I used to work in Asda – these are the strangest items people would return & why Sunday customers are always the worst


WE’VE all returned clothes, homeware, sometimes even food when we realise we don’t want it.

However, it’s unlikely that those things would have been half eaten… unless you’re a certain kind of Asda customer, according to one former employee.

Samuel Bownes, 31, lifts the lid on what it's really like to work for your favourite supermarket


Samuel Bownes, 31, lifts the lid on what it’s really like to work for your favourite supermarketCredit: Samuel Bownes
Samuel worked at Asda for seven years - and recalls the ridiculous returns customers tried to make


Samuel worked at Asda for seven years – and recalls the ridiculous returns customers tried to makeCredit: Alamy

An insider has lifted the lid on the supermarket giant, revealing the weirdest things that Asda shoppers try to return.

As part of Fabulous’ new series, Talking Shop, we’re finding out what it’s really like to work in your favourite high street stores.

This week we meet Samuel Bownes, 31, from Woodbridge, Suffolk, who worked at Asda for seven years.

Here paramedic Samuel, who lives with partner Clare, a receptionist and their 9-month-old twins, reveals his least favourite kind of shopper and the biggest perks of working there.

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Samuel says: “THE customer carried the half eaten Christmas turkey through the store and plonked it on the counter.

‘I want my money back – it doesn’t taste right,’ he demanded

I was used to the odd tricky customer but bringing back half eaten food was definitely a new low during my time working on the checkout in Asda. 

‘I’m sorry, you can’t half eat something and bring it back, it doesn’t work like that,’ I calmly told him, but it was no good.

The customer flew into a rage, which unfortunately was not out of the ordinary. 

Customers were always trying to bring things back that couldn’t be returned. 

It was a regular occurrence that at Christmas we’d get half eaten turkeys back. 

Sometimes people would even bring back half eaten chickens. 

They’d complain it didn’t taste like they expected – even though thousands of other customers were happy.

I’d explain we couldn’t take it back if they’d already eaten it. 

People would get really upset when we told them they couldn’t have their money back when most of it had gone.

Customers were always complaining, you just get used to it.

But complaints weren’t limited to returns.

There was one time I had a row with a customer in the car park. I used to porter and use an electric cart to bring the trolleys in and he accused me of almost running into him.

I said, ‘No I didn’t you were going so fast.’

I told him he shouldn’t be going over 10mph in the car park he went in and complained but luckily managers didn’t pay him any notice.

People would complain about nothing all the time.

Complaints I could deal with, however, the absolute worst kind of shoppers were those who ignored closing times.

It would get to 4pm on a Sunday and people would just act like I was invisible.

I’d go around the store telling people it’s closing and to make their way to checkout.

People would just give no reactions, totally ignore me and carry on doing what they were doing almost as if I wasn’t there. It was frustrating. 

And then they’d go mad when they’d get to the checkout and there were none open.

If they did make it to the tills, then customers could be extremely snobby.

I once had a customer say to me after handing me £500 ‘I bet that is the most money you have handled’.

I couldn’t stand customers like that. I wouldn’t expect comments like that in Asda.

It was quite rude. I don’t think I responded to it to be honest most of the time I didn’t speak to people on the checkouts because I didn’t want to engage with them.

A lot of them just had an attitude. They felt like they were better than me.

But it wasn’t all bad, we did get a staff discount of 10% which did come in extremely handy.

The store I worked in was one of the largest in the UK at the time and we sold so much which was a positive if we needed anything personally.

Every so often the store would run the staff double discount day which meant that staff would receive 20% off instead of 10%

That was always a great day!

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Fabulous approached Asda, but they declined to comment.

Half eaten turkeys were just some of the items customers tried to return


Half eaten turkeys were just some of the items customers tried to returnCredit: Getty
Samuel is now a paramedic and glad to see his days of working for Asda over


Samuel is now a paramedic and glad to see his days of working for Asda overCredit: Samuel Bownes


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