Mistakes are bound to happen, but some errors are just too big to ignore. In this case, these food service workers should count their lucky stars that their fatal mistake didn't mean the end of their career.
(Content has been edited for clarity)
Carrying Eggs Definitely Doesn’t Go Over Easy At This Job
“I worked on an egg farm in college. I had to collect the eggs and bring them over to the storage building (25 meters away or so).
One day I hit a small rock with the trolley on my way to the storage building. The trolley lurched and I made a 3,000 egg omelet on the pavement.
I was super embarrassed to tell my boss. I thought for sure that I was gonna lose my job, but he just chuckled and told me to be more careful in the future. I later learned that he had once broken 5,000 eggs in a similar incident.”
This Grocery Store’s Profits Just Melted Away
“I worked for a rather large grocery store chain many years ago. I hated my job from day one because everyone talked down to me since I had worked at this grocery store’s rival in a previous job.
One night, I was busting my tail off to finish work and left the freezer door slightly ajar when I left that night. EVERYTHING melted. EVERYTHING. And to make things worse, we’d just unloaded a truck of inventory that night so the freezer was even more packed than normal.
The next morning, melted ice cream was pouring out from under the door and into the drain. Frozen bags of veggies and fruit slumped limply in their crates. The smell was terrible but the look on my manager’s face was worse. His stringy red hair and untucked shirt made him look like he had been there all night. All in all, it cost the store around $50,000 in lost inventory, plus however much more to bring in everyone for overtime to clean.
I never got fired but I quit soon after because they just kept hounding me about it. It is funny now but was sickening seeing that lovely chocolate ice cream go to waste.”
This Is Why You Always Pay Attention To What You’re Doing
“I used to work at a grocery store as the primary closing attendant for the self-checkout. The self-check attendant had a set of keys they had to keep on them at all times: keys to open the machines themselves, and also a key to a small locked case of smokes.
One night, those keys went missing.
It turned out they were stolen. When management reviewed the security tapes, they saw that two ladies had come up to me to purchase smokes. I unlocked the case, and instead of putting the keys back in my apron pocket like usual, I set them down on top of the case and knelt down to get the brand they wanted. While I was getting their smokes, one of the women picked up the keys and handed them to her friend, who put them in her purse.
I didn’t realize the keys were missing immediately, because right after that a coworker came to relieve me for my break. I assumed he picked up the keys, and he assumed I took them with me on my break.
But this ended up being a MUCH bigger issue.
The keys to unlock the self-check machines were unique and every store had a different key, or so we were told. When we reported the keys stolen, however, the higher-ups were forced to admit that this was not true: there were, in fact, only four different key patterns for all of the machines across hundreds of stores. This meant that there was a security risk for untold numbers of self-check machines; opening those machines gave access to all of the cash, so that was a major issue.
But it got better! It also turned out that the key to unlock the case was no ordinary key. It was what they referred to as a ‘2 key,’ which was the master key for the store: they unlocked every single lock in the entire building, with the sole exceptions of the safe itself and the room containing the safe. It’s unlikely that the women realized the significance of that key, but that doesn’t change the fact that the loss of that key was a massive security breach for the entire store.
All of the locks had to be replaced – not just on the main doors, but on every office, every stock and supply room, and every locking display case in a store that covered an entire city block – and new master keys made and distributed. Security had to be heightened at all stores in the chain because they didn’t know how many of them shared the same key patterns for their self-check machines. And while I didn’t even receive a verbal warning for what happened, it triggered a change in corporate policy that made having the self-check keys stolen from you a fireable offense.
All because of a few seconds of inattention on my part.”
She Sent These Dementia Patients Into A Panic
“I was a nurse’s aide and was in charge of the nursing home ward one Sunday. I thought I’d be an overachiever and make proper bacon and eggs for the residents instead of the sloppy re-heated stuff.
Yet I made the mistake of thinking the vent over the stove was functional. Bacon is pretty… smokey. The fire alarm went off, and it was LOUD. Because it’s a nursing home, there is an automatic alert sent to the fire brigade. Within three minutes, firemen were climbing in through the windows, 30 dementia residents were running around panicked and the ward was heavily fined.
I never cooked there again.”
Their Teenage Antics Would Be The Near-Death Of This Grocery Store
“It was 1991. I a cart pusher and bag boy at the local grocery store and had typical work diversions including: ‘produce room machete baseball,’ and ‘Can I shrink wrap it?’ in the deli.
Anyway, if you worked until 10 pm, you had to bring all the carts in before closing. One day we got the bright idea to make a big train of them, and use this one kid’s mom’s minivan to push them all in the door at once.
He slammed on the gas with terrifying and predictable results. A 200-foot long line of carts was quickly accelerated well past the speed at which their wheels would function normally, and well past the speed at which their mass could easily be stopped by a handful of scrawny teenage idiots.
The doors did not have time to open, so first, the line of carts went through that like a locomotive, then they went through the 2nd set of doors, then the carts crashed into one of those ‘stacks of 12 packs’ type displays. It was all over in about five seconds of astonishingly loud crashing glass and a geyser of Dr. Pepper.
The damage tally was something like $120,000. The store closed for a full day (loss of profit), had to repair BOTH sets of sliding door and lost about a zillion cans of inventory.
But, we stupid teens were in a union, so that was that. But you better believe the manager made me clean every toilet and mop every freaking jar of broken baby food after that.”
No Use Crying Over Spilled Milk?
“I used to work in a busy restaurant. One night, it was my turn to change the milk dispenser (shove a huge bag of milk into a tiny compartment). But it was also my turn to go for dinner, so my supervisor kindly agreed to do it for me while I went to eat.
When I came back half an hour later, everyone was MAD at me.
My supervisor (who was a bit of an idiot) had done it wrong and spilled about 15 liters of milk all over the carpet. Then she told everyone that I had done it.
I just went along with that and took the blame because:
1) I was loyal and I kind of understood that she didn’t want to look incompetent in front of everyone, and,
2) nobody would have believed me anyway.
I figured she would be grateful that I took the fall for her. Instead, she actually took this mistake (which SHE MADE) to the manager and tried to get ME fired over literal spilled milk.
When the manager called me into her office two days later, I told her what really happened and gave her a very angry lecture about the incompetence of her supervisors. She believed me.
I quit two weeks later because I got a better job. The supervisor was fired shortly thereafter.”
Ol’ Nick Was Up To His Crazy Antics Again
“In high school, I worked at Hungry Jacks (Australia’s version of Burger King). One of the older teenagers working there once asked the manager, ‘Can I take the box of M&Ms home?’
Thinking he was joking around, the manager replied sarcastically, ‘Sure Nick, take them all home.’
Later in the day, the front counter ran out of M&Ms for ice cream topping and I was asked to refill them. I went into the fridge and there were no boxes left. I told the manager that we were out and he immediately said, ‘That jerk better not have actually taken them home.’ He called Nick and Nick informed him he had already poured them into a massive bowl. This was probably like 5-10kg of M&Ms and since they’d already been removed from the box, the store wasn’t able to use them and he got to keep them all. He wasn’t fired for it because the manager did tell him to take them even though he was being sarcastic. Nick was probably one of the highlights of that job. I hope wherever he is he is well.”
He Didn’t Know His Meats
“When I worked at a golf club in the kitchen, I was told by the head chef to take a huge pot of what looked like some meat and bones to the sink, strain out the meat and bones, and to get the stock for soups. Then I would throw out the bones. So far so good.
The next day, I was given the exact same pot, and the instructions: ‘You know what to do!’ I repeated the process.
I was then asked where the ribs were for that night’s function. Turns out the pot he’d given me was NOT a stock pot, and I had just thrown out all the expensive ribs and saved its marinade.”
They Should’ve Thought Twice Before Being Rude To This Special Customer
“Working at Dairy Queen, one of the more popular things we made were chocolate dipped cones. For the most part, these things were easy enough to make. You put the ice cream on the cone, dip it in the chocolate for a few seconds, let it harden, and then give it to the customer.
At work, I try to always have a good mood, I really do, but this particular day was busy and I really just wasn’t having it. A woman comes in, I politely greet her, and she pretty much ‘demands’ a dipped cone. Slightly irritated, I make the cone, dip it, and hand it to her. Occasionally, the chocolate in the bin will run low and a manager will fill it back up, but the manager wasn’t there and again, it was busy. Well considering the chocolate was low, there was about a half inch of ice cream exposed at the bottom which shouldn’t have been that big of a deal. However, when I handed it to her I immediately got, ‘Ummm hellloooo? Can you dip it ALL the way,’ and she rolled her eyes. Again, not in the best mood, I go back to the bin and smash the cone into the chocolate so it is fully dipped and deformed and handed it to her.
Turns out she was a secret shopper and told my manager. Oops.”
Last Night’s Bad Decisions Made The Morning After A Living Nightmare
“Back in high school, I was working a part-time job at a local restaurant. The night before, I went to a huge party with no intentions to drink. Needless to say, I got home at 3:30 in the morning and was extremely wasted.
My shift started at 6, meaning I had to leave at 5. I remember my mom waking me up and saying, ‘Let’s go you’re gonna be late!’ It was one of those moments where you were like, crap, this is not going to end well.
The problem was that I would be the only one there until 9 am. I was responsible for pre-cooking food for the day and prepping certain items. Somehow I survived until my manager showed up, and when he did, he was upset. Somehow without even realizing it, I managed to overcook and burn everything. I must have been blackout for those three hours because I never even noticed. Anyways, I got sent home and managed to waste around $1,000 worth of food, but I didn’t even get fired.”
Her Order Just Didn’t Add Up
“It was my first job and I was relatively new to working in this Japanese restaurant when someone called up for takeaway. They asked for 20 gyoza amongst other things. In their mind, they meant 20 pieces as in 4 servings, so when I asked them if they were sure they wanted ’20 gyoza’ instead of ’20 servings of gyoza’ they said yes and I put an order through in the system for 20 servings.
The kitchen even doubled checked with me to make sure it was 20 servings and I said, ‘Yeah she said she wanted 20!’ It came time for pick up and I told her that her order came to about $200. The poor lady nearly had a heart attack. I didn’t get fired but I got a stern talking to. I wasn’t allowed to take phone orders for a while.”
A Fiery Situation
“During high school, I was working as a server at a local Japanese hibachi restaurant where we had to preheat the grills by opening the gas valve and then igniting it. This all happened underneath the grill which was a tight space. For someone reason the lighter wasn’t working so I called my extremely stern boss over. He fiddled with it and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working either, so he finally resorts to pulling out a lighter from his pocket and lights the grill. I forgot to mention to him that the gas had been releasing the entire time. The flames lit up like an instantaneous storm. My boss and I made eye contact. Paired with the fury in his eyes, his eyebrows were seared and I could smell the burnt crisps of what remained. His wife was laughing in the background, which did help calm the nerves.”
She Didn’t Listen To Her Gut
“I worked in a grocery store. We dealt with a ton of horrible customers (this was in Los Angeles in an area that wasn’t the worst but also not the best part of the city). One time a customer came in and was getting gift cards using their credit card. She seemed somewhat sketchy (I was taught about scammers) and I started questioning another, more experienced employee about things and she said it was okay. The customer got really insulted when I questioned her and since I’d already dealt with customers yelling at me earlier, I just wanted to finish this transaction as quickly as I could so this woman could leave and I could go home.
Thinking back on it, I definitely should have called in a manager to check, but I’d had so many false alarms before that I decided to give this woman the benefit of the doubt. As I left my job that day, I stated, ‘If that woman was a scam, then I am quitting.’ I’d already had more than enough of this job and just wanted an excuse to leave. Next day, I come in, find out that the company lost lots of money because it was indeed a scam. I got off with a warning because they were really nice and figured that I was just too new and ignorant to catch on. I felt super bad because I did see the warning signs and ignored them because of all the false alarms before and I was in a bad mood. It still really bugs me occasionally that I didn’t do what I should have. I quit a couple weeks later. I hated that job. The customers there were the absolute worst. But thanks to my employers for not making me pay for my mistake.”
Now Where Are Those Darn Keys?
“I work at a small coffee shop. One evening, as we were closing, I went to take the recycling out. Our recycling bin has a lock on it because people don’t know how to not put trash in a recycling bin, so I grab the key and head out there. I distinctly remembered to lock the bin because that morning I had walked away and left the key sitting on the bin with the bin unlocked (I immediately remembered and went back to remedy my mistake).
So I lock the bin, grab my stuff from the office and say goodnight to my boss as we both head out the door.
Fast forward to the next morning when I get a text from my boss. She’ll be ‘B’ for Boss. I’ll be ‘M.’
B: ‘Do you know where the recycling key is? Did you use it last night?’
M: ‘It’s not in the drawer where it goes?’
B: ‘No. That’s why I’m asking.’
I searched my car. No keys. I suggested looking in the office since that was the last place I was before I left the shop. No keys. So now I’m freaking out, because not only does that key ring have all the keys we need to open everything in the shop (windows, paper towel dispensers, etc), it also had a shop key on it. Meaning, if I lost it (which apparently I had), we were going to have to change ALL the locks in the shop.
I sent my boss multiple apology texts and let her know that I expected to be held accountable. I felt so crappy about the whole situation and was really worried I might get fired for it.
About 2 hours later I get another text from her. The manager from the restaurant next door had found them the night before. I had left them IN THE LOCK. At least I locked it… right?
My boss was so chill about it, but it could have been SO bad. We don’t keep any cash in the shop at night, but we have a lot of pricey handmade gift items that would be hard to replace.
She even apologized for stressing me out, which I told her was ridiculous and I apologized profusely again for my mistake.”
If It Weren’t For These Chill Diners, Their Career Was Going To Be Doomed
“When I started as a waitress, about four years ago, I was a very clumsy 17-year-old. This one time, I was called in a panic by one of the other waitresses who usually took the Sunday lunch shift by herself because they were slow. But that day, the restaurant was full and she called me in to give her a hand. Ten minutes later, I arrive and she tells me that if I can take care of the group (20 people), she would be just fine handling the rest. So I quickly make my way to their table, explain the menu, and in order to show them that they are going to be taken care of quickly from now on, I take their drink order immediately. But in my rush to do everything quickly, I ended up pouring a large Coke down the back of this 15-year-old girl.
She had long, flowy hair and a white vest… It was not pretty. I felt soooo bad because I had messed up so badly and her clothes were ruined and her hair was a tangled mess. Luckily for me, the whole table burst out laughing and the girl did not start screaming at me like I expected. I cleaned everything out, went to the bathroom to help her rinse off the Coke, and did my best to serve them in the best way I could. In the end, the adults at the table assured me that everything was fine, that they had been in similar situations before and that I shouldn’t worry about it. Seriously, I was super lucky I had them as customers. Now every single time I serve a Coke I am extra careful not to spill any…”