From July, 2011

Phone Wench gets a Retail Balls Award for giving a crusty old crazy hag great service, but refusing to take her abusive threats:

Hi there, RHU! Long-time reader, first-time poster. Call me Phone Wench.

I graduated college recently, and now work for a large cellular provider... let's call them Whorizon. Except I don't actually work for them. My store is a locally owned indirect agent, meaning we're licensed to sell phones, sign people up for contracts and all that jazz, but we can't provide all the services of an actual corporate location. Nor can we match online prices/deals/etc. Not only would we get run out of business in about five minutes if we did that, but corporate legally won't let us. 

Not that this stops the custys! Or should I say crustys, since the place I live is basically one enormous hyper-wealthy retirement community. Think hellspawn are bad? You've never dealt with an 80 year old woman demanding to know how to make her iPhone's screen bigger. (Yes. Not the display or the font, the actual screen. "Don't you people sell bigger phones than this? You really ought to consider your customers more.")

I have people continually turning up in my store demanding free phones, which of course I can't give to them; the best I can do is give them a $50 phone with a $50 rebate, and even that varies depending on corporate's promotions. Can you get it for free online? Probably. Is it going to be used? Probably. Are you going to turn up in my store two weeks later, pissed that you have a used phone, and demanding that I exchange it for a new one? Probably, and then I will laugh at you. 

Most of the time, if you're polite and firm, the customers will either capitulate and buy the damn phone, or give up and go to the corporate store (which also won't fulfill online deals and is on the other side of town to boot.) Most of the time. 

Then there's..... Glenda. Glenda (not her real name) is an infamously terrible customer, to the point where none of the senior sales reps will serve her and even the manager doesn't want to deal with her. Why Glenda continues to shop with us, I will never know, since apparently her cell reception is terrible, none of her phones work, her internet is too slow, and every sales rep she deals with is surly and rude to her.

Carolanne 070My first encounter with Glenda came a couple weeks ago, as I was cashing in my drawer at the start of my shift. The phone rings, I look around, the other sales rep is busy, so I pick up. "Welcome to Wireless Hell, my name is Phone Wench, how can I help you?"


"....Yes, ma'am?"


"Are you a Whorizon internet customer, ma'am? How can I help you?" This was apparently the wrong thing to say, as she burst into a tirade about how she's been a Whorizon customer for ten years and how I should know her and how I AM SO RUDE, etc, etc.

Before hanging up on me, she screams that she's coming into the store directly because "YOU CLEARLY DON'T KNOW ANYTHING" and tells me she's going to make sure I get fired. 

I hang up, mildly shaken, and go back to cashing in. Sure enough, about thirty minutes later a car pulls up right in front of our door (which is a no-parking zone) and an older woman gets out and stomps in.

The senior sales rep looks up, and immediately decides to go hover over a browsing customer. I am alone at the desk. The woman storms up, slams a Mifi (wireless internet) device down on the counter, and snarls, "MY INTERNET IS DOWN. THIS PIECE OF SHIT WON'T TURN ON." 

Now, I really don't appreciate being sworn at, but I also know it can be frustrating when equipment doesn't work. I decide to give her the benefit of the doubt. I take the device, look at it, pop the battery out and back in again*, and plug it into my charger. A little green light comes on; the device is perfectly functional. I say, as softly and politely as I can, "I think it just needs to be charged, ma'am. If it's been having problems charging, I can replace the battery for you."

Carolanne 037CUE THE HOUNDS OF HELL. I am told I am surly, I am rude, I am worthless, I don't know anything about technology, how this device HAS NEVER WORKED (yet somehow she's had it for six months now), and WILL NEVER WORK, and I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. I cower under this torrent of abuse, until suddenly an idea occurs to me. "Ma'am, let me talk to my manager, and see if I can replace the device for you." 

And while a shriek of WHY DIDN'T YOU DO THAT IN THE FIRST PLACE rises behind me, I escape into the back. My manager is back there, laughing hysterically, and hands me another Mifi device. "I heard everything. Give her this and we can resell her old one."

I take the Mifi, head back out, and switch her account over to the new device, while Glenda continues to hurl abuse at me. "Here, ma'am, this one will work, and if it doesn't, come right back and we'll exchange it. Thank you for choosing Wireless Hell, and have an excellent day."


I sit bolt upright. "Ma'am, if you do that, I will happily CALL THE POLICE." My voice is loud and firm, and the other customers in the store turn to look. I have had ENOUGH, and I'm not putting up with any more of this. "As long as you can refrain from committing assault, I will be happy to serve you. If not, you are more than welcome to take your business to corporate."

She stares at me. I stare back.

Eventually she drops her eyes, snatches up the new device, and scurries out with a half-snarled "Thank you." 

Phone Wench: 1, Crazy Bitch: 0.

Working for Whorizon means you put up with a lot of customer abuse, usually for things that aren't your fault and could never have been, but this time I feel like I managed to keep a little of my dignity intact. 

(*Footnote*: Popping the battery out and back in again solves a lot of glitches. Please, customers, for the love of whatever deity you hold sacred, TRY THAT FIRST before you come in and yell at the sales rep. We are not tech support and can't be.)

--Phone Wench


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Scams And Scammers - I Know The Owner!


This story was originally posted on May 23, 2013


SCAMMERSHello there! First time poster Dreeby here. This incident happened a few years ago, back when I worked in camera and phone repairs in an electronics shop.

The store is a small establishment, and only had six or so employees at the time. I rarely had to deal with custys (unless I’d failed to do my job and had to explain my failure), but I was in the room right next to the shop itself where all the custys came in, and heard pretty much everything while remaining unseen.

My boss, who was also the owner of the establishment, was absolutely amazing. A really nice guy who had no tolerance whatsoever for crustys who threatened, yelled, made impossible demands or tried to pull scams. His motto was “the customer is barely ever right” – and he has successfully run a business for at least 15 years. He refunds and gives new products when it’s legit, and never for any other reason. Add to this that he’s a huge, muscular guy. I will call him Gringo, for reasons that would take too long to explain here.

We openly and honestly dealt in b-stock, which is used merchandise that has been repaired, looked over, and comes with a new warranty, in this case issued by us. If the item purchased at our store had a fault, we fixed it, refunded or replaced it. We got our fair share of people who haggled and argued about the prices, as well as some pure crazies. This story is about a favorite crazy.

I’m going to call him Basket Man, for reasons that will soon be obvious.

Carolanne cigar 2Basket Man comes in, wishes to purchase a 32’’ TV. Gringo is currently at the counter acting cashier. He gives Basket Man the price, which is, by the way, already clearly advertised on the item.

Basket Man: No no, that’s too expensive. I will only pay [XXX] amount!

Gringo: No, the price is [XXX], As is says right there.

Basket Man: No! I know the owner! He promised me a discount!

[Gringo, boss and owner of the store, raises an eyebrow.]

Gringo: Did he, now? And you say you know him? So you know the owner [makes up a name at random]?

Basket Man: Yes, yes I do! [Random name] promised me a discount!

After Gringo tells him he will have to have the boss present (!) to give a discount, Basket Man gives up and pays full price. But it doesn’t stop here. He returns about a week later to complain about his TV.

Basket Man: My TV is broken! I want a new one!

Gringo: Well, bring it in, and let us have a look at it. It may be a quick and easy fix.

Basket Man: Bring it in?

Gringo: Yes, so we can have a look.

Basket Man: But it’s broken! You don’t need to see it! It’s broken! I just want a new one! I left it at home because it’s broken! Why would you need to see it? Do you think I’m lying?

Needless to say, there’s no way he’s getting a new TV without letting us have the old one. We’d already caught him lying once, and this is probably one of the saddest attempts for a scam I’ve ever seen. However, the man does not give up and begins ranting, which is hilarious at first, but slowly becomes tedious.

It carries on for a good 20 minutes. He rambles something about how “you put too many buns and cans in a basket while walking and then the basket breaks which means you have no more buns” or something like that. Yup. Basket Man.

In the end, my boss loses his temper entirely and tells the crusty that he wouldn’t even sell him poop. Or, more precisely:

Gringo: I wouldn’t sell you as much as a pile of steaming poop, even if you asked me to! If you don’t leave now, I’m throwing you out!

The crusty got instantly banned from the store, and spent some time standing outside the entrance yelling and asking other customers to purchase another TV for him, as he was not allowed in the store. He never understood he’d been talking to the owner the whole time.

I do have many more stories from this place, but I thought this would be a good start.

Happy retailing!



Read more Scams And Scammers stories here!




Retail Hell Memories: Customer wanted me to cancel his Internet with a different company


Jason 002


From u/Kayleebug13 Tales From Retail: 

When I was working for a retail cell phone store that also sold internet and TV, some older guy came in wanting me to cancel his internet. At a retail location all I can do is activate new accounts and do upgrades, we can’t cancel anything.

Me: “I’m sorry sir, unfortunately we can’t cancel accounts here since I am just a retail store. You can call customer service over the phone to cancel, or you can visit the corporate store about five minutes away and they can help get it cancelled for you.”

Customer: “Well can’t you just call them and cancel it for me? I don’t want to deal with it.”

Me: “Unfortunately I am not able to do that either. They require the customer’s authorization to cancel the account but I can dial the number for you and let you use our phone if you would like.”

Customer hands me a copy of his bill.

Customer: “Well here, this has my account number and all my info on it, just tell them who I am and give me the phone when they need my authorization.”

I look down at the bill he has handed me and realize his internet is with a different competing company.

Me: “Sir according to this bill you don’t have service with us, but with “competing company”. You will have to call them directly to cancel. The number should be on your bill but I could google it for you if you need.”

Customer: “Just call them and cancel it for me. That has all my info right there.”

Me: “Sir, I am not going to call “competing company” for you to cancel your internet just because you don’t want to deal with them yourself. It is in no way my job to cancel your internet with “competing company” and I have other customers waiting to be helped.”

Customer: “Well fine, don’t help me then. But don’t expect me to pay any bills you guys send me.”

Customer then storms out of the store and the next customer in line just looks at me like was he serious?






I.D. Hell: Your ID doesn't look like you


NAT (2)

From u/dortega88 Tales From Retail:

So I work for a cell phone company and we check ID to verify the same name matches the account. Today this guy comes in and I just knew. Like as soon as he opened the door I knew this specific customer was going to try and commit fraud in someone's account.

So I greet him and he says he wants to change out a Sim card for his line. So I said ok let's get your account up and let me see your ID. He shows me his the ID he has and it's partly covered and I ask him to take it out so I can use a black light to verify its real when I look at it, it's not even him. Now it is the same ethnicity as him but it's definitely not him. So I told him this doesn't look like you I can take this. And then he says that was me when I was fatter, and I looked at him like "do you think I'm stupid?" The person in the ID was definitely not far in the picture but even then the weight wasn't even for someone who is overweight. But what was even more noticeable was that the height said 5' 10''. I'm 5' 8'' and this guy is shorter than me, not by much but I am definitely taller than him.

I tell him this and he looks at me and says so what now?

And I just say now I can't help you. And he walks away.

This tends to happen a lot sometimes by the same people who think they won't see the same person again but our team is pretty good at telling people who try this to leave.











Jason2 029

From u/Tryantula  Tales From Retail:

This is an indirect story: Working for a mobile network a part of our commission is customer based. After any transaction, sale or otherwise, a survey text is sent out. 9-10 scores can boost commission, and less equals a pay reduction. We are able to see any scores and comments left by our customers, but I also have visibility over the entire company.

Reading through scores today, one in particular stood out. A customer had scored an employee '0', and the following comment read:














Mistaken Identity: Why can’t you look up my account!



From u/Clever_BigMack Tales From Retail:


This happened a few days ago. I work at a cell phone retailer that has several ways you can pay a bill in store. We have systems where we can look up your account on a tablet to see a more detailed bill breakdown or a bill pay system where we just type in your number and it shows how much you owe.

Customer (40 year old man) walks in while we have a small line and sits down to wait. 5 minutes go by and he starts to get pretty agitated. 10 minutes go by and I finish up with my last customer and approach him as he is almost visibly angry.

Me: hey sir, how can I....

Customer: 353-444-3534

Me: (not having a tablet in my hands or be anywhere near the computer) ok. What brings you in today.

Customer: I just TOLD you I need to pay my bill. 353-444-3534

Me: um... alright, let’s just go to the computer over here. (Walk over to computer and pull up the system). What was your number?

Customer: seriously!? 353-444-3534

Me: it’s not pulling anything up, are your sure that’s your number?

Customer: yes of course! I pay my bill here every month! Why can’t you people ever just do your jobs!?

Me: let me pull it up in our other system. (Go get tablet and try to pull it up.) Sir it says you don’t have an account with us.


Me: let me see your phone sir.

Customer: why do you need to see my phone to pay a bill!?

Me: I just want to check something. (Customer hands me the phone). Sir you have Verizon. You need to go down the steet.

Customer: this IS Verizon.

Me: no sir, this is _____. (Points to my shirt, the wall, and the sign on the front door).

Customer: mutters “why can’t you ever just do anything right” as he walks out the door

I’m still not sure if he was asking me or himself when he left