Fast food employees get it rough when it comes to nasty customers. The sheer volume of people coming in means there will be some mean interactions throughout the day.
Below, fast food workers share the biggest
Content has been edited for clarity.
When The Work Follows You Home
“I used to work in a sub shop in high school. The only customer whose memory lingers with me as a jerk was the guy who came in ten minutes before close, wanted a grilled sub and then was pissed we were out of the bread he wanted. It’s closing time, did you expect we’d be fully stocked? My manager was in the back counting one of the drawers, and I was ‘acting’ manager on the floor so when he starts getting angry with the new girl, I stepped in.
The guy wants a discount for waiting so long (which I explain we can’t give him, because the sub meat needs to be cooked for a specific time), he changes his mind after the girl rings him up because he suddenly wants a cookie, which makes it a combo, then is pissed when it means we’d have to wait for the manager to void the transaction. He did everything with a look that was angry, yet smug. I couldn’t fix what was put in the register without a managers thumbprint, so then he starts yelling. It would have been 30 cents difference, and it’s now 9:10 pm. We’re all going to get dinged for clocking out late due to a late close. He’s still ranting about how we’re bad at our jobs and the girl next to me is starting to tear up, so I give him 30 cents from the drawer and tell him to have a nice night. Thankfully he left, with another glare. I followed him to the door and locked it behind him, where he told me I was stupid and not going to go anywhere in life, and how our entire store sucked. I told my manager about the drawer being thirty cents short now and lucky for me, she wasn’t mad because I was honest, and I was good at my job and took money from my wallet to make it even.
Next day I’m at school. I’m at practice and complaining to my teammates about this guy. The end of practice comes and the topic comes up again as we’re all leaving the gym, and then I can’t believe it.
The guy was there at my school! I point him out to my friends, and one of my 7th graders says ‘That’s my dad’ I turn to her and I’m about to apologize because, I’m a captain, and I’ve not been nice in my opinion and ranting, and she walks up to her dad and says ‘Dad, this is the captain of my team I’ve been telling you about! She’s awesome! She helped me with my form today!’ I’m hoping she wanted to spitefully embarrass her dad.
He recognized me, definitely, said hello sheepishly, grabbed his daughter and left. Next day she wasn’t at practice, and her friends said she quit. I was 17, but I wish I’d mentioned something to someone because that didn’t sound healthy.
But yeah, I worked there three years. I had my fair share of jerks. But that one sticks with me because I wonder what kind of home life she had, and if he made her quit because I was on her team and he was embarrassed.”
Couldn’t Leave Well Enough Alone!
“I worked at a movie theater, which for some reason brings out the scum customers in droves. When ‘Man of Steel’ was in theaters, we had fairly full shows. During one of them, this customer comes out and tells me that this other customer is letting their kid run back and forth behind his chair and it’s disturbing him.
I follow him into the theater and before he can even point the kid out, I see this two or three-year-old running around the aisle and hitting the back of people’s chairs in a full theater.
I ask the guy in the end if the kid is with him. His wife sitting next to him answers for him. I point out the child is bothering people and they need to try to keep him quiet or they’ll have to leave the theater and sit in the lobby instead. She attempts to argue a little but no, that’s the policy and common sense. Problem solved, right?
Nope, this lady follows me to the lobby and starts screaming at me for threatening to kick her out. I repeat, not throwing you out, you just cannot disturb other customers or you will have to come sit in the lobby. It happens all the time. Kids get bored, they come sit in the lobby, we even give them drinks and popcorn, if they ask nicely, for free.
The lady isn’t having this. You see, she bought six tickets to this show. That means she owns the row for the show in her mind and her grandchild can do what he pleases in the row. I again tell her, you can’t let a child run around during a movie like that. It’s rude and frankly unsafe. She continues to scream at me until her husband comes out and tries to drag her away. She hits him but he manages to get her calmed down.
At this point, I can actually call the cops on her but I don’t because I’m not the manager and I don’t want to have to call him in his day off so I make a deal with this lady. I tell her despite having every right to actually throw her out and call the cops, I’ll let her go back in if she just keeps the kid in her lap. Suddenly this is all she ever wanted, she runs back in, the day is saved.
Wrong again! She went in, found the original guy that made the complaint and purposely spilled his drink on the floor. The worst part is he didn’t complain again until after, so I didn’t kick her out. She, of course, complained to corporate.
I gave the guy free tickets and a new drink and we sat around and complained about her.
The reason I know she complained to corporate is that they also received glowing praise from the guy that she harassed me trying to help him with this lady.”
Don’t Mess With My Staff
“I was working the first drive-thru booth at McDonald’s at the age of 14 when a guy came in with a loud truck. For those who don’t know, it’s really difficult to hear customers on the intercom over the sound of a diesel engine. The guy is asking about a coupon that I’ve never heard of, I can’t really make out what he’s saying so I ask him to pull up to the window.
The guy has a nasty attitude off the bat. I apologize and tell him its hard to hear him over his engine. I tell him that the coupon is expired, he orders a chicken sandwich and speeds up to the next window without paying. He says to the guy in the second window who is now collecting his money to bring back to me ‘you better get that little fart out of the first window, he doesn’t know what he’s doing’. This is a grown man, calling a 14-year-old boy names because he had a hard time hearing him over a loud truck.
There was a younger manager who was cool as heck in the second booth that overheard this. He walks back to the kitchen and tells them to mess his food up. This was literally the only time in my almost 3 years there that I ever saw someones food getting messed with. A kid dropped his chicken on the ground kicked it across the floor and under the prep island, took his bacon and wiped it on the bottom of his shoe, wrung out a quarter pounder patties grease on his buns, and finally soaked it in mayo.
This type of stuff never happened there, and normally I would be horrified by the idea of messing with someone’s food, but I remember being really happy that the manager had the instant reaction of ‘no one speaks about my staff that way’.”
Send The Bill Or Go Away
“I worked at Dairy Queen when I was a teenager. I met some odd customers but one drive-thru customer was hands down the worst.
One night around 9:58 (we closed at 10) this guy peels into the drive-thru and orders a full meal and a peanut buster parfait. We were pretty much cleaned up and had to fire up the grill and make everything fresh. He was in the window for probably five minutes and losing his mind about how slow we were.
The girl at the front blundered and gave him the ice cream before the food was done, which is a no-no as it melts. Anyways, he freaks that the cup is cracked and it got ice cream all over his new SUV. He threatened to sue and came into the store and screamed at the 17-year-old manager for 15 minutes. We went out to check out the damage and this guy had put the ice cream in a holder that has pens and other stuff in it. So, of course, it cracked. Being 16, I called it out and he started screaming at me too. In the end, we asked him to bring the cleaning bill and he wanted $200 cash up front instead. We said no and never saw him again.
Never have I been yelled at like that in my life.”
Ketchup Makes A Man Angry
“I worked at McDonald’s. This guy comes in and orders six McDoubles with only mustard and pickles. I was running for the drive-thru at the time, but a new guy was taking orders on the window so I decided to help him out as it was starting to get busy.
I didn’t take this guy’s order, I didn’t make his food. I just bagged it, handed it to him, and told him to have a nice day. He rips the bag out of my hands and turns it over on the counter, ripping the wrapping open and looking at the burgers. Someone made a mistake and there was ketchup on the burgers. He starts slamming the burgers down and screaming obscenities at me, how I ‘can’t do my job’, ‘stupid teenagers shouldn’t be working here’, ‘this is ridiculous you’re all a bunch of idiots’, and many more awful things while people with children are watching him. The poor newbie looked terrified and I simply walked back and told my manager to deal with him before I flipped out. He was all nice and friendly with him.
A lady also told my manager I was stupid and needed to ‘learn how to do my job’ because someone up front had given her kid a small smoothie instead of a kid’s size. I just took the order.”
Italian. That’s It.
“When I first started working at Subway I had this customer who was joking around with me but whatever he was saying at the time wasn’t even close to funny so I just kinda did the fake laugh type of response. The next day this dude is again and starts talking to the manager about how I pissed him off for not laughing at his joke and then goes on to say that he almost jumped over the counter and wanted to ‘grab me by my hair to teach me a lesson’.
My friend also works at subway. This guy comes in one night and asks for a footlong Italian sub. So my friend asked if he wanted just plain Italian bread or the herbs and cheese bread. And he repeats ‘I want an Italian sub’. The bread issue goes on for like three more minutes, so my friend finally just uses plain Italian. Next, she asks if he wants the spicy Italian, BMT, or turkey Italiano (there are three types of Italian sub).
So the same issue happens for like five minutes of him just screaming ‘I want an Italian sub’. She finally makes him a spicy Italian. Then he asked for so many onions on this thing that she can’t even close it so he starts throwing a fit over that.
He made my friend cry.”
Not-So-Nice Canadians, Eh?
“I was working the Tim Horton’s drive-thru and a nasty looking guy in a pickup truck pulls up, orders a large coffee, but he doesn’t even let me finish my greeting, just interrupts me mid-sentence, shouts ‘Large Double Double’ into the mic and takes off.
At the time I was running both window and order taking, so I was a little peeved but nothing to tell a person off over. He pulls up to the window, I tell him his total and he just flashes his debit card, doesn’t say anything, doesn’t even look in my direction, like he’s trying to pretend that I don’t exist, it’s just him in the pickup.
Then after putting his PIN in the machine, he hands it back to me, again without even looking at me, like he desperately wishes he us ‘sub-human’ fast-food employees didn’t exist, and that some machine is just making his coffee.
Then this guy has the gall to just put his hand out like he’s a nobleman just waiting for his butler to give him a hand towel, just as pretentious as possible like he really wants to force just how above me he is.
So instead of handing him his coffee, I lean out through the window and look him dead in the eyes.
‘You know?… I could tolerate the lack of pleasantries, I could tolerate the interruption, and I could tolerate the silence. What I can’t tolerate is you coming in here and acting like I don’t exist because believe it or not, we do exist. So I can either refund your money and pour your coffee down the drain, or you can come back around and be a civil person and I’ll have a fresh coffee waiting for you. We’ll do the whole thing again.’
I ended up refunding him, not before I made him watch me pour his coffee out.
And they say Canadians are nice and polite.”
Tales From McDonald’s
“There was this one customer who had too much to drink that came into the store through the drive-thru of the McDonald’s I worked at and it was a busy night. I gave him his food and he started shouting at me through the taxi window saying how he waited an hour, how I was a fat jerk, and how he wanted to fight me. He was shouting for a good five minutes and I just took it. I got bored and reminded him his taxi meter was running and the driver burst out laughing. I closed the window and that was that. I felt so smug.
Another time, I was working on the drive-thru window during the busiest time of day and this huge jerk came up to the window and said, ‘If this was America, I would have had my meal for free for waiting this long’ I reminded him we were in England and we don’t offer that. He didn’t like that. I was paid a little over the minimum, so I didn’t give a crap.”
Support Your Cashiers!
“My partner and I were in a McDonalds, we had just ordered our food and were waiting for everything to be cooked. There was a woman (late 30’s) and a girl who we assume was her daughter (mid-teens), and the woman seemed so impatient. She was pacing back and forth, huffing and puffing, checking her watch, and all that. I’d seen her finish paying for her food when we walked in, so she’d only been waiting for a minute longer than us. The place was also really busy, and you could tell they were a little understaffed.
Eventually, the woman comes out with ‘I thought this was supposed to be fast food!’ in the most stuck up tone you could imagine – my partner and I still turn to each other and mimic it for a laugh every now and again. This was after no more than five minutes of them waiting. Not long after that, they received their food and walked out with the woman muttering under her breath, and the daughter looking painfully embarrassed. I’ve heard of people having a stick up their butt, but she had an entire redwood forest up there.
I felt awful for the staff member behind the counter who was on the receiving end of this woman complaining. She handled the situation really well, and when our food arrived we had a good laugh with her about that woman. I’ve never seen anything like that before, and I’m certainly no stranger to fast food restaurants.”
Patience, People. Patience!
“I’ve only started working in fast food recently and the worst one was without a doubt this middle-aged woman who brought in coupons I had never seen before. As I’m trying to figure them out, this lady is getting visibly irritated by the second. Realizing that I didn’t know what I was doing, I called my manager to show me what the coupons were for. He explains what they do, I place the order and hand the lady her receipt. As she takes it, she says ‘Next time I want someone who knows what they’re doing taking my order.’ I visibly stiffen up and the people behind her are shocked at the comment, later telling me not to get disheartened and not to let it bother me.
I absolutely detest people who are rude to fast food and retail workers, so I’m barely keeping my composure. Still, I put on a fake smile and continue taking orders. Meanwhile, my runner is preparing the ladies order and places it under the light, where it’s meant to keep the food warm, while she waits for fries to be ready. As my runner finishes the order and hands it out not two minutes later, the lady says to my manager ‘Can you remake my order? She let it sit there and now it’s cold.’
Needless to say, fries went everywhere as I crushed the cup of fries in my hand, before turning my back and stared at the wall in anger for thirty seconds. My manager sent me on my break a little early after that to let me cool down.
And the worst part? Those coupons had expired three months before, so I could have called her out had I noticed. I only knew because she talked to one of the customers behind her in the line and told him, who then told me.
The second one would be that guy was clearly blind to how stupidly busy we were. As I’m finally handing out his fresh food, he looks at me as if I’m the scum of the earth, and says ’45 minutes. Do better next time.’
Honestly, it’s as if he couldn’t perceive how busy we were. All the tables were taken, there was a line up in drive-thru going outside the parking lot, and everyone was asking to stay. I’m glad I was off then because I was close to screaming.’
You Have To Stand Up For Your Workers
“Anyone who works in construction who come into our store tends to be a jerk, but the worst kind tends to be contractors. Every contractor or guy who looks like they might be a contractor seems to be a jerk.
The first incident happened within my first week of working at the store, this contractor walks in, proceeds to get out his phone and make a phone call and order a sandwich at the same time. He then proceeds to ignore the questions of one of my coworkers about his sandwich, holding up the line in the process, and continuing his call. Eventually, he finishes his call and starts to get annoyed at my co-worker for interrupting him while he was on the phone. My coworker ignores this and continues on with making the sandwich.
Next, the sandwich is moved onto me and I am already rather annoyed at the way he treated my coworker. So, as I’m putting the vegetables on his sandwich, he starts to complain about the amount of stuff that I’m putting on his sandwich which starts at ‘That’s barely even slave rations your giving me there,’ even though I had put double/triple the recommended amount on his sandwich, and it escalated to him calling me a jerk for not putting the entire bin of olives onto his sandwich. I ignore that, wrap up his sandwich and hand it to the cashier, who was a rather nervous 16-year-old girl who hadn’t been working there that long either. He proceeds to rant at her and even goes so far as it insults her personally, even though she hadn’t done a single thing.
This really upsets her and she goes into the back of the store and the owner of the store, who was standing right behind us the entire time and who is a spineless fellow, takes over the cash register and doesn’t say a thing to the guy who just made one of his employees cry. I had a word with the owner, afterward and he said that you cannot say anything bad to the customer or refuse to serve him because he is a customer and has money.
On the bright side, the woman in the queue behind him, who saw all of that, bought her sandwich, told the owner that he should have said something, left the store and returned a few minutes later with a large box of donuts for us. She was really awesome.