When it comes to people trying to return purchased items to a store, there are three kinds of stories. On the one hand, you have stories where the customer does their due diligence in explaining why they need to return something, provides literal receipts, and is usually able to return the item with little to no hassle. On the other hand, people can run into situations where stores make it as difficult as possible to make a return no matter how prepared the customer is.
Then, of course, there are the customers whose reasons for returning are so absurd that we can't help but feel awful for the retail workers who have to deal with that kind of nonsense.
To that end, Kaelin on TikTok (@whatsinthekoolaid) has a story that falls firmly in the camp of wacky customer interactions. Apparently, she had to deal with a customer who tried to return a used pan to her store.
Guess how well that went.
A cashier deals with a customer who tries to return a frying pan... after it's already been used.
Kaelin spilled the tea on this customer in a TikTok posted in early December 2023. As of this writing, her infamous "frying pan debacle" story has over 1.6 million views on the platform.
At her former job, Kaelin had been writing up work schedules when she was called down to help a customer with a return. According to Kaelin, he was attempting to return a frying pan... that was clearly used.
She'd been asked to take point from another cashier, who reportedly already insisted to the customer that he couldn't return the pan because it was already clearly used.
"I look down and, sure enough, this man has brought in a frying pan that is completely encrusted with food still on it," Kaelin recalled.
Of course, the customer didn't see it that way. In fact, he insisted that the pan was defective and demanded his money back. Despite Kaelin's attempts to explain how the store couldn't simply take back a cooking implement with food still on it, the customer simply wouldn't let up.
And honestly, that should have been obvious from the start. After all, a store can't take back a cooking tool with food stuck on it and expect to be able to resell it to anyone. Not only that, but the customer also failed to hold onto the packaging.
Reportedly, he even tried to exchange it for another pan. Again, that wouldn't work because the store would still end up with a crusty frying pan that no one else would buy.
He even tried to argue that the store gave him a warranty on the pan, though Kaelin tried to explain that that was an issue with the manufacturer of the pan and not the store itself.
After Kaelin very rightfully did not fulfill the customer's absurd return request, he took the pan back and claimed that he would be "calling headquarters on [her]". Needless to say, Kaelin was not reprimanded for this.
Folks in the comments were having a laugh riot with this one. One person theorized, "Is the defective part [that] he doesn't know how to get it clean?"
Other people shared similar retail horror stories in which customers tried to return items that were very much used beyond repackaging.
If I ever had to deal with someone who tried to blame a store for their frying pan being defective, I'd turn that frying pan into a crying pan.