Dealing with atrocious customer service is enough to send anyone over the edge. I know I’ve personally lost my cool many times with cable/Internet employees, and at the drive-thru when the milkshake machine seems to be mysteriously broken every time I order one (this is a very touchy subject).
We curated 10 customer service fails from Reddit below, and see if your own experiences measure up.
1. Don’t mess with Dad
On a long road trip Mom badly needed to pee, so Dad pulled into a gas station and Mom ran inside asking where the restroom was. The attendant told her “around back” so Mom hot-footed it outside and to the back of the store, only to find the door padlocked.
A little ticked off that he didn’t say something before, Mom went back inside and asked for the key. The attendant told her “We can only give the restroom key to store customers.” Aching at this point, Mom ran out to the car and told Dad the situation, he was already pumping some gas and when he was done he paid with a credit card at the pump. “There, now you’re a customer.”
Mom ran back inside and asked the attendant for the key. “I’m sorry Ma’am, but that man outside paid for the gas, you didn’t. Maybe you could buy some tacos? Or burritos? Habla Ingles?” (My mom is part Native American but the guy was mistaking her for Mexican)
Mom is not a confrontational person. She went back to the car and tearfully told Dad she could hold it. Dad asked why she still hadn’t gone to the bathroom and raged when he heard what the attendant had said.
Dad was 6’9, heavily tattooed, and weighed 400 pounds. The attendant meekly handed over the restroom key. Meanwhile Dad bought a Big Gulp (actually, I don’t think he ever paid for it) and downed it in 3 sips while glaring at the attendant.
When Mom came out of the restroom, Dad told her to sit in the driver’s seat and keep the car running. They pulled up to the front door of the gas station and Dad stepped outside, unzipped his pants and peed all over the glass and floormat.
Dad loved telling that story. Mom, not so much.
I had an employee at a big box department store grasp my balance assistance dog’s harness, pull her away from me, and demand to know what my disability was because I “didn’t look like I needed” my dog. That was… fun. Definitely the worst I’ve experienced so far.
3. Mental health
I’m going to say the front office at my therapist’s clinic. I didn’t get to go see her for almost a year because I was extraordinarily sick, moved, and injured myself while moving to the point that I had surgery. I called to make an appointment and they said that since it had been over a year they had dropped me as a patient. Ok. So do I fill out new patient paperwork again? Well, she’s not accepting new patients right now. Ok, so can I see a different therapist because I’m seriously having some problems (they’ve got like 20 of them in the same clinic). Well, since you’re established with her and you have a rapport built up with her we don’t want to switch you to a new therapist. You could try calling back next month, but just so you know she’s booking four to six months out.
At this point I get pissy and say, “Ok so I’m calling you guys because I’m having major issues.
What if I was having suicidal thoughts?
Are you going to tell a person with suicidal thoughts that they can’t see a different therapist since theirs is booked till May?”
And that’s when she hung up on me. I called back and said, “Hey I think we got disconnected” and she hung up on me again.
So yeah, a mental health clinic that hangs up on people that have a history of suicidal tendencies and are asking for help gets my vote.
4. Bad service
When I ordered 2 kebabs with cheese for me and a friend in a crowded place. I was given one and I passed it to a friend and I haven’t gotten mine so I was patiently waiting. After some 10 minutes I finally asked where is my kebab and the lady was pissed off because she noted that it was already given away and for sure I’m trying to cheat and get one for free. Lady, it’s not my fault your establishment doesn’t give a out a number with your order and you don’t keep track who takes what. So annoying.
She was 20 years old, in college thousands of miles away, when she found out a very close friend died. She and a friend bought plane tickets from a certain airline so they could fly home and attend the funeral. At the gate, after checking in, and going through security and everything, the plane began boarding. They called by sections to board, and my sister and her friend were in the last one. At the last minute, an employee told them they were booted from the flight because they were overbooked.
At this point, my hysterical 20 year old sister and her friend are sobbing over the fact that they might not be home for their best friend’s funeral. The employee isn’t helpful at all, just causing them more grief and panic. In a state of panic, my sister rushes over to the door to the terminal or whatever and tries to open it, insisting they can still get on the plane, she can still see it out the window, it’s there. Airport security comes to escort them away.
My sister calls my mother, who calls the next airline that has a flight. They are completely helpful and nice, insist on finding the (still hysterical) girls and helping them get to the plane as soon as possible, and letting them choose their seats when they got on the plane. Expensive, but great service.
6. Nutty bread
To start off, I am a server. I can usually tolerate a lot of crappy service, usually giving the benefit of doubt.
There was a pizza joint I liked to frequent. One day, a friend and I went in and ordered something called “Nutty Bread”. Basically gooey nutella cooked into a folded over pizza dough. We waited and waited for it, I flag down the waitress and she goes looking for it. She comes striding back with it, drops it on the table without a word, and disappears. We look down to basically this burnt piece of folded up dough with burnt nutella inside.
I try flagging her down, she avoids eye contact. FINALLY I get her to come over. I tell her it’s way overcooked and inedible. She picks up my fork and starts poking at it, telling me it looks okay to her. Here is how the conversation went:
Me: “I’ve had this plenty if times before. Usually it’s nice and soft and gooey. This is just overcooked and inedible.”
Her: “Hmmm. Yeah. Well like, the only way I can see it is: It can’t be super awesome every time cause then your expectations will be too high the next time you order it!”
I burst out laughing. I thought she was joking. I even had her repeat herself, which she did, followed up with “Did you want me to pack it up for you?”
I did. And I am actually pretty good friends with the owner of that place so I swung by their house to show and tell them about my experience. The scream of “She said WHAT??” still resonates in me to this day. Let’s just say she didn’t have a job by the next day.
Had to call my internet and TV provider for my mother and father in law because their TV was not working. They had a reset they had to do on their side that would take 30 minutes so they let me off the line.
It failed to work so the next person did it again and it failed again. When the third person went to do it again I asked him to stay on the line as I didn’t think it would work the third time (and it didn’t).
I purchased a laptop from a certain company on launch day.
Great little laptop. Small, sleek, sexy, high-res screen.
After having the machine for about 3 weeks,they released an update to fix some touchpad issues. The update utility notified me of the update and offered to download and installed it.
I said fine.
Utility downloaded the update, ran its little bit of code to force an update on reboot and rebooted the computer.
The update failed. They had bricked my new $1300 laptop.
So, I called their support team.
Their response? Because I hadn’t shipped my laptop to a specific service center for them to install the update, I had violated my warranty and now had a $1300 really infuriating paperweight.
9. This is my domain
A few years back I decided that I wanted my own domain name. I went online and picked out a company that had been recommended to me by some random folks on myspace and decided to find out how much it’d cost to own myname.com.
This site didn’t list any of the package prices on the front page so I figured I’d go through the registration process and then click ‘cancel’ when I got to the payment page if it was more than I wanted to pay. Domain name, my name, contact info, credit card number, click continue aaaaaaaaaaaand congratulations, you now own a domain and hosting! And it cost way too many dollars!
There is no abort or cancel button to be seen so I grab my phone and get on their support line. I explain my situation to the nice customer service rep and he tells me twice that by pressing “continue” I have accepted their terms of service and now my money is theirs and that domain and a hosting package are mine.
I couldn’t believe it.
At no point in this process had I agreed to anything. Sure, it was naïve of me to enter my credit card information before finding out the price but it was bold of them to not tell me that to them, “continue” was synonymous with “accept.”
So I explained that to the rep yet again and he said “ma’am? I’m just yanking your chain. I’ll cancel that order immediately.”
Speechless. At that point I’d worked in several customer service jobs, including in tech support. I stammered a thank you and hung up the phone and passed out on the couch, reeling that a company would build a purchase form that used “continue” as a “take as much moneys as you like!” button and have reps that would “yank my chain” about a refund.
I don’t know if this counts as customer service, but my husband had an old email account he used for unimportant email. It got hacked and he contacted the email owners to see if they could get it all fixed up. They said, sure, for $150.
To fix an old spam account!
Sorry, I have a stitch in my side from laughing at them.