Trilogy of terror finishes series on awful customers
BY STEPHANIE ZIMMERMANN firstname.lastname@example.org July 28, 2012 11:08PM
THE FIXER HAS SAVED YOU
Updated: August 30, 2012 6:32AM
D ear Readers: We’ve really enjoyed reading your submissions for most obnoxious customer. (And we’re relieved to have not seen ourselves in these stories.) Here is the final installment:
From M.N.: Back in the day, I tried my hand at waitressing. There was one jerk I’ll never forget.
There were four or five people in his party. I brought their sodas with the requisite amount of ice. They said there was not enough ice. I brought more sodas with more ice. This time, there was too much ice. (The water had the same ice problem.)
Then the guy asked me for a pack of cigarettes. I told him we did not sell cigarettes. He said I should get them from the machine by the door and he would include the amount in my tip. So I got the cigarettes for him.
They left the table a huge mess, with food spilled everywhere and cigarettes put out in the plates of leftover food; they also had demanded extras of everything, complained about everything, threatened to report me for bad service, etc. etc. etc. Oh yeah, and they stiffed me on the tip! They did not pay for the cigarettes AND they shorted the bill.
That’s why I am not a waitress anymore.
From R.I.: My husband and I have operated our own automotive repair facility for the past 12 years. We’ve had some difficult customers, but one young woman was the “customer from hell.”
She needed to pass her vehicle emissions test. That was the easy part — repairing her vehicle for the test. The hard part was dealing with her condescending attitude.
When she came to pick up the car, her friend started complaining about the price. Then they threw the key tag, seat cover and floor mat in the middle of our parking lot and ran over it with their car!
Two days later, she was back. The check-engine light had come on. My husband assured her that he would not charge her if it was the same problem, but if it was something else, he would have to charge for parts and labor like everyone else. She agreed. While she waited, she and her two friends proceeded to talk bad about our shop, not caring who heard them. Then she got on her cell phone and in a loud voice back-talked her own mother and then bragged to her friends about how she treated her mother.
As it turned out, something else was wrong that had nothing to do with the previous repairs. She reluctantly agreed to get it fixed, and my husband stayed after hours to complete the repair. While they waited, the trio badmouthed our shop. When the customer paid her bill, my husband asked if she had taken her car for the emissions test. She said she hadn’t, and my husband reminded her to do it as soon as possible.
Guess what? Exactly 32 days later, here she comes again. The check-engine light had come on once again. The diagnostic tests showed two catalytic converter codes, which were not related to the other repairs and quite expensive to fix.
My husband asked again if she had taken the car for the test, and she admitted that she had not. Now it was a month later and the car wouldn’t pass without these additional repairs. The customer refused to take responsibility for her own car and pointed the finger at us. It was ALL OUR FAULT that her car wouldn’t pass the test!
She was “high maintenance” and possessed unrealistic expectations. She was the type of customer who lights up a room when she leaves.
From Judy: I worked for 26 years in the restaurant business. I hated the first-thing-in-the-morning customers who wanted coffee but their unbrushed teeth/smoker breath made it just about impossible for me to smile (or breathe, for that matter). Truly gross.
In second place were the drunk customers. They were unpredictable and usually had violent tendencies.
There was a memorable customer who always made me smile: A little old man who sat in the same booth at the same time and ate the same food in the same way, every day. You knew that was the highlight of his day.