Am I a “Karen?”

A view from a hike in Flagstaff.

This past weekend in Flagstaff my husband and I walked around Old Town, waiting for a text from a restaurant called Fat Olives that our table was ready. The restaurant had a 30-minute wait. My husband spotted a sculpture through a window of a shop. We are looking for a few pieces of art for our new house and he found something he thought would be perfect.

The front door of the shop was open so we started to walk in. An employee at the counter said “We’re closed.”

“I just want to check a price. I’ll be out in a second,” my husband said.

I noticed at least six customers in the store and several employees.

“Come back tomorrow,” the employee said.

“We won’t be here,” my husband said.

“We won’t be back,” I added.

We walked out but I turned around and saw the employee with fists up to her eyes doing a “wah wah wah” crying gesture and everyone in the store laughing. I flipped.

I walked back to the door and called out, “Are you the owner?”


“Are you the owner?” I repeated.

“I’m the manager,” she said smugly.

“Well I’m going to write to the owner,” I said.

“Come in here and talk to me,” the manager said. “Don’t yell.”

“I’m not yelling. I just want the owner to know how you treated us.”

“I’m following the owner’s policy,” she said. “We were supposed to be closed 20 minutes ago.”

Really? I wondered if the owner of the shop’s policy included ridiculing potential customers behind their backs? I doubt it. Also, it was 6:10 p.m. so it was a lie that she was supposed to be closed at 5:50 p.m.

I told my daughter this story and she called me a “Karen.”

She said I had no idea what it’s like to work in retail and how the manager is underpaid and abused by customers all day long. My daughter worked in retail for Lululemon and had customers throw clothes at her face. My daughter added that the manager was just doing her job and I was in the wrong.

I told her that the manager lost the store a big sale. But my daughter said the manager is probably an hourly employee and that means nothing to her.

So what do you think? Was I being a Karen? Also, have you noticed a lack of customer service lately? I’m old school. I remember a day when the customer was always right.

19 thoughts on “Am I a “Karen?”

  1. If you were being a “Karen”, then (a) We need more “Karens” to call out these little fucks, (b) I too am a “Karen” because I get loud and stupid enough to make the little shits cry, and (c) I like “Karens”

  2. That is outrageous in a high end store. When I see good customer service, whether it is at Save-a-lot or Publix or the library, gym, etc. I notice and say something. It makes me return to the scene.

  3. I don’t consider that Karen behavior at all. The “manager” may have been underpaid but that doesn’t excuse rudeness. I would have written the owner (without making despairing remarks about the manager’s nose ring). I bet he/she would like to know what’s going on in the store when they aren’t there… especially losing a potential sale.

  4. Customer Service took a nose-dive several years ago. I was in Customer Service for 30 years and people have lied to me, have hollered at me, and basically called me stupid. But they were purchasing the largest purchase of their life. A house! And it is a stressful time for them. I never lost my cool, because I felt for them! You can say no to someone without pissing them off. If you cannot, you are in the wrong business. You are not a Karen! And you should write to the owner because if he/she did not intend to be nasty to customers, there are many people that would like the chance he gives for employment. However, if he/she doesn’t give a damn, it will make no difference to them and you will not have ruined anything. My Mother used to have a saying, “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!” She also said, “If you are hired to dig a hole, dig the best damn hole you can dig!”

  5. So, I am going to speak from the manager’s point of view, as I worked in retail management for 14 years. She was probably tired after dealing with entitled customers all day. I am not referring to you as entitled; you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. You bore the brunt of her exhausting day.

    Without a doubt, she behaved badly. Did you behave like a Karen? Not in my opinion.

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