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Working in retail is always a drag, but dealing with customers who claim to “always be right”, doesn’t help. From threatening our “false advertising” to “calling head office”, we’ve heard it all before. Customers don’t realize that we do not make the rules; we are just sales associates and cashiers. If you have a problem please do not shoot the messenger, we are young, fragile and don’t like to be yelled at.  Retail workers put up with A LOT of bullshit from customers who tend to treat us like garbage, and many times it can get out of hand. So, we have put together just a few of the many examples retail workers have to deal with on the daily. 

One time I was working and this lady brought ALL of her kids into the store. I’m thinking 5 kids under 6 years old. They’re all running around the store (we do not have a kid’s department) and one was running with the stroller and crashed into the mirror. It cracked (no glass fell and everyone was fine). She didn’t even apologize, she blamed our store’s set up for not being easy to navigate a stroller. This is why online shopping was invented.

A customer asked me my personal opinion on which shirt I liked better and I said, “the blue one is nice”. He agreed and paid for it with no problems. On his walk out he stopped my manager to tell him how rude I was and that he’s going to complain to “head office”. I don’t get it either.

I was working as a cashier at a clothing store and my friend was the only other cashier working with me. We were both helping customers and one man was waiting in line. Once my friend was finished checking out her customer, she told me she would be back because she had to use the washroom. I thought it was fine because I was about to finish with my customer. After she left, the man waiting in line started yelling at me about the terrible customer service and demanded to know where she went. I told him she went to the washroom but I’ll be able to help him in just a moment. Once my customer left he came up to my till with a few products all amounting about $70. He said he would pay cash, grabbed a cloth bag and dumped out change that must’ve taken him YEARS to put together. He looked at me right in the eye and said, “get counting”. PISSED OFF I started separating the change, and let me make this clear:  it wasn’t loonies and toonies, he gave me quarters, nickels and dimes. As I was counting my manager walked by and asked the customer if this is really how he wanted to pay, and he responded, “money is money.” After I separated and counted all of his change the amount was about $30, so he opened his wallet to hand me the difference and I saw a wad of cash. I went on an hour and a half break after that because I was so mad.

I work at a makeup store where I have to be very close to the person’s face when doing my job. There was one lady that came in who was extremely talkative, which makes makeup application hard… On top of that her breath smelled like a mixture of sewage and dog food. Let’s just say, I had to take a lot of laps to “find products” so I could catch my breath throughout the application


I was the only one working at the bar while my co-worker was on break – and I wasn’t even old enough to be smart-served yet. Some angry man comes up, slaps a bill on the counter and demands a beer. I tell him that I can’t get it, I will have to get someone else, or I could lose my job. He proceeds to yell at me like it was my fault, when I was sixteen! By the end of his rant, he pointed to a Coke and asked me sarcastically if I was ‘smart’ enough to get that. I quit not long after that.

I was dealing with the RUDEST lady ever at Banana Republic, who kept trying on piles of shirts. She would try them on, wear them for a few minutes and walk around the store with them. When she returned to the dressing room she would throw the discarded shirts onto our neatly folded piles. Not only did she leave gross pit stains in several of the shirts, but she left with NOTHING and I was left to sort through and clean up her mess.

This one isn’t as much of a horror story as it is just a weird situation. I worked in a grocery store in a tourist town, and about 10 minutes before closing a group of tourists came in wondering where to buy alcohol (the LCBO was closed). We suggested just going to one of the restaurants, but they wanted bottles to take home. This was before there was any alcohol in grocery stores, but that didn’t stop them. They left the store with about 10 bottles of cooking wine (which tastes like nasty sour vinegar) and probably woke up with a terrible hangover.

In high school, I worked at a local Shoppers right near my school, so I regularly helped check out my classmates and friends. One night, one of the shop teachers came in with what I assumed was his wife. They purchased 4 boxes of condoms (no, not one sale) and every one of the drug store sex toy things we had in stock. Talk about awkward!

It was extremely busy at the store I was working at, like CRAZY BUSY, with a super long line up for the change room. Anyway, as the rooms start to clear out and I go in to clean up whatever mess the person left in there from before, what do I find? A used tampon. Right in the middle of the change room floor. GROSS!!

Sometimes when the customers aren’t being entertaining enough, your bosses have to chime in on the fun.  One time I went to work and my boss told me to put on makeup because I looked “hungover, like I just got out of bed.” Awks, I didn’t even go out the night before.

One time a customer peed in the change room at Brandy Melville in Toronto. Take it from me, cleaning it up and handling the situation was a nightmare.

There you have it! Cheers to the horrible customers & bosses everywhere that make working that much more fun, am I right?!  These stories might be horrifying, but hopefully the misery of others brightened your week up a bit, colliegettes! XOXO

Wilfrid Laurier Student who loves anything and everything related to fashion, beauty and lifestyle. Constantly living life though the wise words of fashion icon Coco Chanel, who preaches, "In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different."