars which is probably more than the store will make the entire day.

    If you are on the ‘super elite’ you don’t even go to the store. They come to your hotel or home and showcase all their new stuff that the store doesn’t even have, and some stuff that will never hit the retail stores. The rich have a very strong sense of brand loyalty which the luxury companies are eager to exploit.

  152. Rode2008 says:

    Some of my favorite pastimes is to raise hell with companies – even though I do not have problems with them. Many companies will react with some free offers or products just to make you “go away”. In fact, I’m writing a book titled “Bitch to Get Rich – Successful Strategies for Making Money”.

    Just today, I called Best Buy, claiming to have just bought a $4200 HDTV and their Direct TV disk and receiver package. I told them that I was installing the dish and my TV broke. When the clerk asked me what happened, I said that I had the TV up on the roof with me while installing the dish (in order to make sure that I aligned the dish properly. I claimed that the big screen TV slipped off the roof and fell 35 feet. I said that I’d be in with the bits and pieces of the TV so that I could get a replacement or get my money back.

    I told them that I was pretty angry about the whole matter and I was in no mood for any kind of “fast talk” or, worse yet, rejection of my demand. I told him that I and several of my “business associates” would be in the store in about 1 hour. I then hung up.

    I imagine that calls like that give the sales people something to talk about and worry about.

  153. othertim says:

    At least once a day in the pharmacy, we’re asked by a customer to break the law. And when we don’t, of course, we’re providing horrible customer server. Sheesh.

  154. harumph says:

    @Rode2008: soooo, you’re just kind of a jerk then? in your next life you will be an intelligent person who inexplicably cannot get any job aside from the most mind-numbing of all retail.

  155. e-gadgetjunkie says:

    My fiance works at Enterprise’s call center. His best call was around 11pm. A woman, very drunk, locked her keys in the car. Now, mind you, Enterprise will call AAA if you do this and try to have someone unlock the door. Her choice, break the rear window. Then call Enterprise, tell them SHE broke the window, want a note made about it on her file that it was damaged, because she bought the insurance and a new car. Now. At 11pm. In the middle of nowhere.

  156. I worked at Daytimer several years ago, taking inbound orders from customers. Promotion cards had been sent out offering a binder and a year of calendar pages for free, it was actually a pretty good deal… Anyway one evening a woman called and she started off our exchange by saying “I want a daytimer and I’m black.” Okey Doke… I was already speechless… by the time she got to spelling out her name for the personalized engraving “D as in Death, E as in Evil, L as in Lynch, O as in Oppressed, R as in Revolting…, I was in tears. Needless to say, I’ve never forgotten her name, but I won’t spell out the whole thing for you. I don’t know who shit on her breakfast that day, but it sure as hell wasn’t me…

  157. Another, even though I know you are past your deadline: I once delivered pizza to a young mother who had at least one child at home… when I arrived at thier door I realized i’d forgotten the sodas, I gave her the pizza and told her she could pay when I returned. When I got back, I went and knocked, and she didn’t answer the door. I could hear her son inside saying “Mommy she’s back”, and then I heard the mom shushing him. She never did answer the door. I was floored, not only had she basically stolen a pizza, she had done it in front of her son, and she had stolen it from someone who KNEW WHERE SHE LIVED! My manager called her when I returned to the store, she actually answered the phone, but then hung up when my manager said who was calling. That woman was pretty lucky I am a rational person, or I could have taken such revenge on her. Considering that I KNEW WHERE SHE LIVED!

  158. RvLeshrac says:

    @SkokieGuy:

    The coffee lawsuit myth has been debunked repeatedly.

    There were plenty of errors to go around. The primary error was that McDonalds was serving coffee at higher-than-mandated temperatures, which left them wide-open for a lawsuit, given that the health department had warned them on multiple occassions that they were holding the coffee at too high a temperature.

    People often invoke the “coffee is best served at…” mantra, but that doesn’t provide an answer for why McDonalds was violating local health and safety regulations, which is the point on which the case was won.

  159. Major-General says:

    @FLConsumer: Or Target or Mervyn’s or Kohl’s for that matter.

    @forgottenpassword: Because no one gets a knife and fork at Weinerschnitzel.

    @mon0zuki: Forgetting are we that the Today Show had too fuzz out parts of her because her clothing was too skimpy for television?

    @forgottenpassword: Perhaps there is a local restriction against interfering with local wildlife.

  160. Chase says:

    @danisaikou:

    Please tell me that wasn’t at a Las Vegas store. x_x; I frequent Borders, and if I were followed around, I’d probably toss a dictionary at the pervert.

  161. Kasey620 says:

    I’ve worked in customer service positions for over a decade, so I have all kinds of horror stories, but this one has to be one of my favorites:

    Working at a major bookseller one Saturday night at the customer service desk. A middle age, somewhat frumpy woman comes up and asks for a book by Tupac. I was somewhat taken aback that a forty-something housewife would be looking for this, but I figured it was for her kid and did a search.

    The only thing I could find was a book of urban poetry that had some poems by Mr. Shakur. I explained this, and the woman told me, no, to look again, that it was a new age book about healing or something. Now I’m really confused. I ask if she knows who Tupac is, and she says, yes, of course she does, he was on one of the morning shows that very day.

    This being 1999 or 2000, and Tupac having been dead for sometime at this point, I explain gently that possibly she’s looking for someone else.

    Well, she lost it. She called me an idiot, screamed about incompetent people and why minimum wage is too much to be paying us….you name it, she screamed it. I called my manager, and as soon as she came out, the lady started shouting her story again. She saw TUPAC (emphasis added by her) on a MORNING SHOW promoting his BOOK, but this IDIOT couldn’t use a goddamned SEARCH engine to find this VERY POPULAR BOOK, and how could I say he was DEAD when she saw him with her VERY OWN EYES.

    The manager tried to calm her down, but she was having none of it. At that point, a customer passing by who has heard her insane tirade kind of interjects that she was watching the same morning show, and that it wasn’t Tupac…it was Deepak Chopra.

    Of course, there were no apologies offered by her, just more muttering about the idiots who should have been able to figure out what she was talking about.

    Hilarious.

  162. STrRedWolf says:

    I had to add a tip to the stuffed croc story: Use a Spacebag. Stuff the toy in, squeeze it down, put it in luggage, and enjoy your flight.

  163. nuch says:

    @aduzik: I didn’t put drip coffee in it – I made a proper cappuccino. The customer was the one insisting it should have regular coffee in addition to espresso/foam/milk.

  164. KogeLiz says:

    @danisaikou: I guess you worded it incorrectly:

    “…refused to acknowledge that cappuccinos were supposed to contain regular drip coffee in addition to espresso.”

  165. KJones says:

    Define “outrageous”.

    If I order a steak well done and they serve it to me medium rare, and I eat it and then refuse to pay, that’s outrageous. But I don’t do that.

    If I order a steak well done and they serve it to me medium rare, and I don’t eat it and refuse to pay, that’s not outrageous. I have and will continue to do that.

    I’m perfectly willing to pay for what I asked for, I’m just not willing to be ripped off or served an inferior product, food or otherwise. Anyone who has a problem with that doesn’t belong on this website.

  166. KJones says:

    @dweebster: Oh, not the bleeding heart McDonald’s defense again.

    Read the ACTUAL FACTS about what McDonald’s knowingly did despite over 700 formal *reports* of people burned by their coffee because they kept it far above the proper temperature:

    [www.lectlaw.com]

    <snip>

    “The judge called McDonalds’ conduct reckless, callous and willful.” ’nuff said…

    I’m no defender of McRotten’s, but I always found the “too hot” complaints to be beyond ludicrous. Or maybe it’s just my background.

    My parents are British emigrés and they still make tea the same way: boiling water poured onto the teabags, then start drinking it within five minutes of making it. Hell, I still make and drink it that way, hot enough to scald you. My old lady still makes coffee with a percolator as well (effectively, boiled water).

    The idea that McRotten’s coffee is “too hot” sounds more like carelessness of the customer than misconduct by McRotten’s.

  167. girly says:

    @satoru: So I guess the point is that the only truly ‘outrageous’ customer request is when a customer asks for something the store has decided they didn’t or couldn’t pay enough for.

  168. noquarter says:

    @KogeLiz: No, it was worded correctly:

    “I made her a cappuccino that wasn’t to her satisfaction and … refused to acknowledge that cappuccinos were supposed to contain regular drip coffee in addition to espresso.

    The subject is “I”.

  169. noquarter says:

    Ignore this comment – Just trying to fix the ongoing italics issue

  170. noquarter says:

    @noquarter: Damn.

    Something seems to have stripped out my tags.

  171. unklegwar says:

    Do we get a cut of your check from RD for helping?

  172. Parting says:

    @Rode2008: A real troll. Imagine that an employee would get a heart attack, because of the stress sustained by you idiotic jokes…

    I hope someone will get back at you, because you’re harassing PEOPLE. Each employee is a HUMAN, that deserves respect.

    The day something really bad happens to you, you’ll know why.

  173. Ben Popken says:

    Thomas writes:

    “About 2 months ago my mother my wife and I were in the drive-thru line of a McDonald’s restaurant. The woman in front of us in line, we could hear here, asked for 30 sugars with her coffee (She only ordered one coffee). The cashier clearly confused, gave her two extra sugars and said that was all they could give her. The customer then proceeded to become hostile and curse at the young girl working the window while her children were in the car. My mother was appalled and we apologized to the poor young girl when it was our turn. I hate to think about the lessons this woman was teaching her children about how to treat people in the service and food industries.”

  174. Ben Popken says:

    Jen writes:

    “I worked at Restoration Hardware, the signature color that’s everywhere is “Silver Sage.” A customer bought paint and towels for her renovated bathroom. She returned the towels due to ‘spotting’ (likely due to use of a cosmetic product that contained alpha-hydroxy). We exchanged the entire set of towels, explained the washing/care instructions, etc. She returned a week later, same issue. We again replaced the towels, suggesting that perhaps she consider white (the color won’t leach out if she continued to use the alpha-hydroxy product). She said no, the bathroom was already painted and she wanted things to match.

    It happened again, and this time she suggested that we pay to have her bathroom repainted in addition to replacing the towels. She also tried to insinuate that we should have been responsible for a traffic ticket she received while making an illegal turn to get to our store.

    Unbelieveable.”

  175. Ben Popken says:

    Christian writes:

    “In the mid 80’s I was a manager at a upper end resort in Maui,Hawaii. One afternoon I was called to the front desk to deal with an irate customer who was checking out. My staff did not give me any other information except this customer demanded to see me and was pissed. When I got there I found a mid- twenties lady crying. Between sobs, where it was two sobs then one word I got a story of we had ruined her whole vacation. That she had saved up three years for this once in a lifetime vacation and we had ruined it. That this was her and her husbands honeymoon trip three years since they were married and that this not only was their late honeymoon but the first vacation they had ever taken.

    Now I am concerned that somehow we had ruined her vacation So I ask what did we do? She was still crying and said that since we had ruined her vacation that we should give her a full refund for her entire stay. Again I ask what did we do,please tell me.
    She went on again about how she had saved for this for years and how we needed to make up for us ruining it.

    Now at this point I have been with her for a good fifteen minutes and have yet to hear what we did wrong. I look over at my front desk staff to get a clue. They have all migrated to the back office area and have left me alone. One more time I ask ‘what have we done?’

    She looks at me with tear puffed eyes and tells me that her vacation was ruined as it rained all week. ‘you knew it was going to rain and let us come to Hawaii anyhow. We want our money back because of this.’

    At this point I excused myself and went to the back office where I found my staff doubled over in silent laughter. She had asked them first and when they realized that this lady was serious sent for me. I had the power to control the weather and just failed to realize it. I told my crew in a hushed tone as she was right the other side of the desk to please call me God from now on.

    I calmly went out and explained to the lady that we at the Sands had as much control over the weather as she had. That even thought I could sympathize with her, this didn’t fall under a reasonable refund request. I did offer her vouchers for a few free nights on her next trip.

    Though I have been asked for refunds under many different reasons this has always taken the cake..”

  176. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Trying to fix the italics: close

    Closed?

  177. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    CLOSE!

  178. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    @Rode2008: Why should they worry about someone claiming to have busted their own TV because they put it on the roof?

  179. mzs says:

    PS3 dust boy

  180. noquarter says:

    @Ben Popken: Are we voting? Because I vote for Christian’s story. Demanding compensation for nature can’t be beat.

    Regarding the continued italics here, do you know what’s going on? One of the help pages said we should be able to close someone else’s open tags, but my attempts to do so seem to be getting removed when I click “Submit.”

    How do I include non-matched tags that don’t get stripped by the Consumerist bots? KJones seems to have done it, but I can’t duplicate it.

  181. KJones says:

    @noquarter:

    Actually, my own quotes are a mess while others look fine. The messing up of tags may have something to do with being logged in under your own name.

  182. noquarter says:

    @KJones: If you use Firefox, all the comments after yours are italicized. Using IE, it reports bad HTML. There’s an unclosed tag in your message, and Firefox and IE are handling it differently.

    One more try:
    Close1


    Close2

    Close3
    Close4

    Closed?

  183. girly says:

    I do see where it went wrong for firefox

    right before Kjones says “I’m no defender of McRotten’s, but I always found the “too hot” complaints to be beyond ludicrous. Or maybe it’s just my background.”

    there’s an ital tag that wasn’t closed –doesn’t have the “>” after the ‘i’ (it was a tag to start italics) before the next tag starts

  184. girly says:

    there was a slash i bracketed later…but I guess firefox didn’t know to deal with the ital tag embedded with a paragraph tag >>>>

  185. noquarter says:

    @girly: There are a couple of broken tags in that post. What I can’t figure out is how they got there, because every time I try to post a closing one it gets removed somehow

  186. noquarter says:

    Testing.

  187. noquarter says:

    @noquarter: When I submitted using IE, it let in unbalanced tags. So I guess FF has some sort of internal check that it does. I assumed it was Consumerist’s JavaScript that did it.

  188. Stanwell says:

    One Green Friday (Toy retailers don’t have Black Friday– it’s to dark. They have Green Friday instead.) I was working as an assistant manager when a man came in with a toy gun wanting a refund because it was broken. He had no packaging or reciept. I didn’t recognize the item and brought in the other assistant manager and the store manager for a second opinion. None of us recognized the item, and it was a brand we didn’t stock. We checked the computer and the home office help desk, and came up no record of the item at all. We searched for it every way we could think of– item number, brand name, item description, and finally just scrolled through everything in the category listing, with no luck (did i mention this was the day after Thanksgiving?). We went back to the customer and told him it wasn’t a toy we carried. The customer became furious, said he was certain he bought the toy from us, paid cash, and if we didn’t give him cash back he was never going to shop with us again. When we said we couldn’t give cash back without a receipt and couldn’t even do a store credit since we couldn’t identify the item, he said we were all lying, shoved the toy at the store manager, and stormed out.

    A few hours later on my break I was goofing around in the back room, playing with the broken toy gun, and just for the heck of it I replaced the batteries….

  189. barty says:

    @KogeLiz: What’s funny about that Mellow Mushroom is that one of the original founders/owners is/was very active in Scouting. Back in my teenage years I worked at a scout camp in Georgia and the Explorer post he was assocaited with stayed a week there. One evening the staff was treated to Mellow Mushroom pizza and we all got a very unique t-shirt he had made up just for the staff. I still have that shirt till this day. So much for them not being “family friendly”.

  190. sixseeds says:

    I started at Barnes & Noble just before the holiday rush. On my third day there, I was with one customer when I was approached by another one, a thirtyish man. When I told him I could help him as soon as I finished helping the first customer, OR he could go to the Customer Service Desk and wait for the next available bookseller, he (I kid you not) stamped his foot and said “But I need help NOW!”

    You just can’t make this stuff up.

  191. floyderdc says:

    A little late chimming in here but when I worked at Comcast I had an eldery woman call and tell me that just 5 mins ago there was a number on the screen on channel 74 and she needed that number. I asked if this was a Comcast number and she said no, if was for something else and she needed the number. I told her we do not know everything that was on TV and could not get the number since it was for another company. She went off, started asking for a sorts of managers.

  192. dantsea says:

    Another site to check is [www.planetfeedback.com]

    People write & sometimes share their complaint letters, and it’s about a 50/50 split between reasonable complaints and requests and insane people who want thousands of dollars because the cashier at Wendy’s might have looked at them the wrong way.

  193. racerchk says:

    I used to work for a major phone company. I have tons of stories about stupid customers, husbands calling 900 sex line numbers and the wife finding it on the bill. The one that is the worst was the guy who called up and couldnt verify his account – he wasn’t listed on it, didn’t know the password so i told him couldnt help him. He yelled and screamed for a while and then said ‘i hope someone in your family dies!!’.
    asshole!!!

  194. lamorevincera says:

    I was waiting on a very drunk man once – who actually wasn’t even my table. His waitress had disappeared.

    His steak wasn’t “well-done enough”, and actually ended up trying to stab me in the face with a steak knife, as well as leaving bruises on my arm. Turns out his waitress was crying in the back room because he’d tried to hit her.

    When told (we’d been trying to find our manager all night), our manager apologized TO HIM, offered to comp his meal, and buy him another drink. I quit on the spot.

  195. lamorevincera says:

    I also remember working in a grocery store as a teen. I was cashiering for a very rich (looking) woman who took her bags, started to leave… and turned around.

    She looked straight at me and said “If you (ethnic group) would just not sleep around and have a million babies or get in a gang, and get an actual education, you wouldn’t end up in a pathetic job like this or draining Welfare.”

    Every other nearby customer heard that. And what’s REALLY funny is that there is no way in the world that anyone could mistake me for anything but what I am – a very pasty white girl.

  196. dantsea says:

    Oh, I guess I should contribute some stories of my own.

    Working as a dispatcher at AAA Washington/Inland: Our service area included most of the populated islands including those in the San Juans. Got a call from a member at Friday Harbor (on San Juan Island) needing a tow to Anacortes (on the mainland).

    Normally not an issue, except this came in at 11pm on a Sunday night, after the ferries had stopped running. Furthermore, the sole contractor on the island towed someone to Anacortes earlier, then had equipment problems that caused him to miss the last ferry home so the earliest anyone could come to pick up that car was going to be around 8am on Monday.

    The island-dwellers are typically sane and reasonable folks, realizing that trying to get a tow truck and broken car to the mainland at 11pm on a Sunday night is impossible without paying big bucks for a private barge (and AAA isn’t going to pay for that) and even if there was one available on such short notice, what would be the point? The mechanic isn’t open until Monday morning. At the most I expected to hear some dissatisfaction at missing the first ferry run on Monday.

    I was not prepared for the member to turn into a screaming psychotic, rotating between demands that we get someone out there “right this instant”, death threats, lawsuit threats, and sobbing accusations that we were out to “get her” (she’d been a member for 14 years and the only record I could find was for a jumpstart in downtown Seattle four years previously, so not sure how we registered on the conspiracyometer).

    I went through all the motions I could think of: Did she have a medical emergency? No. Was she in an unsafe area and need a police assist? No. Did she need a taxi to pick her up? No, she was three blocks from her house. It took me 20 minutes to get this out of her. There was otherwise no reasoning with her, no way to make her understand that there was absolutely no way she was going to get service until the morning.

    She wanted to know if she could use the option where she pays a contractor we don’t work with and then apply for reimbursement. I reminded her that even if she paid another contractor, the ferries were not running until the morning. Wrong approach, back to the litany of screaming/threatening/sobbing. 45 minutes later I told her we would see her in the morning and hung up on her.

    She called back at least a dozen more times during the night. Since there are only four reps and one dispatcher on the overnight shift, this plan didn’t work as well as expected.

    Our contractor finally got out there for the tow on Monday morning, right on schedule. On Monday night I punch in and check work email. Message from the contractor: When she stopped calling us around 4am, she decided to set her car on fire. This led to other service issues that I don’t know much about, other than she finally got escalated to the contact center director who cancelled her membership and gave her a full refund, which meant that either the member requested one or the director reached her limits with the crazy lady.

    That entire job was a font of insanity.

  197. synergy says:

    I thought I’d read about the vinegar boy thing from here. Unless someone had already posted about it in the comments. It was some crazy stuff.

  198. ampersand says:

    Too bad I didn’t see this until today!

    Here’s my story anyway:
    I worked at a call center for hotel reservations. A man called in one night to tell me that his plane had been delayed for the night and he wouldn’t be making it to his hotel. I told him that was no problem, I would cancel his reservation. He then demanded that I get him a room at a hotel in the city he was stuck in FOR FREE! I tried to explain to him that the hotel chain had nothing at all to do with the airline, had no responsibility for his plane delay, and would not be giving him a free room. I told him that the airline should probably do that. He was very upset and continued to insist that the hotel chain owed him a free room.
    Honestly, as per our policies, HE owed US. I was being NICE when I canceled his room, because he was way past his cancellation deadline. I have no idea what sort of sense of entitlement could possibly lead someone to think that their cancellation of a reservation with a hotel should earn them a free stay somewhere else.

  199. Omniboy says:

    About a decade ago I worked for Canada’s largest Photo Retailer

    It was practice that any 5 or 7day photo development orders would be sent in a daily shipment to head office to be processed by our plant, 1 and 2 days in store.

    One afternoon I arrived back from lunch to a shaken co-worker, I asked her what was wrong. She said a man came in demanding his prints but we didn’t have them yet because the Pearson International Airport was shutdown due to a strike and the courier was sending everything back via ground. When she relayed this to the customer he freaked and started swearing and yelling that we get the courier company on the phone and demand immediate delivery, and how could we dare send his pictures out of the store (it’s indicated on the contract and signage.) When she tried to apologize and comp him with free processing included film he demanded to know who took the order, it happened to be me. He then demanded to see me, when she said I wasn’t working today he freaked out and left the store yelling.

    We were a little shaken, but stuff like this happens. The next morning I got a call and was told that I was being redirected to a different store temporarily for my own safety. Apparently the customer had been waiting outside the store for the morning shift to open and told the staffer that he was waiting for me to beat the @#$$ out of me for “loosing” his prints. She told him I should be in soon then went to call the police, but in the interim he left the mall.

    Two hours later he returned to the store and demanded to see me as he was going to teach me to mess around with his pictures and beat the crap out of me, at which point a police officer (there was a community police station in the mall) came from our lab and arrested him.

    While we maintained a “just say yes” policy, offering up employees for assault was thankfully one of the few exceptions.

  200. Omniboy says:

    I also had a customer come in once and demand that we give her 50% off a set of the ugliest frames I have ever seen, which we hadn’t been able to move for over a year and were already marked down 40%. When I refused she left in a huff and returned 20 minutes later when the store was packed, picked up the frames and walked out. My co-worker and I decided just to write off the freaks of nature instead of calling mall security lest we get the hideous beasts back into inventory.