20 Retail Horror Stories That Will Make You Cringe So Hard

20 Retail Horror Stories That Will Make You Cringe So Hard

20 Retail Horror Stories That Will Make You Cringe So Hard

Is it fair to say that I think 90% of us have worked in retail at some point!? I think it is, personally, especially when we’re younger, for example, retail is the perfect first job.

Well, it isn’t, but to be fair, when we’re young, we’re not qualified for much else and it IS the best place to start a career and learn a lot about the commitments of having a job, other people and life in general.

Honestly, I think we can learn more about people in a retail job, then ANY other career. How people are when they’re shopping or have a complaint and how they deal with it, can say an awful lot about a person.

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In fact, observing how people are with retail workers and service staff is a big thing for me. There’s a lot of truth in the quote;

‘A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person….’

& As you will soon see, the Retail world is no pinic…and if you already work in this profession, then I apologise in advance for making you want to quit your job!

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Here are 20 people who are telling all about the most awkward and horrifying moments they’ve had as a retail worker…and it ain’t pretty!

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1. The new accent

“At my first job I was just talking normally to a customer and she goes ‘Wow you have such a lovely British accent.’ I’m American. I didn’t know what to do so I literally just said thank you and tried to subtly add some more British inflexion into my speech.”


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I really don’t think this girl should feel too bad about this, it’s not her fault that the customer thought her accent was British and we all do silly things when we’re caught off guard, right!?  (& Hey, there’s nothing wrong with being British! Just sayin!’ *ahem*)

2. The vape surprise

“I was working in a vape shop and a gentleman wanted to return a bottle of e-liquid because it was the wrong strength. I went to check that the bottle had not been opened or tampered with. Not only had it been opened, but it had also been refilled with urine. THE BOTTLE WAS STILL WARM. Hats off for creativity, but I felt violated.”


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Well, I’m sure this a very pleasant experience for all concerned. #not
Why would you even want to inflict your urine on someone!? Up side? Maybe it’ll become a new, sought after vape flavour/blend!? Yeah, I hope not as well…

3. The unreserved customer

“I used to work at a major lingerie chain. My first day, a girl walks in and asks ‘I forget what it’s called, but could you help me find this bra?’, and proceeds to lift up her shirt.”


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Yep, b**bies, we all got them! & They’re nothing to be ashamed of and all that, but at least ask the other person’s permission before you inflict dem’ t*tties onto someone else! It’s just basic manners of b**b ownership.

4. The tester:

“I used to work in the clothing department of a large retail store. A woman once approached me and said ‘I’m looking for a sweatshirt for my granddaughter. You look about the same size as her. Could you try this on for me and see if it fits?’ I replied ‘Uhh…sure…I guess.’ I tried it on. Reluctantly. As I’m pulling it over my head to give back to her she has three more she’s getting out of her cart for me to try…”


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Honestly!? Even if you take the slightly odd vibe away here, then I couldn’t think of anything worse than having to try clothes on, I hate it! So I’m certainly not going to do it, to model them for someone else! I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have been in her job description!

5. The cheese request:

“I worked at a grocery store in the cheese department and had a creepy man come in multiple times wanting cheese made from human milk.”


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Really? I’d be gone from that place the first time that guy came in, never mind after multiple times! Get in the bin, you weird, skanky, human cheese wanting freak!

6. The confusing question:

“I got a customer the shoes she asked for in her size. While she was trying them on she asked if we sell them. I’ve never been more confused by a question.”


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I totally understand your confusion, she’s trying the damn things on, OF COURSE, YOU SELL THEM!
I’d have to give it to her right back and replied ‘No, we don’t actually, no…’

7. The bundled fabric incident:

“One time an older gent came in and asked me if we stocked ‘any of these’, showing me some bundled fabric in his hand.

I told him that I was sorry and I couldn’t see what it was and he became frustrated and said louder ‘any of THESE’, shaking the fabric harder. He proceeded to let the fabric go by accident and it unfurled, sliding across the desk towards me as I realised it was an old pair of stained underwear. Luckily I managed to jump out of the way as they plopped onto the floor next to me.”


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All I can say is, thank god for their reflexes! Seeing those things would have enough trauma, never mind having them land on you! Urgh! What actually goes through people’s heads at all?

8. The Toaster

“One day, a woman came in trying to return a toaster she had bought. She put the bag on the counter and proceeded to tell me that she was returning it because her daughter said it wasn’t working. When I opened the bag, the toaster still had the bread inside. The woman was so embarrassed, but my coworkers and I couldn’t stop laughing for days.”


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How could you miss the bread being still inside the thing!? Oh well, at least it gave them a laugh…! (& Judging by the rest of these stories, we should be glad that there was nothing gross or scary in that bag!)

9. The sad realisation

“I worked at a farm and ranch store and I was helping an older couple with gardening supplies. After listening to their conversation and answering their questions, I figured out they were picking soil for their burial plots.”


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This is actually really sad, but hey, it comes to us all, doesn’t it!? It can’t have been easy to carry on that conversation and transaction though, could it!?

10. The miscommunication

One time a customer said, “babe.” And I said, “yeah?” And he was talking to his girlfriend so I pretended to be needed in the back until they left.


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Oh dear, I can feel the cringe from here! I can sympathise because I have way too many groin-grabbingly embarrassing stories of the ‘I thought they were talking to me, but they really weren’t...’ variety. #floorswallowing

11. The holiday greeting

“Last year I was working in retail during the holiday season. On Christmas Eve I was exhausted after working long holiday shifts all week. After I rang out a customer and they were leaving, I tried to say ‘Happy Holidays’ to them, but instead of ‘Happy Holidays’, I said, ‘Happy Birthday!’. They looked at me very confused and in an effort to play it off, I said ‘It’s not your birthday, it’s Jesus’ birthday!’ They quickly and uncomfortably left the store.”


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I personally think that was very quick thinking and a legit save if you ask me! Especially when you’re brain is screaming internally from exhaustion. They should be proud of themselves.

12. The attempted return

“I worked holiday season at a women’s clothing store, and a lady came in wanting to return a pair of underwear that had been very much worn…and were literally torn in half. I had to get my manager to finish the transaction because I was trying not to vomit.”


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These are the kinda days when working in retail, that makes you question your career, your life, the universe…and everything in it.

13. The awkward small talk

“I had an older customer tell me that her best friend had the same name as me. She then paused for a bit, and said ‘Anyway, she’s dead now.’ I had no idea how to respond to that, so I kind of just awkwardly laughed.”


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Seriously though, how can you respond to that!? I’m awkward as hell anyway, so I would have probably ended up saying something along the lines of ‘Let’s hope I don’t die next, then!’ #oops

14. The litter tray

“I work in the fish department of a pet store, and the department is in the very back of the store where we also keep the cat litter boxes. One Friday night I was closing and it was pretty quiet until two girls came in, probably around 15/16 years old. There had been a litter box laying in the aisle that I guess someone changed their minds on. So after a few minutes of hearing the girls laughing, I look over and one of them is sitting inside the litter for what I assumed to be a funny Snapchat or something. I happen to look over just as she is getting out of the litter box and I see her pulling up her pants. once they leave I walk over and she had PISSED IN THE LITTER BOX.”


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I’m sorry, but there’s something seriously wrong with those teenagers! Retail workers shouldn’t have to clean up after people like this, it’s atrocious. What is wrong with humans!?

15. This feathery assistant

“This lady brought her live parrot inside to help her try on shoes.”


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Hey! You never know, this Parrott just may have had a special eye for the right kind of shoes for her! It’s unlikely, but let’s just go with it. #featheryfashionista

16. This sh*tty business

“I was asked to help out our maintenance guy with an issue in the women’s restroom. I walked into the stall in question, and there was literally sh*t sprayed on every wall in the stall. I saw that and was just out. I was written up because I told my boss I was hired to stock shelves, not clean up sh*t.”

Submitted by Kevin Strange (Facebook)

Honestly, I think you did the absolute RIGHT thing, Kevin! No one should have to deal with this kind of utter horror on a daily basis. You wouldn’t get this kind of behaviour from animals…some humans are just disgusting beings.

17.  This painful situation

“An elderly lady hit me with her cane because I was out of the ornament she wanted.”

Submitted by Jessie Langs (Facebook)

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This is nothing short of abuse! How is it the retail worker’s fault!? When you think older people would know better and have some manners and then you read stuff like this, it kind of destroys your faith even further in humanity as a whole, doesn’t it!? It also makes me never want to work in retail again.

18. This bloody situation

“I used to work at Forever 21. While I loved my co-workers with all my heart, our customers were hell on Earth. I started my shift in the dressing room only to find some girl changed out her tampon and left everything — blood-soaked tampon and all — on the floor of the dressing room.”

Submitted by Anna Kathleen (Facebook)

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Oh, I would have just been out of there so fast! & What is it with people mistaking dressing rooms for toilets!? Does the fact that there is actually NO toilet in there, not make them realise their mistake!? Obviously not!

19. More changing room atrocities

I worked in the J.C. Penney men’s department in high school. I once got a call that the changing room needed to be cleaned. I discovered a bag of socks that had poop in them; someone had taken a bag of tube socks, opened it, took out a sock, pooped in it, and attempted to put it back in the package.


& Just to confirm my previous point, we have yet more disgusting tales from the horror changing rooms! CHANGING ROOMS ARE NOT TOILETS, PEOPLE! (& Neither are socks for that matter…!) PLEASE REMEMBER THIS! #forthesakeofretailworkers

20. It’s okay, you can keep it

I’m a clothing retailer. One time a girl went into the changing room with a necklace and came out without it. When confronted, she got argumentative and then ultimately reached up her dress and pulled the necklace OUT OF HER V*GINA and threw it at us. So, so, so disgusting.

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At that point, I’d have thrown it back at her and told her she could keep it! Not like they could sell it on now, anyway! Urgh!

Remind me to NEVER work in retail, ever again, for the rest of my born days….!