Holiday Hell: Mom Spoils Christmas Herself


C1From Online Retail Hellion, December, 2009:

Working for an online-only retailer may not have the piggy messes to clean up at the end of the day (and I have worked that terror before), but it does have the wonderful combination of everything else retail related, with the added bonus of phone-based customer service, where customers can be even more abusive because you are only a faceless voice on the other end of the line.

With the holidays here again, I thought I'd share my favorite holiday story from working online retail. This story happened to a former coworker:

The setup: It's 5 days before Christmas, delivery companies worldwide are in overdrive trying to get people's stuff delivered on time. Delays inevitably develop (last year we had to deal with an entire 'brown' delivery truck full of our stuff catching fire, burning all the presents inside inside to slag. Really!).

My coworker "Dan" gets a call from a customer who had just checked the shipping company's website, and found that her son's XBox 360 wouldn't be delivered until December 26th. Therefore, since we were the company she had handed the money to, she called us to bitch. Though we had handed the XBox to the shipper in plenty of time to get it to her (it f-ing left the warehouse the day she ordered it), delays in the shipper's overloaded system had caused the package to be bumped to the day after Christmas. But, it was, of course, all our fault.

"You've ruined my son's Christmas!" she screamed so loudly that I, a few desks down, could hear her. "I want you to personally tell my son that his present isn't going to get here on time, and that he's not going to have a present under the tree on Christmas morning!"

SkullysantaDan stammered, tried to reason with her, but it was too late, the child was on the phone.

"Hello?" a voice said, sounding about 12 years old.

"Hey there buddy," Dan said, as upbeat as possible, "I'm really sorry, but your XBox 360 isn't going to get there until the day after Christmas."

"I'm getting an XBOX 360?!" the boy yelled, exploding with excitement.

"Yeah, but it's not going to be there until the day after Christmas." says Dan.

"I don't care! I'm getting an XBox!!" the boy shouted, and handed the phone back to his mother.
Shouts of "Yes! Woohoo!" could be heard in the background as the mother mumbled something about "Yeah, well, it better show up..." and hung up.

--Online Retail Hellion


Read more Holiday Hell stories here 




Old Lady Calling: Do You Have Suggestions on How to Get the Lid Off my Mayo?

Nametag4a From Riferous:

Sometimes, you can just feel yourself dying a little inside.

I just got a call from a little old lady.

She had bought some brand name mayo and couldn't get the lid off.

Yes, she called and asked to speak to a manager because she couldn't get the lid off of her mayo.

And asked if I had any suggestions.

I said, "Well, have you tried wrapping a towel around it?", but alas, that wasn't the kind of innovative logic she was looking for.

She asks, "Well would there be a plastic wrapper around it, and where would that be?"

"Well, there could be, and it would cover the lid and part of the bottle itself."

"Can you go check that for me?"

I'm halfway through a company mandated video that will be followed by a test, upstairs, in the back, on the opposite end of the building.

"Sure, let me put you on old. I mean hold." (I didn't really say that, but that's funny right there.)

OLD-PEOPLE-HELLSo I get to the mayo aisle, ask her which one in particular it was.

She only then decides to tell me that it was a squeeze bottle.

For those not familiar with a squeeze bottle of mayo, they have a screw on lid (at least most do), which is not tight, because there is an inner seal. 

"Well, the ones I'm checking are pretty easy, they just twist right off, and then there is a seal across the neck of the bottle..."

"With a pull tab?", she interjects, telling me that she probably knows better what she is doing than she thinks she does.

"Yes, you grab that pull tab and pull off the seal, and put the lid back on.

"Do you have to take that seal off before you can get the lid off?"

What? "No, you have to take the lid off to take the seal off. It's on the neck blah blah same thing I've already said."

"Now I got some of the [other name brand she can't pronounce, here's a clue, sounds a HELL of a lot like SMELLMANN'S], and it had a wrapper around the lid."

"Yes, it does."

"Would it have that seal inside?"

"No, that's what the outer seal is for."

At this point I'm thinking that she's going to actually have to drive back in and have me open the damn bottle for her.

Or she's going to demand that I come to her house, open the bottle, and spend three hours listening to stories about her dead husband and her 28 cats.

But aha! I have an idea!

"You can get the flip top lid up, right?"


"If you stick a knife in that slot and poke through the seal you will be able to squeeze it out."

Genius, right?

"Well, you don't think that lid was made into the bottle, do you?" Freddy2 093

*Pause while brain tries to regain traction.*

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you don't think it's attached to the bottle, all one piece, do you?"

Would I still be having this conversation if that's what I thought?

"No, it comes off."

"Well if I stick a knife in through that slot and poke a hole in the seal, will that be sufficient?"

You mean what I told you to do two minutes ago???

Yeah, I think that will be fucking sufficient!!!

I wish, I wish, I wish I didn't have to be back here at 7 in the morning, so I could go kill enough brain cells to understand people.




read more Old People Hell Tales here

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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


 read more Phone Store Hell here

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Call Center Hell: Hellspawn Racks Up Over $2,000 In Game Charges on Dad's Credit Card




From May, 2016:

Hey there fellow Retail Slaves and Peons!!

Its been a very long time since I posted anything because its been a few years since I’ve worked in retail or customer service. Long story short, I worked in call centers for many years and finally my health got to a point that I was forced to stop working for almost four years. Well, four years later, I’m tanned, rested and ready again. Well, not so much on the tanned part. ANYWAY! At the time, I was called BrianTheWerewolf after one of my characters in my werewolf novels but now, given how much has changed, I’ve picked a new moniker: call me EctoWolf and I’m back in the call center business! WHEE! I now work from home in my own little office for a certain software company that competes with Sony and has an expensive gaming console. Lets call them SoftMicrons! I do tech and billing support (WOOT!).

Today’s story is one I wanted to share because of the sheer shock it left me in and it cemented why it is so important to know what your kids are doing at all times, especially when they may have stolen your credit/debit cards.

Short background:

I was just about ready to go onto to lunch and a call comes in. Before the caller is live with you on the phone, the phone beeps at you, tells you what the queue is and then beeps again going live in a robotic voice.

ROBOT VOICE: (in my headset): BEEEP! “TBox360 Billing VCB Inbound”. BEEEEEP!

ECTO-WOLF (EW): “Hi, thanks for calling TBox support. My name is Ecto Wolf. Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with today?”

CALLER: “Bob.”

EW: “Hi, Bob. Pleasure speaking with you today. How can I help you?”

BOB: “I’ve got about $500.00 dollars of Xbox charges on my bank account, and I need to know what the hell is going on? I don’t even own a Xbox!”

EW: (thinking oh boy here we go but presses on): “So as I understand it, there is $500.00 worth of charges on your debit card but you do not own an Xbox right?”

CallcenterskullBOB: “Yeah that sounds right. I don’t have an Xbox but my son did a while back but he said he doesn’t know anything about it.”

(I fully suspected otherwise but kept my mouth shut. I also knew that if his son had an account at one time, then it would be in the system).

EW: “I fully understand your concerns about your debit card and the charges on it. I’d be happy to look over any account we find and get to the bottom of the charges. What’s your SoftMicrons account email?”

BOB: (provides his account email that used to be attached to a TBox for his son).

(I pull up the account. It pops up perfectly. I verify him and open the account. I see no subscriptions, charges or purchases. There isn’t even a credit or debit card attached. The last subscription was a prepaid game time card that had expired over a year ago).

EW: “Okay, Bob. I do not see any credit card or debit card on this profile and the last subscription was a prepaid card that expire some time ago. Are there any other accounts that could be attached to your debit card?”

BOB: “No, there shouldn’t be.”

(My wolf senses start tingling and I have an idea).

EW: “Okay, here’s what we are going to do. Bob, do you have that card with you now? I’d like to run the card number through our billing system and see if I can locate any other accounts that are using this card.”

BOB: (concerned now and rightly so): “Sure.”

(Bob gives me his card number. I run it through the billing system and my suspicions are getting deadly close to being confirmed. Two accounts pull up: the one we just opened and a second one under a woman’s name.)

EW: “Bob there is another account with your card attached to it. Let’s see if we can verify the account and get into it and see if the charges you are talking about are there.”

(Surprisingly, he is able to verify the account. The account it turns out is his ex-wife’s account and the account had been set up for their son, who was 11 years old and NOT on a child account).

EW: “Bob, after reviewing this account, your debit card is attached as a main payment instrument and it is being used quite heavily by the person with this gamertag. I did find the charges. Is your son authorized to be using your debit card?”

Callcenterhell3BOB: (who is stunned and legitimately so, not fake stunned): “Hell no! He lives with his mom. She and I are separated He’s never had access to my card; we’ve always gave him prepaid time.”

(I conduct a deep investigation and find that not only is 500.00 not the limit of the damage this kid has done but it's not even the tip of the iceberg. It's way over my limit. I knew I’d have to submit for a review to see if anything can even be done to help him).

EW: “Bob, these charges go back well beyond this month. In fact, they go back to February and total over $2,327.42. I’m terribly sorry for the shock and here’s what I will do. I will cancel any active subscriptions and remove your card from the account. I would suggest that you have your bank cancel your debit card. It seems like your son in fact has been using your card the entire time. We are talking about purchases made every day since the beginning of the year sometimes as few as thirty seconds apart, for things like in game currency, songs, season passes, even full games and movies.”

BOB: So that explains it. That explains why my bank cut my card off today. I hadn’t really noticed until they told me the amount. I had no idea it had been going on that long. Please do that.”

EW: “Absolutely. Give me one moment.”

( I remove the card from the account and utterly annihilate this hellspawn’s subscriptions).

EW: “Okay, Bob, he is what we are going to do. I am going to go over this account and tally every charge by date and amount and what was purchased. Then I am going to submit this case for review and see if we can get these charges refunded to you. I cannot promise I can but I am willing to try for you. I’ll email you everything we did and found today. Again, I’m very sorry for what has happened today. I will also include in the email instructions for how to set up a passkey on the console. I know you can’t get to it, but perhaps you could speak to his mother and have her set it up so that he cannot make purchases any longer. I’ll be following up with you over the next few days to let you know what’s going on and see if we can get you a resolution.”

BOB: “Oh my god….thank you. I know that you can’t do anything more than you have but thank you for trying. I really appreciate it man. I’m in the negative right now because of this and if there’s anything at all that can be done, I’d be grateful.”

So I close the call, work through my lunch and breaks—I was finally made to take one—and itemize every single charge since Feb. 9, 2016 right up until today. It’s a process that takes over two and a half hours and it does total up to be well over $2,000.00 in charges. This little fuck shit had been charging his dad’s card for in game currency and packs as well as games and like I said, some were under a minute apart.

I did submit the escalation and only hope we can help him. This, kiddies, is why we do NOT ever let children have access to a game console, a computer or a smart phone until they are old enough to appreciate the damage they can do. This is also why we educate people about parental controls (had another call similar in the day, the mom hung up on me when I tried to help her set up parental controls. I noted her account that we tried and that any future charges will not be refunded as a result of her refusing to take action to prevent charges).

This is my third day on the phones and wow…the old call center rust is falling off my paws but I’m not sure my paws can handle many like this call.

If I was the dad, I’d destroy this kid’s TBox and or sell it in front of him and all his games and content to pay for the damages.




read more Call Center Hell Stories here











Barista Hell: The Price increases are because you're trying to nickel and dime us!


Carolanne 038

From November, 2010:

Hey y'all! LaughingBarista here again with a blast from the past.

After reading Denim Bitch's story about a bitchy custy who got pissed about something that Denim Bitch clearly could not control, I was reminded of a similar story of my own from a few years ago.

Do you all remember the summer of 2008? You know, the summer where gas prices were obscenely high (I remember paying $4+ a gallon) and everyone bitched about it? Let's take a trip to that summer.

So I'm working at Dunkin' Donuts and to accommodate everything that was going on in the economy we decided to raise the prices of everything. Nothing too ridiculous (most coffee maybe increased by $0.20 at most) and most people didn't even notice it.

Except for Stupid Old Man (SOM).

It's a busy day at the drive-thru and I was cashing people out. A few people had commented on the inflated prices and my usual response was along the lines of "That's the economy for you!" SOM was not having that.

SOM: Why did the prices increase?

Me: The economy's been pretty bad lately so we're trying to make up for the increased prices we pay for things by slightly increasing the prices of our products. We need to make back the money somehow.

SOM: Don't blame the economy on this! You know it's because you're trying to nickel and dime us!

Me: I'm certainly not trying to nickel and dime anyone. I don't own any Dunkin' Donuts and I think it stinks that we have to raise the prices but it is because of the economy.

SOM: That's crap.

Me: No, it's not. You know how gas prices have increased exponentially? Have you ever seen our 18-wheelers that deliver all of our products to us (I was referring to the trucks that deliver everything from cups to coffee beans to collector's mugs)? Those cost hundreds of dollars to fill and they come here twice a week. Before they come here they come from another place which means that they have to travel which in turn costs a lot of money. Then our coffee is flown in which also costs a ridiculous amount of money. So yes, the increased prices are a direct result of the bad economy right now.

SOM: *grumble grumble grumble*

Me: Have a nice day!

Any of you have any stories where you were blamed for something that was clearly out of your control?

How did you respond? [read the responses here]



read more Barista Hell tales here





Customers on the Phone: I Shouldn't Have To Wait To Order A Cake!


This story was originally posted on August 19, 2010


Custy phone 1Hi, everyone. Captain of the Jolly K-Roger, here. Again. I'm starting to feel like a bit of a whiner with all the posts I've been submitting, but it's like, you start talking about the hell you've spent good chunks of your life dealing with and suddenly every single thing that can be complained about comes rushing to the surface.

But. I have to talk about this woman, hereby known as Mean Cake Lady (MCL).

I work the customer service desk, meaning I field all the calls that don't necessarily fit any other department. Except that usually they do.

Do we carry this certain cut of beef? Why, let me just redirect you to the meat department, also known as option 1 when you called up here. Do we sell lilies? We do, in fact, but let me transfer you to the floral department just to make sure they're in stock at the moment, or option 2 when you called. Why these people can't deduce that beef= meat dept., lilies= floral dept. is beyond me.

Lately we've gotten a sudden onslaught of people ordering cakes calling the desk. I swear, the first thing I hear out of a quarter of the people who call anymore is "Is this the bakery?" NO. NO, IT IS NOT. STOP CALLING ME. I HATE YOU.

But I digress.

Anyway, Mean Cake Lady - MCL calls the desk, and the first thing out of her mouth is "I want to order the Spider-Man cake."

Capt (me): Sure, let me just transfer you to the bakery.

MCL: Oh! This isn't the bakery?

Capt: (Well, I wouldn't transfer you to myself, now, would I?) No, ma'am. Just one second.

I put her on hold and tell the bakery via intercom that they have a call on line one.

Three minutes pass and the call bounces back to me. I re-place her on hold and call the bakery again.

About half a minute later, the phone rings, and I answer it.

Capt: Jolly K-Roger, this is the Captain, how can I help you?

Freddy frustration 2MCL: I waited forever, and no one answered.

Capt: I'm sorry about that, ma'am. I'll try them again.

I put her on hold and tell the bakery via intercom that they, once again, have a call on line one.

Not even half a minute later, MCL calls me again, and this time I recognize the number on my caller ID so I know I'm about to get an earful.

Capt: Jolly K-Roger, this is the Captain, how can I help you?

MCL: They still didn't answer!

Capt: I'm sorry, ma'am, they're probably just busy at the moment. I'll try calling them again.

MCL: UGH. If it's this hard to order a cake, I can just go somewhere else!


MCL: No, I just don't think it should be this hard to order a cake! I can just go to a different Jolly K-Roger if it's so difficult for all of you!

Capt: (I HATE YOU; GO DIE.) You're free to do that, ma'am. I can't make them answer the phone, and like I said, they're probably just backed up. I can call a manager for you if you'd like to talk to someone about it, or I can try to get the bakery agai-

Skullies smileMCL: Well, I think that would be the best thing, don't you?

Capt: (NO, I THINK THE BEST THING WOULD BE FOR YOUR TO GTFO AND LEAVE ME ALONE.) Sure, hold on just one more time.

It didn't bounce back to me again, so she either hung up and ditched us, or the bakery finally got around to her. If she ditched, good riddance. If they got to her, well, at least I don't have to deal with her anymore.

I understand that being put on hold is a pain in the ass. I understand that, from the custy's end, it's "just a simple phone call/cake order!" and should be "easy".

Let me clear up something for you, custys. This is retail. Nothing is easy.

You could have cut out the middle man (me) by just listening to the options instead of automatically pressing zero for customer service and saved yourself some trouble. You didn't. So, I had to answer the phone, figure out what you wanted, tell you that you're in the wrong place, put you on hold, call over the intercom for someone who can help you, pray to god that they were paying attention, pray that they aren't busy and then beg for my sanity when you became too impatient to not snap at me over a stupid Spider-Man cake.

Just another day in Retail Hell, I suppose, but this lady got to me somehow. Probably the snapping and interrupting me. That shit pisses me off majorly.

Stay sane RHU,

--Captain of the Jolly K-Roger


Read more Customers on the Phone stories here!