Anyone who says that the customer is always right has clearly never worked in the service industry. Restaurant patrons can be obnoxious, greedy, and downright rude when things don't go exactly the way they expect. Here are some true stories of entitled people in restaurants acting like absolute babies.
Egg on Your Face
Once, when I was working at this insanely popular breakfast joint, my first table of the morning was a seemingly adorable old couple. After going through our specials, at their request, she ordered the duck hash special, and he ordered 2 boring poached eggs on toast.
All good. I bring them their food and the guy starts freaking out. You see, I didn't bring him a tablespoon for his eggs. Granted, he didn't ask for one, but according to him, everyone knows that poached eggs are supposed to be served with a tablespoon.
I've been a waitress for nearly a decade, and I've served a LOT of poached eggs, and I've never heard this rule. Nonetheless, I apologize profusely and tell him I'll go grab him a spoon. "No!" he yells.
"My breakfast is ruined now!" and then, this grown adult throws his plate of food at me and storms out. His wife gives me a sympathetic smile as she slinks out behind him, and I work the next 8 hours with egg yolk stains all over me.
I had an old man yell at me because the only table left was too close to the door. I told him there was nothing I could do unless he wanted to wait for another table. He yelled this was unacceptable and went and sat at it anways. He only ordered a hot water and sat there glaring at me while I worked.
When he finally left I said it was free and he yelled ''yeah right!'' and stormed out. The bonus was that all my other tables sympathy tipped really well because of him!
Spaghetti and Mayo
My ex wife worked at an Italian restaurant chain in the American south.. American Italian food, not real Italian food. Anyway, this one night she came home and was telling me this story. A guy came in and ordered spaghetti with meat sauce.
She brought out their plates and the guy asked for mayonnaise. She tried to explain that they don't have any mayo, and she said the dude flipped out.
Threw the plate on the ground, and screamed "HOW ARE YOU SUPPOSED TO EAT SPAGHETTI WITHOUT MAYONNAISE?!" and then left without paying. Anyone ever hear of spaghetti with mayo?
I was a busboy the entire time I was in high school. We had this family that would come in, dude and his wife, their two small kids. They seemed like the most ordinary family. But they were like the destroyers of tables.
They always left a disaster. Fries everywhere, food all over the floor. I sat and watched as one of the kids put the salt and pepper shakers into a glass of milk, and then watched the dad be like "hey can junior have a new milk, he had a little accident."
THEY WERE BOTH SUBMERGED IN MILK. Fries everywhere. Crumbs everywhere. 1% of the food had been consumed. They screamed the entire time to zero reaction from the parents. It was chaos for the entire hour they were there, every time.
I had to clean this up probably a dozen times before the hostess asked them not to come back. Yeah they threw a fit. Didn't come back though. Nightmare.
A lady and her husband came in and before sitting down told us that she was deathly allergic to white wine saying, verbatim, "If you feed me white wine I will die."
So I run around double and triple checking recipes and ingredients and making sure the kitchen is ready so when she orders I know her food will be safe.
Her husband orders the special and I make sure to tell her not to eat any of his meal as it is dressed with a beurre blanc made with white wine and I'd like her to survive her dining experience.
Well I bring out their food and the first thing she does is scoop a big ol' forkful of hubby's special and I cry out in dismay as she shoves in her mouth and says while chewing, "oh, one bite won't hurt."
Steak to the Heart
I wait tables in a country club. Had a couple come in once and as they were sitting down, before I had even introduced myself the woman was already complaining, since they had to wait 5 minutes while we resat "their table".
She started off by telling me every time she gets the filet mignon its awful, and cooked wrong. I suggested she tried something else. Nope. Goes for the same thing again. I gave the kitchen heads up and make sure it was perfect and save us all a headache.
Steak comes up, seems fine. I drop her plate in front of her and I can already see that little smirk people get when aren't amused. She grabs her butter knife and legit slaps the top of the steak with the flat of it 3 times and goes "this is disgusting". Hasnt even cut into it or tasted it.
Has me take it back and bring her a new one. So of course we do it... She gets her new one. Eats half of it and takes the rest home, wants to talk to a manager. Yells up a storm, gets her whole meal free and dessert. Leave me a garbo tip even if you dont include the free steak and desert.
Even left me a comment card, just saying "STEAK SUCKED" and 1 star for service.
Worst is a big group coming in on a Sunday. Ordered endless chip appetizer, waters all around, asked for extra lemons (you can see where this is going…).. stayed for a few hours, total bill? Like $6. Got tipped 50 cents for having to wait around on them for literally my entire shift.
Target On Your Back
I did a stint at Starbucks. They put in to the Target I was working at, had just graduated from my degree program and they offered to let me manage it. It was good money. Of special note, the just graduated bit. Graduated, from college. As had the person I was working with.
We made this woman's iced tea wrong. I don't remember why, it was stupid mistake, but those happen. It would have taken all of thirty seconds to remake it.
She threw it back across the counter, literally threw it, turned to her daughter and said in the most preppy, never worked a day in her life soccer mom "trophy" wife voice, "See, this is why we finish high school."
Being the manager, I refused her any further service. She thought she had the edge over me when she went to get the Target store manager. But when a ton of other customers backed up my story, she was removed from Target.
I work in McDonald's and here we have to charge 20 pence (25c) for sauce. A man shouted and screamed so much when I checked if this was okay before I put it on his order, I got 20p out of my bag, gave it to him and just said 'now which sauce would you like?'
We had a horrible experience with every other customer because of one customer. The dude was a regular, came in at least four times a week, and every time would camp in his booth for a solid three hours (you know the type).
One Friday night, during dinner rush, this guy comes in with a large duffel bag. Not too uncommon, he always brought weird stuff to work on. This time, it was a partially assembled gun kit, which he pulled out, set on the table, and proceeded to continue assembling the kit.
Cue mass complaints/alarm from other customers while we huddle in the back deciding how to best kick him out without causing even more of a scene.
Loose Change Complaint
Had a group of girls speak to my manager and call me stupid over $0.13. Basically they ordered a side of fries and one maybe got a lemonade. Anyway, give them their bill and they gave me just enough to cover it since we round to the nearest dollar instead of dealing with coins.
Girls flip out over $0.13 so I go in my bag to scrounge it up. They speak to my manager who refunded them everything (stupid) and they proceed to call me names as they leave their table. I was having a bad day so it made me upset at the time. Now I find the whole thing laughable.
Dine and Dash Dismay
A family of six dined and dashed on Thanksgiving. It was already a rough thing to be working a family holiday, knowing my tribe was at home enjoying themselves- but to have to miss out on what should have been a good tip; it was just salt in the wound. At the end of the night, I just cried.
All of the servers rallied around me and tried to offer me a portion of their tips to make up for a loss. I couldn't accept it, so they got me drunk and drove me home instead. They are awesome people.
I had someone throw a steaming mug of hot water at me because we were out of a certain tea and he refused to pick one of our other 20 teas.
I had a couple order two bowls of mussels, take each mussel out of its shell and then cut them up before eating them. When they saw the black stomach of the mussel… among other gross looking inside bits… they started yelling that I, the cooks, as well as the restaurant were trying to poison people.
They would not believe that mussels really do look as awful and horrifying as they honestly do and under no circumstances should be cut up or analysed too closely.
I ushered them out as quickly as i could… no bill… please stop accusing me of attempted murder… its making everyone here uncomfortable.
When I was in high school, I worked at a Johnny Rocket's. It was maybe my second day waitressing, and a guy with his family ordered a plain burger. Put the order in, but put it in slightly incorrectly so it came out with none of the toppings, but it did have thousand island dressing. Honest new kid mistake.
The guy was totally furious, made such an angry face that I can still recall it 13 years later, and then, out of nowhere, smeared the burger all over my chest and walked out.
Always Tip Your Server
I had a large party that took my entire section on the patio. It seemed like a family celebration and after all the joiners arrived they needed tables in another waitress' section as well.
They ordered lots of food and drinks, they were loud, and they ended up staying for 7 hours which meant they had a big bill (over $800) the took over the patio and they were there for my whole shift. This is not necessarily bad because they were celebrating and for me they were fairly happy customers.
However, as you may have guessed, they didn't tip me anything at all when they finally cleared out and I cried the whole time I cleaned up their huge mess because I had to tip out a percentage of their bill to the kitchen and bar which meant I had worked my whole shift and was now going home with less than server's hourly wage (which is less than minimum wage).
Many of my coworkers were kind and supportive and told me similar stories that had happened to them but really it was less comforting and more painful to think about how frequently this happens. Abolish the tipping system.
When I was working at Rita's (a water ice stand) I had a lady come to the window with her two children. I take the order for her daughter and then her son says he has to pee.
She then takes her son to the side of our building (we have windows on the side so we get a full view of the front) and has him pee there when there was a huge tree about a few feet away AND we had a bathroom that we allow kids use.
Well anyway she's taking long and with the line wrapping around the building, I take the next customer while she lets her son mess up our building. She then comes back, and steps in front of the lady and says she's ready.
I asked her to give me a minute since I was almost finished with the customer that she just stepped in front of. She then goes on to yell really loud how unprofessional I was and how I had terrible customer service.
I then explained to her that while she had her son pee on the side of the building I decided to try and get the next person out of the way. She then goes to deny her son peeing on the side of the building and says she would like to speak to my manager.
(My manager doesn't believe in the customer is always right crap and hated people like this.) So I gave her his number and wrote down my name for her to tell him, which made her even more furious.
She did wait to get her stuff though, screaming the whole time I'm making it, then huffs off. The people behind her each apologized for the way she acted and all told me I was doing a great job and gave me tips.
Bull in a China Shop
Man comes in alone, looked to be in his late 50s or early 60s, and snaps at me to get my attention. Before I can speak he says, "Coke. With a lemon wedge."
We were a tiny little cafe without the funding for a machine or the attention for a sponsership, so we didn't serve soda. I told him so, and he said, "I don't think you heard me. I want a coke with a lemon wedge." I was pretty confused, because I made it pretty clear we didn't have coke.
Turns out, he actually wanted me to walk next door, buy him a coke, and then bring it in and serve it to him. I told him as politely as I could that this was absolutely not happening, and he picked up the China tea cups we put at each place setting and threw it on the ground, shattering it and cutting open my ankle just a bit. (I didn't notice until way later)
The whole cafe went very quiet, and I just kind of stood there looking at the mess of broken china. These were beautiful, rare cups that were all but impossible to replace, and I just didn't know what to do being an 18-year-old facing up against an aggressive older man.
Fortunately, just literally a few second after the China hit the floor, a man got up from his table across the cafe and walked over. He then reached in his back pocket and showed the man his police badge, because he was an off-duty cop.
China throwing guy did not get his coke with a lemon wedge or any food, but he did get arrested and a ticket for making threats and breaking public property. The fun part? "I JUST WANTED A COKE! IF THIS LITTLE GIRL KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT SERVICE I WOULDN'T HAVE HAD TO SET HER STRAIGHT."
I still have the scar from the piece of China that cut my ankle.
Earning a 0% Tip
I had been working at this Thai place in my town for about 8 months , and for the last 4 months, I'd seen the same teenaged couple come in every Sunday and leave 0% regardless of service. One day my boss decided enough was enough. "Tui noy!" she all but yelled to me.
(That's my Thai Nickname. It's an endearing name generally given to chubby children that loosely translates to "little something") "I don't care whose turn it is, you take them next week, and you make sure you earn that 0%" I do a bit of a double take... She can't possibly mean what I think she means.
"You mean?" She nods and gives me this smile that is equal parts devious and smug. A week later they come in 5 minutes into my shift. She seats them in my section, smiles at me and tells me to do my worst. Here is a fairly detailed account of the wonderful 45 minutes that followed.
I wait a good 5 minutes before going to greet them and bring waters. They're ready to order. I don't have a pen. I'll be right back. I promise. I go out back, power smoke a cigarette (takes me about 90 seconds) before I return. They're my only table and I'm not handling food yet, so I don't wash my hands.
I reek of smoke. I take her order, pad thai no bean sprouts like always. As he opens his mouth to tell me he'll have the same I give him the "just a minute" finger and pull out my phone. I text my fiancé and ask if he wants to get dinner from my place or his tonight.
I take his order. I somehow misunderstand and write down extra bean sprouts. Their food comes up while I'm telling my boss and the other waitress a story about my cat. I finish telling the story before I get their food. I bring it out and walk away as they're starting to complain about the sprouts.
About 5 minutes after they get the food I get a second table. One is a customer from a former job of mine and we spend a few minutes catching up when I go to greet them. The 0%'s try to signal me as I leave the table, but I stare straight ahead.
I come back for my new table's order and see that their glasses are missing roughly four sips of water. This simply won't do! I hang their ticket and come back to fill their glasses. I look at 0%'s empty glasses, look the guy straight in the eye, smile, and walk away.
He stops me as I'm walking over with apps for my new table and asks for boxes. I tell him I'll grab them right after I drop off this food. I play a game of 2048 all the way up to 1024 before bringing them one small box. They ask for two bigger boxes and the check.
I promise I'll be right back, and then ask my boss to keep an eye on the table I like while I go smoke again. (Obviously I don't usually take this many smoke breaks, especially not this early into a shift.)
I come back and my boss tells me they came to her for boxes and to pay and told her they're never coming back. She voids their check, gives me the $20 some dollars, and tells me I earned it.
It's On Like Donkey Kong
I was doing a routine check on a table that had been sitting for nearly 2 hours during the dinner rush. I noticed that they had finally finished their food, so I asked calmly, but very clearly and directly if they were done and would like me to clear their plates.
They both completely ignored me, mind you I'm about 10 inches from their faces. Seeing as there was literally NOTHING left on either plate, I reached down and began clearing them, assuming that their total lack of an answer and equal lacking of food was consent.
The dude slapped my hand like Donkey Kong using a smash move. He said with a very raised voice, I'M NOT DONE YET. It took every fiber of my being to not slap him back in the face.
Waitress at a gas station/ resturaunt here. If you have traveled the interstate through Nebraska and stop at travel centers you have most definitely seen me. I had a trucker get upset because his rice pilaf wasn't made with white rice, granted it doesn't look delicious it isn't bad.
He yelled at me, my coworker, and the cook and caused a huge scene in front of a full house. He took 2 bowls of rice and got upset with both of them. This could've easily been solved with a new side.
He wanted to yell at the cook about "serving food that does not look good" while we were busy with other customers. I just ignored him the rest of the night, I let him pout and glare.
He only got mildly upset with me, but I am young while everyone else working has kids my age and he wanted to yell at them and not me thankfully. We discounted him and he did end up leaving me a tip. I was embarrassed to be this grown man's waitress.
One time my spineless manager gave 3 men free porterhouse steaks because they "came in last week and they ordered 3 t-bones to go and they were wrong" he had not proof of purchase, no pictures of the mistake, didn't call after buying, he didn't know if it happened at this exact location.
He was obviously lying. They ended up getting 3 22$ steaks free along with refusing to pay for drinks and their additional sides because "they didn't know it would cost." I didn't get a tip out of the ordeal either. Tip your waitresses good guys, this job sucks.
Gnocchi on the Menu
I work at an Italian family restaurant that is locally owned and basically a staple of the area. My very first day on the floor without a trainer was a Mother's day. Yes, in hindsight that was pretty foolish of the owner.
A lady ordered gnocchi and I wrote down her order. I get over to the Micros and can't find gnocchi anywhere and for good reason….turns out we don't serve gnocchi.
I go back over to the table to let the lady know we don't sell that here and she starts screaming at me that I ruined her Mothers day, the entire day was ruined because I didn't know we don't serve gnocchi.
I can understand being a little irritated at me, I really should have known that, but darn lady, look at the menu next time. And oh yeah, SUPERB example you are setting for your kids. Idiot.
Last christmas I was serving an older man who came in during a rush. I served him like any other normal customer. The cooks had messed up his order and I mistakenly hadn't noticed. The dude was mad. He cussed me out in front of multiple other people, cussed me out to my manager, filed a complaint…
That was the beginning. He then FOUND MY FACEBOOK AND MESSAGED MY PARENTS SAYING HOW MUCH OF A MISTAKE I WAS. LIKE WHAT.
The only good thing that came from it was another customer saw how terrible he was to me and left me $20. Another day in the life of an 18 year old Frisch's server.
When I was a barista, we got a bomb threat. That sucked. The worst part was telling regulars that they had to leave the building because we're evacuating, offering them a free drink coupon for their trouble, and some of them refused to leave.
I eventually let them know that the police were on their way to deal with an emergency and they had better leave if they didn't want to deal with police.
Red Hot Buffet
I used to work at a very busy buffet. The restaurant was split into two sides. At one point during the night, we started smelling feces on the side I was working.
It turns out that an elderly gentleman burst a hemorrhoid, walked back to his table, and proceeded to finish his dinner (along with the other six people in his family). He was covered in blood. He dripped blood on the carpet on the way back from the restroom to his table.
When he and his family finally got up and left, his seat was smeared with blood. We had to close that half of the restaurant down and call in a hazmat team. The best part is that his family just sat there eating like nothing had happened. Just another dinner with grandpa...
Sunday Lunch Rush
I had a group of 3 people, obviously just out of church, tell me that I shouldn't be working on Sunday.......WHILE SITTING AT MY TABLE ON SUNDAY.....
Without skipping a beat, I kindly said "I wish I had Sundays off, but who would bring you your food?" and walked off. Boom.
I had a guy put a $20 on the table when I came to greet him and his wife and say "This is your tip. However, everytime you do something wrong, I will remove a dollar." I thought he was joking, so I chuckled and asked "like what?"
He takes the 20 off the table and replaces it with exactly $19. Who carries enough bills to do that? He responds with: "like that."
Hot and Bothered
Had a tray balanced on my shoulder full of food, and I was setting down hot plates to the table. Grandma shook her half empty glass of tea in my face and asked why she couldn't get any service.
Working christmas day at my terrible restaurant, towards the end of the night I collect a paid bill from the table. It's an older man paying for his grow-up family. He hands me the bill-fold, smiling, and there's a ten on top. He says "I won't be needing any change".
I'm thinking the ten isn't the best tip on a 170$ bill, but I work the buffet and not everyone thinks we do anything at all so whatever, I don't really care/mind. I get up to the cash and start counting all the money when I realize that the man gave me perfect change, including the freaking ten on top!
He just wanted look so generous in front of his family, the crafty mofo. Well played, but I was so annoyed at the time.
Not a waitress any more, but my favourite was a woman who frantically waved me over one lunch service. It was a fairly hot summer's day. The conversation went like this: Me: Hi, can I help you?
Her: Yes, we need some coolth. Me: I'm sorry? Her: WE NEED SOME COOLTH IN HERE. Me: I'm sorry, I don't know... Her: COOLTH. COOLTH. THE OPPOSITE OF WARMTH. DO YOU EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH?
Insert rant about "why can't they hire proper staff who speak the language etc etc." This was in Australia. I'm Australian. Blasted 18* air-con directly on her the rest of her meal.
The restaurant I worked at in college had a Livingsocial deal that included two drinks, two entrees, and two desserts for $60, which was a good deal considering the place can be pricy. The vouchers themselves note that gratuity is not included in the price of the deal.
A group of four came in, wanted to split the two drinks and two entrees between four people. Which is fine, except for the fact that they wanted the entree portions to be divided in half in the kitchen and put onto separate plates.
They then reminded me a thousand times that they had a show to get to and needed the food fast but insisted on ordering steaks well done (which takes time).
Didn't have time to get to the two desserts so they informed me they'd be back later for them. They showed up 5 minutes before close, only ordered the included desserts, stayed for about two hours, tipped me approximately 10%. Grrrr.
The "Mom Says It's Okay" Lie
Lately my favorite is when customers tell me, "oh, well thats the way i've been getting it every time before. the OTHER waitress always smiles and says its okay." Ugghhh.
I bartend at a hotel restaurant. We had a family staying for a few days, (a couple in their late 20s, early 30s, a few friends, and their collective offspring). The adults order round after round of long islands one evening, letting their children run (there is a special place down below for folks that let their kids do this)...
Then proceeded to change an infants diaper on the table. THE TABLE. With other guests around trying to enjoy their dinner. This happened two nights in a row. facepalm. Parenting. Do it.
Paging Dr. Jerk Face
I used to be a chef in a decent restaurant in a small town, we used to get this jumped up retired doctor in every week and he'd complain every single time, not one occasion did he have a legitimate complaint.
This went on for about a year until the head chef/owner lost it, and went out and told him to get lost and banned him, in front of the entire restaurant. It was brilliant.
People when they tell you ahead of time they tip good…. they never do. Had a table of 8 come in 5 min before close. Swore up and down how well they tipped, then stayed a good hour and a half past close. Left me $1. (they got excellent service too being the only customers there)
Beware the Regulars
I've been working at a new place recently and they have this huge crop of regulars. But my boss just bends over backwards for them. Each person has their own little needs and they feel so entitled. It's insanity. I wouldn't be able to handle it but most are good people, nice to talk to and tip well.
But the other day a regular flipped because I didn't give her some discount she expects to get because my boss discounted her one time. Turns out she always tips on 15% on the value after discount as well. Horrible witch of a lady.
Politeness Costs Nothing
Hi folks, how are you this evening? Diet coke.
The name of a soft drink is not an acceptable answer when asked how you are this evening. I usually act like I didn't hear them and ask again how they are doing. Usually that is enough to get a response. I have had to ask a third time on a few special occasions.
I can and have taken a lot of abuse, but I refuse to be treated like I don't exist. I don't care if I have to ask a hundred times, this meal goes no further until you answer my question. It's common courtesy.
I work at a country club, and we have a 20% auto-grat for groups of 8+ (which saves my butt frequently with mahjong biddies and the like). The club ran a special for Father’s Day: ribs, corn, potato salad, and banana pudding for $17.95. (It’s nuts, I know)
We were swamped from the moment we opened for lunch, and my section had room for a 10 top, and three 4 tops. The table in question couldn’t figure out how many people they were gonna have, and had me make an 8 top specifically for them (after pouring the first 4 top drinks, supes inconvenient)
Then they complained about every aspect of their meal, and got upset I didn’t bring it quickly enough even though we had a restaurant completely full of people. When it came time for checks, I added the %20, split it, and got everyone paid up.
By the time I got back to the table after taking care of my other 10 top, I found that one of the patrons had left me a WONDERFUL note on top of their check “You did not earn the %20 gratuity that you added to our checks.”
After discussing this with my hostess, I also found out, the customer can call the office here, and have the gratuity REMOVED if they feel I didn’t earn it!
The Parents Trap
My first job was at Waffle House. My parents came in during breakfast to give me some support and see how I was doing; it was their first time coming to visit.
But they picked probably the busiest time of the morning--every table in my section was full and I had only been on the job a few weeks so I was still a little daunted.
My mother stiffed me on a tip because I didn't refill her coffee fast enough for her liking. She thought it was hilarious. I didn't speak to her for a week. She has never stiffed a server since.
I work for a famous resturant chain that requires us to bring a wine bottle to the table with us when we do our greeting. Not bringing a wine bottle is a fireable offense (otherwise all the servers would constantly "forget" them).
Walking to the table, a typical family of five, I see that they have pushed their wine glasses to the very end of the table, as if they were a pack of poisonous snakes and they were trying to get as far away as possible. I've seen this behavior before and know they won't want any wine samples.
Tucking the wine bottle under my arm, I try to respect their obvious lack of interest (instead of automatically pushing the wine on them as required) and proceed to take their drink order. As I am about to leave the table the father of the family points to the wine bottle and asks "What is that?'
Figuring I must have misjudged them, I show him the wine bottle and start my spiel. He interupts me seconds later to state in his most stuck-up and holier-than-thou voice, "No thank you, WE don't drink."
I was working as a server at a well known chain that serves Sunday brunch (it's delicious). I was working out on the patio and a couple comes in. Before I am even at the table, she tells me that I need to go back inside and get the kitchen manager because she has allergies.
Her husband orders normally and she decides to order the steak and eggs. But she wants egg whites. It can't be the egg whites from the contained though- they have to be fresh egg whites because she is allergic to perservatives.
She was also allergic to salt, pepper, shellfish, egg yolks, gluten, nuts (tree nuts and peanuts), and a whole bunch more. She expected our kitchen manager to clean an area of the kitchen to cook her brunch.
She ordered toast with her breakfast (!!!!!!) and said that once I bring it out, she will know whether or not she can eat it. Well... she ate it anyway and tried to convince me that i was trying to kill her.
My GM had to come out and comp the whole meal and the lady had the audacity to tell me "It's okay, I guess I just have to go home and take some benadryl and sleep all day because you brought me out that bread".
Now, I understand it must be tough to have food allergies and go out to eat- but DO NOT put your life in my hands by doing this.
Many years ago, I was on a date with a girl that I had only recently started seeing. While at dinner, she told the waitress that she was super allergic to onions so be sure that there are no onions anywhere near her food.
Once the waitress left, I asked her about the allergy and she told me that she wasn't actually allergic, she just didn't like them and this was the best way to ensure there were no onions.
Having worked in restaurants before, I told her that her plan was actually really inconvenient for the kitchen staff, because they would have to shut down everything for cleaning to make sure the allergen is removed from anything her food could touch.
It was a huge hassle and always resulted in the kitchen getting really backed up. She didn't care, and that was our last date. I'm a firm believer in the idea that the way a person treats restaurant staff tells you everything you need to know about them.
Make Your Mind Up
I worked at McD for a couple of months. It may not be exactly what you call a restaurant, but I absolutely hated it when people would change their mind like 27 times while ordering. I mean, you are not writing it down, you practically enter the order into a system, so the kitchen gets it.
Once it's in, there is no easy way to change it. After one really annoying customer during busy times, I had an 8€ difference in my cash box. I had to pay it back. I earned 7€ per hour…
Lettuce Consult the Menu
I personally feel my brain melting a little inside every time I take salad orders. I work at a restaurant that includes a salad or soup in the price of the meal, and their are three salads to choose from. I ask "salad or soup" (learned not to say "soup or salad") and when a person replies salad, I list our three dressings.
Inevitably, every night some idiot after hearing "would you like creamy parmesan, italian, or caesar dressing" they respond "RANCH!" and hand me their menu. Then I have to explain, yes we really don't have your Hidden Valley.
I used to work at a retirement home in the dining room as a server. The elderly can be some of the nicest/worst people to deal with.
Once had a guy bring subway into the dining room to eat, and when the manager said he couldn't bring outside food into the dining room he threw his footling at her, missing and hitting the wall behind her. The yelling match that ensued ended in tears and him being banned from the dining room for a month.
This is a Restaurant, Not a Laundromat
One Sunday after church (fast food restaurant) a van full of "church mothers" come through Drive Thru. and place their order. Everything goes out correctly, we double check their order with them before handing it out.
Five minutes later the van pulls up and the driver gets out and comes into the lobby, her white "church dress" has a large red stain from her strawberry soda down the front. As she is walking in the door she starts screaming at me, calling me everything a good church lady should not be saying.
It seems that a few blocks away she had to slam on her brakes and the soda that she was drinking while driving splashed all over her. She demands that the store replace her dress-I declined. She then demanded that we pay for her dry cleaning-I declined.
Finally after five minutes of cursing and demands she asks me what I would do if I was in her place with stained clothing. My reply, "I would have no problem because I drink Sprite."
I was a corporate training manager with three franchise owner trainees with me at the time. It was a perfect lesson for them to learn ( as new store owners) that the customer is not always right.
Time Traveling Salmon
Lady always calls us asking if we have Salmon…we hardly ever have salmon. When we do have it, we tell her it would be ready in about 30 mins for her to come pick up. She always gets here ten minutes early and complains when it isn't ready yet.
I waited tables at a restaurant that served fairly expensive food. Every Sunday we got this church group that would leave bible pamphlets in the place of a tip. There was usually a dozen of them, and they were whiney, demanding and time consuming.
Good Christian Bacon
I used to work at Subway. There was one legendary customer that we only refer to as "Crazy Bacon Lady." She was an older woman. She came in and asked how much a 6" BLT was. We told her it was 3.50 plus tax.
She then proceeded to yell at us saying it was $2 when she came in yesterday (hint, she didn't come in yesterday. In fact this was the first time she had even been in our store. Plus the fact that the BLT was never at any point $2 in the 3 years I had worked there).
She barks out her order the whole way up the line saying such gems as: "I am a good Christian woman, I don't deserve to be treated this way," "For 3.50 that bacon better be fresh!" and "The service here is terrible! I'M NEVER COMING BACK, YOU HEAR ME!"
And the best one of them all, when she gets to my co-worker who is manning the cash register and he tells her the total of 3.68 (tax and all) she says: "You people are workers of the DEVIL!"
She plops down exact change, snatches up her bag, and storms out the door. Whenever I see my old co-workers, we still have a good laugh about it.
I worked at a quick-service restaurant, and my store location was near some sort of convention in Ottawa. The city is pretty bilingual, but not everyone is. I am most certainly not—I grew up in the prairies, where French is NOT a mandatory subject.
Anyway, during one of my shifts, a woman was trying to order but she was speaking French. Although I can get the gist of things if I hear certain words, she spoke rather fast, so I was having trouble.
After a couple of minutes of back and forth trying to answer her questions, I turned to a bilingual co-worker and asked her to help. That’s when the woman gave a response that made my face turn red.
She said, in totally PERFECT English with as much disdain as she could muster: “This is Canada. We speak French AND English”. My mouth dropped. Not only because of the comment but because SHE UNDERSTOOD ME THE WHOLE TIME AND DIDN’T TRY TO HELP.
I couldn’t wrap my mind around why someone would do that. All I could do was stare at her for a few seconds and walk away.
The Dumbest Thing I've Ever Heard
I used to work as a busboy at TGIFridays. One day, we had a huge group of about 20 people come in. At the end of their meal, they received the bill. Everyone put in money for what they ordered. They sat there for a while doing the math and finally figured it out.
They called their waitress over and one of the guys spoke to her. He said the dumbest thing she’s ever heard: “We ain’t order no gratuity. Show me gratuity on this table”.
They continued to argue and at one point, the waitress gave up and cried. The manager had to be called in to explain what gratuity was.
I was a server at Olive Garden for two years. It was a typical busy night during our “never-ending pasta bowl” time of year. One of my first tables of the evening was a family of five—a mom, dad, two sons, and a little girl around two or three.
They were all exceedingly overweight, and the daughter had on a dirty shirt and no pants, just a diaper. When I checked back with them, I noticed an overwhelming scent of poo lingering around the table. I returned with some refills, and the odor was just as intense as before.
On my way around the table to pass out beverages, I passed the high chair and noticed the little girl had her hand in her diaper. Her next move almost had me sick—I watched her pull out her mess and throw it on the floor to join an even larger one that was already there, slightly covered by a napkin.
I could not hide the disgust on my face. I don’t remember exactly the words I used, but I turned to the parents and said, “Umm, your daughter has a situation going on over here”. The mother replied, “Yeah, I know I threw that napkin over it”, then continued to devour her third refill of never-ending pasta.
I was in disbelief. Not only were there two pieces of fresh Honey Boo-Boo style poo on the floor, but the girl’s hands were obviously covered in it, and not one family member seemed to care in the slightest. One of the brothers even asked me for another Dr. Pepper while I was standing there still in shock.
I immediately told the manager on duty, and she didn’t believe me. I told her to go see for herself. She politely asked the mother to clean it up immediately and even gave her disinfectant wipes.
That’s when mom blew her top—she claimed it was not her job and she felt discriminated against that we would ask her to do such a thing. She demanded everything to be paid for. She picked it up, but she didn’t wash her hands, didn’t clean up her daughter, and continued to finish her meal.
I thought it was over, they would pay and leave, but as I was dropping the check, the mom said, “Uh, it’s my son’s birthday. Don’t y’all sing and give us dessert”?
A Painful Shift
I worked as a bar back. I accidentally dropped a fork on a very sloshed dude’s foot. He got angry, shook his head, and grumbled about it. Bits of food fell on the ground as well, so I grabbed a towel to clean it up.
I looked the man in the eye to let him know that I was on the floor cleaning next to him. What he did next was unforgivable—he proceeded to stand up and step on my hand as he walked to the bathroom.
I yelled out in pain. He didn’t acknowledge it at all but instead chuckled as he walked away. Sadly, there wasn’t much I could do. I had to walk to the back to calm down.
What On Earth is This?
I was a bartender at a theater. On an incredibly busy night when we are well understaffed, an old guy ordered a Jack Daniels, then proceeded to blank when I asked him, “Would you like ice with that?”
Instead, he sat there chatting with his friend while other customers were desperately clamoring for my attention. After some thought, I put ice in as it’s the more popular option.
He then turned back and looked at his drink. His reddened face said it all—angry and disgusted, he complained, “What on Earth is this? I don’t want ice”. Flustered, I fixed his drink while apologizing profusely. He still continued to look at me like dirt, paid, scoffed, and walked off.
New to the Job
I was new to the job and still finding my way when a guy totally ruined my day. His words to me were nasty—he insisted that I “wasn’t capable” of the job due to my dwarfism.
He kept complaining about “inclusivity being bollocks” and stuff. What was most frustrating about the situation was that I was not a good waiter, but it was due to reasons unrelated to my dwarfism—poor memory, anxiety, coordination, etc.
He doubted my competence before I had even shown any of these issues. It was purely based on how I looked. That experience got to me for a long time.
My Worst Shift
The worst issue I ever had occurred when I was waitressing at a Waffle House. One evening, I was working a 6 pm to 2 am shift. Around midnight, the tipsy people come in. They are usually inoffensive, but on one occasion, there was this one dude who was anything but.
His shirt was unbuttoned except for one button over his chest, which was in a hole three spots too high for it, and he only had one shoe on for some reason.
Our chef immediately declared that he needed to get out. The customer decided to demonstrate his disagreement with the chef’s decision in a most peculiar way.
It made everyone’s jaw drop—he somehow managed to climb his way onto the bar, standing right in front of me at the dishwashing sink, and immediately dropping his pants to show he was missing underwear as well.
I panicked, grabbed the nearest available thing, and shot the man in his junk with the hot water hose we used on the dishes. Anyone who’s worked in a kitchen can probably attest to just HOW HOT the water coming out of that hose is. The man doubled over, screaming and grabbing his crotch.
He toppled over backward off the bar, hitting his head on one of the chairs on the way, and rolled across the floor towards the door, maintaining his fetal position the entire way.
After that chaos, we called the authorities. They came and got him, took statements, laughed for perhaps an unkind length of time, and took him to the hospital.
Some months later, I found out he had plea-bargained to a couple of hundred hours of community service for public intoxication and disturbing the peace.
A group of 10 came in to have drinks and sing karaoke for a birthday. I went around the table asking what each person would like, and I got to the “princess” of the group. She asked me for a drink menu, and I told her I had a brew list but not a cocktail menu.
It was a dive bar, after all. She asked about pineapple drinks, and I told her we could do rum and pineapple, called a “Pineapple Upside-Down” drink, etc.
She was still trying to figure it out when I had two more tables sit down. I was trying to speed it along, offering her more options, and she just kept asking, “Well, what other things do you have with pineapple?” So I told her, “You can pretty much make your own drink”.
Her facial expression immediately changed, and at that moment, I knew I had messed up…big time.
She took that as me saying she should go back and make her own drink. She got incredibly angry and started making a scene, spewing expletives at me and calling me incompetent.
So I backtracked and said, “What I mean is we can start with a spirit and add pineapple and whatever other fruit or liquids you want”. She FINALLY just got a Pineapple Upside-Down drink.
The night went on, and everyone in her group was super chill, except for her. She had daggers on me the entire time. They finally cashed out, and I gave her her bill, which was $5.01.
The place was cash only, so I asked if anyone needed change. Everyone said they were good and left. I looked at her ticket, and she left me a $5 bill. Nothing else. She owed me a penny.
Enjoy Your Mints
I had been in the industry for over 15 years and I have seen a lot. However, my favorite incident occurred when I was the manager at a steakhouse. My host at the time was a smart-alec 20-year-old who had a good sense of humor.
As a customer was leaving, he scooped at least 50 mints in his arms, so the host said, “Enjoy the mints”! This infuriated the guy, and he started yelling and cursing.
I heard this from the front of the restaurant. As I was walking up to see what was going on, I saw a guy dressed in business casual attire holding a bucketload of mints two feet away, yelling at this kid.
My host just had a huge smile and was saying, “No, I’m not apologizing”. I calmly asked if I could help the gentleman out while being completely lost as to what was going on.
He yelled that he wanted me to make the host apologize. I asked him to please calm down and let me talk to the host to see what happened. The host told me, “I told him ‘Enjoy the mints’”!
I then turned to this guy, and his face was priceless. It was now completely red, and he was so mad he was shaking. The mints were practically falling out of his arms. I just couldn’t take it.
I was trying so hard not to laugh in his face, and all I could manage to say was, “Sir, please enjoy your mints”. Needless to say, he left in a hissy fit, called corporate, and then I had to explain it to my boss. We got written up, and we had to give this guy and his wife a free meal.
On one particular night, we were closing up and the tables were empty except for the bar. I was sitting at the end of the bar, resting my legs.
The manager, who was also the bartender and a good friend, was behind the bar. This guy was sitting two seats away from me with an old British lady, and two of the cooks were sitting at the other end, speaking Spanish. The guy and the old British lady were trashed and belligerent.
I started yelling at her saying, “Who are you to say that you are better than another person. You’re an immigrant yourself, hypocrite”. Then she started mumbling jibberish back at me, and I told her to get out and never come back.
All By Myself
She was shouting at me so loudly the whole restaurant could hear. When she finished, I walked out into the kitchen and explained what I had done to the manager and my co-worker.
They started laughing, and I started crying. I told them how vile she had been and that I would usually laugh too, but I couldn’t this time. As I was telling my manager how terrible she was, I could see him getting angrier and angrier until he said, “Where is she”?
We left the kitchen, I pointed her out, and he marched over to her. I don’t know what he said, but it involved escorting her out while the customers who overheard applauded.
She's Right There, Officer
I worked at a vineyard where we got the occasional limo full of sloshed people. We do not allow them in because we are not a bar and do not serve trashed people. Occasionally, the manager is away from the door, and that is when these people will attempt to sneak in.
I had to approach one of them and tell them politely that their party had too much to drink and had to leave.
Her response made me clench my fist: “I’m not going anywhere”. I assured her that my staff would not serve her, so it was pointless to insist on staying. I told her if she didn’t leave within five minutes, she would be escorted out by an officer.
She didn’t believe me, so I called the local officer we have on-call right in front of her and said, “He is on his way. I suggest you leave if you want to save yourself the embarrassment”.
As I was going out the side door to get the number off the limo’s plate, she followed me into the back office. Her next move had me livid. She pushed me into a filing cabinet and said, “WE AREN’T LEAVING”. Then, her group came back, grabbed her, and they sped off in their limo.
The officer arrived a minute later, and I gave him the plate number to give them a little scare. All this for a glass of vino. It happens at least three to five times a year.
It was Christmas, and everybody was getting ready to go home after cleaning early. Then, the phone rang—a family was coming in. They wanted a full meal half an hour before close.
That meant a full tray of pre-meal tea and biscuits needed to be carried over to them. They were sitting at a table located at the furthest point away from the drink prep area. It was the longest walk possible.
Suddenly, the totally unexpected happened—my feet went whooshing out from beneath me, and I landed in a pool of hot tea and shattered porcelain. I got up and went into the kitchen to plug my numerous new bleeding orifices with happy hippo Elastoplasts.
I cleaned my blood off the walls, restocked the tray, and shuffled back across the floor. I deposited the tray in front of the smirking customers and didn’t even get a tip.
A guy was out on a date with his lady, who seemed meek. I brought them their food and drinks. There was an obvious hostile vibe going on between the two of them.
Halfway through the meal, I came back and asked if everything was going OK, and she looked like she was about to burst into tears. A “get out of here” vibe was strongly radiating from the dude.
I came back at the end of the meal to ask about drinks and dessert, and he was redfaced mad that I had the nerve to come up to the table again. He gave me the most disturbing warning:
“Bring me the check now, and if you disturb us anymore, I’m gonna use this blade on you”, and he held up his steak knife with his right hand and pointed it at me. I remember looking at her, but her head was sunken down, and she would not meet my eyes. I brought them their check, and they left.
On Thin Ice
I used to work at a bar/restaurant that was inside a hockey arena. It was a cool place, and the people who worked there were fantastic. However, the arena was home to a now-defunct OHL hockey team.
On the surface, it was pretty cool, but the players were just awful when they would come in after the games. Most of them were 18 to 20 years old at the time. They never had any money, and they acted like they owned the place.
One night, after a game, a player—a top-five NHL prospect—came in. He ordered a pizza, ate, got the bill, and waited until I was out of sight to leave the book on the table. Then he left.
When I approached the table, I assumed he had left cash. Nope. Instead, he left me the most useless items ever: five promotional hockey cards that the team gave out that night, and one of them was the mascot.
I went and told the manager, who said that I was going to have to cover the $12 for the pizza. I, a 24-year-old waiter, was irate at having to pay for a meal for a kid that was getting ready to sign a huge NHL contract. I threw a huge hissy fit, and eventually, he agreed to void it.
The guy ended up playing in the NHL and had a pretty solid career. I should have just paid for the pizza and had him sign his dumb card.