Anybody who has ever worked in retail has about 100 horror stories about difficult customers. The “Karen” has become a meme-able archetype for this; a demanding, self-important shopper who treats the whole experience like a battle to be won; and not through wit or charm or bartering skill, but through tantrums, volume, and confrontation. It’s enough to make anybody want to take a little petty revenge.

Hence this story that popped up, fittingly enough, on r/PettyRevenge:

Karen demands her price.
byu/mschach88 inpettyrevenge

Basically, Karen wanted a better price, and she probably could have got one, if she had just bothered to treat the employee like a person.

There’s a lesson to be learned here. Being a j^rkmight have the exact opposite effect you’re looking for.

Another user refers to this phenomenon as the “as$hole tax.”

And unlike most taxes, this one has a lot of support.

But is it truly effective if they never know?

One could argue the net effect is 0.

But there may be no helping some people.

Maybe everybody wins?

It’s just so difficult to have sympathy with someone who acts so ridiculous.

How does she find all her connections anyway?

Of course, we could stop giggling for a minute and try to break down real human behavior.

But at the very least, we can take this as a cue to be nicer people, for everybody’s benefit.

So I guess that’s the real message here. The person working on the sales floor or behind the counter or in the kitchen is just trying to do their job, a job for which they are more than likely underpaid, and unless they’re actively antagonizing you, you owe them courtesy and respect. So give it, or pay the as$hole tax.

Got any retail horror stories?

Let it out in the comments.