Let's get real for a second. The food service industry attracts an... eclectic group of workers. Hard working? Absolutely. Some of the hardest working people in the world. Some of the laziest too, but it's never an easy job. What makes it harder? Being the dullest knife in the drawer doesn't help, that's for sure. And don't even get us started on the customers!
We found a whole bunch of fed up, frustrated and exasperated servers, managers, cooks, and chefs that told their most insane stories of idiot co-workers and patrons. You won't believe some of the things that people say!
Please Give SPECIFIC Directions
“I used to work at a burger place where the freezer was in the basement. I told a guy I was training to go down to the basement, open the freezer and get patties from the right-hand side. When I went back down about an hour later the freezer was wide open. I went up and asked him why and his response was, ‘well you never told me to close the freezer.’
I immediately told him we didn’t need him and he could go home.”
Keep It Going!
‘I was at the Washington Nationals stadium with my wife, standing in line to get food and the two workers behind the counter were in essentially a screaming match over mayonnaise being put on a burrito.
Worker 1: ‘You can’t put mayonnaise on a burrito because that’s gonna make the customer sick.’
Worker 2: ‘If the customer wants mayonnaise on the burrito I’m putting mayonnaise on the burrito.’
Worker 1: ‘Hot mayonnaise can give the customer FREAKING cancer!’
The guy who ordered the ‘mayonnaise’ was in front of us, just standing there patiently watching them argue, so I asked him ‘Why did you order mayonnaise on a burrito? That sounds gross.’
He responded with ‘I asked for Sour Cream and they just started arguing and I want to see how far this goes.'”
There Are Twelve Of Them?!
“One time I was training a guy at work how to rotate dates on soda in a grocery store.
I told him, ‘So if you have March dates on the shelf and April dates come in on the load, you need to put the April dates behind and the March dates in front.’
He told me he knew January, February, and March but after that, he forgets which ones come next…”
Covered In Dates
“I had recently started managing a little family-owned cafe, we made sandwiches and smoothies and stuff. Just shift manager, nothing special, but now it was my job to make sure certain things were stocked, accounted for, and stored correctly. One of our employees was this spacey hippie chick. Really sweet girl but maybe had too many doses at Burning Man one too many times.
I knew she wasn’t the brightest, but figured she could handle this simple task: she needed to put the dates on the containers that had been opened that day so we could keep track of their shelf life. I tell her simply ‘Put dates on the lids of those containers for me,’ and handed her a sharpie. She just nods and I figure she’s got it.
A while later though I come into the storeroom and see that there are little dates – like the fruit – on top of every one. It took me a second but then I got it and burst out laughing. I go get her and bring her back (still laughing, I legit could not get a word out) and start gesturing to the jars. She looks at them for a second and then turns beet red and covers her face in embarrassment and runs out of the room.
I felt bad for laughing because honestly in the midst of a busy day I could see absent-mindedly doing that myself, but it was just so freaking funny. Later she told me she’d wondered what the heck the sharpie I’d handed her had been for. It was such an endearing moment, honestly, I liked her more after that day.”
What Kind Of Weird Bill Is This?
“‘Yeah, we don’t accept fake money here,’ said the girl behind the fast-food counter. She said this while throwing a $2 bill back at me. When I told her it was real, the cashier next to her stepped over and looked me in the eye and said, ‘Mr., you’re lucky we don’t call the cops. Use real US money or get out!’
I had to ask for the manager so I could pay, get my food and then happily leave. I probably should have stayed around to hear what the manager said as he was visibly displeased at their ignorance.”
A Pineapple By Any Other Name…
“I worked at an Italian restaurant as a waitress for a short time and the customers sucked!
This lady (in her 40’s) ordered a Hawaiian Pizza and pitched a fit saying how we got her order wrong. I asked her what was wrong with it and she said it wasn’t a Hawaiian Pizza and the toppings were wrong. I looked at it and it had diced tomatoes, pineapples, and ham. Exactly what the menu stated.
Showing her this, she said ‘What are you talking about! These are yellow! Pineapples are orange!’
Confused, I got my manager and he tried explaining that pineapples are quite yellow. Not orange. But if she didn’t like it, she can order something else on the house. She got mad and said no that she wanted this but with the right pineapples. She started explaining what they looked like. I said ‘Wait, do you mean ORANGES?’ as she completely described oranges.
She said ‘NO, PINEAPPLES!’ and started describing oranges again. At this point, I take my phone out, Google oranges and pineapples and show her.
She points at the oranges and yells at the top of her lungs: ‘YES, THOSE! I WANT THOSE!’
My manager told her we do not have those and she can either pick something else or eat what she has. She left.”
The Boneless Egg-Hater
“I worked at a grocery story and this poor girl, at least she was very pretty. She’s got that going for her. After the first time she said something of this caliber, I thought she was just making a joke. Unfortunately, she was serious and backed up this comment a few months later with another great insight of epic idiocracy.
One time we were out of white eggs and only had brown and she was in on her off day needing a dozen. She absolutely would not buy the brown eggs because, ‘they come out the doody hole.’ I didn’t have the heart to tell her they don’t actually have a ‘doody hole’ but told her they come out ‘their regular hole.’
Another time she was asked to mop the floor at work and she put that task on a guy because ‘women don’t have bones. How else do you think we can have babies?’ I was trying to explain to her that it’s JELLYFISH that don’t have bones, NOT humans. And I’m still not sure to this day what bones have to do with mopping.
She has done many things that make me question her ability to do anything, but I do miss her.”
Today Is The Future
“I went to get a drink at midnight on my 21st birthday. The bouncer looked at my license and said ‘that’s tomorrow.’ We explained how date changes happen at midnight. ‘But that’s tomorrow.’
Can you ask your boss?
He gets the head bouncer who also says ‘that’s tomorrow.’ No, it’s today. Had to get a bartender who said, ‘that’s tomorrow, we’d lose our license.’ FINALLY, the manager came over to see what the deal was. ‘Give the man a drink, it’s his birthday.'”
Optional Brain Power
“Worked in a grocery store with a swell guy named Ricky. He was a nice guy but kind of daft.
One day he calls into work and says he can’t make it in due to car trouble. Annoying, but things happen, so I work a few extra hours overtime until he is able to get a ride.
When he gets to work 3 hours later I ask him what happened. He told me they towed the car and had a mechanic look it over. It basically overheated and ‘the engine melted.’
Apparently, Ricky forgot to change the car oil… ever. When I asked him WHY he didn’t change his car oil, he told me he thought it was ‘optional’ to change his car’s oil and not necessary.
Definitely hard to take him seriously as a person after that.”
Tip To Tip
“When I was in the Navy, I was part of a carrier’s reactor department. I was ranked E5, fully qualified to sit at the control panel of the reactor. There are people who get assigned temporary duty on the mess decks to clean and keep things stocked. They’re called food service assistants (FSAs), it’s a fairly menial but important job.
Now don’t get me wrong, some people working there are guaranteed to be smarter than some of the people working the reactor, this wasn’t one of them. So I’m walking across the mess decks when I notice an E5 FSA attempting to fill one mustard bottle using another mustard bottle. ‘Attempting’ is the keyword. Instead of popping off the cap of one and squirting into it, he was trying to do the transfer squeeze tip to squeeze tip. Let me tell you, it wasn’t working. There was more mustard on the table and his hands than that little bottle should be able to hold.
All I could think was ‘Holy cow, this guy gets paid the same as me.’ It was truly a marvel to behold.”
Medium Well Done
“When I was waiting tables a few years back, a guest at a 6-top orders her burger medium then complained that it was too pink in the middle. Bada-bing, on-the-fly and a replacement comes out. Still too pink and she lectures me on the kitchen’s ability to cook a burger.
So we cook another burger for her that’s bordering on well done. She sends it back for the third time. At this point, I’m ready to send over the manager and just get this lady whatever she wants.
Then I hear her say to her friends that it’s not safe to eat a burger with pink and medium means just not burnt but cooked through. Idiot.
We cooked her a hockey puck and wrote off 3 comps.”
Never Learned Their Fractions
“Somebody I worked with in the kitchen of a cafe asked me if a third was bigger than a half while holding measuring cups for the respective measurements.”
The Freshest Ice Possible
“I worked at Walmart for 3 years, in the frozen department, the dumbest thing was when I was restocking ice (in winter), someone came up and saw me pull out more bags into the freezer, he then asks if I can grab him a ‘fresh’ bag from the back.
I asked if he wanted the ones on my cart, nope not ‘fresh’ enough.”
A Beautiful Butterfly On A Plate
“I used to work at this fancy steakhouse and a lot of the time customers would ask for their steaks to be butterflied, which means that the grill cook will slice your steak and throw it on the grill and cook it to the temp you want but since he/she sliced it, the wait time for your steak won’t take as long, or it’s not supposed to take long. Anyways, one woman ordered her steak med-rare butterflied. Well, when it came out this lady flipped her lid.
Why? Because her steak legitimately didn’t look like a butterfly.
She genuinely thought her steak was going to be all carved up and sliced like a friggin’ butterfly, with a side of A-1 sauce, broccoli, and a baked potato. She was screaming at me saying how ‘incompetent’ I was and how ‘unprofessional’ our cooks were. Her husband looked so embarrassed, and we had to comp their whole meal even though the husband offered to pay for everything.
When she sent it back, she ended up ordering chicken strips from the kid’s menu.”
When A Rich Girl Faces The Real World
“One of my first jobs was at a fast food restaurant. Parents were always making their kids get applications so they could work a summer job. One kid in particular sticks out. She came from a very wealthy family and technically didn’t need the job, but her parents wanted her to have a first-hand account of what it was like to work a customer service job. She was about as ditzy as could be, though.
One night, she stayed late to close the dining room, part of which required her to clean the restrooms. When I told her this, she started gagging saying, ‘I can’t do it! It is too gross!’ I told her it really wasn’t that bad and that she needed to get the cleaning caddy from the mop room, spray down the sink, refill the paper goods, use the toilet brush to clean the toilet, and then mop. She put on her brave face and proceeded.
Shortly after, I hear this full-on horror house screaming coming from the bathroom. She comes running out, gagging and crying. I asked what happened and she starts bawling about getting toilet water in her mouth. I asked her how, and she said she was scrubbing the toilet with the ‘Rubber brush thing’ and it splashed back in her face. I go into the bathroom to see what is up, and it turns out she was using the plunger to clean the toilet.
I also taught this girl that when someone gives her a $20 bill or higher that she needs to use the counterfeit marker. If it stays yellow, the bill is good. If it turns dark brown, then the bill is bad and she needed to let me know.
After her shift, I pull her register to count it and every single $20 was marked with a dark black mark. I stopped counting and asked her why the bills were marked with a black mark and she replied: ‘I couldn’t find the special marker you gave me, so I just used a sharpie.'”
It’s So Much More Insulting When You Don’t Understand It
“We had recently hired a new girl at the sandwich shop I worked at. She was 16, it was her first job, and she was very obviously a little bit coddled in her upbringing. I still remember the first time she was sent to the cooler by herself.
It was a door that sealed shut, kind of set into the wall. There wasn’t really a latch and you just pushed and pulled to open and close it. Anyway, she had been in there for way too long, and finally, I hear a knocking on the cooler door. When I opened it, she exasperatedly stumbled out and said ‘there’s no way to open it from the inside!’
All you have to do is push…
Her twin brother did the exact same thing during his shift.
After months of this, another girl we worked with got frustrated and shouted ‘Karmen, you are incompetent!’ And practically in tears and without missing a beat she replies ‘I am not incompetent–what does that mean?!’
I am quite worried about how she’d make it into adult life.”
“I worked at a restaurant for a while, and I once had a customer who as soon as she sat down said:
‘I’m vegan, I’m going to need a special menu.’
‘We don’t have any special vegan menus, but we can customize a dish for any dietary needs or preferences.’
‘That won’t be necessary. I’ll just have the Parmesan Tilapia.’
I told her that the Parmesan Tilapia wasn’t a vegan dish. She asked why, and I said ‘Tilapia is a fish. Parmesan is cheese, and therefore an animal product.’
She looks me dead in the face, scoffs, and turns to the people at her table and says, ‘Our server doesn’t know anything.’ Then looks back at me. ‘Tilapia is a fruit. I’ve been to a Tilapia orchard. Parmesan, since you don’t know, is made from grinding eggplant root. How did you even get a job in a restaurant??’
I stared at her for a solid 10 seconds, trying to figure out if she was messing with me. She demanded the manager speak to her. She wasn’t joking. Meanwhile, everyone looked down and avoided eye contact. I got the sense that they all knew it was best not to challenge her and to let her have her way.
So I served her the Parmesan Tilapia and she ate it. No questions asked, no complaints. She didn’t send it back.
When she finished her meal, she decided to talk to the manager again on the way out, after not tipping me. She complained about the service, about us not trusting her, and said she hopes we feel really bad about it.
But also said the food was good.
On her way out, I told her to look up the word ‘Tilapia’ on Google and see what comes up.
Never heard back from her.”
It Was Probably A Lie
“When I was a server, I got sat a table of two. The husband ordered an iced tea and the wife ordered a pina colada. Everything was fine until I gave them the check. The husband goes ‘Hey why was my wife’s kiddie colada $9?’ I said, ‘You didn’t order it that way…’ The wife goes ‘I’m celebrating 40 years sober!’
I felt so bad at the time, I made someone else finish dealing with them as I cried because I thought I ruined this poor lady’s life.
Everyone else told me it was a huge scam.
They got their meal comped. I mean, now that I think about it – if you were sober for that long, wouldn’t you emphasize clearly that you wanted it kiddie-style when you ordered it/received it, and taste the like 4 shots of whatever that was in it?”
Southern Folk And Their Gravy
“I was the cook, this was a restaurant in Georgia.
The server comes to my counter right after the ticket prints, says ‘Just be sure that barbecue meatloaf has no gravy on it, and she means NO gravy, not even on the plate!’ We have a good laugh because not only did that dish NOT come with gravy, the restaurant, in fact, served no gravy of any type, whatsoever.
I plated it as normal (meatloaf, bbq sauce, melted cheese, onion strings) and moved on.
Five minutes later he’s back. ‘Well, I have been informed that when ‘people from the South’ say ‘no gravy’ what they TRULY mean is ‘no cheese.’ And also that I should have known better.'”
“I work as a sushi chef, and I train and watch over newer employees in many capacities, like cashiers, dishwashers, and others. I keep an eye on them and correct any mistakes being made.
One new dishwasher/busser bussed a completely full table of uneaten food when the family took their kids to the restroom. It was mindbogglingly idiotic. I had to remake their entire order during the dinner rush.”