1. Potty mouth
One time we had a guy try to return a camp toilet/potty thing claiming it had collapsed after it had been used.
They're not really stable things, essentially a heavy duty garbage bag splayed over an aluminium frame. He brought it back for us in a bigger garbage bag for us to check out, still full judging from the smell.
We didn't know what to do. No one was going to be checking inside that bag. So the manager at the time refunded him just to get him out of there, on the condition he disposed of the bag himself.
He kept trying to put the bag up on the counter and open it up so we could see. So gross.
2. A total pest
I had a customer come in with a bag of relatively expensive items from our grocery store, such as vitamins, dog tablets, DVDs and so on, and claimed they were covered in pesticides.
She had claimed we packed fertilizer into the same bags as her food (which is against our policy), the bag had split, there were pesticides everywhere and she needed a refund on everything.
I felt something fishy was up, told my manager. She quickly checked the surveillance cameras and saw the lady walk in with a bag, stuff as much as she could into it and then poured pesticides on it.
3. Flowery language
We had this guy who tried to return flowers a week later because he was unhappy that they had died.
Our flowers do not have any kind of "will last five days or your money back" guarantee or anything.
I called my manager and the customer argued with him for over half an hour about his three dollar bouquet of flowers.
My manager just sat there completely deadpan and every time the guy stopped talking said simply, "I'm not refunding you for dead flowers."
When the guy eventually left (throwing his flowers on the floor) my boss cracked up and couldn't stop laughing for several minutes.
4. No quiero Taco Bell
I used to work at Taco Bell so I have stories for days.
I once had a lady buy a taco salad, hand it to her daughter, and the daughter dropped it and got all over the car.
Now, if she just wanted a replacement, that would be cool. Things happen. But she demanded a replacement, a refund and that somebody come out and clean her car for her. She was swearing and calling us all useless.
Luckily, the manager on duty was not one to take people's flak. She tore this lady a new one, gave her a new salad and told her not to come back. It was pretty great.
5. Bolted for it
I worked at a hardware store in a pretty sketchy part of town. It was a big city so rather than driving, most people would ride their bikes to work.
One day a man came in looking for some bolt cutters. The man checked out and left, and was back in the store within two minutes saying he changed his mind. We refunded his money.
10 minutes later the new coworker is leaving on his lunch break, and his bicycle is nowhere to be found. He instantly realizes he sold the man the tools to steal his own bike! And the guy had the nerve to return the cutters!
6. Dirty laundry
I used to work at Bed, Bath and Beyond. One day we had a lady come in and try to return some sheets.
I guess the reason itself wasn't crazy, as she claimed the sheets she was returning shrunk in the wash. It was my first day working customer service (I was usually on register) so I processed the return. They looked pretty new and relatively unused, so I thought nothing of it.
When she left, I had to put the sheets either in a discard/damaged bucket or put them in a basket for repackaging and resale.
I opened the sheets to find a massive yellow stain right in the middle of the sheet. Yeah... that went into the discard bucket.
7. Change is cyclical
I was at a refurbished items warehouse sale. These sales are where the company takes all the returned items and sells them to members for a huge discount, depending on damage/use. They work just like new, but at a fraction of the cost.
I saw a bicycle that looked nice. The retail price was $650, the bike was marked to $280.
The price tags have the reason why the customer returned the item. You usually see, "customer didn't like how shoes held up," "customer didn't like fit" and "customer wanted smaller size" but the line on this bike was the best I've ever seen:
"Customer did not like the sport of cycling."
8. Online shopping scammers
I've had a couple of people try to scam me by returning eBay items I sold them.
Before I sell something I always take photos of the model number(s) and small unique marks that tell me that item is 100% my item.
I sold somebody my old Nintendo Wii which worked perfectly fine, but they claimed it was broken. I told them they could send it back to me and I'd test it and give a refund if this were the case. I also mentioned I had photos of the exact Wii I sold them, so I'd know if they were swapping it with a broken one to get their money back.
They never replied or sent the Wii back.
9. It’s definitely not delivery
This woman came in and returned five DiGiorno frozen pizzas. They were all thawed and in soggy boxes. She said they "didn't cook all the way through."
What do you mean not cooked all the way through? This isn't poultry. I think as an adult she should have been able to figure out that you just pop the pizza back in the oven for five more minutes.
I return the item, mark it for disposal and made a comment to the next person in line like, "Can you believe what I have to deal with?" Apparently that person went and tracked down frozen pizza lady, and told her what I said.
My manager found out and I got in trouble.
10. The boiling point
When I was a manager at coffee shop, we had a crazy lady customer.
She would buy two pounds of beans, and then she'd come back two weeks later with the mostly empty bags. She would hold up the drive-through line insisting that we replace the coffee because it had gone bad.
We tried to explain to her that coffee doesn't stay fresh after you open it, and we can't replace a bag after you've used most of it. We gave her one free bag of coffee once as a courtesy, and she tried to get us to refill that for free too!
Even worse, she purposefully came through the drive-through during the morning rush.
11. Off her melon
This woman returned a cantaloupe because she said that it was, "giving off a radioactive smell."
Also, she returned some blueberries because apparently they were "leaking poison." She didn't know that water builds up at the bottom of the packet when you take it out of the fridge.
Ever since then I have doubted humanity.
12. Total meat head
A dude wanted to return his watermelon because it "smelled funny." The watermelon came from another store (we could tell by the little sticker). He handed me a receipt from a different store.
Another guy tried to return about $100 worth of meat. We saw him on camera put the meat in his cart, then walk up to the customer service desk to "return" it.
13. Three year old grass cutter
A woman tried to return a three-year-old heavily used grass cutter because her fingers had become too weak to pry open the case where the nylon cutter goes.
We had tried for 20 minutes to make the case easier to open, but she wasn't satisfied. She wanted a full refund on a heavily used item, and was trying to abuse our generous return policy.
She also had no receipt, and expected us to locate it on our network through her membership.
When we told her she couldn't possibly get a refund, she got mad and called us useless. Then she knocked over a display and stormed out of the store.
14. Excuses, excuses
Once had a lady with her brood of unruly children come in with a laptop whose screen had "spontaneously" cracked. Upon a casual inspection the cause was obvious, the screen was covered in grubby little fingerprints where the kids had been lifting it up by the screen and had cracked it as a result.
We declined the return since accidental damage is not covered by the manufacturer's guarantee. She went crazy, and demanded we call the suppliers. They also declined to repair it.
This ordeal went on for weeks. She came back every three days until the manager gave in.
It completely tanked our commissions for the month.
Gotta love retail.
15. It’s all Greek to me
When I worked at a bookshop, someone returned Homer's "Iliad" because it "wasn't anything like the film." He wasn't joking. He seemed actually incensed by it.
"Troy" had just come out at the cinema, and I guess this guy thought that a thousand year old Greek epic would read just like an American novel with all the modern vernacular. Just bizzarer.
To be fair to the customer, the book had a sticker on it with Brad Pitt's face that said, "The classic that inspired the movie." But still, come on! Who hasn't heard of Homer's "Iliad"?
We honored his refund but I'll still never forget that customer.
16. Dairy Queen (of entitlement)
I was working a shift at Dairy Queen, and it gets really busy at my location. So busy, that we have 30+ orders waiting in the queue most Sunday evenings.
A man came up to complain about how it shouldn't take so long for one ice cream cone, even though he was probably about 20th in line.
He didn't seem to get the concept it's done by first come first serve, not by what's quick/easy to make. He demanded we drop the other orders, make his cone AND have his money back. I tried telling him that I couldn't do that.
He demanded to speak to the manager who told him the same thing.
17. Steeped in anger
I used to work at a hardware store. This guy came in with this dirty electric kettle that was clearly years old and covered in limescale.
We had a one year guarantee on our electrical items, and the receipt which he still had told us he bought the kettle three years prior.
When my manager explains to him that he can't get a new kettle since it's past it's warranty and well-used , this guy flips, saying, "Well, what does the warranty have to do with anything?"
He swore at my manager and said he would write to the CEO of the company to complain.
Another customer called him a "pathetic worm of a man" which made me laugh, though.
I work in a movie theatre and a few days out of the week we give out a free bag of popcorn with the purchase of a ticket.
A guy comes in one day and purchases a ticket (which was only $5) and got his free popcorn. He goes into the theatre. About 15 minutes later he comes out with an empty bag of popcorn, complaining that it was disgusting and too salty and demanded a refund.
On the popcorn. That he already ate. Which was free.
My manager didn't want to argue so we gave him another bag and sent him on his way. I didn't last very long at that job.
19. Bulletproof packaging
This just happened the other day. We have a local store called Bargain Bin that buys lots of returned items and such from other stores.
I bought something the other day from there that still had the little return slip taped to it. It was packaged in one of those hard plastic packages that you practically injure yourself trying to open.
It had cut marks, stab marks and the plastic was charred and melted in a spot, but it was still unopened. Reason returned? "Customer did not like the way it was packaged."
It just struck me as funny. Oh, how I can empathize with the struggle.
20. False advertising
When I was in high school I worked at Taco Bell.
We had a lawyer who would come in every Wednesday night, order a Nacho Bell Grande, then ask for the manager to complain that it didn't look like the picture on the menu board.
He would threaten to sue us if we didn't give it to him for free, or make him one with triple meat and cheese to make it look legitimate, but at the same price as the much cheaper menu item.
And he got it every week, because it was easier to placate his ridiculous request than to have to explain the situation to the general manager.
21. BBQ sauce
Their dress was stained. Seems reasonable. Except THEY stained it.
She went to a BBQ and got sauce on her new white dress. The sauce wouldn't wash out and stained the dress. I said no to the return. We don't offer refunds for worn, damaged merchandise.
I told her, "Maybe you can dye the dress a different color that hides the stain. Or get a patch or something you like to cover it. This is a great opportunity to personalize your look."
She snatched her dress from my hands, marched over to another register and the cashier there processed a refund without question. I guess he saw what happened and didn't want to deal with her.
I hate people.
23. Her sense of object permanence never developed
I used to work for a Chevrolet dealership. It was a Cadillac dealership with a different owner before. It shut down, he opened a new dealership elsewhere.
A lady came in and said she bought a used Cadillac there two years ago, and something was wrong with it and she wanted it fixed.
I let her know that the previous owner shut down almost a year prior, but has a new dealership on X Road and she could check there.
She said, "But this is the building I bought it at."
She could not grasp that a business can move and a new one move into the same building.
24. A way too generous return policy
I worked at a Target when I was in high school. A woman came in and wanted to return a used breast pump because it "hurt too much too much to use."
Without even trying to imagine what that means, that wasn't even the worst part.
She returned it with no receipt, in a Ziploc baggie and not washed.
She didn't seem to see anything wrong or gross about this transaction. I kind of admired her shamelessness.
The worst part? My manager allowed a return.
I am so glad that I now work in a plant. Lifting heavy objects everyday is way better than ever having to deal with the public.
25. What do you mean I have to pay for it?
I work at a retail store where we engrave items, mostly for weddings. A woman ordered two champagne flutes for a wedding she was traveling to.
We recommend that people pick up their orders an hour early in case we have to fix anything. This customer came in at 5:55 p.m. on a Sunday night, when we close at 6 p.m.
I showed her the glasses, and she was livid. The lettering looked "terrible, cheap, and awful" (they were fine) and she wanted a refund.
I told her I could refund her, but that she can't take the glasses with her. "But I have to have them and you've ruined the entire wedding."
I told her I could have new glasses engraved by noon tomorrow. "Why should I be inconvenienced because of your incompetence?!"
26. Snow cone woes
I own a small snow cone stand and had a lady and her daughter order two cherry snow cones. They ate right in front of me and left. Flash forward four HOURS later, I get a call from a very angry man.
He demanded a refund for his wife because the snow cone was "dry." I explained that his wife and child ate their snow cone right in front of me and didn't have an issue then.
NO, that was not the answer he was looking for and proceeded to personally insult me and continue to demand a refund for a two dollar snow cone that was consumed four hours prior.
27. She booked it
I used to work at Borders. One day, a lady comes in to return some comic books.
The manager goes to process the return and notices that she is returning this with an existing return receipt. She asks her what the issue is on this one and she goes, "Oh, my son reads them so fast."
So my manager caught her basically admitting she was returning them after her son read them so she could get the next set. After confronting her about it, my manager said, "I'll process this return but you still have these others on the receipt. I'm making a mark that you're cut off from refunds."
The lady was aghast. "But he reads them so fast, what am I supposed to do?"
Not our problem.
28. Ironing out the problems
I had a guy come in, 20 minutes to closing time, the day before Christmas and returned four mini hair straighteners. He had the receipt and everything, so he got the money back no problem.
Pretty tame interaction, right? It gets even better.
We started chit-chatting about it. He tells me he thought they were some fancy small travel-irons for shirts and collars, and so on — so he had bought four for his brothers as Christmas presents.
He had no idea they were for hair, despite the fact that there's a lady ironing her hair with it on the box. His wife saw them and started laughing hysterically and made him return them.
He and his brothers were all bald.
29. Speak up
When I was working at Apple a guy came in completely furious that he couldn't hear anything out of the headset speaker while on a phone call with someone.
I took the phone and he still had the protective plastic on it. It was covering the speaker.
"There's your problem," I said and ripped off the plastic. He looked at me as if I'd slapped him. "Why did you do that? I didn't want to have to buy a screen protector!"
"Well, it was covering the speaker and the home button so it's not really meant to be used like that."
He walked out indignantly.
30. Cavewoman communication
A restaurant I worked at in college had a lady bring back a half eaten appetizers. She just threw it on the counter and said, "uh huh?" and only responded to questions with, "uh huh?" or "uh huh!"
We tried to figure out what was wrong. We didn't see anything wrong with her dish, and we weren't getting any answers out of her, so we just made her another.
She came back five minutes later and continued doing the "uh huh" bit. Finally, the manager just gave her money back.
She went and sat back down at her table with her friend, where she was overheard calling our manager a fool.