Being a server isn't easy, especially when it seems like the customer has it out for you. These poor servers got stuck with the worst tables in the world, though they tried to make things work the best they could. Dealing with these infuriating customers was almost more than they could take!
(Content has been edited for clarity)
She Expected Service The Minute She Came To The Door
“I work at a restaurant in a province where the minimum wage has recently increased. When it’s busy, we have a hostess, a bartender, a manager, and servers, but as the day slows down, we cut down until there’s only a bartender, manager, and a server or two. This particular Saturday wasn’t too busy by 2:30 p.m., so we cut the hostess and all but two servers. Everything was going fine with a slight push at 3:15 p.m., but nothing that would have justified more staff. Or so I thought. Enter Miss Pleasant, or MP for short.
MP (as she’s walking through the restaurant): ‘Excuse me! Do I seat myself or do I have to wait for you?’
Me (as I was dropping off food for another customer): ‘Oh hello! If you don’t mind hanging on one second, I’ll be with you as soon as I’m finished up here.’
MP: ‘Well, I’ve been waiting, and no one has come to seat me.’ I should note, I was out front just a minute earlier, and she was not at the door.
Me: ‘I’m sorry about that, but I’m here now, so let’s get you seated! Pick the spot that makes you comfiest.’
MP: ‘Well, here is fine I guess.’ She chose the first seat in from the door that she had already walked past to yell at me, and of course, it’s in my section. Yay me.
Me: ‘Works for you, works for me. Now, welcome to [restaurant]. My name’s Jean and-‘
MP (interrupting me): ‘-I just think it’s ridiculous that I had to wait that long for a seat. Can you not afford to have a hostess on with this minimum wage increase?!’
Me: ‘I’m very sorry that you had to wait. We do have a hostess on when it’s busy, but when it’s slower, they aren’t as needed.’
MP: ‘Well, clearly they were needed since I had to wait so long for a seat. I shouldn’t have to flag down a bartender or some waitress just to sit. You’re a business, aren’t you? You can only run if customers come in and order, but having to wait makes me not want to stay. The minimum wage increase shouldn’t affect the customers this much, or you’ll have none left.’
Me: ‘…ok. Unfortunately, when it’s slower, we do adjust the staffing levels to meet the demand. But now that you’re here, can I grab you something to drink?’
MP proceeded to order some adult grape juice, water, and lunch. She did apologize after having her meal and drink but told me twice more how unimpressed she was and how an increased minimum wage doesn’t mean we can be lazy and not welcome guests or understaffed. After she left, I mocked her in the back until my second shift started.”
“I used to work in a Palestinian restaurant. Our hummus and baba ghanouj were legendary in the area. One day a girl wanted me to give her whole lunch free because she said that the eggplant in the baba ghanouj was too hard and it cut her mouth.
She ate all of it. And her lunch. And had dessert. But her mouth was in so much pain from the roasted eggplant that I needed to comp her.
I did not do that.”
It Wasn’t That He Was Demanding, It Was What He Yelled Across The Room
“It’s late Saturday afternoon, about 4:15, the sun is getting ready to set, and I’m getting ready for the second half of my double. With only one other server on the floor, the seating rotation is simple, so when a single, older ‘gentleman’ walks into the restaurant, I’m the lucky waitress who gets to serve him.
Things are going fine at first; he’s a little demanding, but that’s nothing we all haven’t had to deal with. The red flags start popping up when he starts calling me sweetheart and honey in a demeaning way. I keep my distance just in case, but then he roars, ‘I’m deaf! You gotta stand close and lean in so I can hear you!’
This makes me uncomfortable, but I understand that older people are sometimes hard of hearing. After my tenth trip to his table, I’m positive he has everything he needs, (a relaxing drink, water, bread, butter, olive oil, Parmesan cheese to sprinkle onto everything, and salad), so naturally, I think it’s okay to attend to the five top that was being sat.
I’ve got specials in my hands, waiting for them all to sit down before I greet them. The single man is probably thirty feet away from me, and as I’m taking drink orders for the five top, I see him staring at me.
I think to myself, ‘He must have a question or need extra salad dressing. I’ll stop by after these drink orders.’ I finish taking the orders and look up at him, smile, nod my head and start walking his way. It’s probably been five to seven minutes since I was at his table, but apparently, that was too long.
As I take my first step in his direction, he turns slightly out of the booth and starts screaming, ‘YOU’RE A HORRIBLE WAITRESS. I WANT A NEW WAITRESS. I’VE BEEN SIGNALING YOU FOR TEN MINUTES!’ Etcetera.
I stand there, frozen. My five top is a foot to my left, and they’re all staring at me. The guy continues to yell, and I finally remember I have feet and swiftly go and find my manager. I didn’t return to the table, my manager packed the guys food up to go and asked him to leave. So what did this man need so urgently that sent him into this rage? More cherry tomatoes on his complimentary, pre-entree, house salad.
The owner of my restaurant knows the man personally and ended up calling him on his home phone to chew him out for treating me that way.”
This Is What Happens When People Seat Themselves
“It was a morning shift. Being a steakhouse, we are never particularly busy in the morning but it was getting to be about 3 p.m, so we were picking up a bit. We only had one host on, and he must have been helping bus a table at the time. A couple walked in, walked past the host stand, and sat themselves at a dirty table in a closed section. I guess another server or two walked past them, assuming they had already been taken care of because they had no menus in front of them. Eventually, someone came up to me and said, ‘Hey can you pick up table 12?’
I looked over at the table, ‘Uhhh. I guess. Why don’t they have menus or silverware?’
‘Oh, they sat themselves.’
‘Greeaaat.’ So I went over to greet them.
Me: ‘HI, I’m Z. I’ll be-‘
Lady: ‘YOU MEAN TO TELL ME THAT JUST BECAUSE WE SAT OURSELVES, IT TAKES FIVE MINUTES JUST TO GET GREETED?!’
Me: ‘I apologize for that. Unfortunately, you sat in a section that doesn’t have a server assigned to it, so it took us a minute to realize that you hadn’t been taken care of already. Can I start you off with-‘
Lady: ‘BULL! There was no host! There was no sign that says wait to be seated! I told that guy over there, and he did nothing. I told that girl over there, and she did nothing!’
Me: ‘I’m sorry, but actually that girl was the one that let me know that you needed assistance and I came over as soon as she let me know. I apologize again for the confusion. Can I get you something to drink?’
Lady: ‘You know what!? We’ll just go somewhere else. This is bull!’
I involuntarily threw up my hands into the air, ‘Ok. Sorry again. Have a great day.’ Then I walked away. If I’m being honest, I was happy they left. I did not want to wait on them after that nonsense. I just feel bad for whatever server/restaurant got stuck with them after they left.”
She Was Clearly At The Wrong Place, But Don’t Tell Her That
“My first fast food job ever was at a chain, carhop-style establishment. We’re talking grease-laden burgers, corn dogs, and milkshakes. It was NEVER the kind of business to pretend to be healthy. This was years ago, so I don’t know if their menus have changed since then but at the time, we barely even put vegetables on our burgers, much less had salads. Cue this lady pulling in and pressing the button to order.
Me: ‘Thank you for choosing us, would you like to try our delicious [insert disgusting promo item here].’
Lady: ‘UGH! No! I just want the McSalad.’
I smiled a little bit because I thought she was just playing off how grossly unhealthy the item I just promoted was.
Me: ‘Haha! Nice one, ma’am. What can I get for you?’
Lady: ‘I just TOLD you, the McSALAD! Extra dressing!’
I started to process that she was serious and I genuinely become concerned. I figured out where her car was in the lot so I could make sure she wasn’t showing signs of a stroke or some mental issue. It turns out, she was parked in the spot right in front of me. She was middle-aged, looked healthy and well put together, and driving a nice car.
Me: ‘Oh, I’m sorry ma’am. We don’t have any salads here. The place you’re looking for is across the street though!’
Lady: ‘WHAT. That’s ABSURD. You must be new! I come here every day and get this salad!’
Granted, I’d only been there a few months so I told her I’d go double checked with my cooks and see if we used to promote a salad, but I was 100 percent certain we didn’t have salads at the moment. Several of the cooks had been there for years, and they all told me NOPE. No salads.
Lady realized she could see me from her car and was now just…staring. Intensely. Like she couldn’t believe the practical joke I was pulling. Then she started in again, speaking very slowly.
Lady: ‘I. Want. The. Mc. Salad.’ Constant eye contact, glaring.
At this point, I tried to explain to her that even the NAME of the salad suggested a different brand, but she was having none of it.
We went back and forth for a while, to the point where she started to get upset and her voice sounded like she was going to cry, she was so frustrated.
My manager finally got free from whatever it was he was doing, so he went out to her car to talk to her. She genuinely just could not comprehend that we didn’t have her specific salad. She left, after hours more staring.”
There Was Nothing She Could Do To Appease This Man
“I had a horrible customer last night. I work at a restaurant in Southern Minnesota that is similar to Applebee’s, but just a little bit pricier. Most customers are decent (‘Minnesota nice’ and all) but last night, I served the King of all Donkey Butts.
It was a normal Monday night, not packed but not slow, when I noticed I was being sat with a man and I presume his wife and young daughter. Even from a distance, I noticed the scowl on the man’s face immediately I approached the table and before I could say a word, he barked out, ‘I’ll have a Pina colada and make sure there is plenty of the good stuff in it!’
Oh boy, let the games begin. ‘Certainly, sir. Would you like to make it a double?’
This suggestion seemed to insult the jackhole because he practically spat out, ‘No, I don’t want to pay extra! Just make sure there is plenty of the hard stuff in it!’
The wife ordered a bottle of brew with olives in it.
A few minutes passed and I brought the drinks to the table. Almost immediately, the man (not his wife) proclaimed that there were not enough olives in his wife’s drink. I went fetch some more olives, which remained untouched until I brought them back to the dish pit after their meal. When I returned, the man told me there wasn’t enough bite to his Pina colada and he wanted it remade. What a surprise! They also ordered their food at this time. I put their orders in and brought the guy his new drink. He seemed satisfied for the time being.
Between the time they placed their order and the time I brought out their food (maybe 15 minutes later), the man flagged me down three times to bring extra things to their table, always barking it as a command and never acknowledging me when I dropped off his requests. At one point, he even interrupted me while I was taking another table’s order to ask for another cherry for his drink.
Finally, their food came out and I knew, in my heart of hearts, that he would complain about something. Sure enough, a couple of minutes after I set down his fajitas, which were literally sizzling, I heard him cling his knife on his glass. I looked up from wiping a table and he beckoned me over with his finger. ‘These need to be taken back because they aren’t hot enough. And I WILL need to speak to your manager tonight, because this has been unacceptable.’
I brought his fajitas back to the kitchen and got my manager. She went and talked to him, and apparently, he was rude to her, too. She ended up bringing his new fajitas back to him to make sure he was satisfied.
At this point, I was dreading going back to the table, but I noticed his Pina Colada was empty, so I asked him if he wanted another one. ‘Yes, but get that other server [who just walked past] to make it because she knows how I like it.’
The other server, who had never been a bartender and had also never seen this guy before, was stumped but went and talked to him. Apparently, the first Pina Colada ‘was too thin.’ Fine. She brought him another.
A few minutes later, while I was wiping a table close to his, I heard him complain to his wife that I’m incompetent. Awesome.
Much to my dismay, my manager made me offer this guy a free dessert. For some reason, he seemed angry about this offer. ‘Bring a brownie sundae, I guess. Easy on the whipped cream.’
I brought it out and, OF COURSE, he was furious that there wasn’t enough whip cream on it and wanted me to remake it. I brought the stupid sundae back to the kitchen and immediately started crying. I feel stupid for cracking, but this guy just got to me so much. My manager ended up bringing the new sundae and the check (with the fajitas, one Pina Colada, and the dessert comped) to the table. He stiffed me, of course, but I didn’t care at that point.
The weirdest part is that the whole time, his wife was polite and pretty pleasant. From what I saw, he and his wife never said a word to one another through the whole meal.
I understand that everyone has jerk customers once in a while, but this really got to me and is still bothering me this morning. It is really frustrating to work in a job where that sort of behavior is rewarded. Sometimes I wish servers could leave Yelp reviews for customers. ‘Personality needs more cheese and less meanness.'”
That Group Of Ladies Knew How To Party, But Not How To Tip
“A nightmare 10-top from the pits of Hades comes in around 11:45 for lunch. There is a mom and her 6-year-old daughter, a birthday girl, and seven other women in this group. The mom is very demanding and wants me to cater to her daughter constantly. The table is constantly ordering rounds of complex drinks (that, of course, all have something fancy on the rim). We don’t have a bartender, so I have to make it.
I had to stop taking other tables because they were so demanding. Whatever, they’re drinkers and celebrating, so I’m sure the tip will make up for me sacrificing half my section. The mom and 6-year-old leave after three drinks and two entrees, leaving behind a $60 tab and a $4 tip. Not so cool, but whatever. I still have eight people left here, so I’m sure it will even out to be worthwhile.
The woman on the other side of birthday girl has to run. I offer to grab her check quickly since she only ordered soup. I told her it was $4. She took out a $20 and says, ‘The rest is for you, you did a great job.’
Awwww! Nope. Birthday girl takes the $20 right in front of me and says, ‘That’s too much for soup. I’ll use the rest to buy another drink.’
They all want their checks, and one lady tells me she’ll be paying for the birthday girl. Birthday girl takes the $20 and says, ‘I guess you don’t need this after all!’ and puts it in her purse.
The woman who paid for her tipped me $10 on the $100 tab, so I made about $20 off the whole table.The women started dancing around and scream laughing, kept me about an hour and a half past close.
Stay classy, ladies.”
They Descended On The Restaurant “Like So Many Anchovies Into The Krusty Krab”
“So it’s Sunday night. Sunday, Funday. I’ve spent the better part of twelve hours catering to my beloved public. Gently prodding the hungover college kids in the direction of something slightly less greasy. Consoling babbling football fans who seem to be under the impression that I coached their crappy team last night. Attempting to prove to various church groups that I deserve a higher percentage than God, a task that usually works out about as well as showering naked with a cat.
But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s 25 minutes until close, there’s a crap-ton of the chicken special left for us foraging scavengers, and best of all, I’m off until Wednesday. Whatever comes in now, I can handle.
The restaurant has cleared out by now, and my fellow closer and I get to work deep cleaning the dining room. I’m focused on sweeping as we shoot the breeze, until the sudden, deafening silence peaks my intrigue. I glance at my co-worker, who is staring out of the window, his expression similar to one who is being eaten by a shark from the feet up. I slowly pivot, preparing to dual-wield a broom and dustpan against whatever monster is about to descend on us…
Jesus Hoagie-Eatin’ Christ.
Lesson Number One: The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of an oncoming train. Or in this case, the headlight of an oncoming bus…and before I can drop to my knees in despair, they’re here, careening through the front door like so many anchovies into the Krusty Krab. I catch a fleeting glimpse of our host, all sass and elbows as she flees through the parking lot.
It’s a party of 30. A party of 30, with 20-odd minutes before close. Well, it’s my job, and they can bury me in bodies if I try to escape. I decide to make the best of it, ignoring the only good advice Ramsay Snow ever uttered, ‘If you think this has a happy ending, you haven’t been paying attention.’
Issue Number One in this Subscription of Bull:
A lady orders a cheeseburger, PLAIN. ‘I need it plain. I’m allergic to most vegetables. No vegetables at all, please. PLAIN.’
Yes, ma’am, I’m well-schooled in the vernacular. One plain cheeseburger coming up. Except it wasn’t plain because it came with cheese.
‘I said I needed it PLAIN! I’m allergic to cheese!’
I must have had one of those blackouts where I write down my aural hallucinations in a perfectly confident hand. Really should get that looked at. ‘I’m sorry, ma’am, for some reason I wrote down: Cheeseburger, plain.’
‘Well, YEAH! If it’s a plain cheeseburger, you take off the cheese!’
‘Oh…so a hamburger?’
‘If you want to nitpick, yes, a hamburger. WITH NO CHEESE. I’m allergic to dairy.’
I return to the kitchen for another burger, silently grieving for the innocent cow who would come to rest in the belly of this beast.
Issue Number Two, otherwise entitled, ‘Why Don’t These Jerks Sell Their Merchandise for a Reasonable Price?’
I was first alerted to this issue when a grumpy-looking gentleman on the end complained loudly to his wife, ‘Why don’t these jerks sell their merchandise for a reasonable price?’ I finally work out that he’s referring to the old-timey crap we have hanging on our walls: Citizen freaking Kane over here has been transfixed by an old sled hanging beside the table. He wants this sled. He NEEDS this sled.
If it were my decision to make, he would be gleefully riding that one horse open sleigh to straight to Hades, preferably on the heels of some crap-yourself-to-death disease. I settle for politely explaining that the items on the wall are not for sale, that the tag he saw on the sled was its inventory number, which is why it was over 1,000.
No. HE is the true Mufasa, the rightful owner, and master of everything the light touches. I simply shrug, assure him that this jerk didn’t have anything to do with it, and avoid that end of the table indefinitely.
So we’re finally nearing the end of the meal, and I’m just pleased as punch that I have an extra $4.38 (i.e., two additional hours) to add to my paycheck. I gather them up some boxes and to-go drinks, check to see if anyone wants dessert. Nope, good deal. I head back to the kitchen for a few minutes and eat half a bag of chocolate chips as a reward. Then I return to the dining room for clean-up.
They’re still there. One lady spots me peeking around the corner and frantically waves me over. ‘We forgot, it’s his birthday!’ She points to a teenager in the center of the throng.
Now, I love celebrating. It’s a lovely break from the ranch and gravy encrusted reality that is my life. Granted, a better break is going home, but still. This particular kid hasn’t wronged me, so I grab his cake and get it back to him. Someone grows vastly upset that there isn’t a huge group of birthday singers.
What can I say, dude? All I can do is enlist the help of night maintenance, and he’s covered in mop water and fryer grease, way too overdressed to serenade gutter rats such as yourselves.
So they forego the singing. I tell the kid, ‘Happy Birthday,’ and pick up a couple of plates. That’s when I hear it.
‘Hey, it’s MY birthday too!’ I glance over, and of course, it’s Cheeseburger-With-No-Cheese Lady. I can automatically tell, just by the way she says it and then glances coyly downwards, that she’s full of crap.
I haltingly ask, ‘Really?’
‘Well, it was a couple of weeks ago!’ she says with a laugh. I chuckle weakly, thinking this has to be a joke. As I reach out to take a plate from her, she says, ‘I’ll have the apple dumpling with two scoops of ice cream.’
Now, I’m not going to check your ID to make sure it’s the day you frolicked forth from the womb, but Christ, at least own your lie enough that I don’t doubt you. At this point, I’m sick and tired of dealing with these jerks, so I talk to my manager and explain the situation. At this point, he’s itching to get me off the clock, so he says to make them happy and just give it to her. Great, a fine example we’re setting here.
So she gets her cake, bravely fighting through her dairy allergy to choke down these two scoops of ice cream. Then, after what feels like an immortal’s lifetime, they finally meander out into the night and onto their bus, probably off to terrorize some poor Waffle House just for poops and giggles.
I clean up and then two hours and forty-five minutes after they first broke down our gate, I clock out. An $11 experience I’ll never forget. A few days later, I’m closing again, hanging around waiting for another manager to check me out. She’s going through the comp and void receipts and does not look pleased.
‘You know, I’m beginning to think (District Manager) is right when he says that all these dessert comps can’t be birthdays.’
If you only knew, miss. If you only knew.”
He Found WHAT On His Pizza?!
“I work at a pizza place. One night, it was just me (female), another manager (who was doing some administration stuff in the back office) and a female delivery driver. A group of guys rung up and ordered a few pizzas delivered. I made the pizzas myself, cut them up, put them away for delivery and gave them to the driver. I got an angry call from them before she’d had even made it back to the store.
‘I want a refund!’
‘What exactly was the problem with the order?’
‘There is someone’s ‘MANLY SEED’ on my PIZZA!’
I explained to him that the only person who handled the food tonight was myself, and I remembered making that order specifically and reminded him that the driver was female. He continued yelling at me and went on to say that if there was nothing I would do, he’d escalate the matter further and even do a DNA sample to confirm the ‘manly seed’ properties of the pizza. He insisted that not only could he see it, but he could smell it.
It took all the willpower in me to not burst out laughing at the customer and tell him to stop climaxing onto his food to try and get a free meal.”
Sure…Those Boys Are “10 Years Old”
“I waited tables at a place that had a buffet on Fridays. A lady came in with her twin sons, and they all eat the buffet. When I brought her the check, she flips out on me because I didn’t charge her for two ‘child buffets.’ I told her that the cut off age is 10. She said her kids are 10 exactly.
I point out that:
1) Her kids were wearing the HIGH SCHOOL varsity football jerseys and…
2) I knew they were seniors in high school because they were a grade below me and I had just graduated.
She called me a bimbo, then she tried to name drop the owners’ names, but got them completely wrong. She asked to speak to the manager, so I got the manager from the office, who happened to be the owners’ daughter.
She pulled the whole, ‘I am a close family friend of the owners,’ and botched their names again.
The manager just said, ‘Well, you’re at the wrong restaurant, because no one by that name owns this place and I am the owners’ daughter, and I’ve never seen you in my life.’
The lady just gave a, ‘Well, I never…’ and wrote a check.