How A Buttermilk Request Ended With A Jack In The Box Employee Getting Shot

A worker at a Houston Jack in the Box was sent to the hospital to be treated for non-lethal injuries after they were shot in the hand. Newsweek learned from the Harris County Sheriff's Office that the incident occurred when a customer requested more buttermilk with their order. The worker operating the drive-thru window informed them that this would cost extra.

Incensed that extra buttermilk would cost more, the customer drove around and accosted a different worker who was trying to go home. That worker wanted nothing to do with this, so they tried to hurry off. However, the customer pursued and shot at them. The bullet lodged itself in their hand.

A similar story occurred in January when a 16-year-old Wendy's employee was shot in the head because a customer's request for extra barbecue sauce was denied (per Fox 10 Pheonix). According to, he was taken off the ventilator but would have to undergo speech therapy. "That somebody actually got shot over some barbecue sauce, so that was a confrontation, 'cause the dude couldn't get no extra barbecue sauce," the victim's father said to Fox News in shock.

Fears have spurred resignation

While extreme, these stories of unbelievably violent customer reactions have become common during the pandemic years. In May, it reached the point that "Due to concerns of hostility and harassment from customers" was the third-most selected reason that respondents to a One Fair Wage survey gave for leaving their job, with 39% stating it was a factor. It was only outdone by dissatisfaction over pay and concerns about how their business handled COVID-19, which appeared in 76% and 55% of answers respectively. Concerns about harassment coming from management and co-workers came up in only 26% of responses.

While it's hard to say whether any general trend can explain or even be applied to a specific instance of violence, in late 2021, NBC Los Angeles observed that retail workers dreaded an "open season" of violent attacks by customers. Psychologist and Harvard Medical School professor Luana Marques suggested that the pandemic caused some consumers to lash out in response to mounting stress: "I think as the pandemic has dragged on, all of us have had moments that you're feeling a little more on edge, a little more irritated, and that makes sense as life has changed."