I was recently in a conversation where everyone was discussing their “customer from hell” retail and fast food stories. I love writing about fast food and retail yet have never actually worked in these roles, even as a teenager. I figured my friends on Facebook would have plenty of war stories to share as well in order to make an article. If anyone else would like to contribute to this list, please let me know!
My restaurant was robbed with my boyfriend in it – he was forced to the ground with a machete at his head and stood on while other people went into the manager’s office to rob the safe. The store had to close and customers turned away. The following day, I was running a shift and trying to be cool, calm and collected, and keep the fact that the store had been robbed hush-hush as I was responsible for lots and lots of impressionable kids and it was a very need-to-know basis. A lady comes through the drive-thru, a 15-year-old starts taking her order, and she literally said at the speaker box (which is played in the kitchen) and said “HI I WAS HERE LAST NIGHT WHEN YOU GOT ROBBED CAN I GET THE ORDER I PAID FOR NOW”
A man once told me “you’re too pretty to work at McDonald’s”. I earned twice as much as him at the time.
I was filling in a shift as a manager at a neighbouring restaurant that had different headsets to the one I was used to. A crew member was really struggling to take a customers order – they were very ostensibly drunk or drug-affected – so I jumped in and took over. They verbally abused me and proceeded to sit at the speaker box without ordering for a few minutes, I turned my headset off and said: “wow what a cunt”. My headset wasn’t off. I, being a 21-year-old manager who thought I was the best, decided to WALK OUT ON TO FRONT COUNTER when the junkies came in to confront me. The first rule of customer confrontation? Put a barrier between yourself and the aggressor.
Well there was the time that I got dragged through the drive-through window while working at Maccas or the time that the Maccas I was managing got stormed my police, guns drawn, pepper spray being sprayed, a guy with a knife running through our kitchen and customers refusing to leave as the store fills with pepper spray or the time that some drinks guys heading home from Mynt put on a strip show using half a cheeseburger to hide his nipples while he proceeded to dance naked at the door
Maccas drive-thru: Someone forgot to tell the guy not to drive through to the next window as it was broken (had to pay and collect at the same window). He parked and came in screaming at everyone, swearing his head off and said we’d ruined his anniversary dinner
Maccas Drive Thru: 2AM – male orders Big Mac, drives around to my window where I notice his windscreen was smashed in. Then I saw the guys face, the whole left side of his face was bleeding and torn open – should have clearly been in hospital seeking medical attention. I froze up and couldn’t take his money. The store owner was luckily there at the time, took the cash and called the cops. Whilst the guy didn’t do anything wrong, think it was all the blood that freaked me out at the time.
When the gravy loaded fries launched at McDonald’s there ended up being an issue with the gravy warmers and they were recalled. Ours was one of the first to have issues during the day, and our digital menu boards weren’t updating correctly. A women came through with her husband in the back of a cab and demanded gravy loaded fries. When I explained the situation to her and offered to upgrade her medium fires to a large she immediately started going on about how it was false advertising and that she should get her entire $40 order for free. After a few minutes back and forward her husband kicked her out and told her to walk home, she then came inside and started abusing an underaged staff member over a mistake she made with another customers order. The whole thing ended up with her walking out of the store to “get something to teach us a lesson” before the police turned up.
I had someone throw a drink at me and punch the register off the counter because I wouldn’t give them two free drinks which they had no receipt for.
When I was pregnant and working at Maccas in the drive-thru (about 9 years ago), this drunk guy tried picking me up, then he tried to do the same thing to a colleague that’s at least twice my age.
When I worked at Maccas, I usually worked at the drive-thru. One day, I had this customer drive up to the window where he had to pay. And when I told him how much he had to pay, he started to go on about how the Maccas sauce (the one you get for fries) has changed and it doesn’t taste good anymore. And he wants that sauce again… I told him if he has any issues, to drive to the next window and speak to my manager. He refused to go. I was still being polite at that point. I said sorry sir, I can’t help you, you have to speak to my manager. When I tried to take the next person’s order over the speaker, he was still speaking and getting angry about the sauce packets being different.. I said, sir, I need to take orders, I can’t help you. He kept going.. so I just shut the drive-thru window in his face and he started screaming and called me a bitch. He finally moved on to the next window. Some people, seriously.
Like the time I had a homeless man come into work and start eating and drinking stuff, he wasn’t going to pay for. I’ve never heard of a man drinking a bottle of Gatorade as fast as he then demolishes a chocolate bar in 2 seconds. Had customers pointing at him concerned. Turned out he didn’t have a belt on and also had no underwear. I asked him to pull his pants up and he said he couldn’t and asked me to do it for him.
When I worked at a little jeweller shop at the plaza called ecstasy a man came up behind me in the store and put his hands over my eyes I was soo bloody frighten as he came into the shop behind me and I didn’t even see him. I have had some really weird customers over the years working at plaza a few marriage proposals too.
When I worked at Bunnings, a grown man walked through the store whilst shitting his pants and left a trail from the aisles out to the front door. Re-watched the camera footage to work out of it was a dog or a child, was hilariously disgusting.
I served an older lady with her middle-aged daughter. The older lady was buying a dress. Me making conversation said, “Is this for something special?”. The older lady very solemnly said, “yes I guess it is”. Then the daughter went onto explain the outfit was for the older lady to be buried in.
On and lighter note, someone shit in the fitting rooms once. Oh, I also had someone try to return shoes that were clearly worn because they gave her a blister.
An old lady once accused me of trying to poison her by putting cream cheese on her sandwich. I explained to her several times that we didn’t even have cream cheese so it was definitely not on her sandwich but she didn’t believe me.
The other week I was serving a lady at work, she says out loud “oh dammit!” Then asks me if I sold Parmesan cheese cos she forgot to get some from coles. I manage a bottle shop.
When I worked at the drive-thru bottle shop at 10AM there were 3 guys talking at the base of the drive-thru, then out of nowhere their conversation turned violent and they ended up in the store with two guys laying into one. One of the guys grabbed a wine bottle and smashed it over the others head. The kept going until they were in the back corner of the store and then were kicking the absolute hell out of the guy then bailed. When they left there was a trail of blood all through the store and then when the cops came the guy they beat up wouldn’t give them any details. Then when my boss came in he asked me when I was going to clean up all the blood.
I was serving the resident junkie of Werribee at 9AM when I worked at liquor land. She would come in and get her 4 cans of jack and coke every doll pay day. Anyway one morning I asked her if she wanted a bag and she yelled at me and said “SHUT YOUR MOUTH UNLESS IT’S BETWEEN MY THIGHS”.
I was working night shift at a servo, when a guy threatened to jump the counter and sort me out. I told him he could save himself a lot of trouble if he just walked ten feet to the end o the counter and come around. He looked at the end of the counter, looked at me, turned around and left.
When I worked at EB, a guy got so excited about buying a PS3 console that when I brought it out from the back room, he wet his pants and left the store.
Warhammer & Video Game Store
I have three stories that stick out of varying length. The first one was a customer who was the brother of a friend. He rings up to preorder Grand theft auto 4, BUT, he wants me to order it in on the off chance he can’t get it any cheaper anywhere else. When I was buying in video games, I’d like make maybe $10 off a video game and $50 off a console. I told him where to go basically after a while and hung up on him. He then rang back as if I was going to listen to him complain about the poor service I offered…
The second one was a bloke on a games night who while playing a game with me, wandered over to the balsa wood stand I had and then said, “That reminds me, I have to go to bunnings to get balsa wood.” Same brand, the same price as Bunnings I was selling mine for. It was at that point late in the game that I realised some people don’t think I actually run a store and it’s only for gaming.
This last one, still makes my eye twitch ten years later… Games workshop had policies in place for customers who thought that because they spent a lot of money, they’d become shareholders, and having done their hobby skills camp, (which taught their employees how to and how not to engage with their customers, they then offered it to independent stores too). They spoke about these customers who thought they were part owners. I used to think it was far fetched until a couple of blokes, in their 40’s and 50s decided that they wanted to run an event in my store and not bother to ask me until they handed me a flyer advertising the event and at the bottom of the flyer in tiny writing stating that the store was not involved in the event and that the prizes would be money rather than vouchers to support the store… I tell them they’d need to rent the tables, my customers taking precedence and they’d be charged for the time I was there, the store was using electricity, etc, etc, just so they got the message. The older one comes in one day and asks me If I was upset by him not shopping there anymore, I said I was not, and that he should probably play his games where he was shopping as well. He replied that he does shop at that other store so I asked him what he was doing in my store. I watched his eyes light up in realisation at that point, this bloke was a health professional who helped vulnerable people, and he said he thought he still had a lot to offer the store and then he wandered off. A 17-year-old customer who heard the conversation then said, “if you told me this story and I was not here to see it myself, I’d not have believed you…” The two older blokes in question I’ve recently found out make names and nuisances of themselves across various game stores, having heard tales from other owners.
The Pancake Parlour
One time a guy hit on me right in front of his wife.
The customers would always yell at me for the prices.
One time a customer demanded an item that was no longer on the menu.
A table of 15 rocked up at 12AM without a booking.
A customer yelled at me cos I didn’t say anything to a woman who was breastfeeding her child.
This was when I worked at pancake Parlour and these customers came in, ordered plain pancakes and bought their own toppings.
A customer ordered a lemon, lime & bitters without the bitters.
A customer yelled at me cos they wanted to sit at a different table but the table they wanted to sit at already had people on it.
Working at Kmart years ago, asking customers on autopilot whether they had FlyBuys. One middle-aged customer with her child responded “No, but I have genital herpes!” It really caught me off guard.
Have 2 stories from working at Kmart. I worked in apparel and this guy asked for help with shoes. We didn’t have his size on show so went out back and didn’t have it there either. Said go to fitting rooms they will call another store. He walks off and comes back with security saying I called him a C U Next Tuesday and that I told him to piss off. Told security nope I didn’t. He was told to leave. The other one was that a few of us found ppl having sex in the fitting rooms. Gross especially when a few kids had peed in there a few times.
One guy asked for “sexy anime” (because we don’t stock hentai) one time and then when I helped him locate anything remotely like “sexy anime” and afterwards, he asked where I live… I asked why? He said because I’m very nice… and then I blurted out “yes that’s because they pay me to be nice” and walked away.