People Break Down The Most Useless Lessons They Still Teach In School
Young students who hated math questioned why they had to learn something that would never be applied in real life.
Curious to hear about these subjects from former students, Redditor highnrgy asked:
"What's the most useless thing they teach in school?"
At least these subjects can be great conversation starters.
"The tongue/taste map. Not only useless, but incorrect."
"Oh sh*t I totally forgot about this. I remember having to fill out a diagram of a tongue with the tastes on different parts of it."
What The Calculator Killed
"Well, I'm old so take my answer in context."
"How to use an abacus."
"When I was younger I learned the abacus enough in asian math school that I was able to do abacus calculations using 'muscle memory' so essentially an invisible abacus, which allowed me to do double digit multiplication in my head pretty easily...so pretty helpful if you can do that lol."
"They taught competitive cup stacking in my elementary school. Still have no idea why."
"Edit: This was in central Canada, but clearly it was widespread across a lot of North America. Please stop asking me if I went to your school, I probably didn't."
These Redditors thought the way the following history lessons were taught were better left in the past.
Selective Historical Moments
"Not useless, just poorly taught: History."
"It was just a collection of dates, names, and numbers. Memorize this stuff, we'll have a test."
"The significance of so many historical events was never taught or discussed. WW2 was the only one that was somewhat approached at scale, but even then it boiled down to Germany was pissed off about WW1 and Hitler hated the Jews."
"This was at a good high school too, the whole class was in advanced classes (IB / AP)."
The Contested Theory
"I was taught that Columbus knew that the world was round, but everyone else thought it was flat. So, yeah. . . That."
The Pride Of The School
"The entire life of my school founder, the worst of all is that they teach us the same thing all the years."
These lessons would have better benefited students matriculating a performing arts school.
"We did it too... in Australia. Bunch of uncoordinated kids stomping around to Achey Breakey Heart. What a waste of my damn time."
Questionable Athletic Skill
"I graduated in 1991 for context and, while living in Phoenix, they taught us square dancing in gym class. I must say though that the most useful skill that I was taught at that school that I use every single day is typing."
The Necessary Steps
"In order to graduate middle school you were required to complete the Cupid shuffle, cotton eyed joe, and electric slide in front of your class. I guess this taught us the concept of pure embarrassment."
"I didnt understand how to throw a baseball or a basketball untill I was 15 and a fellow classmate showed me that the way I move my fingers and release with my wrist made incredible differences."
"The teach just kept saying 'use your wrist' without explaining what I was doing wrong."
"I hated sports as a kid. I really wanted to be on teams and LEARN how to play but i just git benched because I didnt understand the rules or how to throw."
"On every single level, public school failed me. The only thing I learned was how to take a test."
My experience with driver's education was completely useless. I do think it's a good requirement, but I happened to have an instructor who did not teach me the basics of how to drive. At all.
When I got behind the wheel for the first time for the class, I didn't realize that my fellow students in the car had already gotten a general idea of how to operate a vehicle because they learned it from their parents, a luxury I didn't have available to me at the time.
I didn't know at the time that once I shifted out of park, the car would move forward without me hitting the gas. When that happened, I panicked and slammed the brakes.
Everyone in the car screamed, including the instructor. Maybe he should have explained to me the process of starting a car without assuming I already knew how.
For the record, I'm now an excellent driver, if I may say so, myself.
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The Absolute Hardest Parts Of Dating After Age 30
30 is the new 20.
At least, that's what a lot of people tell themselves after they pass that milestone birthday.
Even so, while age is merely a number, people still find certain things grow increasingly more challenging with each passing year.
Including, or even particularly, dating.
Those still on the hunt for love after turning 30 might grow increasingly insecure, worry that their moment has passed, or be unable to ignore the ticking of their biological clock reminding them that time might be running out to start a family.
Not to mention, playing a losing game over and over can become completely and utterly exhausting after a while.
"What is the hardest part of dating after 30?"
Not Everyone Wants A Package Deal
"Realizing that the number of single parents is larger than you’d expect."- dhabo1030
"Some people have kids or want them soon."
"And emotional baggage."- Psyblade0_0
"Kids, whether you have them or not, is something to talk and consider immediately before starting anything."- Crisb89
"For me, it was finding someone who didn't have kids, and didn't want them."
"At that point in my life, I was (and still am) 100% sure I don't want kids."
"Finding a long-term partner who wants the same was pretty tough."- Toiletpaperplane
"Everyone has kids."- TopScruffyPlaying Happy Children GIF by MOODMANGiphy
Everyone's In A Hurry
"'Dating after 30 is like catching a city bus after midnight'."
"'There aren't as many, but they're faster'."- civex
How Long Have You Got?
"Online dating sucks and all my friends are married or dead or single fathers."
"So I am on my own for the most part."- somedude-83
"It's not all fun and games anymore."
"People feel late or behind."
"First dates often: are we compatible, do you want kids, are you OK with my kids, are you ready for a serious relationship, do you make enough money, do you own a home, politics?"
"I don't have time to mess with you if we aren't a match because I'm in my 30s and supposed to be married and having kids."
"The days of just light fun dating are less common."- ZLVe96Kill Me Now Season 1 GIF by FriendsGiphy
Emotional And/Or Excess Baggage
"You sometimes pay for what their ex did to them."- JJJAAABBB123
Rising Standards And Expectations
"You have your preferences narrowed down a LOT more than you did in your 20s, thus finding a compatible partner is more difficult."
"Especially if you dislike kids."- Clintman
"Many people want 'high value' partners while having no value."- Zetterburger40Sassy Red Wine GIF by Married At First SightGiphy
Solo routines Can Be Hard To Shake...
"I've learned I prefer my own company."- PrinceEnternalStench
"The summoning rituals you have to go through."- AdCareful5654
Wait Till Your 40s...
"Wait until they’re over 45."
"Most are divorced and have been alone for a while."
"It‘s a reset of dating and they’re open to try something new."
"That person who was out of your league is now squarely in your court."
"Go for it!"- macgivSee Ya Goodbye GIF by MaxGiphy
Good Luck Getting A Good Night's Sleep...
"CPAP Machines."- Reddit
As long as you are single, finding love is one of the many things you think you might never achieve with each passing year.
However, when you do finally find that one true love, no matter when or how old you are, you will realize in no time at all it was definitely worth the wait.
Sometimes the simplest or most obvious things are the things you learn late.
I've been shopping at DSW for 20 years now, and I was literally today years old when I realized 'DSW' weren't just random letters, but stood for 'Designer Shoe Warehouse.'
Yeah, that one made me feel pretty stupid!
Luckily, I'm not the only one. Redditors know of many obvious things they only recently realized, and are eager to share.
It all started when Redditor itsochepel asked:
"What obvious thing did you recently realize?"
A House Is Not A Bed
"That birds don't live in nests. Nests are just where they keep their eggs. Birds just sleep in trees."
"Pretty much, yes. Even ground birds like chickens and quail will roost in trees when they aren't setting eggs."
"what now. this has ruined me"
"Can I offer you an nice egg in this trying time?"
Worst Kind Of Typo
"That there is a typo on my email in my resume. Somehow it went unnoticed for 6+ months..."
"I sent out resumes once saying that “I am an excellent poof reader""
"If I read that on a resume I wouldn’t be surprised if I thought it was done intentionally as a joke because it would seem too funny to be an accident."
If I Had Only Realized
"I played through nearly all of Fallout 4 (I didn’t buy the game until fairly recently) without realizing there’s a jump button. If I got trapped someplace, I just restarted from a previous save and complained about what kinda idiots didn’t make it so you can jump. But I’m the idiot."
A (Confusing?) Family Tree
"My grandson just figured out I am his mothers mother. He just can't understand why I tell him we have to ask his mom to do some things. Why can't I just tell his mom we are going to do something? I am her mom therefore her boss!"
"That’s so cute. Reminds me of when my younger niece realized that her half sister (who does not live with her) was her sister too. Just like my older niece is her sister. She was amazed. She told me “I saw daddy and Kay yesterday. We had so much fun. Did you know that Kay is my sister?!”"
"My nephew still doesn't understand that his uncle is my brother, and his mom is my sister. He'll go back and forth on it constantly. "But uncle is MOMS brother!" Yes, and just like how you have a sister, uncle and I also share a sister - your MOM.
"Additionally, my niece used to gently grab my mom's arm any time I called her mom and would go "no aunty, that's MY Gramma." Yes, I know, but she is still MY mother. "That's mommy's mom, she's my grandma. Not yours." Hunny that is because she is my mother. Your mom and I share a mother. "She is mommy's mom. Not yours." Oh you dear thing. That's not how it works."
"They're lucky they're cute lol"
"That Men's Wearhouse is a pun."
"Holy sh*t, I didn't even notice it was spelled Wearhouse cuz my mind filled in the rest."
"Also the Beatles, I recently realized"
"I'm ashamed. All my life. All my life, sitting right there in front of me...."they must've thought beetles would make a cool name because the bugs are cool. That's so RaNDOmm. HuRr""
I'd Like Some "Pepsi"
"Growing up, my grandparents religiously had a 3:00 PM “Pepsi” time. Like Tea Time, I guess, but with Pepsi. Every time we were over there, it happened. We all enjoyed a crisp, fizzy, cold Pepsi."
"At 43 years old, I was telling that story this week, when I suddenly realized theirs were most likely spiked."
There's A Difference?
"When getting an eye exam you are asked which looks better 1, or 2. If they are identical or too close to call, you have a 3rd option. The same. They never told me that."
"Every time I’ve gotten an eye exam, I’ve felt like I’m failing a test I studied for everyday lol"
Not Too Long Then
"Driving through South Dakota with my family and I was so amazed by the vast fields of livestock. I turned to my husband and asked him how long it must take for the farmer to round up all the cows each night and get them into the barns. My husband laughed so hard."
"Apparently cows don’t sleep in barns at night!"
Ohhh, That's Why!
"Soft drinks are called soft drinks bc they don’t contain alcohol. Hard drinks do."
"I used to think soft drinks only meant carbonated drinks because they felt soft and fizzy on your tongue. Then I saw it on a canister of Kool Aid and it clicked."
"Have been bartending for 16 years and learned this right now"
Named For Us
"Will smith and Jada smith named their kids after themselves. Jadan smith and Willow smith. Why I never put that together is beyond me"
"Will Smith's first son from his previous marriage was Willard too, although I think it's a family name."
"That Alucard from Castlevania just means Dracula backwards..."
"Felt so dumb for not seeing the extremely obvious"
"Let me tell you a story about Ekans and Arbok."
"Pipe cleaners aren’t just for arts and crafts."
"They’re also for cleaning pipes."
"I'm 35 and oh so ashamed of myself."
"When I was a kid I always wondered why they called them pipe cleaners because the only pipes I’d ever seen were waayyyy bigger than them (household drain pipes etc) and thought it was stupid to make them so small. I was in my 30s when I found out they were for tobacco pipes."
"Limu the Emu is named Limu because of Liberty Mutual, not because it rhymes with Emu"
Using A Screwdriver
"Lefty loosey, Righty tighty."
I actually learned a lot from this list, and boy do I feel silly!
Medical Horror Stories
We all like to rant and rave about our workplace annoyances—but what about workers in medical professions?
These poor souls face terrifying, heartbreaking—and mostly just plain disgusting—experiences, and they have to attend to them STAT. These Reddit stories, however, come with a warning: only the brave, and those with stomachs of steel, should read on.
1. She Was Lying In Waitwoman in red shirt wearing blue gogglesPhoto by MedicAlert UK on Unsplash
I got a fast bleep one night to a side room on the ward. A fast bleep means “drop everything you’re doing and attend to this emergency please.” When I entered the room, I found no patient in the bed. Not anywhere in the room. I was just about to leave the room and go back out to the nurses station, where there had been a bit of a hubbub when I’d dashed past the first time, when something caught my eye.
I looked up at the ceiling—and couldn’t stop myself from screaming. It was a face with wide, slightly wild “psych eyes” peering down at me. She was a lady waiting for a bed in the psych hospital who’d clearly thought the ceiling was the best place to hide from the people trying to poison her. Honestly, I can’t think of another occasion that I’ve been quite so terrified.
Worst thing was that I had to walk—well, dash—back out underneath her to get help from the nurses and security to get her down.
2. This Is Why We Have Two
While I was in training at an army hospital, the doctors would provide free medical attention to civilians that couldn’t afford it on their own. One story was about a woman in her seventies who came in complaining about a problem with her anus. And that’s not even the bizarre part. When the doctors went to roll her onto her side, one of the guys grabbed her arm, and it just flopped freely like it was just hanging on by skin.
They freaked out and asked her if she was okay and if her arm hurt. She said that it was no big deal, and that it was just her bad arm. As it turns out, when she was 16 years old, she fell down and completely dislocated her shoulder. They didn’t have access to medical attention, so she just lived with it like that for over 50 years.
She just conceded that she would never use that arm. He said that it could have been reset very easily without surgery, if they would have taken care of it when it happened. This story makes me so sad every time I think of it.
3. Right Angle? Wrong Angleman riding on gray road bicycle during daytimePhoto by Beau Runsten on Unsplash
One of my students was a nurse. She was a really pretty girl, about 30 years old, and quite conservative. So when I asked her about horrible things she’d seen on the job, I thought she would share a pretty tame story—especially considering there were three other students in the class, two of them 22. I couldn’t have been more wrong. She started by telling me that a guy came into the hospital and he was “swollen” down there.
Was his scrotum inflamed, I asked? “No, no, not swollen,” she said. “My mistake. More like…” and here she made a hand gesture which I will never forget. First, the hand raised, perfectly straight, as if to initiate a karate chop. Next, the hand folded in the middle. 90-degree angle. At this moment I began making horrified expressions and the other students, all women, began laughing hysterically.
The best part? His mistress did it to him, not his wife. He ended up telling his wife that he had been riding a bicycle after work and had fallen off and done this horrible thing to himself. His wife, crying and agonized, pleaded with the doctors to save her poor man’s little man. However, he told the real story to the stone-faced doctors and nurses, who proceeded to inform the wife of the truth.
4. Location, Location, Location
I work at a hospital, and one day I got a script for a dewormer with a ridiculously high dose. Higher than I had ever seen before. I thought for sure it was a mistake, so I called the doctor just to be sure. He said that it was no mistake, and then told me what was up. I must say, this is the most disturbing thing I can remember in recent history.
It turned out the patient was someone with Cysticercosis, which is a tapeworm infection. While this isn’t that unusual, what was unusual was the location. The tapeworm infection was in her brain. The doctor and I both agreed there was very little chance of it working, but he said there were absolutely no other alternatives.
5. I’d Like To Lodge A Complaintperson in blue gloves and blue denim jeansPhoto by Clay Banks on Unsplash
I’m a student psychiatric nurse. While on a ward for the elderly suffering from dementia, I had one experience I will never forget. I was helping a client eat, when I got a call from one of the rooms in the corridor. The client I was helping was pretty much done, so I went to investigate, hoping that it wasn’t a fall as the call was from a room belonging to a very unsteady lady. Oh god, how I wish it were just a fall.
The lady who called—let’s call her Betty—was in the corridor outside her room. The first thing I noticed were her hands. They were covered in what could only be excrement. I asked her if she’d had some trouble in the bathroom. Hey, it happens, sometimes when you’re older you may be a bit shaky or confused, and I’m not one to judge the unwell.
So, I move into her bedroom to help her clean up: that’s when the smell hits me. For a second I just stare and try to take in what has happened. What follows is how my brain tried to process what I saw. There were traces of excrement everywhere: on the walls, on the wardrobe, on her clean clothes, on her bed, on the door. I think: that’s okay, we can clean this. But there was something strange.
The thing is, I can’t see any major, er, “movement,” from which it would have come. Then I notice there’s something on the floor. As if someone had defecated on the floor and…picked it up? Yes, there’s slide marks from someone obviously moving…Oh my god. She has taken a dump on her dinner plate. I saw, on her bedside table, a plate piled high with excrement.
And I just stood there. I stared for what felt like an eternity—more like five seconds in reality. Eventually, I called someone to give me a hand. Perhaps it was a political statement about the state of the food in the hospital, I don’t know. Regardless, I now have the best dinner table story.
6. This Dora Over-Explored
I was seeing a three-year-old little boy in the clinic. His mom noted that for the past week she had noticed a foul smell around this kid’s face when she kissed him, brushed his teeth, or got anywhere near his mouth. I examined him a little closer and saw that his right nostril was clogged with something whitish, but obscured by mucus.
I pulled out the alligator forceps and recruited two nurses to hold this kid down—he was actually quite strong. I eventually pulled a wadded-up sticker out of his nose. It was soggy and coated in green slime, but the smell was the worst, just putrid. His mom then told us that she’d recently bought him a set of Dora the Explorer stickers at least a month ago and some were missing. Mystery solved.
7. I’m Still Standing
On a night shift in a psychiatric ward, a patient somehow got out his window and jumped from the second floor. We all ran out and were surprised to find him still standing on the lawn outside. It was an incredible miracle. Mind you, he was screaming his throat out, but he was still standing upright for some inexplicable reason.
As we got closer to him, we realized why he was standing. He’d snapped both his legs straight off in the fall. This caused his splintered shins to impale the soil. It was kind of like a couple of organic javelins. Even years later, I still shudder when thinking about the blood, the creaking of the bones, and the screaming.
8. He Was Missing A Headman in red shirt driving carPhoto by Mat Napo on Unsplash
EMTs got called to the scene of a bicyclist that got hit by a bus. Upon arrival they found him without vital signs at the scene. This was no surprise, as he’d been decapitated. The EMTs searched for his head, but couldn’t find it anywhere. Eventually, they gave up and took the body to the hospital. The doctors there X-rayed the guy and were shocked. The mystery of the missing head had been solved.
The head had been pushed straight into his chest cavity and was sitting where his lungs and heart were.
9. It Broke Her Heart
I’m in veterinary medicine, and kids are what get me the most. Don’t get me wrong, adults can be big babies too, but I guess I just feel terrible for the kids because I got to keep all my beloved childhood pets until I was at least well into my teens. The worst one was when I was a receptionist. We had a puppy with a parvo infection dropped off that was already in bad shape. In addition, the family was dirt poor.
It was a cute little lemon beagle. When the owner came in to pick the dog up and heard that even with the best, most expensive supportive care, this puppy might not make it, she opted to just take him home for the short time he had left. There was a little four or five-year-old girl waiting in the waiting room, and when mom came out with the beagle she lit up, ran over, smiling.
She thought the puppy was okay and she’d have it for a long time. The look that went over the mom’s face absolutely destroyed me. Horrible.
10. His T-Shirt Predicted Itman sitting on the motorcyclePhoto by Harley-Davidson on Unsplash
I’m a respiratory therapist in a Level One Trauma Center. One time we had a man come in with an open leg fracture. There was a literal bone, the femur, pointing up and the rest of the leg hanging off and partially resting on the bed. He had been in a motorcycle accident with his wife, who had been riding on the back. The wife didn’t survive the accident.
The worst part of the story was that he was wearing one of those biker shirts that read: “If you can read this, the wife fell off”. Pretty horrible stuff.
11. They Just Fell Off
I’m a medical student. I was in the ER one shift and a rather obese man was brought in by his family, who said he’d been very confused lately. I went to go see the patients while the lab results from a standard blood count and chemistry were being processed by the lab. Being a medical student, I didn’t have a clue what was wrong with the guy.
After rapidly exhausting my line of questioning on an incoherent patient, I started doing a physical exam. As I removed his socks to check his pedal pulses and reflexes, I noticed that the sock I just pulled off felt like they had rocks in them. Big rocks. Curious, I emptied out the sock onto the bed, only to see that they were his toes. Three of them. It was the most disturbing sight I’ve ever seen.
The lab results came back, unsurprisingly, with a screamingly high blood glucose—totally off the charts. We figured out what happened. He’d had severe diabetic neuropathy and chronic, extreme hyperglycemia. Because of this, he couldn’t feel his toes become ischemic and was too confused to regularly check them, so they had just fallen off.
12. This Coffee Tastes FunnyStableDiffusion
One time, in the Intensive Care Unit, a patient was coughing up loads of sputum and, between changing the apparatus to catch it, the nurses caught some of it in the only thing they had handy: a Styrofoam cup. After a few moments, when the craziness was over and everyone went back to their day. One nurse, mistaking the cup of sputum for a cup of coffee, took a drink.
13. Teenagers Bad, Aunt Good
I’m currently a vet tech, but heading to nursing school soon. Once I had a 75 kg (160 lb) mastiff/St. Bernard mix brought in for a supposed tapeworm problem. One of the female techs lifts his tail to take his temperature and squeals then runs away. I look and see maggots around his tail. I start to shave and see that his skin is full—and I mean full—of little holes that maggots are crawling into and out of.
I keep shaving his very thick fur and reveal more and more skin that looks this way. I shave the entire dog up to his last rib before I found healthy skin. The maggots are everywhere. I have him on a grate above a bathtub so I can spray the maggots off. I spent four hours shaving and cleaning him and removed no less than two gallons of maggots from this dog’s skin. We know there were more because his entire gut was infected with them.
Later we found out what had happened. It turns out that the owners of the dog were in Europe on vacation, and their four teenage children were responsible for the dog. The wife’s sister was watching the children but was terrified of dogs, so she didn’t handle it directly. They were leaving this rather large dog with super-dense fur in the rain during a Charleston spring, which means it’s hot and muggy.
The dog probably got a small area of moist dermatitis that got infected and was left untreated and slowly spread through half the dog’s body. All four children were present when the veterinarian told them what happened and said that there wasn’t anything we could do but euthanize. Not one of them showed the slightest bit of remorse or acted as if they cared.
Only the aunt, who is terrified of dogs, remained with the dog as we gave the injection. She cradled the dog’s head in her lap and wept because of how the dog must have felt. He was so good during the entire ordeal and wanted nothing more than for someone to pet his head.
That is the only time I ever cried because of my job.
14. It Just Spilled Outman in blue topPhoto by Payam Tahery on Unsplash
Pharmacy guy here, but I work with anesthesia during surgeries at night and the worst surprise I had was on a simple operation. An obese woman was having a boil on her arm lanced and drained…simple enough…but the minute the tiny incision began there was this popping sound. To our shock, the skin from elbow to shoulder split wide open. Black goo and puss then seeped out from where she had developed compartment syndrome. It was all over the table.
There’s just not enough peppermint gauze in the world to cover up someone’s necrotic flesh smell.
15. Thank You For Sharing
I’m not a doctor or a nurse, but I work in a pharmacy and have heard some pretty awful things. Some people have no shame. One morning, our pharmacist got a call from a long-time customer who wasn’t quite right in the head. She had gotten an upper gastrointestinal done and was prescribed pills to stimulate her bowels to get the radiation out of her body.
She proceeded to explain to our pharmacist loudly—the pharmacist put her on speakerphone so we could all enjoy—that she had been up all night on the toilet. And then it suddenly stopped, and it wouldn’t come out. And, she added, it hurt. So, out of all the things she could use, she grabbed a metal nail file and made “it” come out.
Well, at that point she was bleeding quite a bit, so she decided to stick a tampon up there and call it good. She was not seeking any medical advice, because—according to her—she was just fine. She just wanted to share this story.
16. There Was A Direct Link
A patient came in one day with a dire sore throat. Midway through the examination the patient started violently gagging, opened his mouth and vomited what seemed like every single pint of blood out of his body. It turns out that the patient had a condition in which the esophagus rubs against the nearby artery and, if left unchecked, the membrane will fuse together opening a direct link between mouth and heart.
17. It Went Nuts
A pleasant middle-aged lady was gardening one day when her dog went nuts and went for her in the yard. The ordeal apparently went on for quite some time until finally a neighbor heard, came over, and shot the dog to get it off her. I would have sworn no dog could do what that dog did, it looked like I would imagine a tiger attack.
The worst part was her arms and hands, which she had been using to ward off the dog. She lost both hands. It was, quite simply, horrific.
18. There Was A Boy There
A couple weeks ago an old man, around 90, was brought into the hospital by ambulance, which he’d called for himself. I was reading through his background notes and noticed that he lives alone as many older ones do. It turns out this guy had stopped taking his medication for his dementia because he forgot about it. He then also began to get dehydrated and confused as he also forgot to drink water or eat meals. But here’s where the story gets freaky.
The old man said there was a boy living with him that week, and he was staying in his room with him. He said he didn’t mind because he just sat there on the bed and didn’t say anything. After about the third day of this boy staying with him, the old man began to get worried because the boy had not eaten or had anything to drink. So, the man dialed for an ambulance saying he was afraid the boy was going to collapse.
The ambulance staff turned up and the guy toured them around the house for 20 minutes trying to find the boy. They see his meds are untouched and take him away to hospital for treatment. Poor guy, but his caring for his imaginary friend may have saved his life!
19. Zombie Pirate
I’m an activities director for an elderly home. One morning, I was delivering morning newspapers, when I heard a lady call from down the hall of resident apartments. She asked me, as sweet as could be, if any nurses were here yet. Before I looked up I said I wasn’t sure but I could take a peek for her. Then I looked up.
The woman was holding onto a support beam that we have on the walls like a ballet bar but sturdier. Her left foot is attached only by ligaments and is dragging behind her. She is literally walking on her exposed bone. I tried my darndest not to react and scare her. I gingerly helped her sit on the floor, before running for emergency services and my boss.
I guess at some point in the night she had fallen out of bed and didn’t think it was serious enough to bother a caregiver or someone about. She slept on the pad on the floor that is there in case anyone falls out of bed. Then, when morning came, and she heard me in the hall, she dragged herself up and asked for help.
I feel like a terrible person, but when I calmed down I had to admit for half a second I thought she was a zombie pirate.
20. A Living Anatomy Lessonperson in blue denim jeans with gray and black metal padlockPhoto by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash
I was working in a hospital in Nepal for a month. A lot of people ride motorcycles there for transportation, and they also have minimal road laws and enforcement. As a result, they see motorcycle accidents at a much higher prevalence. Anyways, during one of my shifts in the ER a man was brought in with bloody sheets covering his whole lower half.
I gathered from the family that he had been in a motorcycle accident. I lifted the sheets up expecting to see a partial amputation or a crush wound, only to see what the doctors would later describe to me as a “degloving”. This is a fairly common injury in Kathmandu. Essentially his leg had got caught in a rotating tire. The torque of the tire and the friction it caused with his skin ripped his skin off and sent it hurling away. The rest of the leg was intact, just without the skin.
His leg was essentially a living anatomy lesson—till they amputated it.
21. She Couldn’t Speak
I’m a medical student and the most distressing thing I’ve seen is a lady who had multiple strokes within days. These strokes left her with many neurological deficits. She had the classic hemiplegic stroke leaving her unable to move her entire right side. She had lost all sensation in her arm as well. The lady was also in constant pain.
The worst part is, she then had another stroke which made her lose her voice. She couldn’t even tell anyone for two days that she was in so much pain.
22. Oh, That’s Where I Left Itman in white thobe standingPhoto by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash
An obese lady came into the hospital and was complaining about a pain that she had in her lower stomach. We asked her where, and she gestured toward the area just above her crotch. We pulled up her shirt, and the pain was coming from below one of her folds of skin. When we started lifting the folds, we found a 20 cm (8 in) splinter stuck inside of one of the folds.
Not only was this piece of wood long, but it was wide too. The end was splintered on it, and that was the pain she was feeling. So, we carefully removed the thing and showed it to her. What she said next floored us. “Oh that’s my plank! I use my plank to hold up my stomach so my husband and I can make love. It must have broken.”
23. He Wasn’t Licking His Own Wounds
I’m a social care worker and care for people in the comfort of their own homes. I went to a job about a month ago and was told in the description that he had a few bed sores. When me and my colleague rolled the service user over, the sores were about double the size of a tennis ball. Also, you could see all the way into his hip bone each side.
The sores were really fresh and still weeping. All I could smell in the air was rotting flesh, not only all this, but I turned up a week later to do my shift again to find the dog had got on his bed and was licking his wound! Poor bloke couldn’t even move his arms. I blame the district nurses for neglecting him for so long.
24. Driving With The Top Offred vehicle in timelapse photographyPhoto by camilo jimenez on Unsplash
A man got in a freak accident driving a convertible. The top of his skull got completely cut off, exposing his somehow unharmed brain. When he arrived unconscious at the hospital, he was being treated by a mass of nurses and/or doctors. As he was lying on his back on the operation table, he started throwing up. Now, I’m sure all of you know how gravity works, but I’ll explain what happened just in case.
He was lying on his back: face up. His brain was exposed. He started throwing up. The vomit traveled in trajectory landing on his brain. In short, he was vomiting on his own brain.
25. I Heard Everything
A few years ago I was visiting a friend in the ER. He’d had some minor heart trouble and was resting in one of the rooms, which he shared with an elderly woman. Shortly after I got there, a nurse came in with a bedpan and pulled the curtain dividing the room in half. I wish the flimsy curtain had blocked out the sound of the old woman’s mostly liquid bowel movement, or at least the nurse’s comment.
“I know that feels like a bowel movement, but it’s mostly blood.”
26. Car Crash Changes Lifeblack steering wheel in carPhoto by Marek Piwnicki on Unsplash
I’m neither a doctor or a nurse, but at one time I was aspiring to go to med school. I loved biology and anatomy and had received the Boy Scout first aid merit badge and CPR certification. I was convinced that my calling was to heal people, and I was leaning toward becoming a surgeon. This changed after I came across a car-car-truck-motorcycle collision on a highway.
The accident was a long ways away from the closest city, so no emergency services had gotten there yet. Bodies were littered everywhere. Mostly the bodies were still. Some, as I later found out from a newspaper article, were already deceased. One woman will haunt me more than the others. She was being held down by three other motorists.
She was screaming and struggling to get away from them and stand up, which wouldn’t have been too successful if they let her, as she was missing most of one of her legs. As much as I thought I was waiting for this kind of situation to prove my medical knowledge, I just couldn’t handle getting involved. Some people helped, some people did a U-turn to avoid the accident.
I did the latter while weeping in shame and frustration. As a result, I ended up majoring in computer science.
27. It Was The Size Of A Grapefruit
I’m not a doctor, but I worked at a hospital in the histology lab. I saw some slightly disgusting things (amputated leg of a morbidly obese person with clogged arteries, that the manager used as an anatomy lesson), but nothing rivaled the teratoma. Oh god, the teratoma. For those who don’t know what it is, it’s a type of malignant tumor that accumulates genetic material from many different parts of the body, leading to some pretty nasty surprises.
So, I was working, filing slides and whatnot, and in came an entire ovary with the teratoma. For reference, the teratoma was the size of a grapefruit. The ovaries gave the impression of a pale small stocking. So yes, it looked like someone had attached a small pale stocking to a pale grapefruit. That should have been a warning as to what would follow next.
My lab manager went up to operate on it, and as soon as he made a scalpel incision into the teratoma, it literally exploded. There was literally fluid everywhere. He had to change everything: the scalpel blade, the tabletop mat, even his gown. He later drained everything into the sink, which took a total of about five minutes.
After opening it up, we saw that it had to have been containing some sort of secretory gland, as there was this grayish stuff lining the inside of the teratoma—complete with strands of hair. He went further, and found a round bony core at the center of the teratoma. We had to bring out a bonesaw to cut through it, while my lab manager told me about the times he’s cut open teratomas and found fully developed eyeballs at the center.
Eventually, we cut through the dense core, and found a fully developed incisor tooth at the center. I was thoroughly disgusted by all that we had seen.
28. Maybe Someone Needs To Define “Lucky”a person in a hospital bed with an ivPhoto by Olga Kononenko on Unsplash
I worked at a hospital for a few years. One night there was a five-year-old kid who came into the emergency room who had apparently been playing with one of those yard marker flags. Well he was running and tripped, and the metal pin went into his mouth and punctured all the way through the back of his throat and out the back side of his neck.
When the kid came in, we had to literally tie his hand together, so he wouldn’t move the wire and possibly cause nerve damage. We ran all the tests and realized that this little kid was so lucky. You see, he had narrowly missed his spinal column. Basically, this meant that we were able to sedate him and just pull the wire out.
29. It Feels A Little Dry Down There
A girl comes to the hospital, and she’s complaining that she’s unusually smelly “down there”. The doctor takes a look, and sure enough there is something not right there. Upon further inspection, the doctor notices that there is an object deep inside her. The doctor asks her if she knows why there is something stuck inside her. And also if she knows what it might be.
The patient says that she knows what’s up there. It’s the cap to her deodorant. The doctor doesn’t even ask why the cap is up there, but just tells the woman that he’s going to take it out. It was her answer that shocked both the doctor and me. She said: “No please don’t touch that. I’m keeping it there as a contraceptive”.
30. I Had To Pick Them Upyellow round fruit on pink surfacePhoto by Allec Gomes on Unsplash
I’m a nuclear medicine technician and last week I was performing a Lung V/Q scan on a man who had congestive heart failure. Due to the buildup of fluid caused by congestive heart failure, each testicle was literally the size of a grapefruit. The reason I know this is because I had to pick them up and set them on a pillow—because them sitting on the table was too painful.
31. He Was Big But Also Small
I wasn’t a doctor or a nurse, but I worked as a patient transporter for almost five years. One of the responsibilities of the job was taking deceased patients down to the morgue. One evening, I was called to the ER to take an expired patient to the morgue. Another transporter and I entered the room to find something very strange.
The patient was extremely obese, yet also extremely short. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I would guess he was about 120 cm (4 ft) tall and 155 kilograms (350 lbs) which left him almost as wide as he was tall. There were pockets of air under his skin. I am guessing his tiny lungs collapsed under all the weight.
We couldn’t fit him onto our morgue cart, so we ended up having to cover the body under blankets and take his bed all the way to the morgue, escorted by security. The problem was that the weight distribution/balance on the bed was so different that we had a hard time steering in the hallways.
32. He Couldn’t Control Himself
I once did a wet-to-dry dressing, then placed a wound vac on a man that got flesh-eating disease on his thigh. In an emergency surgery he had received a fasciotomy from just above his knee to his hip and groin. It was rough at first but kinda like the body world exhibit so fairly manageable. I was able to dehumanize this portion of his leg.
That was when he lifted his leg up, so I could get to the underside. To my horror I saw that the thigh meat hung like an old person’s tricep. At about the same time, the man was overcome with uncontrollable gas. So what had previously been more like an exhibit in Vegas, had just become a man who has been skinned from balls to knee and is now farting all over me.
If you’re having trouble imagining this, look down at your thigh and just imagine no skin. No fat. Just muscle, tendon, and a light layer of blood. No, it’s not disgusting like some of the stuff I have read about, but there was just no way to compartmentalize that thigh. I was sweating profusely as I made my way through the long process. I kept my voice together and chatted with the guy, who was way cool, and got the job done.
Based on my limited experiences that was the worst thing I have seen yet on the job.
33. He Kept A Chunkperson in blue long sleeve shirt holding black and white trayPhoto by Quang Tri NGUYEN on Unsplash
So, my dad’s a dentist, and one night we get a call at home from the local ER asking if my father is willing to come in and deal with a patient because…well…they have no idea what to do with this woman. My dad is a rather stand-up guy, so he goes and opens his practice to treat this woman. I go along with him and help set up the room.
An ambulance pulls up and wheels this elderly woman into the clinic. From the get-go, the first thing that hits us is the smell. Her face is bandaged up pretty well, and we can see blood seeping through the gauze and all down her shirt. We both put on the double gloves, and double masks and my dad dives in. He discovers that she has something penetrating her lip. It’s mustard yellow, and has the consistency of rock candy.
My dad plays with it a little bit, and a large chunk breaks off. What’s attached is four of this woman’s teeth or rather, the decayed remains of her teeth. Apparently, this 78-year-old woman had never brushed her teeth a day in her life. What had penetrated her lip was an obelisk of plaque. My dad continued to clean away what he could, but the plaque buildup was so massive that she had literally rotten away all of her teeth and most of her gums. One spot was abscessed clear down to her jawbone.
To this day dad keeps the chunk in a jar in his office, and scares little children into brushing their teeth everyday.
34. He Can’t Forget
I’m an MD here. While in residency I was rotating through two months in general/vascular surgery, where amputations were very common. I was assisting with a bilateral below-knee amputation on a poorly controlled type 1 diabetic. Basically we were severing both legs a little below the knee. The patient had terrible circulation and hardly bled during the procedure.
The staff surgeon commented that we’d likely have to perform another amputation higher up in the future as the poor circulation would not allow healing. After the surgery, the patient promptly had a massive heart attack and was sent for stenting and a trip to the ICU. Several days later we were following up as the wounds were not healing well as predicted.
In an attempt to examine the amputation sites, myself and the surgeon began to unwrap each bandage. As we lifted the upper leg to make this easier, the 10 cm (4 in) of lower limb below the knee on each leg clearly began to separate from the leg above it as each side was mostly gangrenous, lifeless tissue. I’ll never forget the sound and smell.
35. Scouring Pads Are For The Kitchen Onlya room filled with lots of shelves filled with boxes and boxesPhoto by Árpád Czapp on Unsplash
I work in a community pharmacy, so I don’t see the most disgusting stuff, but I do see the general public’s stupidity now and then. A regular came in one day. He had been complaining of anal itch, a bit of blood in his stool, and painful defecation—all of which had lasted for a long time. I told him it was likely hemorrhoids that were bad enough he shouldn’t self-treat it, but should have it looked at ASAP.
I guess he didn’t listen to my advice. He came back a week later and was asking for 90 or 99% isopropyl alcohol. I decided to ask why he needed it. It turned out, to deal with his anal itch/hemorrhoids, he was using a wire scouring pad to his entire anus. He was worried it might be infected so he wanted to kill off the germs with 90% isopropyl. I just pray I kept the horror off my face.
He then went on to say that the Crown Royal he was using was too painful and not working, so he needed stronger stuff. I told him NOPE!! NOPE!! As he walked away, I noticed the back of his sweat pants were stained with what looked like blood/pus/excrement. I called him back and told him to wait while I called an ambulance.
I later found out he had the beginnings of cellulitis, which is an early form of a bad skin infection that can progress to flesh-eating disease, on his anus/bum skin and a bacterial infection of the blood was beginning.
36. There Were Two Snakes On That Picnic
There was a couple who were having a romantic picnic out in a field and things got a little…hot and heavy. So, while they were occupied, they failed to notice a large red-belly black snake (rarely fatal, but intimidating-looking thing) coming closer. Well, this snake isn’t without a sense of humor and decides to go for a strike. But wait! Where do you think it bit him?
Yep, right on the poor guy’s shaft. So the guy and his girlfriend run all the way into the emergency ward. He’s got his junk in his hand, and both of them are naturally freaking out. The nurses treated him quickly and, thankfully, all was fine. I’ll tell you one thing: there wasn’t a straight face in the whole hospital for a week after.
37. He Was The Creepiest Creep
I won’t say it’s the worst thing I have ever seen on the job, but when I was a medical assistant, I assisted my boss, a doctor, in an autopsy. He was looking for the cause of a patient’s passing because another doctor made a diagnosis my boss wasn’t comfortable with. The entire procedure was quite a shocker at first seeing the woman I had known as a patient lying there completely opened up.
To start with, there wasn’t any blood, because she had already been drained. Also, she was morbidly obese and the amount of fat under her skin was amazing to see. When my boss began exploring her intestines, he tied off the ends. You can imagine what it would have smelled like if he hadn’t. He took samples and placed them in plastic containers.
I think the worst part for me was having to look at the mortician who was there working on other people. I swear, he was the creepiest dude I’d ever seen in person. He was very nice, but he reminded me of leather face from that horror movie. He had very bad acne scars, dark, dark eyes, dark hair, and was wearing a thick, white rubber apron with blood all over it. Gawd!!!!
Another thing that freaked me out was when I asked him who the person was covered up close by and he told me. It was my dentist! I didn’t even know he was deceased!
38. It Was Movinga black and white photo of various mri imagesPhoto by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
This story is creepy: about a dude I saw on neurology when I was an intern. He was from Southeast Asia with altered mental status and abdominal pain, and altered liver function tests. The pictures of his belly on plain films, CT scan, and MRI showed a mass, but the mass kept looking blurry and like it was changing shape and size.
We sent him for an ultrasound and the tech nearly had a heart attack, because the “tumor” was moving. Turns out the guy had picked up some nasty parasite on his last trip back to visit the family. We finally saw the 8 cm (3 in) worm moving and swimming around inside its little ball of goo on the recording of the exam. The whole team almost blew chunks that morning.
39. Tires Would Have Saved Him
I’m not a doctor, but I’m a firefighter so I see my fair share of trauma. About a year ago, we responded to a call that went out as an “individual who had a car fall on his face”. He was hotboxing in his garage while working underneath his car that was supported by scissor jacks. Something to note, the car didn’t have any tires on the front end where he was working.
One of the scissor jacks had slipped out from underneath the car, and the whole weight of the car landed directly onto the side of his head with no tires to stop the fall. We got our rubber airbags out, lifted the car, pulled him out, and got him onto a stretcher. After taking over a thousand kg (2,500 lbs) of weight to the head, he somehow got out of it with only a fractured orbital and a laceration on his cheek.
40. He Couldn’t Stop Itred round fruits on white and blue surfacePhoto by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
The first year of my core surgical training, I was on call in a very small rural hospital. This hospital only had two doctors on at night, me and a medical trainee, and no emergency doctors.
It was about 11 pm and this guy, about 26 years old, came in after being in a fight. Blood was pumping from his nose, which was clearly fractured.
I suspected he probably had other facial fractures underneath, but he was awake and talking to me. Otherwise he seemed fine. I spent about 45 minutes trying to stop the blood, using all sorts of nose packs, pressure, and even tried a catheter balloon to try and tamponade it. Nothing was working, and he was starting to go into shock. I was getting really scared at this point.
Based on his vitals I’d estimated he’d lost almost 1.5 liters (50 oz) of blood so far. The nearest proper surgical hospital was 45 minutes away, and my consultant was at home, which was 25 minutes from the hospital. Eventually, I got four bags of O neg from the lab (the lab tech happened to be in, which was very lucky), put this guy in the back of an ambulance, still bleeding, and sent him blue lighting to the surgical center in the city.
I got a phone call about three hours later from a surgeon at the other hospital, saying he had brought the patient to the theater and was able to control the situation. He was probably 15 minutes from dying. If you come into that kind of small hospital with that much bleeding, all stats say you’re in trouble. The guy was very lucky his friends got him in so quickly.
41. He Carried Him In
I was a junior doc on the trauma team. One day the doors to the emergency ward fly open to reveal a man carrying a second blood-soaked man in his arms. We get him onto a stretcher and it is clear he has been shot in his chest and has gone into cardiac arrest. Chest compressions start, and within minutes the senior doctor is cutting into the guy’s chest in order to start cardiac massage.
Cardiothoracics join us quickly and get to work on the heart, where a hole in the right ventricle is identified and plugged with a Foley catheter. All the while, bag after bag of O Neg is being pushed into the patient in an attempt to replace everything that had pumped out of his heart and into his chest cavity.
After 15-20 minutes of this the impossible happens: the heart starts beating on its own. The patient is taken directly to the theater, where the hole is definitively repaired and bilateral chest drains are inserted to drain the blood filling his lungs. Somehow his heart continued beating and after a couple weeks on ITU, the patient is returned to the trauma ward awake and alert.
Several weeks, some mild hypoxic brain injury, and a gnarly chest scar later, and he walks off the ward with his dad, the man who carried him in.
42. They Used Her As A Case Studyblack car headrestPhoto by Alexandria Gilliott on Unsplash
I’m a researcher rather than a doctor, but during my undergrad my anatomy tutor told us of an interesting case study. A woman in the same department had been in a car accident going at a considerable speed. The seat belt failed to lock, and her face flew into the steering wheel. Her mouth, nose, cheekbones and forehead were shattered, yet she suffered no brain damage.
Apparently, the front of her face acted as a crumple zone, and the fact that her skull shattered meant the cranial swelling didn’t cause any damage because the brain had more space to swell into. Of course, she needed significant reconstructive surgery, but a year later she and my tutor teamed up in a research project.
They used her case as the basis for looking into new ways to treat severe head injuries and developed new treatment protocols depending on where the skull had taken damage. They basically found out that, if you’re going to have a head injury, try and get hit in the face and not the temples because you’re much more likely to survive.
43. He Just Had To Squeeze By
I worked in the kitchen, so I was the lowly peon delivering food trays. I delivered to one guy who had a horrendously infected foot. Most of the toes were necrotic and black, and the rest of the foot wasn’t doing much better. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was waiting for an amputation. His dietary requirements were diabetic, so it was likely. The room smelled awful.
Anyway, these rooms are small, with typically two beds in them. Because of the smell from his infection, the other bed is empty. I still have to squeeze by the foot of his bed, and as I’m paying attention to the tray, so I don’t knock it into equipment, I accidentally brush my leg against his infected foot that he has sticking out of the covers and hanging off the bed.
To my horror, his big toenail—with bonus flesh—comes off onto my leg. It’s just stuck to my leg. We look at each other in horror. I clear my throat, ask my usual questions, clear and adjust his table, give him his tray and wish him a good day. I leave calmly, and then run to the nurse’s station and ask for help getting this dude’s entire necrotic toenail off my leg.
The nurse who got it off soaked that portion of my pant leg in some disinfectant liquid that smelled like it could take the paint off a car.
44. Don’t Be A Babywoman in red dress holding white penPhoto by Nylos on Unsplash
A woman came into the emergency room with complaints of abdominal pain. She wouldn’t stop screaming: “My baby’s gone! My baby’s gone!” There was one really weird thing though: her record showed absolutely nothing about even being pregnant. After having her change into a gown, the most ungodly stench filled the room.
My doctor began a pelvic exam, with me as a standby. I will never forget his face as he removed a pinkish-brown clotted mass: it was a huge chicken leg. It turns out that what she was calling her ‘baby’ was actually an uncooked chicken she had chopped up and inserted into her hoo-ha. She may not have lost a baby, but she did gain a chicken.
45. Our Jaded Jaws Dropped
I was working at an emergency room in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida. This is a resort area, with pristine white beaches, sport fishing—you know the drill. I was taking a body down to the morgue with another medic, and the shift supervisor, who had the drawer assignment and paperwork responsibility. We pulled open the huge metal drawer, expecting there to be nothing—or maybe a body—and saw something that made our very jaded jaws drop.
Inside the drawer, there was a monstrously large sailfish. This thing was so huge that it could hardly fit without its body curved and sail pushed down. We stood there in surprise wondering what our procedure should be. We had no idea. The NCO said, “It would be a very good idea not to remember this. I’ll deal with it in the morning.” He then moved on to the next drawer.
Later it was rumored it belonged to one of the senior surgeons.
46. It Was The Size Of A Bagelperson wearing gold wedding bandPhoto by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
About thirteen years ago, when I was in medical school, I saw a lady who had flown in from South America to have US doctors help with her breast cancer. She was pretty well off but apparently her family had been picky and choosy about her treatment. By the time they got her to the states, the situation had turned horrific.
So what we discovered was that she had a metastatic tumor on her arm that was the size of a bagel. Also it smelled of necrotic tissue. Even worse was the fact that her chest wall was replaced by a tumor. In fact, you could actually see her rib cage. Her family got mad that we couldn’t just cut the tumor off her arm. The whole ER smelled like rotten flesh.
47. Get Back In There
There was a primary care physician, PCP, who went to some part of Africa—I don’t remember where specifically—for the Peace Corps. When he came back, he found he was always more tired than he was when he left for Africa. The cause was straight out of a nightmare. One day he felt a pulsation in his eye and went to the ER. Once there, the doctor found a small worm wriggling around in his eye.
Apparently, this kind of worm normally lives near the brain, but had somehow made its way out from there and into his eye. The emergency room doctor hadn’t seen anything like it, and so he called in another doctor to come and look at it. By the time the other doctor got there, the worm had made its way back out of the eye.
Cut to about a month later and the PCP feels the pulsation again, but instead of returning to the hospital, he decides to take care of it himself. He takes a needle and heats it up using the stove. He then puts it into his own eye in order to remove the parasite. Over the course of the next year or two, he removes—if I remember correctly—around five of the worms this way before feeling better.
48. Not Your Ordinary Blackheadperson in white and black stethoscopePhoto by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash
I was working at an old folks center near our house, and I was with this one older gentleman. On his hip, was a blackhead the size of a dime, on top of a decent-sized lump, about 5 cm (2 in) long. So, I threw on some gloves, made sure I had the permission of the man of course, and squeezed the black head. To my shock, out popped this roll of gauze that was left over from his hip surgery 10 years prior that he never bothered to get removed.
The smell was horrid and I will never forget it.
49. A Repeat Offender
So there is a homeless guy that comes to my emergency room regularly. Apparently this guy had a major surgery in the last 10 years where they removed something from his stomach, or that general area. After the surgery, he woke up and just left the hospital without letting himself heal. He proceeded with his drug habit, and his body was never able to heal properly.
The guy comes to the ER about once every week to get his intestines re-bandaged. The nurses have to rinse and sanitize the intestines and re-bandage him up every time he comes in. They simply take a large bandage and wrap it around his midsection. He has been seen many times outside the hospital holding his intestines with a plastic bag pressed to his stomach—having a smoke.
50. This Experiment Went Very Wrongperson wearing orange and white silicone bandPhoto by Jon Tyson on Unsplash
A kid, about 13 years old, and his mom came into the emergency room. The mom had dragged the kid in because he was complaining of real bad ‘digestive’ problems. The kid had convinced her he was fine, until he couldn’t hide the bleeding coming from his rear end. We take him in for X-rays—but never in a million years was I prepared for what we found. There on the X-ray, clear as day, is a 14-inch black rubber phallus.
Of course, we didn’t know it was black then, but we found out later, obviously. This thing had wedged itself up far—most likely due to his efforts to remove it. It was pushing on the walls of his intestine and had three days’ worth of excrement piled on top of it. We take him into a private room and ask if there is anything he wants to tell us before they discuss specifics with his mother.
The kid didn’t want to say anything, so we told him that whatever is up there had to be removed surgically. The kid said no, and that he just felt sick. We then asked him again, what could possibly be in his lower intestine. His response almost made me laugh out loud. He said he may have sat on a marker.
The Best Customer Service 'Gotchas'
Everyone dreams of putting those pesky Kevins and Karens in their place, especially when they decide to wreak havoc on poor customer service employees. These satisfying “gotcha” moments prove that karma really does exist.
1. Just Being Neighborly
One of my favorite stories from my brief time in customer service was when a man who called up the night after a minor hurricane started screaming that his service didn’t work. He said that he had complained multiple times and this was the last straw. Clearly our service sucked, and it was our fault his cable was out. He kept cutting me off and calling me rude names. But I had the perfect response.
Finally, I just interjected: Sir, your cable isn’t out because of an issue with our service, your cable is out because a tree branch fell across the cable line. What’s that? How do I know? Because I saw the branch fall. I’m the one who went out in the rain last night to get the branch out of the street. In fact, I know you know it’s a branch, because I could see you looking out your window at me moving the branch that fell on your property.
Not only that, but when I was done, I went inside and called into work on my day off to arrange a bucket truck to come out and rerun the cable so you could beat the rush of calls that came in all across the island due to the storm. You didn’t even have to call. A truck is already on route. Well, that shut him up.
2.Nickel and Dime-ing
I used to work for a grocery store in high school as a cashier. One busy Saturday, an older lady came through my long line with about $150 worth of groceries. Among her items was a prepackaged piece of meat from our deli department that is normally priced by weight. Her meat did not have a printed sticker on the package and I would’ve needed to find a bag boy or manager to run to the deli to get it priced.
Because we were super busy, I decided to wing it, and set it on my scale. “Looks like it’s almost a pound, so…let’s say…$2.77? Does that sound fair?” I began to ring it as a miscellaneous item. Her answer sent a shiver through my spine. “No it does NOT sound fair!” she yelled in a screeching voice. “You need to get that priced!” Groans from the line began behind her, as I found a bag boy to run to get the price sticker.
A manager came by to see what the commotion was about and the lady explained the situation. I explained why I had made the decision I made. The manager of course stuck up for the lady (which we laughed about later) and she accepted the apology. We then waited for what seemed like an eternity of eye-contact avoidance and thumb twiddling.
The bag boy came back and handed me the pork. I smirked and showed her the price. “$2.78. Huh, I would’ve saved you a penny!” The man behind her chortled. Never saw her again.
3.What a Gas
I was working at a gas station in a very rich part of town. During a nice summer day, a prime example of the douchebag variety of the human species drove his super-expensive Lamborghini in and, in that haughty, I’m-rich-so-you-must-do-what-I-say voice, demanded that it be filled with premium. Which the attendant started to do, only the guy immediately snatched the nozzle from him and screamed that “you’re too stupid to do this on your own”.
We’re in Oregon, by the way, where you can’t pump your own gas because of state fire laws. Well, being that he’s a douchebag and an idiot, gas spills out from the nozzle all over his sparkly douche-mobile. At this point, he truly flips out. He storms into the store, where I’m working as the cashier and de facto manager. He immediately demands to speak to the owner, and that we are going to pay to have his car repainted AND he’s not going to be paying for his gas.
I try my best to calm the situation, but he’s got a good rage going and doesn’t want to be calmed down. While he’s spewing forth, I notice that an officer from the local department is about to come into the store to get snacks or a drink or some such. This gives me a nice idea. “Sir, I’m afraid that the gas is in your tank and you pumped it yourself, so you are going to have to pay”.
Cutscene of an explosion. Douchebag then asks, “So what, exactly, do you think you can do if I just go and get in my car and leave?” Thank you, good Lord, for timing. He says this, at full bellow, right as the officer walks through the door. My response? “Well, personally I can’t do much, but the nice officer standing behind you will probably be able to do something”.
Douchebag turns around to see the officer, with a very predatory smile on his face, nodding vigorously. Yeah, he shut up, paid, and we never saw him again.
4.Mind Your Manners
I used to do cellphone customer service for a call centre in Canada, though it was an American cellphone company. Got a call from a right-angry Texan who had been passed around from agent to agent with no one really listening to him, making him even more angry (and understandably so). So, he gets to me and he’s just a whirlwind of yelling and swearing.
I can barely make out what he’s saying. In my sternest Person-In-Charge voice I say, “Sir, that’s no way to talk to a lady!” Right away he calms down and goes: “Yes, ma’am. Sorry, ma’am”. And we resolved his issue within a couple of minutes. Oh, Texas. I love your old-school gentlemen when they’re not drowned out by your extreme fundamentalists.
5.Take a Picture, It'll Last Longer
I worked at a photo printing lab, and we got people in all the time who claimed we were stupid and had messed up their pictures. One woman had us print 800 vacation pictures. They were bad quality, dark, and out of focus. Basically a nightmare to work with. But that wasn’t all. When she came to pick them up, she insisted that we had ruined them, that they were perfect in her camera, and that she had a very expensive camera and so there was no way the pictures could be dark or out of focus.
We finally gave her her money back, even though we had done nothing wrong and were out a lot of time and paper. She called us 30 minutes later and told us she was at a store across town, and they had reprinted all of her pictures and they were beautiful, in focus, and nice and bright. I had to tell her that the same person who owned our store also owned the store across town, and that not only would it have taken that store several hours to reprint 800 pictures, but their printer was down that day, so they couldn’t have printed anything. She hung up on me.
I used to work at a restaurant chain that started about 15 or 20 years back and has about 15 stores in total. People all the time would complain and release their vague threat “I know Tommy! (The owner, guy who started the chain) Do I have to call him to get some good service?” It came from so many people, but we had to put up with it because that’s what you do in the restaurant business.
But one time when this happened, Tommy was actually in the restaurant. He would come in once every couple months or so and just act like a regular customer, just to kinda evaluate how things were running from a non-owner perspective (of course everything magically went smoother for him than any other customer, imagine that). Anyway, this lady (that had been a total witch the entire night) starts complaining, talking about how her meal was cold or bad or whatever, even though she had powered through 4/5ths of it.
She wants her money back for this atrocity! And then she drops the bombshell. “I know Tommy! He wouldn’t stand for this!” The only thing was, Tommy was sitting almost directly behind her, and pretty obviously didn’t know her, and she didn’t recognize him. After getting a bit of the old discreet “Go ahead” nod from him, I just said, “Ma’am, Tommy is in the restaurant right now. If you could just point him out I’d be glad to let him know what you think of his restaurants”.
She stammered, gave the, “No he’s not, I would’ve seen him!” until the owner stood up and said hello. He put on the kind of sickly sweet personality, where you’re ever so polite but totally awful at the same time. She shut up and paid pretty quickly after that.
7.Milking It For All It's Worth
I worked at a concession stand for a children’s baseball park. It’s a large park (nine or so fields) and we get lots and lots of customers. Having lots of customers, we have to make things in large quantities and the quality isn’t especially swell. But hey, it’s a concession stand, not a restaurant. Anyhow, it’s about 20 degrees out and people are ordering hot chocolate by about five cups at a time.
Only two of us are working. The process for making hot chocolate is putting an extremely large container of water in our extremely large microwave, and then stirring in an extremely large amount of cocoa powder. It’s nothing fancy, but it tasted pretty good all things considered. Late in the day, I was working the register, and my co-worker is running around making everything.
A lady came up to the side window, screaming at my co-worker about how he’s ruining the hot chocolate. My co-worker can’t hear her, seeing as how she’s yelling through a window. At a guy working around a lot of refrigerator fans, among other things. She finally comes to the front counter and tells me he’s ruining it. “Why” I asked. Her: “He’s going to ruin the milk! He’s going to ruin it in the microwave!”
Me: “There is no…” Her: “HES GOING TO RUIN IT!” Me: “Peter!” Co-Worker: “Yeah?” Me (pretending to get super angry) “DON’T RUIN THAT MILK!” Her: *stares at me* Co-Worker: “What milk?” Me (still yelling): “THE HOT CHOCOLATE MILK!” Co-Worker (comes up to the front looking VERY confused): “There is no milk!” Me (to the lady): “Hmm. I suppose we don’t use any milk”. She left looking very scared to talk to us ever again.
8.This Comes Right From The Top
I used to work in an old family-owned gas station/garage in a small town in the middle of nowhere. Since it was family owned, about 90% of the business came from regulars who had either business accounts or got their families’ cars fixed at the shop (and had for generations on both sides). As such, the random passers-by getting gas on their way to and from cities on either side of the town made up a mostly negligible amount of business.
The gas station side of the business made up maybe 2% of the business, and of that maybe .5% was non-regulars. So my boss couldn’t care less about some of the annoying customers who came in. One day we got a particularly witchy soccer mom. This was during the summer a few years ago, so the gas was very high compared to the rest of the year.
She was convinced that our pumps were purposely calibrated incorrectly so that less gas was pumped. Her proof was that she always got $XX.XX in gas and it always went to XX% full. Well we had just had our equipment recalibrated for the year and knew it was all good. She kept complaining to me about it, and being a high schooler I didn’t care, either.
But I kept up appearances and was polite, kept telling her that we had just had our pumps calibrated. She didn’t care and kept complaining. Eventually she asked for the manager. But I knew something she didn’t. The office was right behind the counter, and my boss was in there listening the whole time. As soon as she asked for him, he simply yelled out “SCREW OFF!” And that was about it.
I just shrugged at her, and she left. My boss was awesome with jerk customers.
9.Stop, Drop and Roll
A customer was lighting up in a supermarket, and a staff member asked them to stop. They refuse to stop. Customer escalates to me, as customer service manager at the time. I grabbed a fire extinguisher (large, CO2), walked up to the customer, and said “If you don’t put that out now, I will be forced to assume you’re on fire and act accordingly”. Customer dropped the smoke, stamped it out with her foot, and left the store.
10. Sticky Fingers
Used to work in a pawnshop. We got lots of jewelry in and a lot of times the person bringing in the jewelry would have no idea that some of their stuff was fake. Nine times out of ten they would get angry and leave their stuff with us to be thrown out. My co-worker accidentally left a really gawdy but fake gold chain out on the desk one day. A customer came in, noticed the chain, and told us that we’d better put it away before someone took it.
I was about to. Then I realized I could have some fun. We ended up leaving the chain on the desk and would casually watch people as they came in to do business. Indeed, we caught a number of people trying to lift the chain. One guy in particular was talking us up and gradually pulling the chain off the counter. When he had successfully pocketed it and left the store, my co-worker and I began to crack up.
Sure enough, about a week later the guy came back in with the chain and tried to sell it to us. When I refused to buy it, he got angry. Then we showed him the security cam footage of him taking it. We weren’t even mad. Someone that dumb deserves to live his life that way until he walks out in front of a bus or into a wood chipper.
11. The Truth Hurts
A customer wanted to return a computer that was about a year old when I worked in retail. I asked him what was wrong. “It just don’t work”. I powered it on, it gets into Windows, connects to the wireless network, goes online. I open Office, everything seems to be working properly. I show it to him, ask him what’s wrong. “It just don’t work”. I asked him what was actually wrong with the machine (let alone why would you return a computer a year later).
“It just don’t work. Are you saying if a car don’t start, it works fine?” At this point I had enough of the guy: “No sir, I’m saying if there was a car and everyone could start it except one person, I wouldn’t blame the car”.
12. You Get What You Pay For
I was eating at a Taco Bell once, and I was waiting to ask for some sauce while another customer was yelling at a kitchen employee. She had pulled apart her burrito and was complaining that there wasn’t enough stuff in it. I shut her up with one sentence. I leaned over and said, “looks like 89 cents worth of food to me!” She stormed out.
13. Lady In Shining Armor
I worked at a Walgreen’s photo lab right after high school, and it was my first job. There was a really nice lady who used to come by every now and then to have her pictures developed, and whenever they came out we would chat about them because I thought they were great. One day while we were talking, another customer arrived. When I asked her how I could help her, she started yelling at me because she didn’t like the way her photos came out.
She threw them on the counter and was really angry with me and wanted to speak to my manager. I called for my manager and she came over and tried to calm the angry lady down. The angry lady started pointing at me and said that I messed up her photos, and blah, blah, blah, threats, better business bureau, yak, yak, yak. I don’t know what to tell her other than I’m sorry and that I didn’t know what was wrong.
I told her I processed them like I was supposed to and that most of the work was done by the machine, to which she immediately replied “then what good are you?” Suddenly, the nice lady with the cool pictures pipes up in this authoritative tone: “How dare you? How dare you say that to him and accuse him of ruining your pictures? He already said he was sorry. Do you realize that what you said is going to cost him his job? Shame on you”.
The angry lady just got quiet, realized how she was acting, and left. I thanked the nice lady, and it made me tear up a bit afterwards because having someone stand up for you feels good.
14. Get It To Go
My friend was in line at KFC when a woman began rattling off a long order. I’m talking two family buckets of extra crispy, sides of biscuits, bowls of gravy, you name it. At the end of the order the female cashier asks the large woman, “For here or to go?” The woman blows a gasket and screams, “GIRL, I CAN’T EAT THAT MUCH!” To which the cashier replies, without the slightest bit of hesitancy, “GIIIRRRRLLLL, I DON’T KNOW YOUR WORLD”. It was the most boss thing that has ever occurred in a KFC…to my knowledge.
15. Putting Him In His Place
Recently I put a customer in place in Best Buy. I went to do an exchange at Best Buy. Guy walks up behind me, starts complaining about the wait to pick up a .com order, and I tell him to get in the line with the giant hanging “BestBuy.com orders here” sign. He then complains to a manager about how lazy his staff is, and how he has been there for 30 minutes to pick up a Monster Cable…hilarious as that purchase is.
I called him out, and the guy turns red from embarrassment and anger, then storms off. Then I debriefed the manager on how he was there for less than five minutes before being helped and the staff was doing a great job. The manager gave me a $20 Gift Card for calling the guy a douche to his face. I just didn’t want the Customer Service guys to get in any trouble for this guy’s slander.
16. Speaking In Tongues
I worked at a drug store in high school. I had a German couple check out at my register, and they were incredibly rude. They were complaining in German about the customers behind them in line, using vulgar language and whatnot. Apparently, I wasn’t moving fast enough for their liking, and the woman called me a name in German. But she didn’t know one thing.
She was obviously not aware that that was the terribly impractical language that I took in high school. When I finished their order, I stared her in the eye and said thank you in her native tongue, and they both looked shocked and embarrassed. It felt good, man.
17. Do It Yourself
I work at Jimmy John’s. At JJ’s, if you’ve never been, it’s mostly self-service; you get your napkins, and if you need a bag, you get them yourself. Our sandwiches are wrapped in a way that you generally don’t need one, and everything is made “to go”. A lady came in one day and ordered like 4 or 5 sandwiches. As always, I redirect them to the end of the bar to pick up their sandwiches and grab whatever napkins and bags they want.
Now, if someone asks us to bag something FOR them, we will. People generally don’t (unless they’re really old in which case we’ll do it for them regardless) but nobody minds if they do. This lady never asked once for someone to bag her food. She stood at the bar, quiet, bagging all of her sandwiches up and then left. 15 or 20 minutes go by. Then the other shoe drops.
Her husband calls the store and asks to speak to a manager, AKA me. I pick up the phone and the conversation goes like this, mostly verbatim: ME: Hi, how can I help you? GUY: shouting Yeah, since when is it ya’lls policy for people to bag their own food? My wife just came from there and told me she had to bag everything herself! ME: I’m sorry sir, but it’s technically always been our policy. Everything is self-service here at Jimmy John’s. We certainly would have — cuts me off GUY: WELL I’M GOING TO BE SURE TO TELL EVERYONE I KNOW ABOUT THE KIND OF SERVICE YOU GUYS OFFER OVER THERE.
ME: Okay, well, thanks, I guess? I mean, it isn’t any sort of secret. hangs up
18. Up and Down
I stopped to get gas today, and while talking with the cashier I mentioned that she was probably tired of people yelling at her about the price of gas—but that since she is the one standing there she probably gets it a lot. She said that every day someone complains to her, like she can do something about it. A guy then came in and demanded, “Why the heck is gas $3.76 a gallon?’
Without missing a beat, she said, “Because it went down 10 cents this morning”. He just looked at her, paid and left.
19. Playing Games
I worked in electronics at Target. Over at Guest Service one day, I saw a woman with her teenage daughter heatedly speaking to the guy at the counter. After a few moments, he pointed over at me in electronics. The woman’s head whirled round, dragon like, toward me. The rest of her body realigned with her head and she stomped in my direction.
When she reached the counter I pleasantly asked, “How can I help you?” She slammed a receipt and PS3 controller on the counter, “I paid 55 dollars for this and I can only return it for 40!” I asked, “May I see your receipt?” She nodded and I picked it up, “See, 55 dollars!” “Yep, I see that,” I said, “You bought this last week when the store gave away a 15 dollar gift certificate with the controller”.
“So what!” “You would shop at Target again, right?” I asked. “Not if this isn’t resolved!” she spat. Her daughter next to her was embarrassed. “Hypothetically, if there wasn’t an issue, I’m guessing you would and you would use that 15 dollar gift card on your future purchase. If we let you return this controller for 55 dollars then you would have a free 15 dollars. That is why the return price is 15 dollars less…I can do the return for you over here if you don’t want to go back to Guest Service”.
“I didn’t want to return it, I just wanted to know why the return price was so much less,” she said. She picked up her controller and receipt and began to walk off. Her daughter, clearly ashamed of her mother, thanked me and followed her mother out.
20. Citizen's Shaming
My boss once had a customer snag her shirt on the register counter. She went ballistic in ten seconds flat. She began shrieking about us replacing her shirt, that our counters were unsafe, and that she wanted compensation for her shirt. My boss is a very, very calm man. He apologizes, says he’ll have someone from maintenance fix the counter, but the woman isn’t satisfied.
She’s holding up the entire line and refusing to complete her purchase, and the other customers seem pretty annoyed at her. The woman wouldn’t give up, and finally the guy behind her in line has had it. He gets his wallet out, hands her a $20 bill, asks her if this makes her happy, then tells her to please shut up and leave the nice man (my boss) alone.
The woman made some terrible noise, left her items on the counter, and stomped off. The line applauded the man with the $20 (who still had it, the woman didn’t take his money), and my boss gave him a hefty discount.
All Hands On Deck
I used to work at Tesco, in England, as a team leader. Basically doing a manager’s job, on a bit more than checkout operator’s wage. I wonder why I gave that up to become a teacher…oh yeah. Anyway, at Christmastime, for some reason, we were quite busy. We had a good 35 checkouts in the store, and 35 of those 35 checkouts were open.
Yet there were still lines. Ultimately, if thousands of people decide to do their Christmas shopping terribly late, and you have every single till open, what can you do? Anyway, this woman comes over to complain that she had to wait. I explained that the checkouts were all in use, and we could do nothing. She asked why I wasn’t on a checkout.
This was something often asked, with the simple answer being that if I’m the one who has to sort out any problem in case any of the 35 checkouts break, or needs something, or a customer can’t walk the five paces to change their broken packet of biscuits—and I’m on a checkout—nothing would be done. Anyway, this woman demanded that everyone should be on the checkouts.
Which they were. “I want to see the store manager!” she demanded, “You need to have more people working on the checkouts. Where can I see the store manager?” “Well,” I replied, “He’s currently sat on that checkout there, because we are so busy”. She shut up. I really don’t know what she wanted us to do.
22. With All The Toppings
I used to work at an amusement park, and between department transfers, I started in food. My stand made funnel cakes and corndogs. The average wait time on a busy day could be upwards of 30 minutes in the sun, which I’ll admit sucks. It’s not any cooler in the stand standing over a 450 degree fryer. Anyhow…This guy comes up, orders four corndogs.
I ring him up and ask him if he wants any ketchup or mustard brushed on. He declines. I take his money and hand over four corndogs. His little girl bites into one and then tugs on daddy’s arm and says she wants mustard. I politely inform him that since she’s already bitten out of her food, we can’t brush it on; however if he’d head 50 steps to an adjacent building, he could skip the line and just grab some condiment packets.
Apparently this was unacceptable. Up until this point he was just a normal guy. Then suddenly he changed to a monster. “DO YOU KNOW WHO I WORK FOR?! DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM!?” I tell him no. He then half-chuckles to himself and points out his pregnant wife sitting at a nearby table and then begrudges the time he spent in line. I again reassure him they will give him some mustard packets if he walks next door.
He loses it.
“I’M THE GOSH-DARN REGIONAL REP FOR COKE IN THIS AREA, I WILL BUY AND SELL YOUR BUTT, KID”. This self-aggrandizing and demeaning talk towards me lasted a full 60 seconds or so. Then I told him “we only carry Pepsi products”. He was flush with embarrassment and rage, and anyone within earshot is laughing at him. To spite me (really his little girl) he didn’t go get mustard packets. He forever was known as MustardMan.
23. Good Parenting 101
I worked as a lifeguard for my first “real” job. One night, at the indoor water park, a child came up to me. He asked me very quickly where the bathroom was. I pointed him in the right direction and he quickly said, “No I need one closer!” I swore in my head as he pooped himself in front of me, poop running down his leg. I radioed him into first aid and we took him in and paged his parents.
Eventually his dad came in and we chit chatted about his son, no big deal (it happens more often than you think). His dad told us to change and clean him, though, and me and my manager refused. The dad was furious and yelled why not. We replied he’s not our son. That shut him up.
24. A Helping Hand
I used to work at a video store, and after a while I got pretty desensitized to people throwing little hissy fits about late fees. One day a gentleman tried to rent a movie and I had to let him know he had accumulated some late fees on his account. Cue standard rant about having returned them on time, blah blah blah, “…and I’m just going to cut up my membership card when I get home!!”
I reached under the counter and grabbed a pair of scissors, held them out to him and said, “Well, you can do that here if you like”. He gave me a venomous look and left the store in a huff. And it felt so good.
25. I've Got A Package For You
Working at a shipping store, a customer tried to drop off a package to be shipped back to Clearwire (an internet company). He had the box wrapped in shipping paper and twine. Instead of a prepaid shipping label, he had printed out the directions on how to obtain the shipping label. I tried to explain to him that he needed to go back to his email, click on the link, and print the shipping label.
He was adamant that he did everything correctly and kept saying he was going to leave the package there and that it was our problem. My boss, hearing this, comes from the back and explains that if the customer leaves the package, my boss will throw it out the door. The guy turns around, leaves the package, and says again, “Not my problem”. He got exactly what he asked for, and then some.
My boss, true to his word, follows him and throws the package towards the customer. The package bounces a few times on the sidewalk right past the customer and the guy keeps on walking. The package stayed outside for 15 minutes in heavy rain before my boss relents and took the package inside. The package was still under a counter four months later when I left the job.
26. Paying The Price
We had a building where I ran a family sewing factory with a small store attached, which my mom ran. One day a guy comes in to deliver some rolls of fabric and this woman decides to park in the middle of the lot. Not even in a parking spot…she just turned off her car wherever and got out. Then she went shopping elsewhere. The trucker had to leave, so I had the car towed so he could get out and back on the road.
The next day I hear a very loud voice demanding to see a manager. He shoves a ticket in my office manager’s face and says, “You’re paying for this”. I walk in and ask what the problem is (I’m 6’6″). He tries to get all up in my face and asks sarcastically, “Who’s paying this ticket?” I got loud and replied, “You mean where I had to tow a car because they were too cheap to put a quarter in a parking meter on the street and parked in the middle of my lot?”
I was a good 10” bigger than he was…he left. Then I called the authorities and made a complaint against him for threatening behavior to my employees, just in case he tried anything funny.
27. I Know You Are, But What Am I
My roommates and I decided to go grab some subway before we went out one Friday night. One of them is half-Ecuadorian, and the Subway employees were both Hispanic. While I was in the process of ordering my sandwich, the two workers were speaking to each other in Spanish. When it was my friend’s turn, he ordered in Spanish, which I thought was simply a gesture.
I couldn’t figure out why both employees looked like ghosts and stammered their way through the entire ordering process. When I got back in the car, my friend told me the real story. He said that the two workers said, “Look at this pretty boy, pretending to be cultured. What a loser, he doesn’t even know the language”. At which point my friend decided to place his entire order in Spanish, and thank them at the end of the transaction.
28. Checking It Twice
I was working in food service at a cash register. A customer came up and placed an order, I rang it up, and she wasn’t happy with how much it cost. She started whining and being a real witch. My co-worker came up and stood next to me, looked over what I did, and just kind of stood there polishing a counter. She squawked, “Get me your manager!” I say, “Ok sure, but ma’am this is the correct price”.
Co-worker standing next to me is actually the manager. He looks at the woman and goes, “Yup,” and continues polishing the counter. “Buh… wha… uh… ok fine!” shouts the woman and walks away. The two of us crack up laughing.
29. A Case Of Mistaken Identity
I used to work in the main office for a large chain of furniture stores in the UK. I worked in the evenings, phoning customers to let them know their furniture was in, and arranging a delivery date. One night I phoned and asked for Mr. or Mrs. Jones. The guy on the phone starts ranting to me about people phoning up his elderly parents trying to sell things.
He went on and on and on and wouldn’t let me get a word in edgewise. I think he may have even used the toilet while he was ranting at me. When he finally wound down, I said, “Are you finished now sir? This is —- Furniture and I’m phoning to arrange a delivery date for your parents’ new three-piece suite”. Yup, that one shut him up completely.
30. The Best Man For The Job
I was working at CompUSA a few years before they closed. A well-to-do looking gentleman and his high school-age son approached the counter and ask to return a 2.5″ hard drive enclosure. I overhear him telling the girl that the enclosure was defective because his drive will not fit in it. She says that sounds unusual because we sell a lot of them and hadn’t seen any returned.
Upon hearing this, he tells her in a very condescending tone that he “is an engineer and his son attends (insert expensive private school) and they could not get it to work so it must be defective”. The customer service girl calls me over since she didn’t really know much about computers and would rather have an “expert” look at it.
When I come over he has the drive enclosure and his hard drive sitting on the counter. I immediately notice that he never removed the OEM bracket from the original drive and that was why it wouldn’t fit. I say, “I think I know what the problem is and just need to grab a screwdriver”. To which he responds, “If neither me or my son can figure it out, I doubt you’ll be able to”.
I proceed to take the bracket off and slide the drive into the enclosure in about 10 seconds all with a grin on my face. He picked it up and hurried out without saying anything or making eye contact.
31. Too Good To Be True
A well-dressed business passenger bought a plane ticket on Continental from Indianapolis to Manchester. There are no direct flights, so he would have to connect in Newark, New Jersey. After arriving, he strolls over to the Manchester gate and sees a small 50 pax regional jet parked outside. He thinks nothing of it and boards the airplane a while later.
After taking his seat, and just prior to the boarding door being closed, the flight attendant makes an announcement: “Welcome aboard flight #### service to Manchester, NEW HAMPSHIRE!” This guy goes completely wild. He starts scrambling to get his things and get off the plane, all the while yelling at the flight attendant, gate agent, pilots, and other passengers.
He was trying to go to Manchester in the UK (airport code of MAN) and he bought a ticket for MHT. The gate agent was getting completely verbally harassed by the guy at the podium as she tried to rebook him to the proper destination. She took it all in stride and was really trying to help the guy even though he was being a complete jerk and going on and on about how it was a mistake in the computer.
And then she saw how much he paid for the ticket. Her exact words were: “You only paid 300 dollars for your ticket and you really thought that was going to get you to England?” He was quiet after that.
32. Ironing Out The Details
I work at Ikea in Customer Service. On a daily basis, we have customers come in with items that have been used, broken, old, without their receipt, some even not Ikea products, and they are DEMANDING a refund. But the couple that really takes the cake tried to return to me a broken and rusty ironing board. It was obviously used and without a receipt I’m limited with my options.
We can only offer store credit if the item can be returned to stock in original packaging. Obviously, it wasn’t. With a receipt you have 90 days to return your item in any condition. After I refused the return, they asked for my manager. My manager offered to look up their receipt, couldn’t find it so we couldn’t take it back. They then asked for her manager.
Every time they got a “no” they asked for the manager above. Eventually it got to our store manager. They quickly found out they’d messed with the wrong guy. This manager is a BOSSS, 6’5″, hulk-like, and Swedish; he started as a cashier and made his way up literally from the bottom to owning the store. He came on down to the belligerent couple who were causing a scene because our customer service was apparently SOOOO poor.
After inspecting the item and removing their iron cover (which none of us did before, the item was that appalling we really didn’t want to touch it) he finds the date stamp. It was from 2002. The couple got real silent because the entire time they said they’ve had it for less than three months. Our store manager said in the calmest voice I have ever heard in my life, “I think it’s about time you leave my store”.
33. Too Big For His Britches
I worked at the local CVS for a summer back in college. I was at the register one night when a lanky teenager came up carrying four different boxes of rubbers. He put them on the counter, produced a receipt, and asked for a refund. I noticed that each of the boxes had been opened. I told him we couldn’t refund the items given that he had opened them.
He looked me straight in the eyes and said seriously that he had tried one from each of the boxes and that none of them fit because they were too big. I didn’t know what to say to that except that we definitely could not give him a refund. Without any embarrassment, he scooped up the boxes and left. They were all “XXL,” “magnum,” and “plus-size” brands.
34. That Took A Turn
I used to be a low level manager in a call centre, it paid the bills…anyway, a customer had called us and been perfectly pleasant, giving us his account details, and business got underway. At the end of the call, he asked for one more thing that we couldn’t have done, and was informed of this. He immediately got extremely aggressive with my member of staff.
At this point her hand shot up in the air (cue me) and she handed over the headset and chair so I could view the details. I was called a bunch of names, and then we got down to the grand finale. The threat. I’m paraphrasing but here’s how it went: Him: “Listen, I can see your company’s address on your website, I’m going to come down there and mess you up”.
Me: “Good, you gave my colleague your name and address details first then, I’ll make sure to hand them over to the authorities somewhere in the few hours it’s going to take you to drive down here. We’ll be waiting”. Dial tone
35. Getting To Know You
My folks used to own a Tastee Freez in South Carolina and I worked in it most summers as a teenager. Since it was a small town, everyone knew each other and most went to the same church. One Sunday night, one of the ladies from church called in at about five minutes after 10:00 and tried to order a 20 piece chicken nugget, and when I informed her that we closed at 10:00 and the grill and fryers were already cleaned and closed for the night, she got irate with me.
She started yelling in my ear about how she knew the owners of the place and she was going to get me fired and did she know who I was talking to. I calmly replied that yes, Mrs. Greene, I knew exactly who I was talking to, since my parents and I lived right across the street from her and she had asked us in church that morning what time we closed for the night.
We were never on speaking terms again.
36. The Honey Trap
I used to work in a Deli restaurant, and this lady comes in and rudely orders her food. I told her that everything should come out all right and that I will double check for her to make sure her order would be correct. She insisted on getting LOTS of honey mustard on her sandwich. I typed in extra honey mustard on the ticket. Sure enough her order comes out and there seemed to be plenty of honey mustard there.
But when I deliver it she yells at me for not having the extra honey mustard I promised her and told me to “get a ton more honey mustard” for her. I go to the back of the store, get an entire new gallon jug of honey mustard, and plop it on her table. Her friends were laughing and she was steaming mad. She complained to the manager, who thought it was hilarious and actually laughed in her face.
37. The Human Touch
I used to work as a croupier at clubs, and during a shift change my colleague accidentally made a wrong payment to a playing customer. Gamblers being what they are, the complaining that ensued was pretty awkward and no matter how much my colleague said he was sorry, the customer kept on wining. Finally, I just had to take over the situation with the perfect reply.
I said: “Sir, people make mistakes, we are not robots. If you want to play with machines, there are slot machines in the other bar”. He shut up and the other players seemed relieved.
38. They Grow Up So Fast
I worked in electronics at Target at the time, although it wasn’t the customer who suddenly shut up, it was me. This was around 2004, when GTA: San Andreas just came out. An older woman walks up to the electronics desk and addresses me. Customer: “I’d like to buy Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas”. Me: “Is this a gift for someone?” Customer: “Yes, this is for my 4-year-old grandson”.
Me: “Well, ma’am, just to let you know, this game has been rated ‘M’ for Mature, and has a lot of aggression, profanity, drug use, and other adult content”. Customer: “That’s okay, he’s already been exposed to all that…”
39. Out Of Pocket
I worked at a pharmacy as a technician. This patient brings in a prescription for a very expensive, name brand only drug, but has good insurance. I fill it and the patient causes a scene at the cash register because the copayment is 30 dollars instead of the usual 10 that the patient pays for generic drugs. The patient whines and moans about the “broken healthcare system” and “those insurance companies”.
I inform the patient that, without insurance, the drug would cost her thousands of dollars every year out of pocket. Patient then proceeds to shut up.
40. A Taste Of Their Own Medicine
Once upon a time, I worked at a Kinko’s, which is famous for having irate customers. But we had a secret weapon to deal with jerks. We had a guy on our shift with honest to goodness Tourette’s where he would tic and swear loudly, then continue the conversation. We found that if we told the irate customer that he’d have to “talk to the supervisor,” then send up Mr. Tourette, they’d be shut up by having someone swear in their face.
I think it just shocked them out of their panties-in-a-bunch state. Worked great.
41. Don't Keep Me Hanging
I worked at a hotel front desk in a ski resort in Lake Tahoe. People would call (with disturbing frequency) several MONTHS in advance of their reservation to ask: “Is it going to be SNOWING the day I drive up on April 5th?” The best solution was to say, “Hold on, let me check” and then the staff would take cockfight-style bets on how long the customer would sit on hold before they gave up. Sometimes it would be like 15 minutes.
42. Sticker Shock
I work at CVS. Items are usually marked up higher than places like Target or any supermarket. One customer comes in and buys some useless item. When she sees that it’s $10.99 or something similar, she goes off at me. “YOU CAN’T LIE TO ME ABOUT THAT PRICE. THAT IS $6.99 AT TARGET THERE’S NO WAY YOU CAN TELL ME THAT’S $10.99!” All I could say was, “Well if you really want to pay $6.99 for it, then go to Target”. She got the heck out of there.
43. Crossing A Line
I work at Best Buy in the warehouse, and we cover breaks for the guys working the cameras up front. A co-worker was covering a break when this guy came up to one of the front lane registers. There was a bit of a line and we only had two lanes open. One of the front lane guys is handicapped. It doesn’t affect his job, it just takes him longer to walk around.
The customer finally made his way to the front of the line and paid with a credit card. The front lane rep needed to see the last 4 digits of the credit card and asked to see his card “real quick”. The customer FLIPPED OUT. He said, “Oh NOW you want to do something real quick”. Then he muttered just loud enough for everyone to hear: “I should have known not to get in the short bus line”.
My co-worker who was observing the cameras saw everything and was not very happy. He walked up to the customer, grabbed all his merchandise, and said, “Nope, you’re not buying anything today. You can leave”. Never been so proud of him.
44. Square Peg In A Round Hole
I work at Toys R Us. That should be bad enough. But for a specific story, I worked the back of house. Those are the guys who bring down bicycles, power wheels, and other large items that are purchased from the back of the store up front to the customer. This one time, this man purchased a large power wheel (Barbie Jammin’ Jeep ’08 model I believe).
When I brought it out, I see the customer standing next to his car. A small, two-door Nissan. I immediately inform the man that the box will not fit in his car, and that we can hold it for him if he wished to come back later with a larger vehicle. He said that wouldn’t work; he had to get the jeep now because he’s been searching for weeks for it. I again tell him how the box is larger than his car and it will not fit.
He tells me that’s bull and has me attempt to load the car into the trunk, then the front seat. After 20 failed minutes, I tell the man I can no longer spend time on this. I tell him I can write down his information, put the jeep on hold, and wait for him to return with a different car. He says he’s going to continue to try and put it in his car. I leave him be and resume my work.
About a half hour later, I get a call from the customer service desk that I have to bring a returned jeep back to the storage area.
45. Hitting New Lowes
I used to work at Home Depot over the summer as a cashier. The very best was the woman who came up to my line with a cart that had only a single small box of nails. Odd, I thought, but maybe she just didn’t find what she needed the cart for. So I ring her up and she says, “Well what about the rest of my order? I need 800 lbs of Quickcrete, 50 10′ 2x4s, ten 8′ 4x4s…”
She starts reading off all of the ingredients she needs to make a massive deck, or a dock, or something. She then asks me sweetly if I’ll help her get them while she waits in line, holding up the 10 people behind her while I pull an entire back yard’s worth of lumber and concrete out for her. I told her we couldn’t do that, and gave her the number to call to have her order pulled.
She freaked out. Spent about 20 minutes screaming at me, even after I called the head cashier and had him handle her. See, she would run over to my lane while I was with other customers to tell me how “unprofessional” I was being, and that this is why everyone goes to Lowe’s nowadays, because there they care about the customer.
46. Just A Wee Bit Dedicated
I was working in an indie model/wargame/TCG shop. A group of kids around 13 years old turn up after school to play Yu-Gi-Oh inside. As their game drags on, one kid asks us where the toilets are. We direct him to the bus station, but he complains about the 30-second walk. He remains playing. Suddenly, we hear laughter from this kid and a pool of moisture forming down his trouser leg and onto our carpet.
My boss and I stare in utter disbelief as this kid shakes his leg, and remains playing his card game. Boss goes crazy and forces the kid to clean the carpet before banning him for a week. Kid returns next week to the nickname Wazzers.
47. Something Smells Like An Onion
During high school, I worked at a Burger King. There was this one woman who would always come into drive thru during the afternoon and ask for a Whopper Jr with extra onions. And I mean, a LOT of extra onions. And no matter how many we put in, she always came into the store and complained that there weren’t enough. Still, this was in the middle of the afternoon, so we didn’t care.
However, one day, we had four buses full of US Army enlistees at the store at the same time. Convoys of chartered buses would go by periodically, and they usually stopped at our store because the bus drivers knew my boss. Now, these people were always the nicest, most respectful people you can possibly imagine, which was a welcome change after dealing with jerks the whole day.
They also always ordered a ton of food—all king-size, tons of double and triple whoppers, the whole nine yards. My boss would always have me give them the “senior discount” (15% off), and they enjoyed that immensely, because it said that they were getting a senior discount on their receipts. Anyways, nice as they were, they strained our store to the limit because they ordered so much food.
So we were almost literally going hammer and tongs to keep up, and then the worst happens. Onion woman comes into drive thru. My boss told me to just grab two handfuls of onions and put them on the sandwich, because she didn’t need a scene when we were as far behind as we were. I could barely close the burger because of the onions, but I managed it and we gave it to her.
Now remember, the store is completely full of US Army enlistees. They probably have not had fast food for weeks (I think they were going from boot camp to get their first assignments). And the line was out the door. So onion woman pushes her way past all of these people, rudely shoving them out of her way, and comes up to the counter screaming that she didn’t have enough onions.
My boss is angry, so she takes the sandwich, hands it to me, and tells me to do whatever I want with it. I knew just what to do. I dumped the ENTIRE TUB of onions on this (probably about 1.5 LITERS of onions), and wrapped it up really, REALLY tight, and taped it shut (Note that the wrappers were somewhat elastic…). My boss hands it to the woman, and she opens it right on the counter to “make sure we have enough” even though it’s like six times bigger than normal.
The thing EXPLODED ALL OVER. SO freaking awesome. All the guys trying not to laugh. One of their officers (a quite young 1st Lt.) was waiting by the counter for his food, and finally he just gave up and started laughing his butt off. The men took this as a cue, and she had about 250 men dying laughing at her.
One of the best days of my high school life. She didn’t come back for a month, and she never, EVER complained about not having enough onions.
48. Wet And Wild
I used to work in Best Buy services. It was sort of like Geek Squad before Geek Squad and it dealt with everything like TVs and VCRs and junk. One day we had a guy come in and complain about his little video camera not working. I agree to take a look at it even though there’s not much I can do but send it back to the manufacturer for him.
It will take some time, but that was 90% of the problem people had with services. Naturally, this guy wants a new one on the spot and he starts getting REALLY loud about it. So I call the manager. While I’m waiting for them to come up, I’m still tinkering with the camera in the back. I get some tools out and, hey, look I got the thing open for the guy. When I saw what was on it, I knew we had him.
A minute or so later I come back out when the manager gets there. The manager is talking to the guy as I move a computer up to the counter. I jump in and say, “Hey, I don’t think we should give this guy a new unit”. The guy gives me dagger eyes and the manager is like, “Oh? why’s that?” Then I play the footage of what is unmistakably someone running around a pool, dropping the camera, which tumbles into the pool.
He had taken out the tape but it was recorded to the memory stick. Guy takes his camera and quietly leaves the store.
49. If The Shoe Doesn't Fit
I work in a shoe shop. One of the services we supply is to check how well school shoes fit on our younger customers. Once a staff member has signed to say they are a good fit, the customer is able to bring them back if there are any problems. This one time, a mother came back in with her son a week after being fitted with a pair, loudly mouthing off that the shoes were too tight and causing blisters.
Even though she was being a psycho about it, we offered to get her a new pair. Once back in the kids department, she spotted the girl who fitted the original shoes and went crazy at her, demanding that the girl should be there while a better pair was fitted so she wouldn’t make the same mistake again. Despite the mom saying some pretty degrading stuff about her, the girl agreed to sit in on the re-fit in an attempt to help out.
She remembered the customer, even to the point of remembering the child’s name, and was visibly upset about doing a bad job. Returning to the till, the fitter offered to put the exchange through as a final gesture of goodwill. She then froze, realization dawning on her. “These aren’t your sons shoes” she said to the customer. They have a name tag inside saying Tommy, and your son’s name is Billy.
Turns out the kid had swapped his shoes with another boy in his class. Laughed that witch out of the shop.
50. The Old Switcharoo
When I was a server, I was that server that everyone claims they would always be if they did one day become a server in a restaurant. I filled up glasses when they needed to be refilled without asking, I brought out a bowl of lemons if you asked for lemons; if you wanted extra ice, you got a whole extra glass full of ice. Heck, I was even careful enough to write down every order even though I could easily memorize it and get it right.
One particularly busy night, I’m working a party of about 20 people. It’s a Friday night and the kitchen is slammed. Everything was going smooth, I thought—until I bring out the drinks and salads. There is one idiot that starts off saying I didn’t bring her anything right (wrong dressing, drink had a lemon, too much ice, etc.). I play the gracious and apologetic server correcting the issue despite knowing she is wrong.
The meal comes out. It goes from bad to worse. She explodes about how I can’t seem to do anything right and what a screw up I am. I proceed to congratulate her on the fine example she is setting for the kids at the table on how to treat another human being, and what classy language she was using. I then proceeded to show her where I wrote down everything she asked for.
The type of salad, the dressing she wanted, how she wanted it on the side, pulled the straw I gave her from under her bread plate and told her that I did give her one. I also talked about how I heard when her sister had ordered another dish, that she told her sister that she wanted that dish instead, and advised that she maybe should have simply asked for me to change the order instead of trying to play it off as if I was truly a “screw up” as she claimed.
I said maybe next time she would do a better job of making sure the server was not in earshot when she says something like that. I then told her that I would go and have the kitchen fix the meal she really wanted, instead of the one she ordered, and that it would take about 10 minutes before it was ready. Needless to say, the whole table was quiet. Then came the most glorious moment.
Her father piped up and simply said, “Honey, It’s about time someone called you out on your antics”. The old man gave me a $100.00 tip when he paid for the meal, strong handshake, and a thanks.
51. On The Edge
When I was a kid, my family owned several pizza places. I didn’t hang around them much because I was fairly young, but my older sisters worked at the big one waitressing and cashiering.
She told me that one night, the well-dressed father of a large family that had ordered several large pizzas tried to get out of paying for them because the pizza didn’t have sauce/cheese/ingredients all the way to the “edge”.
The family had eaten the entire pies except for the crusts. My sister refused to refund his money, he threw a huge fit and reduced my sister to tears. He kept yelling and demanded to see the owner—my dad. Dad came out, saw my sister sobbing, and got the story from one of the cooks. He didn’t say a word.
He just slammed the guy’s head through the wall and well into the store next door. The guy had to be taken away on a stretcher. The staff and a couple of customers told the authorities that the customer had tried to hit my sister so my dad wouldn’t get taken into custody. Dad didn’t get physical often, but when he did, he played for keeps.