Retail Workers Share Desperate Scams Customers Tried To Pull On Them

It takes a lot of guts to try and pull one over on retail people. First, you're assuming to speak to a complete dunces on the other side of the phone and/or service counter. Second, if the first isn't true, you're still presuming to know the ins and outs of that employee's job better than they do. Enough to get away with a crime, that is. Most of these instances lead to ridicule and shame for the customer in question.

Perfect for us, dear reader.

Reddit user, u/RSTLNE3MCAAV, wanted to know about the lamest cons a customer tried when they asked:

Retail workers of Reddit, what is the most desperate scam a customer has tried to pull on you?

"No, I Promise I Paid For These..."

A favorite moment from my old retail days. Customer walks into store and grabs two HP ink cartridges off the ink wall. Walks to the register with an old receipt and says "I want to return these".

Yeah... he was that stupid. I saw him walk in, and the cartridges were still in the security cases.

I called my manager and said "The Brinks guy is pulling up" (our code for "got a criminal customer"). He came running up to his office and dialed the cops real quick, then he walked up to the register. A few minutes pass while he is pretending to do a fake return, and the cops come walking in.

We point at the guy, and out come the handcuffs. F-cking moron.


"I Swear I Bought This ENTIRE Roll..."

Years ago I worked at a small hardware store where they were constantly getting huge rolls of copper wire stolen. One day this guy and his girlfriend come in to return a roll. I was a few months in on the returns counter. They had no receipt and when I scanned the item for the return it was only doing the price per foot. I couldn't figure out how to get the sku or the price for the whole roll.

Called the manager and he comes out and right away knows there's no way these people bought a roll and returned it. So he asks when they bought it and they say two weeks ago ( the common response ) and my manager tells them "oh really because the last time we sold an entire roll was over 3 months ago" the guy starts to get brave and tells him "so you're saying I stole it?!" And my manager says yes.

They end up leaving and left the roll behind. Before they leave the store the guy says "I'm coming back and bringing the cops" manager says "go ahead that way you can explain to them how you stole the roll"


"Sir, This Is Is A Legit Paper Credit Card..."

I used to work a game store a little more than 10 years ago. Once had a woman come in dressed fairly trendy and ask for 2 PlayStation Portables (PSP), 2 Xbox 360s, and a handful of games and accessories. My store was pretty slow so this would be a pretty big sale for the day and I was excited about it.

She goes to pay and hands me a credit card which was not laminated and appeared to be printed out on a home color printer. I told her it wouldn't work and she said just scan it anyway. So I scanned her fake credit card which clearly did not have a magnetic strip and it didn't work (of course). She told me to just "put the numbers in" on the computer. I refused and she asked why, seemingly legitimately confused. I told her I just couldn't.

She told me she would be back with cash. I put everything back on the shelves. She did not return.


"No, Really, It Came Out Of The Box Like This..."

Sold a guy a phone years ago when I worked for a wireless carrier. Spent an hour getting all his information transferred and set up his new phone. He comes in the next day with a shattered screen. Apparently he didn't remember that I was the rep who helped him and proceeded to tell me that is how it looked when he left the store. Needless to say the phone was not replaced.


"Wait, Chickens Aren't Supposed To Look Like This...?"

A woman came in, grabbed an herb-roasted rotisserie chicken, moseyed over to the casual seating, ate 85% of it with her bare hands, then brought the carcass to customer service and tried to return it.


"Trust Me, I Know The Owner Better Than Their Own Daughter..."

We don't deliver the pizzas we make, it's carryout only. Had a customer call and have a long/angry conversation with me because I wouldn't deliver to her.

She proceeds to say (a couple times) "you must be new here. I know the owner personally", to which I responded "well I'm the owners daughter and we don't deliver".


"I Promise, It's Just A Prank On My Son..."

...someone calling wanting to know if we had spare empty boxes for Xbox consoles, because he 'wanted to prank his kid and give him an empty box'.

I know very well he wanted to try to stuff the box with who knows what, and attempt a return.

Of course, the folks at customer service check such boxes for actual product, and match serials to those on the box.


"Good Madame, These Are All For My Son..."

A guy comes in to fill his sons aderall script. Guy is super twitchy and son is chill as could be. For all controls we are supposed to run a report that shows every where in the state they have filled any. Of course the report is a mess, multiple pharmacys, multiple scripts, multiple doctors, all the red flags. To top it off an aderall script within that week had been filled so we really couldnt fill this one.

Dad comes back we tell him that we cant fill it and dad starts going on about how his wife must have filled it but they need some for today blah blah blah. We decline and his last words to us are 'my son needs them for a birthday he has to go to today cant you help?'

No dude we cant help. You're clearly taking your sons pills, get help and stop using your son to get high on prescription drugs.


Honestly, This One Feels Like The Store's Fault

Had a customer return a vacuum cleaner once, my supervisor did the return thankfully. The box went back on the floor unchecked.

The next customer who wanted to buy it checked it out before they went to the register.

The whole f-cking thing had been replaced with a catering size tin of beetroot.


"I Swear, I Left It In The Twin Towers..."

September 12, 2001. USA.

A guy in Spartanburg South Carolina calls and says that his weed trimmer was in the twin towers in NYC the day before and got destroyed by terrorists.

And demanded I replace it under warranty.


H/T: Reddit

Medical No No

Someone tried to alter their Adderall script so they would get a year's supply. (Doctors cannot write more than a three month supply by law). We took the script and called the doctor to report the fraud. The patient got a black mark in his medical record in the Pharmacy and the Dr. Office. Now every script that is sent over comes with a disclaimer stating this person has tried to alter scripts.


That's a Job

Idiot comes in with a coupon for a free iPod. Fine print says "Guaranteed and payable by Bill Gates". I asked why would Bill Gates guarantee and Apple product. Idiot left.


No Freebees 

That's almost as good as the guy with the giant photocopy of his ID, with the real ID number replaced with a badly hand written number. He was trying to open a new cell phone account, and get a fistful of lines with free phones. I stopped at telling him I can't accept copies of IDs, and said "If I have to tell you what else is wrong here, I'll have to call the police."


Should Have Stayed In Bed

The store was open until midnight the two last nights of the financial year calendar. Apparently the store thought someone might come in at 11:59 the last chance they had to deck out their entire office with new laptops and chairs and shit. After about 9pm the store was pretty much a complete ghost town. By 10pm-11pm the store was the cleanest it ever was since it was built.

On this one night the phone rang at about 11:30pm. The guy wanted to know if we were still open because he wanted to buy something specific. It turned out we had it in stock and he told me - several times - that he was going to get out of his pyjamas, get dressed and come down to the store. I was, like, "Sure. The item will be at the front counter whenever you're here to collect it."

So he turns up and tells me again that he had to get out of his pyjamas, get dressed and come down to the store to pick up this item. It was about 11:45pm by this point and so I just told him how much it was going to cost and then he asked for a discount. I said "Why?" he said "For being your last customer of the evening!"

I told him no, there's no reason for giving out that kind of a discount and besides, we weren't closed yet. There might be other customers, you know. He might not have been the last one that night and besides, it costs what it costs. He told me again that he had to get out of his pyjamas, get dressed and come to the store to buy this item.

He paid full price for all his troubles


Police Escort 

Kmart returns counter, had a guy try to return a CD (with receipt). The shrink wrap had been sliced and the CD taken out. He claimed it was like that when he bought it. I told him I couldn't return it for cash but could swap it for the same thing. He went to get a new CD and brought some other artist. Told him it had to be the exact same thing. I had the electronics employee bring up the right CD. As I checked that they were the same and told him I would give him a new one, a smile grew on his face... which quickly melted away when I took out a knife and cut open the plastic on the CD. No, you can't return that one later.

Another scammer that I actually caught was this guy who was paralysed on the left half of his body. He walked slowly around the store, dropping stuff and drooling. (Never did find out if he was actually paralysed or just part of the scam) One day I caught him bagging Oxy-Clean in his cart. Notified LP and she watched him. He went through self checkout and told me he bought the Oxy-Clean in electronics. LP called electronics, no such sale was made. I think she let him go that time but the next time he came in, he got a police escort.

This one was an insider job. This guy who worked in electronics also did layaway. One of the service desk girls would put a giant bag of dog food in layaway. Then the electronics guy would empty the bag and fill it with expensive electronics. Turns out they had been getting away with this for years then the LP staff changed and the new lady knew how to police the place.