Just to be clear this article is not about people actually named Karen, which is a lovely name and I am sure you behave far better than the Karens of this post. In fact, it’s a real shame you have had your name spoiled by such a negative association.
This article is about people who, through pure hard work and ignorance have worked their way up to ‘become a Karen’ (scientists do not currently believe anyone is born a Karen). They reach their Karen status through a carefully practised mix of unreasonable consumer demands, retail-based rudeness and just being a general twat.
Not a lot is known about why a person chooses the path of a Karen or if it is possible to ‘de-evolve’ into a non-Karen’ (we can but hope). Clearly, a lot more research needs to be done on this important subject.
As of November 2019, 32% of the UK population are Karens.* This is almost double the figure of the last survey taken in 2015, meaning Karen’s are on the increase at an alarming rate.
I worked in retail for many years and it was only towards my last year or so of ‘service’ scientist had developed the tag ‘Karen’ in order to describe horrible customers. Previous to this I had to use ‘DragonBitch’, which, with hindsight, is a little unPC nowadays.
Every shop I worked at (3 in 8 years) consisted of mostly lovely customers, especially when I worked for the famous clothes and home and also online parcel store and Amazon pickups…….you get the idea, I mean Next. Here I met some wonderful people who came into purchase their sofa or have help choosing a suit for their wedding, taking place later that same day.
Maybe its a Ying and Yang balance thing, as unfortunately in 4 years it was here I encountered some truly awful specimens too. Some of the rudeness of these customers will become the stuff of folklore, read out by future parents giving their Karen-in-training’s a bedtime story. ‘This’ they will say, pausing for dramatic effect ‘Is what we most aspire to become.’
I will store those stories for another time, but even though I have been out of retail for a fair amount of time, there are a few questions on my mind.
- What is the name for a male Karen? It is not fair to put the Karen image on just females, I have encountered, and am sure many have, plenty of Karen-like male behavioural patterns in human men.
- What do Karens gain from being a Karen? I mean aside from their precious 10% discount and the chance to see management.
- In the future, could being a Karen be made illegal?
I do think Karen’s should be called out for their behaviour, as there is no need for rudeness, or acting like a spoilt brat just because they didn’t get their own way. And there is certainly no excuse for them to take out their lack of decent moral fibres on hard-working staff, who are probably not being paid close to what they should for having to deal with these kinds of trazzleheads.
However, we should name and shame Karens wisely. It should not be used on customers who have a fair complaint and are complaining in a respectable, civilised manner, going through all the appropriate channels. We all know that companies and staff can get it wrong, and in this instance, they should do their best to make it up to the customer in a reasonable fashion, and this is so much easier to do if you haven’t engaged full Karen mode. Perhaps it’s not too late to reconsider your life choices, and leave the K lifestyle alone
*Unfortunately the office where this statistic was gained has since been shut down due to Karen-related meddling.
If you have been affected by a Karen or are trying to seek help due to becoming one you can give us a call on**
**Helpline removed due to a Karen reporting us to Offcom.