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  • Bigotry Comes In All Shapes And Sizes
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    Obsessions With Possessions

    | Houston, TX, USA | Bad Behavior, Extra Stupid

    (We don’t have associates permanently supervising the fitting rooms, so they’re left unattended for periods of time while the fitting room associate cleans out the other ones. I enter an open fitting room to find an entire outfit of clothes that we do not sell. My first instinct was that someone had changed into our clothes in the fitting room and stolen them, leaving theirs behind. I then look over to see a phone and a purse left in the fitting room, and take the items to a manager to report the incident and laugh at the supposed thief’s stupidity. Just then, an angry looking woman comes up to the counter.)

    Customer: “Those are my things!”

    Me: “Oh! You left them in the fitting room.”

    Customer: *angrily* “Well, I wasn’t finished…”

    Me: “I’m sorry ma’am. You left your things in an open, unsupervised fitting room. You’re lucky I found them. If another customer had walked in there they could have just grabbed them at walked right out.”

    Customer: “But I wasn’t finished!”

    Tis The Seasoning

    | MI, USA | Awesome Customers, Crazy Requests, Food & Drink

    (My father and I decide to go out to eat at a chain restaurant around Christmas. We can’t help but overhear a table, with a husband who has remained silent the entire time, and a wife, complaining about how her meal has been ruined by the waiter, who happens to be the manager on duty.)

    Woman: “Excuse me, sir. You completely ruined my steak. This is not what I ordered.”

    Manager: “I’m sorry, ma’am. I would be more than happy to correct this error. May I ask what is wrong with your steak? Is it overcooked?”

    Woman: “Just slightly but the major problem is the seasonings you put on the steak. I cannot stand it. I want just a plain steak. No seasonings.”

    (Overhearing this, I realize I have ordered the same thing, a Cajun top sirloin, which clearly states that there is spices put on the steak. After a few minutes, the manager comes back with a plain steak for the other table, as well as my meal. After delivering my meal, the woman pulls the manager back to her table.)

    Woman: “Sir, this is the second time, and the last time I hope I have to call you over here. You ruined my steak again. This steak is so bland and flavorless. How hard is it to give me a good steak with a bit of salt and pepper?”

    Manager: “I am sorry for the confusion, ma’am. I’ll go fix your order personally.”

    Woman: *as the manager is leaving the table, but clearly able to hear* “You know, honey, why would a place like this put that seasoning on something when it doesn’t even say it has it on there? No one likes that stuff anyway.”

    (Both my father and I have worked in restaurants most of our lives are fed up by this demanding customer and come to the aid of the manager.)

    Myself: *loud enough for the manager to hear* “Oh, my god! What did they do to this steak!?” *I see the woman turn around and give me a look of agreement as my dad is trying the steak* “This is the best steak I have ever had! And the seasoning is GREAT!”

    (The husband is nearly falling out of his chair laughing as the wife stays silent for the rest of the meal. The manager later thanked us for helping silence the customer. Knowing he was going to get stiffed on a tip, we each pitched $10 just to make his day a little brighter.)

    Making A Mute Point

    | IL, USA | Bigotry, Extra Stupid, Technology

    (I am at visiting a game store that I go to quite often, to the point that most of the employees consider me a “regular”. Due to a throat injury I received when I was younger, I am mute. I’m there to see if they have a copy of a game that had, at the time, just come out. There are only two employees working at the time; both are behind the counter as I walk in. Any ‘dialog’ of mine for this story is actually just me scribbling into a notepad and showing it to whoever I am speaking to, as it’s my main method of communicating.)

    Employee #2: “Hey, [My Name], are you looking for something?”

    Me: “Yeah. I was hoping you had a copy of [Game], since I wasn’t able to reserve a copy.”

    Employee #1: “Yeah, we have a few. I’ll show you where they are.”

    (He shows me to where they are, and leaves me to do some extra browsing. He returns to the register, where his coworker is, when another customer approaches them. He appears to be in his late-teens/early 20s.)

    Customer: “Hey, you really shouldn’t encourage her like that.”

    (The customer gestures to me, and isn’t even being subtle about it.)

    Employee #2: “I’m sorry, sir, but I have no clue what you mean.”

    Customer: “That girl over there! If you treat her like a normal person, she might get the wrong idea!”

    Employee #1: “With all due respect, what are you even talking about?”

    Customer: “Don’t play dumb! She’s clearly retarded! Won’t it look bad for business if you let a [slur] wander around? And besides, she’s a girl! She probably doesn’t even play video games!”

    (Unfortunately, people assuming I am either deaf or mentally handicapped because of my inability to speak is a common occurrence. I’ve gotten used to it, but it doesn’t make it any less annoying. Still, I do my best to ignore it. The assumption that I don’t play video games because I’m a girl isn’t as common, but it does come up once in a while.)

    Employee #2: “Please forgive me, sir, but I’m going to have to ask that you not speak about her that way. Not only is she a regular customer, but she’s definitely NOT mentally handicapped. She just can’t speak because of—”

    Customer: “Right! Because she’s retarded! I don’t think it’s safe to let her wander around the store. What if she ends up making someone else retarded?!”

    (All three of us are completely dumbfounded. As mentioned before, I’m used to these sorts of assumptions, but this was a new one.)

    Customer: “So are you going to kick her out or not? People like her don’t deserve to be in here!”

    Employee #1: *visibly angry, and doing his best to keep his cool* “No, we’re not. However, if you don’t stop insulting out customers, we are going to have to ask YOU to leave!”

    Customer: “What the h***, man?! I’m just looking out for your best interest! If you wanna treat that [slur] like she’s a person, that’s your business, but don’t come running to me if it hurts your business!”

    Employee #1: “Okay, that’s it. We tried being civil. Please leave and don’t come back.”

    (The customer is clearly pissed off, but before he can say or do anything, I walk over and slip a note into his hands. He instinctively reads the note.)

    Me: “By the way, you can call me retarded all you want, but at least I’m not the one with their fly unzipped.”

    (He looks down and confirms that his fly is, indeed, unzipped. His face turns a shade of red, and then storms off in what I can only assume was a combination of rage and embarrassment. We still laugh about it to this day!)

    The Sound Of Silence

    | Calgary, AB, Canada | Bizarre, Crazy Requests

    (A customer comes into my shoe store and requests several pairs to try on. He tries the first pair and walks around.)

    Customer: “No, no. I don’t like shoes that make noise. I need quiet shoes.”

    (I give him a new pair to try.)

    Customer: “No, I said QUIET shoes! QUIET!”

    Me: “Sir, what noise are you referring to? I’m not hearing it.”

    (He walks around more.)

    Customer: “That! You don’t hear that?”

    (All I can hear is the sound of his footsteps.)

    Me: “Can’t say I do.”

    (He begins stomping his foot on the floor.)

    Customer: “Listen to how loud those are!”

    Me: “That’s just your foot stomping.”

    Customer: “It’s the shoe!”

    Me: “So you want a shoe that won’t even make the sound of a footstep?”

    Customer: “Yes!”

    Me: “… Good luck?”

    Caught With Her Pants Down

    | OR, USA | Bigotry, Crazy Requests, School

    (I manage a set of female residence halls at a small, private university.)

    Me: “Hello, Ms. Smith? This is the residential coordinator for your daughter’s hall. I’m calling on behalf of my student staffer to find out what’s going on that you’re concerned about.”

    Mom: “What?! Why the h*** you callin’ me? That’s stupid!”

    Me: “Well, you contacted my student staff saying that you needed to talk to them immediately about your daughter. I told them I would call you back because there are a lot of legal issues surrounding parent communication that they are not necessarily up to date on. So, what’s the problem?”

    Mom: “I hate this university. That is so stupid. Well, anyway, some stupid [Asian slur] stole my daughter’s pants from the laundry!”

    Me: “I’m sorry, what? Tell me exactly what you know.”

    Mom: “Well, she went down to move her laundry into the dryer, and someone already had done it! She was only an hour late! And there was some [Asian slur] girl doing her own laundry! She told my daughter that she didn’t move the laundry, that it was already moved when she got there, but she could hardly speak English, so she’s lying.”

    (Note: We have five washers for 200 girls. You have to be on top of your laundry or someone will move it so they can do their own. 10 minutes is the grace period we encourage people to give others.)

    Me: “Okay, well, I will talk to your daughter and get some more information, including who the other student was.”

    Mom: “It was a [Asian slur]! I’m so disgusted with this University. We pay so much for it and it’s terrible.”

    Me: “I’m going to have to ask you to stop saying that word. We have several students of Asian descent who live in the building, and I honestly cannot imagine any of them stealing laundry. I will talk to your daughter to get more information and hopefully find the pants. I hope one student’s potential actions don’t cloud your judgment of the university as a whole.”

    Mom: “Well, I am going to go say very bad things about this University to everyone I know! You all should teach students how to handle laundry and how to be nice people! It’s your job!”

    Me: “I will be sending a reminder email about laundry etiquette to the building, but all I can do is encourage good behavior. We also will document the situation with the pants, and try to find out what happened. I hope we find them. Is that all I can help you with?”

    Mom: “Well, I’m very angry, and it’s stupid that you called, and that d*** [Asian slur] needs to be sent back to her own country!”

    Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way, ma’am. Goodbye.”

    (Five minutes later, the resident found her pants, in her room, in her laundry basket. She hadn’t looked for them before talking to her mother. I hate my job.)


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