Okay, I know what you're thinking. Who hasn't looked at a tube of chapstick while waiting in line at the grocery store and thought "I could get away with stealing this is if I wanted to." Admit it, we all have. But that doesn't mean we've done it! Plus, it's chapstick, not someone's life savings.
Now raise your hand if you've ever thought you could get away with robbing a bank at gunpoint. Okay, to everyone with their hands up right now, you're not a good person. But you're also not as bad as some of the people in this article.
Retail scammers are the worst type of people. They think they can get away with ripping people off, without consequence. So, we compiled this list of retail scams gone wrong. You're going to feel guilty after reading what these people who work in retail have to deal with.
The fascination with Wii gaming was something else.Years ago I worked at a Walmart and this guy comes in trying to return his "Wii" that doesn't work. "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 like he found it in a landfill or something. I should also point out that I wasn't working the return desk or even a cashier. I was stocking the food department. Turns out he was trying to talk to every employee in the store into either giving him a refund or a Wii. -Pineapple_Pistol
This kid needed his bottle.Worked in a bottle shop. One afternoon a shady character entered and spent 10-minutes browsing the liquor section. I stayed at the checkout and watched him on the CCTV. He ended up shoving two bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue down his pants and walked out. Store policy is not to confront shoplifters; that's what insurance is for. I called the police and burnt the footage onto a DVD for them to collect. About an hour later the same guy returns with the bottles demanding a cash refund because he 'purchased the wrong type.' Just as I was telling him I can't do a refund without a receipt the police walked in to collect the footage. He left with them in handcuffs. -AtelesJubatus
"It wasn't stolen, I just found it."Years ago 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. I was a few months in on the returns counter. They had no receipt and when I scanned the item for the return it was only doing the price per foot. I couldn’t figure out how to get the sku or the price for the whole roll. Called the manager and he comes out and right away knows there’s no way these people bought a roll and returned it. So he asks when they bought it and they say two weeks ago ( the common response ) and my manager tells them “oh really because the last time we sold an entire roll was over 3 months ago" the guy starts to get brave and tells him “so you’re saying I stole it?!" And my manager says yes. They end up leaving and left the roll behind. Before they leave the store the guy says “I’m coming back and bringing the cops" manager says “go ahead that way you can explain to them how you stole the roll." -celesticaxxz
Sometimes all you need is pizza.We don’t deliver the pizzas we make, it’s carryout only. Had a customer call and have a long, angry conversation with me because I wouldn’t deliver to her. She proceeds to say (a couple times) “You must be new here. I know the owner personally", to which I responded, “well I’m the owner's daughter and we don’t deliver." -schweinerneer13
This makes me want to smash a phone.A long time ago I worked for an It company that had super strict contact policies. Only named parties could call us for support because a lot of the time our records would contain confidential information for staff at the company. So designated person from HR was fine, but Larry from the warehouse couldn't get information. One time I got a call, from the company my Aunt used to work for. I knew she'd quit a few weeks before and I'd told her when they first signed up to make sure there were a couple of people on the contact list in case someone quit. Sure enough, I look at the account and still only my Aunt's name on the list of people we could talk to.
It continues.I ask for the caller's name so I could politely explain the deal and send them off to get their boss to do the bullshit workaround we had for this process. She tells me that she's my aunt. And I say look, I have to advise you that giving false information to access confidential records is fraud and a criminal offense (it was where we lived at the time). Are you sure that's your name? Which you'd think would be a massive fucking clue that I knew she was lying. She immediately got offended and how dare I, do I need to speak to your manager and etc. I said 'Ok Aunt <name>, how are <my cousins>? I thought you said that you'd finished working at <company> last week when you came over for dinner.' Long silence from the other end of the phone 'You don't need to be a jerk about it.' -scootah
I need to make a return but I don't have the receipt.One of my first jobs in high school was working at Payless. I had a customer come in once claiming she needed to make a return. A perfectly normal looking woman, likely late 50s early 60s, she looked like a teacher or something. I asked for her receipt, and she informed me she didn't have it. Ok - technically I can't refund them that way, but my manager was a bit more liberal and if the shoes were in perfect condition and in their original box, we might have been able to arrange an exchange. I then asked if she could put the shoes on the counter. She told me she didn't have the shoes either. At this point, I was as confused as you, dear reader. Yes - she tried to come in and convince me to "return" a pair of shoes that aren't physically present, and essentially open the register and give her cash out of it. Dumbstruck, I told her "Uh - we can't do that". She proceeded to get enraged and grabbed a pair of stilettos and threw them at me before stomping out. -anon194029
"I know better than you!"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. - M37h3w3
Sega CD was so tight.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 wal-mart and return them for cash there. Him and his buddy must have really needed beer money. - keetojm
The perfect scheme...I used to work a game store a little more than 10 years ago. Once had a woman come in dressed fairly trendy and ask for two PlayStation Portables (PSP), two Xbox 360s, and a handful of games and accessories. My store was pretty slow so this would be a pretty big sale for the day and I was excited about it. She goes to pay and hands me a credit card which was not laminated and appeared to be printed out on a home color printer. I told her it wouldn’t work and she said just scan it anyway. So I scanned her fake credit card which clearly did not have a magnetic strip and it didn’t work (of course). She told me to just “put the numbers in" on the computer. I refused and she asked why, seemingly legitimately confused. I told her I just couldn’t. She told me she would be back with cash. I put everything back on the shelves. She did not return. - RudgerZ
A swing and a miss.I was working at a place that has soft serve as a part of the menu. One day and a lady came up to the counter and said something along the lines of "hey I'm really sorry my daughter dropped her ice cream and she's really sad about it, do you think you could give me another?" I was about to, but then I realized the ice cream was broken that day and we weren't selling any. I looked back at her and told her that it must not be from us because of the machine. She turned bright red and mumbled "oh then I guess it must be from Dairy Queen or something..." and left quickly. Nice try lady. - blindskate101
An indecent proposal.I work at a clothing store, and about a year ago I had a very very drunk 50+ year old lady come through my line. After ringing up her $100+ worth of clothes, she began to hit on me and insinuate that she could “work" for the free clothes, if you get what I mean. That was the quickest nope I have ever said in my life. - Spartan0718
Some soap is, in fact, water.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. - TailesofMom
You guys have to talk about this stuff beforehand.I had a customer try to pay with a check using an ID that was very obviously made of paper. When I wouldn't accept it she tried to get her boyfriend to fight me. He laughed and awkwardly walked out of the store. Leaving her there, crying now, from the embarrassment of failure I guess? - uugggggg
A Rube Goldberg machine of stealing 14 dollars.K-Mart returns counter, had a guy try to return a CD (with receipt). The shrink wrap had been sliced open and the CD taken out. He claimed it was like that when he bought it. I told him I couldn't return it for cash but could swap it for the same thing. A smile grew on his face... which quickly melted away when I took out a knife and cut open the plastic on the CD. No, you can't return that one later. - mr_humansoup
The good days? They were very, very good...This one was an insider job. This guy who worked in electronics also did layaway. One of the service desk girls would put a giant bag of dog food in layaway. Then the electronics guy would empty the bag and fill it with expensive electronics. Turns out they had been getting away with this for years then the Loss Prevention staff changed and the new lady knew how to police the place. - mr_humansoup
When you're here, you're family.I worked for my mom-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. I yelled, "GRANDMA!" and threw my arms out like I wanted a hug. She left very quickly. (By the way it was not my grandma-in-law.) - [account deleted]
I think this is the plot of Uncut Gems.Customer returned a fake ring for $100. They had a real receipt that physically described the ring they brought in. I didn't recognize it, even checked for it. But ultimately accepted the return because it seemed legit. What they did was buy a real ring (or obtain a real receipt some other way). Then buy a fake $5 ring that matched the description on the real receipt. Return fake ring, get cash. Actually pretty smart. - SparkleSparrows
Practically a diatribe.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. Our opinion is he knew that sometimes stores will keep people's phones that they find until the owners come back and then they hand over the phone. He wanted to score a free iPhone. - HermesCat
"Sounds sad, lady."I was waiting to get my hair cut at my local barber and this woman hobbles in. She had a bandage on her head, a bandage over her eye, her arm in a sling, and a cane. She sat down and launched into this horrible sob story about how she had been in this terrible accident and had spent all her money at the hospital and her car was totaled and now she had no way to get back home, etc. And of course asked for money. My barber was entirely unperturbed and said, "Okay, let me finish with my customers." The lady, thinking she'd hit a score, sat patiently as he did five haircuts, then he calmly walked over to the phone and called the police. - drsameagle
Is there such a thing as travel exceptions?Two-ish years ago I had a customer try to use a coupon from 2011. His excuse was that he’d “been on the road a lot" and didn’t get a chance to use it. Tried to argue with me and demanded the manager who (no surprise) said there was nothing we could do and he finally backed down. - [account deleted]
Seems trustworthy?I worked at Best Buy in the late '90s when I was in HS and a guy set off the alarm when he was leaving and it turned out he had like eight CDs in his pockets which he claimed that he had bought at the mall across the street before he came to Best Buy and it must have been his house arrest anklet that had set off the alarm - profJesusfish
Scamming the scammers.I work at a convenience store, and we sell phone chargers for exorbitant prices because they prey on the desperate who need a charger RIGHT NOW. People steal these chargers all the time and try to bring them back for a refund. We don't take them back without a receipt with our store address on it anymore because this is such a common occurrence. - wishmewells
"And for my next trick, I will disappear..."Customer came in for her one hour facial appointment to try our skincare brand in a department store. It was $75, or you could purchase products to that value or above. She came out from her facial, pampered, requested the whole range, then exclaimed she had left her credit card in her bag which she had left in the car. She said, “I’ll be back in five" and never returned. We cottoned on pretty quickly, but she had disappeared, and the phone number she had given us was fake. - Ninjacat01
Sounds like I'm shopping at Aldi from now on.Worked at Aldi which has a return policy where you get your money back + get to pick an item of equal or lesser value. One customer routinely returned a gallon of milk with just a quarter remaining claiming it was rancid. He’d then get a new gallon and his money back. This went on almost daily for 2 weeks until the DM finally put his foot down. Aldi will do ANYTHING to please the customer. It’s insane. - Awit1992
I've never thought about trying to just return something I grabbed from within the store.They cut off a tag off an expensive jacket (I saw them do this), walked up to me and tried to "return it". Security showed them the doors. - BurghFinsFan
Some people just love to argue.Guy comes to the till to buy two patio kits at £50 each. I tell him the total is £100 and he says he bought one for £50 the day before in another branch. I say yes but you're buying two, so it's doubled. He then starts to argue that I'm over-charging him. This went on for 10 minutes with me explaining that he's buying two so its more expensive than one. His entire plan was to attempt to hold up the queue to a point where I'd give him one for free by acting dumb. Once he realized the line had disappeared — you know, due to it being a huge DIY store with multiple cashiers — he suddenly paid up, never to be seen again. - Knut_Sunbeams
The best part is "Also give customer this note with cigarettes."
via: RedditI used to be a manager at a retail pharmacy for one of the bigger national chains. We had a customer try to trick us into giving him 5 cartons of cigarettes for free. He'd planted a hand-written note at the front register when the cashier had her back turned. Then he tried to convince her that he'd talked to a manager and there would be some cigarettes waiting for him, that his wife had bought them and left them, something like that. And the worst part is that I'm pretty sure the cashier would have fallen for it, except she didn't notice the note and I got to it first. - LeonProfessional
This guy's life keeps getting worse and worse.Had a young guy trying to buy alcohol once try to use his girlfriend's ultrasound as ID. Tried to tell him that you don't have to be over 18 to get pregnant! In the end I just pointed at the poster that showed the approved forms of ID we could accept and told him that ultrasounds weren't on it So many people seemed to forget their license at home. Well go get it, buddy, you won't get a beer until I see it. - katmonday
A good ol' fashioned grab n' grab.When I was working as an electronics cashier, I asked a woman if she needed help buying a TV. She said no thanks, and placed a smart TV into her cart. I asked her if she wanted to make the purchase at electronics, and she said she wanted to pick up a couple more things in electronics. I went to help another customer when I realize the woman was rushing towards the front of the store with the TV. I immediately radioed loss prevention that someone was trying to run out with a TV, and they stopped her at the door. Her immediate defense was "I paid for this in electronics, I just left the receipt in my car." I have no idea how that made logical sense in her mind, since of course she couldn't have the receipt in her car if she just bought the TV in electronics. - RocketSLC
Check please!Worked at Arby’s as a teenager (this was around 1990). A guy comes in, orders a sandwich and fries, and wants to pay with a check. This being the olden days, people paid with check all the time. But this guy tries to tell me it’s “easier for the bank" if he makes it out to himself instead of to Arby’s because... well, he fired off some convoluted, off-the-cuff nonsense designed to gish gallop me into buying the story. I was young and naive, but not that naive. He got mad when I denied him, called me stupid. I asked if he’d like to talk to the manager and he agreed. Three minutes later my manager is giving the guy stink eye and the dude leaves with no sandwich. - HawaiianBrian
Just take someone else's frap off the counter. That's what I do.Kid came in claiming that it was his birthday but he lost (later on said it was stolen) his phone so he couldn't prove that he was entitled to a free drink but wanted to redeem it. Really? You lost or had your phone stolen and your number one priority is to get a free Frappucino? I told him I knew he was lying but that I'll give him a small one for free to get him out of my face and told him not to come back. - TheDandy9
Let's have a little fun...I’m a customer service manager at my store, and have been for two and a half years, so I’m not exactly wet behind the ears. Every once in a while, I get a call from someone claiming to be NCR, the company who repairs our registers. They always start the same. "We’ve been getting an error message from your store that your Money Services registers are out of sync..." Usually I just say nice try and hang up. However, one night the store was dead, I was ahead on my closing stuff, I got the call. I pretended to be dumb, and played along, telling him I was doing what he said. (Stupid stuff that doesn’t actually do anything — reset the pin pad, reboot the register, type in a code that prints a slip.) After about 10 minutes, I finally break the news to him that I knew it was a scam. He goes off yelling "I told your ass we’re updating the f*cking registers you f*cking dumbass". - dylanus93
Who cares what happens to the kid working for minimum wage, so long as I get mine?A customer called my company and complained that my shirt was untucked just to get free coupons. This woman made such a mess out of nothing, and I almost got a write up over it. - Yunak82
"I wish I would've noticed sooner!"Worked at a liquor store. A customer came in to buy three airplane bottles of vodka. I pulled the bottles from the case behind the register and finished our transaction. He came in 30 min later saying all three bottles were mysteriously empty and he didn't realize it until he opened each one and thus broke the seal. - namskers
Keep quiet, dude.I work at Chick-Fil-A and one time while I was on shift I walked through the dining room to go to the bathroom and I overhear a group of kids saying “if you say you didn’t receive your order, they’ll just give you food." I walked back to my register, and a few moments later one of them walks up to me and says “hey it’s been like 10 minutes and I still haven’t gotten my food." I told him and his friends to leave. - RyanIGuess98
"This.... this is awkward."Customer asked us to open the packaging for something in front of a manager and a coworker, is happy with the product and takes that. Goes to the cashiers and ask for a discount because the packaging was open. Though cashiers called a manager for their permission and it was the same manager who helped open the product. - No_you_dont_
Give me the coupons!I had a customer come in to do a return. She bought it at a different location but had her receipt. Okay, cool. Start to ring it up. She points out she used a coupon. A physical, paper coupon. And now she wants it back. She got mad when I explained that it was impossible for me to give her a piece of paper that she left in a different physical location. I had to walk her step by step through the fact that this physical piece of paper was at the other store, and she was pissed that I couldn't conjure one out of the air for her. -PM_ME_FAT_FURRYGIRLS
This dude needs to get his prescription for something else.A guy comes in to fill his sons Adderall script. The guy is super twitchy and son is chill as could be. For all the controls we are supposed to run a report that shows everywhere in the state they have filled any. Of course, the report is a mess, multiple pharmacies, multiple scripts, multiple doctors, all the red flags. To top it off an Adderall script within that week had been filled so we really couldn’t fill this one. Dad comes back we tell him that we cant fill it and dad starts going on about how his wife must have filled it but they need some for today blah blah blah. 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 cant help. You’re clearly taking your sons pills, get help and stop using your son to get high on prescription drugs. -moogula1992
Don't. Drop. Your. Phone.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. -Valhallan1984
This sounds like something I would do.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. -Perschnickity
Pro tip: don't pretend to be a doctor.Someone tried to alter their Adderall script so they would get a year supply. (Doctors cannot write more than a three month supply by law). We took the script and called the doctor to report the fraud. The patient got a black mark in his medical record in the Pharmacy and the Dr. Office. Now every script that is sent over, comes with a disclaimer stating this person has tried to alter scripts. -businesscasual87
A sticky situation.A customer brought back a jumpsuit for a refund because it had feces in it. Apparently, it had been like that when she bought it. It stank so bad that you could smell it through the taped up plastic bags that she had put it in. The levels of how impossible that would have been to be unnoticed by changing room staff, to then be put on the shop floor, to then be picked up by the customer, to being bought via a cashier still unnoticed. The worst part is some idiot on the refunds counter downstairs actually accepted it and put it on top of the trolley full of other returned items for us to put back upstairs - complete with a note stapled to it that said "Warning: Feces inside". One of the bigger "wtf" moments I've had in any job that I've worked. -MateriaBubbles
This dude wanted a free laptop.I used to work at Best Buy. This guy came in and returned a laptop saying that the box had some old laptop in it. He was yelling and screaming that we don’t know how to do business. The manager gave him a full refund. We started to check that old laptop he brought in. It won't turn on. Looks like the motherboard was toast. We pulled the hard drive out and started checking the data. The hard drive was completely fine with everything on it. We started looking for the clues and found the pictures of the guy who returned the laptop. It was his old machine. We had all his info. The manager called him and said he has 15 mins to bring the new laptop back or he is calling the police. That guy came in, dropped the laptop at the front desk. Never saw him again in the store. -vick7171
Smoking kills."I'd like to return this unopened pack of cigarettes I purchased earlier today at your establishment". Might be paraphrasing a little bit. I open the store everyday, hadn't seen this dude once that day. 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. "That's fine! 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 God the backpedaling and stuttering. I grabbed his cigarette pack and fake examined them. "Wait a moment sir, are you sure you purchased these at this store? I don't think we carry this brand". He took the cigarettes back, came up with something about his brother must have yada yada and then he walked out. A tobacco store in town sells some of the brands we carry at a much cheaper price, so people like to try and do returns at our store to make a quick buck. We generally don't take any returns on tobacco, but this guy didn't even scope out his mark. -CoolWaveDave
Dwight Schrute's dream.I 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 fucking thing had been replaced with a catering size tin of beetroot. -DaisyDee85
That's not how coupons work.At my old job, they used to have sales pretty often and would also give out coupons for specific dates. For Boxing Day, they had a 30% off sale and we'd also given out coupons that would start the next day. Lady comes in on Boxing Day and we worked out that she'd get more of a deal if she used the coupon instead, so I offered to hold her items for her. I explicitly told her that she wouldn't be able to get the 30% off and she decided to use the coupon instead. She comes back the next day, goes to cash to purchase her items and gets angry because they wouldn't give her both the 30% off and let her use the coupon. She told the cashier that the person she'd spoken to the day before had told her she could do that, sees me, and says "it was that girl who told me!" I went to cash to speak to her (I was a keyholder at the time) and her story changed about three times through the whole thing. First, she said that I told her she could combine the discounts, then she said that I never told her she couldn't combine the discounts, and then finally it was "Well I don't understand why I'm not able to do this." Another manager came over to help sort it out and as I walked away I heard her saying that I was a liar. Now, I work at Sephora and we always get people trying to return fake products. My favorite one was when someone returned a face mask but had put a can of tuna in the box instead of the actual face mask. -ShadyLady709Q49
"All I want is a Pepsi" said no one ever.I work at a movie theatre. We have a 5 dollar discount day. A customer comes over and starts telling me how she was there the prior day and that we had given them the wrong soda and her Diabetic husband had drunk it and suddenly had to go to the hospital to get medication to "cure him". Several things wrong with that story:
- That's not how diabetes works. You don't die from one sip of soda, and generally, if you did, you'd have insulin to take.
- The employee she had complained to in order to call me over had been the only concession person the prior day and somehow she failed to identify him when I asked her who it was.