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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Retail Hell Memories: Rude Customers - Spitballs


Sisu 2From Pharmacy Psycho

I started this story in "The Rudest Thing a Customer has Ever Done to Me"...

I originally got the job at Hardee's (that's Carl's Jr. on the west coast) working the night shift to pay for my hobby of showing dogs. (Don't let anyone fool you into thinking you will make money breeding dogs. It's really quite the opposite!) I was working nights because I had 2 young daughters, my husband worked days and I had weekends off to show. It was a really nice arrangement for me.

As I was saying, I had been in a car wreck, had hit my head on the steering wheel (yes, I always wear a seatbelt), and was experiencing headaches afterwards. Normally we were required to eat in the small break room in the back, but because it was January and very slow, my terrific manager said I could take my drink out to the dining room where it was quiet. At that time, there were no customers in the restaurant.

About half-way through my dinner break, four guys come in that are in their late teens or early 20's. Definitely out of high school and definitely troublemakers. They ordered their meals, and out of the whole restaurant, they decided to pick a table two down from me. If my visor hadn't been on the table, they wouldn't have known I worked there since I had my coat on.

I was being very still and very quiet just trying to get through my dinner break so that my head would stop pounding. It was really hurting (I had never had a migraine before, so I didn't realize what I was experiencing). A minute later, a spitball skitters across the table and lands under my crossed arms. SHIT! I couldn't believe it!

The guys were all snickering and thinking they were funny, and I was hoping that was the end of it, but it wasn't. Another one landed in my HAIR! Okay... now I was pissed. Growing up, I had been teased a lot in school because my brother was "different", and here I was in my late 20's and I was just too fucking old for this, and so were they. I decided that if it happened one more time, I was going to have to say something... SPLAT! They nailed me right at the top of my head, and broke up laughing... that was it, I'd HAD IT!

Balls award5Before I could stop myself, my almost-full, LARGE cup of Diet Coke ended up in the lap of the prime offender! OH SHIT! There went my job. The guy of course was all indignant...


Me: "Maybe I don't like having spitballs shot at me?"

Him: "What spitballs? I'm going to report you!"

Me: "Go ahead, Asshole!"

Him (to manager): "Look what she did to me!"

Me: "He was shooting spitballs at me!"

Him: "I was not!"

Me (holds out handful of spitballs)

Manager: "GET OUT!"

Him: "I'm calling your boss!"

Manager: "Go ahead. Want his number?"

Manager (to me): "True, I know those guys are trouble-makers and if you had to hit one, you hit the right one. But it does make us look bad when you do things like that."

Me: "Sorry. I have a headache and I don't like being abused."

Manager: "They won't call. And even if they did, I would back you up 100%."

Sadly, I had to quit my job a week later due to the headaches, and even ended up selling off my dogs. I still suffer from migraines to this day (20 years later). My manager died in a car accident a year later herself, and that was hard for me. She wasn't wearing her seatbelt. She told me she was saved by not wearing it one time so she never believed in them again.

--Pharmacy Psycho


Drive Thru Window Hell: Constant Complainer Gets Told


This story was originally posted on May 30, 2010


Drive through hellHello all,

Laughing Barista back with another story from the drive-thru of a coffee chain.

I am fortunate enough to work with one of my best friends. This makes work fun and tolerable (even though I have a cool boss and good hours, etc etc). However, Saturday mornings ALWAYS suck because they're so damn busy.

Now, one of our biggest issues is the fact that people purchase WAY too much stuff in drive-thru. If you're getting more than five items (and by this I don't mean five donuts or five bagels but rather, five separate units), go inside.

So it's around 11AM on Saturday morning and my best friend and I are working sandwiches. We're incredibly busy and can't believe how hungry people are that morning. We have huge orders from the front as well as drive-thru orders that need to be made quickly.

A lady comes to the drive-thru and orders a plethora of drinks and 13, count them, 13 sandwiches. This is ridiculous. Even if it came from the front I'd be pissed but drive-thru? You're holding up the fucking line, asshole. My co-worker kindly informs her to wait inside while we make the sandwiches as to not hold up the line. She complains for about a minute or two until she concedes. 

She comes inside and stands right where we're making sandwiches and starts complaining about how she has to wait inside. I don't want to hear her. My best friend is annoyed, too.

I tell her that it's not fair to the other customers that she take up their time because they can't order if her car is in the way.

She said that my co-worker told her to wait on line again.

I told her that he didn't because a) I heard him and b) that would be stupid and pointless.

(Let me just point out that waiting on line or standing right near us is not going to decrease the amount of time it takes for us to make her order.)

She calms down for a bit and then starts saying, "I'm a good person! I'm a good person! I don't deserve this treatment!"

Balls award3I tell her that I'm sure she's a good person and that we're treating her fine. It's not our fault that she ordered 13 sandwiches on a Saturday morning at 11AM.

She keeps repeating that she's a good person. My best friend got testy and told her to knock it off. She didn't. She kept going on and on and on.

Finally, I lost my patience, put her bagel down and said, "Ma'am, you could be Hitler reincarnated and I wouldn't care. You're a paying customer and you'll get your food as soon as you be quiet and let us do our job."

She shut up after that.

--Laughing Barista


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Retail Balls Awards: Mostrous Old Lady Gets Told




From Cosmetics Hellhound, June, 2011:

I had an older lady come into my store the other day looking for Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Deodorant (Which by the way smells fucking awful).

I had a poke around before I remembered that our store had pulled it from the shelves because it doesn't sell very well at all.

I went over and apologized profusely explaining that I had forgotten that our store did not carry it anymore but I did have a couple other prestige deodorants that I could show her if she liked ... this was when she went from sweet little old lady to demonic bitchcunt in all of .3seconds.


Me: "I'm sorry? I can call a couple other stores nearby to see if th--"

Bitchcunt: "So you are basically telling me that not only is your fucking barsoap sold out, but everything else too? I HAVE HALF A MIND TO CALL YOUR FUCKING HEAD OFFICE TO TELL THEM HOW THIS FUCKING STORE IS RUN."

**Turns out she was looking for Irish Spring Bar Soap in the front too, as I explained before my store is set up with an area cut off with a wall that is brightly lit (think department store almost) with prestige cosmetics such as Lancome, Guerlain, SMASHBOX, etc and then "Front Store" which is the drug store area and mass cosmetics such as L'Oreal, Covergirl, etc**

MonsterMe: "I am sorry you feel that way but there is honestly no reason to be swearing right now we have other clients around here that do not need to be hearing this language"

**INCLUDING a poor little girl no more than 9 or 10 who looked horrified by this decaying, screaming, corpse-like woman in front of us**

Bitchcunt: "I will do what I WANT, sonny, this is a fucking free country isn't it?"

At this point I am about done with her fucking attitude and I am seeing sparks and shaking like a leaf. I ended up doing something that I am so surprised did not get me into heaps of trouble because I am about 9000% sure I am not allowed to do this without managerial permission but you know what? She was a fucking bitch. I would like to think she deserved it.

Me: "I think it's about time you leave, get out of my store."



I started hustling this old bat out the front door but she was still pushing one of our shopping carts, I grabbed it and pulled it away from her and she protested with a "I am not gonna steal your stupid cart" I told her I honestly don't care what she was going to do with it but it is NOT leaving my store and I wrested it from her death-grip.

hen shit got a little weird, she laughed (manically, not haha funny) and stated "I'm just a crazy old biddy I will do what I want" and left the store .... I still don't know how to take that, honestly.

--Cosmetics Hellhound


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Retail Balls Awards: Walmart Customer Gets Told By RHUer Customer




From Brian The Werewolf, October, 2014

Tonight I went on a late night soup run. It's so cold and after a rough day, Sam and I decided we wanted tomato soup and grilled cheese. Went to Walmart and picked up tomato basil home-style tomato soup, real deli cheese and crackers.

All the self checkout lanes were full, so I went down to one of the two that was open. Got in line behind a woman in a wheelchair and a man in a blue hoodie. The man with the blue hoodie was being a little rough with the cashier, far rougher than was necessary. Based on what I could tell, he had picked up a bunch of stuff he couldn't pay for and then was berating her as if it were her fault.

Another man and his wife, total strangers, came up to the guy in the blue hoodie and gave him money, money enough to pay for what he didn't have to cover for.

WalmartcustySo the process started again, and when the cashier re-rang up the meat and stuff she had just had to undo, the man stopped her and told her to put the meat back. She asked him, very politely, a question to clarify because the other man had specifically given her the money to help the dude in the blue hoodie, and made sure he wanted to put it back because now it was covered.

Man in the blue hoodie proceeds to very loudly snap at the cashier and said: "What part of put it BACK didn't you fucking understand?"

The poor girl didn't have a choice but to sit there and take his abuse so I spoke up and said: "Hey, lay off."

He grumbled and growled a bit and took the extra money the stranger didn't have to give him meant to cover groceries and pocketed it, snatching it out of the cashier's hand.

After the woman in the wheelchair paid for her movie and moved out, I checked out and asked the cashier if she was okay. She said she was and said it was part of working up front. I apologized for the man's behavior and told her to hang in there. Someone's gonna go up on People of Walmart AND Retail Hell Underground.



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Retail Hell Memories: Hotel Hell - The Sports Team From Hell


This story was originally posted on December 01, 2009


Hotel hellHallway Troll is ready to take on those Piggy Custys:

I have been working in the hotel field for almost 4 years now (The first two years I was in college, the past two I blame on the economy).

While working at my first hotel we underwent construction. We knew months in advance and would tell anyone who made reservations that we would be undergoing construction and the pool would be closed during their stay.

I should note that one of the reasons people chose to stay with us over competitors, is that our pool was open 24 hours.

I'm working the afternoon shift one of those days during construction. We have signs posted all over the entrance doors notifying customers we are under construction, which I thought were somewhat pointless as the moment you enter the building you walk through a 3 foot wide tunnel of plastic while a jackhammer (no joke) tears up the lobby floor.

There are also signs posted at the desk saying the pool is closed and we're under construction.

We also verbally tell all check ins that we're under construction and the pool is closed and have them sign a document saying they were told of this.

Towards the end of my shift, around 9pm, this grandpa comes up to me asking where they can get pool towels.

I apologize and say that I am sorry but the pool is not open due to the construction.

He glares at me for a second and says that the only reason they stayed with us is because they wanted to take their granddaughter swimming.

Hotel jason bellhopI apologized again and informed him that several notices were posted and that he did sign the form.

He glares some more and walks away.

About five minutes later he comes back carrying what looks to be a 2 year old child. He points to me and says to his granddaughter "see her, she's the reason you can't go swimming tonight."

He glares at me again as she begins to tear up and her lip begins to quiver.

I just watch, mouth agape, as they walk away.

The little girl didn't take her eyes off me as they went down the hallway.


A few months later, at the same hotel, we are having a few traveling hockey teams stay with us. It was my first (but unfortunately not my last) experience with the hell that is child hockey teams.

There were about 3 teams total staying with us, and they filled up about 50 rooms (out of the 102 the hotel had) and we were sold out that weekend.

As soon as I saw the first greyhound bus pull up, I cringed because I was the only employee in the entire hotel.

The first people off the bus are the kids that just spent an entire day on the bus eating candy and soda.

Then the parents stumbled off, they spent the entire day drinking on the bus and brought their coolers into the lobby to continue the party.

After the hellish 30 minutes in took to check them in the kids scattered, spotted the pool, asked their parents if they could go swimming and then ran away (presumably to get out their swim trunks, but it may have been to go get high on speed for all I know).

I yell to the parents in the lobby that all children must have a parent guardian in the pool with them.

They took this to mean, send the one sober-ish parent to the pool to watch 30 kids.

Hotel carolanneThe camera I have behind the desk is pointed directly at the kids and I can see them running and jumping in, a direct violation of the posted rules. I seize this golden opportunity to kick them out of the pool and head down there.

The parent there, argues that he kept a solid eye on the kids and that not one of them jumped in.

I pointed out that his beer was also not allowed in the pool area as food and beverage are prohibited. as I'm "discussing" this with him other parents (alerted by one of the kids) come in saying they'll keep an eye on them.

Outnumbered and needing to get back to the desk I tell them if I see one more violation on camera the pool is getting locked down.

As soon as I get back to the desk I see the kids at it again, the parents drinking beer, and not doing anything.

I march my ass back down there, announce that the pool is not closed and they need to vacate immediately.

The parents try to argue their way out of it saying they've been watching the kids and didn't see anything, etc., etc.

It's then that the smart ass of the kids decides to jump in while I'm there and the parents begrudgingly agree to leave.

I lock the pool, thinking I've won one battle,I can manage to make it another 5 hours until my shift ends. How naive I was. I spend the rest of the night trolling the hallways with my mean face on, sending kids who were playing mini-stick hockey in the hallways fleeing into their rooms. The parents have decided they are on vacation and are getting obnoxiously drunk in the lobby (and I worked in a college town, the frat parties were quieter) or going down the street to the casino.

At one point I approach the parents informing them that if I find the kids playing hockey in the hallways or rooms again I will kick the team out without refund. They then asked me if I had any board games they could play.

When I said no they said, "Well how the hell are we supposed to entertain our kids if you don't have an arcade or any games for them to play?"

I was about to tell him off when out of the corner of my eye I see kids running outside in the parking lot.

It's winter, about 25 degrees, and there's ice everywhere and none of the kids are wearing anything more than shirts and pants.

We had a big snowfall recently and I knew the kids were running for the giant pile of snow at the end of the plowed lot.

I bolt outside and spot at least 5 kids on top of the 12 foot high snow pile playing king of the mountain. I ran over yelling "get the fuck of that mountain!" and they scattered. A parent had followed and slurred at me "don't talk to our kids that way!"

Balls award4To which I replied "Then act like a damn parent, I'm not a babysitter!" and went back inside.

I informed the parents there that if all the kids were not in rooms in 5 minutes I was calling the police to haul them all off.

The parents grumbled but the kids disappeared.

At least for a bit.

I heard the distinctive sounds of children running on the floor above me and literally sprinted out of the office and up the stairs, taking 3 at a time.

I burst into the hallway and spotted a group of kids playing tag in the hallway.

I (out of breath) yelled "get in your rooms!" one of the brats replied that their mom told them to leave the room so she could watch tv. I snarled "get in your rooms NOW!" and they scattered.

I calmly walked to the end of the hall and went down the stairs.

I was hanging out in the bottom of the stairwell to catch my breath and slow my pulse when I heard the 2nd floor door open.

I over head an adult female say to a group of kids "She's not in charge of you, you do what I say, and I say you are allowed to play in the hall-..."

right then she stepped off the stairs, turned, and saw me standing there, hand clasped demurely in front of me, smiling as sugary sweetly as possible at her.

She turned pale, shut her mouth, and walked silently right past me with the kids.

I followed them to the lobby, still smiling.

They walked right over to the elevator and went back up to their rooms.

I stood outside the elevator and as it was closing said in my most sincere voice "have a good night!"

The best part?

I was working the morning shift the next day and when the parents came to complain my manager told them they were never allowed to stay in our hotel again and she would be notifying the rest of the hotels in the city of their behavior and good luck next year finding a room for the tournament.

No one acts up in my Hotel Hell and gets away with it.

Hospitably yours,

--Hallway Troll


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