Retail Hell Memories: Opening Nightmares - "By The Way, Your Sign Says "Closed"


This story was originally posted on May 21, 2011.

Open For HellHeya Heya RHUers! The Dark Lord of Marketing here again with another tale of yester-year custy lunacy. This one wasn’t even crazy-entitlement or sheer bitchiness either, it was just straight up WTF!

In college I worked part time at a local Mom & Pop video store/photo lab. I know, strange combo right? Hey, it worked for them and has successfully been one of the best places I’ve ever worked for!

Being their college boy part-timer, I was the main person working weekends and usually opened the store both Saturday and Sunday, and naturally had they typical routine of coming in an hour to 45 minutes before open to start up the machines and run tests, get the drawer set up, check in the pile of returned videos from overnight, and do any of the cleaning that needs taken care of that’s just absolutely impossible to do with customers present.

The only unfortunate part of this was that the storefront consisted of windows from about knee height to ceiling the width of the store, so if anyone happened to be an early bird they would always see me and assume the store was open. I lost track of how many times I opened early cause a custy was at the door, but it was usually along the lines of ten or fifteen minutes early at the max so it never bothered me much.

Until *she* showed up…

One dark and dreary winter morning when I got in the back door and shut off the alarm system I heard a steady *kthunk* *kthunk* noise that piqued my curiosity, and naturally being the super-courageous and completely invincible 19-year-old that I was I didn’t even think twice about investigating it.

I peered through a crack in a sliding door that separated the stockroom from the sales floor and lo and behold there was a woman at the front door on the outside rhythmically tugging on the locked door.

Dumbass 2Like any good retail slave, I didn’t want to have to deal with someone a full hour before I had to so I began running what setup I could do from the back room whilst in a completely dark store.

Now this was a Saturday morning at about 9am, and it was overcast and drizzling so there wasn’t a whole lot of ambient light to fool the eye; it was just a little beyond the level of obvious that there was not a single electric light on in the front of the store, but even after about ten minutes while I counted out the drawer from the back room and loaded all the control strips for the photo processors there was still the steady *kthunk* *kthunk* from out front.

Now I knew I was in trouble, cause the only things I had left to do were in the visible store front, so I sucked up my disdain (which didn’t take too long, I was only 19 so I hadn’t built up anywhere near as much as I have today…) and went out front…

Sure enough, the second the custy saw me through the windows she began waving dramatically to get my attention.

I gave her a quizzical look and made a show of checking my watch while I walked out to the front door, and an even larger-than-necessary show of unlocking the front door, going so far as to purposefully use the wrong key the first time.

I was only going to crack it open and ask if I could help her, but the second it was unlocked she swung it open, said “thank you!” and walked right past me up to the counter and stood patiently, the whole time I’m still standing by the front door staring dumbfounded at her.

She wasn’t making a grab for anything at all, so I trotted back behind the counter and haltingly asked “Can I help you with anything?”

She responded “Sure, I’d like double prints on these,” and nicely set a roll of film on the counter in between us, “it’s for {insert forgotten customer name and phone number here}”.

Still being apprehensive, I said “OK, would sometime about 11 o’clock be alright to pick this up? We’re usually not open for another half hour…”

Carolanne derp“Certainly, that’s no problem!”

She was even being kinda cheery-sounding, certainly not how I’d be after standing in the cold pulling on a locked door for at least ten minutes, and showing absolutely no confirmation or reaction to the fact that I had just mentioned that we weren’t open for business yet.

She just turned around and started walking back to the front door with a little friendly “I’ll see you then” tossed over her shoulder.

I was still in a state of shock and confusion when she got back to the door, opened it up, and looked back at me to say “By the way, your sign here says ‘Closed’…”

Reeeeeeeeeally lady? The sign tipped you off but the locked door, lack of interior lights, and the fact that the only employee you talked to was still wearing a winter coat didn’t? Really!?!?!

Ah well, at least she wasn’t rude about it. Although it made me wonder exactly what medication cocktail she was on. Till next time!!!

--Dark Lord of Marketing


Read more Opening Nightmare stories here!


Opening Time Nightmares: "But I don't want long sleeved"



From u/SpicyHashbrowns Tales From Retail:

This woman was literally the first customer I interacted with today. She set the tone for my shift. I'm M, W will be the woman.

We have a sign next to long sleeve t-shirts stating they're 30% off, the sign clearly states the long sleeves are the ones for sale. Near the stand is another rack of similar shirts, the difference is that they're short sleeve.

W: "What's the price of this if it's 30 percent off?"

M: I find the rack, it's not on sale, I tell her this and the full price

W: "It's 30 percent off."

M: "The long sleeves are 30 percent off." I point out the sign

W: Grabs the same shirt but different size "Well then how much is this one if I got it in large?"

M: "Only the long sleeves are 30% off."

W: Grabs the same shirt again only it's a different color "Is this 30 percent off?"

M: "No, the long sleeved ones are."

W: "But I don't want long sleeved." Walks away




Justice Served: Never Threaten Bank Employees


JUSTICE SERVED 3From kiwi-ms, TalesFromRetail

I worked at a bank and was always there first to deactivate the alarm. Then we would let staff in as they arrived. This would be about an hour before we opened.

One day had a customer barge in when a staff member came in and refuse to leave. I explained that the vault was still locked and we weren't open. I stood in his way and wouldn't let him past the doors. I'm only 5.3 he was 6.2 but I wouldn't back down; I was the senior staff member on site at the time.

I had to threaten to call the police to get him to leave, and he threatened to come back with a shotgun to sort me out. Had to do a police report, but of course we knew who he was. Found out he didn't even have any guns.

His accounts were ultimately closed and a cheque sent to him for his $$. And the police did charge him for threatening behaviour. Not sure the outcome of the police charge, but having to reapply at another bank could take some time, so the cheque couldn't be used till a new bank open accounts for him.

No cash available for him for a while because he had to wait to receive the cheque through the mail, so no cards or credit card. I like to think that was a miserable wait.



Retail Hell Memories: "HELLO?? I need to get in!"



From Notdiamonds, Tales From Retail:

As I’ve said before I work at an arts and crafts store. After reading numerous stories about unruly customers before opening/ after closing I truly felt nothing like that would happen at my store.

I was wrong.

As it’s a Sunday morning we put out all of our new ad signs that run for the week, meaning I have to come in two hours before we open to help the MOD. Normally this means no customer interaction.


At this point it’s about 8:45, and I was setting the floral signs in the front of the store. As I reach up to hang a sign someone BANGS on the door making me jump out of my skin. I honestly thought it was a co-worker trying to get in and wanted to scare me.

Instead I turn around and I see a 30-something year old woman standing alone giving me a “HELLO” stance with her hands up. (m for me, L for lady).

L: HELLO?? I need to get in!

M: I’m sorry but we aren’t open I can’t let you in


M: ma’am I apologize but I cannot let you in. We are not open, there is no money in our registers.

L: I have a BABYSHOWER I’m setting up in an hour and I only need ONE THING. LET ME IN.

At this point I’m extremely fed up and my customer experience face flew away.

M: We are not open. I cannot open the store for you to get one item. I’m not going to argue with you, there is nothing I can do.

L: YOU GUYS OPEN AT 9 DONT YOU!!! SO LET ME IN A LITTLE EARLY(she’s staring at our store hours posted right on the door.)

M: We open at 10. Just like all the stores next to us. At this point I can tell I’m not getting anywhere with this woman as she just blew off what I said and continued shouting. I picked up my signs and literally walked away as she banged on the door again. She never ended up coming in after we opened, not surprisingly.

The Rest of my shift went great despite the morning encounter.







Opening Time Nightmares: “Nah, we only want people that tall to come in”



From cabbage_patch_cunt, Tales From Retail:

Jewelry store girl here, but with a tale from my husband (henceforth called DH). He’s an assistant manager at a clothing store in our mall and had a visual update to do at 6am. Our mall opens at 1pm for reference.

At 12:55 he heard the front gate rattle. He had pulled it up about 2 feet off the ground to signify that they weren’t open, yet, but were opening soon. Angry Lady (AL) was on the other side.

AL: Y’all open?!

DH: Nah, we only want people that tall to walk in. (AL’s husband laughs)

AL: I meant what time y’all open?

DH: at 1

AL: you got 5 minutes.

AL proceeds to announce how much time they have until they open in a manner such as “YA GOT TWO MINUTES!!” every 2 minutes.

At 1, his store manager turns the music on and he is walking up to the gate to open the store. As he’s walking up, AL shouts “ITS 1!!!! WHEN YA GONNA OPEN?!?!”

AL’s husband: “I’d make her wait 5 more minutes” (Yes, he really said that)

DH: I’m thinking about it man.

AL storms off into the store as DH opens the gate and her husband apologizes to DH.

DH clocks out about 10 minutes later, so nothing else.







Opening Nightmares: The zombie horde got in....



From unicorntesticles, Tales From Retail:

This happened the other week at the variety goods shop I work at.

It's now the christmas season which means I start work an hour earlier than usual, at 8 instead of 9. We still open at the usual 9:30. It's nice though because I can actually get an hour of work done without being bothered by customers... or so I thought.

Our shop has just been remodeled and we no longer have the metal barrier thing that goes up and down. Instead now we just have two glass doors. Because of this sometimes customers see me counting the tills and assume we're open, they usually figure it out when they find the door locked or I direct them to the opening times sign that is just to the left (it's in a weird spot so I don't blame them for not seeing it).

It's around 9am, me and the new girl are working downstairs while the manager is upstairs doing paperwork or something. I go to the back room to get some stock and when I come back around 10 elderly customers are milling around the store. New girl comes up to me and asks how we turn the music on, regular employees don't control the music and they also can't unlock the front door. Music is usually turned on before we open so I figure we didn't just start opening at 9 for christmas. I call my manager and she rushes downstairs.

We had to awkwardly shoo them all out (which they were all confused and upset by) and my manager checked the lock. She unlocked the top and bottom locks earlier to make it easier to open but the middle lock was still locked. One of these customers were so eager to get their shopping done they forcibly broke the lock by pulling the front door open and just let everyone else in.

You'd think the opening sign, fact that there was no music, no visible staff downstairs and the fact that they had to forcibly open the door would have tipped them off that we're not open but I guess not.