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14 Startling Stories From Shop Assistants That Astonished Them to the Core

Retail associates and shop assistants communicate with hundreds of different people during the day and they have to be able to find a common language with each of them. They try to be sympathetic, polite, and correct. But not all of the clientele are as responsive in return and, oftentimes, they leave the workers in this sector perplexed and puzzled with their requests and behavior.

We at Bright Side read the stories about how difficult the work of a retail associate can be and decided that they deserve their own compilation. The bonus at the end will show you some little-known details about this profession.

  • I was at the checkout in a supermarket with my wife. A woman in front of us paid for her purchases and left when suddenly the theft-detecting equipment beeped. She started to take out all the contents of her shopping bag and show them to the guard. When she went through the detector the next time, it started to beep again. This happened about 5 more times. There were 2 girls standing behind us. One of them approaches the guard and says seriously, “She has probably eaten something in the shop!” © Overheard / Ideer

  • Once when I was in a mall, they set off the fire alarm because there was some smoke in the food court. Everyone was rushing, the sellers were closing their shops. Suddenly I saw a shop assistant pushing a young woman out of the store trying to explain to her in a loud voice that there was a fire in the building. She replied, “Noooo, let me buy this bag. It will burn and I won’t be able to find the same one! I’d rather burn together with this bag.” Eventually, nothing got burned and the woman likely went back in and got what she wanted. © Overheard / Ideer

  • The other day one guy came to our store and bought a radiator grill. 2 months later he comes back and says that the grill didn’t fit his car. I decided that we would be able to resell this item and ignored the fact that all the deadlines for returns had expired, I told the man that he could go ahead and bring the grill back. He did, but he only brought the chrome molding that was a part the grill. I asked, “Where is the rest? Where is the grill itself?” He replied, “I didn’t need the grill when I bought it, I only needed the molding because mine had worn out completely.” Me, “I see, but you bought the whole grill. Where is it?” He replied, “As I mentioned, I didn’t need it so I ditched it right after I bought it.” Me: “Sorry but I can’t take this back.” He indignantly asked, “But why?!” What is happening in the heads of people like this? © KG127 / Pikabu

  • I had been working in a jewelry store for several years and brides and grooms were frequent visitors there. While the brides were trying on the rings, their grooms would be flirting with the shop assistants. Also, there was one guy who would come to the shop with different girls over the course of several months. He was trying on wedding rings with each of them and have a lovely time. © Overheard / Ideer

  • My store has a salad bar where you can fill a container with whatever you like for $6 a pound (it’s weighed at checkout). A woman came through my line with one of these containers, with a single spinach leaf in it. No other items. She came to the store to buy one leaf of spinach that came out to about 13 cents. © Not_fbi_i_swear / Reddit

  • Once, in a line, I saw a customer throw a fit because the cashier didn’t laugh at his joke. He insisted that “it was funny!!” and the cashier just stared at him with cold eyes. I don’t know what joke he told. © AlleKeskitason / Reddit

  • One day I was standing at a customer service counter when a woman in her 50s came up to me in visible distress. According to her, the cashier had withheld the sales receipt from her and as such, she would not be able to exit the store. I decided to calm her down and said, “No problem ma’am. I’ll just call security and you can rest assured that you’ll get it safely.” But she replied angrily, “No, but I can’t get out without the receipt!” As I retrieve the bin and show her, I say, “Ma’am since neither you nor the cashier has the receipt why don’t you just head out and security won’t bother you.” She says, “Are you kidding me, why are you making me pay for my groceries twice!?!” Me, “Not at all ma’am. You don’t need to pay again, you can j-” As I’m saying this, the woman pulls out her Ziploc bag of bills, and something falls out of her pocket — the receipt. She declares in a detached way, “You need to train your cashiers better. I shouldn’t have to pay for my groceries twice whenever I come here.” © Jonathan Lai / Quora

  • Once upon a time, I worked at a movie theater. A woman in her late 30s comes to me and orders 4 kid’s combos and a kid’s soda. When I asked which sodas she wanted, she said “Soda.” Again I ask the woman for clarification and again she says “Soda.” I tell her that I understand that she wants soda but I need to know the type, now she shouts at me “SODA!” I take a breath and go to the soda fountain and I mix random amounts of all different flavors in the cups and give her the combos. She takes a sip and shouts, “What the hell is this?” I just smile and say “Soda. Next in line please.” © Thebearsandthebees / Reddit

  • Meet, Dice. It’s lived in our board game store for 7 years. Dice’s task is to calm down customers who demand a discount “just because they came here.” And I offer them a choice: if the result of your throw will be more than mine, the store will give you a 5% discount, if it’s 20, you’ll get a 10% discount, if it’s lower than mine, you’ll have to pay 5% more. The last option appeared only recently, but I believe it’s quite fair. After it was introduced, the demand for giving the customers a “just because” discount became 0. The Dice has already lived through several department extensions and a major relocation. © Alexey.yushin / Pikabu

  • I worked at a checkout. I’ve had a man hand me his candy bar to scan and then when I touched it, he slapped my hand and said, “No one touches my candy bar but me.” When I asked why he said that, he said that other people touching the wrapper makes the candy bar dirty. © atlasraven / Reddit

  • One thing you have to watch out for is people who try to cheat you. I was a cashier when I was in school and customers would try to give me a $5 bill then swear they had given me a $20. If I gave them the change for the $20, my register would be short and I would be in trouble. I started laying the bill they gave me on top of the register while I made the change. In plain view. I would complete the transaction, giving them their change, and if there was any question about what they gave me it was laying right there on top of the register drawer, which was still open. © Ann Austin / Quora

  • I work as a manager in a store for household goods. Once, a shop assistant comes in and says there is a customer who wants to return goods. I always try to settle these situations peacefully. So I go to the client and say, “Hi, how can I help you?” He answers, “One week ago I bought wood putty at your store. I don’t like its quality — it’s too thick, please refund my money.” I replied, “Ok, please give us the putty. These types of goods actually can’t be returned, but if the supplier allows because there is a quality issue, we will accept it.” His answer astonished me, “Well... I have used it all. But when I was working, I felt uncomfortable because it was too thick. Please give me my money back.” And then he tried to give me an empty jar. © Isadora.violet / Pikabu

  • A customer purchased 2 of the same product at the same time. 75″ TVs. He bought the lowest end model available at that time. 8 years later they both failed within a few months of each other. Not 8 weeks or 8 months.... 8 years. He called and demanded we replace them. Obviously, the answer had to be no. The warranty goes 5 years max on electronics. He came into the store threatening to sue if we didn’t give him new TVs. He went on for weeks and weeks. He went online. He called BBB. They laughed at him. Before he really went insane, we had offered to help him out with the cost of a new purchase, way beyond anything any other store I had ever seen would even consider, and that still wasn’t good enough... Some people just can’t understand that things do fail. © Mike Parks / Quora

  • I work in a cosmetic store. Once a woman came in and asked for a good waterproof mascara. I helped her pick one out. After a couple of days, she returns, starts some drama, and asks for a refund. When I tried to find out what happened, she said that it was really hard to remove the mascara. When I told her there were special products for removing waterproof mascara, she said that I was trying to sell her unnecessary products and make her spend more money. © Overheard / Ideer

Bonus: Some details about working as a retail associate

  • Did you know that retail associates in almost all chain stores are forbidden to sit? Chairs are actually nowhere to be found. They are only allowed to lean on a table or a wall. Even when there is no work, they have to be moving around and straightening clothes. 12-14 hours on their feet. © Chabandaria_ / Twitter

  • The most I could stand to work in a store is for 2 days of my life. On the second day, I was almost crawling on the way home. On the third day, I gave up on this job and couldn’t get up from my bed for a week because my feet were so sore. I do have some health issues but in my opinion, this work could ruin the health of a healthy person as well. © ******** / Twitter

  • Being a cashier is hard both physically and mentally. After being a cashier for 15 years, I got an office job. Being allowed to go to the bathroom any time I need to is the greatest thing! © Bobby Callahan / Quora

Do you think these claims from customers are reasonable?

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