Ever gone out to eat and witness a server bring out the wrong order? Or saw a grocery store cashier at the local grocery store call a customer 'sir' when it was a woman? This must have been a particularly awkward, and even infuriating, moment. However, in these sorts of incidents, the important thing to remember is that, sometimes, the human brain often likes to work independently and, promptly, ruin the day of all subsequent parties. Many employees of the food service industry were brave enough to share their blunders to Reddit. These are their stories. (Content has been edited for clarity.)
‘Did You Find Everything OK?’
“I had to go to Walmart once after finishing my midnight cashier shift from a competing grocery retailer across the street. I absentmindedly grabbed my stuff, approached the cashier, and asked her if she found everything OK.
We stared at each other blankly for a little bit.”
When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go… The Right Way
“I was in the midst of an eight-hour shift at work. I had to pee for over two hours at that point, but I was in the middle of working a lunch rush. I didn’t have time to go. Suddenly, things calmed down.
A-HA! _My opportunity! _
I rejoiced. I ran to the bathroom, unbuttoned my pants, and took a squatting position. In front of a urinal. In a bathroom with roughly six men inside.
I am an 18-year-old female.”
Never Bring Work Into The Bedroom
“I was asleep when my then boyfriend decided he wanted to get frisky. He rolled over and woke me up and started putting the moves on me.
I worked a fast food job at the time and had been dreaming about work in some capacity. I was still half asleep as he was getting to work so I asked, ‘Do you want a Coke with that?’ in my best bedroom voice.
Needless to say, neither of us finished.”
“As a teenager, I worked at McDonald’s. My McDonald’s was 24 hours. During the summer, I worked the overnight shift. My sleep schedule would get all messed up.
My parents woke me up for dinner one evening. I zombie-walked to the table and sat down. My dad asked me to say grace. I bowed my head and said, ‘Thank you for choosing McDonald’s. May I take your order?'”
An Absent Mind In The Dairy Kingdom
“I used to work at Dairy Queen. At our drive-thru window, we had this shelf with the cash register under it, and we always put drinks, ice cream, etc. on the top shelf. But later, they started putting the register on the top shelf.
Multiple times, when I went to take someone’s payment at the window, I would put the customer’s drinks or blizzards on the top shelf like I was used to, right in front of the register’s drawer. This was no problem when people paid with cards. But, with cash, let’s just say a lot of drinks and ice cream got flung across the drive-thru station between then and the time I quit.
I also once turned a customer’s soda upside-down, thinking it was a blizzard.
On a particularly busy shift, one drive-thru customer complained how people always got her order wrong. I assured her that we would get it right this time. I then proceeded to hand her the wrong order while reiterating we definitely, 100%, absolutely got her order right. She left without checking the bag and I never saw her again.”
Bless The Customer
“I worked at a pizza place. Once, I walked up to a ringing phone, picked it up, and said, ‘Our Father who art in heaven-‘ to a very confused customer. I hadn’t been to church for five or six years up to that point.”
Serving Order Number 35… Again
“When I was 19, I worked in a fast-casual restaurant, sort of like Panera Bread. If customers were sitting down to eat, we did that whole deal where we gave them a number and we would bring their food to them. It was easy because we had the number on their table.
One night we were particularly busy. I took someone’s order, and I gave them #35. I took a bunch of people’s orders after them, and I gave them their number card for their table, but for some reason, I kept punching “35” in the register so that their food orders kept coming up as order #35.
When it came time to bring food to customers, the food runners were all like, Wait, what the heck?
Because of me, they all had to figure out whose order belonged to which table, and it was a pretty crappy evening. My boss reprimanded me pretty badly for that because it basically messed up the dinner rush.”
“My Manager Saw The Whole Thing”
“I was working at a fast food restaurant back when I was in high school. We had been slammed non-stop since lunch. I was at the head of the assembly table for the burgers and was in charge of toasting buns and getting them ready for veggies and meat.
Well, we ran out of ketchup. I grabbed the bag and started pouring it into the bun toaster. Yeah, that was a lovely mess to clean up and my manager saw the whole thing.
At Least She Was Polite
“A restaurant group I work for had a menu preview with all the high ups. Twenty of us were in a test kitchen. Our head chef made us some amazing dishes. After one dish, he asked, ‘What do ya’ll say?’
I, like a 5-year-old, yelled out ‘Thank you!!’
Everyone looked at me and started to laugh. I turned red. He was asking for our opinion of the food, not reminding us to be polite.”
At Least He Didn’t Keep The Pizza For Himself
“I used to do work as a pizza delivery boy. My house was further down, so I would just go home and watch a movie and get called up when there was a delivery.
One night, I got a call for delivery. I went to pick it up and then drove back home with pizza still in the back of my car. Then, I continued watching the movie at home where I left off instead of delivering the pizza. Half an hour later, I got a phone call. The customer was complaining because they had not received their pizza. I realized this.
All I could say was, ‘CRAP.'”
Trapped In Delivery Mode
“I work at a pizza place and take phone call orders all day. One day, when I got off work, I didn’t want to cook dinner or eat pizza, so I figured I would order some Chinese food when I got home. I called and placed my whole order. After the guy told me my total, I proceeded to tell him, ‘All right. That’ll be [total] and it’ll be about 45 minutes to an hour.’
I didn’t even realize what I just did until he pointed it out to me.”
They Should Sue The Coffeemaker!
“I was working at a coffee shop at the time. A customer ordered a black coffee. I grabbed a cup, put a lid on it, and attempted to pour coffee into a closed cup.
First degree burns formed on my hand as the hot caffeinated pain washed over me.”
“One day the staff washrooms at our work were out of order. As I was standing at my cash register, I saw one of the late shift people coming in and being informed of that fact.
At the same time, I was checking out a customer. Instead of asking that person our usual question of if they wanted to collect their bonus points, I asked them if they had to go to the bathroom.
There was an uncomfortable silence.”
She Forgot One Crucial Thing Before Leaving The Restaurant
“I was waitressing while in my early college years. It must have been a moderately slow night. I had some friends come into the restaurant. They asked if I wanted to go to the store with them.
When they cashed out I left the restaurant with them. I came back to my car after and just left to go home like always. I didn’t punch out or settle my checks. I got to work the next day and heard all about it.”
‘I Am A Cautionary Tale’
“I was working as a server at my very first job and had to make sweet tea. I put the sugar in the tea, stirred it, and went on with my shift. I found out shortly after that I had accidentally used salt instead of sugar since they were in the same large container in a similar looking bag. They were the very opposite of happy.
I found out from a friend who also worked there years later that I was now a cautionary tale.”
Her Milkshake Brought All The Laughs To The Kitchen
“I work at a small cafe. Once, I was doing a shift with another girl. She was taking the orders, and I was preparing the food and drinks in the kitchen. It was kinda busy that day and, at some point, I lost the bottle cap for a carton of chocolate milk. I didn’t have time to look for it, so I just put it back in the fridge again with the intention of finding the cap later.
During the shift, I then received an order for hot chocolate milk. Now, the one we used in the cafe was pretty creamy, so we usually gave it a good shake before heating it up in the microwave. I was doing several orders at a time, so I just grabbed the carton without even looking at it and started shaking it furiously.
I ended up drenching myself and most of the kitchen. The other girl laughed her butt off when she saw me standing there, slightly confused, in the center of a massive crater of sweet, chocolatey goodness.”
He Could Have Said ‘Have An Iced Day’
“I was working at McDonald’s when the iced coffee first started rolling out. I had been talking to one of my coworkers about how nobody ordered the regular flavored iced coffees.
When I went to hand someone’s food out the window, I said, ‘Thanks, have a regular day.'”
Way To Keep Those Pizza Pans Warm, Though
“The weirdest thing I ever did was probably while I was working fast food at a pizza place. We usually made a bunch of pizzas uncooked so that when someone made an order, we could just toss a bunch in. We often stacked them the same way we stacked empty pans.
Once, when we got a huge order, I was spacing off into my work thinking about god knows what, only having enough attention to listen when to put pizzas in the oven. I ended up putting about five of those pizza pans in with no pizza. When they came out, I was told they were empty.
Embarrassed, I tried to quickly fix it, but my mind was not quite ready to stop being spaced. I ended up tossing more empty pans in. Once again, my coworkers teased and laughed at me before my manager did it right for me. It was pretty bad and everyone thought I was really high.”
Is There An Easier Job Than Picking Grapes? Maybe There Is..
“When I worked for a cafeteria at my university, I was in charge of filling up the grapes in the fruit station. This entailed pulling all the bad grapes out of the bunches while filling up a container with grapes. I spent at least 20 minutes pulling out bad grapes and throwing them in the trash. Then, I picked up the container full of good grapes and proceeded to dump the entire thing into the trash can.”
Treating Yourself As A Customer
“When I worked at a donut shop, we could ring ourselves up if we wanted something. Typically when I would hand a receipt to a customer, I circled the order number for convenience and let the customer know what it was. When ringing myself up for a sandwich, I circled my own order number and announced my number to myself while holding it out as if someone was there out of habit.
I also told someone to ‘have a day’ once by accident. I think they probably did.”
Maybe They Didn’t Need The Change Either?
“I once counted out a customer’s change, picked up the receipt in the other hand, and asked him if he wanted it. He did not. I gave the receipt to the customer and put the change in the bin behind me.
Alarmingly, this was about the fourth time I had done that.”
It Must Not Have Been ‘That’ Kind Of Bar
“My first job after college was a bartending gig at a bar. A customer asked me to describe a drink we had on draft. I tried to say, ‘It’s dark and thick.’ I ended up saying a euphemism for a part of the male anatomy.
We both stared at each other until I flagged down the other bartender to help the guy out.”
An Experimental Switch In Food Preparation
“I was working the window at a super busy restaurant. At the same table, one ordered pancakes and the other person ordered lasagna. We put parmesan cheese on the pancake and powdered sugar on the lasagna…
The dish crew ate good that evening!”
‘Where’s The Barcode?’
“While working as a checkout operator at a supermarket, I tried to scan the divider between the separate customer’s orders. I even looked down and started searching for the barcode on it, for a good few seconds.
We all had a good laugh at my expense.”
How Did That Get In The Coffee Machine?
“I asked my waitress for coffee. She poured a cup and left, letting me study the menu. I poured some cream in my coffee, added some sugar, and stirred. When it was time for my first big slurp of caffeine of the day –
Apparently that restaurant kept pancake syrup in a coffee carafe on a warm burner in the coffee machine.”
“I Went Thirsty That Night”
“I work in a kitchen. Sometimes, the front of house staff will bring back water in carry out cups for us while it is busy. One day, I was on auto-pilot when I grabbed the cup from someone’s hand and just squeezed the living heck out of it for no reason.
We both just stared at each other as water poured out all over the place. Neither one of us said a single word and just carried on like nothing happened. I went thirsty that night.”
Autopilot Was Doing This Customer A Favor
“I worked in a grocery store. One day, this very tired and confused looking lady (in pajamas, may I add) wanted to by an adult beverage. She paid with her card, except it was her keys she was trying to use on the machine.
After about five minutes of confusion and disbelief, I had to tell her that she could not pay with her keys. She just left the store.”
Technically, They Were Not Talking To “Subway”
“I used to work at Subway in high school. A customer called one day and I answered the phone in front of a bunch of customers. Rather than my usual greeting (‘Thanks for calling Subway,’ etc), the exchange went like this:
CUSTOMER: ‘…Is this Subway?’
“I was at work in the Publix Deli. Normally, I was at the sandwich bar. If something dropped, I would try to catch it before it hit the ground. Normally, my reaction time was pretty decent, so I caught mostly everything.
But, on this day, a coworker placed a knife on the edge of the counter. As i saw it fall, I went to grab it. Luckily, I snapped out of it before I grabbed the blade with nothing but my gloved hand. The customer and coworker gasped. I was a little shocked after I realized what I had almost done.”
First Rate Service Or A Breach In Personal Boundary?
“When I worked in fast food back in the day, I got this guy his drink, unwrapped the straw myself, and put it in his drink for him. Then, we both looked at the straw, so confused for a moment. I got him a new straw.
We both chuckled at my stupidity, though, so it was good.”