8 Hours in Retail: Chicago’s Most Hated Customer

Recently, I got a new job at a trendy jewelry store. It’s a nice mix of my last job, but busier and a little more satisfying personally and financially. I like it. Anyway, I was talking to one of my co-workers last week and she asks me if I’d run into “E.” yet. (I don’t want to get sued. So we shall call her “E.”.) I replied, “I haven’t. But, I know exactly who your talking about. Is she black with a British accent?” My co-worker nodded and was like, “I don’t think that accent is real. She’s a pathological liar.” I nod my head in agreement and chime in, “Yeah. She has a reputation.” And, she really does.

I’ve only had one run in with E. when I worked at that resale shop. I remember her coming coming in to sell clothes and one of my managers that she liked did her buy. I knew from previous employee gossip about this character and the special treatment she got for being a very unpleasant individual (Insert 5 letter explicit word here.). Anyway, I got the very unfortunate task of ringing this lady out. Now I can’t remember exactly what she asked for that I denied. But, I remember clearly how she narrowed her eyes at me and raised her voice in the faux British accent to try to intimidate me into doing her bidding. In a dry voice I was like, “I need to ask my manager.” Every associates response to questions beyond “Cash or Credit?”. Said manager glanced over and just told me to do it. They did not want the hassle and low key neither did I. E. left the store very happy and jumped into her cab she had waiting outside for probably an hour at least and went about her merry way to terrorize the next retail associate.

It wasn’t just the resale shop that had issues with this customer. I had a few friends that worked at HM and during a photo shoot for a magazine I copy edit for they brought E. up. I remember laughing in disbelief, because how likely is it that one of your evil regulars is known at another store and brought up in conversation? Very likely after last week. There story was the same as my co-workers. E. would come into the store and make ridiculous demands, get very angry when they weren’t met leading to the managers to bend over backwards to accommodate her, and then claim that everyone loved her and were her friends once her needs were met. She’s one of those people that constantly tells associates that they had the store managers permission to do X,Y, and Z, but that’s never the case. My co-worker even went on to tell me she goes into another one of our locations just to use the mirror and walks out. It happens enough that she doesn’t even greet her anymore. Why she doesn’t just go into the Sephora next door, I will never know.

The moral to the story is to never be E. Do not go around harassing the staff at the stores you frequent to get your way. You’ll only end up with a horrible reputation around a city as large as Chicago and a blog post written about your naughty behavior.




8 Hours in Retail: I Found a Bag of Pee Once


Retail. Whether you’re flipping burgers or folding a mountain of polos, you’re in the business of dealing with customers. Most customers are standard, they’ll be in and out with little to no fuss. Then there are the select few who come out of nowhere just to create havoc in your work environment. From messing up the store to cussing you out, you hate them and they know it. And, then there are those customers who do or say the craziest things that’ll either have you giggling fondling in remembrance or rolling your eyes in annoyance at their stupidity. This segment will explore a little bit of all of the above. Now let’s get to how I found that bag of pee.

It was a typical late summer day in 2012. I was working at a trendy resale shop at the time in a faux bougie area in Chicago. Most of the customers wore Lululemon workout apparel or Tory Burch with a Michael Kors or Marc Jacobs bag, but walked around like they were wearing head to toe current season Alexander Wang with a Birkin bag on their arm. You could feel the entitlement emanating off some of these folks.

Anyway, I was working the fitting rooms that day. I went back to do my usual fitting room check, closing doors and making sure no one left any clothing or sensors behind, when I see it. A plastic bag with this liquid inside siting in the corner of one the stalls. I take a closer look. The liquid appeared to be a clear, pale yellowish color. I was taken aback. I remember just staring at it, trying to figure out what it was, why it was there, and who left this? Who carried around a bag of mysterious liquid? I couldn’t wrap my mind around it, but at least it wasn’t all over the fitting room floor. There had been a pickle juice incident a month or two prior, so I lucked out.

I grabbed a paper towel, picked it up, and went show it to two of my managers in the back room. I’m like, “Look what I found.” Their response was to bust out laughing. Hilarity and dramatics ensue from that point forward. One of my managers paraded it around to everyone working that day. She called people from the front of the store to the back just to look at it and laugh hysterically. Oh, the fun we used to have back then. The bag of pee has since been immortalized in a photo taken from that managers Facebook page, with the caption “In case you’re confused, that is a bag of urine found in the fitting rooms at work. In case you’re still confused, we’re on the same page.”

That’s not the last weird item I’ve found working at that store, but it’s the most memorable and least disgusting bodily fluid story I have.

Retail MeRetail Me Circa 2013