On a good day, being a server at a restaurant can be a thankless job. And that's just a good day. Those days are few and far between for a fair share of the waiters and waitresses out in the world. Most days are filled with inpatient, impolite, and irrational customers who think they are the only patrons that exist. Those are the people most servers want to forget.
There are customers out there, however, that servers can never forget, no matter how hard they may try. Some of those servers recently revealed the most unforgettable customers they ever had the displeasure of serving. In a recent Reddit thread, several servers, bartenders, and other food service workers shared the stories they wished they could forget. All of the posts, which have been edited for clarity, hopefully teach people how to properly act when eating out.
She Claimed A Piece Of Broken Plate “Ricocheted Over” And Cut Her
“Being a klutzy server, I once dropped a stack of oyster plates on my first day. As I was laughing it off with them, we heard a shriek from a few rows of tables over.
A woman insisted some rogue sharp piece had ricocheted over and cut her leg. I see her pinching her cut to ‘drain the blood.’ Her husband was elevating her leg on to a chair and she started breathing deeply. My manager rushed out with free drinks and to gauge the wound. The woman isn’t in my section, but when I go to check in on how she’s feeling, she responds, with wide eyes, ‘I FEEL LIKE I’VE BEEN SHOT.’
Shortly after comping her meal and twenty minutes into over apologizing and babying her, my manager realizes she is displaying a shard of glass as the culprit. The plates were ceramic.”
The Levels Of Selfishness
“I was working as the duty manager in a steakhouse back in around 1995. We had a packed house and were running around like crazy when one of the waitresses called me over to her table.
It was a table of four: old mom and dad and their two adult kids. The old guy was having a heart attack. When I got there, I checked his pulse which was faint and erratic so I put him flat on the floor. I kept checking for a pulse and felt it fade away then stop so I started CPR and heart massage while telling the waitress to call an ambulance. Obviously, everyone was looking as people do.
I continued trying to revive him and was joined by an off-duty paramedic and between us, we gave him chest compressions and blew into his mouth to keep oxygen circulating. It took about 20 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, and during this time, we were unable to get his heart going. I knew he was dead but could not bring myself to tell his wife and kids so just kept going with the CPR.
When the ambulance arrived, they took over and decided to get him on board and take him to the hospital. His wife and kids got in the ambulance. I was totally shaken up after having this guy die in my arms.
As I walked to the kitchen to take a timeout, a lady from one of the tables nearby stopped me and started complaining that it put her off her meal and ruined her night out. I was seething as she said we should have had some form of portable walls so diners would not have to watch ‘that sort of thing.’ I could tell she had just thought it would be a good opportunity to get a discount on her bill.
I was livid and nearly punched her when my boss pulled me away and made me sit outside. I think my parting words were something along the lines of, ‘Your night was ruined, think about that poor family who has just lost a father.’ That was the day I realized some people are just messed in the head and lack any compassion or empathy.
A couple of days later, the daughter came in to tell me her father had passed away and to thank me for my efforts.”
They Were Damaging Property, But Their Mom Couldn’t Care Less
“When I was a waitress, this couple came in with their two kids (aged about four and five). The kids took the silverware and were scratching our wooden tabletops with it. I came over and asked the parents to stop them, and the mom said flippantly, ‘Oh, it’s okay. They’re allowed.’
NO, they are not. This isn’t your house!
I also watched a kid walk up to our flower pot and dump her entire ice cream, container and all, in the pot. I opened the front door and said, ‘HEY! Pick that up!’ The kid shamefacedly picked up the gross, smooshed up ice cream and put it in the trash can that was, I kid you not, five feet away.
About 10 minutes later, the mother came into the restaurant, already furious. ‘Did you yell at my daughter?!’
This little old lady sitting at a table got up and got right in her face. ‘Don’t you talk to her like that!’ Then she just went off on the mom about her bratty kid throwing ice cream in our flowerpot. It was amazing! I thought I was about to see a senior citizen throw fists with a soccer mom!”
This Is Why You Don’t Bring Kids To A Bar
“On Superbowl Sunday, a man runs inside and when I ask how I could help him, he replies that he is checking if our restaurant was kid-friendly. It isn’t; I work at a dive bar near a college that is chaotic, but we do have a small kids’ menu and one highchair. Since it is dead due to the game, he decides it will work.
So this man, his wife, and two kids come in and grab a seat. It starts off well enough as they order drinks and then food. The kids are chatting me up and asking me crazy questions, but I indulge them. However, as the family waits for their food, the kids start getting antsy, start screeching, then start fighting each other with silverware. Okay, fine. If the kids hurt each other, that’s not on me.
So I drop off the food and when I come back to check on them, it is complete chaos. One kid is licking ketchup off of a plate, the other is under the table slinging noodles everywhere, and the parents are happily eating away without a care in the world.
I pre-bus as soon as they finish a plate and even steal the ketchup to minimize the damage, but the kids move on to dumping odds and ends into their to go cups and then proceed to poke holes in the cups.
There is crap everywhere, and to make matters worse, they stay well after the bill is paid, letting their children scream and play in the slop pile they created on the table.”
She Had Excuse After Excuse About Why She Should Pay Less
“I once had a lady and her five friends come in for the dinner rush. They ordered their food, they ordered drinks, they ordered dessert, and then they stayed until closing, which was 11 pm. But wait, there’s more! When they got their bill after closing, we stayed open till they were ready to leave. One lady snapped her fingers in the air until I came over. She then proceeded to yell at me, telling me she ordered the lunch entree size and refused to pay the dinner portion.
I told her that we stopped serving lunch every day at 2:30 pm, so there was no way she could have ordered the lunch order. Confused, she started yelling at me loud enough for the owner to come over.
A little background, the owner of the restaurant is someone I consider a second mom. I’ve known their family for seven years and worked as the family’s nanny for three years.
The woman explained to the owner how she ALWAYS ordered the lunch portion during the dinner rush for nearly five YEARS! The owner took a second to chew on that, then pointed to the banner hanging at the door which marked the restaurant’s third year being open.
Embarrassed and even more confused, the lady told us she wouldn’t pay a dime for the ‘horrible dinner’ (which she ate all of) and our terrible service. Her five friends were nice and offered to pay for her, one of them even apologized for the scene. By now, all of our staff (the busboys, chefs, waiters, hostesses) were watching the scene unfold. After about 20 minutes of telling us that she wouldn’t pay us, she called her husband to come ‘have a talk with us that we would regret.’ Almost everyone working stayed to see what would happen.
Lo and behold, about 20 minutes later, this man in his late-40s, who looked like he just woke up, walked into the restaurant. He walked over to his wife and slammed a $100 bill on the table for her $40 tab. Then he grabbed her arm, apologized to her friends, the staff and the owner, before walking out while his wife had the face of utter defeat. Probably not the first time she’s acted like this.
Don’t be this lady.”
“Why Don’t You Apologize To My Son For Making Him Cry?”
“I worked at a McDonald’s for about eight years and have a ton of these stories, but the most memorable one comes from my last year there. It was a Sunday morning and we were actually pretty dead by normal standards when in walked a small group. Their order was long and slightly complex, but most of them were friendly, so I didn’t mind.
One lady had her son with her and tried to order a blueberry pomegranate smoothie, which had been taken off the menu several months ago. She got this annoyed look on her face and told me it’s the only thing her son likes. I apologized again and she ordered a sausage biscuit with extra sausage instead.
A few minutes later she walked back up. Our exchange was as follows. Note that she got angrier as this goes on:
Her: ‘Hey, since you don’t have the smoothie, can I get a toy for my son?’
Me: ‘Oh sure, they’re (about $2, I don’t remember the exact price).’
Her: ‘Can’t you just give it to me?’
Me: ‘I’m sorry ma’am, I’m not allowed to do that.’
Her: ‘Well, I don’t want to pay that much.’
Me: ‘I’m sorry, but-‘
Her: ‘Get a manager, they can help me.’
Me: (In full button up shirt, with a tie, and a nametag that says ‘manager’ on it) ‘I am a manager ma’am, I’m sorry, I can’t just give you a toy.’
Her: ‘Well, my son’s going to cry and we’re going to leave.’
My immediate supervisor was standing behind me the whole time and looked like he was trying very hard not to laugh. The older lady this woman had come in with was up at the counter the whole time giving her a look of ‘What the heck is the matter with you.’
Had this been the end of it, I wouldn’t have even blinked about it, but she came back up five minutes later. ‘You didn’t put extra sausage on this!’ She said as she flung the sausage biscuit down on the counter, looking at me like I tried to murder her firstborn. I took the sandwich and had a new one made. I handed it to her and apologized.
‘Why don’t you apologize to my son for making him cry?’ She said before storming off. I could see her son, he was laughing and playing in the play place.”
This Guy Needed Some Anger Management
“I was working at a pub shortly after college. During the evenings, things would always get pretty stressful and hectic. People would be snapping at each other, or saying mean things, or arguing, or whatever. Pretty standard stuff in a high-stress situation like that.
One day, though, in the middle of dinner, the other cook (my immediate manager, but not the restaurant manager) apparently just had a bad night. He’d been getting progressively more agitated all night (not with me, luckily). Suddenly, a waitress came back and complained that one of her tables was complaining because the food was cold. First, the manager responded by telling her that if she’d come get her orders when they were done, they wouldn’t be cold, but when she made some comment back, he snapped.
He picked up a hot pan from the stove, and I was terrified for a second that he was going to throw it at her. Instead, he swung it as hard as he could at the entire stack of clean plates and knocked almost all of them off the table, shattering them on the floor. Then he literally tore off his apron and stormed out, but not before knocking a tray of full food out of another waitress’ hands.
Weirdly enough, the store manager was going to let him keep his job if he’d admit being out of line. She brought him in during lunch the next day to talk to him, and instead of apologizing, he smashed a coffee cup against the wall and left.
All told, it was probably for the best.”
There’s Something About Olive Garden That Makes Normally Sane People Crazy
“A guy I served at the Olive Garden in Greenville, South Carolina ate his original never-ending bowl of pasta, plus 15 refills. He was a big dude, but more in the linebacker sense. He was determined to eat each pasta and sauce combination. He kept me wildly busy, running pasta and bread out to him all evening. His two friends had to help support him to walk out of the restaurant. At the time, a big bowl of pasta was eight ounces, and the refills were four ounces each. He ate more than four pounds of pasta, plus a LOT of sauce, and had the meat add-on on many of them, as well. I’m guessing he cleared more than six pounds of food over the course of that meal. He tipped $4.
On the other hand, I have been in a restaurant where we’ve run out of breadsticks. Normally, we were pretty free with the breadsticks. You have a set amount you’re supposed to bring out (number of guests at a table + 1), but a lot of servers just load up their tables at the beginning to minimize the amount of running they have to do. On a handful of days where we ran out, the managers were watching breadstick distributions like hawks. We could not eat any of them ourselves, either (normally it’s the one thing you can eat while on-shift).
Anyway, people lose their mind if they show up and find out we don’t have breadsticks. The hosts were warning EVERYONE who came through the door and people were still mad. Folks would yell at them, then leave. The few who stayed were nice but kept talking about how it didn’t feel like an OG meal without the breadsticks. The worst were the tables that were already seated when we ran out. I had one who kept asking me why I was so stingy and when I explained why I’d only brought out enough for each person instead of a huge load like she’d asked for, she screamed for the manager. The manager explained that she had, in fact, gotten the last basket of breadsticks in the restaurant. The lady looked apoplectic.
‘HOW THE EFF DOES AN OLIVE GARDEN RUN OUT OF BREADSTICKS?!’
Honestly, I feel you, lady, but it was two days after Mother’s Day, and the truck was due in three hours. The manager’s order had fallen short by less than 0.5 percent. She demanded that everything be comped. While my managers were normally the kind who would do this immediately, this one refused. Either way, I got $0 on that table, and most of the other tables were similarly cranky and low-tipping.”
A Kid Loses It Over Doritos
“I worked at a Subway many years ago. One day we’ve got a full, stacked house. The line is several people deep, so we’re just trying to work through people as fast as we can. A family – parents and one young kid, maybe 5-7 years old, come in and get in line. Once they get near the display for chips, the kid starts acting up about how he wants some Doritos.
No big deal, normally, but the kid starts yelling and screaming and making a scene. The parents look exhausted beyond their years and just try to calmly and quietly inform him no, that he isn’t getting chips. The screaming goes on and the brat remains at the display but the parents move on, getting their order in and ignoring him. Taking our cue from them, we and the other customers do the same.
As they are ringing up, the boy realizes that his ploy has failed and he must up his game. I see him look at the chips in his hand, at his parents, back again, then at me. Calculation crosses his eyes and he asks me, ‘If I break this, do they have to pay for it?’
Quick as you please he drops the chips on the ground and stomps them hard with his foot, making a very recognizable pop sound as the bag explodes. The room is stunned. Everyone slowly turns to the parents. They look, sigh, and ask my bud to ring up a bag of chips. They pay and leave, never once rebuking the child.
If I had tried that as a kid, I wouldn’t be alive to tell this story.”
After The Second “Accident,” That Family Was Banned For Life
“It’s a Sunday morning. We are an Italian pasta place and I’m serving tables with one of my best friends. It’s just us two and our manager in the morning since we don’t do much business for Sunday lunch. We have a family of regulars who had been troublesome in the past. They always sit outside and the week prior, the 6-year-old kid whipped his junk out and peed on the ground. We politely asked them to make sure it didn’t happen again and washed the ground with a hose. They came in a lot and luckily no other customers were outside at the time.
So the family came in, and I look at my friend and say, ‘I’m not serving them. You take them, and I’ll close lunch for you.’ He agrees. He drops off bread and water to the table, then he starts a conversation with the parents and makes some small talk. That’s when he starts to hear something. Then his leg gets warm. This little kid whips his junk out and is peeing on the ground again. This time, though, it isn’t just on the ground, it’s on my friend’s pants and shoes. He runs back in with the most confused and angry look and tells our manager. The manager runs outside, sees a puddle at the table, and tells them to leave and never come back.
The mom later goes on to write a horrid review online about how we aren’t family friendly, and kids have accidents. Your kid PEED ON OUR STAFF.”
She Only Served Them Once, But She’d Never Do It Again
“Two younger moms (part of that religious cult where women don’t typically work and wear blue jean skirts, all women tend to be on the heavier side, have long hair, no makeup, don’t talk if husbands are present, but man will they sound off on you and get super bossy when they’re alone) were regulars at my restaurant along with their families. Like almost every single day regulars and these people were always demanding.
It was a lunch shift and they came in with their two very young boys. I’d guess they were no more than a couple of years old at the time. As I was taking their order, the boys each took a sugar packet from the caddy, ripped them open, and poured them in the napkin basket. The basket held the big rectangle napkins and sani-hand wipes. They were my first customers at that table and the boys ruined that basket and all its contents.
The moms caught me staring and told the boys in a meek tone, (because they’re male), to stop making a mess. No one tried to grab the unused packets, no one tried to grab the basket from them, they just watched as the boys continued to grab more, and tore everything open. Then they looked back at me like, ‘Why are you still here? Enter my order.’
I walked by later on and the women were laughing, and the boys were coloring on the booth with their crayons, the moms periodically just verbally telling them to stop. I noticed the sugar caddy was empty and the war zone from all the fallen sugar packets and wet naps all over the table.
For some reason, and I can’t remember where they got it, some older people came in and had a mini-birthday party, but someone gave these little miscreants chocolate cake. After the family left, it looked like someone had diarrhea and it exploded all over the whole booth.
I refused to wait on that family ever again. I had to clean that booth entirely by myself – and it took me forever.
Oh, and they tipped me $1. A freaking dollar. I distinctly remember them saying they wish they could have tipped me more, and promised to come back when they had more money to give me a little more – never did. They sat there nearly my entire shift, too. They were my official first dose of server frustration in my early waiting career stint.”
The Art Of Expecting An Exchange
“When I worked at a burger stand years ago, the crap we would get from people was amazing. I seriously couldn’t be creative enough to make these stories up.
I once had a customer bring in a shake that was days old, claiming that it was ‘too runny’ when they originally bought it, but that they ‘just didn’t have the time’ to come back until now, so they managed to save the remnants of what used to be a milkshake from our stand for the entire time so they could bring it back later and get an exchange.
Same place, a different customer brings in a burger in a Ziploc bag, claiming that the burger was wrong when they bought it, but they didn’t notice until they got home. Again, the item in question was days old, and they had just now brought it in, ABSOLUTELY EXPECTING an exchange.
The manager of the stand at the time gave them whatever they wanted just to avoid dealing with them.
Years later, I worked at a ball cap store. I don’t say hats because ball caps aren’t hats, they’re ball caps. Indiana Jones wears a hat, 50 Cent likes to wear ball caps. Anyway, I regularly got 50 Cent wannabes (of all ethnicities and races) in the store, buying our expensive (over $30) ball caps. You know the kind, the ones that are bought for style and not because they look like a pro baseball player’s cap. These people did not leave the store without trying on the cap, making sure that it fit and that everything was just right before they made their purchase and left. Without fail, almost every single time, they’d be back within the next two days, wanting to return the cap, and usually for nonsense reasons like: ‘It doesn’t fit’ or ‘it doesn’t go with my wardrobe.’
You might be thinking: ‘What the heck, you jerk? A customer wants to return something, you shut the heck up and do it! PRICK! HORRIBLE CUSTOMER SERVICE.’ However, we had a policy regarding the ‘custom’ ball caps, which was if you buy it, you’re done. The sale is final. Why? The policy stemmed from the fact that people just like the ones I described would buy a cap to look ‘fly at the club,’ then return it the next day because they really couldn’t afford it in the first place.
This policy was on the receipt. ‘Oh, but how about if it didn’t fit?’ My behind. We saw you try the thing on your head to make sure it did. It doesn’t go? I forgot wherein it was written that that is my concern in any way. You should’ve thought about that before you dropped $35 on a darn ball cap, for crying out loud.”