TJ Maxx worker says she was 'almost killed' by a customer after argument at checkout

@itshardouthereman/TikTok Helen89/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘Admittedly I was being passive-aggressive’: TJ Maxx worker says she was ‘almost killed’ by a customer after argument at checkout

'I work at the same store chain .,and I had almost the same thing happen to me.'


Beau Paul


Posted on Jul 10, 2023

If you had a hard day at work lately one TikToker’s tale of a checkout line experience turned sideways may make you feel better about your workplace woes. A retail worker with the all-too-appropriate username of @itshardouthereman recently posted a two-part video describing how a misunderstanding at the register nearly turned into a full-out assault.

@itshardouthereman feared for my life to be honest! #fyp #storytime #work #karen #karenstories #trend #viral ♬ original sound – mj

Tiktoker @itshardouthereman, who also goes by the handle MJ on the site, posted her first video about the incident last week. It has since received over 85,000. In it, MJ identifies herself as an employee of “a non-disclosed retail discount location that rhymes with ‘PJ Mask’.” MJ then goes on to describe an encounter with a customer she identifies as a “Karen“—internet shorthand for demanding and over-privileged women.

“I’ve had my fair share of Karens,” MJ says in the video.

According to MJ, she misunderstood what items the customer wanted and whether or not she needed a bag due to the customer being on her phone during the transaction. When the customer demanded a bag MJ slid the item to the customer across the counter. That’s when things escalated.

“Why did you just throw that at me?” the customer allegedly demanded of MJ, indicating her bagged purchase. “I do not like this attitude you’re having I’m going to need you to do that again,” the customer said.

In a very slow and over-exaggerated fashion, MJ apologized and rebagged the item, and handed it to the customer while pointedly telling her to have a “great day.” In a second video (which has been viewed 19,000) MJ describes how the customer lost her temper and began threatening her after she laughed as the customer began to leave the store.

“I hear the loudest yell I have heard in my place of employment,” MJ stated. According to her, the customer began threatening her saying that she would, “beat your ass.”

“I’m terrified,” MJ said. “She’s walking around the counter … to come beat my ass.” Thankfully any violence seems to have been averted by the eleventh-hour appearance of what MJ believed to be the customer’s daughter, who escorted her mother out of the store.

While MJ did manage to avoid an assault, many of the commenters on her videos believe that she likely contributed to the situation escalating. User @ameliakay217 wrote that “honestly it sounds like you were part of the problem also,” and @shannanheat, who said she has been a “Retail Manager for 25 years,” stated that “You could have politely asked her if she wanted a bag. It’s a little rude to assume she doesn’t want one.” MJ herself does admit in the video that she was “being passive-aggressive.”

However, many commenters were plainly on MJ’s side. User @becca22423 commiserated with MJ saying, “This is legitimately why I’m trying to quit working in retail with a passion!” And @erniepeters119 admitted to finding himself in a similar situation saying, “I had almost the same thing happen to me years ago one of the mgrs. had to get between us.”

Another self-described retail worker pinned down on the store itself: “tj Maxx customers are feral. I hated working there.” TJ Maxx is a discount store and it operates in more than 1,000 U.S. locales.

The Daily Dot has reached out to MJ and TJ Maxx for comment.

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*First Published: Jul 10, 2023, 10:48 pm CDT