Phone Store Workers Share The Funniest and Most Embarrassing Things They’ve Found On A Phone
We live in a digital age where people are obsessed with social media, smartphones, and technological advancements. It makes sense; after all, why wouldn’t you use something that can provide anything you want to know at the touch of a couple buttons, lets you play games when you’re bored, and serves as a camera, flashlight, phone, map, and so much more?
When your phone needs to be repaired or traded in for a newer model, it can feel almost like giving away a beloved pet. The difference is that on your phone, you might have accidentally left pictures, contact info, or other details you didn’t mean for the whole world (and especially the phone store employees) to see. For some people, the embarrassment was too real, and even to this day, they remember what they forgot to delete. Phone store employees haven’t been shy in sharing what they’ve found at work.
I worked at a phone place and had an older guy come in complaining because he bought over 100 apps and his bill was outrageous. I told him I could try to reduce the charges. I wasn’t able to do much for him, and he left angry. He didn’t realize he had to pay to use certain types of apps….
These types of things probably happen quite often. People seem to think that because an app is on the app store, it’s free. That isn’t always the case. It’s always best to read through everything on an app page so you know what you’re getting into. I hope this older gentleman figured out how to use his phone properly without getting excess charges. Reddit User: [redacted]
Cute Pictures and Smooth Moves
On two occasions, I’ve had men try a super “smooth” move: after checking that a data transfer had worked, they handed the phone back to me with the gallery open to a dirty picture. Do people think this will work? Other than that, a few times, people have come in with phone trouble and unlocked their device with adult videos clearly playing. Sometimes you forget to close your tab afterward….
On a more heartwarming note: an older man (probably in his 70s) was in because his iPhone wasn’t ringing (it was on do not disturb, happens all the time), and his wallpaper was a really cute chocolate lab. I told him it was a nice picture and asked if it was his dog. He said no and that it was just a nice-looking dog. Reddit User: swiftlet08
Don’t Grow Up Too Fast
I work at a phone store and once had a girl come in with her mom. She was probably 14 or 15. This was back when you could set a banner to appear on your phone’s home screen. I flipped it open to start troubleshooting, and the banner said something obscene that a girl that age shouldn’t even know about….
I really wondered if her mom knew what it said and decided I should say something. I was able to repair her phone, as it was just a settings issue. I told the young girl she should check out our new phone cases, and that gave me the chance to show her mother. She wasn’t happy and immediately left the store as soon as I was finished with the phone. Reddit User: BiscuitsUndGravy
This happened to my sister. She was screen sharing with an old man who wanted to transfer his pictures from his computer. The first thing she noticed was that his background picture was a horse. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. Lots of people have their favorite animal as their background. She goes into his pictures, and there are literally hundreds of videos and pictures of horses….
There were the normal horse pictures, but things got a little strange after that. She started to notice some riskier pictures with the horses. She even swore he was in one of the pictures. She couldn’t look at the man after that. The old man just laughed and said she must see a lot of strange things where she worked. Reddit User: 1WhoSawItAll
A customer came in one day complaining about a virus. I said, “Okay, we’ll take a look.” It turns out that the instant you press the power button to turn it on, the phone is completely locked up. You couldn’t avoid looking at a slideshow of very graphic pictures, no matter what you tried to do. The content was disturbing….
I gave him a temporary replacement phone, contacted Verizon letting them know to send this guy a new phone, and also contacted the FBI to let them know of this virus. The store received a letter from the FBI about three months later thanking us, as that phone had been helpful in tracking down the source of the virus and pictures. Reddit User: Melontastic
That Was Unexpected
I work at a phone store and had a guy bring in his iPad because it wasn’t receiving data. I had a look and fiddled with some settings. Eventually, a power cycle resolved the issue. I opened Safari to test if it was working. As I did so, a coworker asked me a question, and I looked away from the iPad….
The next thing I knew, we were all being treated to the adult content this guy had been watching at maximum volume, which was able to load again now that the data was working. The dude didn’t even bat an eyelid. He just showed his excitement that it was working, thanked us, and left. I went and washed my hands after that. Reddit User: Toskorae
They Know What They’re Doing
I’ve been working at a phone store since 2000. Working this job has made me realize that quite a few people are into voyeurism. They like other people to see them naked or doing other things. I’ve had plenty of people bring me phones or computers where the background is a picture of them naked that they definitely wanted someone else to see….
They always smile when I unlock the phone but rarely say anything. It’s really strange and creepy. There was only one time where this kind of situation seemed to be accidental. It was a woman who brought her boyfriend’s phone in to be repaired. She was shocked to see the background on his phone and apologized to me a few times. Reddit User: 92yj
A Confused Girlfriend
A customer came in with his girlfriend demanding we replace his phone. He was convinced we sold him a used one. None of our phones are remanufactured. After telling them every phone we sell has to be brand new and sealed, his girlfriend told us that’s impossible since the one we sold him had Tinder preinstalled. I wasn’t sure what to do in this situation….
Tinder isn’t a preinstalled app. He had to physically search for it and press the download button. I decided to explain this to them calmly, and that’s when the problems started. They proceeded to berate me and insist the phone was used. The guy kept looking at me with this look on his face that was begging me not to tell her the truth. Reddit User: brettduch
An Awkward Situation
It’s surprising how many dudes keep photos of naked women as their home screen. It’s also a little awkward to be working with a couple. I go to check the guy’s phone to make sure his pictures transferred and see a whole album of his wife naked. Then, you have to sit there across from her for the rest of the transaction….
I wonder what possesses people to keep these types of photos on their phones. Wouldn’t it be easier to delete them instead of risking someone else getting a hold of them? It could be a dangerous situation if the phone was hacked or stolen. Reddit User: meech7607
I used to work for a phone store and saw my fair share of interesting situations. The weirdest thing I ever saw on the phone was a piece of the wheel from a semi-truck embedded into the phone. The guy was inflating high-pressure tires, and one exploded. He put his phone in the left breast pocket, and it may have saved his life….
I’m sure it made for a great insurance claim story. The guy was thankful to be alive after an intense experience that could have easily killed him. We were able to set him up with a new phone, and he decided to keep the old one after the insurance claim was filed. This is definitely one of those things I’ll never forget. Reddit User: FancyPotatoMaker
Mom Wasn’t Happy
I have another story about helping a customer. I was helping a mother and daughter with an issue where her computer wasn’t picking up the pictures from her phone. It was an issue fixed easily, and the mom and daughter were giggling about all the pictures popping up on the computer screen. That was until we got to the daughter’s nude photographs….
The mom started screaming at her daughter. She was absolutely furious. I decided to close the laptop before things got worse. They began to disturb our other customers, so I looked at the mom and told her she was going to have to wait until she got out of the store for the lecture. They left in silence after that. Reddit User: Surticy
A Strange Encounter
I worked for Sprint and had a guy that owned a gym come in with his attractive daughter to get her a new phone. As I’m doing maintenance on their account, he grabbed her phone and started looking at her pictures. He showed me pictures of her in a bikini, doing bodybuilding poses. This was fine, as it wasn’t embarrassing….
That all changed, however, as he scrolled towards the bottom of her camera roll. There were nude photographs. A normal dad would lock the phone, but he decided to laugh and show them to me anyway. She was slightly embarrassed but didn’t try to take the phone away from him. I would have been furious. The whole situation was very weird and uncomfortable. Reddit User: martsimon
I used to work for Verizon. I’ve seen plenty of strange things with phones, but the majority of what I saw while working there was phones covered in questionable substances. There was one customer that brought in a phone covered in what smelled like feces. He wanted us to clean it for him. I had to call my manager over to handle it….
It turns out that the guy was walking his dog and dropped the phone after his dog went to the bathroom. My manager decided to offer him a deal on a phone of the same type instead of attempting to clean it. It’s amazing that people think store associates are supposed to do these sorts of things. The guy seemed happier, leaving with a new phone. Reddit User: TIFUbyResponding
I used to work at a major phone retailer and saw my fair share of interesting phone issues. I saw a woman come in one day that was very impatient. She wanted assistance right away and couldn’t wait to speak with someone. She was already irritated when I told her she had a few people ahead of her. That only made things worse….
She was stomping through the store, waiting for her turn. When I got to her, she informed me that her Blackberry wasn’t working, and she couldn’t understand what the problem was. She handed the phone to me, and I instantly knew. She had makeup caked in between every key on the phone. The Blackberry needed to be taken apart and cleaned thoroughly. Reddit User: [redacted]
Those Don’t Belong There
I was working at MetroPCS selling phones, and this guy came in with an older Samsung Phone. He wanted to put it on our plan, so I told him what needed to be done and got to work. I took off the phone case, and that’s when the problems started. Did I mention that I’m terrified of all kinds of bugs?
A bunch of dirt fell out of the phone case, followed by one dead cockroach. I was obviously freaked out at this point, but it was worse when I dropped the case and a live one came out of it. It was a matter of professional pride that I finished the job before freaking out privately in the back of the store. Reddit User: Alarmed_Ferret
I was working at a mall phone kiosk one summer when a man walked up with his fiance. His phone was damaged, and he wasn’t able to turn it on. I couldn’t do anything to fix it, so he decided to get a new phone. He asked if I could retrieve his contacts, so I had him log into his information….
I was able to retrieve everything from his old phone, and the first thing that popped up was a nude female. I made a comment about not expecting something like that. His fiancé saw what I was looking at and instantly started screaming at him. The woman in the picture turned out to be her best friend. I had to call mall security to escort them from the premises. Reddit User: broccoleigh
I work at a phone store and have been told about plenty of interesting situations. I didn’t believe some of it until something strange happened to me. This guy came into the store, and a fellow employee directed him to me with a smile on his face. He wanted help with his phone, as he didn’t understand technology or smartphones….
My coworker came behind the counter and listened to our conversation. He asked me to help him send a picture, so I proceeded to open a new text message and asked him to show me what he wanted to send. It was a picture of a black mannequin with a noose around its neck. My coworker later told me that he comes in all the time. Reddit User: Sshs152
I worked for a small cell phone company in Alaska and had an interesting encounter a few days ago. A man came in with a mangled phone and asked if I could retrieve his contacts from it and help him choose something more durable. I was curious about what happened to it and couldn’t help asking. The answer is something I never expected….
This man stated that he was out in the woods hunting one day and accidentally left the door open on his truck. He went back to close it when he realized it was still open and found a 150-pound Alaskan timber wolf in his truck. The wolf ran away, but his phone didn’t make it. The wolf chewed it up and destroyed the interior of his truck. Reddit User: baron556
Ranchers and Sledgehammers
I work for AT&T in Arizona and had an interesting encounter last week. A rancher came in and needed help with his phone. He said he had a Palm Treo 600, but I would never have known by just looking at it. He said he was working on adding a new fence for his livestock and forgot his phone on top of a fencepost….
He grabbed his sledgehammer to drive the post into the ground and hit the phone full force with it. I was actually able to save the phone, as the main switchboard was still in decent shape after being hit with that much force. I just switched out everything else, and he walked away with an almost new phone the next day. Reddit User: [redacted]
That’s Not a Good Solution
I work for Sprint and had a woman come in one day that was absolutely frantic. She was clearly having some issues and was convinced her ex-husband hacked into her phone. She said it was acting strangely ever since their divorce and it was his fault. I proceeded to ask her what it was doing and couldn’t get a clear answer….
I asked to see the phone, and that’s when things got even more interesting. She handed me a charred and melted pile of plastic and metal. She told me that she was so worried about him listening in that she put her phone in the oven to block the signals. She forgot it was in there and baked some cookies. Reddit User: [redacted]
Wet and Squishy
I have an interesting story to tell everyone, but I’m sure it’s one you’ve heard a lot from people working in a cell phone store. I had a man come in one day who needed a data recovery done on his phone, so he could get a new one. He said he just got the phone less than a month ago but needed a new one….
He handed me the phone and neglected to tell me that it was soaked with toilet water until after it was in my hand. Apparently, he was using the bathroom, and the phone slipped out of his pocket as he was flushing. Here’s a professional tip for everyone: if you repair phones for a living, always wear gloves when handling someone’s phone. Reddit User: [redacted]
Little Black Bugs
I’ve come across a lot of funny things when repairing someone’s phone, but this one takes the cake. I had a customer come in one day asking for help with a clicking noise coming from her phone. It wasn’t coming from the speakers but from inside the phone itself. I asked if she could leave it with me so I could take it apart to figure out the problem….
Later that day, I started working on the phone and quickly found the problem after taking it apart. The phone was full of dead and living black ants. They were the tiny ones that are often used in ant farms. I called to tell her the issue, and she said she broke her ant farm a few weeks prior, and the ants were all over her phone. Reddit User: [redacted]
A Hidden Stash
A lady came into the Verizon store where I work one day complaining about her phone quickly losing its charge. She couldn’t figure out what the problem was and even stated that she bought a new charger for it. I asked to see it and didn’t see any issues until I decided to remove the case to check out the battery….
The back of the phone was bulged out like there was something behind it. When I pulled the back of the phone off, two small packets of marijuana fell out. It was causing the battery to lift off the contacts and lose power. She was shocked and acted like she didn’t know it was in there. This is actually a pretty common occurrence in our store. Reddit User: [redacted]
This Former Employee Saw It All
I used to work for Nextel when the service was very popular. I had my fair share of funny and embarrassing moments, but the most common occurrence was toilet phones. Our customer base was made up of workers in the construction and industrial fields for the most part. I had a customer come in one day with blue hands and explained that he had an accident….
He explained that he worked in the construction industry and used the port-o-potty outside while on lunch. He accidentally dropped his phone into the freshly cleaned toilet and decided to fish it out. He wanted to know if I was able to save it. I tried my best, but the chemicals ate away most of the interior components. He ended up having to get a new phone. Reddit User: thirtysevenfaux
A Concrete Mess
I worked for Nextel during the height of its popularity and had a construction worker come in one day with a block of concrete in his hands. I was curious when I saw it, to say the least. He explained that he was working and didn’t realize he dropped his phone into some freshly poured concrete. He didn’t find it until hours later….
He had to cut out the hardened block to extract his phone but didn’t know how to get it out without breaking it. I had to inform him that it wasn’t worth saving. He took the block outside and smashed it to get the phone out so we could extract the board to recover his contacts to put onto a new phone. Reddit User: [redacted]
A Surprising Find
I work for the Apple Store and often get customers with phone issues. The most interesting case so far was a man who came in needing help with his iCloud account. He couldn’t get his pictures to transfer and wanted me to show him how to do it. He had the iPhone 6, which did have some initial issues with iCloud, so it made sense….
I took his phone and proceeded to ask him which pictures he wanted to be transferred. The first one was a picture of a marijuana growing operation, which is completely illegal in my state. He was proud of it and stated that it was in a unique area. I should have known when I saw little bits of green stuff in his speaker ports. Reddit User: [redacted]
An Embarrassing Experience
This is by far the weirdest experience I’ve ever had working at the Apple Genius Bar. I had a customer come in to drop his iPhone 7 off for repair. He was the owner of a construction company and seemed to be quite the character. He came off as rude and mean. I told him his phone would be ready the following day….
I had the opportunity to work on his phone about an hour later and repaired the battery quickly. I had some time to kill, so I decided to run a cursory check to make sure everything was operating as it should. A Facebook Messenger message came up with pictures of the phone’s owner dressed as a schoolgirl. It seemed as though he was role-playing with several people in a group chat. Reddit User: [redacted]
He’s Not Getting It Back
I used to be a manager at a Nextel Store before it merged with Sprint and had a lot of interesting characters come on a daily basis. I had a customer come in one day who wanted a new phone. He was wearing a company outfit with a logo I couldn’t make out. It sounded like an environmental firm….
I assumed he was a maintenance man. I mention that if he brings in the old phone, I can copy his contact list. He gets this twisted look on his face like he doesn’t want to think about it. It turns out his company services septic systems, and the old phone is at the bottom of a cesspool. I don’t blame him for being disgusted. Reddit User: aRoseBy
A Truck Stop
I used to sell phones at a kiosk in a truck stop. Money was actually pretty good, and 90% of the customers were good people. This was around the time the Razr was the best phone out there, before iPhones. One guy came in complaining about his wife finding text messages between him and his girlfriend like it was my fault that he was caught….
I asked him how she found out, and he said she looks through his phone when he’s home sleeping. The genius had his girlfriend saved in his contacts as Tiffany – Texas Girlfriend. I’m not necessarily proud of what I did next, but I told him he should change her name from Tiffany to Tom. He showed me afterward, and the contact said Tom – Texas Girlfriend. Reddit User: WesbroBaptstBarNGril
A War Veteran
This wasn’t necessarily the weirdest situation I’ve been in, but it’s the most memorable. This guy came in one day who was a war veteran. He was in Iraq and was shot. The bullet hit the phone first and slowed the impact. I guess the docs told him he would have died had the phone not been in his pocket….
When he got back to the States, he brought it to us for a replacement under his accidental damage warranty. We swapped it out for a new one. If it had been me in that situation, I would have kept the phone that saved my life instead. Who knew a phone could slow the impact of a bullet and save someone’s life? Reddit User: [redacted]
An Awful Smell
This guy brings in his Blackberry Torch and asks for help getting it working again. My coworker picks it up, opens the back, and takes the battery out. All of a sudden, he was overpowered by this smell of moldy, rotten bread. He asks the phone owner, and the guy just laughs and tells him that he threw up all over the phone while drinking the previous night….
Everyone in the store heard the conversation. My coworker was visibly upset, and the customers around us kept commenting on how gross that was. This guy was rude for not telling us beforehand. If I can offer any advice to phone owners to avoid something like this in the future, it would be that phones don’t work after being immersed in bodily fluids. Reddit User: GeraltIsAReaper
Harassment Is Never Okay
I work as a sales rep for Bell. We have a regular come in at least two times a week who can’t read. We do a lot for him, like adding contacts, reading texts, and changing passwords. One day he came in and was trying to go on a date with some girl he met on Facebook. He wanted me to message the girl and ask her to call him….
Before I did, I scrolled through some of the messages to see what was going on, as he usually just sends emojis. This girl was telling him to leave her alone or she would report him to the police. I told him this, but he didn’t believe me and told me to send the message anyway. He was harassing her, and I refused to help him any further. Reddit User: cloudcodeC
Messages for All to See
I had a repair come in from a member of a Hollywood production crew. She told us what she did and offered the opportunity to us to check out the photo gallery, as there were photographs taken on set and such. I saw a photo of Zach Galifianakis talking into a banana, but the most embarrassing parts of the phone didn’t have anything to do with celebrities….
She needed a battery replacement, and it’s part of our procedure to ensure every part of the phone is working. Everything that was on it originally should still be there. While checking the phone, a text message popped up with risqué photographs and naughty messages. I only saw part of it, but the owner was so embarrassed when she picked the phone up. Reddit User: [redacted]
A Fried Phone
I worked for a major phone retailer as a repair specialist and had an interesting case a few months ago. A teenager that couldn’t have been more than 17 years old came in and was hysterical. I couldn’t even understand what she was saying at first. I was able to get her to calm down to tell me what was wrong….
Apparently, her parents bought her the most expensive phone on the market, and she accidentally dropped it into a deep fryer at work. The phone was completely destroyed. She didn’t want her parents to know and decided to spend every penny she had to get a new one. She ended up being a few hundred dollars short and had to explain what happened to her parents. Reddit User: [redacted]
Her Dating App Was a Must
A girl in her early 20s came in one day with an old Android Gingerbread phone that was killed by app and service updates. It was out of storage. She refused to upgrade to something that could handle all of her apps. I decided to go through it and delete the old cache and files and realized she only had one app installed….
Tinder was the only app on her phone. It takes up a lot of storage, so I asked her if we could delete it to make more room on her phone. The phone would run decently without it, but she wouldn’t let me delete it. I asked her again if she would consider a cheap newer model, but she refused. Reddit User: [redacted]
It wasn’t Apple, but I worked in a mobile store. A guy comes in with a phone that won’t accept touch on the screen. I offer to move over contacts and data to another phone. To do this, the screen needs to be unlocked. Luckily, the phone still works in the bottom corner. As the screen unlocks, the kid turns ghost white….
The first thing that popped up was a text conversation with someone, with a close up picture intended for some female’s eyes. I panicked and decided in shock to lock the phone. So, basically, the embarrassment had to happen twice for this poor kid. It was a rough day for him, but just another awkward day for me. I see a lot in this line of work. Reddit User: [redacted]
I once had a phone come in because the customer said his phone didn’t respond to touch. I quickly discovered that he never cleaned his screen, leaving a layer of gross residue of some sort caked onto the screen. I was surprised he was able to use the phone for so long. I was also surprised he never even attempted to clean it….
After a few passes with some cleaner and a microfiber, his screen worked flawlessly. I explained the cleaning procedure to him. He told me he thought he couldn’t clean the phone because it would ruin it. He had just been wiping it on his pant legs whenever it got sticky. He was only slightly embarrassed and thanked me for my help. Reddit User: [redacted]
A Chocolate Mess
I didn’t work like a genius for Apple, but I did work at Geek Squad. A guy comes in with a dead MacBook in tow. He already knew it was probably a long shot but brought it to us anyway. He explained that his kids had an ‘accident’ while he was using it and wanted us to take a look and see how bad it was….
The keyboard was clearly sticky, but we didn’t know the full extent until we took it to the back. We opened up the logic board, and low and behold, the entire thing was coated in chocolate. I mean everything. We found out that his kids had managed to spill an entire bottle of chocolate milk, and by the time it got to us, it had time to congeal. Reddit User: lucky7id
A Furious Customer
I wasn’t at a phone store, but I used to work for Walmart in electronics. We also sold phones on a contract or prepaid plan. This one guy came in furious and convinced that we did something to his phone. He showed it to me, and sure enough, it had some sort of FBI block on it. He was unable to access anything….
I had to call my manager over to help because he was so angry. I’m not sure how he thought we would manage to do something like that on a prepaid phone. We ended up being able to take the lock off of his phone. It turns out that his phone was locked from the FBI due to accessing adult videos on some sort of sketchy website. Reddit User: rdiaz2013