November Theme Of The Month: Black Friday!

Category: Criminal/Illegal

Imprisoned By The Name

| Washington DC, USA | Bizarre, Crazy Requests, Criminal/Illegal

(I work at a call center where we receive in-custody records from county jails and state prisons. Most people who call us or are routed to us by calling the jail think we are the jail they are calling. This call comes in on the DC line.)

Customer: “Um, hi, yes, I have a friend who is missing, and I want to know if he’s in jail there? His name is [Name]. But he could be in there with the last name [Other Name], too.”

Me: “Okay, let me take a look.” *runs search* “No, ma’am, there’s no one in the system by either name.”

Customer: “His name has to come up to for him to be in jail there, right?”

Me: “…that’s correct, ma’am.”

Racing To Prevent Theft

| CT, USA | Bad Behavior, Bigotry, Criminal/Illegal

(I work at a well-known ‘tween’ girl’s clothing store. I am half black, though I am very light-skinned, so most people just assume I’m white or Hispanic. During training, we’re taught about some of the common ways people shoplift, such as lining empty shopping bags with tinfoil. On this particular day, two black women come into my store carrying a number of shopping bags, at least two of which are empty and I can see tinfoil poking out of one. We are trained to be extra friendly and helpful to people we suspect of trying to shoplift. Since I am up front, I greet them.)

Me: “Good afternoon. Thanks for shopping at [Store]. May I help you find anything today?”

Customer: *brusquely* “I’m all set! Leave me alone!”

Me: “Okay, ma’am, but please let me know if I can help you with anything.”

(I go back to folding jeans, but keep a close eye on the customers. I notice them getting abnormally close to the jeans display, as though they might try to knock them into the empty bag.)

Me: “Just so you know, we’re having a special on these jeans right now. If you buy two pairs, you get $10 to spend on a future purchase.”

Customer: “I told you I didn’t need any help! Why are you following me?!” *I haven’t moved at all throughout this interaction*

Me: “I was just trying to tell you about the sale we’re having.”

Customer: “You’re racist! I don’t see you following anyone else in the store. You think I’m shoplifting! Racist!”

Me: “Ma’am, I can assure you I’m not racist.”

(At this point a coworker of mine, who is also black, but noticeably so, has come over, as has one of my managers.)

Manager: “Is there something I can help you with today?”

Customer: *storms out of the store in a huff*

Need To Take A Seat Due To The Audacity

| Bear, DE, USA | At The Checkout, Bad Behavior, Criminal/Illegal

(I’m shopping at the local grocer’s and standing in line, waiting to pay for my items. There is a woman in front in me unloading her items onto the belt. She finishes unloading and I notice that there is still one item in the seat part of her shopping cart.)

Me: “Ma’am,’ I think you missed an item.”

Woman: *glances at it* “I haven’t decided if I’m going to buy that or not.”

(The cashier rang up her items.  She paid, moved the loaded bags into her cart, and walked away without paying for the item in her cart seat. I guess she decided not to buy it after all; she stole it instead!)

A Professional Approach To Professional Photography

| ON, Canada | Crazy Requests, Criminal/Illegal

Customer: “I want to get these photos copied.”

Me: “Okay, I can copy these, but these ones here I can’t unfortunately, due to company copyright policy.”

Customer: “What does that mean?”

Me: “This is a professional photo, so I can’t copy it without permission from the photographer.”

Customer: “Oh, no, you can copy it.”

Me: “I’m sorry; I can’t.”

Customer: “But one of the people in that picture is dead now!”

Me: “I’m really sorry about that, but our company’s copyright policy is actually pretty strict; it goes until 50 years after the death of the photographer. I honestly don’t feel comfortable copying professional photos until they are at least 65 years old.”

Customer: “Well, this photo is 65 years old.”

Me: “I’m sorry, but this picture isn’t that old. I can do these photos for you, though.”

(I go through the stack of pictures and find some school pictures, which I put aside.)

Me: “I can’t do these ones, though.”

Customer: “WHY NOT!”

Me: “Because these are also professional.”

Customer: “No! They’re school pictures!”

Me: “Yes, that would be professional.”

Customer: “But these people died in 1992!”

Me: “Um, I’m sorry about that, but that doesn’t mean I can copy the picture.”

Customer: “YES, IT DOES!”

Me: “Maybe you didn’t understand me earlier when I said—”


Me: “Then why are you telling me this person died in 1992? That doesn’t change the fact that the photographer has to be dead for 50 years before I can copy it.”


Me: “I’m sorry, I can’t copy it.”

Customer: “Then why are you copying this one?” *points to a photo that looks like it was taken with a point and shoot*

Me: “Because it’s not professional.”

Customer: “Yes, it is! A photographer took that!”

Me: “Well, it didn’t look professional to me, but since you’ve told me that it is, I can’t copy it now.”

Customer: “WHAT?!”

Me: “I’m sorry.”

Customer: “NO! YOU CAN COPY IT!”

Me: “You JUST told me it was professional, after I JUST told you that I couldn’t copy professional photos.”

Customer: “I want to see a manager, then!”

Me: “Okay.”

(My manager proceeded to tell the customer EVERYTHING I had already said, and the customer yelled back at him everything he had yelled at me. He left in a huff.)

Will Likely Want Something For Three

| NJ, USA | Bad Behavior, Criminal/Illegal, Family & Kids

(I am a teenage girl. Over the summer and on school breaks, I work part-time as a receptionist in a hair salon run by a family friend in a Jersey Shore resort town. It is a slow Thursday morning in early September when the phone rings. I stop folding towels to answer it.)

Me: “[Salon], [My Name] speaking. How can I help you?”

Caller: “I would like to lodge a formal complaint.”

(We have no protocols for formal complaints. We are a tiny salon and our clientele are mostly friends of my boss and locals.)

Me: “All right, how can I help you?”

Caller: “My son, [Name], was booked for an appointment this morning at 8:30 and the shop wasn’t open yet!”

(My boss sometimes comes in a little late, but our limited clientele are very understanding. Obviously, this woman isn’t.)

Me: “I’m very sorry about that, ma’am. Would you like to reschedule your son’s appointment?”

Caller: *ignoring me* “I just don’t understand why you would book us for an appointment when no one is going to be there! My son walked there by himself very early in the morning, and it’s very dangerous on the roads!”

Me: “I’m very sorry about that, ma’am. We have open times this afternoon if you’d like to reschedule [Name]’s appointment.”


Me: “If your son is three years old, why did he walk across dangerous, heavily-trafficked roads by himself?”

Caller: “HOW DARE YOU, YOU LITTLE B****! I HOPE YOU DIE!” *click*