Everyone loses their cool from time to time. Maybe you’re sitting in traffic after a bad day at work and someone cuts you off—you overreact, lean on your horn, and shout a few choice words at the other driver. That’s no big deal, provided that you keep it together when you’re actually out in public.
Unfortunately, some people have trouble reining in their worst impulses. On Reddit, people shared the stories of the worst meltdowns they’ve ever seen—situations where adults, for whatever reason, turned into pouting children. We picked a few of the best stories, then edited them slightly for grammar and readability.
Working in a candy shop isn’t always sweet.
“I was working Christmas Eve at a high-end chocolate store in San Francisco,” wrote Undeadgorgeous. “It’s nearing closing time, we’re still busy, it’s rainy outside, and I’m just ready to go home.”
“A lady comes in asking if we had chocolate-covered cherries. I show her the ones we have, but she doesn’t like that they’re individually wrapped (instead of in a gift box). She starts to get upset that we don’t have a gift box of chocolate-covered cherries anywhere in the store.”
“No, she doesn’t want a gift-wrapped box of the individually wrapped ones,” they wrote on, “she wants a decorative gift box of chocolate covered cherries. She kept shouting this over and over. She then picks up an unrelated box of truffles. “‘Do these have cherries in them?’”
“‘No ma’am, those are truffles.’”
That, apparently, was the last straw.
“Suddenly, the box of truffles comes flying at my face. The corner of the box hits me directly above my eye. My manager starts yelling as I’m clutching my face. The woman’s eyes get huge, and she just runs out of the store. She was not a small woman, so this would have been hilarious if she hadn’t just hit me directly in the face with a flying box of chocolates.”
“We called the police, but by the time they showed up, she was long gone. On the bright side, my boss gave me the box of projectile truffles to take home, so I scored $70 in free candy from the incident.”
This is actually the first of two ketchup-related stories we found.
“My parents own a small restaurant in Wisconsin,” wrote SotheBee. “It is only open in the summer and is a converted gas station. The main thing we do are Chicago-style hot dogs—the area has a dense population of retired Chicago natives—and ice cream.”
“For additional context: You don’t put ketchup on a hot dog in Chicago. They are passionate about it.”
“We had a little old lady come in, maybe around 70, and she told us that she was from Chicago and was chatting us up. She said she liked the dog; overall, she was very pleasant.”
“We had a customer come in who had been eating outside; she was not from Chicago, but was a local customer. She asked if it would be possible to get a little ketchup on the hotdog she ordered—as she didn’t know it came without it.”
“Apparently, this was some kind of trigger for the old woman as she immediately went off—and went off hard.”
“‘You do not, under any circumstances, put ketchup on a Chicago hot dog, you unbelievable stupid [lady],’ she yelled. ‘You are a [lousy] disgrace.’”
We cleaned that up a bit—hey, this is a family site.
“She kept yelling at her until the lady went back outside,” SotheBee recalled. “We were aghast. I asked the old lady to kindly leave while my mom snuck out the back with a bottle of ketchup and apologized to the woman who was yelled at. She was shaken but okay, and understood that [the old lady] was kind of a loon. We ended up giving free ice cream to her and her kids after the whole thing.”
“The lady who was yelled at is now a really good regular customer, so…silver linings.”
Some people are monsters when they can’t get their coffee.
“I went to grab food from this restaurant, to-go,” wrote KrakenMonarch. “In the parking lot of the restaurant is a drive-thru Starbucks. I’m sitting outside, waiting for my food to be ready, and I see this car pull up to the window of the Starbucks. The woman in the car starts pounding on the window and screaming, ‘It’s 8:58! I can see you in there!’”
“Finally, a guy walks up to the window, and she continues to scream at him about the time and starts telling him what a piece of s*** he is. He points to a sign on the window, and she gets more angry.”
“Eventually, she starts threatening to call corporate and says she’s giving his name. ‘I see your name tag, Brad!’ So he opens the window. ‘Ma’am, I apologize, but we close at 8:30. We changed our store hours four weeks ago.’”
“She gets all huffy and says, ‘Well, I didn’t know that.’”
“‘Yes, I understand—that’s why I was directing you to the sign on the window.’”
“She starts getting angry again. ‘Well, it’s too small, I can’t read it well, and that’s stupid. Y’all have been open till 9:00 for years!’”
“‘Again, I’m sorry, ma’am. Have a nice evening.’”
“‘Well, since you’re here anyhow, why don’t you just make my drinks?’”
“‘Sorry, ma’am, but we’re closed.’ He shuts the window.”
“‘Oh, well, f*** you too, then. You know what, I’m calling corporate anyhow! This is ridiculous, I’ve never been treated so poorly! You’re just lazy. That’s why you work a s****y job. You’re never going anywhere.’”
“For context, this kid was 19-20 at the oldest, and the woman in her 40s, at least. After she peeled off, I walked up to the window, knocked, and told him I saw the whole thing in case he needed someone to side with him if she filed a complaint. He laughed and said that there were security cameras, so he wasn’t worried.”
Sadly, some of the worst meltdowns occur at kids’ athletic events.
“I work as a high school football referee,” wrote Yetanotheraccount18. “This means I also get to officiate middle-school football. Nothing is worse than working middle-school or junior varsity football in the more affluent parts of town. It’s just pathetic, the way some of these coaches act.”
“I’ve been screamed at by coaches, but that’s okay. I can take that—it comes with the job. The thing that gets me most upset is when coaches direct hatred at their players. No 12-year-old deserves to be called a ‘stupid sack of s**t’ for dropping a pass. I always call the coaches out on it when they start getting mean to their players, but the problem always spills over from one game to another. I know 12-year-old me would have been heartbroken if someone I looked up to flung insults like that at me.”
“As for the worst meltdown I’ve seen, I would have to say that it came from an angry coach. This coach held a grudge for a particular referee from the junior varsity game that he had coached two weeks prior.”
“Well, two weeks later, we were back there for the varsity game. Since this is varsity football, the coach in question is not coaching this team; he’s merely a part of the support staff. On the first play of the game, the coach spots the referee he hates. He comes down out of the stands, onto the field, and starts this tirade, yelling ‘They sent this stupid [jerk], I’m not leaving till they get someone competent down here to call this game.’”
Family site, remember.
“The team he is with, of course, gets a penalty called on them. The actual head coach was livid since his team now starts with 1st and 25 because some junior varsity coach had an ego trip during the middle of his game in front of 3,000 people.”
Little League parents aren’t much better.
“When I was in college, I worked for the city’s parks and recreation department doing whatever they told me to,” one Reddit user explained. “Part of my job involved keeping the stat books for Little League and city league baseball games.”
“Little League parents are the worst. [They’re constantly] putting their own kids down loudly for missing pop flies, yelling and threatening kids on the other team, and cussing at the refs for perceived slights.”
Yes, he calls baseball umpires “refs,” but he’s the one who actually worked the job, so maybe he knows something we don’t.
“One day, a ref called a kid off the field from the plate because the kid had a necklace on. Mom immediately becomes unruly. The ref sends her to me because I have the books.”
“I calmly and politely tell her that necklaces are a violation for safety concerns. Just have little Timmy take it off, and he can get right back out there.”
Case closed, right?
“Oh man. You’d have thought I had just told her that I needed to amputate little Timmy’s neck before he’d be allowed to play again.”
The mother immediately started yelling a string of curse words that would make George Carlin blush, physically threatening the refs—we’re just gonna go with it—in the process.
“Even as a little 18-year-old, I did not tolerate that b*****t, and this went so far past the line in about zero seconds. The whole field and the stands are silent; everyone is staring at this psycho with their mouths agape. Little Timmy is obviously humiliated.”
“I should have kicked her out right then, but that would have meant ejection from the park, which would have meant Timmy definitely wouldn’t have been able to play. He didn’t deserve to be punished because his mom is a whackjob.”
“Instead, I step to the fence and say, ‘Hey, Timmy, just give Mom your necklace and you’re good to go!’ Relieved, he starts walking towards us.”
That set the mom off; she started yelling about “daring to speak to.” She doubled down on her threats, noting that she’d beat him up if he wasn’t a minor.
“I shouldn’t have engaged. I saw the security guys coming. I should have just kept my mouth shut and let them handle it. Instead, I just flashed her a sweet smile and said, ‘I’m 18, honey.’”
“I had been sitting inside the announcers’ box, but came down to the bottom of the stairs with the book at the beginning of this encounter. She is on the other side of the aluminum handrail, and she starts climbing up and over it to get to me. She swings her purse at me, but the security guy grabs her and pulls her back, knocking her off balance just a little bit. Her bag hits him in the face instead.”
Ultimately, the mother was banned from the park for life, which meant that Timmy (obviously not his real name) was forced to quit the team. Hopefully, that kid’s had better parenting since then.
This Apple fanatic wasn’t exactly acting like a genius.
“When I worked as a student technician at our school’s shop, we had a girl who came in with her parents to buy a computer,” wrote Commander_Shepard_. So far, so good, right?
“This was a big sale. Many parents were not smart enough to buy computers online or at Best Buy, so they would buy from us to get our terrible discount. I showed her and her parents some Dells we had in stock, but she kept insisting on a MacBook Pro. Cost was an issue, so we went over to the Dells first. She pushed a little more.”
“The girl’s father said no. They began to argue, and she got visibly angry, noting that all the other girls were getting MacBook Pros, and if she didn’t, she would be a loser. She was going to be unpopular if she didn’t get what she wanted.”
“She refused the Dell her father was about to pay for, and straight up told him that if he bought it, she would throw it out her dorm window. She was not going to walk out of there without her MacBook Pro.”
“When he said no, she began to cry. He shook his head and left her there. She stood there, asking others if she was being unreasonable. Most people were confused; one kid sarcastically told the father that he would take a free laptop.”
“She kept standing there, and then she screamed loudly, trying to get others to support her. Everyone was cringing, and I left to deal with other people. The father walked out, the mother came in and defended her daughter’s actions, but he refused. After embarrassing herself in front of her new classmates, she eventually left with her parents.”
“Eventually, she came back and attempted to buy a MacBook Pro with a credit card, but after looking at the card, I refused the sale immediately. The girl had yoinked her dad’s credit card somehow. She gave me every excuse in the book, explaining how she had come into possession of the credit card and why her father was not there, but it was dreadfully obvious she had somehow stolen the card. I declined the sale, and she began to threaten us, so we called security and they escorted her out.”
“I saw her once during the semester in a computer lab, and she scowled at me. She told me that she had to use the computers on campus for everything since I refused to give her her MacBook. I laughed and walked away.”
Here’s the second ketchup-related story.
People are really particular about their condiments.
“I saw some guy throw a fit because our store didn’t have ketchup,” Booner999 wrote. “I worked at a sub shop. The guy stopped the line and said, ‘Attention everyone! This store doesn’t serve ketchup! What kind of restaurant doesn’t serve ketchup?’”
For starters, sub shops don’t always have ketchup. Unfortunately, the guy wouldn’t listen to reason.
“He caused a massive scene until the guy behind him in line spoke up. He said something along the lines of, ‘We get it, they don’t have ketchup. Shut up and move. You’re holding up the line!’”
“The guy who told him to shut up received a cookie on the house.”
If you’re a regular at a restaurant, don’t be like Angry Jelly Guy.
“I worked at a coffee shop that sold bagels from a local bakery and purchased little containers of butter and cream cheese, which customers could have on the side,” wrote MrsAnthropy. “Exactly one person in the entire five years I worked there asked for jelly on his. He came in every Saturday morning and got a bagel, then took up four tables playing chess with his friends, many of whom didn’t buy anything.”
“Every single Saturday, he would ask for jelly with his bagel. Every time, we told him we didn’t have any, and since no one else asked for it, we couldn’t justify the cost with our vendor. He would chuckle really loudly, then inform everyone in the shop that we sold bagels, but not jelly, and wasn’t that crazy?’”
“Months into this game, he brought in a jar of cheap purple jelly and informed us that we could just go ahead and put that on his bagel. Of course, it had already been opened, and we had to tell him that, legally, we couldn’t use products from outside the store, which sent him into a rage.”
“My manager finally just bought a container from the grocery store and kept it in the fridge with ‘Angry Jelly Guy’ written on the top. I would not have been so gracious—it infuriated me that I had to slather that stupid jam on his stupid bagel every weekend.”
As you might expect, fast food work isn’t easy.
Hyper_Fujisawa worked at a Wendy’s for a few years. The fact that this story occurred in a Wendy’s is important, for reasons that will become obvious. Oh, and Little League is involved, because of course it is.
“The meltdown of legend was when a Little League mom came in with the whole team of kids and ordered food for all of them and some of the parents,” they wrote. “She then began to grow increasingly frustrated [and] visibly upset at the amount of time it took to prepare such a large volume of food.”
Look, those square hamburgers don’t just make themselves. If they did, Wendy’s would be a much weirder place.
“She begins to pointedly ask why her food was taking so long, over and over, each time her voice getting a little higher. After a few minutes, she starts saying, ‘This is simply unacceptable,’ and asking for a refund despite the fact that she can see the poor sandwich maker is standing right next to me working frantically to put all her cheeseburgers together.”
“I say, ‘Okay. Let me just get the manager.’ She then starts screeching she wants the refund now and throws her carrier tray of Frosties onto the floor, gets down on her hands and knees, and, I s*** you not, proceeds to start grinding the spilled Frosty into the carpet with her bare hands all the while shrieking as if her child had been run over in the drive-thru.”
What a waste of Frosties.
Needless to say, we’ve got plenty of stories from the fast food drive-through.
Frosties are dangerous weapons, but they’re nothing compared to a taser. Bear with us on this one.
“So I just started my shift at McDonalds, it is 8 a.m. so we aren’t serving any lunch,” smpsnfn13 wrote. “This lady comes in and tries to order chicken nuggets. I tell her we do not have chicken nuggets until 10:30. She looks frustrated but accepts this news and leaves.”
“So 10:30 rolls around, we are switching everything to lunch, and about 15 minutes later, the same lady comes in and orders 30 Chicken nuggets. Okay, cool. I put in the order, put her food on the tray, and proceed to give her the nuggets.”
In a sane and just world, this is where the story ends, but this is not a sane and just world.
“Now, we give 2 sauces per 10 nuggets, and my boss was a stickler about this rule. Well, she wants like 15 sauces. I give her more then I should have and tell her, ‘I can’t give you any more sauces.'”
“She flipped out and started yelling at me calling me every name in the book, so I walk away and get my manager. My manager comes, and [the lady] has opened all the sauces and nuggets. She flips the tray over at my boss, and she is covered in sauce.”
“Now, my boss was an older Mexican lady, and she didn’t take s*** from people. So she starts going off on the customer tells her to get out, and that the cops are on the way.”
The restaurant hadn’t actually called the police…yet.
“The lady leaves, and comes back with a taser, no joke, and starts to come around the counter. My boss got a broom, and they are in a stand off at the entrance into the employee area. Now, the cops were called, and we are pretty close to the station, so they get there in about five, maybe ten minutes. The whole time the lady is trying to get over [the counter], and my boss is just waiting to smack her with the broom.”
“Finally, she hears the sirens, and tries to bolt. By then, it was too late, and she got arrested. Crazy times at that McDonalds.”
This next story works better if you actually picture Mr. Rogers.
“Worked at a very small niche magazine publishing company as an editorial assistant during college,” wrote theanti_girl. “My editor was the sweetest, most polite, middle-aged gentleman I’d ever met. We all got along great, and he really was a joy to work for. He reminded me of Mr. Rogers with a southern drawl.”
Even if you’ve got the demeanor of Mr. Rogers, keeping your cool can be tough…especially when your bosses give you ridiculous demands.
“Once, the day before an issue was headed to press, our publisher changed the entire focus of the issue, requiring a significant rework and an all-nighter by this editor and a few others.”
“He tried to stay quiet and just sit there brooding, but ol’ Mr. Rogers lost it. He stood up and kicked his plastic trash bin across the office, and then, swearing the whole time, walked up to the publisher’s desk (he didn’t have an office, we were all in he same room) and used his hands to knock every single thing off his desk. No one even said anything, we all just watched in horror/amusement. He ended up taking a walk to cool off and everything blew over, but we never let him forget about it.”
If you’re going to demand something, make sure you know what it actually is.
Record stores are pretty laid back places…most of the time.
“I worked at Tower Records way back when,” wrote ambiguousaffect. “A nicely dressed, middle-aged woman came up to the register to ask about a CD that was supposed to come in. It was some obscure classical album. Obscure enough that she couldn’t tell me the album title, the composer, the band, nothing. Our computers had to have at least one of those pieces of information to look up if it was in stock and where it would be located, or even if it was in stock at another one of our stores.”
“Apparently, she’d gotten a stock transfer from another location (but couldn’t remember which one). The way transfers worked, if another store in the region had it, it would show up as being in stock there. Once they pulled it, the receiving department would scan it, prep a shipping slip, and it would show as in stock at our location once our receiving department had received and scanned it (and then they’d call the customer to say it was in).”
As it turns out, record stores have fairly standard practices for keeping their collections organized, but if you know literally nothing about what you’re trying to find, the staff can’t really help you.
“When she couldn’t give me any info I needed to try to look it up, she started full-on screaming at me for not helping her. I did the super polite, ‘I’m so sorry I can’t help you’ while smiling as sincerely as possible retail spiel and, as it does, it just enraged her. The more polite I was, the worse she got. I explained that I couldn’t look up this CD for her without any info, but that I’d be more than happy to help her if she could remember the title, composer, or artist. Then she started stomping her feet while yelling at me. Finally, a bewildered customer came up to be rung out and Lady Stomps stormed off into the classical room.”
Lady Stomps, by the way, would make an excellent band name.
“I called back to another employee that was in charge of our classical section and asked him if he’d mind helping her. If she hadn’t been such an entitled a******, I could’ve called the other store to check the status of any stock transfers coming to our store. Surprisingly, she came back to the register to apologize to me after cooling off in the classical room. Since she was playing nice, I went ahead and called the only other location in our state and found out that it was en route, and told her we’d call her as soon as it came in.”
“It was fascinating watching her cycle through civilized, screaming and stomping, apologetic, and then grateful. I like to think I used to do my part in training customers for the future generations of retail workers.”
Really, that’s the key takeaway: Every person has bad days occasionally, and we’ve all thrown a tantrum or two. Most of us don’t abuse retail employees or rub Frosties into the carpet of our local Wendy’s (or, at least, not without the express written consent of said Wendy’s). If you’re ever on the edge and you find yourself losing control, listen to some classical music and try to relax—otherwise, you’ll end up as the entitled main character in someone’s favorite tantrum story.