The Consumer Scams Retailers Have to Deal With Every Day
Free Phone Fridays!
I once had a dude try to score a free iPhone. He came into the department I worked in, and started describing this vague iPhone to us, saying he’d lost it in here earlier.
No other details were given, like phone case, or specific color, just an iPhone. Further questions were asked about where he thinks he might of left it in here and he just went quiet and said, “It’s fine, actually. Maybe somebody else has it.” And left.
The Copper Thieves
I worked at a small hardware store where they were constantly getting huge rolls of copper wire stolen. One day this guy and his girlfriend come in to return a roll. Called the manager and he comes out and right away knows there’s no way these people bought a roll.
The guy starts to get brave. “So, you’re saying I stole it?!” Before they leave the store the guy says, “I’m coming back and bringing the cops.” The manager says, “Go ahead. That way you can explain to them how you stole the roll.”
The Deli Whisperer
I work at an Italian deli. One day, a presumably homeless woman came into the store. She was in the store for an hour just harassing employees and customers. Eventually, the owner had to intervene. He firmly asked the lady to leave, but she had a surprising response. She said, “Oh, it’s okay, I work here.”
He certainly didn’t remember hiring her. Dumbfounded, he told her that was impossible since he’s in charge of the hiring, to which she responded: “Oh, are you hiring?”
Nothing Sweet About This
Once a customer said we charged them for organic sweet potatoes instead of normal. It happens a lot, especially in self serve, because people can’t read. I was like “Do you have the receipt?” He said no. I was like “Do you have the potatoes?” He had already eaten them. I had no response.
Just be thankful the customer didn’t offer to go the extra mile and ‘return’ their purchase in order to prove their claim.
Addicted to Lying
A guy comes in to fill his son’s Adderall prescription. Guy is super twitchy. For all controlled substances, we are supposed to run a report.
The dad comes back, we tell him that we can’t fill it, and he starts going on about how his wife must have filled it but they need some for today. We decline and his last words to us are, “My son needs them for a birthday he has to go to today, can’t you help?”
No dude, we can’t help. You’re clearly taking your sons pills.
When a Scammer Has a Bad Memory
Sold a guy a phone years ago when I worked for a wireless carrier. Spent an hour getting all his information transferred and set up his new phone. He comes in the next day with a shattered screen.
Apparently, he didn’t remember that I was the rep who helped him and proceeded to tell me that is how it looked when he left the store. Needless to say the phone was not replaced.
Returning the Bones
A woman came in, grabbed an herb-roasted rotisserie chicken, moseyed over to the casual seating, ate 85% of it with her bare hands, then brought the carcass to customer service and tried to return it.
Was there someone nearby filming this for an online stunt? You never know when scenarios like these might go viral, and who out there wouldn’t want to be known as the cheapo chicken eater?
The Criminal Customer
Customer walks into the store and grabs two HP ink cartridges off the ink wall. Walks to the register with an old receipt and says, “I want to return these.”
I called my manager and said: “The Brinks guy is pulling up” — our code for “got a criminal customer.” He came running up to his office and dialed the cops real quick. A few minutes pass while he is pretending to do a fake return, and the cops come walking in.
We point at the guy and out come the handcuffs.
I worked for my mother-in-law at her home decor store. I had an older woman come in and when I rang her up she said she got a discount because she was the owner’s mom.
My immediate reaction was to yell, “GRANDMA!” and throw my arms out like I wanted a hug. She left very quickly. It was not my grandmother-in-law.
Packing It In
“I’d like to return this unopened pack of cigarettes I purchased earlier today at your establishment.”
I open the store every day, hadn’t seen this dude once. Looked at his cigarettes, it’s a brand we don’t carry. Asked him for a receipt to “confirm” he purchased them here, but he obviously didn’t have one.
“If you can just tell me what time you were in here today I can look it up on our cameras to confirm your purchase.”
My goodness, the backpedaling and stuttering he did.
Had a customer return a vacuum cleaner once. My supervisor did the return, thankfully. The box went back on the floor unchecked. The next customer who wanted to buy it checked it out before they went to the register. The whole damn thing had been replaced with a catering size tin of beetroot.
Imagine the dismay if this person hadn’t checked the box out in the store and made the discovery at home and they also hated vegetables. Ugh.
The Customer is Always Right
I worked at a cosmetics and hair care store and someone tried to return the big liter-size bottles of shampoo and conditioner, but they had filled them with water and FROZE them. The temperature and condensation was a dead giveaway, so we refused to return their items. They proceeded to call corporate to complain and got a $100 gift certificate, and then we got scolded.
The Shady Box Stuffer
Next best was someone calling wanting to know if we had spare empty boxes for Xbox consoles because he “wanted to prank his kid and give him an empty box.”
I knew very well he wanted to try to stuff the box with who knows what, and attempt a return. Of course, the folks at customer service check such boxes for the actual product and match serials to those on the box.
Please... for the Children
Years ago I worked at a Walmart and this guy comes in trying to return his “Wii” that doesn’t work. He says “I just bought this for my kids last week and it’s already broken but they won’t take it back because I lost my receipt.”
The “Wii” in question was the most beat up and disgusting-looking Gamecube I have ever seen. Turns out he was trying to talk to every employee in the store into either giving him a refund or a Wii.
Isn't That Special
I always get questions that go like this:
This projector is going to be used at our church, can we get a discount?
This flat screen TV is going to be used at our church, can you wave the taxes?
Churches do often operate on tight budgets, so perhaps some leeway can be given on the inquiring as to whether or not discounts are offered. In these cases, maybe it was people asking a question with an assumption the answer would be yes…
Weeds Are a Tragedy for Some People
September 12, 2001. USA. A guy in Spartanburg, South Carolina calls and says that his weed trimmer was in the Twin Towers in NYC the day before and got destroyed by terrorists. And demanded I replace it under warranty.
It takes some cojones to make the claim of losing your weed whacker in the Twin Towers tragedy and it meaning anything under the circumstances. The bitter icing on the cake with this is doing it the day after it happened and blaming the terrorists.
If Only Emails Could Talk
Telling me she had a voucher for 50% off in her emails, but she didn’t have a copy with her. I was like “No, but nice try.”
Was this payback for the individual falling for an email scam that saw them handing over their credit card number after being informed they needed to pay the thousand-dollar processing fee on lottery winnings in the millions they had owed them?
Which Team Is Bill Gates on Again?
Idiot comes in with a coupon for a free iPod. The fine print says: “Guaranteed and payable by Bill Gates.” I asked why would Bill Gates guarantee an Apple product. Idiot left.
“There are very few things that are on the banned list in our household, but iPods and iPhones are two things we don’t get for our kids.” Perhaps if the idiot was aware of this house rule pointed out by Bill Gates’ wife, Melinda, the attempt would never have been made.
No Making up for This
Customer tries to return some makeup without a receipt. I look it over and tell her I can’t return it. She tries to say that we have to since we sell it here and what not. I tell her I can’t return it because it has a security label from the grocery store that’s five miles down the road. She books it out and leaves said makeup behind.
The Good Ol' Saran Wrap Scam
Had a guy try to return two Sega cd games for cash. Problem was, they were wrapped in Saran Wrap. And then had the gall to exchange them for properly wrapped games so he could go across the street to Walmart and return them for cash there.
And one of my favorites, had the two women grab a bag from luggage and put a bunch of rolls of film in the bag. Then try to ditch the bag because we were following them.
Playing the Military Card
I was working at a clothing store for a while in college. They offered 10% military discount with photo ID. A lady comes to my register on Black Friday with an alleged photocopy of her husband’s ID.
I kindly told her that would not be accepted and she was not eligible for a discount unless she could produce dependent ID on an official card.
She was angry.
I gave zero cares.
Guess who paid full price?
I had someone try to return two bottles of laundry detergent. She dropped them off at the counter and said she didn’t like that brand. She walks off to do her shopping.
I wonder how it smells so I open the detergent and smell it. It’s water. Both of these jugs are filled with warm water.
During the exchange, she tries to claim they were like that when she bought them. I explain I can’t return them and she will have to talk to the day manager.
She Who Screams Loudest, Wins
I had a customer come to purchase some stuff, and they had found a coupon from three years ago on Google Images for 50% off whole purchase.
I told her I can’t do that, and the only one we had going at the time was not viable for her purchase. She yelled stupid loud, stormed out cursing, and I felt good. She emailed corporate, and I got in trouble for making her upset…