woman speaking in car (l) supermarket worker helping customer (c) woman speaking in car (r)

Jacob Lund/Shutterstock @arianatomlinson2323/TikTok (Licensed)

‘The customer is not always the f*cking bad guy’: TikToker says grocery store worker shouted at her for asking about mac and cheese price, sparking debate

'Some people are being rude to the general public for like no reason.'


Gisselle Hernandez


Posted on Jul 15, 2022   Updated on Jul 18, 2022, 1:21 pm CDT

With thousands of stories exposing “Karens” for berating retail workers, it’s clear the notion that the “customer is always right” is far from true. But one TikToker claims she was on the receiving end of hostility from a grocery store worker for no reason. 

TikToker Ariana (@arianatomlinson2323) says she was shopping for mac and cheese at her local grocery store when she had an unpleasant interaction with an employee. She says she left the store in near tears. 


normally i wouldnt even bother someone for 99¢ but he was literally right next to the mac and cheese he was so mean

♬ original sound – arianatomlinson23

“I want to preface this by saying I’m 20 years old, and I have worked in customer service since I was 14, so I have a lot of experience and I know how it is,” she starts in the video. 

“But I think the whole like ‘customer service people have it terrible’ is getting out of hand because some people are being rude to the general public for like no reason,” she continues. 

Ariana explains she noticed Kraft mac and cheese was on sale for $0.99 at the store, but she wasn’t sure if it applied to only one box of mac and cheese or for every box bought. If the latter were true, she says she would simply buy five of the ones on sale instead of a five-pack for $5.99.

The TikToker claims there was an employee working in that same aisle so she decided to politely ask him to clarify the prices. 

“He turned and looked at me like I did something insane,” she says. Ariana says she proceeded to ask her question, which prompted the employee to respond rudely. 

“Well it’s on the shelf right there, you can look at the price yourself,” she claims the employee said. Ariana says she continued being nice to him in case he wasn’t purposely being “mean” and asked again whether the price applied to one box or all. 

“And then he literally went, ‘I don’t know!’” the TikToker says. “He literally yelled at me, and the lady that was in the aisle with me stared at him. And I said ‘OK I’m sorry for bothering you at your job’ and then walked away almost crying.” 

The TikToker says since the manager was conveniently bagging her groceries at checkout, she decided to let him know about the incident. His exasperated reaction led Ariana to believe that this was not the first complaint against the employee. 

“You guys need to understand the customer is not always the fucking bad guy,” Ariana continues. “Obviously the customer is not always right. But them asking a simple question about the store you work at doing a sale at the aisle you’re literally in […] you don’t have to get mad at people for asking you to do your fucking job.” 

“Like I understand that you don’t want to be there and you’re probably miserable, but don’t take it out on literal random fucking people,” she finishes. 

Ariana’s TikTok has received over 32,000 views as of Friday, with hundreds of comments debating whether the employee was in the wrong. Several viewers defended the employee, saying he already goes through enough as a retail worker. Some even criticized the creator for “snitching” to the manager. Ariana quickly refuted those claims in a comment. 

“In the real world, your actions have consequences. it doesn’t matter what kinda day u had u can’t yell at innocent customers for no reason like ?!?” she wrote. 

Update 1:21pm CT, July 18: When reached for comment, Ariana told the Daily Dot via Instagram message that she was planning on getting a few more items from the store but got in line right after the encounter so that she could leave. “I felt super unwelcome and it was just not a great experience. i thought about it for the rest of the day,” she said.

She also addressed the criticism she received from some viewers.

“There were people calling me a karen for talking to the manager but why would i just let it slide?” she questioned. “If you’re getting paid to help customers but you yell when a customers asks for your help you need a different job.”

“I think the people defending him are just conditioned to think retail employees can do no wrong because they are overworked,” she added. “Yelling at random people is not okay in any setting, especially when you’re getting paid to do the opposite.”

The TikToker also said that while the manager apologized, she doesn’t know if the worker was reprimanded. “I kind of wish i knew if he at least spoke to the employee,” she said.

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*First Published: Jul 15, 2022, 12:58 pm CDT