Craziest Things Customers Have Tried to Get Away With
One of the most hectic jobs out there is working in retail. These employees are usually told to operate as if the customer is always right — and many customers are more than willing to take advantage of this philosophy with some pretty sneaky actions.
These retail employees took to Reddit to discuss some of the wildest ways customers have tried to cheat the system. Some managed to get away with it, while others got caught red-handed. Check it out!
New Phone, Who’s This?
We swapped a CPU under warranty on a laptop. I didn’t verify the correct part and put a faster one in instead of the original. The unit booted beautifully, so it must be the right part, right? The part got kicked back to us from the vendor, of course. We called the user, and he had changed both his phone numbers and disappeared off the face of the Earth. He didn’t mean to [cheat us], but once he realized what happened, he took off.
I Wanna Rock
In high school, I worked at a service desk at a supermarket. Whenever somebody returned a small appliance, we always cut open the box to make sure all the parts were inside. One day, a guy showed up looking to return an air conditioner. I cut open the box, and there was nothing but a rock inside. He ran out of the store pretty quickly.
Trying to Fool the Kids
I worked at a grocery store a couple years back. One day, this older woman came to my line, bought only a pack of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and paid with a $100 bill. Before I could count her change back to her, she snatched it out of my hand and walked out. A few minutes later, she came back in and claimed that I shorted her $80.
Most of the cashiers in the evening were teenagers, including myself, so she probably just assumed they would be stupid and give her the money, but I called the manager over and asked him to count my cash drawer. Of course, the woman asked if she could go outside for a smoke in the meantime and didn’t come back.
She actually came in again a few months later and tried the same thing. That time when she grabbed for her change, I kept it out of her reach and slowly counted it back to her. She didn’t come back in.
She Played the Game
I worked at a video game store years ago when a little old lady brought in her grandkids and told them to pick out whatever they wanted from the Used PS2 wall, which was still a third of the store at the time. She asked us for a used PS2 with extra used controllers. These kids must have picked out 20 games. She bought and paid for all of them.
As she was leaving, we reminded her — as policy required — that everything used could be returned within seven days for any reason. She said, “Oh I know. My grandkids are only staying with me for five days. I’m bringing all this back on day six! Cheaper than renting!” There was absolutely nothing we could do.
The Mysterious Eater
I manage a restaurant and deal with the slickest customers ever on a regular basis. Just a few hours ago, I had a large table with split checks that were really treating the server horribly. We were glad to see them go. Instead of waiting at the table to pay for the multiple checks, they all stood around in a group at the front while we worked out the bills.
In the cluster of chaos they caused, one of them — a mother with a small child, no less — casually walked out the front door without paying. We noticed the bill was still unpaid as they all left, and the group assured me that she went to the bathroom. One minute later, after checking, the entire group was headed out the door. I confronted them, and they told me she wasn’t with them, and they didn’t even know who she was.
Grooming Them Out of Money
I work for a grooming salon, and we are supposed to verify that the customer has paid for the services before we give them the dog. Harsh, I know, but some of these grooms run upwards of $100, and the store doesn’t want to lose that, and I don’t want to lose my commission.
Anyway, a lady came back from supposedly paying and showed me a receipt. It’s a little crinkled, but nothing I believe is out of the ordinary. I gave her the dog. It turned out she had shown me the receipt from the previous time the dog had gotten groomed. I didn’t check the date or anything.
That’s One Insane Discount
I was working at a clothes store, and we had just gotten in the “Rockstar Skinnies,” and they came in an array of ghastly colors. A woman came up to my register holding a bright blue pair. It was very obvious these were the pants that are in the front of the store, on display everywhere. I rang her up and told her, “That’ll be $34.94,” and she promptly said, “No, they’re on sale.”
I looked at the back of the tag I scanned, and there’s a sloppily slapped-on clearance sticker for $2.95. I explained that it must have been a mistake, because these are brand new pants. If they were on sale, it would show up in my system. She demanded a manager, and my supervisor called shenanigans, which made the woman storm away grumbling about how the store is lame.
We potentially would have honored a sale sticker if it made it on there somehow — even though it was obviously her — if she would have at least put a realistic price on there. You really think you’re going to get away with paying $3 for a pair of jeans?
Heart of Glass
Being a klutzy server, I once dropped a stack of oyster plates on my first day. My table joked that oysters came on their own plates anyway. As I was laughing it off with them, we heard a shriek from a few rows of tables over.
A woman insisted some rogue sharp piece had ricocheted over and cut her leg, and she is pinching her cut to “drain the blood.” Her husband has her elevate her leg on a chair, and she starts deep breathing. My manager rushes out with a free bottle of wine and tries to gauge the wound. The woman isn’t in my section, but when I go to check in on how she’s feeling, she responds with wide eyes, “I feel like I’ve been shot.”
Shortly after comping her meal and 20 minutes into overapologizing and babying her, my manager realizes she is displaying a shard of glass as the culprit. The plates were ceramic.
A Different Card for Each Day
I had a customer come into the store to buy two 42-inch LG TVs. He paid half-cash, half-credit with a card that didn’t have a signature on it and was badly damaged on the front. We asked him the name on it, and he said it was his. We asked to see his ID — policy for credit card customers — and he showed us an ID with a different name on it than what he said.
When I told him we couldn’t ring up the transaction, he immediately got ticked off and told me that I have “lost a customer” and that I “should be ashamed of myself” for following policy. I shrugged and told him he didn’t have to buy the TVs from us. He got even angrier but paid with cash.
Fast forward a week later, he came in and tried to steal two pre-owned games by taking them into the bathroom and breaking the clamshells on them. He came out, and we nailed him for it. It turned out he had warrants out for his arrest, and he had stolen four credit cards and used them within the last month.
Probably Should Have Used a Pay Phone
I work in customer service for a major cell phone company. “I never received the phone I purchased,” happens all the time. It’s actually very amusing, because then I can do this: “Oh, gosh, Mr. Derp, I’m so sorry that you didn’t receive your phone. The tracking number indicates that it was delivered to the address you requested about three days ago. Have you possibly checked with a neighbor who may have retrieved it for you?”
Mr. Derp will then insist no one has it, and it must have been stolen. He wants a new phone, of course. My reply? “Hmmm. Okay, then, Mr. Derp. The reason I’m asking is because I’m pretty concerned. The serial number of the phone we sent you is actually showing as being in use for three days on the same line you’re calling me from right now.” Click.
Not Dear Old Grandpa!
I worked as a cashier in high school, and this one time a guy wouldn’t let me lift a box out of his cart. He was an elderly guy and tried to be real gentleman-like about it, saying things like, “Oh, sweetheart, I don’t want you to hurt your back. It’s a heavy box.” He didn’t account for two things: policy and my willful nature. I’m stubborn, and when someone implies I’m too weak to do something, I’m 500% more inclined to do it anyway.
So, I lift up the box. It’s supposed to be like some decor or something — a one-piece deal — but instead of hearing nothing like you would expect from a Styrofoam-packed, single item in a box, I heard what sounded like a large collection of items jumbled together. I called my manager over. It turned out he was trying to steal a ton of electronics stuff and DVDs — and he seemed like such a nice old man.
Don’t Think You’re Ready for This Jelly
I work at a gas station my uncle owns, and I had a guy come in and try to steal donuts, but this guy wasn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer. He stuffed three jelly-filled donuts under his shirt and tried to pay for gas and leave before I noticed. Suffice it to say that I had a fun time watching him explain the giant, growing jelly stain on his shirt.
Yes! We Have No Bananas
I used to work as a shift leader at a chocolate shop that served fondue. We’d serve bananas, among other things, to dip in the chocolate. One time, we got a bad batch of bananas that we had to throw away early because they went bad so fast. So, we were telling customers they would get extra of everything else, but we had no bananas.
Well, a lady came in and wanted a fondue, and we gave her the no-banana speech, and she was totally okay with it. As soon as we took the fondue out to her, she went crazy and freaked out about not having bananas! Her son even said, “They said they didn’t have any!” but she just shushed him and continued yelling at me.
I don’t know what happened, but the next thing that came out of my mouth was, “Well, ma’am, I told you we had no bananas. If you want them so bad, we have some spoiled ones in the dumpster out back. Feel free to help yourself.” My coworkers busted out laughing behind me, but she wasn’t so happy. She ended up calling in our pushover manager and got a free fondue — not because of what I said but because there were no darned bananas!
If the Shoe Fits
One night, a lady came in with two teenage girls and asked for a product. She was all over the place, changing subjects left and right (most likely trying to confuse me). She finally decided on a product, and she paid with a $20 bill. I counted out her change, but before I handed it to her, she said, “Never mind. I don’t want it anymore.” I handed her back a $20, and literally two seconds later she was holding a $1 bill and said I only gave her a $1.
I looked down at the register, and for some strange reason, I had a photographic memory image of which way the bills were facing, and I knew 99.99% that I gave her back the $20. I remembered when I put her $20 in, it was facing right, but the $20 in the drawer was facing left. She was threatening to call the police, but I knew I was right. We have cameras in the store, so I said, “Let’s review the tape.”
As I was rewinding, she left in a fit saying she was calling the cops. I watched the tape, and I could clearly see her pull out the $1, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what happened to the $20 I handed back to her because there was no time for her to stash it. After reviewing three cameras from different angles, I saw her drop the $20, and one of the teenage girls took off her shoe, picked it up with her toes and slid it back into her shoe, all in a matter of seconds — total con.
Wrong Store, People
A couple of people tried to get refunded for items that had our competitor’s branding on them. Every time somebody tried that, I would just point to the supermarket’s name in giant letters on the wall and then back down to the label with our competitor’s name.
Game Over, Miss
I was managing afternoon tea at a really nice hotel in my town. There was a table with two women — one of whom was employed as a manicurist in the spa — and a child around 5 years old playing on a DS. They enjoyed their petit fours, etc., but when we presented them with the bill, they started complaining that the DS was stolen from their table when they went to the restroom.
I explained that none of my staff had seen it, nor had they taken it. Fast-forward 30 minutes, and they are demanding that we comp their bill — around $30 per person — and replace the missing DS. The whole time, the little girl is squirming and looking like she wants to say something. Next thing I know, she looked at the lady making the fuss and said she was sitting on the DS. Sure enough, everyone stopped talking, and the woman looked defeated. She was sitting on the DS case the entire time and was aware that it was there.
No Tip for You
I deliver Chinese food, and a few weeks ago, I had an order that was like $62, and I had about $40 on me for change. When I got to the house, the customer handed me a $100 bill and asked me if I had change. I said I thought I had just enough. As I’m fumbling with another member of the household to hand them bags, I started to take out my money, and she took it out of my hands and said, “Oh, I’ll do that for you.”
It was kind of rude, but a nice gesture I thought since I was somewhat busy. “Oh, this will do,” she said and closed the door. I know I had a few dollars over what she needed, so not only did she not tip me, I actually lost a couple of bucks. It was a fairly distant order too, but I’m not going to start trouble for such a small amount, but it sure did tick me off.
Meat and Greet
There was the woman who came to my register with a whole bunch of large cuts of meat. I went to scan them automatically, but when I grabbed the label, it moved. Thank God for slightly damp meat packages. She had taken the labels off old cuts of meat she had bought or dug out of the trash. There were $20 cuts of meat with $7 labels!
I called my manager over. We never directly accused her, but it was obvious it was her. She made up a weird excuse like, “It’s my birthday, so I want my steak,” and paid the $20 per package instead of the $7. Tell me, if you picked out meat you thought was $7, would you pay $20 once you found out someone had tampered with the label?
That’s Screwed Up
I was in high school, working at a bakery and cafe. It was in the middle of a dinner rush, and I was on the sandwich line. I made a turkey sandwich for some man, and I put it up on the counter as he thanked me. Less than a minute later, the guy came back up to the counter with the top slice of bread turned over and two shiny screws sitting on top of the sandwich. He claimed the screws were in his sandwich. We don’t have screws anywhere on the sandwich line, and they were clearly shiny and new. The dude got like $60 worth of free food.
Learn to Read
At the gas station I work for, we sell cups of soup during the winter. I live in Wisconsin, and it can get quite cold. The soup costs $2.99. When I say “cup of soup,” it’s more than a measuring cup. It’s probably 12 fluid ounces). Well, this old guy comes in every day and buys soup — and every day he complains how expensive it is.
A couple of days ago, he came in and bought soup. He came up to the register and handed me $2. So, I rang up $2.99 plus tax, and it came out to about $3.15-ish. Then he got all flustered because he thought he saw a sign that said it was $2.59 a cup even, although he knew darn well it was $2.99.
Use the Force
I had a customer come in and want to “return” two lightsaber toys. He didn’t have a receipt, and nobody remembered him. After a fairly long conversation trying to find out what his deal was, he decided to “come back later.” He then left with said lightsaber toys. Well, after further investigation — 30 seconds after he left — we found out he didn’t, in fact, buy two lightsaber toys from us. Oh no. What he did was much worse.
It turned out he just walked into the store, grabbed two of our lightsaber toys, claimed he bought them and tried to return them. He then walked out with them after the whole “we can’t find the transaction” conversation. He told us he would be in tomorrow, but, of course, he didn’t show.
Complaints Piling Up
I used to work as a housekeeper/maid in a hotel — not a particularly fancy one, about £110 per night — and we frequently had people whine and moan about something. We have had people switch rooms six or seven times during their three-night stay because “it’s too hot” or “it’s too cold” or “the bathroom is too small” or “the bed is too small.”
We had one man and his dog stay in the annex building with the three smallest, coldest, worst rooms, and I had to service the room. The next day, I saw a small dog running around the main building and asked reception why. He had complained bitterly about there being no tea, coffee, spoons, towels or toiletries in the room. I got the blame, and he got the biggest room free-of-charge for an extra week. Of course, he didn’t think to shut his suitcase, so we quickly worked out that he had taken everything. He still got the room for free.
Come and Knock on Our Door
I work in a call center for a housing association. I take calls from tenants regarding repairs that need to be made. It’s social welfare housing, and the majority of the tenants are either old or incredibly rude and poorly educated. (I obviously don’t want to generalize too much. I actually live in one myself, and I’m none of those). So, all day, every day, I am inundated with sometimes insanely rude people demanding small repairs be done immediately.
This one lady rang, detailing to me that her front door had warped and had come away from its frame, leaving a gap between the door and the frame. This wasn’t an emergency (eight hours) or even an urgent job (five working days), but I kindly said we could have someone there in four days’ time, actually bending the rules to help her. She was disgusted that she would have to live four days with a door that was in fine working condition but just needed some easing.
She started to shout that she had a child who was “chronic” and that her mother was agoraphobic and even the sight of daylight sent her into a fit. I explained I couldn’t bring the job forward, and she started to go nuts, explaining that if something happened to her child she would go to the local press.
Three days later, she called us back up, saying she had taken my name to the press and that her son had been taken to the hospital as a result of the one-inch gap between her door and the frame. He had to have surgery, and the housing association would have to foot the bill. She then called a day later — after the door was fixed — saying she was going to sue me, as the job was done poorly, and her mother was now hospitalized. I was kind of scared, but all my fellow workers were laughing: This is obviously an A-grade con routine.
Sounds Cheesy to Me
I worked at a family-owned restaurant and had a lot of strange people. One person ordered a cheeseburger and demanded a refund after completely finishing it. When I asked why, she said, “Because it didn’t have cheese.” She tried to convince me that the “cheese” on the wrapping paper wasn’t cheese.
A Buggy Situation
Two other cooks and I once watched a woman pick a bug up off the ground of the patio at our restaurant, put it in her nearly finished salad and call a waitress over to complain to get her meal for free.
Play Your Credit Cards Right
A customer called my boss to complain that I hadn’t given her credit card back to her after her transaction. She went on about how irresponsible I was and how I should lose my job and was probably trying to steal her identity. He reminded her that we use a self-swipe credit card terminal, and I had never touched her card. She had dropped it on the floor.
Sneaking Some More Entries
I work in a supermarket. One day, a man came in and brought £5 on the lottery for that night. He left, and I carried on serving other customers. About 10 minutes later, he came back complaining that I never gave him the tickets, which I had! My manager, who has no backbone, didn’t stand up for me or check the CCTV and just gave him another lottery ticket for the £17,000,000 drawing that night. Thankfully, he didn’t win.