Category: Liars & Scammers

Ever come across a customer that has made you want to call the police? These ones pretty much ensure it. It goes way beyond the realms of shoplifting or threatening behavior. Some of these customers are too stupid even for those…

A Deception For The Books

| Victoria, BC, Canada | Bad Behavior, Family & Kids, Liars & Scammers

(I am working in the children’s section of my bookstore. A father and his son, about five or six, come in and start browsing the books. I notice the child walk up to his dad with a rather expensive hardcover dinosaur book he had been reading.)

Child: *whispering* “Dad, I accidentally ripped a page in this book.”

(Sure enough, I look over to see a sizeable tear going half way up one page. The father turns his head and we make awkward eye contact where I give him a pained smile. Before I have the chance to say anything, he turns back to his son.)

Dad: “Well, buddy, that’s too bad, and you have to be more careful with things that aren’t yours. I guess we’re taking this home with us now.”

(Not expecting that level of decency, I am pleasantly surprised. The child, however, is not happy about this.)

Child: “What? No, I don’t want this one. I want another one!”

Dad: *shrugs* “Well, I’m sorry, but do you think any other kid is going to want this book now? We damaged it so we have to buy it.”

(The kid throws a bit of a fit but the father calmly repeats that they have to buy the book. They leave the section shortly after. I am really pleased with the father’s attitude, happy that he intends to pay for the book when many other parents would just cut and run. I tell a few coworkers about the customers and the incident lifts my spirits. However, half an hour later another coworker approaches me.)

Coworker: “Here, I just found this book wedged in the corner of my section behind a bunch of stuff.”

(To my dismay it’s the damaged dinosaur book! I guess either the child got his way in the end, or the father’s speech was all a show to fool me. Either way I was extremely unimpressed! We marked the book down to clearance and still no one wanted to buy it, just as the dad predicted!)

It’s Payback Time

, | Bangalore, India | At The Checkout, Crazy Requests, Liars & Scammers, Money

(I am working part-time as a cashier in a cafeteria in a large college campus where I am a student. A young man accompanied by a girl approaches my counter. The man starts to order.)

Customer: “Listen, I will pay you later. You can trust me.”

Me: “Sorry, I need payment first before we can serve you the items you ordered.”

Customer: “You can trust me. Everyone on this campus knows me.”

Me: “I still need payment first as I have never met you before and don’t know you. My till cannot come up short. So if I let you have these items without you paying for it then I will have to pay for it out of my pocket. Since you are well known on campus as you said, perhaps you can find someone here in the cafeteria who will let you borrow some money.”

Customer: “No, you don’t understand. You can easily find me in the campus. I will be either in my room in the [Dorm] which is very close by, or in the [Department]. You can ask anyone in the campus.”

Me: “Sorry, but you seem to be suggesting that I just give you the items you ordered now and then I run about the campus to collect payment from you later in your dorm or your department. Obviously I cannot do that. As your dorm is close by, can’t you just get some money from your room?”

(The customer just glared at me for a few seconds, let loose a string of expletives, and stormed out with the girl following behind. If he was trying to impress the girl about how important he was, he went about doing that in a very stupid way. He cannot expect a random person to pay for his date!)

Ebola, E-Coli, And Strep, Oh My

| Canada | Food & Drink, Health & Body, Liars & Scammers

(A customer orders a vegetarian pizza and he insists that we put quadruple cheese on it.)

Me: “Well, I would not recommend that, sir, since the dough won’t cook properly if we do.”

Customer: “I don’t care; it’s what I want!”

Me: “Okay, then…”

(I make the pizza the way he wants it and he takes it home. About a half hour later the guy calls back demanding to talk to the manager.)

Me: “I am sorry, sir, but we close soon and the manager will not be in until tomorrow. Is there something I can help you with?”

Customer: “Your pizza made us all sick! We took one bite and now we all have salmonella! I want my money back!”

Me: “Umm… sir, salmonella is caused by meat or raw eggs… and you got a vegetarian pizza. Also it would probably take longer than the time you had to eat it to get sick.”

Customer: “Fine! We got… streptococcus!”

Me: “We gave you strep throat… with a pizza?” *I think he meant staphylococcus*

Customer: “No, no… it’s… I know what it is… it’s Ebola!”

Me: *at this point I am trying not to crack up* “So… you have a hemorrhagic fever? I would highly recommend you going to the doctor and not bother to call us, sir. But I think you mean E coli… and that comes from under-cooked meat or contaminated food… and it takes about two to three days to show symptoms… Now, if you are talking about the under-cooked dough, I warned you about that, but the worst you could get from that is maybe a little indigestion.”

Customer: “How do you know about all those diseases?!”

Me: “It was a slow night last night and I read one of our food prep guides, and it had a section on food poisoning and how to avoid it… Now, is there anything else I can help you with, sir?”

(By this point I am putting on my sweet-as-pie voice.)

Customer: *long pause and then a sheepish voice* “No… thank you. Have a good night.” *hangs up*

Put On Your Scamming Shoes

| NV, USA | Liars & Scammers

(I work as a cashier for a local sporting goods store. On this particular day, we have two managers on the floor, as well as several other employees. During a lull, one of the managers and my relief cashier step outside to hang large sale signs in our windows. While I’m working the register, a haggard-looking man comes in with a box of running shoes and asks to exchange them. Our system requires a manager code to process any returns, so I call the remaining manager to the counter to start the process. As we wait for my manager, I open up the shoe box to inspect the contents. While it IS a brand that we sell, the shoes are a color and model that I’ve never seen before.)

Me: *to manager* “This man would like to return these shoes.”

Manager: *customer* “Okay. Do you happen to have a receipt for them?”

Customer #1: “No, I don’t.”

(Since he doesn’t have a receipt, we’re required to ask for his ID for loss prevention purposes. As my manager looks his ID over, I scan the shoes. Sure enough, neither the bar code or model number show up anywhere in our inventory. This isn’t terribly uncommon, since our store is located a few blocks away from another brand of sporting goods store, so people do occasionally mix us up.)

Manager: “I’m sorry, sir. These shoes aren’t in our inventory and this model isn’t carried by our company. We can’t return them.”

Customer #1: “That’s fine. I understand.”

(The customer takes his mystery shoes and leaves, and I go back to my usual duties. Not two minutes later, another haggard-looking man walks into the store and comes up to my counter.)

Me: “Hello. How can I help you today?”

Customer #2: *places a pair of ski goggles on my counter* “I bought these a couple of weeks ago and I’d like to return them. I never got around to using them.”

(There are two things sketchy about his statement. One: It’s mid-August. Any and all of our snow sports equipment was packed up and shipped back to our distribution center in April. Two: His ‘unused’ ski goggles are in very rough shape. The lenses are scratched so badly it looks like he’s been cleaning them with steel wool. I call up my manager again.)

Manager: “Hi. What can I do for you?”

Customer #2: “I’d like to return these. I bought them a couple of weeks ago and I’ve never used them.”

Manager: *equally suspicious* “I see. Well, let me check my computer and see what I can do for you.”

(My manager takes the goggles and starts typing in the bar code and model numbers into our inventory system. Despite being suspicious about the whole thing, I ask for the customer’s ID in case we do need to start a return. On the sly, however, I manage to write down the customer’s name on a small piece of paper and tuck it away. It is at this exact moment that I watch my relief cashier, who had been standing outside with the other manager, come rushing into the store and bolt for the back room. Seconds later, the phone next to the cash registers rings. My manager answers it, listens for a moment, then hangs up. He takes the ski goggles and hands them back to Customer #2.)

Manager: “I’m sorry, sir. We can’t return the goggles. They’re not coming up in our system.”

Customer #2: “They have to come up. I bought them from here.”

Manager: “I’m sorry. My system isn’t recognizing the model number or bar code. I can’t take them back.”

Customer #2: “Look again. I just want a return. I’ve never used these things!”

Manager: *picks up goggles and hold them up to the light* “Are you sure? These look really banged up.”

Customer #2: “No, I’ve never used them.”

Manager: “I mean, look at the lenses. They’re really scratched.”

Customer: “They’re fine. I was just cleaning them with my shirt to wipe the dirt off. I didn’t want to return them with dirt all over them.”

Manager: “I’m really sorry. We can’t take them back.”

(Despite Customer #2’s insistence, my manager declines the return. He’s forced to leave after a line of irritated customers starts to form behind him. Once he’s out the door, I hand my manager the slip of paper with Customer #2’s name on it. He takes it and heads into the main office. After the line dies down, my relief cashier comes up to the register.)

Coworker: “Are they gone?”

Me: “Who?”

Coworker: “The two rough-looking guys who needed returns.”

Me: “Yeah, they’re gone. Why?”

(As it turned out, there had been a van full of sketchy-looking people parked in our store’s parking lot that my coworker and second manager had been watching. They watched Customer #1 leave the van, walk into our store, then walk back out once his return was denied. Once Customer #1 re-entered the van, Customer #2 climbed out and walked into our store. My coworker told me that she had been the one my manager was talking to on the phone and was warning him about van full of ‘returns.’ We haven’t seen any of them since.)

What We’re Going To Do Is Not What You Were Expecting

| NY, USA | Holidays, Liars & Scammers

(We’ve been having issues with a customer who has been bringing in gift-cards for small amounts of money — usually $5-$10 — and claiming that they were supposed to have higher amounts. We let it slide the first time since sometimes mistakes do happen. But it’s become a trend with him and we’re starting to suspect he’s been scamming us. Today is the day after Christmas and it’s the third time he’s coming in claiming that his gift-cards are missing money. He’s just ordered popcorn and drinks for himself and his young daughter.)

Me: “All right, your total is $20.”

(He hands me a gift-card. I scan it and it takes $5 off his orders.)

Me: “So, after that you’ll owe $15.”

Customer: “Then we’re going to have a problem…”

Me: “I’m sorry, why?”

Customer: “That’s a $25 gift-card. See?”

(He presents me what appears to be a printed-out piece of paper with our theater’s name and “$25 Gift Card” printed on it. The sort that come with online-ordered gift-cards.)

Me: “Hmm, let me try it again.”

(I try it twice more. Same result.)

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. The computer says there’s exactly $5 on this card.”

Customer: “Come on! You’re supposed to make the customer happy, right? Make me a happy customer! It’s only $15! And this was a Christmas gift for $25! Just give me my order for free and we’ll call it square… sound good? $15 isn’t a huge loss with the crowds you’re bringing in.”

Me: “Unfortunately sir, I cannot just give you free items. $15 may not be much, but I cannot just give out free items without authorization and have my register short by $15. Do you have any way of verifying how much was on the card? Like a receipt?”

Customer: “Nope. This is a problem, then. And how are we going to resolve it?”

(I flag down a manager who checks the card on another register. Sure enough, EXACTLY $5.)

Manager: *blunt* “There’s $5 on this card. That’s all we can give you towards your order unless you can give us some way to verify that there was supposed to be more on it.”

Customer: “My uncle gave me this gift-card for Christmas. He didn’t give me the receipt. Come on! We don’t hang onto receipts.”

Manager: “Then there’s nothing else we can do. If you can bring in proof to verify your claims, we can give you a refund in the future.”

Customer: “But there’s supposed to be $25 on it! I have a print-out!”

(I’m now 100% sure he’s trying to scam us. I’ve just noticed it was an in-store purchased gift-card. Those don’t come with print-outs like the one he’s presenting, meaning that either he or his “uncle” printed it out themselves.)

Manager: *stern* “There’s nothing more we can do. We can honor the $5 on the card at this time, but that’s it.”

Customer: *very smarmy* “You’re supposed to make the customer happy! Make me a happy customer! What can we do?”

Manager: *VERY stern* “I. Just. Told. You. What. We. Can. Do.”

Customer: “But it’s only $5 off! You don’t even offer gift cards for $5! Who buys a $5 gift-card! So you KNOW that I’m telling the truth.”

Manager: “We do indeed offer $5 gift-cards. So that tells me nothing.”

Customer: “So you’re not going to give me my $25 that I got as a Christmas present?”

Manager: “No!”

(The customer SLAMS his wallet onto the counter and thus thrusts his fist forward about six inches from my manager’s face, flipping him off. I cringe, trying to contain myself from both laughing and from telling him off.)

Manager: *shocked, but still very stern* “Sir, do NOT do that. There are FAMILIES here.”

(The customer mutters a weak apology, pays, and doesn’t say one word. In a last ditch attempt to calm him down, I humor him.)

Me: *handing him his now-empty gift-card* “If you can find a receipt, bring it in.”

Customer: *snatching it from my hand; to his daughter:* “And that’s what you call a lesson in highway-robbery! Let’s get out of here.”

(He wanders away whining and complaining.)

Me: *to a coworker who witnessed the whole thing* “Yeah, says the guy who just tried to scam me and get away with $15 in free merchandise…”

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