5 Retail Employees Reveal the Most Outrageous Scams Customers Have Attempted Against Their Stores

The world of retail is often perceived as straightforward and monotonous, but the reality is much more complex and sometimes downright bizarre, especially when it comes to the lengths some customers will go to trick or deceive. The ingenuity of scams can range from the ridiculously clumsy to the cleverly crafted, testing the patience, ethics, and vigilance of retail workers. These workers, often the unsung heroes of everyday commerce, have to deal not only with the usual customer service demands but also with these demanding and sometimes outrageous attempts at fraud.

Retail workers from various backgrounds have taken to platforms like Reddit to share their experiences with the darker side of customer interactions. Their stories provide a window into the less-discussed aspects of retail work, revealing the creativity and sometimes desperation with which some individuals try to circumvent the system. These reports are not just cautionary tales, but also a testament to the tenacity and quick wit of the workers who manage to thwart these plans, often with a mixture of humor and quick thinking.

People have tried to trick retail workers in all sorts of ways, from trying to return “used” items to scamming the cash register. Some of these workers shared the wildest ways people tried to scam them

Working in retail means interacting with people from all walks of life. Some of these interactions are positive and fruitful, while others are so dire that they make these retail workers question their career choices. Several people with retail experience have opened up on Reddit about how some customers tried to scam them.

Grammar and clarity have been improved in the comments.

1. I need a refund!

Tulabean: I worked in a general store as a teenager. A man came in and quickly grabbed a package of pantyhose from the shelf, approached the cash register, and informed me that he had bought them for his wife but they were the wrong size.

I replied that I watched him take them off the shelf so I couldn’t give him a refund because he never bought them. He claimed he did and said he would take an adult magazine instead of a refund.

he laughed and said that the cost of the stockings would not cover the cost of the magazine even if he paid for it. The man considered it, grabbed another package of tights from the shelf, and asked, “Now what?”
Gentlemen. Just wow.

2. A man and his pregnant wife

schabe: Some guy came in with his pregnant wife – a traveler from an RV park half a mile away. We knew him and he was risky, but he was there a few times and didn’t cause any trouble.

Anyway, he asked to see a used PS3 that was in a box at the back of the store. My colleague took it out and pulled it out to show him its condition.

As he studied it, he asked my colleague if he had any other used drivers. My friend went to the back and stupidly left him alone with the console to check it out. When he came back, the guy put the console in the box and closed it. He asked how much a used controller would cost and said he could come later with cash (not unexpected for travelers) to buy them both.

He never came back. A day later, someone else was interested in the console. When we opened it, it was full of books. We checked the security cameras. Turns out, in the 20 seconds or so my colleague was away from the table, the “pregnant wife” pulled about 3 or 4 books out of her belly from under her dress and stuffed the console into this hidden maternity pouch under her clothes. the books were in a box and the traveler closed it.

Luckily he was too stupid to notice the camera. We called the police and they caught him in half a day. We got the console back and he got some time in jail. It was his third offense.

3. Nut cookies

Caitsyth: | They worked in a fancy deli where they had chocolates, cookies, etc. We had a sale (red price – sales are final) on boxes of our pecan cookies that were out of season and one woman bought the last nine boxes we had. I’m the cashier so I ring up the sale and she leaves.

Two days later I am the opener and this woman is waiting at the gate for us to open. I let her in to get her away so I could get ready for the day and she accused me of ATTEMPTED MURDER.

She threatened to get the police involved. In the process, she ate an entire box of CLEARLY LABELED pecan cookies in one sitting and then her throat tightened and itched all over.

But by no means does she have a mild nut allergy. She claims we poisoned them and demanded a full refund and the same value of the goods as an apology for trying to kill her.

By the time I convinced her that she had a nut allergy, her claim shifted to us that we purposely did not label allergens on our packaging.

At that point, I took one of the boxes from her, and with a sharp point, I circled three places on the front of the box that said it was a variety of nut cookies, as well as a warning on the back of all the possible allergens that might have come into contact.

Her last game that turned me on was when she threw her hands up in the air and yelled, “Fine, give me my money back! I don’t want any more products from you!” Because, you know, a refund was totally on the table.

She didn’t even have a receipt and when I asked for it she said I must have stolen it. I said, “Fine, but I have to write to my manager because I can’t process the return.”

I texted a friend in the security office what was going on and they called the real police because she had been caught trying to shoplift a few times at the mall.

But what made my day was when they tried to take her away from my store, she slapped one of the REAL cops. They tore the handcuffs and I was so happy to see her squirm.

4. I knew something wasn’t working

u/red_balloon_animal: I was taking a break for a customer service person when a lady brought in a box of dishes to return.

I know it was the brand we got last week because I put the display together and pulled out all the boxes. It was one of the most expensive sets we ever sold.

I asked why she wanted to return it and she said she got another one as a gift. Before starting the return at the register, I pull down the box and feel the weight.

I asked her if it was ever open and she said no. The tape at the top was not disturbed, but some boxes can be opened through the bottom without cutting them open.

I tell her, “Well, let me check to see if it’s still for sale.” When I cut the tape she started telling me it was “not necessary and I can get my money back”.

The box was full of bricks. I exclaimed in my best Disney princess falsetto, “Oh my God! We didn’t sell you this! Here are your bricks back! I can continue your comeback once you bring the pots and pans!”

5. She got a taste of her own medicine

u/[deleted]: So this lady walks into my store a week after buying a $5000 wedding dress. She’s throwing a tantrum, waving her clothes in the air like they’re on fire or something. “GIVE ME MY FULL REFUND!” she screams at the top of her lungs. “You sold me a dress with a hole in the back right below the waist!”

I stand there shocked. This lady tried the dress on five times before she bought it. She scanned every inch as if searching for buried treasure. I faced her, trying to keep my cool, and said, “Ma’am, you checked this dress thoroughly. There was no hole. Sorry, I can’t help you.”

But she’s having none of it. “GIVE YOUR REFUND NOW OR YOU WILL BE FIRED!” she screams. “The owner is my best friend!”

Now I’m pretty new to this job and I have three mouths at home that I feed.

Losing this job is not the answer. So it is with a heavy heart that I am processing her refund. She gives me this smug grin, grabs the money, and runs away like she just won the lottery.

But it’s good here. Karma, that beautiful force of the universe, was not going to let her go easily. An hour later he is back. And how the tables turned. Her face is red as a tomato and she can barely look me in the eye.

Turns out she was so busy bragging about her little scam that she didn’t notice her expensive purse was wide open. And guess what? During her victory lap around the mall, her newly acquired $5,000 slipped away, one bill after another, like breadcrumbs.

He panics and asks if anyone has handed over the money. But you know how these things go; not a single account was found. I couldn’t help but feel a tiny bit of satisfaction watching her get a taste of her own medicine. Karma has a really funny way of setting things straight, doesn’t it?

While it’s fun to see people trying to scam store workers and business owners, it’s disappointing how dishonest people become in these times. Trying to cheat a retail worker is not the best idea because it means compromising one’s self-respect in case one is caught.

Have you ever experienced such an encounter? We’d love to hear about your experiences!

The stories shared by these retail workers are a testament to the ingenuity and audacity of some people in their attempts to deceive and manipulate for personal gain. While these stories may offer a mixture of humor and incredulity, they also illuminate the often-overlooked challenges faced by people in customer service roles. Retail workers are on the front lines, regularly dealing with not only sales and service but also loss prevention and dealing with unethical behavior, all of which can be incredibly challenging.

It is critical for retail businesses to equip their employees with the right training and tools to effectively detect and address fraud. This not only helps minimize losses but also promotes a safer and more ethical shopping environment. In addition, recognizing the hard work of these employees and understanding the complexities of their daily interactions can foster greater appreciation and respect for what they endure.

These stories serve as cautionary tales to remind us of the importance of integrity and honesty in every transaction. They also highlight the fact that while fraud can sometimes be sophisticated, it is rarely reliable and often results in consequences for the perpetrators. For anyone considering bending the rules, remember that the risk of losing far outweighs the temporary gain of a successful scam.

If you’ve ever been in a similar situation as a retail worker or as a customer who witnessed suspicious behavior, your experience is valuable. Sharing these stories can help others learn and prepare better, contributing to a community that promotes fairness and honesty above all else.

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