No group of workers takes the kind of abuse that servers in the restaurant industry do. The general public can be horrifying. These stories tell the tales of the shocking behavior some people display.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
Creepy Old Man Is Creepy
“We must have had an ‘idiots eat for free,’ sale.
This old man called me ‘princess.’ It made me cringe but eh, what are you going to do, right?
So, later on, I brought his meal out and announced it, and he said, ‘Yes, yes, here. Yes, bring it to daddy.’
I could have vomited right there all over him and his dinner. I gave him a death stare the rest of the night.”
Snow Brings The Crazy Out Of People
“I had just started my job as a cashier at a grocery store about two weeks before the following story took place. I was at a register by myself, and everything was going alright.
There was a forecast for heavy snow later that night, so the store was slammed. People were fighting over items in the aisles, over carts, and over places in the checkout line. I’m not sure what it is about snow on the weather forecast that makes people lose their minds.
A customer came up to my line, and I started scanning through his items. He was complaining about how busy the store was and how long the lines were through the transaction, which was understandable.
After I rang up his purchases, he handed me a coupon for his corned beef. There was a massive discount on it ahead of St. Patrick’s Day.
However, the coupon didn’t start until the following day. I informed him of this, and he said, ‘It’s only one day, can’t you give me the sale price anyways? What does it matter to you?’
After telling him I couldn’t use the coupon, he picked up the package, yelled, ‘WELL, THEN I DON’T WANT IT,’ and threw it at me. Hard.
I managed to dodge it, so it just brushed my shoulder, but it hit the floor with a lovely ‘splat’ sound.
It was so busy that I didn’t want to bother anyone, so I just picked it up, voided it, and rang him out.”
Know-It-All Knows Nothing
“I work with self-checkouts at a grocery store.
Yesterday we were swamped. I had customers at every register and lines wrapped around the store, and we were understaffed. I needed a manager override for two registers, and of course, nobody was picking up the phone.
As I was dialing various phones and paging different people trying to get ahold of someone while also talking to two customers, I heard a guy yell ‘YO’ from another checkout lane. I looked over and saw a guy leaning on the produce scale/scanner, and the machine loudly telling him to remove everything from the scanner. This is something people do a hundred times a day: they lean on the scale, ignore the directions, and either get mad or confused when it doesn’t let them continue with their order. So I hung up the phone and walked over to tell him this, and he instantly became hostile.
Me: ‘You can’t lean on that, it’s a scale.’
Guy: ‘First of all, DON’T TELL ME WHAT I CAN AND CAN’T DO! And I wasn’t leaning on the scale!’
Me: ‘I just watched you lean on it.’
Guy: ‘I WAS NOT LEANING ON IT’
Machine: ‘Please remove all objects or items from the scanner.’
Me: ‘You’re leaning on it right now.’
This went back and forth for a bit, with him proceeding to make a big show out of looking at my nametag and mispronouncing my (common) name. He asked for a manager, so I went over and paged someone for the fifth time.
He kept arguing with me and yelling for a manager while I was trying to tell him I had already called her, and then he dropped this bomb on me:
‘Are you telling me that leaning on the scale is the reason I didn’t get a receipt?’
I never told him that and until this moment he never mentioned anything about a receipt.
As the whole store was a mess and there were carts of both bagged and unbagged items scattered everywhere, I didn’t even know he had already paid.
As I finally processed that this is what I was supposed to gather from him loudly screaming ‘YO’ at me from 20 feet away, the manager showed up. I went over to my computer and printed out a receipt for the guy, while the manager checked the printer on his register. It turns out the roll of paper ran out, and he started screaming about how I KNEW it was out of paper because he used to work there.
As he was yelling about that, I handed the manager the printed receipt because I didn’t even want to look at this guy. Finally, the customer left, screaming at the manager the entire way out.
Oddly enough, the two customers that had politely made me aware of their problem and been waiting for 10-15 minutes were patient and even told me I handled it well.”
This Guy Is Desperate For Pies
“The following is an encounter I had with an awful man refusing to believe I knew what I was talking about.
I’ll be B for Baker, he’ll be M for Man:
M: ‘Do you have any mincemeat pies?’
B: ‘Hello! No, we do not currently have any mincemeat pie, and I don’t think we’ll be getting any this season.’
M: ‘What do you mean you don’t think you have any. Go check.’
B: ‘Oh, I meant, I know we don’t currently have any in stock. Corporate is just a little slow on communicating with anyone except managers, so I’m not sure if we will be getting any mincemeat pies this season.’
M: ‘Well, can you check?’
B: ‘I just finished our shipment for the day, and I spend about four hours a shift in our freezer. Trust me, I’m the first to know when we get a new product. If you leave your name and number, I’d be happy to call you if/when we get mincemeat pie.’
M: ‘Forget it, you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. I’ll wait for someone who does.’
B: ‘Okay! Well, I’m the only one here for the rest of the day and six of the seven nights each week. So if you’d like to double check, you’ll have to come in or call in the morning.’
M: ‘You had mincemeat pie last year. I know you have it.’
B: ‘We really don’t. If it’ll make you feel better though, I will gladly check the freezer.’
M: ‘Finally! I need two.’
I pop into the freezer real quick and hang out for a second. I come back out and break the bad news.
B: ‘Gosh, so sorry! We do not have any mincemeat pies.’
M: ‘Whats your name? You clearly don’t know anything.’
B: ‘My name is XXX, and my manager’s name is XYX. If you’d like I can call a general manager over, and you can voice your complaints to him?’
M: ‘No, I’m going to speak with your manager and get you fired for not knowing how to do your job.’ He then stomped away.
I came in early the next day and heard the manager talking to the decorator about mincemeat pies, and the guy actually called in to complain about me. I didn’t get punished, but I believe that man was trying to get me fired because he thought I was purposefully hiding frozen mincemeat pies from him.”
The Same Drill Every Week
“I work at a chain store primarily known for their ice cream mixed with toppings in a fairly busy mall in Canada. I usually work Sundays with the same three people, my shift leader and two other fellow employees. The Sunday Old Lady comes every week on Sunday, and every single time without fail, she will give a small amount of money, ask for a ice cream and complain about things being ‘so DARN expensive!’ We are a chain store, things are not that expensive.
I arrive in the middle of a mini rush, so I jump in to help. Lo and behold, Sunday Old Lady is here in the middle of a rush.
C will be my coworker, I will be me and Sunday Old Lady will be SOL. She also has this irritating, loud, and rude voice.
SOL: ‘How much is a mini ice cream?’
C: ‘It’s $4.08.’
SOL: (throws out $2.50 and looks at my coworker expectingly)
C: (sees me and we switch places, him making other orders and me with SOL) ‘Hi, what can I get for you?’
SOL: ‘An ice cream, that size. (pointing to the mini cup. At this point she has also taken back the five dimes.)
Me: ‘…there’s only $2 here…’
SOL: (said in a super annoyed voice) ‘I know!’
Me: (deep internal sigh) ‘Well I can’t give that to you, but I can get you an ice cream. (We usually just give her a kids cone which is $2.30, but we discount it for her, probably a mistake because she keeps coming back, but our manager regularly presses us to appease customers to avoid complaints.)
I take the money and put it behind on top of the till and go make the cone because the till won’t open until I enter the amount given and the money received is more or equal to what is owed. I was going to do it after she leaves because it makes the transaction a lot easier on my part. So, I return with her ice cream cone and hope she will leave.
SOL: ‘What, no change?!’
Me: (at this point, I’m beyond irritated, and I just blink and look at her) ‘Ma’am your cone is $2.30, you gave me $2 but I still got you your cone.’
My coworker sees me still with SOL and steps in, so I move to the next till and serve the next customer who has patiently been waiting. She will be NC which stands for the nice customer.
C: ‘That cone is $2.30 and you gave us two dollars.’
SOL: (still cannot process that we gave her an ice cream for less than what it is sold for) ‘THAT’S SO EXPENSIVE!’
C: ‘Ma’am we just work here, we don’t set any of the prices.’
NC: ‘I was wondering what size that cone was?’ (gestures to SOL, who is still there and glaring at my coworker)
Me: ‘Oh that is our kid-size cone.’
NC: ‘That’s perfect I’ll take one of those-‘
SOL: ‘What I don’t want this, this for kids!’
Me: (still helping my customer) ‘Sure! Would you like that dipped?’
I continue taking my customer’s order while SOL is still going on about how she doesn’t want the cone. My coworker has left at this point to continue making pending orders, we thought she would just take the cone and leave because she usually does, but she did not. I accidentally made eye contact with her.
SOL: ‘WELL, I’m not taking it!’
C: ‘Ok, not our problem!’
SOL: ‘Give me my money!’
C: ‘Ok here you go, bye!’
SOL leaves mad and grumbling. You would think she would not come back, but I knew she would come back and she did five minutes later and with three dollars this time. My coworker helped her and poked around the till for a minute to discount the mini size ice cream from $4.08 to about $3, and even ended up taking some coins out of our tip jar (of which when we first opened, SOL dug through it and tried to take some for her order).
He later told me when asking for the price of the different sizes, she pointed to the small size and nearly lost her marbles again after being told it was $4.82. She does this every week and we really don’t know what to do.”
Ask And You Shall Receive
“This is about a lady I named Snowflake. Snowflake sucked.
I’ve got a party of seventy, rehearsal dinner, crammed to the gills with oblivious guests. Our tables are as close to the walls as they can be while still allowing us to pass, and of course, every overweight guy and cluster of chattering girls is blocking the path between the kitchen and bar.
The menu is simple: Salad, Choice of Chicken or Fish, Dessert. This was cleared months ago with bride and groom’s parents. This is the menu. We don’t go off-book, considering this venue has at least three other events going on at the same time.
Enter the lady: Young, blonde, sundress and Uggs, iPhone magnetized to her forehead. We finally get a drink in everyone’s hand and encourage them to be seated. They do, and of course, they sit wherever they want despite the assigned seating. Placecards indicating menu choices? Eff you, eff me, eff everybody.
We ALWAYS ask if there are any dietary restrictions in the group when we ask for final counts back and we accommodate accordingly. Sound party practice, right? No, throw that crap out the window.
Time to drop salads. I’ve got a couple dressing on-sides, one no seeds, easy stuff. I personally drop the salad in front of our lady and she takes a split millisecond to take her eyes off her phone to say, ‘Is that cheese? I can’t have cheese!’ as if I directly threatened her.
‘Oh, okay,’ I say. ‘I can get you a salad without cheese.’ She doesn’t respond, just shakes her head. I go back to the kitchen, get a salad no cheese, bring it out. ‘Here you are.’
‘Is that dressing on there? Is there mayo in there?’
‘There is, it’s our house dill-‘
‘I TOLD you, I can’t have dairy and I’m gluten-free! Bring me a salad without dairy and no gluten-free!’ iPhone glues back to the head.
I go back to the kitchen and announce to the team, ‘Alright, we’ve got a freaking Snowflake!’ Team shouts ‘Yes Chef!’ and ‘Forget her!’ I go, ‘I need greens on a plate, put some freaking air on top, and a ramekin of oil on the side.’ In my hand in five seconds, back out I go.
I set the plate in front of Snowflake. I can see over her shoulder she’s taken pics of the previous salads and is uploading them with ‘Are they trying to KILL me?!!!!!’ I leave before she can complain about her nothing-salad.
Entree comes around, and I’ve coded names with guests since our foolproof seating chart has gone completely to crap. I drop chicken in front of Snowflake, not subjecting my staff to this one. Of COURSE she has an issue with it, despite me making it as plain as possible—baked chicken, plain veggies, brown rice. She starts complaing.
‘WHAT is this? Am I supposed to eat this? It’s all…plain.’
Me: ‘Miss, I’m just trying to accommodate your dietary restrictions. We left everything off that could interfere with your diet.’
‘But it’s so…plain…Don’t you just have any soup?’
Me: ‘No. We don’t just have any soup.’
Her: ‘Can’t you just make some soup?’
Me: ‘No. We can’t just make some soup.’
Her: ‘How hard is it to just make some broth and throw some vegetables in?!’
Into the kitchen I go. ‘Snowflake is requesting soup! Snowflake requires warm broth with vegetables thrown in!’ ‘Yes Chef!’
I present a bowl of warm broth with some uncooked mirepoix in it (I had to walk very slowly not to spill). Snowflake had no words, just a defeated snarl into her phone. Ask and ye shall receive, ya sucker.
She didn’t say crap about dessert, just ignored it and Instagrammed it.”
A Group Of The Nastiest Kind Of People
“I work as a night manager for a chain restaurant. A couple of weeks ago, a party of five came in about half an hour before close. One of my servers, who I’ll call ‘Stella,’ was waiting on them.
Stella is one of my best. She has a sunny, happy personality and she’s always sweet and unfailingly polite to everyone who comes in. The customers adore her. That’s why I was surprised, that this particular table had her flustered and aggravated. I asked what was wrong, as she is usually unflappable.
She said, ‘Girl, you know I don’t mind waiting on tables that come in late. That’s not the problem. But don’t come in here with an attitude, and then run me to death.’
At that point, I started paying attention to see what had her so flustered.
Basically, they were just your typical party of morons, demanding and feeling superior over us lowly restaurant folk. Irritating, but nothing really over the top at this point. And Stella was her polite and pleasant self.
I did notice when I helped Stella run the food to their table that the one woman, who seemed to be the alpha female, was glaring at me like I just shot her dog.
I thought, ‘Lady, I don’t know what your problem is. I’m just bringing you your food.’
There was one other table in the restaurant, a lady in her 70s, who was a regular who always came in alone and who was devoutly religious. She pulled Stella to the side and asked her if she knew anything about the party of five that she was waiting on. Stella replied that she did not.
The woman said, ‘The Lord keeps telling me that I should do something to help them and that they have a need. I ignored it at first, but I felt that the Lord was putting it on my heart to do something nice for these people, so I came back in. How much is their bill?’
Stella told her it was $43.40. The woman said that she would like to pay $40 of it anonymously, and proceeded to put it on her debit card. As soon as she finished paying, the group came up to pay.
My cashier told them, ‘You only owe us $3.40. A stranger wanted to do something nice for you, and has already paid $40 of your bill.’
Oh, they were happy then! It made their night! But I did notice alpha female quietly watching while studying my nametag and contemplating.
I was off for the next two days, but when I came back, my general manager wanted to speak to me about a phone call they’d gotten while I was off. He asked me if I remembered a table on Tuesday night.
The same party of five called back first thing the next morning and wanted to know which manager was there before they would speak to them. Then she proceeded to tell the daytime manager that Stella had waited on them the night before, and was rude to them. (Lies!) They repeatedly demanded that she be written up and fired. (Seriously?)
Then, they demanded to be reimbursed for the full $43.40, the $43.40, of which they only had to pay $3.40. The day manager, having no way of knowing what had happened the night before, and not wanting to bother me on my day off, gave them a full refund.
Our policy is to reimburse with gift cards. The other manager was suspicious enough that she made them wait while she tried to pull their ticket up on the computer, thinking that she wouldn’t be able to find anything, but when she saw that the ticket was legit, she went ahead and gave them $40 worth of gift cards.
Way to pay it forward, you heartless, greedy jerks.”
Standing Up To The Jerk
“Yesterday was the most satisfying day I’ve had in ages.
I was on the till, bad weather was closing in, and the store was busy. We were all hands on deck, and the boss was finally taking a quite bite to eat. This is the scene and this is how it happened:
A bloke came up to my register with several coffees he’d just purchased from the cafe on the other end of the store and asked for some smokes. As I notice his coffees, I politely tell him, ‘Next time, to save you time, you can get everything at the same register.’
He had been polite and seemingly happy but suddenly turned into a vicious spitting monster, and started shouting at me, ‘Don’t tell me how to order my stuff, you stupid cow!’
I was stunned and stopped in my tracks as his friend told him to calm down. He told her to shut up too, and that I shouldn’t have told him what to do. I was angry and confused at the same time, but for once, didn’t let the anger go. I still had the pack on the counter, and nothing was paid for yet. A calm washed over me, and I looked straight at him and told him, ‘I do not deserve to be spoken to that way, I’m refusing you service.’
I tried to take back the pack, and he tried to snatch it from my hand, almost succeeding, but stopped himself. His friend ushered him out of the shop as he muttered on about how I shouldn’t have told him what to do. She looked at me as they left and mouthed, ‘I’m sorry.’
My co-worker said I should go and tell my boss because that didn’t fly and we needed to keep him informed when jerks pulled that type of stunt. So as I was heading to the back, the customer returned. He was visibly calmer and said, ‘Miss, can I talk to you for a minute?’
This is the first and only time I’ve ever been able to do this, and I still look back in shock. I looked him straight in the eye, and with a perfectly calm and straight face, I resoundingly said, ‘No!’
Then I walked out to the back to tell the boss that someone might want to talk about what had just happened. Instead, the bloke had walked off.
I’m still surprised at it all.”
How One Yogurt Ruined Everything
“‘This yogurt is leaking,’ the customer at self-checkout said. ‘I don’t want it.’ Understandable. I voided off the yogurt and noticed it had dripped all over the scanner.
‘Let me go get a paper towel and spray, I’ll be right back.’
I went to my station to get cleaning supplies. Meanwhile, the customer kept scanning things, dragging them through the spilled yogurt.
‘If you want,’ I offered, holding up my paper towel and spray bottle, ‘I can wipe off the scanner for you.’
‘NO! I’m upset now, all my food has yogurt on it. I just want to pay.’
I’m not sure what she expected to happen since waiting twenty seconds for me to get paper towels and clean up the spill was apparently beyond her. I just let her finish her order and wiped the register down after she left.”
Bad Tippers Should Be Boiled In Oil
“Yesterday I had a customer write ‘thank you,’ on the bottom of the receipt. On the tip line, they wrote ‘the struggle is real, no tip.’
Today I got on top of my receipt, ‘Sorry, I’m broke.’ On top of that, I received a $3 tip on a $55 check and a $0.26 tip on a $30 check.
The thing is I know I’m not a bad server, as conceited as that sounds. I’m not even mad about it, it’s just frustrating.”
A Rough Start To A Food Service Career
“I had a couple come in and sit at one of my tables. The man said he was disappointed his regular server wasn’t here and that they would have to settle for me. Ok, eff you too. Then he ordered soup. He wanted it BOILING HOT.
The soup was always kept heated because servers would grab it, so I went to the managers and told them about it, and they nuked it in the microwave to make it hot. It splashed around in the bowl and I tried to clean it up a little. I went to the table, and he looked DISGUSTED and said, ‘This isn’t hot like I wanted, soupy like I wanted, and I can tell you put it in the microwave. We’re leaving. I know as I used to be a manager at a restaurant.’
The table I had before that ordered a drink, and as I was pouring it, their 8-year-old daughter reached up and hit me, and I dropped the glass and spilled it all over her. I’ve never wanted to go home so much in my life.”
Watch What You Say
“On Easter, I was having a wonderful shift. I stayed busy the whole time and it just flowed oh so perfectly, my boss even said we could close after the last reservation left! Just perfect…up until I got a phone call.
He was questioning about whether or not he could use his 100 dollar gift certificate. I said we were closing fairly soon but we would wait for them since they called!
He was nice, they arrived, I got them drinks and then explained the buffet and price difference between the choices:
$16 for just the buffet, $31 for unlimited, $13 for additional meats like flank steak, sirloin and salmon…it is Rodizio style, so we have Gauchos that come by with non-stop service until you are as full as you want to be, as much as you would like!
He said great, we all three will do the second option.
After a few types of meat came by, the guy said his girlfriend changed her mind, she only wants the buffet.
Okay. No problem.
As I’m bussing nearby, I hear her say in a demeaning tone to my Gaucho, ‘Jeez, can you give me a piece that isn’t burnt?! That’s like charcoal!’
I looked over and they all had three plates stacked with meat. I thought to myself she must just want free food/thinks I don’t care/thinks I’m dumb or whatever it may be.
Sorry no, this is a business, with options, follow them or get out.
They order 3 desserts to-go on top of their mixed drinks and accumulate a bill close to $150. I charge for 3 Gaucho meals because that’s what was eaten.
This woman throws a royal fit along with her ghetto fab boyfriend saying she was just trying the meats. Every single one? With your own plate? While being picky about how it was cooked? Asking for med-rare?
So she ends up telling me she should throw water in my face while I proceed to tell her that they are no longer allowed back.
She asks for a manager and I tell her I am the manager, which angers her off more and she says, ‘I make more than you anyways biotch. ‘
Which I replied okay, please leave.
This is where it gets good though. I went to the Dollar Store the next day and the girlfriend was at the cashier stand next to the one I was at! She was working her till, doing her job and just gave me the dirtiest look. So satisfying.”