Working as a server can sometimes get you great tips, but you'd have to deal with terrible people and their ridiculous demands. From asking for a cup of nachos with a straw to demanding an eggs Benedict with no eggs, servers share the dumbest thing a customer has said to them.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
Stop Natural Bodily Function
“It was a busy lunch rush on a hot summer day, so the AC was blasting but not enough to keep the whole room cool. Add to this the fact that all the servers are running around as fast as they can in order to take care of each table every desire. So, one lady at my table approached me at the computer while I was putting in their order. She asked me if I could stop sweating and that it was ‘unappetizing.'”
Pretty Sure The Lobster Shed A Tear Or Two
“I worked at Red Lobster in Canada for a number of years. There’s a live lobster tank for fresh lobsters if you want to pay a little extra. Usually, the customer assumes you’ll just pick one and cook it up for them, but I had a gentleman ask if he could handpick it from the tank. No problem. He picks one up, examines it, and proceeds to sing some foreign operatic aria to the creature. In front of the whole restaurant. Not a word in English, no idea what he was saying to it, but darn if the poor lobster didn’t near shed a tear.
Then he was boiled and thoroughly enjoyed of course.”
A Big Platter For A Big Muscle Guy
“I’m a room service waiter. A guy checked in, ordered 12 orders of asparagus and 12 orders of tofu, which wasn’t even on the menu. The kitchen agreed to do it; he wanted it all on one platter. It was a pricy, swank hotel, so kitchen made up some crazy expensive price. It was a big platter, and it was delivered. It turned out the guy was a real muscle head fitness type. Fine, whatever.
Then about an hour later, he called back and said, ‘can you pick up the tray? I’m finished but want to keep it cold for me overnight because I want some in the morning.’
OK, fine. We went up to get it. It turned out he ate a small amount of it. It got covered and put in a walk-in cooler.
Next morning: ‘Can you heat that up for me and bring it up?’ This went on, morning and night for like five days. He wanted the same platter delivered, taken back, refrigerated, then rinse/repeat. Twice a day. For five days.
We hated the guy. By the end of the fourth day, the kitchen wouldn’t let us take it up because it was looking old and ragged. So they made more fresh for him, no charge.
He only tipped the first time we brought him the platter.”
Wrong Menu Order, Allergic To Chocolate, And Corner Piece Of Pie
“The place I work has two menus: lunch and dinner. Last week a woman came in at lunchtime and asked for the chorizo and goat cheese stuffed chicken (dinner menu) without the chorizo and with feta cheese instead with the wild mushroom sauce from our medallions of rib eye (also dinner menu) on a ciabatta roll with red peppers and potato wedges from the chicken on the specials board.
I still don’t know where she got a dinner menu from at lunchtime.
Also just for general stupidity tonight a person ordered sticky toffee pudding with ice cream, cream and whipped cream (we don’t do whipped cream) and then sent it back because they were allergic to chocolate. Which may have been a good idea to mention before ordering dessert. They then demanded the same dish with no chocolate on it for free because they were ‘upset’ at being served chocolate.
Oh and last month someone sent back a piece of pie because it was a corner piece of pie and she didn’t want a corner piece. We refused to give her another, and she sat in a massive moody fit while her friends ate and enjoyed themselves.”
Eggs Benedict With No Eggs!
“I was a server at a country club taking care of a large party with everyone requesting special orders and substitutions. Get to the last guy: ‘Eggs Benedict, no eggs, no Benedict.’ Um, I think to myself, okay… guess that leaves you with a plate of ham, English muffin, and asparagus, but whatever. Cut to me serving the food, him last, I put down three small plates – one with ham, one with English muffin, one with asparagus. ‘What’s this,’ he inquires. ‘Um, your Eggs Benedict, no Eggs, no Benedict,’ I replied.
He gave me the deer in the headlights look like the rest of the table all burst out laughing, and his wife chimed in ‘that’s what you get for being a smarty pants!’ I asked if he wanted me to get him a complete order, but he declined to say that they had a plane to catch. They then proceeded to lounge around for over an hour. That job sucked, but times like this made it worth it.”
The Side Salad That Comes With The Burger
“I once had a woman order a burger and request that I take the lettuce, tomato, and onion that come with the burger and chop it into a side salad for her. It was 99 cents extra to add an ALL YOU CAN EAT SALAD BAR to her order, but she insisted I take the single slice of tomato, the single slice of iceberg lettuce and the single circle of red onion and make her a side salad.
So I did, and I charged her $1 for the side of ranch dressing.”
A Huge Inconvenience
“I used to bartend/wait at a local golf course. I once had a customer ask us to make the shelled mussels less time consuming, but was adamant that they should not be taken out of their shell. Then, to top it off, asked that his lamb not taste like lamb. Asked the chef if we could do anything about the lamb (didn’t bother asking about the mussels) chef promptly told me to tell the guy if doesn’t want lamb then he should not order the lamb!! (that’s a direct quote.) When we informed him that we would be unable to accommodate these requests he asked for a free gift card for the ‘inconvenience.'”
A Cab For The Fish
“I once had a regular who was drinking quite a bit. He could handle his drinks pretty well. He left for a little bit and came back with a fish from the pet store. He then said the fish could live for three hours in the bag and continued to drink. Couple hours passed and he asked for a cab. I call one. I let him know when the cab arrived. He left and put the fish in the cab to take home to his unsuspecting wife and came back and ordered another drink. I can only imagine what that cab driver was thinking driving a fish home and his wife opening the door to a fish at 9 p.m.
I had one other guy sit in the far back corner of an almost empty bar. He asked for hot water. I dropped it off then he asked for ice water. I dropped it off confused but whatever. I looked over at him as I stood by the counter. He mixed them, added ketchup and salt and pepper. Downed it and walked out.”
Mad About Everything Under The Sun
“So last year I finished university and nabbed the first job I could find – which was with the National Trust. For those outside the UK, the National Trust is a charity that cares for old properties and places of natural beauty, usually donated to them after the old owners died or didn’t want to live in a big drafty 500-year-old house.
So I am assigned to work in the tearoom, which is located in an old stable. This stable has no air conditioning, uneven flooring, terrible lighting. In the winter, the temperature inside was two degrees high the temperature outside. In the summer, it was a sauna, with tea kettles, the dishwasher, and hundreds of sweaty tourists crammed into the thing because it was the only place to get refreshments on the whole property, which was several miles into the English countryside away from anything else.
All the people who worked in the tearoom were teenagers and young adults, either still in school, just finishing school, or graduated and desperate for any income. I think the fact we didn’t know what it was like to be treated better was part of the reason management got away with treating us like crap.
This property gets about 5,000 people on average, but on this late May day, it had been beautiful outside. Hot weather, all the flowers in the garden in bloom, everything lovely – we had 11,000 people come through the gates. Our tearoom could sit maybe 100 if you count the outside tables and people willing to sit on benches. All the food was made fresh in the morning and when we were out we were out, so of course, by about 2 p.m. we were serving crumbs and unpopular raisin cakes. I was the oldest person on shift at 22 years old, and sort of became defacto shift leader and had to cover for one 16-year-old girl who had fainted and another 17-year-old boy who had burned his hand really badly. But finally, the crowds were going home. It’s 5:45 p.m. The end was in sight, and we were cleaning up and bandaging wounds.
In came this lady. You know how you can just sort of tell what kind of person some folks are just by looking at them? This was one of those. She had that haircut, you know, the soccer mom one, the one that shrieks ‘I’d like to speak to the manager.’ I shared a look with one of my still surviving coworkers. I could see another person in the dishwashing room spraying himself in the face with the water tap just so they didn’t pass out. And I thought to myself, oh boy, here we go.
So she marched up to the counter and said, in this very imperial voice, ‘I’ll have a cream tea.’
A cream tea consists of two scones, some clotted cream, and some jam, plus a pot of tea. It’s delicious, but unfortunately, we sold out by 10 am that day. So I told her, ‘I’m very sorry ma’am, today has been very busy and our food is made fresh in the morning, after which the chef goes home. As such, we’re out of scones for a cream tea. I still have some Victoria Sponge cake under the counter, if you’d prefer?’
Technically the sponge cake was for the next day, but I sensed a fight if I didn’t offer a replacement, so whatever. But this lady was going to give me one no matter what I did, apparently. She turned her nose up at me and gave me the most terrible look like I was a turd she found stuck to the bottom of her shoe. ‘I want. A cream tea. You have a sign.’
‘Yes ma’am, but under that sign, we added a tag that says ‘sold out.’ It’s been there all day, and I’m very sorry. Is there anything else I can get you?’
And she went OFF.
I don’t recall exactly what she said, but she complained about every single thing under the sun, including that the children who had been playing on the grounds (it was a kid go free day) had been laughing too loudly, that the sun had been too hot, that the house had been too gaudy and posh, and that there were sheep in the fields (which were not ours, and were also a good mile away from the property, so you could only see them from on top of one particular hill). And she ended this five-minute rant – yes, we timed it – by shrieking that we were ‘Denying her human rights to a cream tea!!’
Now, I’m not familiar with every letter of the bill of human rights, but I’m pretty sure that’s bullcrap, and so did everyone else in earshot of this lady. I heard the guy in the dishwasher room begin choking and coughing to hide his laughter, but I have a customer service facade made of adamantium, so I just smiled at her and said, ‘Terribly sorry ma’am. Is there anything else I can get you?’
At which point she stormed out.”
That Plain Cheese Omelet
“We had this omelet on our menu that had this chunky, spicy salsa type stuff in it. It was pretty good. A lady wanted that omelet, but without any of the chunky, salsa stuff. Without the chunky, salsa stuff it was merely an omelet with some cheese in it. This was explained to her, and I told her that she’d save a couple of bucks by just ordering a cheese omelet.
She SCREAMED at me that NO SHE WANTED THIS OMELET!!
Okay, fine. I put in the order, brought it to her, and she complained quite vocally that it was just a cheese omelet and ‘couldn’t you put some vegetables or bacon or something in it? what horrible customer service!'”
The Real Pearl Debate
“I worked at an oyster bar in a college town.
A mother with her daughters walked in. I knew they were going to be a pain as soon as I heard the volume, and content, of their conversation, start to evolve with every sip of their drink.
Then they finally decided on trying some oysters, and Mom asked: ‘Could we have some oysters with pearls, please?! Thanks!’
I said: ‘Actually ma’am, we don’t have any oysters I can guarantee contain pearls, these are all organic oysters from the East or West coasts, we do find pearls sometimes, but we can’t guarantee it.’
One daughter said something like: ‘Uummm we bought oysters at a bar exactly like this one in Florida with guaranteed pearls in them. Why do they have them and you don’t? Are you just confused, or do you not get Florida oysters?’
Me: ‘Well miss, those are cultured oysters, and they weren’t natural pearls. They cultivate pearls industrially by opening them up just a tiny bit and putting a shell bead in them, and then they grow into pearls. But those weren’t natural, wild oysters, they were from a pearl farm.’
Mom: ‘No actually, they were wild oysters caught right off the beach of where we were staying in the Keys. You must just not get Florida oysters…’
Me: ‘With all due respect ma’am, those weren’t wild oysters from a public fishery if you were in the Keys, they were farmed and cultured to grow pearls. That’s actually how lots of jewelry companies get pearls. Places like where those oysters you’re talking about came from. And we do have some wonderful Gulf oysters from FL & LA, actually, would you like to try some?’
Mom: ‘You’re wrong, you’re so so so wrong. They knew which of their wild oysters had pearls in them and separated them for purchase at the bar. That’s what a Florida oyster is, for your information.’
Me: ‘Ma’am there’s no way to know which wild oysters could contain a pearl, with certainty. Those were farm pearls. But I guarantee I have some oysters in my cage right now that are top of the line, amazing oysters I’d love to serve you guys. Even some from the gulf…’
Mom: ‘Um no, we’re going to pass because you don’t know much about oysters.’
Me: ‘Are you sure? I’d be happy to let you try a few on the house. We’ve got some incredible…’
Daughter: ‘Did you not hear her? You don’t know as much as real oyster bars that are attached to the beach, so please just get me another drink, k? thanks.'”
This Bizarre Omelet
“Three girls came into our breakfast restaurant, and all ordered different omelets. They called me back to the table after getting their omelets and asked why they had cheese in them. Apparently, none of them had ever heard of cheese and eggs in the same meal before and were disgusted by the concept. They seemed to think it was bizarre. They weren’t even foreign, they all had American accents, so I can’t understand how they never knew that omelets had cheese. They demanded that we not charge them because we didn’t warn them that there was cheese.”
Nachos In A Cup … And A Straw
“In high school, I worked at the Mexican food court ‘restaurant.’ My first day on the register, a lady asked for, ‘Nachos in a cup.’ I told her that wasn’t on the menu, and the container we use for nachos was way bigger than the biggest cup. She got irate and said money wasn’t an issue and, ‘just put some chips in a cup and cover it with cheese.’ I asked the manager, and he told me to charge her double for the special order. I told her it’d be around $15 to do this, she gave me a $20 and said keep it. I filled the large drink cup about halfway with chips, then poured cheese in there until it was almost full, dunked some chicken slices, put the lid on, then handed it to her.
The absurd request: she asked for a straw.”
The Most Irritating Customer
“I used to work at a Subway and making sandwiches all day for customers wasn’t all that bad. Kind of fun most days.
Except for this one guy. A regular customer came in every single DAY!
He insisted on getting his meatball sandwich with every single veggie on it. Every day. He stood over us and demanded tons of every veggie until we can barely wrap this monstrosity in its beautiful paper wrapping.
And what did he do with his gigantic sloppy meatball sub?!?! He proceeded to take it to a table, sit down, and pick everything OFF of that sandwich until it is nothing but meatballs, sludge, and bread. To add insult to injury, he left all this all over the table after he finished.
I still hate that guy. I see him walking around town every once in awhile still, and it takes all the restraint I have inside my body to not hit him with my car.”
When This Server Unintentionally Made A Customer Cry
“I made a guy cry due to his request. Years ago I was working as a server in a pretty nice place. These two couples came in together and sat in my section. I took everyone’s adult drink order except for one guy; he said he’d get a drink with dinner. He was a frail little guy, and his wife was just the most obnoxious woman I’ve met in years. The memory of the crap that came out of her mouth still annoys me. Anyways, he gets around to ordering a drink. He asks for a variation of a mudslide typically reserved for children. Everyone giggles a little, so I just smile and give a little laugh as well. Whatever right? Not a big deal. Well, he starts crying. This 50-year-old man is crying. He started whimpering about how he’s been 14 years sober and why would I laugh at him ordering a children’s drink. So, it’s my fault now?”
Pizza Without That Specialty Sauce
“I was waiting on this table, and this one lady ordered a specialty pizza that comes with a specific sauce. I informed her we ran out of said sauce a few orders ago and since the store was about to close within the hour, there would be no more made tonight because the cooks make everything from scratch.
She said it was fine and still wanted the pizza. I rang in the food, and everything was going smooth. I brought out all the food, asked if there was anything I could get them, and that’s when things took a turn for the worse.
The lady started ranting about how her pizza wasn’t edible without the sauce and that she demanded we whip her up some. I placated her and told her I would talk to the kitchen. Closing cook had a good amount of tickets and no backup, so he quoted about 45 minutes before he would even start on it. We were less than 45 minutes until closing, and I was dreading walking back to the table. Once back at the table I explained how we only had one cook, and he was backed up, so it would be at least 45 minutes until he would even start the sauce. She said that was fine and that she would wait. Twenty minutes in everyone else was done eating. The table had paid, and as I was clearing, she started ranting about how horrible her service was, how awful her visit had been, how her pizza was going to be cold when she got home. Blah, blah, blah. And they stiffed me on an over $100 tab.”