35 Of The Silliest Questions Retail Workers Have Been Asked

Published 3 weeks ago

Believe it or not, the idea that “the customer is always right” doesn’t always hold true. In an ideal world, everyone who walks into a store would be patient, polite, and have a good grasp of common sense. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case these days. This puts retail staff in the position of having to maintain a friendly demeanour, stay professional, and refrain from facepalming, even when faced with some truly baffling situations.

Recently, members of the r/AskReddit online community who work in retail shared stories about the most absurd things they’ve had to explain to customers. These tales range from amusing to downright mind-boggling. We’ve gathered some of the most fascinating stories to share with you. Take a look below and be prepared to be amazed. 

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Image source: GraniteBoy, Berkeley Communications / unsplash (not the actual photo)

(Phone call when I worked in a hardware store)

“Good morning, , how can I help you?”

“Hi there. I’d like to refill my prescription”

“Oh, I’m sorry – I think you have the wrong number. This is a hardware store”

<5 second pause>

“So you won’t help me refill my prescription?”

“What sort of prescription?”

“My birth control pill”

“OK well we’re a hardware store, so we don’t have birth control or any other medication”

“You’re not being very helpful at all”

And then she hung up…

I might have done society a disservice by not helping prevent her from procreating, come to think about it…

#2 Used to work in a computer store, someone asked me once if a mouse mat would work with Windows 7. I worry about some people on this planet..

Image source: EntityManiac, Matthias Haltenhof / unsplash (not the actual photo)

#3 Had an older (though not senior citizen) man who was 100% certain that were stealing money from his bank account because it kept showing $100 “charges” to the ATM at our location. After a series of questions he stated he sends his son in to pick up his prescriptions and gives him his debit to pay. Pointing out to him (from his own bank statement) that the $100 charges match the dates of the prescription pickups made him only more emphatic that someone from the store was using his card to steal his money.

Even pointing out that his bank statement specified the $100 as coming from an atm did nothing to sway his mind.

He stood at the front door staring at us for 20 minutes before finally leaving.

Sorry dude, your kids a d**k and you’re an idiot. I cant fix either of those.

Image source: JnyBlkLabel

#4 Dumbest thing, or customer, I had to explain is that there is no such thing as “lo cal” or lo calorie honey. It’s f*****g “local” for cryin out loud. F*CK.

Image source: TEAMTINU, Paul Wilkinson / (not the actual photo)

#5 That watermelons don’t grow on trees. And this was back in the days before these personal-sized seedless watermelons…back when they were like 20lbs. A woman was complaining that all of the watermelons were flat on one side and kind of yellow. I told her that was the side that was on the ground. She looked angry and surprised and asked, “What do you mean, ‘on the ground’?!” like I was admitting to some secret that we leave the producing sitting on the ground out back, or something.

Image source: NecroJoe, Josiel Araujo / pexels (not the actual photo)


Image source: HawaiianShirtsOR, Tranmautritam/ pexels (not the actual photo)

Customer: What’s the difference between the 17-inch monitor and the 19-inch monitor?

Me: Two inches and 40 dollars.

Customer: But what’s the difference?

Me: This one is bigger by two inches, measured diagonally, and more expensive by 40 dollars.

Customer: No, but what’s the *difference?!*

This went on for several minutes. He left without making a purchase.

#7 During covid: Some high stolen items were locked up and for some reason the salesfloor manager gave me; the pharmacy technician lead keys to said merchandise. A customer refused to let me touch the merchandise because of germs even though I was the one who stocked it less than 5 minutes earlier. When I explained that I touched everything in that case already she yelled at me for being gross and walked off without the product. I went back to the pharmacy and continued with my life without the product being stolen.

Image source: Internet_Ugly

#8 I didn’t make your drink wrong, Amy. You ordered a large hot drink, and immediately after paying the barista put out a small cold drink and yelled “Jennifer.” Then, Amy, you picked it up and *took a sip* before realizing it was not your large, hot drink. Shift lead sent me on break before I had a chance to fully explode.

Image source: BetaOscarBeta, cottonbro studio / pexels (not the actual photo)

#9 As a cashier when someone is paying cash: “hey if you can give me a penny, or a nickel I can give you a whole paper dollar back as change.”

Image source: all4whatnot, pexels (not the actual photo)

If your total was $19.10 and you gave me a $20. Give me $20.10 and I can give you a dollar bill for change rather than you carrying pesky spare change around.

This was back in the late 90s or early 00s. I know this confused people back then, it would totally explode someone’s brain now.

#10 I work in a deli. We’ve gotten some doozies. “What flavor are the plain breaded wings?” “Chicken.” -from my wife.

Image source: Chaoticist523, Federico Arnaboldi / pexels (not the actual photo)

My personal favorite that happened to me, went as such:

Customer: “Hi, I’d like some sliced chicken lunch meat, what you got?”

Me: “We carry oven roasted, buffalo, and garlic & herb.”

Customer: You’re not understanding me boy! I want sliced chicken lunch meat, now what you got?”

Me: “Oven roasted, buffalo, or garlic & herb.”

Customer: “You’re still not gettin’ me son, I want sliced chicken lunch meat! Now tell me what you have, dammit!”

Me: “Oven roasted, chicken lunch meat. Buffalo, chicken lunch meat. Garlic and herb, chicken lunch meat.”

Customer: “Oh. Uhhhhh gimme some balogna.”

Still don’t know how I didn’t get in trouble for sassing that f****r.

#11 I, as a Walmart stocker, do not control the chemicals inside kids’ toys.

Image source: chevy1500, Caique Morais / unsplash (not the actual photo)

#12 The elevator had a sign that read ‘out of order’, Customer asked if it was out of order on all of the floors.

Image source: andsusie, Robin Britt / pexels (not the actual photo)

#13 “Putting that washing machine on the roof of your Golf is a bad idea.” No exaggeration, it happened.

Image source: Hydraulis, Erich Ferdinand / flickr (not the actual photo)

#14 Not retail, but general tech support. Turning the monitor on and off doesn’t actually turn the whole pc on and off.

The amount of times I’ve gotten a call about a computer not working and all that was “wrong” was that it wasn’t turned on, is staggering.

I guess this would make more sense these days, but this was over a decade ago and desktop computers were everywhere.

Image source: Flatulatio

#15 Back when I was in college I worked at a McDonald’s I spent tne better part of 30 minutes explaining to a person that a cheeseburger with no cheese was in fact just called a hamburger.

Image source: Doc_Of_Chaos, ready made / pexels (not the actual photo)

#16 A chicken is an animal. Therefore it’s not vegetarian.

Image source: LadyCiani, Ben Moreland / unsplash (not the actual photo)

Worked in a vitamin store in college and was explaining to someone that vitamin D is extracted from lanolin in sheep’s wool, so it depended on if you were vegan or not.

And they hit me with fish and birds are not animals.

The specific thing she said: “What about a chicken? It’s not an animal, it’s a fowl!”

My assistant manager told her something like, “Oh well remember the 20 questions game? Is it animal, mineral, or vegetable? A chicken isn’t an a mineral or vegetable.”

They left in a huff and made huge complaints about us. Me in particular because I couldn’t believe how stupid they were (and I have no poker face).

I was not/am not cut out for retail.

#17 I spent 20+ minutes arguing with a middle aged woman trying to return a XXL stack of men’s underwear (against policy once opened). I explained that if her husband had a 32 inch waist like me she needed to buy him Medium size underwear. She eventually and angrily shouted “Look, he’s got a huge c**k and he needs XXL pants for it but these keep falling down when he wears them!!!!” She would not accept my explanation that the tag size related to his waist not his junk. she raged out of the shop leaving the stack of pants behind.

Image source: Fragmented-Rooster, Wonderlane / flickr (not the actual photo)

#18 I actually have one for this.

Image source: de_nominator, John Matychuk / unsplash (not the actual photo)

Worked in car parking customer service for a few years.

Had to explain to a lady why she was being charged for an hour and a half, instead of letting her out for free under the “half an hour free” rate … When her vehicle had been in the car park. Parked. For an hour and a half.

Her reasoning ?

“I only intended to stay 20 minutes”

“My system shows me you were here for an hour and a half”

“Yes, but I only intended to be here for 20 minutes”

“But…..you were ACTUALLY here for an hour and a half…”

Ended up having to explain over 5 minutes how rates work, and how you get charged for the time in the park.


#19 Why is the front of my dishwasher blue?? …did you remove the protective film?

Image source: gbosnorthend, Safa Hovinen / flickr (not the actual photo)

#20 I was a Maytag repairman. A customer brought in a multicolored felt mat and asked for a new one. I had to explain that was lint from the lint trap.

Image source: SeeMarkFly

#21 I used to work at a Goodwill. Guy rolled up with a 5 bag donation of mowed grass clippings and told me very nonchalantly to just “take ’em”.

Image source: RosesUnderCypresses, Br3nda / flikr (not the actual photo)

#22 I used to run a feed store in an affluent area. We sold baby chicks, which were only females, for egg laying.

Image source: itsfroggyout, Afra Ramió / unsplash (not the actual photo)

This guy comes in and is adamant about needing a rooster for more egg production.

That’s not the case. I explained how the reproductive, egg laying process was. He just wasn’t getting it. I was at my point, and plus, the fact I couldn’t order just 1 rooster, I could only order roosters in a batch of 50.

I had to put it extremely bluntly to him, and I asked him,

“Sir, does your wife need you around every month to get her period?” His jaw drops and says, “OH my, how foolish could I be. ”

Another customer asking “Where is the mother chicken?”

Me, “They don’t need the mother hen.”

Her, “How can they survive without their mother? You buy chicken breast at the store. She needs to breastfeed!”

Me, “That’s not how it works.”.

#23 If you enter your PIN in wrong 5 times for an EBT card, it will lock up and you’ll have to call the number on the back to get it unlocked. This isn’t something the cashier does, or the store, it’s the cards way of protecting itself I guess.

The amount of people who would scream at me, insult my intelligence, swear at me and call me names, all because they locked their card up, was insane.

And there wasn’t anything I could do but void the order or let them pay with another form of payment. Sometimes I warned them after 2 or 3 tries, but that seemed to make them angrier when it happened.

F**k the public, man. People are so rude and hateful now days. .

Image source: anon

#24 Back in the day I worked at Safeway and a woman walked up to my meat counter and started asking me where a specific sale item was, like $1 a pound chicken or something. I tell her that’s not sale we have. And she starts SCREAMING. “ YOU PEOPLE ALWAYS DO THIS! YOU BAIT AND YOU SWITCH! YOU ADVERTISE ONE THING AND THEN REFUSE TO HONOR THE PRICE! EVERYTIME SINGLE TIME I COME HERE AND IM SICK OF IT!”
She then shoves the store ad in my face and aggressively points at the $1 a pound chicken on sale.

Image source: vagabondsean, Kyle Mackie / unsplash (not the actual photo)

“ Ma’am this is Safeway. That’s a Kroger ad”
She looks at it and says “ oh. Oops” and walks out as I stand there just freaking baffled at what just happened.

Also working meat department every Thanksgiving morning I would have to explain to at least 5 people that you cannot thaw and cook and 20 pound turkey by this evening.

#25 It smells like dirt because it’s a greenhouse and that’s where we plant the plants. Also sun loving means it loves the sun. .

Image source: starkpaella, Uriel Mont / pexels (not the actual photo)

#26 I worked at a grocery store in college. The local warehouse workers went on strike, meaning we were getting no product in and our shelves were getting more and more bare.

After getting yelled at by customers for a week for being out of stuff, I finally had it one night. This lady was berating me because we didn’t have any chicken breast in the case. I said, “Look, there’s nothing I can do about it. The warehouse is on strike and until it’s resolved and they start delivering food again, I can’t help you.” She started screaming at me even more, saying how dare I blame the warehouse, her husband works there and if they would pay him a decent wage he wouldn’t strike, blah blah blah. She immediately complained to the manager and I got written up.

Like…..tell your husband to go back to work if you need your family pack chicken so bad? I was the person with the least to do with situation here, yet she got me written up for it.

Image source: Skr000

#27 I was in a shop that just did (amazing) toasted sandwiches and 2 guys asked for a cheese toastie without the bread. The poor girl behind the counter explained over and over what a toastie was, but these 2 guys insisted. Hope they enjoyed their pile of melted cheese.

Image source: aliaaenor

#28 I used to work in a high-end liquor store that had a massive wine section and one day a lady came into the store and asked me where our “grape” wine was. I did not know how to respond. So I asked her some questions like was she looking for a specific type or brand, like a Chardonnay or a Cabernet, Pinot Grigio, Mad Dog, ripple? “Ma’am, unless the label says it is made from some other kind of fruit, this is all grape wine.” But she just kept repeating that she wanted grape wine and got so mad at me and frustrated that I just did the motioning across entire aisles movement and walked away. She wandered the aisles and finally found what she was after: Mogen David. Mogen David Concord was what she wanted.

Image source: Valhalloween, Bruno Martins / unsplash (not the actual photo)


Image source: pajmage, Christiann Koepke / unsplash (not the actual photo)

“Why are you shut tomorrow?”
“Uhh…because its Christmas day?”
“But what if I need something?”
“You…youre in the store now? Just buy it now?”
“But I dont *need* it now!”

#30 I’ve had to explain to customers that their coupon has to actually be for the product they’re buying. Yes, a $3 coupon for a skin care product is a good coupon, however I cannot apply it to your cereal purchase.

Image source: Witty_Commentator, Jack Sparrow / pexels (not the actual photo)

#31 That the lamp she was trying to return did not have a defective cord, but had a protective plastic cap over the plug that needed to be removed.

Image source: bunbeck13, Kelly Sikkema / unsplash (not the actual photo)

#32 You can’t return this TV because it has a cracked screen, if I can see the boot print. Dude threw a punch at me over the counter in front of his wife and infant daughter.

Image source: Ramiren, Dan Burton / unsplash (not the actual photo)

#33 Back when printers at home were rare I had a woman come into my store asking for t-shirt transfer paper. I explained to her multiple times how to use them. Print on the paper then pin to shirt then iron. 30 minutes later she came back with the printer and paper wanting a refund because the shirt got stuck in the printer.

Image source: MNJayW, FilterGrade / unsplash (not the actual photo)

#34 That if you tell the self-checkout ‘No, I don’t want my receipt, it won’t print out your receipt.

Image source: Le_Gazzo_Ladro, Paul Swansen / flickr (not the actual photo)

#35 Retail banking: Had to explain to a customer why the balance that was printed on his receipt from Friday afternoon after a deposit wasn’t the same the next  morning after he bought a pair of jeans. .

Image source: burner46, Pavel Danilyuk / pexels (not the actual photo)

Shanilou Perera

Shanilou has always loved reading and learning about the world we live in. While she enjoys fictional books and stories just as much, since childhood she was especially fascinated by encyclopaedias and strangely enough, self-help books. As a kid, she spent most of her time consuming as much knowledge as she could get her hands on and could always be found at the library. Now, she still enjoys finding out about all the amazing things that surround us in our day-to-day lives and is blessed to be able to write about them to share with the whole world as a profession.

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customers, dumb customers, entitled, retail, retails tales, silly customers
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