We’ve all been there – dealing with an unruly and ridiculous customer. Maybe it was with your first retail job, or perhaps you endure complaints at your current position. Either way, you’ve probably had an earful of the dreaded “Karens” of the world. It is not a good day when you hear, “Can I speak to your manager?” That goes double when it’s something ridiculous, and you know the customer is wrong.
You can find some comfort in knowing that you’re not alone. True, most of us have had to deal with customers like this at one point in our lives. Keep reading to read Reddit users, and others share the worst customer complaints. Most of these complaints from around the world are beyond crazy.
20. You Can’t Please Everyone
“I worked in a liquor store that was right next to a retirement home. The owner stocked some basic groceries because he was trying to be nice. He obviously made very little from the sales of eggs and bread. On a regular basis, the tenants of the retirement home would complain that the grocery selection was terrible. It was a liquor store; what the heck did they expect?” asked Reddit user string97bean. While it’s nice the owner took an extra step for senior citizens in the neighborhood, perhaps it would have been better to stick to liquor.
One mistake this owner made was calling it a “grocery” section. If it was positioned as a convenience store, he might not have had as many complaints. Hopefully, more seniors were happy he provided food because it is a nice gesture. Not only is he saving them money from a further trip, but he was also saving them time. It’s too bad there are some bad apples in the bunch.
Reddit User omfgcheesecake told a story of a complaint a customer made at a coffee shop. “I used to work at Tim Hortons throughout University. We had a guy come in once very angry because we messed up his coffee when he came through the drive-thru. Instead of sweetener, we added sugar. This wouldn’t have been a huge issue to fix, and generally, people are level-headed and realize that mistakes do happen. However, he was throwing a hissy fit, claiming he’s a diabetic and that spoonful of sugar would have surely killed him had he ingested more than one gulp of the coffee. Because he was freaking out like a rabid dog, my manager stepped in and offered him any other item on the menu for free (because he wouldn’t accept just a redo of the coffee.)”
The Reddit user continued, “Buddy decides he wants a dozen donuts. No problem. I pack up the dozen, hand it to him. He then proceeds to eat not one, not two but three lard-sugar-fat glazed donuts in front of my eyeballs even though he just claimed he was severely diabetic. Ugh.” It’s one thing to get angry and want to have your order corrected; it’s another thing to shove it in the employee’s face. The customer would gain nothing from doing this, so why bother? Some customers get really cranky if they haven’t had their morning coffee, and it shows.
One of the worst customer complaints came from Reddit user I_Hate_Whales. “Used to work at Starbucks. A lady ordered a mocha, and I forgot to add the mocha syrup. A dumb mistake, so I fixed it, of course. She put it back on the bar a couple of minutes later and said, “It doesn’t taste right. I want a new one.” OK, I thought; However, I don’t know what else I can do, but sure I’ll make a new one. So, I get started on it, and she goes to the restroom. She gets back from the restroom before I’m done making it but sees her old drink on the bar that I hadn’t taken back yet and thinks it’s her new one.”
“The lady looks at it and says, “ah, it looks better already!” She takes a big drink and says, “Now see, that’s perfect.” Then she leaves before I can tell her I didn’t do a damned thing.” Hopefully, the barista wasn’t far enough into making the new one that another drink was wasted. It just goes to show you. Some people will complain about anything, even if they are wrong. Clearly, the drink tasted fine. I’m sure if she was told it was her old drink, she would have found something else wrong with it in the end.”
Redditor The_Artful_Dodger_ had an odd customer complaint at a movie theater. “The opening of the movie Tropic Thunder had a bunch of fake commercials. Keep this in mind. One lady came out of the movie, furious, wanting to talk to a manager. Not knowing the problem and not wishing to get yelled at, we quickly called one over and hid off in a corner where we could hear the conversation (like responsible employees). Somewhere along the line, we hear something about an offensive commercial for a product that YOU sell in your concession stand…” “Black girls half naked shoving their booties in my face.”
“The manager was a little confused and asked her the name of the product. “Bust-a-nut Bar! I can’t believe you’d allow such filth to be sold.” We all burst out laughing.” Tropic Thunder was a movie that came out in 2008 and directed by and starring Ben Stiller. If this customer was offended by the beginning commercials, it was probably for the best that she didn’t stay and watch the rest of the movie. She definitely would have been offended throughout the film. Rotten Tomatoes even gave this film an 82%.”
One Reddit user had a story about an old-tech customer complaint. “When I was in high school, I worked at a video rental place. One day, a woman came in fuming over a DVD she had rented. It was porn. I got really worried at first because we had a problem with teenagers putting the adult rentals behind movies in the kid’s section. She told me she was really offended by what she rented. I said, “I’m so sorry. What did you intend to rent?” Thinking maybe she wanted the Brave Little Toaster and ended up with Horny Backdoor College Girls 18.”
The Redditor continued, “Nope. It turns out that she had rented something with white men and black women. She had actually wanted black men and white women. I was going to ignore her weird racial (possibly racist) fetish and just let her exchange the movie when I figured out that it was a week overdue.” At least now in 2021, this Reddit user most likely won’t run into this situation again. If you think these customer complaints are bad, wait until you read about everyday toxic people and places.
Reddit userbrienneoftarth shared her story of a strange customer complaint at a grocery store. “We had a sale on organic cabbage for 85 cents a pound, and a week later, a woman came in claiming we had our cabbage on sale for 25 cents a pound, but she had been charged 85 cents. I told her it had been on sale for 85 cents a pound, but she wouldn’t have it. She threw the biggest tantrum ever! “Even if I’m wrong, you should give me a dollar back! The customer is always right!” and I’m just like, “What?” My assistant manager overhears her yelling and decides to appease her by giving her a dollar and a $10 gift card.”
The Reddit user continued their encounter: “Awarding bad behavior is ridiculous. I wish everyone would unite and not give in to the ridiculous demands of terrible customers.” Honestly, this Reddit user isn’t wrong. It is not right for people to take advantage of a situation by using the old saying ‘the customer is always right”. Most of the time, they are actually wrong, like in this example. With the $10 gift card the assistant manager gave her, they’ll most likely come back and the employees will have to deal with her again.
Reddit user QuixoticRoad told a unique story of a ‘complaint’ at a restaurant. “This isn’t really a dumb complaint so much as a dumb expectation, but when I was really little, my mom and I ordered dessert at a restaurant. I wanted the chocolate mousse because I thought it would be an actual, small chocolate moose. When a little boring bowl of chocolate showed up, I was visibly disappointed. My mom didn’t complain, of course, because kids are stupid. But the waiter noticed my moose-less despair, asked what was wrong, and then took the mousse back, poured it into tin-foil, and shaped it into a little moose head for me. I’m sure he got a huge tip. I was very happy.”
This is an example of how some of these situations should be handled. If the employee notices something is wrong, they can go above and beyond the customer’s expectations. This makes for a great customer experience. Customers don’t need to blow up in employees’ faces, as we’re are all human and can tell when other people are upset. Hopefully, their parents did leave a good tip for a job well done in this scenario.
“There was a woman that came in and used the restroom, then DEMANDED a discount on her DVDs because, and I quote, “The soap in your bathroom made my hands smell like flowers. I HATE when my hands smell like flowers. You need to offer a citrus soap option to your customers,” revealed Redditor MostlyBullsh*t. “I tried explaining that it wasn’t a public restroom, we can choose whatever soap we’d like and that none of this had any bearing on her DVD purchase. She didn’t care.” This customer should be happy she was able to use a restroom at all.
The Reddit user ended this story by saying, “After a half-hour of this nonsense, my manager just gave her a 10% discount. Why? To get her out of the store for a whopping savings of $3.50.” Some people will complain about just about anything to get a discount. They should be grateful that they were able to use their facilities, and if they are sensitive to certain smells, they should carry hand sanitizer with them. That way, this won’t be an issue at all, and they won’t be getting made at employees for ridiculous reasons.
Nobody likes high interest, and understandably. But get a load of these complaints from Reddit user Kvothe24. “I imagine this will be unpopular, but I work at a bank and hear this all the time: “My interest rate is too high, so I’m just going to not pay back the 30,000 dollars I borrowed.” Listen, you opened the credit card, you signed the disclosure with the agreed-upon interest rate, you decided to spend 30k on a bunch of useless stuff, and I know it’s useless ’cause I can see what you spent it on.”
They continued, “How anyone can feel justified in violating a contract and not paying back many thousands of dollars because someone is doing exactly what they agreed to do in a contract that you signed is beyond me. I don’t care if it’s a bank, credit union, friend, relative. If you borrow money, pay it back.” Obviously this person shouldn’t put themselves in those situations. Save up or pay in full or just don’t spend frivolously on items if you can’t pay for them.
“I worked in a sandwich shop where we sold combos (sandwich, chips, and a drink) for about $6 a combo. One time this lady came and ordered a number one which was like pastrami, white bread, three cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Then she asked for some changes to the sandwich (no problem), but by the end, she not only replaced every item that goes on the number one, but she managed to make her order match our number seven down to the condiments,” revealed Reddit user WYUYBDAAHNFIAGT. “I point it out to her, and she said she didn’t want a number seven; we wanted the altered number one even though they were the same thing.”
“At the end, with all the things she added to her order, her order came out to about $15 where it could have been $6.” Sometimes, you just have to let the customer tell you what they want and let them pay for it. If they don’t want to listen to how you can make it cheaper for them, well, that’s on them. Patience is an important skill along with listening. It was nice of this Reddit User to try and tell the customer either way.
“I work at a restaurant that is known for selling all local products (protein, dairy, produce, etc.), and we even get our plates and such from local flea markets,” stated Reddit user horsechik1001. “Well, I was waiting on a table about a month ago, and they ordered a few appetizers. I brought them some plates, and about 10 minutes later, they got up and said they needed to leave (without any of their food). It was weird, but sometimes people have emergencies and need to leave… whatever.”
They continued, “The next day, my manager gets a call, and they complained that the plates I gave them didn’t match. NONE of our plates match, that’s kind of our gimmick. But instead of asking me for new plates or asking why they didn’t match, they were literally so weirded out by the unmatching plates that they got up, left, and called to complain the next day.” Most people nowadays check out restaurants before going to them, so this could be seen in their pictures online.
“I worked in a call center for an electricity company and once got this incredible call,” said Redditor The-Shaffy. “Can you see the debt on my account?” “Yes, it’s currently at $2500.” “I know that, I’ve had a payment plan for over a year now; it was originally $5k.” “OK, so how may I help you?” “Can you just wipe the rest of it off?” “You want me to write off $2500 that you owe us? I’m sorry, but I can’t do that.” “This is ridiculous! You can clearly see that I’ve been paying it off!” “Do you mean that you want to pay off the remainder in one lump sum?” “NO! I don’t see why I should have to pay the remainder at all!!”
“Umm… because you used $5000 of electricity. We gave you the option of a payment plan or a card meter to pay off your debt.” “You don’t get it, do you?! I can clearly afford to pay you back as I’ve been doing it for the past year … but I don’t see why I should. Can’t you just accept the fact that I can afford to pay, and we’ll forget the whole thing?” “You used $5000 of electricity, have paid back half of it. Now you think that you don’t have to pay the other half because we are trying to make some kind of the point?” “Exactly!” “Let me get my manager for you…” My manager ended up passing it to her manager.” That’s just a strange complaint.
Redditor Caretaker14 revealed a strange complaint they received at their job. “I was working security at a beach-side complex with a mix of vacationers and year-round residents. The year-round residents were supposed to have tags on their cars, marking them as year-round, so they didn’t need a parking pass. During a routine patrol of the garage, I spotted a car without a pass or a sticker and ticketed it. Thirty minutes later, one of the year-round residents comes storming up to me, waving the ticket. I explained that she needed to display her tag, and she went off on me about how much she paid for the condo, how she paid my salary, etc.”
The guard continues, “The kicker at the end? “Instead of harassing the people who sign your paychecks, you need to do the job you’re being paid to do.” You mean, like, ticketing vehicles without a proper parking pass?” It’s amazing how people can completely miss the point they are trying to make. Getting yelled at for doing your job correctly is simply a new low. Hopefully, this user didn’t take this to heart.
“I used to be a tutor at an after-school program,” said Reddit user Vulfmeister. “We would go over the homework from the previous week. Then we’d take a short quiz on those topics. Then move onto the next topic. This was all in preparation for a citywide exam in NYC (I taught math). These exams are pretty important. They determine what class the kid would be in next year. If a child does extremely poorly on both the math and reading exams, they could even be left-back. So, of course, the parents want their kids to do well. One of the kids was super lazy. He would never have his homework completed. Half of the time not even bringing in the sheet I gave him. …”
The user continued, “Then came exam time. Of course, he scored in the lower ten percentile. The mother comes to my workplace complaining to my manager about how I didn’t do my job. She wanted a refund of all the sessions: twice a week at $25 a session from September to May. My manager was already aware of the kids’ poor performance. But the real satisfaction came when I pulled out his exams, homework, and logs of his scores and performance. I told her she was aware of the issues, the contract we had signed did not guarantee scores of any kind. Also, that she would not be getting any refund. She said that he son would not be coming back next year. Of course, next school year rolls around. She shows up trying to sign. So, we booked other students and had no more room.”
“At McDonald’s, I had a customer who ordered a meal for his family (like a £30 order) to eat in,” revealed Reddit user KieranWoonton. “I began gathering the food, and soon, I had completed the order. I asked if he wanted help carrying the food over to the table and, offended, he scowled at me and said that he was perfectly capable of carrying a couple of trays. Upon picking up two trays of food and drink, one in each hand, he stumbled and dropped his entire order to the floor. The man demanded that I re-complete his order or refund him on the grounds that the trays were overcrowded and too heavy. I refused.”
This unfortunate worked continued, “The fool then pointed his finger at my face and said, “You give me my food, or I’ll knock your freaking head off”. When I apologetically refused him again, he called his family to follow him and kicked the door open (of which hit another employee entering the building after they had taken a parked order out) and stormed out, loudly saying, ‘What a joke.’” This is an example of a time when an employee should call the authorities. This customer threatened an employee and then assaulted another employee.
“I used to work as a bank teller. People who poorly managed their money were always coming into the branch to have fees reversed. You know the type of person — someone who never takes responsibility for anything. Everything that happens to them is someone else’s fault,” claimed Reddit user codeByNumber. “Anyway, one guy, in particular, was always overdrafting his account. He always had some story of how he was wronged and that the overdraft wasn’t his fault. One day he came in wanting to have 10+ overdraft fees reversed. All the transactions were for online poker websites.”
He said, “None of those transactions are mine. This is a fraud! I don’t even gamble online!!!” I said: “Sir, you are wearing a Poker Stars t-shirt.” Think for a moment about any evidence that could work against you. Once you know what that evidence is, it’s best not to wear it. Maybe this user needs to read some books on how to play poker or just quit altogether.
“I manage a women’s clothing store. We had a big sale one day, offering 50% off everything, which was very unusual,” said Redditor painted_nails. “Throughout the store, we placed black signs that said: “50% off your entire purchase.” To signify the clearance section, we used red signs that said 50% off. I had a woman come up the register with arm-loads of clothes. I proceeded to ring her up and give her total, which was ridiculously low for the amount of clothing she was getting (think $50 top reduced to $14.99, plus another 50%).”
“So I finished ringing everything up and gave the woman her total, and she’s looking at me dumbfounded. “No, you made a mistake. The clearance items are free.” At first, I thought she was joking with me, but no. She wanted two discounts of 50% each on all the marked-down stuff. Her logic? The signs are different colors. I should get both colors.” Usually, when something is too good to be true, it just is. It’s highly unlikely a store would just give away free items, so you would think this customer would ask before picking out all of their items.
“A woman comes through the drive-through lane and orders stuff. One of the things is a large diet drink,” revealed Reddit user mman0385. “She pulls around to the window, and I look over to see she is driving a full-size van with a live miniature horse in the back. I hand her the diet, and she gives it to the horse. I’m thinking, OK, that’s weird. I turn away to make sure her order is ready. Then, I turn back around. She is livid. I ask her what’s wrong, and she screams at me and throws a broken cup at me.”
The Reddit user continued on about this strange story, “She tells me off, ranting about how horrible our cups were. Apparently, the horse broke the cup, and it spilled everywhere. I’m like, really, you gave it to a FREAKING HORSE. What did you think was gonna happen? The cup even had dirt and hay on it when I got it back. Just one of the many messed up people I’ve seen during my time as a fast-food employee.” This obviously isn’t alright and any employee should let a manager know right away if this behavior is happening from a coworker or from customer.
“I worked at a famous zoo for many years. I worked with guest relations for quite a few years and heard plenty of crazy complaints,” said Reddit user Browncoatfox. “But the best I heard happened just about a year before I transferred to that department. It is not unbelievable compared to the other things I have heard working there. Basically, every now and then, during summer, the zoo would have animatronic dinosaurs. You know, for kids to come and see. They had done this for years and years off and on, and honestly, it was pretty well-done animatronics. Nothing I would pay to see as an adult really, but really fun for kids.”
Then this complaint took a turn for the weird. “Anyway, apparently, during one of the last summers I know that they had this event, there was a lady from England who came to the guest relations window furious and demanding a refund. As a policy, they try to treat any complaint respectfully and politely, asking what the reason for the refund would be (they are much easier to give a return ticket than a flat refund). Well, the lady didn’t just want her ticket refunded. She wanted her entire trip from England to America refunded as well. Her complaints included: she came to see the dinosaurs, and they weren’t real.”
Here is the king of ridiculous complaints courtesy of Redditor fludru. “I once had a customer complain about me because I answered emails too fast. You see, because he got responses within just a couple of minutes every time he’d ask for tech support, he assumed it was a chat session. Even though he was, you know, emailing us, and each ticket sent an auto-response indicating, “Thanks for your email, you’ll get a response in 1 business day or less, our hours are X to Y”, etc. When we left for the day after sending a response to one of his messages, he was incensed because he felt I abandoned our’ chat session’.”
This is where it got very weird. “I indicated that this was an email thread and not chat. We can only respond during our office hours; he said I was maliciously misleading him into thinking we were chatting. How? By intentionally responding to him too quickly. (I am not sure why I guess, out of some perverse pleasure.) Therefore, we hurt his business and owed him damages when we didn’t immediately respond at any time. Fortunately, my company isn’t pants-on-head stupid about this kind of thing, so I didn’t have to worry about it.” This service was too good, and because this customer doesn’t know the difference between a chat and email, he thought they must pay him.