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.
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.
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.
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.
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."