Laser Time – Retail Horror Stories


Just in time for the busiest shopping season of the year, we’re unleashing a Black Friday bundle of customer service nightmares and tales of retail hell…


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25 thoughts on “Laser Time – Retail Horror Stories

  1. I always love hearing you guys talk about old jobs (especially the retail ones), so this should be a treat. I’m just glad that I’ve avoided working retail so far. That being said, unfortunately I’ve still had to deal with dumb ass people at jobs.

  2. Also, I just realized Al Bundy is ripping off the mantra of Tom Joad from Grapes of Wrath (and making it shoe specific). Not sure if that is something is neat, or awful?
    The actual quote: “I’ll be all around in the dark – I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build – I’ll be there, too. “

  3. These are starting to become my favorite episodes. Not everyone worked retail, but everyone who did has a great story. Love it.

  4. I like that stores are open on Thanksgivng and Chrostmas, I’ll be 25 in January and haven’t done any pf those Holidays since 15 and me and I often have had lots of fun hanging out with people I meet at bars and coffee shops on those days. We all tend to have similar stories and it!s a fun way to meet people in a new neighborhood.

  5. I’m so mad that I missed the forum post for this. Anyways, here’s my story, in case you feel so inclined to mention it later:

    Jetpack doesn’t typically do “traditional” Black Fridays, so my BF experiences aren’t quite like yours, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have insane retail stories. Why, just the other day I had to walk into our game room and tell an entire tournament of Yu Gi Oh card players that they needed to be respectful of others and make sure that they SHOWER BEFORE COMING TO A PUBLIC PLACE. And you might say “that has to have only happened once, right?”. It hasn’t . This was probably the 7th time this year that I’ve had to go into that room because it smelled like a combination of Cat Urine, BO, and food and tell whatever group is playing that they are in a space with other people and need to not smell.

    But it’s not just that, from insane collectors who want PRISTINE copies of books to drunk idiots walking in right before close, I’ve seen it all…..

    ….until I met Superman Guy.

    Superman Guy first walked into our store yelling about Superman, and demanding to buy every single item we have with Supes on it. He soon racked up a bill that was over $400 of just Superman stuff. And he paid it, in cash. This cycle continued for a good few months, so we started taking orders for him. These orders are some of the most ridiculous things on the planet. Superman Salt and Pepper Shakers, clocks, keys, action figures, statues, Superman boots, capes, you name it. And when we tell him a certain item doesn’t exist, he is ADAMANT that it does. However, he was buying all this weird stuff, making multiple trips a day, so we just let him be crazy.

    It was then that we caught him STEALING from us as well.

    Now you might think, well if he’s spending so much, he must be stealing pretty expensive stuff right? Wrong. We’re talking $1 buttons, magnets, small plastic toys. There are days when his pockets are so full that you can HEAR the buttons in them, and we’ve had to tell him “alright, don’t forget to buy the buttons in the pockets too!”. To which he replies “oh yeah oh yeah, I was just holding them!” as he pours out the contents of his pockets onto the counter.

    He wanders the store, sometimes for HOURS, causing everything to come to screeching halt. Every character is either “the mother”, “the father”, “the son” or “the daughter”. Classic Harley Quinn statue next to an Arkham City Harley Statue? “That’s the mother, and that’s the daughter”. He makes up random names for characters, my favorite being him pointing to a stuffed animal of Jabba The Hutt and saying “there he is, Dr. Worm”. He makes weird clicking noises not unlike the Predator. He is, without a doubt, the the strangest customer we have ever had. But he’s our weird customer, and as long as he comes in on a day that’s not insanely busy, he’s not that bad.

    Here’s a picture of him looking at our Adult Section.

  6. Henry, can you please stop the disapproving sigh thing when you’re uncomfortable? It’s really hard to listen to.

    Otherwise, I think that you guys should do some more podcasts like this, and advertise it on places like facebook before you do. I have more than a handful of stories about working at McDonald’s sandwiched between a low income neighborhood, an interstate, and one of the poorer Pueblos (effectively a reservation) in New Mexico, and I would have enjoyed sharing them.

  7. I’m so sorry I missed the forum for this. After 3 years at a video game store and 2 years working with cellphones, I’ve dealt with not only a lot of ridiculous people (using sharpies to try to change their expiration dates on their IDs for credit checks, insisting their phone is broken when it really just needs to be charged or turned on, ect.) my favourites were always the ridiculous logic people seemed to apply to justify their actions.

    “My game disc was scratched and I heard you can use peanut butter to fill in the scratches to fix it”
    “… Sir you’re supposed to remove the peanut butter before putting the disc back into your console.”
    “But I have the warranty, can’t you replace it?”
    “Knowingly cramming your disc drive with peanut butter is not covered under ANY warranty, sorry.”

    if it wasn’t crazy claims like this, it was overly creepy men attempting to use their best seduction tactics including,
    “I have a VIP table at (local strip club) wanna join me?”

    “My wife and I like to invite people over… spice things up, wanna come home with us?”

    “Will you write your first name on a slip of paper for me? I want to look at your hand writing.”

    “Wanna play strip Mario Kart?”

    *after accidentally bumping into a customer* Me: “Sorry about that!” Cust: “That’s ok, I’ll play with your ass later.”

    and my personal favourite consistent question that happened once a day at least, “Do you play games?” I work in a video game store asshat, what do you think?

  8. I’m 18 years old, almost 19, I have only worked at one job. It was two years at a movie theater. Working there did teach me some valuable…blah blah blah. For 20 of the 27 months I worked, I hated it. I had anywhere from 9 – 14 managers around me at any given time. Most of them were either nice or cool, but the 1 – 2 assholes always stood out among the rest. The female manager who “trained” me looked like and orca whale balancing on two flamingos. Another manager, who was he reason I quit, harshly scolded me for doing what was a stupid irresponsible thing. He made me want to cry, which is what I did as soon as left the office, that was the hardest I had cried since my grandfather had died. But by far, the most discussing experiences came from plunging fresh vomit from a yurinal and smelling/finding a diaper sandwiched inside the baby changing table. I could write another two pages of shitty, soul crushing experiences, but I won’t.

  9. God this episode is great, it’s great I got to join in and share my shitty experiences, but you guys are great to listen too when you go down memory lane, it’s nice to learn about your past and listen to those stories.

    I have been on the other side of the fence before as well. When I decided to get my PS4 I went to now the only game store in my local town aptly named Game. I checked out the website first, spotted a Destiny Bundle, after watching you guys play it and recommendations from friends I wanted that, but wanted that day so I went into town to grab it.
    After getting there and trying to find the bundle I couldn’t see it, so I grabbed a staff member and asked them about it, this is where it gets fun!
    “We don’t offer the same bundles in store, I’m afraid”
    “Oh, yeah I understand. There were quite a few on your website, there is only a limited area to merchandise stock”
    “No. We don’t do the website bundles, the website is independent from our stores, we have different deals”
    “Excuse me? I know you have been struggling as a company, but that seems like a bad financial company decision but whatever, I’ll cope”
    So I decided to grab the GTA5, fifa 100 and something and the camera bundle, then asked
    “Right so who much will I get if I trade in the camera as I don’t want that and Fifa because borrrring”
    “Oh let me check, we do price match CEX around the corner”
    “Excuse me, you price check a second hand competitor, but don’t match your own website?”
    If it wasn’t for the fact it was the only place I could get it from and wanted to get it that day, I’d have walked then and there I was just so angry at the company, not at the guy though, I remember his face he seemed so deflated, I really felt for him, it’s probably the reason why I purchased my console probably made his LFL figures look good.
    I did however get in touch with their website customer service and a manager and had a very long discussion about how they need to change up their business strategy as my rage hadn’t subsided.

  10. When Hank said “I never saw any [gay sex]” I can’t believe Chris didn’t say “because you were facing the other way?”

    As someone who still works retail at the age of 26, this is one of my favorite episodes. And I cleaned up poop for the first time ever last week.

  11. hoo boy, this episode gets off to an ignorantly, racially charged beginning.
    so… this episode definitely increased my anxiety levels. just listening to you guys talk about working customer service and shitty people being shitty just gave me vietnam-esque flashbacks.

    wow… I haven’t heard anybody say the words Jnco jeans in over a decade. XD

  12. I haven’t listened yet, but I just wanted to share my story since I forgot to do it in time for the episode.

    I was working in Sears in 2005 and a man comes in and immediately asks to see my supervisor. Once my supervisor comes over this guy starts going on a rant about how we shouldn’t have any Spanish on our signage because this is America or something. My boss, who was a quarter Indigenous American, calmly explained to the man that his geography was correct, meaning that this area was originally inhabited by non-white people, and that if they have money to spend it would be stupid not to accept it. The man simply left in a huff.

    Nothing too crazy, just outrageous for modern times.

  13. I forgot to share my story before this episode!

    So when I graduated from college, I took on two jobs: Assistant manager at a Babbage’s and closing shift at an adult store called Priscilla’s. It was a great time to be alive for a 23 year old gaming pervert, but the best stories came from the adult store.

    Growing up in a small, religious, conservative farm town, I was unfamiliar with drag queens. My manager had mentioned that the local queens enjoyed buying lingerie from our store, especially late at night. She also warned me that one of the queens had recently been banned and I needed to keep my eyes open for her. As an ignorant youth (this was a decade ago), I figured it would be easy to spot a man dressed as a woman.

    Several weeks later, I’m getting ready to close the store on a slow night. I’d cleaned and organized everything since the store was empty for the final few hours and I was patiently waiting to lock the door and close out the register. 10 minutes before midnight, a gorgeous woman comes walking in, wanting to browse lingerie and hopefully buy something before leaving. How could I turn down a sexy woman? She grabbed a piece off of the sale rack and asked to use the dressing room, which I happily allowed. Minutes later, she walked out and said she’d come back when she had the money. She left and I locked up behind her, finishing my night and ignoring the dressing room since I had cleaned it earlier that night.

    The next day, I was at Gamestop and I took my lunch break. The manager at the adult store called me and left a message on my phone asking that I call back immediately.

    As soon as she’d answered the phone, she asked if I had cleaned the dressing room before leaving. I said I did. Then she asked if I let anyone in the dressing room after cleaning it. I said I did, but it was a woman who only wanted to try on one piece of lingerie and she brought it back to me. My manager then asked, “Are you sure it was a woman?” I felt my heart sink and immediately asked, “What happened?” She explained that she spent the first 30 minutes of her day cleaning cum off of the dressing room mirror and that she was about to review the store camera footage to see if it was the drag queen she’d banned from the store.

    I’d learned a lot at that job, but especially that day. I’d learned about how convincing some drag queens can be, I’d learned that some queens really get off on how good they look, and I’d also heavily questioned my own sexuality.

  14. Oh man. I only did retail for six months, but they included the PS2 launch, and that was plenty.

    Hey, what’s the song for the Patron pitch segment this week?

  15. I used to work at a butcher shop, not I work at a prominent Canadian fast food chain. A customer found out that I used to work at a butcher shop, and said he’d ask me about it next time he came in. I figured he wanted to learn about grades of beef or something, turns out he thought I worked in a slaughter house, and wanted to excitedly ask me questions about killing animals. I think he works at a bank.

  16. This was a great episode with a lot of interesting anecdotes (the one about the perverted old man who licked his shoulder gave me the jeeblies), but my favorite moment was when Hank yelled “SHUT UP!!” after Chris attempted to sing Boogers and Cum yet again. I had to hold my laughter in at work for that one. But I fear the running gag’s reached its zenith, so quit tormenting the poor man, Chris! 🙂

  17. Gahhh! I missed the original request for stories, but I’ll throw my two favorites, here.
    I worked at the San Francisco Powell St Urban Outfitters from 2005-2007 and we had all kinds of interesting folks who came in. A lot of tourists, the occasional famous person, and due to the proximity to the Tenderloin neighborhood, our fair share of junkies and drifters. Anyway, one morning when I went in for an opening shift, there was a noisy, unhinged lady hanging out in front of the entrance. She was trying to convince the security guy to let her in to the store, despite it being two hours before opening, and he stood his ground. Anyway, she hung around for a while, and as we were about to open up for what would be a busy Saturday, we got word that we’d have to hold off on opening for a few minutes, due to “clean up”. Apparently in a moment when the security guy was distracted, she squatted down in the doorway, dropped her pants, and left a steaming pile. I’m happy I was working down in the basement men’s department at the time and didn’t need to clean that, but I pity whoever had to.
    At the same time I worked at Urban, I had a second job in the photography department at a San Francisco art school (which is actually more like a front for a real estate venture). Anyway, while this wasn’t retail, the students paid so much for tuition and us rental department clerks were told to treat them as customers more than students, so I’ll mention this. In addition to working in the rental office, checking out gear to students, I also would have to prepare the studios for them, and drop by if they needed help. One time, our office had just received a shipment of several expensive strobe (lighting) sets that students could check out. I gave a student a quick tutorial on how to use them, checked him into a studio, and left him to his photo shoot. About ten minutes later he came by and told me that the lights weren’t actually lighting up his model, and that they didn’t seem to be firing properly. I checked, and he’d left the protective plastic caps on both lightbulbs, and they were melted onto the bulbs, due to the heat, ruining said bulbs, which cost $100 each. That was fun… Also at the same job, a student brought in a big wooden cross to use as a prop (which I didn’t really blink at since students often brought props) and then he proceeded to set it on fire in his tiny little studio, for an “artsy” photoshoot, setting off the fire alarms. Also, on a different day, an instructor had a temper tantrum about something else, chewed me out in front of his students, and threw a lighting softbox (not as soft as you’d think, with their metal mounting brackets) at me. Real charmer that guy.

  18. I have participated in black Friday for ten years now and never had that bad of an experience. Usually just crowded and long lines but never seen fights or angry confrontations or anything. Saw some people almost get in trouble once at a walmart for opening the plastic wrap too early and saw a mean lady swearing this year. Other than that been positive experiences.

    I usually go for games/movies with some occasional random pieces (pyrex and Egyptian cotton sheets this year!).

  19. I worked at a retail business that sold batteries for anything and everything. A younger woman dropped off a video camera that she needed a battery for and left it there since we had to special order the battery. Upon getting the battery in and charging it, we popped the battery in to make sure that it worked. In pushing play what came on was a sex video her and her boyfriend made (or in the processing of making) when the battery went out. It was hilarious and we all had to keep a straight face when she finally returned to pick up the camera.

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