Going out to eat is supposed to be a relaxing, enjoyable experience; spending time with loved ones, enjoying a tasty meal, and kicking back while someone else does the cooking and dishes. Hey, why else would we shell out the green for it? Yet when a server is having a bad day or is just plain incompetent, it can completely ruin the experience.
We recently took to Reddit looking for some of the most rage-inducing stories of people who dealt with some awful servers, and we definitely hit the jackpot. Continue on to check out the best of the worst, and be sure to let us know if you have a story that can top any of these.
(Content has been edited for clarity.)
Taking A Bite Out
“I was 11 or 12 eating lunch at a place called the Egg Platter with my grandpa. Our waitress was old, but seemed friendly and was quick about getting us refills and putting in our order. I ordered a double-decker club sandwich and we had our food within 15 minutes of walking in. So far, so good. Until she brought my sandwich out at least. I could see her carrying it over from across the room and my chubby little eyes lit up. When she got to our table though she did the unthinkable. She explained to me that this was a large sandwich and that I needed to grip it firmly so that it didn’t fall apart. She then demonstrated by picking up my sandwich with her bare hands and taking a bite, then put it back on my plate. We ended up eating at the IHOP a few blocks away.”
Next Time, Stick With Pancakes
“EFF IHOP. We went there for dinner one evening and had the worst restaurant experience ever. It was me, my wife, our three kids, and another couple.
The kids ordered usual kid fare, my wife ordered a burger, I ordered a fajita omelet, and our two friends both ordered some type of omelet that usually had sour cream on it, but they asked for no sour cream. About 45 minutes later, the kid’s food comes out. They eat. They finish eating. They’re getting bored. The rest of us are still waiting for our food.
About 45 minutes later, our friends get their omelets DROWNED in sour cream. Seriously, you couldn’t even see the omelets through all the sour cream. It was almost like a big ‘EFF you’ from the cook. They sent them back. About 30 minutes after that, my wife’s burger came out completely charred to a crisp. Totally inedible. We sent that crap back too.
About 30 minutes after that, my ‘fajita omelet’ comes out looking nothing like an omelet and everything like a SALAD. That was it. No one else’s food had come back yet so we just got up a walked the heck out. The manager yelled, ‘are you gonna pay for the kids’ food?’ I told him, ‘no freaking way! We’ve been in here two and a half freaking hours! You all completely ruined our evening. Here it is, 9 freaking 30 and we still have to go get dinner somewhere.’ I was ticked off and I basically dared him to call the cops.
I told him they could find us at Wendy’s. We never saw them. That’s the only time I’ve ever lost my cool like that. My wife was astonished.”
No, Really, The Waitress Is Really Nuts
“Some friends were visiting me in Europe, and I wanted to make a good impression, so I took them to a beautiful lakefront grill. I was the only one who spoke the language (French), so I made an effort to be jovial and witty with the waitress in order to show off as much as possible.
From the getgo, the waitress was combative. There was no way she was going to be ok with our presence. We made simple orders and I translated. She refused to understand. And I’m talking ‘I’ll have the number 2’ level French. There’s no way she didn’t understand, she was just making trouble.
My friends don’t understand and don’t get why the waitress is upset. After a few minutes of the waitress wailing on about how we aren’t making sense and I finally growl ‘It’s not that difficult!’ and I smacked the table. Unfortunately, the table was a light metal and the mighty clang that rang out was not in any way representative of the force I put into it. But that’s exactly what the waitress wanted. She cries ‘I won’t put up with this’ and runs off to her manager and I can see her waving her arms and screaming about us.
I tell my friends red-face that we may have to go elsewhere. I then calmly get up and approach the manager and waitress and say (in French) that I’m sorry, but I’ve never been treated so poorly by a waitress, who clearly just wants to fight, and that we’ll be going.
The manager looks at me and says, ‘you speak English?’ Already nerves rattled, I respond ‘I can speak French.’ He says, ‘but you speak English.’ I cannot tell what he’s getting at, but I’m thinking it’s leading to French anglophone insult. He says (now in English): ‘I’m going to speak to you in English.’ The waitress is still standing next to us I’m ready for it now.
‘She’s crazy’ the manager says, ‘I’m not joking. Like really crazy.’ The waitress doesn’t blink and I realize he switched to English because she doesn’t understand a word! ‘But I can’t fire her because she’s family, so please let me serve you personally and I’ll make sure everything goes better.’
Immensely relieved, I sit back down and relate the story to my friends, while out of the corner of my eye I can see the manager yelling at the waitress.
The meal goes amazingly, the manager comes by every few minutes and apologizes superfluously. He ends by saying ‘she’s really a … How do you say in English? jerk? Jerk!? Can you call a woman this?’
I didn’t impress my friends, but faith in often dodgy European restaurant service was somewhat restored.”
A New Way To Fix An Order
“My parents stopped to get some fast food on a long car trip down to the beach. I ordered a hamburger and requested it to be cheese-less. Also as is usual, they managed to mess this part up. No big deal. My mom politely hands the burger back.
The cashier turned around, trying to conceal her actions with her body, took the burger out of the wrapper, and scraped the patty against the edge of the counter to remove the cheese. She then tried to hand it back to my mom like nothing happened.”
An Interesting Way To Prove Innocence
“This happened when my social group was 16-17, and I’m 37 now.
To celebrate our freedom, we liked to drive outside the city to see the hill country and dine at the small town local places. We heard of a little French bistro an hour away, and so made the trip. Turned out there were only a dozen or so tables, and although we had no reservation, we got seated as only three or four other tables were occupied. Our waitress came out and got the drink orders. Returned with the drinks, and took our meal order. We got our breadsticks, then another batch 15 minutes later.
Then the waitress comes out to pick up all the baskets and cleaned up the little plates, then returned with the bill. We laughed a bit, said a mistake was made – we haven’t even eaten yet. She argued that we did, that she even just cleaned up our plates and silverware. We argued about it, she went and got the manager who came out to confront us about trying to get out of paying our bill. Nobody was sitting near us, and when asked, they said they weren’t paying attention to us, but we started getting ugly looks like we did eat and refused to pay.
He gave us the ultimatum to pay up now or the police would be involved. We said we’re not paying for food we haven’t received. The police officer arrived and heard both sides of the story. The manager and waitress were going off how we were lying – while my friend then stood up and said he had it handled.
He asked the waitress what he ordered. She picks up the bill, flips it, and told him. It was a baked pasta dish with sausage. He confirmed that’s what he ordered. He asked the manager if the chef wants to come out and confirm he cooked it. It turns out the manager was also the cook and said he cooked it. He asked her if she did bring it out and serve it, she said yes. He asked if she threw away food from the plates she picked up. She said no they were all cleaned up, as we ate all the food. He asked the officer if he would please step outside for a minute and he’ll prove they are lying.
Less than five minutes later, the cop walks back in, said to the rest of us at the table we were free to go, and told the manager/waitress they made a mistake. They tried to object, and the cop bluntly told them that the only thing the kid threw up was breadsticks, and if they want to go out by the bushes and check for themselves, they were welcome to it. That’s right, our friend Craig puked into the bushes to prove he had only eaten breadsticks.
Everyone in our group had our eyes wide open and the manager and waitress were too stunned to reply.
We didn’t argue, we got up and left, and hit the first drive through on the way home as Craig was twice as hungry as the rest of us since he didn’t get to digest his breadsticks.”
The Sin Of Forgetting The Fries
“I went to a highly recommended burger dive for lunch with my wife. I’m dead serious this is how it happened.
1) We walk in and get a table.
2) We both decide to order sandwiches. I order the club with fries, my wife orders a chicken on rye with cross-cut fries. A simple order for lunch.
3) We wait 30 minutes. There was a mother that came in with her kids about 10 minutes after us. That mother and her kids get their food while we’re still sitting there, twiddling our thumbs. She ended up leaving before we got our food. We’re obviously on a hard schedule since we’re both on lunch breaks from work.
4) I get my club sandwich, minus the fries. My wife gets her chicken, only on a burger bun, not rye. She doesn’t get her fries.
5) We eat. As we’re about to leave 10 minutes later, the waitress arrives with a giant plate of both cross-cut and regular fries all mixed together. We roll our eyes and grab the catsup. It’s empty, of course. I grab the catsup from the next table over. Then the hostess yells at me because she can’t know to refill the proper tables catsup when people do that, but my waitress only came out like, twice in the 45 minutes we were there.
6) We slam some fries but leave the plate, basically over half full, and want to leave to get back to work. ‘Do you want that bagged up,’ we are asked as we request the check. ‘No.’
7) We’re in a hurry. We’ve been in here 45 minutes as we both have to be back to work SOON. We only have hour long lunches. And the hostess is nowhere to be found. We wait another two minutes. And you all know that feeling when you’re racing against the clock and every second of waiting is maddening, right?
8) I am signing the receipt because I paid by card. The woman says I need to fill in the tip line, even if it is zero. I sign a big FAT zero and the woman gives my wife the most pathetic look in the world. My wife actually feels sorry for this woman and says, ‘Maybe she’s just having a bad day.’ I roll my eyes and make that ‘0’ a $3, which was about 13% on a $22 dollar ticket or something like that.”
Dealing With An Idiot On The Phone
“I called a local pizza joint to order two pepperoni pizzas for takeout. That’s all.
I spoke to the dumbest person I’ve ever encountered in my life. That order took me 10 minutes to convey, along with my phone number, which she could not for the LIFE of her understand. I said each number deliberately and slowly no fewer than three times. She repeated the wrong numbers back each time. Then she asked for my address. I said ‘Why do you need my address for takeout?’ She said ‘Oh this is takeout? I have to start over.’
I nearly screamed. We went over the phone number at least two more times.
Then I repeated my order over and over. ‘TWO MEDIUM PEPPERONI PIZZAS, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.’
It was painful. The most agonizing phone call ever. And this was to a pizza joint I call on almost a weekly basis, every time it’s a 30-second conversation. Too easy.
Whatever, I go to pick it up, visibly irritated, but that service was fine. I thought ‘I should check these pizzas, there is no way that rocket surgeon got this right.’ I didn’t, though I was irritated and hungry and not thinking straight.
I get home and open up one pepperoni, and one cheese. I lost it, called up the place demanding a manager and relayed to him about how has in his employ someone with a mental capacity smaller than the pizza she had messed up. He gave me two more pepperoni pizzas for free, in the end, and promised me that that employee would never answer a phone again.
She might not be overall an idiot, but holy smokes, I think I could train my 2-year-old to do a better job than that.”
Crushing A Bad Waitress
“My girlfriend and I went to a restaurant we used to frequent and were told it would be a 30-minute wait because we hadn’t made a reservation. Not a big deal at all, it’s in an area with tons of foot traffic, so this was to be expected.
A couple minutes after we were seated, a family with several strollers was seated next to us. There wasn’t room for the strollers and there was plenty of room on the other side, so we offered to move our table over a few feet, to the genuine appreciation of both the family and the restaurant management.
But then we ordered our food.
The appetizer was good but spicy. On a normal day, I drink an enormous amount of water. But with the spicy appetizer, my glass was empty within minutes. It took our server about 20 minutes to refill it the first time.
I ordered a pizza and my girlfriend ordered pasta. Hers came out first, with the promise that mine would be out shortly. Apparently, they had burned it the first time around, so they were going to remake it. Again, not a huge deal, although I’m starting to get thirsty again.
About 10 minutes later, I see what looks to be my pizza coming out, only to have the runner walk right by my table and bring it to another group that had been seated about 30 minutes after us. I was just hoping that this meant that their order had been put in before mine was sent to be remade, and that mine would be next.
Another 15 or 20 minutes pass, and we’re starting to get worried. I’ve tried to get our server’s attention multiple times, both for my pizza and my glass of water that has been empty for 30 minutes, but she keeps blowing right by us to flirt with the guys a few tables down who had received what appeared to be my re-made pizza.
Finally, a manager comes by to ask how our meal is going. I explain the situation, and he immediately calls her over. She argues with me and claims that the pizza was sent out 30 minutes ago, and I point to the table where she’s been flirting for the last 20 minutes to point out that she sent it over there. She gets rude and defensive, and the manager sides with us, has her make a new one ASAP and also has her leave a pitcher of water at our table since he sees she cannot be trusted to serve us.
He apologized and had her send us a free dessert once our meal was finally finished. Unfortunately, the dessert she brought was one of the most disgusting things we’ve ever tasted. It was supposed to be some Italian take on a White Russian, but it just tasted like nasty-flavored puke in a highball glass.
At the end of the meal, the manager had our server come over to us and give us her name and a comments form in order to give her boss a list of everything she messed up, as well as to personally tell us that we should not to tip her a dime. Half our meal was comped and we also received a voucher for a future visit, but we still haven’t been back.”
Two Bartenders, One Terrible Experience
“A few years ago, my husband and I were living in New York City on the Upper East Side.
The Cubs were doing well and maybe going for a wildcard or something, so we wanted to watch the game (I’m from Chicago), and the only place near us showing it was this Southern bar/restaurant called Brother Jimmy’s.
So we go over there around 5 and order some food at the bar, with the intention to stay for a few hours and watch the game. The bartender was cool and the food was decent. Then it seemed it was shift change, and the bartender transferred the bill to his relief bartender, although we offered to pay him and start a new tab with the new girl.
Ok, a few hours pass and the bar gets packed, between the game and what happened to be their karaoke night. It gets close to closing time and we ask for the check. Our service from the new girl bartender was ok, but not as good as the first guy, as she was distracted doing shots with her friends all night. Whatever, not a big deal. Until we have to ask for the check three more times because she is so hammered. She puts down the check finally, and we see that we were charged for a drink we didn’t have, and asked for it to be removed (seems like it was added accidentally at the beginning of the night or the original bartender put our order on someone else’s ticket, and left it that way). The bartender refuses to take off the drink, saying she’ll get the other bartender in trouble, and that she’ll offer us another round on her. Well, that’s nonsense, because one drink is no big deal to get voided, I know that for a fact, but we say yes because the round is more than twice what that drink cost.
Ten minutes later, we still don’t have our ‘free’ round. Why? Because the (underage) kid who plays AJ Soprano came in with some friends and she had to drool all over him. By the time she came back around and we asked where our drinks were, she said she’d already called last call and it was too late. What??? She was still pouring drinks like crazy – to the semi-famous dude. And then she took the (incorrect) check we had sitting on the bar and crumpled it up and threw it away. She was wasted. We were like what the heck?? ‘You said we’d get these drinks and then you never made them as you promised but now it’s too late? I want to see your manager, NOW.’
Meanwhile, the original bartender, who’d been there drinking and doing karaoke all night after his shift, comes over to us and says, ‘you’re going to do the right thing for her, right? You’ve been here all night, you should take care of her.’ Like he was concerned we wouldn’t tip her (our bill was over $90 at that point). I could not freaking believe it. I went off on him and said, ‘I’m in the industry, who the heck do you think you’re talking to? If I ever questioned a customer about a gratuity I’d be fired on the spot, and why the heck would you even ask that question in the first place? Do I look like I wouldn’t tip?’ I mean I guess so since I was a girl, and the bartender was a girl with a chopped up half shirt with her chest hanging out like worse than Hooters, so clearly I wouldn’t tip her. He walked away. And to think I wanted to make sure he got a tip earlier.
The manager comes over, I explain the situation, he takes off the drink, we pay, tip, and leave. Finally. I promptly go home and write a detailed email to the owner explaining how our wasted bartender created a scene for us and how I’d never experienced such a bizarre situation in all my days eating out, however much of the benefit of the doubt I wanted to give her due to my background in the industry. I had never done anything like that before, ever. I mean, I’m no prude and I’ve done some stuff while working but to get so trashed that you don’t even know what’s going on and you throw out a check right in front of me instead of giving it to me to pay? And your buddy comes over to question me on my tip? If it had been at my restaurant, and I did any of those things, I would have been fired on the spot.
A few days later I got an email directly from the bartender to apologize and to invite me for a free meal, on her (I mean, huh? What kind of owner/manager makes their employees write the emails, especially since the email was rife with spelling and grammatical errors and certainly didn’t reflect well on the restaurant). I knew that if I went back that the staff would know exactly who I was, and there’s no freaking way I’d undergo the jerks murmuring ‘what a witch’ under their breath all night, just for a free meal (and not a great one at that). We never should have gone there in the first place – the place is known as a bro place and we should’ve known better than to even try it. But every chance I’ve gotten since then, I’ve made sure to let people know how terrible and messed up the Upper East Side Brother Jimmy’s is and never, ever to go there.”
Standing Up For Himself
“About 20 years ago, I met some friends at Kings Cross train station (London, UK) after they had journeyed down the country from the cold, dark reaches of the North of England.
They were hungry, so we decided to hit the nearest restaurant we could find. We weren’t expecting great things; the area was crappy at the time, but food was required, and fast food like McDonald’s and Burger King had already been ruled out.
The nearest place we found from the station was an Indian curry house across the road from the station. It seemed pleasant enough; a little ratty but not too bad.
We were shown to our table and we ordered some cold brews (practically a legal requirement in the UK when sitting down to a curry) and a bunch of starters and main courses.
Then we waited…
After about 20 minutes I called the waiter over to ask where our brews were. Oops, he had forgotten our order. Meh, mistakes happen, not the end of the world.
Then we waited…
About 10 minutes later, I call the same guy over again, he promises to be right back with the suds and the starters. He claims to be swamped.
Five minutes later, he turns up with the cold ones. We ask how long for the starters. He goes off to check, comes back – 20 minutes. What?
Suffice it to say, the service was awful, and the food sub-par, the manager utterly disinterested in fixing the problems.
But this is not the end of the story. I paid with a credit card, and this was back in the days before chip and pin. The imprinter machine and the triplicates were dug out to make my payment.
My bill came through a week or two later, and they had added a tip to the bill.
Original Bill: £60.
My Tip: £0
Their Tip: £200.
Final Bill: £260
Now, I’m all for the comedy of opportunistic fraud, but really? £200? Is anyone that stupid, or that careless with money?
If they had stuck a ‘1’ instead of a ‘2’ in front of the total, well a bill for £160 would have been big, but there is a possibility a that a meal for four may have come to that. But, awful service and awful food, the two things the customer cares about in a restaurant, and they expect me to forget the whole episode, while they fraudulently tip themselves £200 for my bad experience with them?
The credit card company were not too enthralled with the tip either and reversed the whole transaction.
To this day I am no longer a quiet English man who does not complain at bad service. I stick up for myself, and if there is no improvement, well then I get up and walk out.”
Worst Birthday Ever
“A group of about 16 friends and I went to the Elephant Bar in Concord, California, for my 24th birthday. Obviously, being a party of 17, I expected long wait times and multiple servers trying to juggle everything.
They gave us one waitress. I was annoyed, but mostly I felt terrible for this girl having to deal with all of us. By the end of the night, I was seeking her blood.
We all ordered at the same time and were told the food wouldn’t be out all at the same time. That’s okay because we’re a big party. The food arrived over the course of 90 minutes.
I got my food last (seared ahi steak). It was cooked all the way through, burnt on the outside. It’s freaking ahi steak, that stuff needs to be basically raw in the middle. I (politely) asked for it to be sent back. Got another one, 30 minutes later that was cooked perfectly. She slammed it down on the table in front of me, and asked snottily, ‘That’s okay, RIGHT?’
My boyfriend at the time ordered food with the rest of us and never received his dinner in the three hours that we were there. We had to stop at Jack in the Box on the way home.
My friend, Brian, ordered a burger. She brought him a shrimp pasta dish. He gently slid it away from himself and told her what he had actually ordered. She stood there and tried telling Brian, over and over for five minutes, that THIS is what he ordered. Finally, Brian’s girlfriend stood up and told her to take it away before Brian went into anaphylactic shock; he’s deathly allergic to shellfish.
The waitress told her to stop being a drama queen.
I had one drink (a mai tai) upon arrival. I ordered a second one two hours later; the waitress told me I wasn’t allowed to have any more, I’d wasted enough. Uh, what?
They’re supposed to bring you a free piece of cake or a dessert for your birthday if you have your ID as proof. I had just moved to California and still had my South Carolina driver’s license, so I gave the waitress that. She said they don’t accept ‘out of country IDs.’
I ordered dessert anyway. Lavender crème brulee with ice cream ($6.99 a serving). On the receipt, she manually changed the price to $12.99 for some unknown reason.
Every single entree that came out of the kitchen was stone cold.
After dealing with the nonsense for two hours, we were ready to just leave. It took another hour to get our check.
We left her a $10 tip on a $400 ticket. She came over to me, the only person at the table not paying and said that I needed to change the tip amount to something more appropriate. This was minutes after I told her that my boyfriend never got his dinner. Yes, we were charged for it on the receipt.
We left after three hours, and on our way out the door, the hostess asked us if we’d had a good time. Every single person in my party said in unison, ‘No.’
I called the manager the next day and explained all the problems we had. He was nice and took my name and address. He was going to send me $100 worth of gift cards so I could come back and have a much better experience. He was sincere.
I never heard anything from Elephant Bar, and never got anything in the mail.
Seriously, forget that place.”
A War Vet Gets Dumped On…Twice
“About two years ago, when I was still living in Tennessee, my best friend had just come back from Iraq.
My best bud came back from overseas and to celebrate we decided to go out to a local restaurant that just opened. We were broke and heard this place was affordable, so we gave it a shot. I arrived early, ordered my own drink and his favorite, a cold cola. He shows up right as the waitress comes back with our drink order. As he sits down, she spills the entire tray on him. Being good-natured, he laughs, gets up, goes to his car and changes into some of his army gear that he had in his bags. He returns, sits down, and the waitress comes back and spills the drinks on him again. This time, frustrated because he has nothing to change into, he goes and tries to dry off in the bathroom. He comes back a second time, sits down, we order our food. an hour goes by before we get fed up. I call the manager over and ask where our food could possibly be, and our server. Turns out the waitress forgot to put our food order in and left work unannounced.
To top it all off? Even after the horrid service the manager wouldn’t comp us anything and made us pay for our drinks.”