Retail jobs: the dumbest customer question you've been asked?

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I worked at a golf course as a ball boy for year and a half. Here's what I have been asked. I am NOT making these up.

"Your number changed. Have you moved?"
"Are you guys open on weekends?" -Asked on a Saturday...

Captcha: question everything. NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE ASKED!!!

"Where are the lids?"
Right where you got your sugar and cream you dolt.

I worked at a Tim Hortons and I currently work at a 7/Eleven. I'm sure I've had stupid questions but mostly what I remember are being being disgustingly rude and getting upset over such tiny things. The question above is from working at 7/Eleven, Tim Hortons we do everything for you pretty much.

Captcha: jump over
Customers do want me to jump through hoops...

"Why can't you give me more money for this?!?"

said by everyone who has ever traded games at GameStop. Because I make per hour about what your game is worth, Gamestop is an evil corporation, and they don't let me arbitrarily change prices.

Also, "Are you closed?" When the open sign is off, we are vacuuming, the door is locked, and the giant metal front gate is down. No, we're open. Clearly.

Followed by "I know what I need, can I get it real quick?" SMH.

Where the hell do you live? You can only get fired on the spot for gross misconduct. You could show an employer a picture of your solicitor and they'd shit their pants if they tried to fire you for that. It's actually quite difficult to fire people. They'll more than likely make your life hell until you quit but then you just keep a record of unafair treatment, get a few testimonies from co-workers and report them for harassment.

Depending on the state in the US as there are some at will states where you can be fired for any reason that is not protected by law aka racism, sexism, retaliation, ect. Arizona they made it very clear I could quit whenever for whatever and they could fire me whenever for whatever. Contracts can make it different, but most retail worked on the at will model. I fear I lack knowledge of how the rest of the world handles employment law.

In my mind very few customers said anything smart, most were bland. I usually said odd stuff to see if they were paying attention. The wonderful "how are you today?" spiel was great for that.

Amethyst Wind:


Aris Khandr:

"Why are you so lazy?" Asked of me as I was eating lunch outside the store. At 3 PM. Eleven hours after I got there, that was my first break. My Pokewalker said I'd walked twelve miles that day. I was, almost literally, everywhere in that store. So yeah, I wasn't giving up my lunch break to help anyone else.

Where do you live? I don't know if this is just a thing in California or national, but it's illegal to work past 5 hours straight without a half an hour "uninterumpted meal" break.
You are technically allowed to wave your meal, but then you have to punch-out after 6 hours.

Well I'm not American but I have worked retail sales before. I'd assume that the management's response to that on Black Friday, being the busiest shopping day of the year, would be "Do it or you're fired."

It's illegal but pretty much accepted as that's what'll happen.

Ah, Friday, Black Friday. I used to work at a big-time clothing chain that everyone has probably set foot in at one point or another, but I'll leave out the name. I remember my first (and thankfully last) Black Friday. I was a 'service specialist', which is basically a glorified cashier who also folds clothes and occasionally gives fashion advice.

I had heard a few horror stories about Black Friday, so early that morning I printed out a bit of receipt to tally up customers with.I checked out about 250 people that day.I got asked a torrent of stupid questions all day.

I kept the reciept as a souveneir.

At a Staples:

"Can you help me with a printer?"

(I am not only in the office supplies but also on the other side of the store AND tech isn't even in my department)

Funny, I just applied for a position at Staples not too long ago. :P

OT: Last year, I used to work at this place called "The Food Bank", it was a non-profit organization that hands out food to less fortunate families.

I was out sweeping when this lady came up to me and asked:

"Have you sweeped up any cigarette butts?"

Me: "I..."

"I like to pick them up and smoke them."

Me: "Okay..."

"Yeah, I know, weird."

It really wasn't so much dumb as it was sad. It's crazy how far addictions can go.

working in a deli i frequently get "does this come in fresh or frozen?" when its clearly labeled on every items ticket along with with "does this come from 'X' country?" which again is clearly labeled.

also working in bogan territory i get a LOT of just moronic customers all over. some examples include: believing Virginia ham spells out Vagina ham, a couple of sticks of kabana has meant every number from one through to six, and the ever so popular 50 year old man crying because we where out of his favourite type of bacon.

The best is when I come around a corner and see someone elbow deep in a box, looking at parts. The very first thing they say, EVERY TIME, is, "Do you have another one if these in a closed box?".

*In the electronics department*

Customer: Excuse me, do you have clocks?

Me: Yessir, right this way.

*takes to them*

Customer: Oh these are digital, I'm looking for a normal one with hands.

Me: Those are in housewares, sir. *takes to them*

Later my boss said someone complained about me being rude to them about showing them around the store.



I don't work in retail, but I do help convert older machines to Linux and attempt to fix machines that have viruses and other issues. Considering that most of the people I help are rather tech illiterate, it's to be expected. But the dumbest question award has to go to the person who thought that she didn't need empty files on her computer. So she deleted them.

Turned out she deleted the entire Windows folder. All of it, not just System32. There's been some Linux mishaps, like the chap who thought it was a good idea to blow away the root filesystem, but the System32 one cracks me up as this is a decade old Windows joke that even most non tech illiterate know. I laughed quite a bit after I got done fixing it.

And oh? You're new? Welcome to the Escapist, stay out of the basement, and if anything goes wrong, blame Kross. Always. :-)

I have heard the "stay out of the basement" thing alot when talking to newer people. Where is this basement and why must I stay out of it?

I was a cashier for a year at Target (basically a higher-class Walmart).

The most infuriating question/statement, by far, that I received on a weekly basis, when having difficulty scanning an item or locating the barcode, was this: "Oh, if it doesn't scan, that means it's free, right?"

Every one of them deserves a punch in the face.

I worked at a Future Shop for a while and I worked in entertainment (games, movies, music etc.). It wasn't so much a question but I heard a woman saying this. It's a conversation between her and her 8-10 year old kid.
"Mommy, can I get the new Call of Duty?"
"Alright, you have to promise to let your younger brother play with you."
"Can I get this too?" *holds up GTA IV
"No, it's too violent."
I think I gave myself a concussion from that facepalm.

I work in a movie theater, I've had people ask "What's 3D mean?" People who were at most in their 30's.

Maybe they were just trolling? A friend of mine who worked at Gamestop nearly punched me for all the times I've walked into his shop and loudly proclaimed, "YA'LL GOT DAT MADDEN?!" Kinda like the Battletoad prank-call only more local to my area I suppose.

As for when I worked retail...Well I don't remember too much honestly. I'm assuming this is just my brain repressing horrible memories.

Customer looks left, then right.

"Wheres your menu?"

Me points right above my head.


"Hi, can I order a pizza?"

No you cant, you've obviously missed the point of this being a pizza shop.

I'll turn around the thread. This is a fairly stupid question I asked, and probably the among dumbest this hotel clerk ever heard.

I had been in Australia for less than a year, and had to travel for work. I must add I don't care for sports in general. I was staying in this hotel in Brisbane, and upon checking out I noticed that one of the four nights I had stayed was being charged fairly higher than every other night.

Naturally I asked why was I being charged like that.

Turns out that night, there was a big Rugby match, one on the State of Origin series, and those nights, scores of fans travel to the appropriate city to attend matches, maxing out the hotels.

In my defence, I had no way of knowing, but everyone, and I mean everyone in Australia knows about it. Its a big thing

Someone asked one of our techs if we had the new iPad with the retina scanner.......we had to just look at her.

When I worked in McDonalds many years ago I remember one man accusing me of serving him cold fries.
I checked the timer on my till and it turned out he had bought the fries an hour ago. He then told me he lived half an hour away and when he had opened his bag they were cold. It took him another 30 minutes to get here and by that time they were stone cold. What was I going to do about it?

I just stared at him.
My manager dealt with it from there.

Where's the ketchup?

In an isle marked "Ketchup, Sauces, Relishes".

The sad thing is this place had a uniform, and I didn't even fucking work there.

not really dumb but pretty scammy

i worked at a chicken place when i was a kid and every tuesday without fault a lady would show up telling us we had stiffed her on her chicken last time she was there. unfortunately due to the whole "customer is always right" policy we had to give her the chicken so the manager would spend 2 hours checking dockets to make sure she wasn't lying (which she was) and when he finally got done checking dockets and proving she was lying he would go out and appologise for the mistake and hand her a fresh chicken
tbh if you think spending 2 hours waiting is worth a chicken you prolly deserve it

Not a question, but a customer said this to me once:

"What, 2.99 for this? It would be 1.99 anywhere else, but of course, nowhere else sells it!"

let stupids of great magnitude sink in.

Where should I start from...

A guy once asked me when purchasing headlights for cars, "Will this fit my car?".
Well, it helps if you told me what car you drive...

Also "why is this cheaper?"
I dunno. Why are Louis Vuitton purses more expensive than the ones in Target?

While it wasn't a question, I had a woman come in and ask if she could return something she bought way too long ago, which she'd worn and which had been stained - by her. It's not our company's policy to do that, so I politely explained why I wasn't allowed to do that for her, but that I might be able to give her a discount for her next purchase. (Just to shut her up. It's a weird policy of my boss's that works surprisingly well.) Anyway, after a minute of trying to resolve her issue any way I could without breaching policy and potentially risking my job for it, I told her I would get the manager if she wanted confirmation that I'd offered her everything I could. At this, she threw her hands up, shouted 'I'M NOT GOING TO ARGUE WITH YOU' and stared me down until I politely informed her of our policy to refuse service to customers who were hostile towards staff.

Personal favourites

"Do you buy shoes?" <- in a comic book shop.

"How much you give me for this consoles?"
"That isn't a console"
"What? It is"
"It isn't, that's a toaster, mate"

And an overheard one in poundland, not a question but infuriating
"Oh thats OK I like my crisps crushed"
"Oh.. sorry sir"
"See that you are"
-I roll my eyes, customers suck, I have the same girl, act nice because I work retail, walk past that guy and the store manager-
"I just want to complain, one of your staff was quite rude to me"
-Physically stop and wait to tell the manager that was bullsh*t-

Seriously, compulsory year in retail does wonders for human empathy >_>

Where should I start from...

A guy once asked me when purchasing headlights for cars, "Will this fit my car?".
Well, it helps if you told me what car you drive...

Also "why is this cheaper?"
I dunno. Why are Louis Vuitton purses more expensive than the ones in Target?

this reminds me of something that happend in halfords. myself and a friend went to buy a new stereo for his car, after picking and purchasing a stereo the teenager serving us offered to fit it. after 15 minutes of watching this guy mess about with wires with little progress we asked him
"do you know what you are doing?"
"uhhm no...I'll go get my manager"

been many a year since I worked in slavery, I mean "retail".
i absolutely hated it, having people screaming at you and acting like a five year old over something trivial.
I do feel sorry for people in that line of work.

Firstly, finally decided to register, hello escapists :)

On to customer stupidity..

Working in Holland, being asked by a german customer with a very noticable accent: "Do you speak English?"

Not really a dumb question I suppose, but rather one of time, we had an elderly individual ask where he could find the VHS tapes, this was in 2011.

Customers being infuriated because a discounted item is sold out, despite the add saying 'while stocks last'.

Well I have blocked most of my retail days out of my memory at this point, but for the most part it was people asking questions that would make Fred Flintstone look computer literate. For everyone still in retail, trust me it gets better. Once you make it to management or run the hell away to a real job like I did. Until that point, stick with it and get good references. (also it never hurts to talk to your customers about their jobs, that is how I got into law enforcement and paid my way through college).

Oh god, customer stories. I have two favourite standbys:
1) Customer asks for, and I quote: "that thing to mop stuff with, like a rake with a head". I ask "Like, a mop?". Customer visibly brightens and responds "Yeah! That's the thing!"
2) Customer returns a cordless screwdriver (tiny thing, basically no power), asking why it wasn't working. He'd jammed a rather large drill bit in it, and caused the motor to melt itself through the body. Turns out, he'd been trying to cut with it, like a saw.

Seriously, if a day goes by without at least one stupid person, something's gone horribly wrong.

When I worked at Virgin Megastores someone approached me and asked "Do you sell CD's?"
I wish I was kidding.

Luckily I was leaving anyway so I said no.

I work in the cloakroom at a nightclub, so in addition to stupid people, most of my customers are also drunk. Many of them are drunk AND stupid. There's a lot of stupid that I get most nights.

- On the counter, printed in huge letters, is a sign that says "2 PER ITEM" (it is also listed twice on the wall behind me). People will come up and ask me how much it is to put something in the cloakroom. I always look pointedly down at the sign before answering.
- The mens toilets are about three meters away from the cloakroom. You can see the door that says "Boys Only" from the counter. I always get people asking where the mens are.
- "Is this a gay club?" What? No. These rainbow flags, posters for gaydar, and collection tins for THT, and the fact that the place is fucking swamped with gay/lesbian stereotypes and drag queens mean nothing.
- "Can a get a drink here?" No. This is a cloakroom. If you want a drink,, go to the bar. That shouldn't be complicated.

Another thing that happens a lot is that people will, to save themselves the 2 cloakroom fee, leave their coats and bags just lying around the club, often with their wallets, phones, mp3's, etc in them. The number of them that are genuinely surprised when their shit goes missing is staggering. I mean, the club has literally hundreds, sometimes close to 1000 people in it, compared the a security team of about 5 people. it is YOUR fault if someone steals your stuff because you put in on the floor and walked away with it.

And my personal [least] favourite, are the people that lose their tickets (each coat that is given to me is exchanged for a numbered ticket that corresponds to the numbered hanger that the coat is on) and expect me to just be able to look and find their coat from hundreds. The amount of whining, pleading, aggression and sometimes violence I get from people who don't understand that a) it would be a massive waste of my time to go through every single coat in the place just to try and find theirs, b) it clearly states that you have to wait until the end of the night if you lost your ticket and that NO EXCEPTIONS will be made, c) it's my job on the line, and if I end up giving out the wrong item, i'll be in trouble. Frequent questions include:
- Can't I just describe it to you? it's black (50% of the coats will be black).
- I can give you my initials, will that help? (initials are not unique, and i would still have to look at every item in the cloakroom)
- Can I come behind there are look? (No)
- Can't you just be nice? (No)
- Well, then I want to speak to your manager. (My manager wrote the sign that says no exceptions)
- Fine, I'll just jump over and get it then. (Security!)

Do WiiU games work on a Wii?

Shit you not.

Gah, double post.

Standing behind the counter and someone asked if I worked there, so I said "Nope, I just enjoy pretending." They thought I was serious.

V8 Ninja:
As I've never worked in retail, I'll just post a link to Not Always Right and leave my opinion at that.

I have never worked in retail either so I will also post a link to a place like that.

It has stuff like this gem.


I worked at a grocery store in high school and this crazy old guy came up to me and asked "Do you guys sell napalm?!?!"
I just directed him to GM.

Never done retail, but I did work customer service for a while. You tell people you're just mandated by this or that garage to receive their comments or complaints - not ABLE to do anything about them, just paid to RECEIVE them - and they still think they can go on a litany about how this or that mechanic is a jerk, how the peanuts weren't that good, how the music sucked, how the whole place was fine and dandy for thirty years but now the new whippersnapper of an owner doesn't get shit done...

On and on and on.

That was a hard two years, honestly. I was basically paid to affect as much empathy as I could on the phone, while being forced to develop a superhuman level of stamina for inane bullshit.

On occasion, the customers would catch my drift and understand they're supposed to talk about their last appointment or checkup.

The best thing ever? Old people. Old people are lonely, sometimes. They'll see you as an excuse to socialize - FINALLY socialize - and won't let you go. I've gone through an entire five-hour shift with just one person on the line, once.

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