Retail is unique in that we all more or less interact with it out of necessity but the jobs themselves, and especially front-line staff, seem to be treated as completely disposable.

But in case our article 30 Retail Employees Share The Things That Customers Do That They Can Never Forgive wasn't enough to drive this point home, we at Bored Panda have compiled a bunch of stories that should do the trick.

From fake returns to straight-up stealing, here are all the ways people working in the industry spotted customers trying to scam the system.

#1

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System I had someone purchase a 55” TV from a different store, go home and put their old (smaller) tv in the box, and try to return it.

The look on his face when he realized I was gonna open it was priceless.

Paptreek Report

Domi
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Don't have footage from the cameras? I want to see that expression.

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#2

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System Old guy came through my line, as he was swiping his card he actually told me proudly "this here is my buddy's card. He owes me a bunch of money. He don't know I got his PIN. Sometimes you gotta be smart." So I told him I had to see his ID to process the transaction. He gives me his ID which, obviously, doesn't match the card, so I politely cancel the sale. He is shocked and irate, but confides to me he'll just go to another register and try again. I tell him I understand and immediately make a phone call. Less than five minutes later he's being escorted to a back office by an officer, looking even more shocked. It still mystifies me because if he had just kept his trap shut he probably could have hit every register in the store.

anon , Rimidolove Report

Olivia Lisbon
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It’s amazing how a person’s need to impress total strangers can lead to stuff like this.

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#3

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System 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”.

schweinerneer13 , Ruslan Khmelevsky Report

Sonja
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is so ridiculous. If they don't do it in general, that usually means they can't do it, because they don't have the neccessary equipment or personell. In this case: a delivery car and a spare employee to drive to the customer. I get that some companies are idiotic and cater to morons but how stupid do you have to be to ask for things they don't offer at all?

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#4

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System We once had a couple men come into our small store, the one poured a cup of soapy water on the floor, and about 3 mins later his buddy "slipped" on it. The one man asked for compensation from the owner, but me as a manager, I pointed out that there were several cameras in and out of the building, and we had footage of them both talking outside, and pouring soap into the glass. I told them to have their lawyer contact the owner, and they took off before I could give them a business card.

MassRedemption , Manki Kim Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 week ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Am I a bad person if I secretly want the person who slipped to have at least a sprained ankle?

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#5

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System This happened at Popeyes. There 3 people bought EVERY SINGLE CHICKEN SANDWICH IN STOCK. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. Then, they tried to sell it to people that were there for a dollar extra. No one bought it.

YeeTee55T4R , Rajesh TP Report

#6

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System A regular always tried to get things for cheaper, including switching the tags. One day she came in and told me that she had gotten a test at the doctor's, and "might have cancer" so she really needed something nice to make herself feel better.

She wanted a $75 item for $20, and we were soooooooooo heartless that we wouldn't give her any discount, even though she might have cancer.

I told her that not only was I a heartless witch, but that I was going to sacrifice a goat to Satan later that night, and the item was $75, or else GTFO. (My supervisor heard this and just spent the whole night sniggering at random intervals.)

She left.... and never mentioned cancer again in her subsequent visits.

Retail_Hell , Image-Source Report

Marcos Valencia
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Of course she never mentioned cancer again! She didn't want to be responsible for a goat massacre.

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#7

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System "My phone is broken I want to use your 30 day return policy." Me thinking this is a guys phone who has broken within first 30 days "Of course sir i'm very sorry this happened i'll do that for you now let me just check the system for your phone" checks system "Sir...according to my information your Phone is 11 years old...?" "Yes and?" "I can't give you a 30 day return i'm afraid." "Why not?!"

sweetpoison02 , deyangeorgiev Report

#8

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System I work at a bicycle shop that also does repairs, and every once in awhile someone will come in with a stolen bicycle they want to get tuned up. When we know with absolute certainty that it's a stolen bicycle, we will accept the bike for repair, but as soon as they hand it over we will tell them we're keeping it and to not come back. The interesting part is how confidently they come in with an obviously stolen bike and how long they'll carry on the lie that its theirs. We also always contact the real owner and let them know we found their bicycle, just for the record.

ShadyNasty6969 , Ekrulila Report

Paulo Freitas
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

But how do you know its stollen? Do they have some sort of registration Number, or serial Number that indicates who the owner is?

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#9

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System I was on the opposite end, a salesperson tried to tell me she'd spoken to my boss the day before and wanted to know when she should deliver a new copier. I said you didn't talk to my boss yesterday. She said she did.

I told her I know you didn't, because his wife died suddenly the day before and he wasn't talking to anyone.

xubax , Mahrous Houses Report

#10

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System Cashier at Home Depot. guy comes thru the self checkout with a big $550 DeWalt drill combo. Does his checkout business then asks me to remove the alarm tag for him. Notice SCO screen is still up on his transaction and its only $14. Tell him there was a mistake and to go to returns (I know he was bulls**tting us). Comes back and drops the "oh i'm going to check out the other model" line and then leaves. His buddy, also on SCO, ripped a barcode so i had to help him and not pay attention to the other guy trying to steal the combo kit. They both leave, call the cops, cop already has them in cop car for pulling them over for expired plates or some s**t as they left the store parking lot. Turns out the guy had peeled the UPC off a $14 toolbox and put it on his hand. As he covered up the Dewalt UPC, the SCO scanned the toolbox code. Police arrest the guys and I go to court incase i have to testify or something. Guys end up in jail. I get award and $50.

Salvo1218 , Russ Ward Report

#11

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System Dude walks up to the register and says he wants to return a thing (I think it was a mirror) that we sell for like $150, that his wife bought it and it doesn’t fit the space they wanted it for. He doesn’t have a receipt but he does have his internet banking on his phone with a transaction that says it’s from us for over about 200, says his wife bough other stuff at the same time. We will accept this provided we can find the sale in the system, the dates match, the amount matches, they can tell us other things that were on the transaction and usually we check the cameras as well if we’re feeling paranoid.

As soon as the manager saw the bank statement she knew it was all BS. The guy had renamed a transaction to our store name but it was misspelt and not at all how our work shows up on bank statements. So she tells him she needs to go out the back to process a return without a receipt. She grabs the top manager tells him what’s going on and they have a look at the cameras. Dude had walked through every aisle to find one of the more expensive items we sell, grabbed his phone and f****d around on it for a bit (we assume to change the name on the transaction), grabbed the mirror and taken it to the register.

I gotta wonder how many time he did this and no one questioned him.

anon Report

Domi
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

So this is so insidious. A disgusting person.

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#12

Customers are always trying to buy coolers they've filled with items that they're trying to steal, and they tend to go to the self-scan so that the cashier won't check inside it once they pick it up and it's heavier than it should be. Well, the self-scan belts weigh the item, so when they scan the cooler and put it on the belt, I get a little ping telling me "uhhh this customer's tryna put 4 lbs of stuff on the belt when the item weighs 1 lb..." And you just know that when you go over and check the inside, they're going to be like "Oh my gosh!!! How did that get in there!!!! I didn't even check inside it!!!!" Like b**ch yes you did, I'm not THAT stupid.

mickier Report

rspanther
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I had a few things and a duffle bag that I was buying to the register, she rang everything up, and it was less than I thought it would be, got to the car looked at the receipt and she didn't ring up the bag.

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#13

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System When I worked in a convenience store store many years ago, the candy was all in a set of shelves right at the checkout counter. The wife of a well known businessman in town would buy a regular sized 3 musketeers bar, drop it "by mistake" and quickly switch it with the giant sized one as she scurried out the door. She did it several times a week.

It was such a sad behavior that I didn't bother to call her on it, but I was continually amazed that someone of such stature in town, would take such a chance for such a silly little thing.

anon Report

#14

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System Not necessarily a scam as such but one customer in the pub I worked in was a known criminal.

One day he came in with a load of stained bank notes and claimed a biro exploded in his pocket. We already knew one of the money vans had been robbed the night before and the driver was in hospital with serious injuries. Every time we served him, we made sure to use the till nearest to CCTV so the transaction was seen and kept the money in a separate part of the till. About two hours later when we felt we had enough evidence, we called the police and he was arrested immediately.

Smashleighjayne , Amie Johnson Report

Olivia Lisbon
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Very sensible approach - they don’t sound like the kind of person you want to personally confront.

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#15

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System Bookstore. A guy comes in with a stack of brand new books he wanted to return for cash, and I couldn't do it without a receipt. He whined. A manager came up and immediately told him to take his books and get out. He did, without even trying to argue. She explained to me he was a book reviewer for one of the papers in town. She said he was banned from returns at all the bookstores in town because he tried to dump all the review copies he received.

ShiftyJFox , Ahmed Almakhzanji Report

Olivia Lisbon
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Bit dumb to keep trying the same ploy in the same area…

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#16

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System If grocery counts as retail, I worked in a bakery department of a local grocery chain. We often had regular customers get extravagant cakes done by our decorators, also knew that if they complained enough, they could get it for free (if the right pushover managers were present). One night, we had a customer come in very late to pick up her two cakes, one shaped like Pacman, and another half sheet made into a Pacman map with our lovable ghosts on it.

She.

Loved.

It.

She gushed about it as we packed it up, after showing her how it turned out. And as we handed to her over the counter, she sort of stopped and thought. Opened it up again, and started complaining about how it was all wrong. She just didn't think any of it was what she ordered. We insisted, and showed her the paperwork for the phone order she placed. It was exact to the t. She still wouldn't have any of it.

"It's okay, I've done this before. Just call [manager's on duty name], he knows me, he'll give it to me for free!" She smiled as we called him.

He was livid. Told her he couldn't take any discount, but he'll keep the cake there and she didn't have to buy it if she didn't want it.

I left for the end of my shift at that point, and all I remember is her face looking shocked. I'm not sure how the outcome played, but we were told the next morning to not take large orders over the phone any more.

Ashleens , Yeh Xintong Report

Olivia Lisbon
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Do these people not realise how much work and expense can go into cakes like this? It’s so weird, such a solipsistic mindset.

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#17

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System Its the petty stuff that amazes me.

This guy comes in, first 10 mins we were open that day. I'm putting stock away on the shelf and this guy goes up to the register, ready to pay. So I ring up his loaf of Rainbow bread. I tell him the total and he says it should have been about $0.75 cheaper. I tell him that's the price for the store brand bread, not the Rainbow. He doesn't accept this at all saying that the bread was sitting in the space labeled for the cheap bread so 'that's false advertisement.'

So I get my manager as I can't override the price being the lowly associate I am. He gets into it with my manager who don't take no s**t and they go on a bit, but she does override the price and he pays it. Upon giving him his change, basically the $0.75 he saved, he says to keep it and walks out the store.

Union_of_Onion Report

Veronica Jean
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I'd hate to say it, but those are usually the kinds of people who retell this story as if they are the hero. He didn't take the money because in his mind he was right fighting....in actuality, he was just being a stubborn a*s.

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#18

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System I think it's more what haven't they tried. I've managed a shoe store for eight years and the lengths people go for a deal is insane. The most common problem I see is people (very obviously) swapping price tags and then being really insulted when you don't let they away with.

Nothing has ever topped the melted shoes though. A few years ago I got a call from a woman. She was hard to understand and the most I could glean from the conversation was her shoes had melted. I told her to come into the store and I would see what I could do. I should mention we have the most relaxed return policy out there.

So later that day, the woman comes in with very very melted shoes. Puzzled at how this happened, I asked her. She said she had sprayed them with an aerosol protecting spray while they were on her feet, and then noticed a little plastic tie that held a tag on the shoe. Her immediate thought was to melt it off with her lighter. Having apparently missed science class, she was shocked that the shoes caught fire and melted the laces, mesh shoes and her socks, as well as causing minor burns to her feet. At this point I am biting my tongue to avoid laughing, and ask her what she would like me to do for her. She tells me she would like either a refund or a replacement pair because she knows what our return policy states we have to do. So we replaced them, cautioned her about the spray and asked her very nicely to shop where from now on.

Lostways , Elisall Report

Vasana Phong
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Back in the mid 90s my husband told me a story of when he went to tjmaxx with his mom and grandma, he went to the shoe aisle to look at and try on some sneakers while they were in the women’s aisle, he said one of the sales lady pulled him to security to say he swiped shoes (he had some Jordans on) he was trying to tell them it’s his shoes, at the same time his mom came up, the lady and his mom went at it, as the manager was called up she looked at his sneakers and said to the saleswoman, you know we don’t even carry Jordans here, no apologies-nothing from her, so every time we pass the store as a grown up he’ll say, there’s tj wack

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#19

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System A lady called and tried to get the earlybird price for a pool pass, but she was a day late. I said sorry I can give you the regular price but you didn’t sign up in time for the early one. She says “But I called yesterday to sign up and the lady told me she couldn’t sign me up for one and to call back today and they’d give me the discount!” I was the lady working yesterday..

kmn19999 , Jubéo Hernandez Report

kath morgan
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There are only 3 of us working in my shop and 3/4 business days I’m the one on the till. The amount of people who try the “but I was in the other day and the lady said I could have it at [x price] line is really appalling. I’m the lady. You weren’t here.

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#20

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System When I worked at a makeup counter at Nordstrom, a customer brought in a bag of products she wanted to return. I start unpacking them and all of them have “tester” engraved on the bottom. I told her that I was sorry but I couldn’t return them because they were testers. She then gave me a sob story about how her boyfriend gave them to her as a gift, she doesn’t like them, blah blah blah. Eventually she gives up and leaves. It was about $2,000 worth of skincare. I also watched someone steal skincare off the shelf and try to return it. Fun times

Makeup_momma , alessandrozocc Report

V
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Don't forget get the classic - someone gets through 90% of a product, then comes in the return it because suddenly, just as they've nearly finished the product, they have a reaction.

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#21

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System My friend works at a pet store. They banned quite a few people because they didn't set up their aquariums correctly (no, you can't just throw fish in there), killed at least $200+ worth of fish over the course of 3 weeks, and tried to return them all the time. One of those people worked for a vet and the aquarium was set up at the clinic.

l_eats , Vikram Mudaliar Report

Olivia Lisbon
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It’s honestly disgusting how people treat fish. Honestly, if fish could talk.

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#22

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System I worked for Montgomery Ward for almost 30 years and I had a customer return a tractor after 20 years because he was no longer satisfied with the power Monkey Ward took it back no wonder they went out of business!

garaines , Julia Koblitz Report

Lakota Wolf
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My mom used to refer to Montgomery Ward as "Monkey Ward" when I was a kid. I thought it was just her weird eccentricity XD

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#23

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System When I worked at Gamestop I saw a ton of them, but I think my favorite two are: some kids stole a controller from the Walmart across the parking lot and ripped it out of the box as they walked over to "return" it. I watched them take it out of the box and litter with the trash because they also walked in front of my car to do it as I was driving into the parking lot to start my shift. Then they came in and started yelling about how they wanted their money back for it and they didn't care if they needed a receipt to get it. I told them next time they thought they were gonna be sneaky maybe they shouldn't throw the box down in the parking lot and kicked them out of my store. Same goes for the guy who was a living nightmare, literally calling corporate customer service in front of us because my employee denied him a return out of policy until the corporate people told her to do the return anyway. This SOB grinned like a cat in the cream, took his money, then as soon as my employee went on her break he stormed back in and demanded more money, saying she'd shorted him like $20 and calling him the n-word before kicking him out. Even though I'd been standing behind the counter beside her the whole time... and heard every word they'd said because there were no other customers in the store... I kicked him out for real.

craftygamer92 , Juzzepo Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Τhe audacity of some people is really unbelievable!

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#24

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System Used to work at Costco, and at the end of December without fail there would be a handful of people who brought in real Christmas trees for a refund. Always wanted to tell them to f-off, but costcos policy allows for this sort of stuff so had to do it with a smile.

juicyglutess , maxbelchenko Report

Vasana Phong
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Stupid rule, seasonal items should not be allowed for a refund, like Halloween costumes being returned 11/1

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#25

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System My first day at Walmart a lady took the price off a cheap canopy and stuck it on an expensive one and then demanded to buy the expensive one at that price. Funny thing is that I saw her do it, and I let the manager know, she never got that canopy at her price.

Notorious03 Report

Domi
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

This is also happening in our Tesco.

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#26

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System 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.

coydog33 , Brett Jordan Report

#27

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System Mine is we once had an electronic razor returned twice.
The first time the woman who'd bought it earlier that day said her husband had bought one elsewhere so this was no longer needed. Reasonable enough so my boss refunded her and put it back on the shelf.
Hour later another woman buys it. She returns an hour later saying it has been used and shows us the hair inside it.

Best we can tell one of the husbands had used the razor and returned it.

hedgehog_undercut Report

Marcos Valencia
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I can tell you something about your business: you don't check properly personal care devices when returned.

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#28

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System I couple months ago I was at work. I had a lady and she was joking around and a lot of fun to work with. When she was finished in the change room she came out and said she found a defect in the top she wanted. It wasn’t a defect it was a stitch reinforcement. I told that to her but she wasn’t having it. I told her I could do 10% off just to make the customer happy. She was excited about that and kept shopping. I got moved to cash as she was and she came up to the desk to buy her stuff. When I got to the top she told me “one girl said I could have a discount for a defect I think she said 25%”. I couldn’t believe that she didn’t recognize me. I’m The only girl in the store with short hair and not girlie at all, I very much stand out there. I told her very sweetly “that was me and I said 10%”. She agreed and as I was putting in the discount started asking if I could do 25% just for her. Ummm ma’am
1) I don’t know you
2) I shouldn’t be doing a discount at all and
3) you already lied to my face about what I had said.
I just looked at her and told her “I really wish I could but I shouldn’t being doing a discount at all and I like this job and need to pay my bills” after trying a couple more times she finely agreed to the 10%

highwayheadlight , Derick McKinney Report

and_a_touch_of_the_’tism
Community Member
1 week ago Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

My dude they’re already giving you a discount… I can’t BELIVE they even kept the 10% after her bullcrap…

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#29

30 Retail Customers Who Thought They Were Clever Enough To Scam The System I am one of the managers at a retailer and we were currently hiring a bunch of new associates for the holiday season and a customer had come in and asked for a shopping bag (gearing towards a new associate who barely knew anything yet). She gave him the shopping bag but immediately called me over because she didn’t feel right about it. The customer ended up filling up the bag with merchandise and tried walking out. Little did he know that there security tags on them so the alarm went off.

I was by the front door and politely walked up to him and said something along the lines of “hey let me just check for security tags so you don’t find them when you get home”... he oddly complied. As I was checking the bag I asked him for his receipt and he said “I don’t have it but I just checked out over there”...pointing at the general cash register area.

I then said “okay let’s see if we can print you a new receipt” and as I was walking over to do so, I heard commotion and it was him tripping over the carts and running out of our store. Haven’t seen him since and we have made it a point to let EVERY associate (old or brand new) know NOT to give our our store bags unless purchasing right then and there.

iloveradish , Mike Petrucci Report

Seadog
Community Member
1 day ago (edited) Created by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Higher end clothing store opened a store in a neighboring town. Store had basically just opened the doors and some guy walks in, grabs as many leather coats on a rack as he can carry in one trip (2-3 dozen) and just walks out. It was such a calm and obvious thing, none of the (new) staff gave it a second thought until that night when a manager asked about so many coats being sold in one day. From then on all expensive coats were wired and locked to the rack as well as not being placed near the doors. This was in the days long before security cameras so there was nothing they could do.

#30

Attempting to return an old Casio watch in a brand new Casio watch box. Really nice try, but no. He threw the watch at me and walked out when I denied the return.

anon Report

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