"Can I Speak To The Manager" Stories

As anyone who's worked a customer-facing job will tell you, dealing with the public can be brutal. Consumers have internalized the idea that the customer is always right, so when they don't get exactly what they want, they're often quick to escalate matters.

Because of this behavior, every server, cashier, retail worker, and customer service associate harbors a deep well of "can I speak to the manager" stories. Thankfully, when the higher-ups actually get involved, they have the authority to tell rude customers off. 

Some managers have taken to Reddit to share their best problem customer clapback stories. These tales illustrate the stresses customer service professionals face, and give the rest of us an inside look at the astounding rudeness, dumb questions, and appalling sense of entitlement many customers possess.

  • Some Angry Customers Just Need A Stage To Complain On

    From Redditor /u/goldy_locks:

    When I was in high school, I worked at a candle store in the mall. For the most part, everything was returnable for store credit unless it was a sale item or holiday-specific stuff. I had a woman giving me the hardest time about not being able to return something that had obviously been used for an event… She asked for the manager… but [the customer] wasn't satisfied with her answer [either].

    She went on to ask that we contact someone else about it, and it just happened that we had a visitor from head office at the store that day. Still not happy with getting the same response from all of us, she went on that general disgruntled customer rant of, "this place is terrible and I'm going to tell everyone how terrible it is and no one is going to shop here."

    In the best move I've ever seen, the woman from head office dragged a ladder out into the middle of the mall walkway and insisted the woman start telling people about her experience right then and there. The woman quickly shut up and left. It was beautiful.

  • An Irate Customer Hung Up On The Manager

    From Redditor /u/PoolStoreGuy:

    Pissed off customer asked for the store manager's card and when he will be in so he can complain about me for charging him a restocking fee per policy. I hand him the manager's card and tell him he will be able to speak with him the following day.

    I am the manager.

    He called, I answered, he hung up.

  • Never Mess With A Manager In A Trucker Cap

    From Redditor /u/Merzoth:

    [I'm a] manager at an independent sports bar in Austin, TX. Nowadays when someone demands to speak to the manager, I simply walk into the kitchen, grab my black trucker cap with "MANAGER" printed in block white letters on the front, toss it on, and walk right back out with a, "Now where were we?"

    That usually ends the argument right then and there.

  • An Unhappy Diner Complained To His Server's Dad

    From Redditor /u/ooo-ooo-oooyea:

    At Red Lobster, someone grabbed the "manager" and told him his shrimp was cold, [he] wanted a free beer, and he could get better fish by fishing. This "manager" was my dad, [who] was meeting us after work and apparently looked like an authority figure since he had a tie on.

    My dad replied, "That's cocktail shrimp, you moron."

  • Yes, Bookstores Actually Want To Sell Customers Books

    From Redditor /u/Viktionary:

    I was a manager at a mall bookstore in Canada when Princess Diana died. Before the store opened the next morning, we had many phone calls to ask if we had any biographies of Princess Diana, so the few we had had were put on hold for various people for 48 hours. This left a space on the shelf where the books had been.

    I had a crazy lady come in and accuse us of moving the Princess Diana books into the back room so we could hold them there and jack up the prices. I was pretty much flabbergasted by that logic. Lady, I sell books, and if I had a book to sell to you, I'd sell it. I don't make money on mythical future transactions that may or may not occur. And no, you are not going into my backroom to have a look around yourself to make sure I am not lying. 

    It took over 20 minutes to get her out of my store, without a Princess Diana biography. Within a week we had hundreds of copies of every imaginable Princess Diana biography that existed at that time. 

  • A Drunk Customer Didn’t Recognize The "Manager"

    From Redditor /u/Norman1515:

    I used to work in the box office for an MLB team. The actual manager was usually extremely busy and couldn't easily respond to issues at 15 different windows, so we frequently pretended to be each other's managers. It was the easiest way to get back up when an annoying customer would not accept one of our policies.

    One night, I was helping a very drunk customer who refused to accept a policy (I don't remember exactly what it was). He asked to speak to the manager, but [the manager] and everyone else around me were crazy busy. So, I turned my back on the customer, turned back around, pretended to be a different person, and backed myself up. He accepted this without issue and went on his way.