Everyone knows that working in a restaurant can be stressful and frustrating. It's hectic, demanding, and it requires seemingly infinite amounts of patience and perseverance, especially when you deal with customers like these!
All Over A Salad Arriving Too Soon
“Once I had this lady come in with her husband. They order their food and the woman is quick to tell me she wants her salad as an entree and her soup as an appetizer. Pretty freaking simple. So, I ring it up and make sure the ticket marks it that way. I go to make her soup after I greet my other tables. I get back to her and some dumb server didn’t read my ticket and had given her the salad. She’s was so pissed. Like unbelievably pissed. She told me I was in the wrong profession and that she’ll handle me by contacting my manager. Literally over a salad. So I was like my apology, I was getting your soup I had no control over the server bringing you the salad. So that night my awful manager writes me up over a flipping salad. I stayed a little while longer until I went into labor and they put me down as a no call no show because, ya know, I had a kid.
Screw that place and screw entitled customers.”
Terrible Customers, Terrible Managers
“Let me paint the picture that I have burned in my memory of these three idiots. They’re friends with my boss and they always sit right near him. They are sweaty, covered in dark hair peeking out of their semi-unbuttoned and awful striped shirts. I try and be a sweet waitress, but they refuse to give me any kind of human emotion in return.
They order three very expensive steak and egg plates. I double check and triple check to make sure their order is correct. Obviously, it wasn’t. So I had to explain to my boss why I wasted $40 of his food, which likely would be coming out of my tips for the day.
I finally finish dealing with these obnoxious men and am so overjoyed to finally get to hand them their check. For their entire meal, I had given myself a courteous waitress poker face. Not quite a smile, but in no way was I scowling or angry looking. As I lay their check down, one of them looks me in the eyes and says, ‘Hey, how about you give me a pretty smile before I pay this?’
I’m a little taken aback by that request. I look back at him and stammer ‘What?’ before he repeats in a far creepier voice, ‘I want to see you smile. Or I’m not paying this.’ I turned to look at my boss, who gave me a ‘Do it already’ kind of look. These men proceeded to make me lean in and smile like I was at the dentist or something. And then they laughed as I walked away.
It was just such a degrading and miserable moment in my life. Forget that.
He also ran his kitchen under zero health codes. I saw chefs slap raw meat on the grill and then toss a salad without so much as rinsing their hands. I didn’t get a chance to quit because he fired me after just one month. I called out sick one day, and he told me not to bother coming back.
Goodbye and good riddance.”
Completely Freaking Out About Food
“I worked at a little local popular pizza place as a cashier when I was 16. It was a Friday night, so it was me and four other girls working the front and it was slammed. I mean people out the door just waiting for their food to be ready, let alone the massive amounts of phone calls and another huge line of people waiting to order and pay.
After hanging up a phone, a customer comes up to me to order. He ordered a garden salad with chicken. Pretty simple.
First offense? When I tell him it will be at least a 20-minute wait since it is a Friday night at a pizza place. He started freaking out, ‘You’re telling me it takes 20 minutes to make a salad?! You’ve gotta be kidding me!’ Again, I glanced and gestured to all the people just waiting for food to be made and told him again that we are very busy and need to serve those that came first. That set him off again. ‘All you need to do is grill the chicken. Just throw it on the grill now!’ Again, I politely tried to tell him we had to grill other orders before his and our grill can only fit so much at one time. He handed me his card in a huff and I swiped it. I put it down on the counter and slid it over to him when I was done.
Time for the second offense. He freaked out again. ‘You should never slide a card like that! It wears the magnetic strip off and then I can’t use it!” I personally have never had anyone say something like that to me, but whatever. I apologized and said it wouldn’t happen again. At this point, as a 16-year-old girl with this 50-year-old man that’s been yelling at me, almost everyone is looking at us now and I was on the verge of tears. He lingered for a second giving me a dirty stare and then walked away to wait.
A little bit of info about my job: When we have to-go orders, the kitchen will shout ‘To go!’ when they are done so we know to take it from them and find the customer.
Well, after he left, I noticed there were about three phone calls on hold so I started to take some phone orders. A little while later, I hung up my last call and with no more lines on hold or calling in, I finally have a second to breathe and have a sip of water, or so I thought. The guy walks up to me and says, ‘Is my salad ready yet?’ I said I had not heard them call it out but I’ll check anyway. I walk over to all the orders piled up and find his right on top, the girls said they never heard them shout ‘to go’ so they didn’t know it was there. I shrugged and said something along the lines of, ‘Oh well, they forgot to call it, I guess.’ Couldn’t have been sitting there more than maybe five minutes max. When I turned around with salad in hand, I could feel the burn of his stare and instantly dreaded having to walk over there. We had already locked eyes so I couldn’t just hand it off to someone else to bring over.
So I dragged my feet over to him, and just as I thought, he starts. ‘SO YOU MEAN TO TELL ME IT WAS READY THIS WHOLE TIME!?’ Of course, everyone in the restaurant started staring at this shouting man. I tried to stay calm, ‘No sir, it only just ca—‘ and he continues, ‘MY SALAD WAS SITTING THERE THE WHOLE TIME WHILE YOU IDIOTS SAT AROUND STARING AT THE WALL!’
I started blubbering, trying to hold back tears while also trying to help this customer and explain it had not been sitting long at all. He kept shouting how it was going to be cold and it would be all my fault. Well, I lost it, I started bawling my eyes out in the front of the restaurant while he was demanding a refund. I have never cried in public and I couldn’t stop, but a 16-year-old girl didn’t stop him from continuing to shout obscenities. Finally, he scowled, grumbled and left in a storm after calling us all plenty of names.
Hey dude, I don’t know why you would, but if you ever read this, go fly a kite.”
Don’t Threaten The Staff
“I threw a guest out because he threatened to punch me after also screaming at and insulting a 7-month pregnant hostess, all because his table was not ready when he arrived for his reservation. I offered him a round of drinks on the house, I told him that as soon as the other party got up just 30 seconds later that he would be seated. I gave him an estimated wait time of less than 10 minutes. There is nothing I can do about people camping out.
Anyway, he got all up in my face and yelled things at me. I told him to leave and he refused. I pulled out my cell phone and told him to leave or I was calling the cops. The look of utter embarrassment and shame that came across his wife and teenage daughter’s face is still burned into my mind to this day and this happened at least seven to eight years ago.
The owner called him the next day to ‘get his side of the story’ and then personally informed him that he was permanently banned from the restaurant.”
Temper Tantrums From Grown Men
“I was a line cook for two years in a deli and grill that was stuffed in the back of a grocery store. I live in the South, so everything on the menu had huge portions. This will be relevant shortly.
One morning, right after I arrived at work around 5:30 am, a group of ranchers came in and wanted to order breakfast. I hated having group orders right as I came in because most of the stuff wasn’t ready yet. Biscuits were still in the oven, the grill was still cold, but I worked around most of that and took their orders anyway. All of them ordered biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon, sausage, and a pancake. They were really understanding about the time it took for the biscuits to be done (much nicer than the loggers or the oilfield workers usually were) and in just a little amount of time, I had all their plates ready to be served.
This is where the portion sizes come in. One guy, Sam, had ordered all of what I mentioned before. His biscuits, gravy and meat took up one plate, and the pancakes we made were almost the same size of the plates themselves. There was no room on the first plate, so I put his eggs with his pancake. No problem. I sent out the order and continued preparing for the breakfast rush due in half an hour or so.
About a minute later I hear loud swearing in the dining area. I’m used to this from the loggers and roughnecks, so I ignore it until I realize it’s directed at me. I ask if there’s a problem, and here comes Sam storming up to my counter, redfaced and foaming at the mouth.
‘What’s wrong with you?!’ He asks. I’m confused. ‘I’m sorry?’ I say. ‘Is there something wrong with your order?’
‘Yes there is,’ Sam says and slides his untouched plate of pancakes and eggs over the counter to me. The plate almost falls off, but I catch it. ‘You’ve got my eggs on my pancake.’
‘I’m sorry sir, but I didn’t want to use another plate for two eggs. I put them with your pancakes to save you the hassle of carrying three plates.’
‘Look at this,’ Sam calls to his friends. They’re not impressed with his tantrum, but don’t say anything. ‘She thinks she’s doing me a favor by messing up my breakfast.’
He’s swearing at me and I try to say, ‘There’s really no need for that lang—‘ before he interrupts. ‘A man’s got to have a decent breakfast before he works all day. Do you call this a decent breakfast? It’s a shame you’re a bad cook, because you’re ugly, too. I feel bad for any man you trick into marrying you.’
‘Sir, please, there’s no reason to be rude. If you want, I’ll fix you another plate. Just please don’t insult me anymore.’
‘Don’t bother trying to fix it. I’ll eat it.’ Sam takes his plate of pancakes with the edges of his eggs touching and sits down. I go into the bathroom and cry.
The rest of the men were quiet until they paid. I did get a $40 tip from them collectively, though, so that was nice.”
No, You Can’t Have My Clothes
“I had a guy complain that his wife was cold while they were sitting on the patio. I suggested moving inside, but no, ‘We want to sit outside and she’s cold. What are you going to do about that?’
‘Sir, I’m sorry, I can’t do anything but offer to move you inside.’
‘Well, you’re wearing a sweater. Aren’t you even going to offer it to her?’
‘No, sir, I’m not going to give your wife my sweater.’
So he asked to speak to my manager, who had to spend ten minutes explaining that he was not going to require me to hand over the literal clothes off my back and that we have no control over the weather.”
Don’t Snap Your Fingers
“I used to run a bar in a small city and it was rather exclusive. We had a lot of suits come through and had some very rich clientele. I was also quite young to be running a bar at 19-years-old. Now, it’s also a smaller bar, so there was generally only one of us on at the time. Where I’m from, the general bar etiquette is that you go up to the bar and order. Table service is very rare.
Anyhow, one night, this guy comes up with a few of his friends and sits in the booth at the opposite end of the room facing the bar. He then proceeds to look at me, raise his hands, and snap his fingers at me. There were a few other customers in the room, but other than that, it was a pretty quiet night, so I humored him because I needed to make the money. I headed over to the table to drop off a menu and offer water, exchange small pleasantries, inform them that we are out of a few things, etc.
About 15 minutes later, he again raises his hand, looks at me, and snaps his fingers again. I bite my tongue and head over to ask what he would like. He asked for a large order of stuff that we didn’t have because the order was late from the distributor. He then proceeds to start yelling abuse at me telling me I was useless at my job, that I was far too young to be running a bar, that he would never come back, that I looked like a pretentious idiot who was too big for their boots.
He then asked to see the owner, so I went and got him, and then goes on and on about how he wants me fired on the spot because I was arrogant and shouldn’t have the job. The boss thankfully told him to get lost, so the dude left in a huff.
I then had to go sit out back almost crying and shaking with anger, just trying to calm down. I went back upstairs and the other customers were so kind. They said I handled it well and that I didn’t deserve to be abused like that. The experience has forever tarnished people for me to this day.”
Tiny Little Mess Machines
“I used to wait on children at their birthday parties. Kids would slap me in the face or on the rear if they thought they weren’t getting their drinks fast enough. They would pinch me and kick me. They frequently shred all the paper cups and plates and scatter them everywhere. They throw food everywhere. I regularly got lemonade thrown at me and many kids had meltdowns because they changed their mind about what food they wanted once it had already arrived. Once they pinned me down and rubbed ketchup in my hair.
Serving adults is bad enough, but serving demon kids while their parents look on, laugh and talk about how adorable they are? There are few words.”
Wasting Time Just For Fun
“I had the unfortunate opportunity to observe my coworker ruin a kid’s night. The waiter had brought our bill after we finished our meal and my coworker thought he was rushing us. He then correctly came to the conclusion that the kid was almost done with his shift and naturally wanted to leave.
Instead of paying the bill and then sitting at the table to finish his drink, he chewed the kid out, ordered a water, and waited another 45 minutes, saying ‘Let’s make this kid wait for us to be done.’
Biggest moron I ever knew.”
Customers, Pay Closer Attention
“I work at a pub and restaurant where you order at the bar, so as the server, the first I see of a customer happens when I take their food out.
One day, I take a plate to a table and the man there says it’s not his. So I put the food under the heater and ask the till server if she remembers who ordered. She doesn’t. I call loudly on the floor to see if anyone is waiting for this meal and no one claims it, so the best I can do is wait for someone to come asking for their meal.
The till server then recognizes the guy sitting at a different table. At this point, the food has been under the heater for nearly 10 minutes, it’s still warm, but there’s only so much it can do. I take the food to him, he complains that it’s taken so long, but takes it. I say sorry and leave. When I go to check on him a few minutes later, he complains rudely that the food is not hot enough. I offer to reheat or replace the food for him, he says ‘No, I don’t want it now!’ and thrusts the plate into my hands, going on about how long it took for the food to come out.
I apologize again and explain that we had the wrong table number, but I am happy to replace it. He then in a raised voice to me says that he gave his table number. ‘I said table 11!’ I point out to him that he’s on table 15 and he replies with ‘This was table 11!’
I wasn’t sure what to say so I pause for a second, and he takes that pause as a chance to start a rant about how I was in the wrong and that I was lying when I said I went to 11 with the food, as he didn’t see me or hear me when I called, even though I was standing next to his table when I did.
I offered to refund everything after offering replacements several times, but he tells me he doesn’t want anything from me and to leave him alone. Five minutes later my manager tells me that he’s complaining about my poor service, saying that I just took his meal and didn’t offer to fix the problem at all. Luckily I had already told my manager what had happened so she knew he was a lying idiot.
He didn’t leave a tip. Big surprise.”
“For anyone who has ever had to serve my mother-in-law, I’m sorry. She will be so indecisive when choosing her meal and even ask the waiter for samples of food like steak. Then when the food comes out she’ll say something like, ‘I’m just not feeling any of this, can I have something else?’
She’ll look through the menu and again not be able to decide, so she’ll just ask to have the original meal taken off the check. One time she ordered coffee and sat around talking after it was brought out, so she forgot to drink it. Then when the waiter came by, she said, ‘I can’t drink this, it’s cold. Can you just take it off the check?’ She’s one of those people who will ask for ridiculous substitutes that the waiter barely understands what she wants, and when the food comes out, she’ll keep sending it back. She even does this at fast food spots.
As a former busboy, I’m so sorry to anyone who has ever had to serve her. I’ve learned my lesson to not take her to any of my regular spots when she visits, so I don’t ruin my relationship with the staff there.”
The Classic Hair In The Food Bit
“I had a table come in the other day and pull the ‘hair in my food’ bit. The problem was that the hair was blonde and none of the workers, including me, had blonde hair. His girlfriend who he was with had blonde hair, though.
My manager and I both knew what they were pulling, but of course, you can’t accuse a customer of planting evidence.”
Language Barrier Terror
“I used to work a small waitressing job in my town, which is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, but since it was on the way to a nearby tourist trap, we were generally pretty busy. My boss was terrible. He only kept one waitress on staff, and when I say waitress, I mean waitress, dishwasher, busboy, and cash register. He’d freak out on me when the dishes got backed up, and when I was actually washing them, he’d be like, ‘Why aren’t you on the floor?!’ He also told me in detail about all the girls he’d taken to bed in high school (he was like 40 something) and made incredibly lude remarks when I asked that he not tell me those stories. So that was fun, but I really needed that job. But the real story starts now.
So we’re in eastern Ontario, which means we get a lot of French tourists from Montreal. My French isn’t great, but it’s enough that if the other person is willing to make an effort, we can communicate without too much of a language barrier. I’m working on it.
Anyway, on a slowish morning, a large group of about 10 people came in for breakfast. I was in the back working at the time and didn’t hear them come in for about two minutes. When I got out there and asked them how they were all doing, I realized none of them spoke English, except one kid who looked to be about 12. An older guy asked me in French if I spoke French, to which I replied, ‘No, not well.’ He then insulted me under his breath, which my French friend later on translated to me as a bunch of expletives. The whole group then proceeded to order their whole meal by letting this kid translate, left a huge mess, no tip, and decided at the last minute they wanted separate checks.
I quit two weeks later after I called in sick and my boss told me I wouldn’t have a job if I didn’t come in. Yeah, screw that.”
Ethics Training On The Job
“When I was 16, I was a hostess at a local steakhouse. I was new to the job and fresh out of training when this happened. It was a busy night so we had me and three other hosts on. We had a rule that if someone other than a host answers the phone to take a reservation, they have to let one of the hosts know before or after writing it down on the reservations list. Because it was such a busy night, there were a ton of names on the list.
As the night slowed down, I was the only host at the stand and a group of four walked in. I asked how many were in the party and one of the ladies said 50. Now, I was relatively new to the job, but I had heard that as a joke at least three times a night and took it as such. Except it wasn’t.
Earlier that evening, at the busiest part of the night, one of the servers took a reservation, wrote it right in the middle of all the crossed off reservations, and didn’t tell anyone about it, so all of the hosts missed it. When I laughed at what I thought was a joke, more people starting showing up and I looked at the reservations book more closely. There it was, hidden in plain sight. Before I could say anything, the lady said something along the lines of ‘What, have you never seen a group of people of different color?’
The way she said it sounded like she was joking, so I tried to laugh it off telling her that sorry, no that’s not the issue, we just didn’t see the reservation and again apologized. I told her it would be about a 10-minute wait while we set things up.
As we were struggling to find a place to set up and start throwing the tables together, my manager asked to speak to me in private. She took me to the dry storage area in the back and proceeded to yell at me telling me that the customers thought I was being racist and was trying to refuse service to them. I tried to explain exactly what happened but she refused to listen and continued yelling at me to the point of tears, then told me to stay far away from that table until they left.
I had never been called a racist before and it really stung. I was raised to judge people by their actions, not the color of their skin.
It was a learning experience, to say the least.”