‘A customer sat on me’: Students tell their worst customer service horror stories
And honestly, some people are just jerks
We’ve all heard customer service horror stories, whether you’ve lived through them, know a friend who has or saw the thread that blew up on Twitter this week. And you can really tell when someone hasn’t worked in this area – trust me, it shows. Probably because they haven’t hidden in a stock room crying because a Karen shouted at them for forty minutes straight, so their will to live is still intact. Or because they’re still relatively uncaring about the capitalist agenda, when actually the enlightened of us have been eating pastries and grapes on shift at our supermarket job like we paid for them (we most certainly did not).
Regardless, customer service jobs shape you. But the customers break you. The only thing they’re good for is helping you bond with your oh so necessary work pals so you can sidle over to them and say “guess who walked in” when the customer from hell reappears. For pure catharsis reasons, we asked students for their worst customer service experiences with nightmarish customers and it’s enough to put you off working ever again.
“During the Christmas period the queues were going up the aisles and I was on queue control to make sure other shoppers could still get what they needed and move round the store. One lady cut in and went straight to the checkout, I explained she would either need to join the back of the queue or go to the basket checkout but she wanted to cut in because she only had five items in her basket. I explained that the other people had been waiting for quite a while and it wouldn’t be fair, so she just threw the basket of shopping at me.” Ouch.
“I was fine, it wasn’t a hard throw so I caught it and nothing broke. Wouldn’t want to meet this woman if something was actually wrong, though.”
“It was a huge coffee shop and it gets especially busy during summer, so it can be very loud. I was serving an absolute Karen. She asked, obviously, for a double shot latte with an extra shot of vanilla. I misheard the vanilla part, and wanted to make sure I got it right.
“When I asked her, ‘sorry would you be able to repeat that?’ She turned around and said: ‘what? Oh pathetic, you uneducated silly girl with no brain!’ I was so taken aback I just found myself telling her that I was actually studying a degree and had three A levels.”
“I got shouted at because our bananas weren’t the same price as Asda’s.”
“I will never forget one time when I was crouched down sorting out something on the lowest shelf and the guy came and sat on me. Not even leaning he full on sat on my back.
“I asked politely for him to move but he just simply said he needed a rest and that the customer is always right. I fell over in the end because I was struggling to breathe and he obviously fell down with me. He started shouting and swearing at me and telling me that he was going to sue me.
“To this day I still think about how weird the whole thing is.”
“One guy would always look at what my top had on it and ask questions about it, but he was basically always looking at my boobs. All the girls at work would hide out back when he came in.”
Susie added: “Someone I worked with also got a smoothie chucked on her, that was rough.”
Amy recalled working in a restaurant and greeted a customer with severe food allergies. “We clean everything down to avoid cross contamination when dealing with people with allergies” she explained, so of course, the customer had to wait a bit longer before being seated.
“I apologised for the extra wait, but the customer started shouting that it was ridiculous and just because she had an allergy doesn’t mean she should have to starve. Some people are just crazy, it was ten minutes maximum we have people waiting whilst we clean.”
Chandler told The Tab: “It was 20 minutes after the store had closed and a customer was still walking round the shop. I said to him please could he leave because the shop was closed and he ran off, grabbed a bunch of bananas and threw them at me from across the aisle.”
Little bit random if you ask me.
“I asked a customer what they wanted and they said the chef knows the order and I explained I need the order to put in the computer and send it to the kitchen, but they kept saying that the chef saw them come in and he wouldn’t need to order.
“Word for word, he said ‘My dear girl..’ and explained how he’d been coming to the restaurant since it opened so the chef knows what he wants. Honestly, fish and chips would have taken five seconds to say. Then they complained they hadn’t got their cup of tea. It was the worst because it was just so dumb.”
She also dealt with one customer who wasn’t happy with the speed of service, “they were sighing and complaining and they asked us to follow up on her food. The chef said putting it in now – since everything is cooked fresh – and it’ll be seven minutes before its done, so we tell her that and exactly seven minutes later she gets our attention, holds out her watch and says it’s been seven minutes where’s my food.” Sigh.
“One customer started on me because the kitchen put relish on his burger. I was 16 and he was a 6ft 18+ year old. His dad just sat there while I cried.”
“When the craze over toilet rolls hit, we sold out of them pretty quick and this woman came and complained to me about how we should have more stock in. I calmly explained that we were expecting more stock the following morning but they sell out quite quickly so if she needed some she’d have to come to the store early.
“She then proceeded to flounce around saying she was vulnerable and needed toilet paper desperately like I was able to magic some out of thin air. It went on for about 10 minutes before she kicked the shelf next to me and shattered a glass jar on the floor. She hurried off rather quickly without her shopping after that so I’m guessing it wasn’t that important.”
“This one guy with a toddler came to me asking for some snack sized rolls from the bakery, but we didn’t have any out and he wanted to know when more were going to get made. I didn’t work on bakery so had to go ask someone else but by that point the man was already getting sassy that I didn’t personally know.
“I told him that none were being cooked and offered alternative products but he refused to get a different size and so I went and found out that the new rolls wouldn’t be cooked and ready for a few hours and he began shouting even more. He came back later asking why we don’t have a particular frozen item in stock as well and I explained since we’re a smaller store we don’t stock that item but our bigger stores do. He then totally lost it and was swearing and saying I was useless.
“Not exactly setting a good example to the kid.”
“I’ve lost count of the amount of Christmas dinners I’ve supposedly ruined because we didn’t have a certain product in stock. It’s only a small shop but people act like we should have the same stock as a big supermarkets” Rosie said.
“This one woman threatened to come to my house and ruin my Christmas dinner because we had run out of eggs and it was Christmas eve. She then threw her basket to the floor and stormed out. Unluckily for me, the yoghurt in her basket exploded and I got absolutely covered in it.”