A Sam’s Club employee called out male customers who seem unable to handle the most basic shopping tasks in a viral TikTok video, striking a chord with viewers.
“This is where a man asked me where alcohol wipes were, and I said, ‘They’re at the very end of this aisle.’ And he said, ‘No, they’re not. I walked up and down this aisle ten times,’” Gina DiFloria (@ginabeena27) says at the start of a minute-long video that quickly reveals her exhaustion.
“This is where I showed him where the alcohol wipes were,” she continues, taking the camera to the end of that very same aisle. “And he said, ‘Oh. I didn’t walk down that far.’”
Social media has drawn increased attention to the idea of weaponized incompetence over recent years—that is, “strategically avoiding responsibility—by pretending to be incapable or inept at a task so that someone else helps,” according to Psychology Today.
This phenomenon is usually discussed in the context of relationships, with one frequently given example involving boyfriends or husbands who repeatedly mess up the grocery shopping so that their partners simply stop asking them to do it at all. However, it’s also been used in discussions about male Instacart shoppers, who customers say regularly mess up orders.
But DiFloria’s video raises the question of how this behavior translates to interactions with workers—every single one of the seven interactions she mentions throughout her video specifically highlights a male shopper.
“This is where a man asked where the biscotti was, and when I pointed to this several times, he said, ‘That’s not biscotti,’” DiFloria says of a display that repeatedly shows the word “biscotti” in bold letters. “This is where a man told me that we were out of AA batteries. This is…where a man asked me where gummy bears were that I showed him and he got mad at me because he actually meant fruit snacks, and I was supposed to know that.”
While this, of course, doesn’t mean only men make silly mistakes at the store, it does suggest DiFloria’s experience has been that the balance skews in that direction. And the response from viewers suggests they know exactly how that feels.
“Me, at a register: this is where multiple men yelled at me because I swiped their company card, THAT THEY GAVE ME, when I should have known they wanted to use their personal credit card,” added one commenter.
“Sounds like you’ve met every single one of my Instacart delivery men,” another wrote, while a further commenter complained about doordash drivers coming into the store and asking for help finding “every single item on the list. like isn’t it your job? are you sharing the tip?”
“I used to just say ‘let’s find it together, stuff is always moved’ and pretend to look until they magically found it,” one viewer admitted. Another commenter said she usually tells male shoppers they’re out of stock because she wasn’t “holding [their] hand through” the search.
@ginabeena27 I can’t #customerservice #serviceindustry #samsclub #fyp #thisiswhere #weaponizedincompentence #funny #retail #retaillife #customersbelike #customerserviceproblems #retailproblems ♬ original sound – Gina DiFloria
In response to some men expressing frustration over DiFloria only calling out one gender, she did make a more “inclusive” follow-up video calling out more incompetence from customers—adding in a singular frustration with a female customer as part of the new list.
“Make this a series and you will have endless material,” one commenter suggested. “It. Will. Never. End.”
The Daily Dot has reached out to DiFloria via TikTok comment.
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*First Published: Feb 13, 2024, 11:00 am CST
Rachel Kiley is a writer who sometimes writes things and sometimes is based in L.A., but is definitely always on Twitter @rachelkiley.