Dumbest Customer Quotes From Working Electronics Retail

Redditor glisignoli has worked for three years in gadget retail and the only way he’s been able to cling to the last remaining shreds of sanity is to write down every crazy quote from the boneheaded customers he has to deal with. Most of them involve a customer screaming something they have no idea what they’re talking about, like the guy who walked in his first week and threw a USB cable on the counter, yelling, “THIS CABLE ISN’T WIRELESS!”

What are some of the dumbest things customers said to you when you worked behind the counter? Sound off in the comments.

Customer quotes from when I worked in retail: Customer quotes from when I worked in retail: [Reddit]

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  1. vaguely says:

    “No, 10% off $20 is four dollars. You aren’t very smart are you?”

    “If the customer asks for it, then they are right and you get it for them.”
    “Not a handjob in a professional massage, sir.”
    “You guys don’t even care about your business.”

  2. cynical_reincarnation says:

    everyone that shops retail should have to work in a store for at least a month, mandatory.

    • wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

      My comment usually is, “Like the Israelis must join the military out of high school, all Americans should have to work 6 months in retail and food service.”

      I seriously believe that it would drastically change the way people treat each other.

    • enabler says:

      I completely agree with this.

    • AlxFherMana says:

      Agreed.

    • adamstew says:

      I like to say that working for a semester in retail should be a requirement to graduate high school.

    • OnePumpChump says:

      Well, pretty soon anyone who wants to work at all will be stuck working retail, so…

    • cj4 says:

      And when that’s over, they should go wait tables for six months. The world would be a much, much better place.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      Then it would devolve into hazing. I assure you some will say I put up with this crap, you can too and dish it out.

      I’ve never worked retail, and as far as I know I am always polite (even when the store’s policies are infuriating!)

    • Chaosium says:

      Anyone who says “the customer is always right” at any level of management should be forced to work the floor until they stop saying it.

    • chatnoir80 says:

      +1

  3. The Upright Man says:

    “After a staff member fixes a customers phone, customers asks: “Do you like sex?””

    I wonder if this was from the sequel to Logjammin’…

  4. Alexk says:

    I’m sorry, but the writer of the article is a clueless twit. Someone asks him, “What is a wireless mouse?” His remark is that, “I really don’t have an answer to this question.”

    Indeed? It’s a simple question, and easy to answer. If you’re not more clueless than your customers.

    And in my experience buying computers over the past three decades, quite often the salespeople are indeed much more clueless than the customers.

    • daninspokane says:

      I understood where he was coming from on that comment… It’s like a guy walking onto a car lot and saying “What’s an automobile?”

      I’ve run in to this before – people ask you something you’ve never really had to DEFINE or the definition is in the name, so you have a massive brain implosion.

      • Bunkka says:

        I think it is more like going onto a car lot and asking what a manumatic transmission is. It is a feature that is becoming more and more common, and it’s name is pretty much its definition, if you know a little about cars.

    • Azzizzi says:

      I was thinking the same thing. Some of the stories are pretty funny, but you can’t expect everyone to know everything. I context, some of the comments might not be nearly as bad/dumb as they sound.

    • Eyeheartpie says:

      When the answer to the question asked uses all of the words of the question, it’s a stupid question.

      “What’s a wireless mouse?”
      “A mouse without wires…”

      • rookie says:

        What?

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        Oh, come on…yes, it’s funny to the technologically competent, but they were most likely trying to ask how it works or how it is different, so if you deal with the public, you should be able to say “Well, instead of a wired mouse that plugs right into the computer with a cord, your mouse has a transmitter inside, and you plug this little receiver (hold up dongle) into a USB port, so you don’t have a wire to get in the way.”

    • Iron Weasel says:

      Unless you’re in a specialty shop that only deals with one industry, like computers or audio components, then chances are the employee you’re dealing with has basic knowledge about whatever it is they’re selling. This wouldn’t be bad if said employee admitted up front that he / she has no knowledge about a product when a customer asks.

      More often than not, in their quest for the sale, the employee will tell you anything and everything in an attempt to get you to buy something, no matter how accurate or inaccurate it is. This is especially true of “big box” stores (Best Buy, Wal-Mart, etc.) where you are talking to a guy in the PC section who was over in appliances 20 minutes ago. Compounding the problem is the fact that most savvy consumers will research prospective purchases before heading to the store to buy it and they know vastly more, but only about the product(s) they’re looking to purchase.

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      I have to agree with you on that one. How hard is it to tell someone that it’s a mouse that doesn’t use a wire to connect to your computer? You’ll have to explain what Bluetooth is too but just explaining what a wireless mouse is shouldn’t be that bad.

      • Extractor says:

        Love screwing around with someone when they ask about bluetooth. Guess I’ll just spray paint a nice sized molar blue so the next time someones in the Dental chair Ill tell them Ive got bluetooth enabled in the operatory.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      His remark of “I can’t answer that” wasn’t that he didn’t know the answer; it was more along the lines of “this question is so insanely stupid, I am speechless and unable to formulate any kind of reply,” presumably one other than “a wireless mouse is…a wireless mouse.”

      I would have had the same reaction. Unless the person didn’t speak English as a first language or had other difficulties (mental, perhaps), I just can’t fathom how someone could be that dense.

      • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

        “Stewardess, I speak idiot.”

      • Alexk says:

        But it’s not a stupid question. It’s a perfectly reasonable one. It’s not as if the guy asked how many pounds of RAM he can fit into a gigabyte. There’s a specific difference between a wireless mouse and a wired one — that being that the former doesn’t have a cord connecting it to your computer.

        Over the years, I’ve found that the best bargains are to be had at the big box stores — but those same stores tend to have the most inept and yet most pompous salespeople. This little article strikes me as an example thereof.

        • Difdi says:

          If the name of the item describes what it is, then asking such a question is just ever so slightly stupid.

          “What is the difference between a red car and a blue car?” for example.

          • Bladerunner says:

            Perhaps, but what if you don’t know anything whatsoever about mice except that they move the cursor?

            Such a person might wonder “What wire?” Perhaps they think there’s one inside the mouse, that some have and some don’t. Perhaps they think it’s related to the system, much like there’s a difference in types of RAM, that can only be plugged into systems that work with them. WE know that’s not the case, because WE know about mice. But if you know nothing about it, you don’t know which wire it doesn’t have.

        • ChungkingXpress says:

          …not a stupid question? i don’t see what’s reasonable about that sort of question…there is very little excuse at this point in modern American society to not know what a mouse is…Difdi’s example illustrates just how stupid the question is…you might think that the average consumer is smarter than the average salesperson…I think the fact that you’re a registered member of the consumerist has skewed your perceptions…this site might highlight the dumbest things retailers do…but consumers en masse are just as greedy, stupid and prone to ignorance as corporations…

          • Alexk says:

            There’s nothing in the question that indicates the would-be customer “doesn’t know what a mouse is.” He just didn’t know what a WIRELESS mouse is. And, yes, it’s an amateurish question, but it’s not a stupid one.

            And, no, my attitude is not formed by experience on the Consumerist, which I’ve not been on all that long. As I said earlier, it’s the result of buying computers for 30 years. When I bought my first Apple ][, the salespeople came by their snobbery honestly — and yet they were far more polite, far less snooty, than the kids today who frankly don’t know nearly as much about computers as they seem to imagine. Most are Geek Squad types at best.

    • Hi_Hello says:

      what’s the difference between wireless mouse and cordless mouse?
      I know some of these mouse don’t have a wire to plug into the computer, just a usb reciever type device but some of these mouse have a palm size reciever that has a long wire that connects to the computer. Those are annoying…

    • jebarringer says:

      I guess you’ve never spoken to many customers out to purchase a computer? Yes, you may know a bit about computers, but does the average American? Best Buy and the like makes quite a killing on “optimization services”, which the typical consumer thinks is a truly great thing to have done to a new computer. I don’t work retail, yet I’ve heard several people ask salespersons that they want a computer “that comes with everything and does everything”, and that’s all they know about the computer they want. If that’s not clueless, I don’t know what is.

    • Difdi says:

      Asking what a wireless mouse is? Kinda like asking what a sheet of paper is. Or what a pencil is. Some questions, your mind just shorts out from the massive ignorance and/or stupidity of the question, and you honestly don’t have an answer for it…

    • SkreanAme says:

      Indeed, why dost thou speaketh in such an odd and off-putting manner, thereof?

    • mdr says:

      I dunno guys. I once had a rechargeable wireless mouse. It used a USB cable to charge it and only held a charge for an hour or so. So essentially it was a corded, wireless mouse.

  5. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    notalwaysright.com

    You’ll thank me later ;)

  6. davidsco says:

    Of course, what’s missing from this is the ridiculous things I have heard Dork Squad and Easy Schmuck and other untrained inexperienced “geeks” tell customers. Just as bad

    • Derp says:

      I’m sure you hear that all the time……

    • Griking says:

      I think the key to getting along is for both employees and customers to realize and admit that at times they’re equally stupid.

    • RvLeshrac says:

      What’s *really* awesome is the collection of BS and nonsense I hear from people who are supposedly trained in a particular field.

      Having “training,” be it a degree or a cert, in no way makes you any more knowledgeable. Case in point: I would *never* choose a car mechanic based on “ASE Certification,” because the most horrible stories of being ripped off come from “ASE Certified” shops.

      The training doesn’t necessarily make them less useful, but it hardly demonstrates any knowledge.

  7. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    eh, mine were from tourism and travel but i saved the best here

    http://www.catastrophegirl.com/pages/work.htm
    i think my favorite was the [recurring] issue of needing a driver’s license to check into the hotel and not having it

    Guest: “Why would I bring my driver’s license with me? I only drove a couple of hundred miles to get here, it’s not like I’m from another country”

  8. Murph1908 says:

    One woman tried to pay for a Playstatoin 2 with a check. Declined.

    She pulled out a debit card. Declined.

    She pulled out a credit card. Declined.

    The stupid thing she said?

    “I was getting it for my boyfriend. He already has an XBox and a Gamecube that I bought for him, though, so I guess he can still play those.”

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      When I was in high school I once tried to pay at Best Buy with a check. It was 8:30 pm and my direct deposit was going to post at midnight so I KNEW I could get away with the float. Since I didn’t have any bills I wasn’t worried about spending money I didn’t have for a few more hours.

      Unfortunately I never wrote checks, and the override process to approve them apparently involved checking bank balances. I went back the next morning with my debit card.

  9. Gandalf the Grey says:

    From when I worked at a computer repair counter:

    Customer: Hi, I’m here to pick up my computer. You were going to install a virus on it for me.
    CSR: A virus Ma’am?
    Customer: Yes, you were going to put McAfee on it for me.
    CSR: Touché Ma’am. What name did you use to check in the computer?

    • Difdi says:

      I’ve often described McAfee to people as a mostly benign virus…

      • Gandalf the Grey says:

        I consider any software that won’t remove itself from your computer when asked to be viral. I have never found an installation of McAfee that will uninstall itself from your computer without erroring out and leaving massive pieces behind that require you to dig though the filesystem and registry to remove the program.

        Norton squeaks by only because they do provide a free removal tool on their website.

    • Gtmac says:

      “Touché?”

      You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

      • Gandalf the Grey says:

        People often misuse the word, but here it seems to fit. The customer scored a direct hit, and the CSR acknowledged the hit, and conceded the point to the customer.

        It may not be a sword fight, but verbal fencing.

        • Gtmac says:

          I didn’t see this as scoring a verbal sparring hit at all. The customer was wrong to call it a virus. That she corrected and/or clarified her statement to say McAfee wasn’t a “hit” so much as simply demonstrating her original incorrectness.

          • Gandalf the Grey says:

            I would have to direct you to the comments below. It is the opinion of many in the tech world that the customer was not altogether wrong to call McAfee a virus.

          • DEVO says:

            I’ve learned not to act like things are stupid and comment on them until your sure you understand what your talking about Gtmac. There is usually some underlying meaning and if not, nobody thinks your smart or cares anyway.

      • magus_melchior says:

        Not necessarily– the word is often interpreted as “Good point”.

  10. Juhgail says:

    Customer: I want my Tamagochi.
    Me: I’m sorry. We sold out in 5 min. You SAW the line.
    Customer: Yes, and your manager said you had 200 cases.
    Me: No maam. We had 200 PIECES.
    Customer: I dont care. Im not leaving this spot till I get a Tamagochi.
    Me: Well then you will be waiting a long time.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      i still have tickle me elmo and holiday barbie release day nightmares.
      my store made all the employees keep tamagotchis as demos. good thing i had 2 jobs and never slept anyway. still killed the little bugger through neglect constantly though. it’s really hard to feed your digital pet when you have 15 customers to deal with

      • Outrun1986 says:

        I don’t remember the craze over tamagotchi’s being THAT bad, they were always available here, there never really seemed to be a shortage. These days they have a pause button though, so no worries about killing them.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          1994-5

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          They do? Ahh I should get one. I couldn’t use my old one now; my boss would take it away from me. That one didn’t pause.

          I routinely kept them alive for 30 days. Was pretty cool.

    • E-Jungle says:

      “Customer: I dont care. Im not leaving this spot till I get a Tamagochi.
      Me: Well then you will be waiting a long time.”

      If i could get a penny for all the times i heard that line from customers who wanted an item that wasn’t physically present in the store…. It’s not really the best strategy for obvious reasons :)

      • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

        my district manager always used to say [under his breath, after they were gone] “repeat it ten more times and *poof* it’ll magically appear!”

  11. enalzi says:

    I’ve heard a lot of stupid stuff over the years, but the one that always sticks out in my mind is from when I worked at JCPenney:
    “Hey, do you carry anything by Polo Assassin?”

    I’m so happy I’ve never worked retail at any sort of tech store. I imagine it would all end in violence.

  12. Thyme for an edit button says:

    I called Verizon fire some help with my Droid X. I had to reset it and as it was restarting, the Droid Hal-like “eye” came on the screen. I mentioned that I think the eye is creepy. The rep then told me about a customer of his who was convinced the eye was some kind of camera and could see her. She put the phone in a dresser drawer at night so it wouldn’t “look” at her while she got ready for bed and slept. I LOL’d.

    • Thyme for an edit button says:

      Fire some help? Make that -for- some help. Stupid Swype prediction.

      • nybiker says:

        I keep having to remember that not everyone commenting here is at a real keyboard. I had think about what ‘Verizon fire’ was. Fortunately, I kept reading and figured it out. But thank you for explaining how the word got in there.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          That’s actually a concise description of what I wanted to do to them when it took six months to cancel a line I had for a week.

    • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

      if she grew up in the PA school system she probably has reasonable grounds for paranoia that her electronics were watching her

  13. Juhgail says:

    And just another word.

    I worked as the front end department head at Toys R Us during the X-mas season. Needless to say o n “return day” (the 26th) It was ALWAYS my PERSONAL fault that little Johny’s Christmas was ruined because the (insert toy purchased) was broken, bad, missing a part.

  14. theadtraylor says:

    “You’re unAmerican!” after trying to enforce Blockbuster’s late fees years ago

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      I tried to rent movies, was told the previous movie was late and I owed fees. I argued that they must have messed up the check in (not really being sure, but was feeling much more stubborn than usual). I argued for 5 minutes, paid the late fee, left the movies and my card on the counter and didn’t ever return… To that location. I applied for a new card 1 year later at a different store.

      • All Work and Low Pay says:

        I translated that as: “I was so certain I could do know wrong that it didn’t even cross my mind that I could have, in fact, been late. So instead of looking for a reasonable compromised I scampered off like a child.”

        I worked at a video rental chain for 5 years. Nobody is ever late. Ever. It’s really amazing.

  15. anthem11 says:

    “This not Best Buy! This Worst Buy!”

  16. Straspey says:

    I was chatting with the guy behind the counter at my local pizza shop the other day.

    He told me that customers will stand there and watch him take a brand new pie right out of the oven, bubbling hot, and ask him…”Umm, is that fresh from today ?”

    • borgia says:

      Interesting, I personally would assume that they were asking if the pizza was made that day, not cooked that day. For all they know the pizza went into the oven straight from the freezer.

  17. Shadowfax says:

    Back in high school when I worked at best buy, I had a guy wander up to me wanting 10% off one of the POS Acer desktops we sold. I told him no, and he asked “Well you match any advertised price don’t you?” Yeah. “Well I got the ad you guys ran 3 weeks ago here an’ I want you to match it.”

  18. augiet65 says:

    I work in an internet support area for my company. I had one customer ask me how to capitalize the number 5. I was completely speechless.

    • AK47 - Now with longer screen name! says:

      After working tech support for a small site, I am actually not amazed at that. I am also no longer amazed at the number of people who don’t understand that the letter ‘O’ and the number ‘0’ are not the same thing.

      • NeverLetMeDown says:

        Well, if you grew up on typewriters (i.e. are over the age of 40-45, and not in a technical profession), you probably learned to use the capital O (“oh”) for 0 (“zero”). Many typewriters didn’t even HAVE a zero key.

        • JonStewartMill says:

          They also didn’t have a numeral ‘1’. You used a lower-case ‘l’ for that.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          My grandmother is 80, and understands the difference between “O” and “0” on a typewriter. My great-great-aunt was 100 when she died, and understood the difference between “O” and “0” on a typewriter.

          Not understanding that “O” is a letter and “0” is a number is just plain stupidity, don’t excuse it.

  19. Talisker says:

    Working retail in Missouri, circa 1990.

    Customer: “This fax machine is broken”
    Me: “What’s wrong with it?”
    Customer: “Every time I try to send a fax the stuff I’m faxing just comes out the other side.”

    • Mike AKA MonolithTMA says:

      I’ve had customers ask to make copies of things before they fax them because they want to keep them.

  20. sp00nix says:

    “The internet isn’t in the box, where is it?!?!” “I bought a new computer from you guys and non of my information is on it” “Oh boy, this mouse has two buttons, i wonder which one i’ll use first!” This list can go on, i worked as a big box retailer repair dude with a tie for 3 years.

    • Azzizzi says:

      I’ve had some conversations where it took me several minutes to explain the difference between left-clicking and right-clicking.

    • Brie says:

      I’m the support tech for relatives that live three hours away (yay me). Last year they bought laptops from Best Buy on a Monday, then waited till the weekend for me to get there to do things like wipe the bloatware, replace the McAfee with freeware, and set it up with their house wi-fi which I installed a while back. As I was doing this, The Calm Relative mentioned that The Flighty Relative flew into a rage during the week when he turned on his new laptop and it wouldn’t connect to the house wi-fi. He wanted to go back to Best Buy and scream “YOU LIED! You said my laptop was wi-fi ready!”

      I explained to Flighty that I had secured, or locked down, his house’s wi-fi when I installed it; thus in order to get the laptop to talk to the wi-fi, the laptop needed a “key.” See how that works? He got the concept but couldn’t understand why anyone would lock down a network… until I asked him if he really wanted his ex-wife parked outside using his wi-fi.

  21. slim150 says:

    if you want to waste hours of time:
    notalwaysright.com

  22. wonderkitty now has two dogs says:

    My husband and I just moved to a new, small town (military). The economy sucks, and no business offering good jobs wants to employ military spouses because we tend to move around a lot. That said, I’m not above retail or food service. I did it for years; I don’t mind the work. We were in Germany for a bit, so I haven’t worked in a while. Our income is fine, but I still want to contribute.
    However, it’s not the jobs available that keeps me from going to the mall to find employment. It’s the insidious rage I feel in my stomach when I think about dealing with *the public* again. I remember what it felt like for someone to treat me like shit simply because at that moment, they were the customer and I was the lowly retailer?waiter below them. I was the only person to be “below” them all day, probably. I hated that more than anything. I don’t want to be underpaid to be treated like total shit again. I have signed up to volunteer a lot, and until I just can’t stand not having a job or we actually need the extra money (enough so that we learn to share one car while I have a p/t job 30 minutes away, so the costs of that job are pretty high actually and probably don’t outweigh the benefits by more than $50-$100), I am not going to do it. It chips away at my soul and dignity as a human being and law-abiding citizen.

    • dr_drift says:

      Hey, great story. Sounds like you need a friend.

    • dolemite says:

      I know what you mean exactly. I worked at a department store as a teenage. I *swear* there were people that came in (usually short, middle age, tubby women), that simply came in to feel superior to people. It was quite obvious they had no intention on buying anything, yet they wanted you to find out prices, get this down, put this back, etc…for like 20-30 minutes straight. They didn’t even seem interested in what you were telling them, they just wanted to work someone through the motions. They also loved to raise a stink with management, no matter how polite you were.

      • isileth says:

        I really do hate when I go to a cloth shop and the usually short 20 something chewing gum ruminating girl looks at me with disgust clearly written on her face because I don’t fit in their “target” shopper.
        I.E. I am tall and proportionate for my size, so I cannot wear clothes made for the zombie-looking models on the fashion magazine and that this is obviously MY fault that I cannot find clothes that fit, because I AM the monster.

      • webweazel says:

        I worked at a Kmart in my younger days, and there were customers, quite a lot, in fact, who would walk directly in the front door and look for the first employee they could find. They would ask “Where is ___?” And the employee was required to take them directly to the item in question, even if it was all the way across the store. Then, when there, they would pick up the item and ask “Now where is ___?” And they would have to lead them across the store again. Some of these people would tie up the employees like this for an hour or more to be their “personal shopper”, and the employee would get in trouble for not getting their work done for the day.

    • Verdant Pine Trees says:

      Wonderkitty – been there! Businesses in the town where my husband was posted didn’t give a shit about my experience, references, etc; if you were a military spouse, you were going to leave anyway, so they didn’t want to hire you.

      Anyway… You might look into a home based (NON-MLM) business like virtual assistance (you do research or help people manage their offices remotely), mystery shopping, or some other kind of freelancing? Freelancing and owning my own business kept me from having to bag groceries, and not going completely bonkers when my husband was under way. Failing that, I would temp.

  23. UCLAri: Allergy Sufferer says:

    I had a customer argue with me that I was trying to “rip her off” when I told her that an N64 game wouldn’t work with her kid’s Playstation.

    Also, one person told me it was my fault that we had sold out of Pokemon cards, and that we should save enough for everyone. I have no idea how that would have worked.

  24. gybryant says:

    I used to work for Barnes and Noble. During my tenure, people would regularly ask how many books they were allowed to check out.

    It was all I could do to not run screaming from the store.

    It wasn’t until some years later that I realized that the perfect response would have been: “You can check out as many as you like and keep them for as long as you want, but we do charge a service fee. The amount is based on the number of pages and is printed right there on the back of the book.”

    • Vroom_Socko says:

      I worked at a Chapters for 5 years (Like Barnes and Noble, but Canadian).
      Some of the questions:
      “Where’s your photocopier?”
      “I dropped this book in the tub, can I return it?”
      “Why won’t you take back these textbooks? They’re brand new.” (We did not sell textbooks)
      “You mean you wont take this back because it’s been written in?”
      “I bought this book at Wal-Mart, can I return it here?”
      “Do you sell lottery tickets?”

      • parv says:

        Given that Borders used to sell coffees, chocolate & candy, pencils, pens, other reading related & nonrelated items, lottery tickets would not be far off. Come to think of it, local Borders did not sell lottery tickets was the reason for its closure.

  25. Gramin says:

    I used to be a manager at a large name-brand retail clothing store. During the holdiay season, I was working checkout when one of my customers happened to be a teller at the bank we used for our night drops;

    Teller-Customer: It would be nice if you could properly sort those bills. Ya know, face them the same way. It would help us in the morning when we count your drops.

    Me: I just saw you looking at those jeans over on that table. Can you go back over there and refold and resize everything. It would make my job so much easier if my customers did that. But, it’s what I get paid to do. You get paid to sort my bills.

    • Charmander says:

      At our store we have to properly sort bills. It’s standard procedure before we do a money drop. Not sure why it would be a weird request….

      • RvLeshrac says:

        It helps ensure that counting/change errors are not made. The bills should *always* be facing the same direction at the end of the night.

  26. Miss Dev (The Beer Sherpa) says:

    When I was the tour guide at a brewery, I had more than one customer get upset when I was forced to stop serving them. These were free brewery tours, and customers often received 3 pints plus 3 6-ounce tasters. More than enough beer. One guy even said “you can’t stop giving me what I paid for.”

    At least it was a fun job!

  27. donovanr says:

    When I worked in a retail TV VCR place in the late 80s I lost a sale because the guy’s son convinced him that HDTV was right around the corner. The brat must have read about it in Popular Mechanics or some such. I tried to explain that the cable company would have to spend billions to upgrade and that the HD cameras didn’t exist yet and thus there would be no content for years to come.
    My favorite customers were drunk customers; sell them something overpriced and then charge them a restocking fee the next day. My commission was on profit and that was all profit.

  28. idx says:

    I worked at CompUSA for 5 years and the absolute worst questions were always about cables. My favorite was a woman who didn’t know what the cable was for, but knew it was rectangle shaped. She came to me with a PS/2 cable and asked if that could be it. I could tolerate stupid computer questions because it’s not everyone’s cup of tea; but I couldn’t help some one that didn’t know basic shapes.

    • SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

      I always liked at compusa where you could buy the products “at cost” and a 45 dollar cable usually cost 3 dollars or so.

      I used to work the “small business sales” and once made the “commission” goal of 100k in sales. not bad for people calling up and asking if X were in stock or not. So of course the management doubled the commission and I came within 10k of meeting the 200k commission too. After that they scrapped the commission for the department. I was the only one in the department to have ever made or came close to the commission. (in my store at least)

      I’ve blocked out most of the wierd things customers said to me from sheer self defense. Suffice it to say I am not someone to put in front of customers any more.

  29. AstroWorn2010 says:

    When I started retail I worked for EB Games (now Gamestop) we would get a lot of dumb questions, but 2 stick out the most:
    “is this mouse pad for the Mac or PC?”
    And my personal favorite:
    “Do you have Tom Hanks Pro Skater for Nintendo 64?”
    (it was a long time ago.)

  30. nutbastard says:

    A guy once asked me what we put in the pizza sauce to make it so good, because he just couldn’t get enough of it. Deadpan, I look him in the eye and say “Nicotine”.

    He says, “What?!”

    Calmly I repeat, “Nicotine. We mix it in when we add the parmesan and oregano.”

    By now his jaw had dropped and he was gaping at me while I nonchalantly spun some dough.

    Then the guy started flipping out, talking about how you can’t put nicotine in food, what if kids eat it and blah blah blah.

    It took about 10 minutes to convince the guy that I was only kidding.

  31. jefeloco says:

    All of the rednecks who would come in looking for a scope with a range finding “recticle” as opposed to reticule.

    I would usually ask the dimmer looking ones if they had considered setting an appointment with their proctologist.

  32. Brunette Bookworm says:

    When I worked at Walmart as a cashier I was closing out my register and had turned off the light, put the cable across the area to the register, and put the closed sign on my register’s belt when a woman came up to the register, lifted the cable (which has a closed sign on it) and asked me if I was open. I think I stared at her for a second before just saying, “No.”

  33. Span_Wolf says:

    Can I get Mario on the Xbox? No, it doesn’t exist. You’re lying, my friend has it!

    When are you going to get the PS4? It hasn’t been announced yet. Yes it has, my friend in Japan already owns one!

  34. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    I’ve never worked retail but just watching this incident made me mad:

    This woman was returning a pair of jeans (apparently the gold decoration on the legs came off rather easily) and became angry that she couldn’t get full price for the jeans.

    She bought the jeans using the coupon.

    Her logic: It’s not her fault that she wasted a coupon on bad jeans instead of using it on something else and she should therefore get the full price as a refund instead of just getting back what she paid for them.

    No, it didn’t make sense to me either. The cashier was told by her supervisor to just give her the money to make her go away (she was standing there just repeating her argument over & over). I think the best she should have gotten in addition to a normal refund is a new coupon. (There’s always a new coupon available. They send new ones almost immediately after the last one expires, sometimes before.)

    • evnmorlo says:

      It is kind of lame when the store keeps a coupon, which they will redeem with the manufacturer, when you return an item.

    • jackofnight says:

      I’ve had this before working retail.

      A woman was returning some items and buying a new one and said, “You don’t stand behind your coupons.”

      I ask what does she mean. She replies that since she is returning items that used a coupon she should apply that same coupon to the current purchase. I told her sorry without the coupon we can’t give her a discount on the items.

      The thing is the co worker who helped her was real nice to her and let her use one coupon on all 12 items on her list. So she got a break the first time. I told my manager about how my co worker could not use a coupon right and she needed to be retrained.

  35. tchann says:

    The woman who, after having me find for her a certain sort of book on tape for her (which was not cataloged and therefore we had to search every single tape separately), pumped her newfound prize in the air and yelled through the store, “WE READ TOO!”

  36. WontEndWell says:

    I work at a Gander Mountain.

    We had a call during a really bad storm mid morning. The guy was in his boat calling us on his cell phone (Apparently with Gander Mountain on speed dial.) and asked if it was safe to be out fishing in this storm….

    I had a customer try to argue that Lake Michigan was salt water.

    Guy asked to have someone show him how to use a gun he bought the week before (That one scares me.).

    Plenty more I can’t this of. Though as technology gets more common place questions like these will be on the rise.

  37. Spook Man says:

    We have issues with people forgetting their passwords. We’ll change it in the morning for them, and then by the afternoon they forget it (locked their PC for lunch and forget what their new password is). Or we change it one morning and by the next, it needs to be changed again because they forgot what it was.

    One lady called complaining about her password not working. We were asking her if it was the network password, the openVMS login or her login for a webbased app. She didn’t know, just “the one which allows her into the system” (?!!).

    “Which system?”

    “The computer system”.

    We run over there and its for the oVMS system and she then realizes what her password is.

    “Oh, that’s right, that password is in German. The one for this is in French and this one in English”.

    The woman isn’t the brightest bulb in the pack anyway, so for her to even know words in German and French surprised me. We told her to stick to the English passwords and haven’t had any issues since.

    Or, “what’s the name of your PC?” We get answers of Viewsonic, VA1912wb, HP, Dell, Cisco, Windows XP, etc, anything but the actual computer name. When we run over to show them where the label is located for future reference, and their response, “Oh, you mean the hard drive?”. “Uh, no that’s your computer and it’s name is the label affixed to it..”

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      Ah tech support, how I don’t miss you at all. I worked on internet support for a small, local ISP. I had people call and ask the strangest questions. I had someone call because they sneezed while using the mouse and their start bar moved and they wanted to know how to get it back to the bottom. I had another person (Win 95 era) who didn’t know what button to push to turn the computer off. My response, “The same one you turned it on with.”

  38. d0x360 says:

    I always liked the “Where is product X?” questions and then you would point right in front of the person and say right here. For example, we were standing right in front of 12 feet of batteries and the guy asked me where the batteries were while he was facing them…yep

  39. solipsistnation says:

    It was phone support, but:

    “I threw my mouse on the floor and ran it over with my chair 3 or 4 times and now it’s broken. Is that covered under warranty?”

  40. framitz says:

    Lady picking up her stereo system form a TV repair shop where I was a technician:
    “That ain’t my stereo, mine don’t look like that”.
    “Ma’am, it is your stereo, we always clean up equipment as part of our service”
    The item had come into the shop so filthy you couldn’t read the brand name. Looked (and worked) like new upon return. Lady was being honest and thought we were returning a better unit.

  41. yesthatsteve says:

    Overheard at a convenience store:

    Customer: “Is this cappuccino fresh?”
    Clerk: “It’s instant.”
    Customer: “Yeah, but it is fresh?”
    Clerk (stifling laughter): “Sure.”

  42. Emperor Norton I says:

    My favorite from the Home Depot in Evanston, IL:
    “We don’t carry high temperature spray paint in white anymore because it was too popular!”

  43. Alter_ego says:

    “my phone was only in the toilet for a few seconds! Why doesn’t it work any more?””

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      Bad flashbacks……….

      I had a customer ask me a very similar question about an ipod.

      *customer hands me the ipod*
      Customer: I got it a little wet, can you fix it?
      Me: Well, sometimes we can get them working again. How did it get wet?
      Customer: Well, I leaned over to flush the toilet and it fell out of my bra.

  44. jaazzman says:

    I work with power / gas utilities. After shutting someone off for nonpayment, I get this response…”WELL FINE!!! I’ll just watch my tv in the dark!”

    Good luck with that one.

  45. TacomaRogue says:

    I worked Christmas season at Mervyn’s while they were going out of business and closing their stores after the holiday. All around the store on giant signs were the phrases ” all sales are final” and “going out of business,” there were several small signs near the registers and all the employees said it at least three times during check out. I spent an hour trying to convince a guy not to buy a pair of Heely’s for his daughter because they didn’t have any in a size that fit or that she could grow into. His argument was “I can just exchange them here after Christmas when you guys get more stock in.”

    Same season I had a man throw a cast iron skillet at me because I wouldn’t print him a gift receipt. I was also called a “Nazi” because I refused to return items with receipts dated after the “date of no return.”

    Another season while at Layne Bryant I had several customers ask me if we had merchandise in smaller sizes in the back. A few times they insisted that I check “just to be sure.” No amount of explaining that Lane Bryant is a plus sized store was able to convince them that we didn’t carry size 0-12.

    Then there was Toys “R” Us. I will never understand how it was my personal fault that the most popular toy of the season was sold out the day before Christmas Eve. However, I did have one awesome customer there that was so nice to me and the other employees helping her; I ended up pulling some strings and having her pay over the phone for a toy at another location, then I picked it up the next day since I was going near the other location (an hour away) any way. She came back after Christmas with her kid so he could thank me because it made his holiday perfect.

  46. Verdant Pine Trees says:

    I think there’s a difference between people who are intimidated by technology and don’t know the jargon, who then make broad statements like, “I want a whatzoosit”, and those who are truly foolish. You can figure it out by asking them some questions (“Are you going to be using your computer primarily to get on the Internet?” “Is this for one of your children, or for yourself?” “Are you running a home business?”) and then drill down a little bit, but some of the people who work in these retail stores would rather goof off with friends or tinker with their phone than deal with customers, answer their questions etc. Especially staff at Fry’s, and yeah, I’ve been in their stores in three states and feel very comfortable stereotyping all of them :)

    (Come to think of it I was in a Best Buy once listening to a woman with little tech experience complain about being led down the garden path by Geek Squad. I gave her the URL to Consumerist, natch.)

    Anyway, I sometimes work with people who know very little about technology. When I meet with them, they often start by apologizing to me for having to ask questions. They are so used to people condescending to them and being jerky (e.g. some retail clerks, teen family members) that for someone to spend just a little time listening to them, they really appreciate it. Having a better attitude would probably translate into more sales, and might help a person get promoted, or at least learn how to sell better.

    Some of the complaints – wireless mouse for instance – not really worthy. The guy bringing in a package – so he didn’t realize that unlike Office Depot and Office Max, which also sell tech, this store didn’t accept packages? Tracking kids – yeah, there are things called Personal GPS trackers.

    The discussion below is fun though.

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      Unfortunately, just because an employee is helpful to customers, and treats them like humans, doesn’t mean they get rewarded by the company. I was a member of the Geek Squad for almost 2 years. Out of the 7 ‘techs’ in our store, only two of us really knew how to fix a computer. Since one was the manager and he didn’t have time to work on PCs, I did most of the actual repairs, while the others were mostly CSRs that did backups and kept scanner programs going. While I was there, I set several sales records for both the store and our district, and I had 4-5 customers a day that would come in and ask for me by name. All was well when I had a manager that understood a service department, and how you need repeat customers to make money in service. Once we got a new manager though, there was always an issue with taking the time to help a customer understand and feel good about their purchase/service. The new manager was so focused on sales numbers, that she didn’t want to let me spend the time with the customers to get sales. Most retail managers are so focused on getting as many sales as possible, they lose the big picture of repeat customers and recurring sales.

  47. ellemdee says:

    Installer: “Where do you want your internet line installed?”
    Customer: “I don’t want wires, I want wireless internet!”

  48. Firevine says:

    I work for an ink/toner remanufacturer. I get some good ones. I wanted to start a Twitter account to post things I WISH I could say to customers but don’t, because my job is actually pretty awesome.

    Them: “I need black ink for my HP”
    Me: “What cartridge”
    Them “BLACK, I just told you that!”

    Customers frequently need “Cartiledges”

    This being Georgia, we have mighty hot summers. I would tell every customer buying these two specific ink tank style cartridges to not leave them in the car if they were making any other stops. Most every one of these customers would come back with a bag full of hot cartridges and inky mess, wanting a refund because “our cartridges leak”.

    One lady has come in several times needing us to fix her printer, because she can never figure out which cartridge goes in which slot, even though it has a diagram right above the carriage. This is also our fault somehow.

    Them: “I need a cartridge for *insert manufacturer here*”
    Me: Do you know the number of the cartridge?
    Them: Uhhhhh…
    Me: Do you know the model number of the printer
    Them: Uhhhhh…*repeats manufacturer*

    We had a guy call us asking why he couldn’t get his wireless printer to work. I am pretty tech savvy, so I asked him a few questions about his router settings. He asked what a router was. I told him, then he told me he uses a Sprint mobile card…

  49. Outrun1986 says:

    The best one I overheard was in a Toys R Us, a woman was screaming at the top of her lungs at an employee because her son wanted one game on the PS2, one on the Xbox and one on the Gamecube. I am sure the whole store could hear her. She thought there was just one console that could play all the games. I guess when she found out how much it would cost to fulfill her son’s wishes she was a little angry…

  50. Dr.Wang says:

    young couple walk into the ER, she is complaining of sharp pains in her stomach. They are both covered with tattoos and piercings (nose, eyebrow, ears, lips). She tells the ER doctor she would rather have a pain pills because she is afraid of needles.

    • gman863 says:

      Good one, but I have to ask:

      How many patients showed up with an intestional blockage due to “accidentally slipping on” a Coke bottle, cucumber or other silmilar shaped object?

  51. TinaBringMeTheAx says:

    When I was a boy prostitute, I once had a trick insist that I had foreskin. “Ricky told me you were uncut, you must have foreskin.” I didn’t and don’t, but he kept going on and on about how I must have foreskin.

    Those were the days!

  52. RTWinter says:

    I work at Home Depot. While changing the garbage at the return desk I overheard a customer who could not understand why he couldn’t return a power tool he bought at Sears.

  53. Cantras says:

    “Did you want skim or whole milk?”
    “2% please.”
    “I’m sorry, we have skim and whole.”
    “… what’s whole milk?”
    [looking out the window to see if this is a sorority chick or what, but no, senior woman.] “It’s… milk with none of the fat taken out.”
    “Oh, so it’s 2%.”
    [oh my god lady no if it was 2% we wouldn’t be having this conversation] “No, it’s whole milk. It’s… far more creamy than 2%.”
    “I’ll just take the regular milk.”
    “…” [gives whole milk, which is in fact the default option]

  54. ZacharyTF says:

    “Are you closed?” Yes, we’re closed even though the doors are unlocked and the lights and open signs are turned on. Fucking morons.

  55. SmittShow says:

    hmm where to start, how about when I used to work at toy r us. I had a lady yell at me for not opening a model house and putting it together for her so she could see how it looks, even after I told her our instore open box policy and it looked the same as on the box. One time I had a guy ask me for one of the toys above the shelves, I told the man it was the same kind as the ones below, he got mad and insisted the customer was always right and he wanted the one “up there,” so I have to go back and get the tallest ladder stored behind all the other ladders which I had to remove one by one. The thing was way to heavy for me and it took me about ten minutes to get the ladder out, I get back and the guy is gone and I notice one of the toy packages on the bottom missing, /face palm. I also worked at a Geek squad call center. I have had some guy call in wanting to buy smokes before which was pretty random and I assured him that Geek Squad did not sell them. 70 percent of the time the first thing out of peoples mouths after me announcing this is agent sean with geek squad mission control, was omg thank god you have no accent! Other times I would answer the phone to people yelling at me.

  56. JadeNamek says:

    “Is that chicken done?” *customer points to the rotisserie.*
    “No, I’m sorry, it has about a half an hour left”
    “Well just give me one now, I’ll microwave it when I get home”
    “Um, I’m sorry sir, I really can’t do that, you could get really sick”
    *Throws a gallon of milk at my head* “WELL F*** YOU!”

  57. Mole90 says:

    If NE is for Nebraska, then what are the letters for New England?

    True story.

  58. Mole90 says:

    I piece of mail came in at work and a girl was delivering it.

    Her: Is this your territory?
    ME: No, I’m east coast. That’s NE for Nebraska.
    Her: If NE is for Nebraska, then what are the letters for New England?

    True story.

  59. Mole90 says:

    I piece of mail came in at work and a girl was delivering it.

    Her: Is this your territory?
    ME: No, I’m east coast. That’s NE for Nebraska.
    Her: If NE is for Nebraska, then what are the letters for New England?
    ME: Uhm……New Engand isn’t a state………

    True story.

  60. Mole90 says:

    I piece of mail came in at work and a girl was delivering it.

    Her: Is this your territory?
    ME: No, I’m east coast. That’s NE for Nebraska.
    Her: If NE is for Nebraska, then what are the letters for New England?
    ME: Uhm……New Engand isn’t a state………

    True story.

  61. Gtmac says:

    At Barnes & Noble:

    “Why don’t you shelve the books by the author’s *first* name?”
    “Do you have the Cliff’s Notes to Jurassic Park?”
    “Why don’t you have as many books about Welsh history as you do about English history?”

  62. dush says:

    reminds me of this guy’s tales of customer woe
    http://www.actsofgord.com/

  63. qwijybo says:

    If you like that you will love this guy. http://www.actsofgord.com/

  64. Extractor says:

    Dumbest quote in Dental Office when Bathroom is opposite front desk. “Can I use the bathroom?” Since they are brainless enough I always reply, no! Teach them next time not to ask.

  65. MacUser1986 says:

    * A customer walks in on Christmas Eve while I was working at Gamestop*

    C – “Yes, I’d like a Nintendo DS Lite in black”
    Me – “Oh sorry sir we’re all sold out.”
    C – “Oh, then I’ll take a white one”
    Me – “Sorry we’re actually all sold out of DS Lite”
    C – “What do you mean? I want a DS Lite.”
    Me – “Well sir it’s Christmas Eve and we’re sold out of almost everything. If you want I can write your name down and when we get more in we can give you a call”.
    C – “You’re a fucking asshole!” *And walks out knocking over a cardboard stand up.*
    Me – *Confused and straight look on my face.*

  66. cjnewbs says:

    Having worked in electronics retail I have been subject to many stupid questions. A few of the more memorable ones included:

    A pair of customers crawled under our shutters (Chav Blinds) as we were closing and asked “Are you open?”. This is 9:30 at night. I responed to them “You just crawled under there”, “So, are you open”, “No, No we’re not”.

    Memory cards for cameras is a particularly common one, a few days ago a customer asked for a memory card for their camera, fair enough, I ask them “Sure, what camera do you have?”, they respond, totally seriously with “A pink one”.

    And one last one that sticks in my mind is the customer that started asking me what card their camera needed, and got it out so I could check, after telling them they needed an SD card they insisted that I was wrong (Why ask me if you know?), not only that but none of they cameras ever made by that manufacturer(Samsung) have ever used the xD (xD is a proprietary card format that is pretty much obsolete now as it is limited to a rather small 2GB any is only used in older Fuji an Olympus cameras) card he insisted is what he already had, he also refused to let me check if the card would work for him.

  67. HungryMohican says:

    Customer: “How come you haven’t sent me a bill yet? All I’ve gotten is this piece of paper!”
    Me: “What does the piece of paper say in the upper right-hand corner?”
    Customer (yelling): “ALL IT SAYS IS ‘STUDENT BILL’!!!”
    {pause}
    “Oh, SH**!”
    *click*

  68. gman863 says:

    15 years of my life spent in retail sales and management. Where do I start?

    * People who think the new Wi-Fi USB adapter you sold them is defective because it won’t allow them to mooch of their neighbor’s signal without enterning the correct password.

    * I need a modem. Do you have cable, DSL or dial-up? I need the one that connects to the wire by the wall.

    * Why can’t I use an AMD processor on this Intel board?

    * People who are totally clueless (see the wireless mouse comments previously posted) AND speak English as a thirteenth language. It’s like “Borat”, except not funny.

    * Customers who buy a $20 product and expect an hour of personal tutoring on how to use a PC (usually unrelated to the item purchased) as part of the sale.

    * What type of PC will you be using this with? A black one.

    My two favorites of all time (strangely both involved rednecks when I lived in Alabama):

    * The customer we had to call 911 on to get him to leave. He threatened at the top of his lungs he was going to “unleash a can of whoop-ass” on the managers since the return policy on cell phones excluded the one he had run over with his bulldozer the day before.

    * A guy who raised hell for 30 minutes on why we wouldn’t accept his PC for warranty service due to the “cup holder” breaking. Think of what a CD/DVD drive looks like when it’s open. Yep. This is testament to the fact inbreeding and technology are not a good mix.

  69. Etoiles says:

    My favorite:

    Customer: “Miss, where are the batteries?”
    Me: “Immediately behind you sir, right at the front of aisle three.”
    Customer: *wanders around for a moment, comes back* “Which one is aisle three?”
    Me: “Right there, sir. The one with the big “3” on it. Between aisles two and four.”
    Customer: “Thanks!” *wanders into aisle 4*