Ah, the old graveyard shift...where anything and everything can happen. Here, 24 late night sales clerks share the strangest thing they've witnessed while on the job.
1/24. A man came in ten times within a single hour. He kept leaving and coming back without buying a single thing. Finally, on the tenth time he comes up to the counter with a box of tampons. I proceeded to ask him, "Rough night?", to which he responded, "I really don't want to talk about it.
2/24. I work nights at a gas station in a pretty good neighborhood in New Hampshire, so usually it's pretty boring. One night I did have a customer really creep me out. I was just getting ready to close down the store when a little old man came in. He was small and dressed in khakis and a button down shirt. I made the usual small talk of asking him how his day was going. Then as I was handing him his change he firmly grabbed my wrist, made direct eye contact with me and said, "Hell is a real place and the devil has already got his hand on you girl, be careful.
3/24. I've never been a store clerk but I was lucky enough to witness the following story....
7-11, circa 1996....
A guy walks up to the surly clerk, who seemed to work 25 hours a day, and asks "do you sell eggs by the 1/2 dozen?"
Clerk: "No, you have to buy a dozen."
Guy: "I only need 6."
Clerk: "I don't care. You get 12 or you get zero!"
With out saying another word the guy walks back to get his dozen eggs, pays, and walks out.... Then he throws his 6 unwanted eggs at the store window before driving off.
4/24. Had a guy pull up to the pump, unhooked it wanting post-pay. Our policy said not to authorize it between midnight and 5am (pre-pay only). I announce this to the dude over the loudspeaker. I'm pretty sure he was wasted; he continued to get more and more belligerent.
When he started beating the pumps with the nozzle/hose, I called the cops. Dude starts banging on the door (locked, no way he would get in), can't, gets frustrated, and finally just whips his junk out and starts wagging it in the general direction of the store.
The CCTV is getting all this, so I just start laughing my butt off. Then the cops pull up, and two deputies put this poor, drunk, junk-wagging man away in the back of a police car.
I quit a few months after that.
5/24. I worked at a small convenience store in the early 1990's. They had one of those fry delis that had chicken, jojos, corndogs, burritos etc. This particular night I had run out of burritos and chicken. I also shut the thing down and cleaned it all out about an hour before closing.
About 5 minutes before I was closing up a guy walked in and asked for some burritos. I told him I was out of them, and that I was just about to close and the fryer was shut down. He walked around the store for a minute (I assumed he was looking for something else to buy) and then he came up to the counter, pulled out a knife and told me if I didn't cook him some burritos he was going to stab me.
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I freaked out, but told him I had none to cook. I showed him the freezer and told him I would happily cook anything he wanted from it, but he will see I was out of burritos. He looked in it for a minute, turned to me and said, "You really are out." I replied, "Yeah." He then put the knife away and left the store.
6/24. A guy came in to buy beer after hours. Told him I couldn't sell, it was against the law. He pulled out a badge, said, "I am the law". I called 911 and a cop shows up, tells me if I can just let it go, I wouldn't have any more problems. I let it go. Two weeks later, driving home late at night, WAY over the speed limit I got pulled over. It was cop #2. He came up to the car, recognized me, and said, "Slow down" and left.
7/24. I used to work the graveyard at a gas station near my place. Pretty normal night. Clean, stock smokes, clean again, sit behind the counter. A woman came in about mid-30s with a little boy with her. She was in tears and her clothes were torn a bit. She came up and asked to use the phone. When she got off without getting an answer, she asked to stay here for a bit. I told her it wouldn't be a problem.
About 20 minutes goes by and I wound up giving her and her kid free drinks and one of the sandwiches we have on the hot rack. She was in the store for about 30 minutes until her "boyfriend" came in and found her and her kid.
He was pretty calm at first but then started screaming at her and telling her she needed to come with him. Luckily before anything crazy happened, a cruiser pulls up to the front and two cops come in and intervened. He was arrested right there. I guess he had been beating her in front of her kid and she was trying to run away. I'm glad I got to keep her away from harm for at least a little bit. Was a scary night!
8/24. I worked at a 24/7 gas station in a small college town. One night, the club across the street had a fight break out and about 50 people were pepper sprayed by the police when they responded at about 1:30am.
Five minutes later, cue fifty angry club-goers busting into the store, running to the dairy cooler, dousing themselves in milk and then running back out.
I just stood there in utter confusion and then told my boss I didn't want the late shift anymore.
9/24. The place I worked at had a monitor/camera that showed you on it as you walked it. It was like ten minutes before closing and a guy walks in and just starts rapping into the camera and acting like he's shooting a music video. He went through an entire song.
10/24. A guy came in, walked to the back cooler got a can of Sprite and came to the register to check out. As I'm ringing him up, one of our local cops walks in, gun drawn, says, "Put your hands on the counter, put your hands on the counter, NOW!" Well, I put my hands on the counter along with the customer because all I'm thinking is, "I have no idea what I've done, but I'm very sorry for it." (continued)
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Turned out that guy had been involved with a robbery of a convenience store in the next town that was five minutes away. He had fled in a Mustang with two other individuals. They wrecked the car trying to evade the cops, and all three dispersed. Two were apprehended pretty quickly but the third came into the store to either blend in or rob me, I honestly don't know which. After the festivities and them hauling the guy away, the cop told me he had almost lost it when I put my hands on the counter too, and that I should really rethink working closing shifts at my age. I was 19 at the time and I am female. I laughed and was like, "And give up free entertainment??!!
11/24. I work a restaurant/fast food store in Australia. Last week I saw a woman order four burgers but wanted no ingredients other than lettuce, not even any bread. I offered if she would like to just buy the lettuce as a topping and just pay $1.25 for it but she insisted on ordering four servings of burger lettuce at full burger price.
12/24. I worked 11pm - 7am shift in an all-night garage for a few months when I was 18. There was this weird dude who drove a white Honda Prelude, and always filled up with 6.66 of gas. He wore the same pair of cut offs every time, with blotches and bruises all over his legs, and used to literally wander in, leaning against the displays, pick up as many yoghurts as he could carry, pay with a 50 note and stagger out.
One time he came in with these two women who were draped all over him with the biggest pupils I have ever seen. They stood at the counter while I scanned all their yogurts, and he spoke for the first and only time. Staring at me, he said to the women, "She can join us, can't she?"
One of the women looked at me and said, "You'll make a lot more money if you come with us, darlin'." I nervously laughed, took their cash and they left,
13/24. Regular male customer living across the street came over with flip flops and a towel around his waist, dripping wet. Grabbed a bar of soap, tossed $5 on the counter, and walked back out.
14/24. A woman came into my store one night while I worked as a gas station clerk. She walked to the cooler and grabbed a soda, but the whole time she was in the store she was looking at me all wide-eyed.
She came up to the register, still looking dead at me and hardly blinking, put her soda on the counter, and then said "I BIRTHED YOU".
"Excuse me?" I said
"I BIRTHED YOU. YOU CAME OUT OF MY BODY."
"Um, I'm pretty sure my mom gave birth to me."
"YOU CAME OUT OF MY BODY. I BIRTHED YOU IN THE MOUNTAINS OF TENNESSEE."
I just took her money and then she left.
15/24. I was working the graveyard shift at a big grocery store doing the self-checkout registers. I was the only person around the store other than the stock crew and maybe two or three customers.
I got a call from the fuel centre and the attendant was freaking out and told me someone was flipping over the vending machines (wtf right?) and she was calling the police.
I assumed the guy would just leave after that so I held tight and waited for the police. (continued)
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Until this young blonde guy walks in and calmly walked past me. I tailed him for a few aisles and once he turned the corner on the baby aisle he took off running and grabbed a big display of Dr. Seuss books and flung it to the ground.
He ended up getting arrested at the entrance by a few cops and I got asked question after question.
All in all a fun night.
16/24. I worked at Dunkin' Donuts. Every Tuesday night at about 8:45 a guy would come in. A guy in Daisy Dukes and a sequined bikini top. He was balding, had a beer gut and chest hair.
He would strut his stuff to the counter and order two sprinkle donuts.
17/24. I worked at a Walgreen's in a not-so-great area and things would happen on the regular, but none were as weird as this.
A man who was a regular came in every day to buy a bag of candy, had no teeth and seemed really strange but I was always cool with him since he was a regular. Then one night after getting his candy he comes back in which he has never done before and looks at me with the strangest look on his face and puts this small piece of paper on my counter and leaves.
Weirded out, I open the letter which said, in the creepiest chicken scratch handwriting, "Hey (my name), I was wondering if you would like to see Spiderman with me tomorrow at the mall at 7pm. If so meet me there at 6." There was a smiley face at the end.
The dude was about 50 something and I was around 20, of course I didn't go but I never saw the dude in my store ever again.
18/24. In high school I worked at a 24-hour pharmacy which also had a small selection of beer. At about 2am this guy walks in 3 sheets to the wind...saunters over to the beer and grabs two 12-packs. He comes up to the counter and slams the beer down. Reaches into his pocket and pulls out a half eaten taco and puts it on the counter...I couldn't say anything because I was so perplexed...I just let him walk out with the beer and told my bosses I thought he might have a gun also...was the strangest thing I've ever seen.
19/24. Beat up kid comes to us at 3am. Blood everywhere. Doesn't want us to call an ambulance. Our policy says if they don't want us to, we can't. So he was just chilling there, bleeding. When we said we were going to call the cops to help, he bolted. My bet was he had a warrant out for his arrest so that's why he didn't want any medical/police attention.
20/24. I used to work at a gas station in a really small town. There was this old homeless guy with a glass eye who would walk around with an uncovered, 5-gallon bucket of pickled pig's feet. The pig's feet were submerged in this pink pickling juice that would splash all over the damn place when he walked around. Not to mention that during the summer, this bucket would reek.
So one of my first days on the job, he came into the gas station to buy a tall boy of Bud Ice. (continued)
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I rang him up and he plunged his hand down in the bucket and pulled out a pigs foot in which he slammed on the counter.
After a bit of back and forth explaining that pigs feet were not a form of currency, I just gave in and let him have the $2 beer (I paid for it myself).
So about once a week, he would walk in, and we would have this pickled pig foot/Bud Ice understanding. Other customers in line would lose their minds after seeing this deal go down. I'd throw the pigs feet in the woods out back where the stray cats would eat them. It was a whole ecosystem of fucking weirdness.
This went on for about 6 months before I eventually found another job. The guy was weird, but nice as could be. I called him Pig Foot Larry.
21/24. I worked third shift at a Sheetz. For those of you who don't know it's a gas station/convenience store/fast food place. On multiple occasions I have been cussed out because we discontinued pickle chips. I've had people tell me to fuck off, break things, demand to call corporate, etc. Drunk people love pickle chips.
22/24. Not a late night clerk as my store closes at 9, but some pretty strange things have happened. In no particular order.
- A woman tried to tell me that jesus could talk to her through her eyes and that we were all going to hell
- A man came in for no reason other than to take a defecate in Aisle 3
- Some guy tried to come in a steal cigarettes from behind our counter and may have gotten away with it if he had not then tried to buy cigarettes with the other ones stuffed down his shirt
- Two different people have tried to lock themselves in our bathroom and tell us that that was their home now
- Once a week someone will try to buy our entire cereal aisle, just pulling entire displays off the shelf and trying to do it as quickly as possible, like getting into a line is some sort of free pass and we have to let him buy the stuff.
- An ex-employee one time came back in after hours, as we were closing down stuff for the night and started to work. She was behind the deli-counter just cutting meat. Talking to invisible customers. We later found out she was high on pills.
23/24. One night I had a customer come in, clearly drunk, and ask where the bathrooms were. I directed him to the bathrooms, which were in the store, but he kept saying, "Oh okay, they're around the back?"
"No, they're right there."
"Okay, I'll go around back."
He left through the front door, I imagined he would just go on the side of the building, so not my problem anymore. Then I look up and he's behind the cash register looking for a toilet (I assume).
My co-worker left the back door unlocked. I was across the store stocking so I yelled to my co-worker to get him out. The drunk dude was nice enough about the mix up and pretended it was just a joke, then my co-worker guided him to the actual restrooms.
I started stocking near the restrooms to kind of keep an ear on him and from inside the restroom, I hear: "Ah shoot, I'm peeing everywhere!! I'm gonna pee on the sink, the toilet, and this hand dryer! ...I'm just kidding clerk guy, I'm only peeing in the toilet!" The guy came out and laughing so hard he was crying, then left after buying some Funyuns. He was laughing at himself the whole time on his way out, like he'd just pulled the funniest prank of his life.
24/24. I worked overnights in a beach town gas station/convenience store. It was notorious in the summer on Friday or Saturday night for the drunk people to come in and get food/drinks at 2-3 AM after last call at the beach bars. There was this group of girls that went out every weekend and came in every weekend. They always drove drunk (I didn't bother calling cops because they had a cop stationed on the road leaving Wawa. They got someone every night).
One night, they came in to get their sandwiches and cigarettes. While they were leaving, they crashed directly into one of the gas station islands. I ran outside to make sure they were alright. The driver started panicking and backed up to go around it and ended up crashing into it again. At this point I decide to go back inside because she was being way too reckless. Ended up knocking a gas pump over and driving away. Ending was rather anti-climatic, we knew who she was and had her make/model/licence. Cops ended up getting her.