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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…

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Needs To Change Your Change Tactics

| Cheshire, England, UK | At The Checkout, Criminal & Illegal, Liars & Scammers, Money

(I’m volunteering at a charity shop. Most of our customers are elderly or middle-aged. On this particular day I’m helping another volunteer put a picture up when a man in his early twenties comes in. He looks around for just a minute or so and grabs a card from the stand at the front of the shop.)

Man: “Just this card, please.”

Me: “Of course. Do you want a bag to put it in?”

Man: “Whatever.”

Me: “Just £1.00 then please.”

(The man takes a note out of his pocket. I take it and start to sort out the change and pass it over to the man.)

Man: “Wait a minute, love. I’ve got some right change here if it’ll help you out. If I give you some coins back can you give me a note?”

Me: *feeling a little confused* “Erm, okay. That won’t be a problem.” *I count the change; I realise he’s left me short* “Sorry, I need another £1 coin.”

Man: “Really? Okay. Tell you what. I’ll give you some coins to make that right. You just give me my money back and we’ll be even, right?”

Me: “Okay.”

(I feel uneasy but give him the money, and he starts to rifle through the notes he has again.)

Man: “Actually can you change this for me instead?”

(He’s leaning over the counter, is quite intimidating, and I am starting to realise something isn’t quite right.)

Man: “I just want my change!”

Me: “I’m sorry, I’ve given you the money you need.” *I close the till*

Man: “But you still owe me change!”

Me: “I can call my manager down to deal with your request if you like?”

(I called upstairs to the manager and told her to double-check the change I had given the man. She came down to confront him and he looked shifty and decided to just leave, despite me “owing him change.” I told the manager everything that happened and she checked the till – he had somehow taken £10 from us, and had tried to take more. We reported him to the police and found out he had tried this on in a few other shops, including a well-known supermarket where he’d threatened the cashier. I later found out that this was a short-change scam or change-raising scam, where the scam artist confuses the cashier to get their money back plus extra. I printed out a warning and left it in the staff room. A few months later another man came in and tried the exact same thing. I said no, closed the till, they caught him on camera leaving the shop, and he was taken in by the police.)

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Animal Control Out Of Control

| CA, USA | Liars & Scammers, Pets & Animals

(A woman whose dog adoption I handled a few days prior is coming back to return the dog. Our return policy allows for refund or exchange within two weeks only if the animal has a life-threatening illness. This policy is covered, in detail, with every adopter. As I’m helping another customer on the next workstation, I hear my coworker struggling to maintain composure with an increasingly irate customer. I finish the transaction I’m on and hear the magic words:)

Customer: “Let me speak to your supervisor.”

(I turn and address the customer.)

Me: “Hi, I’m the Adoptions Lead. How can I help you?”

(She explains the same thing she’s been telling my coworker.)

Customer: “I have four dogs at home already and did not know that was the legal limit for the area. The police came to my home for something unrelated and told me I had to get rid of my new dog. I want a refund for my adoption fee!”

(She even breaks down into hysterical crying, which she’d also done with my coworker.)

Me: “Ma’am, what my coworker here has already told you is correct. This does not fall within the refund policy. It is your responsibility as a pet owner to know the laws before taking a new pet into your home.”

Customer: “But YOU PEOPLE sell the animals! I told you how many dogs I had at home and you still adopted one out to me anyway. You should have known better! You should know the animal regulations!”

Me: “Ma’am, first off, it is not our responsibility to know all the animal regulations of all the various cities and regions around here. It is always the consumer’s responsibility to make sure they are legal. We have adopters who come here from all over the state. I’ve had adopters from as much as four hours away, as well as out-of-state adopters. We couldn’t possibly know the regulations for all these areas. Secondly, we do contract with [City where the shelter is located] for animal control services, so we do know the guidelines for [City]. However, you do not live in [City].”

Customer: “But I’m just in [Town next to ours]! You should know the regulations for [Town]! You should have a book listing each nearby town and their animal regulations!”

Me: “Ma’am, that’s never going to happen. It is always the consumer’s responsibility and not ours.”

(She continued to argue with me over seller’s responsibility versus buyer’s, until I tell her:)

Me: “Look, we’re not going to agree on this, but we really don’t have to. All I can do for you right now is submit your request to the manager in charge of financials, who is off for the next two days, and see what he decides. Until then, you need to GO HOME, and wait for a response on his decision.”

Customer: “I’m not going to go home; I’m going to go to my lawyer!”

Me: “That’s your prerogative, ma’am. Have a great day.”

(She blows up a few more times over the wording of the request we sent to the manager.)

Customer: “This makes it sound like it’s my fault!”

Me: “Ma’am, this has been written out exactly the way you told it to us”

Customer: “Well, I want you to put in there that the police came out and said I had to return the dog”

Me: “It does say that”

Customer: “But it doesn’t say they gave me a written warning!”.

(Then she started crying at the desk for a few minutes. I was worried we’d have to call the police to remove her, but she finally left. After she left, a coworker told me she knew the lady’s ex-husband. The ex said she’d adopted the dog in an attempt to get her teenage son to spend more time with her instead of at his dad’s house. When that didn’t work, she called her ex and told him to come get “his son’s dog.” He replied that it was her dog and she’d have to take care of it. She threatened to set the dog loose on the street. He told her no, she had to either care for the dog, or take it back to the shelter. He said the police were never involved, which had never made any sense anyway, since police don’t really know enough about animal codes to enforce animal limit — they leave that to animal control.)

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I Read Can

| CA, USA | Language & Words, Liars & Scammers, Popular

(The customer I’m checking out is having an issue swiping her card. After the machine fails to read the stripe for the third time I offer to manually key in the number. Unfortunately I end up slipping up as well due to trying to speedily finish the transaction.)

Customer: “What the heck is taking so long? Can’t you read?”

Me: “I do apologize. My dyslexia usually chooses the worst moments to rear its ugly head.”

Customer: “So you actually can’t read, then? Huh, figures.” *points to a fairly expensive bottle of wine* “You know that’s half off right?”

Me: *reading the price tag* “Erm… I’m sorry, but no it isn’t.”

Customer: “It says right over there!” *points to a sign over the wine section advertising a sale on our local vintages*

Me: “Actually, ma’am, that sign is referring to wines produced in state, which are buy one, get one free. This is an imported vintage so it’s not eligible.”

Customer: “You just said you were dyslexic! That you can’t read!”

Me: “Dyslexic means I sometimes mix up the order of numbers or words, ma’am. What you’re thinking of is ‘illiterate.’”

(The customer silently glared at me as I finally got her card to go through and stormed out grumbling.)

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The Gas Leak Isn’t Coming From The Meter

| AR, USA | Liars & Scammers

(I’m an emergency dispatcher at a local natural gas company. We have customers of questionable intelligence that search for suspected gas leaks with lighters or matches. Among our customers are the ones who get shut off for non-payment. I can’t turn an account on if they’re off for non-payment. That’s not an emergency. That’s the end of my job. I take a call on a Friday night.)

Customer: “Y’all shut me off and now I’ve paid so y’all can come back out now; turn me back on.”

Me: *spiel to a tee* “I’m very sorry, sir, but all reconnect orders after non-payment have to be issued by the Customer Service and Billing offices; they are closed at this time, but if you call back after 8 a.m. Monday, they’ll be happy to help you out.”

Customer: “You mean I won’t have gas this weekend?! No, no! Y’all will come out right f***ing now and reconnect this.”

Me: “Sir, I am not customer service; if you continue with this language I can and will hang up. I can’t issue an order to reconnect this service, but if you ca—”

Customer: “Now. I’ve paid the fee for an after-hour service, and it’s after hours.”

Me: “That charge is only applied once the initial payment has been processed and after we have worked that order after-hours. The payment won’t be processed until the office opens again at 8 a.m. on Monday.”

Customer: “So why are you there if you won’t do anything for me?”

Me: “We’re federally mandated to operate this office 24-hours a day. I’m here to dispatch my drivers to emergencies as and when they arise.”

Customer: “I don’t have gas. This is an emergency. I have kids.”

Me: “Unfortunately, we don’t consider disconnection for non-payment an emergency.”

Customer: “Well, what’s an emergency?”

Me: “Any leaks, pressure issues, or damage to our equipment that needs to be addressed immediately.”

(Nearly audible ticking from the customer’s mind.)

Customer: “So if I had a gas leak, y’all would have to come and turn me back on?”

(The answer is an absolute no. The answer is that I dispatch not the usual one, but two different departments to look into something as serious as gas getting through a locked and sealed meter. But if you’re playing this game…)

Me: “Are you telling me you have an odor in your house, sir?”

Customer: *initially hesitant to fully commit* “I have a big, stinking odor that just walked in through the door.”

Me: “An odor of gas in your residence?”

Customer: “Yeah.”

(Game on.)

Me: *after well-rehearsed safety spiel* “And I’ll be dispatching my drivers to your address now. We’ll have to remove that meter for testing and make sure your house is safe. All our calls are recorded and any report of gas must be dealt with as quickly and safely as possible.”

Customer: *hangs up*

(I dispatched my 6’4″ bear of a technician and secondary driver to remove the meter. Didn’t hear from him again that night. He got reconnected on Monday… after his payment was processed in the other office as I’d told him. It’s always an emergency if you haven’t paid your bill for ten weeks…)

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A True Halloween Horror Story

| Stroudsburg, PA, USA | Bad Behavior, Liars & Scammers

(I work at a small, family-owned, specialty Halloween store. We help customers with special effects makeup, costumes, and various other items.)

Customer: “How do I use liquid latex and the bruise wheel?”

(I spend 45 minutes explaining exactly how to do the look he was going for while his kids run around the store. When I finish the sample, he takes a picture of it on his phone.)

Customer: “Great! I’m going to go to [Chain Competitor] now! Your prices are way too high!”

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