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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at PS Behrend chapter.

There is nothing worse than a tough customer in the retail/customer service industry. There is always that one (or more) customer experience that will always be burned in your mind because of how horrible it was. Now throw in a lot of sh*t, theft, and screaming. What else could go wrong?



I’ve been working at Paw’s, the schools central coffee location, for five years now and each year I am introduced to more and more rude and inconsiderate people. Behrend is very diverse and I understand that not every culture has the same type of manners or phrases like the ones we grew up learning in the United States – and that’s fine. In my five years, I have learned the difference when people are just distracted and forgot to say thanks, when they have had a long day or are stressed about an exam (I once gave a girl her coffee and she was so stressed out she crushed the cup with her hand on accident), when they are being friendly but ‘thank you’ and ‘please’ aren’t something they are used to, and when people are just being downright rude.

I’ll never forget the one evening I was working at the coffee shop and a guy and his friend came up to order milkshakes. The friend came up and ordered what he wanted and turned to the guy (who had his back facing the register) and said, “tell her what you want.” The guy responded, “I’m not telling a STUDENT worker what I want, she’ll probably screw it up anyway.” I immediately told the guy that I’ve been there for three years (at the time) and I knew how to make every drink verbatim. His response? “I’m not letting some poor college girl make my drink, I want someone who knows what they are doing.” At this point, his friend was completely baffled and just said nevermind and canceled his order and off they went.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of people who make fun of those who have to work their way through college and while working at the eating places on campus aren’t the most ideal – we are trained how to do our job and are able to complete the tasks handed to us. Or when they ask for something and we have to say no, it’s not because we don’t want to; it’s because we aren’t allowed.

On Sundays, the coffee shop used to open at six – when the person working it was assigned to clock-in. The coffee shop has to be turned on, drink mixes made, ice cream put out, sugar and creamers put out – essentially the coffee shop has to be set up entirely. There are some students who come at six, and I tell them “just give me ten minutes to set up and get organized and I’ll make your drink” and they are totally okay with it and give me ten minutes. Others start complaining and yelling.

My absolute favorite though is when I wait on students who I KNOW have manners and use them with the older staff, but when they come to the coffee shop or are waited on by students they are so incredibly rude. Tapping their card on purpose, making eye contact with you when they get their drink and then giving you a dirty look and walking away, interrupting other orders to bark at me what they want and so on. But you just have to bite your tongue and go on with your shift.




I’ve worked in all types of customer service from banking, to retail, to front desk at a hotel (I try to forget this), and now I’m at a call center which allows me to be verbally abused by people all across the United States and some parts of Canada. Naturally, I could tell you about all of the times sexual comments have been made towards me while I was just doing my job or I could talk about the guy that stripped his bed and brought me his dirty sheets when I was working at the hotel or even the multiple people that have relieved themselves (number two) on the floor of the bank lobby. Ultimately, though, my favorite customer service stories come from the call center. This is because everything that goes wrong, the customer views it as being something that I personally did in an attempt to ruin their lives. I find this especially hilarious because I don’t work for the doctor’s office or company that they are upset with and I haven’t even set foot in most of the states that they’re in. Of course, they don’t know this and most accounts don’t allow us to say that we are their answering service.


As I said, I get blamed a lot for things that I literally have NO CONTROL OVER. The story that stands out to me the most is a woman that was calling her doctor on a Saturday because she was having diarrhea, but it was not urgent. I informed the caller that I was just the remote receptionist and if I could just get a few pieces of information, I could send a message to the office for her. She either didn’t listen to me or she simply did not care about what I said because she launched into a very graphic description of her diarrhea. At this point, I’m kind of repulsed, but I’m kind of not surprised since I have gotten grossly used to people describing their bodily functions to me very vividly over the phone. She reiterates that, although she is having diarrhea, it is not urgent. Because of this, I have to tell her that I cannot page the on-call doctor due to her saying that it was not an emergency. She was okay with that and just wanted me to send a message to the office so that they would know. This would have been fine had the office allowed me to take non-urgent messages, but for anything that was not deemed an emergency, the office wanted people to call back during regular business hours. After I told the caller this, she became enraged that the office wasn’t open on the weekend (God forbid people not be at her service 24/7) and then she launched into this whole speech about how she had a heart condition and so she was going to have a heart attack and die all because she had diarrhea and it was going to be all my fault. I don’t know if this woman made it through the weekend or what kind of speech the office got on Monday, but I sure hope she stayed hydrated and realized how ridiculous she sounded when she said started blaming a 22-year-old girl for her potential death by diarrhea.





Hey, I’m Tiffany and I have worked in a few different retail places, and let me tell you I have experienced my fair share of retail horror stories and today I am telling you about the time I spent an extra hour after close checking out a customer. Let’s begin with setting the scene, so it is a Sunday night at a local Pittsburgh Goodwill. We closed at 6 pm and we had a sale that all red tagged items were $0.99, and at the time of this event it was 5:58 pm and two middle-aged women walk up to the counter. Now I thought maybe they would have an item or two but NO they had $102 worth of red tag $0.99 items. They also wanted every item folded and wrapped before being placed in the bag. Two minutes before closing and over 100 pieces had to be rung up. Long story short it took me and my manager an hour after closing to complete the transaction, also after the customers started fighting with each other they then yelled at us a few times for having dressing rooms closed.


The next short retail horror story is just all-around disgusting, it’s a random Saturday afternoon, pretty dead inside Goodwill and I begin ringing a customer up and they tell me that they just wanted to let me know to have someone check the bathrooms because there is quite a mess, I told them thank you for letting me know. I planned on waiting on all the customers in line then letting a maintenance man know about the bathrooms when I was done thinking it was probably just some paper towels all over the floor like normal. Yet, about three customers later another lady tells me that the bathrooms are a mess this time adding that someone has gone to the bathroom all over the floors and walls and sinks, I didn’t really know if to believe them or not but I immediately finished the transaction and told the maintenance man. Ten minutes later I found out that the lady’s statement was true, in fact, someone has pooped all over the toilet, floor, sink, garbage can, and walls. I have no clue how it happened or what possessed someone to do that but it was a small room to go down in the books for a retail horror story, and a sight I will never un-see.




Once upon a time, there was a lady who decided to steal some designer bags. This lady runs into the store, grabs an armful of expensive bags, and runs out. Somehow this lady loses her footing and FACEPLANTS outside the store. The bags fly everywhere and as she tries to recollect herself security is called. They ended up catching her a few stores down. Clearly, her execution and getaway plan weren’t very great. So I guess we can all learn something from her mistakes. Don’t steal things and don’t be dumb while doing it.




This didn’t personally happen to me, but recently a co-worker had a near exposure to feces at our retail store. Apparently, a customer had tried on the bodysuit, came out of the fitting room to get her friends approval, went back into the fitting room with her friends, came out and snuck around the store with the body suit in hand “looking at other stuff to buy”. SHE WAS ACTUALLY TRYING TO HIDE the feces filled bodysuit in a pile of leggings. It was found later, but I can’t help to think that this would have been her reaction if she had got caught. 





Image Credits: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Brittany is a senior Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior major with a minor in Communications in Art & Mass Media. Along with being a member of Her Campus, she is a member of Theta Phi Alpha and Lion Ambassadors. She is the Coordinator of Publicity for Project Paws and Event Planning Chair for our very own HerCampus. Brittany LOVES to craft in her spare time and is quite the animal and nature lover. Instagram: brittanyt6 Twitter: @brittany_t6
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Nicole Norfolk

PS Behrend '18

Nicole is on her victory lap at Penn State Behrend and is looking forward to graduating with a degree in Communication and Media Studies. In her (limited) spare time, Nicole enjoys reading and binging on the latest Netflix shows. She also manages multiple social media accounts for local organizations and is an opinion editor for Behrend's newspaper. When she isn't downing margaritas, she is usually stressing about what it is she wants to do with her life after she graduates... if you have any suggestions, DM her some ideas for her to kill time with when she becomes an official adult in December. Twitter @nicolenorfolk Instagram @nicolenorfolk
Tiffany Zinn

PS Behrend

Hi I'm Alex! I'm currently majoring in Marketing but my true passions are fashion and writing. I hope to merge those two loves into a marketing job one day. I hope my articles are both enjoyable and meaningful to readers. Happy reading 
Elisa DeHoyos

PS Behrend '19

My name is Eilsa DeHoyos.  I'm 21 years old and I was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. I'm double majoring in International Business and Marketing. I enjoy my pet ferret Nala, eating ice cream and hanging out with friends. I like to write about a variety of topics. ❤️
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Kayla McEwen

PS Behrend

Kayla A. McEwen: President and Campus Correspondent  Senior at Penn State Behrend Marketing & Professional Writing Major Part-time dreamer and full-time artist Lover of art, fashion, witty conversation, winged eyeliner, and large cups of warm beverages.