Did you know which Reddit question is making headlines lately? It’s “what is the most desperate scam a customer has tried to pull on you?”

Apparently, people are sharing crazier than fiction answers that are way too hilarious to be real. Scroll down to see how shoppers desperately tried scamming retail workers with a twist all at once. 


I worked for my mom-in-law at her home decor store. I had an older woman come in and when I rang her up she said she got a discount because she was the owner’s mom. My immediate reaction was to yell, “GRANDMA!” and throw my arms out like I wanted a hug. She left very quickly. BTW it was not my grandma-in-law.


Worked in a bottle shop. One afternoon a shady character entered and spent 10 minutes browsing the liquor section. I stayed at the checkout and watched him on the CCTV. He ended up shoving two bottles of Johnnie Walker Blue down his pants and walked out. Store policy is not to confront shoplifters; that’s what insurance is for. I called the police and burnt the footage onto a DVD for them to collect. About an hour later the same guy returns with the bottles demanding a cash refund because he ‘purchased the wrong type’. Just as I was telling him I can’t do a refund without a receipt the police walked in to collect the footage. He left with them in handcuffs.


Our store is carryout only — we don’t deliver the pizzas we make. We once had a customer call and have a long and angry conversation with me because I wouldn’t deliver to her. She proceeded to say (a couple of times), ‘You must be new here. I know the owner personally,’ to which I responded, ‘Well, I’m the owner’s daughter, and we don’t deliver.’


This person came in with a coupon for a free iPod. The fine print said, ‘Guaranteed and payable by Bill Gates.’ I asked why Bill Gates would pay for an Apple product. They left.


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”


I had a woman try to return something without actually bringing the item


I was working in customer service, and part of my job was to answer any incoming phone calls. We got a call from a guy claiming to be from technical support. He told me that he wanted to update our systems, and to do so, I needed to follow his instructions. I obviously knew this was a scam but decided to play along. He told me to log in to our computer, ring up a gift card for $100, say he paid cash, then read off the gift card number for him. He said that would update our systems! Still the funniest scam attempt I’ve ever seen


I was working at a place that had soft-serve ice cream on the menu. One day, a lady came to the counter and said, ‘I’m really sorry, but my daughter dropped her ice cream and she’s really sad about it. Do you think you could give me another?’ I was about to, then I realized our ice cream machine was broken that day and we hadn’t sold any. I looked back at her and told her that the ice cream must’ve not been from us because of the machine. She turned bright red and mumbled, ‘Oh, then I guess it must be from Dairy Queen or something,’ and left quickly


I once saw someone trying to return an empty 10-pound bag of ice because it had melted too quickly.


I worked in a grocery store. One night, a guy kept walking back and forth in front of the doors while jerking a plastic bag around. Finally, after his third try, a big jug of wine broke through the bottom of the bag and smashed right in front of the doors. He started yelling that our bags were [trash] and that we better get him another bottle. I walked him outside and told him we couldn’t replace it because we didn’t have any wine jugs filled with black cherry Kool-Aid. No, wine doesn’t smell like that.


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


I used to work at a game store. One time, a woman came in and asked for two PSPs, two Xbox 360s, and a handful of games and accessories. When it was time to pay, she handed me a ‘credit card’ that was not laminated and appeared to come from a home printer. I told her the card wouldn’t work and she told me to scan it anyway. I scanned her fake credit card, which clearly didn’t have a magnetic strip, and of course it didn’t work. She told me to just type the number in on the computer. I refused, and she told me she would be back with cash. I put everything back on the shelves. She did not return.


A guy comes in to fill his son’s Adderall script. The guy is super twitchy and his son is chill as could be. For all controls, we are supposed to run a report that shows everywhere in the state they have filled any. Of course, the report is a mess, multiple pharmacies, multiple scripts, multiple doctors, all the red flags. To top it off an aderall script within that week had been filled so we really couldn’t 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 son’s pills, get help and stop using your son to get high on prescription drugs.


I used to work at Best buy. This guy came in and returned a laptop saying that the box had some old laptop in it. He was yelling and screaming that we dont know how to do business. Manager gave him full refund. We started to check that old laptop he brought in. It won’t turn on. Looks like the motherboard was toast. We pulled the hard drive out and started checking the data. Hard drive was completely fine with everything on it. We started looking for the clues and found the pictures of the guy who returned the laptop. It was his old machine. We had all his info. Manager called him and said he has 15 mins to bring the new laptop back or he is calling police. That guy came in, dropped the laptop at front desk. Never saw him again in the store


A customer brought back a jumpsuit for a refund because it had [poop] in it. She claimed it was like that when she bought it. It stank so bad that you could smell it through the taped-up plastic bags she had put it in. It would never have gone unnoticed by the changing room staff, the customer, or the cashier if she actually bought it like that. Someone at the refund counter actually accepted it and put it in the trolley full of other returned items for us to put back out. There was a note stapled to it that said, ‘Warning: feces inside.’


I sold a guy a phone years ago when I worked for a wireless carrier. I spent an hour getting all his information transferred and setting up the phone. He came 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 the phone was like that when he left the store. Needless to say, the phone was not replaced


I worked at Arby’s, and we closed for a week while our store got remodeled. We were all there one day during that week preparing to reopen when someone called and claimed we’d messed up their drive-thru order the previous day. They demanded that we remake their order for free. The manager had to fight laughter while telling him that we’d been closed for a week


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.


I worked at a gas station. Once, a guy came in, grabbed a foot-long sub from the sandwich case, opened it up, pulled a hair out of his own head, and stuffed it in the sandwich. He came up to the register and demanded a refund.


Oh boy, back in highschool when I worked part time at a KFC, there was this one fat man who would come in, order a 2 piece quarter pack, and then claim we forgot his chicken. Like, when we turned around to fetch his drink at the end of the order, he would open the box, take out the chicken pieces and hide them in his pockets. Hot chicken. Right in his pockets.

I got so fed up with everyone just giving him extra chicken all the time that I demanded he turned out his pockets one day when he tried to pull it and WOW LO AND BEHOLD this guy has his pockets full of drum sticks.


I worked at Aldi, which has a return policy where you get your money back plus an item of equal or lesser value. One customer routinely returned a gallon of milk with just a quarter remaining, claiming it was ‘rancid.’ He’d then get a new gallon and his money back. This went on almost daily for two weeks until the district manager finally put his foot down.



I worked at Ulta, and someone tried to return some liter-sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner, but they had filled them with water and froze them. The temperature and condensation were a dead giveaway, so we refused to return their items. They proceeded to call corporate and complain, so they got a $100 gift certificate and we got b**ched at.




A customer called my company and complained that my shirt was untucked so that they could get free coupons. This woman made such a mess out of nothing, and I almost got written up over it.



I work at a movie theatre. We have a 5 dollar discount day. A customer comes over and starts telling me how she was there the prior day and that we had given them the wrong soda and her Diabetic husband had drank it and suddenly had to go to the hospital to get medication to “cure him”.

Several things wrong with that story:

That’s not how diabetes works. You don’t die from one sip of soda, and generally if you did, you’d have insulin to take.

The employee she had complained to in order to call me over had been the only concessionists the prior day and somehow she failed to identify him when I asked her who it was.

I asked her for a ticket stubs or proof of purchase, and she came up with nothing. I went to the attendance for the prior day and pulled the report for the movie they claimed to have saw. To my delight the showtime they claimed to have seen had zero tickets sold to it.

I printed the report and went back to meet them.

“Yea, sorry looks like there were zero tickets sold to that showtime.” And I showed her the report. She then tried to say we sold her tickets to the wrong movie. I told her that was impossible because then she would have been in the wrong auditorium. She had no response to that. Then she spluttered that she “guessed she would just go buy tickets” and I said “yea I guess so”

She left.


When I was at Little Caesars, this lady came in with her pizza box and proceeded to tell the cashier she had bought the pizza the previous day and it was burnt, so she wanted a new one. There were only two slices left in the box, and it was a day old. They still gave her a new pizza. Not worth the fight for a $5 Hot-n-Ready.


“I’d like to return this unopened pack of cigarettes I purchased earlier today at your establishment”. Might be paraphrasing a little bit.

I open the store everyday, hadn’t seen this dude once that day. Looked at his cigarettes, it’s a brand we don’t carry. Asked him for a receipt to “confirm” he purchased them here, but he obviously didn’t have one.

“That’s fine! If you can just tell me what time you were in here today I can look it up on our cameras to confirm your purchase.”

My God the backpedaling and stuttering. I grabbed his cigarette pack and fake examined them.

“Wait a moment sir, are you sure you purchased these at this store? I don’t think we carry this brand”. He took the cigarettes back, came up with something about his brother must have yada yada and then he walked out.

A tobacco store in town sells some of the brands we carry at a much cheaper price, so people like to try and do returns at our store to make a quick buck. We generally don’t take any returns on tobacco, but this guy didn’t even scope out his mark.



At my old job, they used to have sales pretty often and would also give out coupons for specific dates. For Boxing Day, they had a 30% off sale and we’d also given out coupons that would start the next day. Lady comes in on Boxing Day and we worked out that she’d get more of a deal if she used the coupon instead, so I offered to hold her items for her. I explicitly told her that she wouldn’t be able to get the 30% off and she decided to use the coupon instead.

She comes back the next day, goes to cash to purchase her items and gets angry because they wouldn’t give her both the 30% off and let her use the coupon. She told the cashier that the person she’d spoken to the day before had told her she could do that, sees me, and says “it was that girl who told me!”

I went to cash to speak to her (I was a keyholder at the time) and her story changed about three times through the whole thing. First she said that I told her she could combine the discounts, then she said that I never told her she couldn’t combine the discounts, and then finally it was “Well I don’t understand why I’m not able to do this.” Another manager came over to help sort it out and as I walked away I heard her saying that I was a liar.

Now, I work at Sephora and we always get people trying to return fake products. My favourite one was when someone returned a face mask but had put a can of tuna in the box instead of the actual face mask.