Retail Employees Tell Stories About How They Were Scammed by Customers

Shannon Quinn - June 29, 2021
In this story, a woman ran out after getting a free facial. Credit: Shutterstock

8. Beauty is Free

Ninjacat01 tells a story of how a woman got away with never paying for a facial. Honestly, I’m surprised this doesn’t happen more often. “Customer came in for her 1 hour facial appointment to try our skincare brand in a department store. It was $75, or you could purchase products to that value or above. She came out from her facial, pampered, requested the whole range, then exclaimed she had left her credit card in her bag which she had left in the car. Then she quickly said, “I’ll be back in five” – and never returned. We caught on pretty quickly, but she had disappeared, and the phone number she had given us was fake.”

A father stealing his son’s adderrall is probably more common than you think. Credit: Shutterstock

7. Tweaking is a Red Flag

This sad story by Moogula1992 is probably something that happens more often than you think. “A guy comes into my pharmacy to fill his son’s Adderall prescription. 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 Adderall script within that week had been filled so we really couldn’t fill this one.”

“Dad comes back, we tell him that we can’t 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 use are ‘My son needs them for a birthday he has to go to today. Can’t you help?’ No dude we can’t help. You’re clearly taking your son’s pills. Get help and stop using your son to get high on prescription medication.”

This story must be old if it involves Sega CD’s. Credit: Shutterstock

6. This Must Be a Rough Neighborhood

KeetoJM tells multiple stories of retail nightmare scenarios. “Had a guy try to return 2 Sega CD games for cash. Problem was they were wrapped in Saran Wrap. And then had the gall to exchange them for properly wrapped games so he could go across the street to Walmart and return them for cash there. Him and his buddy must have really needed beer money.”

“Also have seen people try on new shoes, put the old ones in the box, and walk out with the new ones. Had an old man act like he was pulling a gun out of his waist just to get away from loss prevention. And one of my favorites- Had the two women grab a bag from luggage and put all of the rolls of film in the bag. Then try to ditch the bag because we were following them.”

People lose their phone all the time, so this guy just had to try. Credit: Shutterstock

5. Lost and Found

HermesCat tells a story about how a customer tried to score a free iPhone by pretending about losing one. “I once had a dude try to score a free iPhone. He came into the department I worked in, and started describing this vague iPhone to us, saying he’d lost it in here earlier. No other details were given, like phone case, or specific color, just an iPhone.”

“Further questions were asked about where he thinks he might have left it in here and he just went quiet and said, ‘It’s fine, actually. Maybe somebody else has it.’ And left. Our opinion is he knew that sometimes stores will keep people’s phones that they find until the owners come back and then they hand over the phone. He wanted to score a free iPhone.”

This woman liked the TV so much, she stole it. Credit: Shutterstock

4. Logic

A department store employee called RocketSLC helped to apprehend a woman who was attempting to steal a Smart TV. “When I was working as an electronics cashier, I asked a woman if she needed help buying a TV. She said no thanks, and placed a smart TV into her cart. I asked her if she wanted to make the purchase in electronics, and she said she wanted to pick up a couple more things. I went to help another customer when I realized the woman was rushing towards the front of the store with the TV. Immediately, I radioed loss prevention that someone was trying to run out with a TV. They stopped her at the door.”

“Her immediate defense was ‘I paid for this in electronics, I just left the receipt in my car.’ I have no idea how that made logical sense in her mind, since of course she couldn’t have the receipt in her car if she just bought the TV in electronics.

Large bags of dog food seem to be a common theme in these stories. Credit: Shutterstock

3. Caught Them Red Handed

“When I worked on a grocery checkout, a woman pulled a barcode label from a container of $4 tinned fruit and stuck it over the barcode of a $25 container of medjool dates. She pretended that she didn’t do it. Another time a man carried a $30 bag of dog food to the customer service counter without paying for it and asked for a refund. My manager gave it to him even though we both knew he had stolen it while we watched him.”

“Oh, and another time a group of people were using fake credit cards to steal. Not sure exactly how it worked but they ended up typing in different card numbers into the card terminal while another dude tried to distract you. These guys were super friendly and chatty and probably thought I was young and dumb. But I caught them trying to take off with about $500 worth of groceries. They were all like, ‘Just let us go and get some cash out, we’ll be back soon to pay’. They never returned and my manager gave me a box of chocolates for picking up on it. Proudest moment of my retail career.” Good job, PuddingandP1e.

When you work at a gun shop, stopping someone from buying one can save lives. Credit: Shutterstock

2. A True Hero

Supergazm literally saved two people’s lives in this story. “I ran the gun counter at a store. One day a sketchy guy came in to buy a handgun. I didn’t like the way he was acting, and the way he was answering my questions. So I decided that I was not going to sell him a gun. My store is strict about this. If I didn’t feel comfortable, I could deny the sale and there’s nothing he could do. He could call managers and HQ and complain, but they will always side with me. The man hands me his ID to start the paperwork. I always let them start the process so that I have names and addresses. His name was really familiar. I had sold a gun to someone with the same name the day before. But it wasn’t him.”

“I let him completely fill out the form and compared it to what I had from the day before, and asked him how he liked the gun he purchased yesterday. That took him by surprise, and I knew what was happening. I called the code words to have management call the police without suspicion. The man was using his father’s identification. When the police arrived, fear washed over his face. This guy already had a violent record, and is now in prison for lying on federal documents, violent felon in possession of a handgun, and identity theft. The next day, the police came back and told me that he admitted to trying to buy the gun to kill his wife and son. I had a little bit of a breakdown at work and sat in the breakroom for about an hour just thinking about the incident.”

A common retail scam is claiming they didn’t get enough change. Credit: Shutterstock

1. Stiffing teenagers for spare change

This next story from BakingJingo tells you that if you’re trying to trick a cashier, don’t do it in the early morning when the drawers are perfectly balanced. “I worked at a Jewel many, many years ago. A man comes through with two 24 packs of Pepsi. It’s opening shift, so at that time we count our registers and confirm they’ve got the correct. We didn’t carry too much cash, and we all know how much is in the drawer to start the day. He ends up paying with a $100 bill for these sodas. I counted back his change with mostly 20’s, and I don’t know how he did this, but he shuffled them in his hand, and showed me that I supposedly short changed him. Now, I knew immediately that he was lying.”

“I told him that I would call a manager over and have them double check the register. The manager came, counted down the register and explained that the drawer was balanced, which means I didn’t short change anybody. But, if for whatever reason the drawer turned up $20 over at night, we could give him a call. The manager tries to take his info down and he asks for his name and the guy thinks about it and says ‘Steve… Bush!’ He left. We never called him. Even if we had – Steve Bush doesn’t exist.”