Portrait of a Discount Rat



From February, 2011, Origin of the Discount Rat logo that accompanies RHU's tales of aggressive customers seeking bargains.

The elusive discount/credit rat has finally been caught! Today, this forensic sketch was brought in by the call center slave, BrianTheWerewolf.

Ugly little suckers aren’t they?



 read Discount Rat Tales here

see more Retail Comics and Art here








Bookstore Hell: Rude Discount Rat Mom Encounter


Carolanne 010a

From Trivia Grrl June, 2016

I work in a bookstore. Everyone expect Christmas and Back to School to be busy, but there's another time that can be very stressful as well; World Book Day. It's in March, and every child in England and Ireland gets a voucher for a free book worth £1 or €1.50. A few years ago, we had a group of school children in on the day to meet an author and spend their vouchers. Chaos, but good chaos; the children are enjoying it, we're making a little bit of money on the books, it's all good, right?

Enter Phone Mommy. PM is, naturally, on her phone as she walks up to the counter, cutting off two children who'd been waiting to pay, and dumps an armload of things on the counter. I try to point out the children. She holds up one finger and talks on the phone. I try to serve around her. She shouts at me. Eventually another worker comes to deal with the children, and I start scanning PM through. Two of the books she's buying are on a Buy One, Get One; this is important.

So I finish scanning, I bag her belongings, and I announce the total. She scowls, puts a finger in her ear and keeps talking on the phone. I announce the total again. She turns her back on me. There's a queue of small children behind her, and when one tries to step past her to pay - which I would have allowed, since she didn't seem to be in any hurry - she finally hangs up and looks back at me.

I announce her total for the third time. She throws down three vouchers. Now, they're supposed to be one per transaction, but we're allowed to waive that if we think it's necessary and I want this woman gone. However, while she is buying three applicable books, two of them are the BOGOF and so she's only paying for two books. I apply two vouchers and tell her the new total.

"No, it should be cheaper."

I explain that since she's only paying for two of the books, she can only use two vouchers.

"But I have three vouchers."

Yes, but one of your books is free, and I can't give you money off a total of nothing.

"But it should be cheaper!"

Wash, rinse, repeat. After about ten minutes - and my poor coworker is dealing steadily with small children the whole time - PM finally gathers up her belongings and leaves, still grumbling "But I have three vouchers!" I carefully hide what I'd really like to say and go back to serving touchingly grateful children.

--Trivia Grrl





Retail Balls Awards: Bookstore Discount Rat Gets Told



From Book Wench, December, 2010:

I've been reading RHU for a while now and I finally had a day that deserved comment.

You can call me 'Book Wench' if you'd like. I work a pretty big book store and we have a lot of regulars. Usually most of our customers are nice, polite, and good to talk to.

Not today. It must be Monday. Or a full moon. Or maybe our first real snow of the year has driven everyone bonkers. Doesn't matter. There is just so much dumb today I don't think I can handle it.

First is a regular who had a couple books he ordered come in recently. He and the family are asking all sorts of questions about different books we have carry, when we're expecting different books, questions about Christmas presents.

I get the lucky task of following this family around for 20 minutes and them not letting me escape! Every time I went to help someone else they would drag me back before I could run away! "Just one more question!" over and over again.

Finally the guy says "Can I just see which books I ordered have come in?"

Of course, I take him to the holds room, find his books and bring them out to him. I swear he DOESN'T EVEN LOOK AT THEM. His eyes are on a display the whole time.

He tells me "Oh, I'm broke right now I can't buy them for a while."

Why did you have me root around in the holds room to not even look at the books?! I could have easily looked up on the computer which of your books had come in!

Of course they leave without spending a dime while I'm left to clean up the mess their little piggies have left around the store while the parents took up my time. Bloodbooks

After that I got the lucky chance of answering the phone to someone who wanted some obscure book that hasn't been in print for 15 years.

I let him know that.

"Can't you order it for me?"

I explain no, once a book is out of print I cannot get it.

"Why not?"

I explain again how out of print means it's not being made anymore. I suggest he check online.

"Can you do that for me?"

NO I CANNOT. I let him know my computer is only able to check my own server and database.

"Oh.... can you check ebay for me?"


"Oh... how about your main competition store?"


Finally he relents and tells me he'll check back in a few days.

I try to explain the chances of that book going back into print are less than ZERO but instead he hangs up on me.


And best of the best?

Two custys who are looking for an art book by a popular local artist for a Christmas gift. I show them exactly what they're after without them knowing the title.

The woman actually doing the shopping is impressed, but her friend doesn't like that I "JUST ASSUMED WHAT MY FRIEND WANTED!!!"

Sure I assumed. Since you said "art book" and "popular local artist" and I only have ONE of those, it was a safe bet.

They see the price is close to $50 and again, the custy buying the book is fine with it, but the friend FLIPS HER SHIT at me.


She demands to know why the cost is so high.

I explain the artist is self published and it's to cover his costs.

NOT GOOD ENOUGH! She rants on and on about the price but I finally realize that I need not convince this woman since SHE isn't the one buying it!

Her friend makes her purchase and I can finally move on to one of our nicest, most polite regulars who has been waiting very patiently for my time.


The non-buying custy has seen we have an original piece of art in the store given to us by the artist whose book her friend just bought.

So instead of waiting for me to finish up with our nice custy she decides the best course of action is to holler across the store:


Frankly I've had enough of this woman's shit and yell back:

"IT'S NOT FOR SALE" in my most Superbitch tone and go back to helping Mr. Nice Custy.

Thankfully that got her to shut her noise and get out of my store.

And Thankfully I only have one month left of this crap until Christmas is over and I can go back to my normal non-Christmas shopper routine at work!

--Book Wench


read more Retail Balls Awards tales here

read more Discount Rat stories here






Retail Hell Memories: Closing Time Nightmares - But Did I Get My Due Discounts?


This story was originally posted on November 23, 2010


Closed bitchHey all,

This is UnEarthed at B-Cubed.

The rant I'm going to share with you today, I imagine, is universal to all businesses, whether it is a restaurant, hotel, or a retail establishment.

I'm talking about the very Last Customer of the Day... (thunder and lightning)

Most of my shifts are closing shifts so I've had time to observe the behaviors of many LCoDs. I should probably mention that I'm an anthropology major and this stuff comes naturally to me.

Most of the time, last custys are all right by me. They acknowledge that they know the store'll be closing in a few minutes and want to hurry out of our way; I <3 those custys. It's even better when the last custy splits 10 minutes before closing and I have those last minutes to clean up around the Customer Service desk.

Unfortunately, that is NOT what happened last night.

Last night, Murphy's Law slammed the store big time. Not only did 1 floor associate call out, but so did the other cashier I was to be working with that night.

And THEN the newbie whose shift ended at 5pm got a call from the hospital that informed her that her son was in the hospital and that she would have to come get him.

So she left around 3:30pm, leaving me mostly on my own to wrangle SATURDAY afternoon crowds 'til 9pm!

Coupon bitchesI was only supposed to work 'til 8pm, so by 9pm I was freaking ready to leave that hell hole.

But I couldn't.

Because there was one lone custy loose in the store.

And this wasn't just any custy, no, sir! This was a special breed of custy:the Fearful Coupon Clutcher, a subspecies of the Clearance Competitor that I have come to despise.

B-Cubed is famous for sending out 20% Off coupons that you can use for any item in the store and we also have coupons that offer $5 off any purchase $15 or more. We're relaxed about coupons: we can take as many coupons as custys have items (ex. 20 coupons for 20 items, theoretically). I have to explain this to countless custys multiple times a day.

Back to the fearful, Coupon Clutcher standing before me, thick manila envelope held tightly, her suspicious, beady eyes gazing on me with distrust. It's 8:58pm and I can tell that this encounter is NOT going to be quick. The Coupon Clutcher pushes her cart up to the counter; it is loaded with bed sheets and Channukah decorations.

I beckon her to start putting items on the counter, but she doesn't and instead empties out the huge envelope: loads of 20% off coupons spill out.

She says, in a near whisper, "I want to use some coupons."

"Ok, I can scan them all in at the very end, just so things won't get messy."

She eyes me. "But how do I know they'll apply to the items I want them to?"

Freddy custyI run through the schpeil of how the 20% off coupons will apply in order of the most expensive to least and that the $5 off ones I can only apply to items totalling $15 or more. (Sometimes I have dreams where I wake myself up reciting this!)

She then goes on to slowly place her items on the counter for me to scan them, placing a coupon on each item, as though I'll vindictively ignore her coupons.

So when I place her coupons to the side and begin to explain how much simpler it is to just scan the coupons in at the end, her eyes bulge. "Are you sure that will work?"

"No, Ma'am," I think to myself. "I've *only* been working here for 10 months and have absolutely NO idea how our magical coupon system operates."

She watches me scan the rest of her items and counts the coupons as I scan them. "And they all applied like you said they would?"

I oggle my register clock that indicates it is 9:15pm and sigh. "Yes, ma'am. You're all set."

I take a few minutes to collect myself then try to do all of my closing duties in a mere 40 minutes.


Does anyone else have last customer horror stories?

They's probably make me feel better.

Ta for now,



Read more Closing Time Nightmares stories here!


Cigar Store Monstrous Customer Tale with a Twist


Jason 065a Former Cigar Shop Manager Joe, August, 2009:

It's five minutes before closing. A distinguished-looking gent walks in. (Think British actor Derek Jacobi.) I ask if he needs any help; he waves me off and enters our walk-in humidor. After a few seconds, I notice that he looks upset about something.
Me: "Can I help you find something?"
Customer: "I want a box of these." (He indicates a brand of cigar that comes in boxes of one hundred.)
Me: "I'm sorry, sir, but this partial box is all we have right now. It looks to be 75 to 80 cigars here."
Customer: "Is there something wrong with your hearing? I SAID I want a full box!"

Me: "No sir, there's nothing wrong with my hearing. But as I said, that's all we have right now. I can give you the box discount of 10 percent."Carolanne 015a

Customer: "You're not going to be in business very much longer! It's apparent that you don't care about your customers! 

Me: "Sir, I do care about my customers, but-"

Customer: "I drive all the way here from downtown and I get someone who doesn't even know what they're DOING!"

Me: "Sir, I've explained the situation to you. We have thousands of comparable cigars.  I've offered you a discount. I'll gladly order you a full box, but as of now, that's the best I can do. If that's not to your satisfaction, I suggest you leave."

Customer: "Why, of all the rude, ignorant...! There are OTHER cigar shops in the area, you know!"

Me: "Yes sir, there are! But seeing as it's now after nine o'clock, THEY'RE CLOSED TOO!"He left with much muttering. But two weeks later, he was back. He bought a full box of his preferred brand. That's 100 cigars that sell for six dollars apiece. I rang it up at $600. He went ballistic. He demanded a discount. I explained (trying not to smile) that ALL discounts are discretionary.Jason 068a 

He sputtered, he fumed, and then threw his black Amex card (the one with the UNLIMITED balance!) on the counter. He signed the slip, tucked the box under his arm and left. "I'll never see HIM again", I thought.


Three weeks later he returned. I gritted my teeth, ready for another confrontation. Imagine my surprise when he calmly picked out several cigars, paid for them and then offered me one of them! "I guess I was a little out of line previously. I apologize for that."

I was flabbergasted! He turned out to be one of my favorite customers.



read more Monstrous Customers tales here






Bookstore Discount Rat Loses Coupon Battle



From RHUer, January 2010:

I work at a bookstore that loves the color red and hates the color green...when it comes to paint...not cash :P

Anyways, I work in a store that is staffed pretty low because my manager tries to give us valued employees (i.e. People that have been there longer than the newbies and temps) more hours since she knows not all of us have parents that can take care of us while we are trying to further our education (we live in a college town of spoiled brats...literally..I'm not talking in generalized tones here).

Since there aren't many of us to go around we sometime are on the register for 8 hours at a time...just one of us...by ourselves.

Luckily we like everyone we work with so we joke around on our walkie-talkies and talk shit about customers so it makes it bearable.

I always seem to get the customer that wants to use more than one of the same coupon during a transaction, which we don't accept.

So one particular day I get a lovely female crusty that seems to think that she's found a loophole. I've been working here 2 years...I know all the "loopholes." This was our exchange after her laying two of those damned things down:

Me: I'm sorry ma'am. I can't use two of the same coupons during the same transaction.

Crusty: Well what if I do two transactions? It'll work then right?

Me: I'm sorry ma'am, it is stated on the coupon "One coupon per customer during valid period."

Crusty: -blank stare-

Me: So I can't use this second one ma'am. But it does come off your highest priced item.

Crusty: Well, I'm just going to come in later and use it when your gone. -satisfied smirk-

Me: -Monotone- Yes that is possible.

-Long pause-

Crusty: -Bigger grin-

Me: Buttttt.... Actually ma'am if you leave and come back...I'm going to be here. I've already taken my break...I'm here till we close and I'm the only cashier. I don't forget names or faces. *(I actually have the memory of an Alzheimer's patient most days)* I'm actually here most of my day...most days out of the week...so I doubt that will be possible.

Crusty: -smirk gone-

Me: So that will be $X.XX

Crusty: -Throws debit card down.-

Me: There you are -insert name-, have a nice day.

-Kool-Aid grin- :D *(I actually hate saying their names but I'm forced to do this shit)*

Needless to say, she didn't come back, and if she did, nine times out of ten I didn't remember her.