There's a special type of person that's so despicable and desperate that they will take advantage of any situation in an attempt to get something for free or at least heavily discounted. This probably happens in the restaurant business more than anywhere else as people will do anything they can to haggle on a predetermined price. It doesn't matter if the restaurant is a hole in a wall or a five-star establishment, there are some people who just want to game the system.
A Reddit thread recently asked restaurant workers to reveal the most egregious attempts at getting something for free, and the results were shocking. Some people have no limits when it comes to being a scummy human being. Hopefully, these stories are the exceptions to the rule and not the standard. All posts have been edited for clarity.
Who Encourages Their Kid To Steal Like That?
“I had just started walk away from one of my tables when I got the feeling I’d just dropped money, but I couldn’t find it. As I was looking for it, I commented to a fellow waitress who was passing by that I felt as if I dropped money. Eventually, I figured the best thing to do was to step down into the aisle a little so I could get a broader view.
As I turned around to look back at the area, I saw the parents pointing to a small bundle of cash under the table beside them (the one I had been standing at while I searched) while their kid was crawling on the floor towards it. Mind you, this kid was probably 8 or 9 years old, old enough to know that taking someone else’s money is wrong. I immediately dashed there and snatched up it before he could reach it, making a small comment about having thought I had dropped something. Then the kid snapped his fingers in disappointment while the parents said something along the lines of, ‘Be faster next time,’ and ‘You should have waited until the waitress wasn’t there to grab it.’
I was floored! Luckily, they immediately left the place, but that was the craziest thing I ever saw a parent encouraging their kid to do. Parents and kids have been rude or messy, or a mix of both and all in between, but to encourage your kid to steal?”
Don’t Try To Get Buddy-Buddy With Me!
“I had a customer one time come in and ordered 50 wings, in various sauces. Well, I messed it up and rang in boneless. Not a big deal, they just had to wait a bit longer, so we give them the boneless wings FOR FREE to eat while they waited. Their order came out, everyone was happy, and they ended up with a huge pile of wings to take home.
Fast forward a week, the same person calls and complains, demanding free food, and the district manager comes in. The computer records showed where my mistake was fixed and my manager’s account of it matched with mine. I got to sit in the room when the district manager called them back and informed that they would not be getting any free food.
A couple months later, I was taking a leak and the jerk comes into the bathroom; he’s all friendly with me, ‘Oh, hey buddy! You remember me?’
I stared at him for a second ‘Oh yeah, I remember now. You’re the guy that called and complained after getting $30 of free food!’
You would have thought he was a ghost.”
Thought You Could Pull That One Off, Eh?
“While working the drive-thru window at a fast food joint in high school, I had a verbally abusive mini-van mom scream at me because we weren’t serving breakfast. While trying my best to calm her down, she demanded that I comp her entire order.
I said what any rational 17-year-old would say, ‘No? We can’t do that, just because we aren’t serving breakfast.’
To which she proceeded to throw her entire tray of drinks at me while screaming from the top of lungs that I was a jerk as she peeled out of the parking lot.
She later tried to file a complaint against me with the company. She exaggerated the details and quoted me as saying ‘I ain’t gonna help you, idiot.’ She also left out the part about throwing a tray of drinks at me.
I could have lost my job, but luckily I had multiple witnesses who backed up my story.
After about a week, she came through the drive-thru a second time, She even had the nerve to complain as she was ordering that she came through last week, was treated poorly, was refused breakfast and that this meal should be comped. My manager asked them to drive around, she then confronted her at the window, stating that she not only assaulted one of her employees but also attempted to have him fired under false pretenses and that we would not serve her.
Needless to say, she filed a complaint against my manager as well, which unfortunately didn’t get as easily dismissed. She was suspended for a week without pay.”
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.”
Don’t Mess With Keith
“My buddy works with a server named Keith.
In his free time, Keith enjoys bodybuilding, steroids, and going on dates with women. He’s also hilarious and was on a dating show once.
An older gentleman once came into the restaurant and ordered a margarita. ‘Right away sir,’ Keith replies as a good server should, and fetches the margarita.
‘What? I didn’t want salt on this!’
‘No problem sir, let me take care of that for you sir,’ Keith responds and goes back into the kitchen for a new margarita.
He comes back and places it on the table when the man blurts out, ‘That’s not a new margarita!’
‘Why yes, it is sir, a new margarita with no salt.’
‘No!’ The man persists. ‘You’re a liar! You just wiped the salt off the rim!’
Keith’s smile drops from his face, and in an instant, he SWATS the margarita off the table, sending it shattering onto the dining room floor.
‘Nobody calls me a liar, do you understand that? Now you’re paying for that one,’ he yells, pointing at the pile of broken glass. ‘Would you like another one, sir?’
The man nearly crapped himself. Trembling, he meekly asks for another margarita, agrees to pay for the original, and even leaves a nice tip on top of it.
Nobody calls Keith a liar.”
“This Breakfast Is Bad!”
“This lady used to come into my job and order this HUGE breakfast all the time. Same one, every time. And every time, about a third of the way into it, she would say something was the matter with it, it was inedible and she didn’t want to pay for it. After personally seeing this happen a few times, I started to wonder how she got a bad breakfast every time. And WHY did she keep coming in and ordering it, considering the bad luck she was having?
I came to find out, a regular customer knew her. They told us she had gastric bypass surgery and could no longer eat very much. So this woman would just come in, eat till she was full, which wasn’t much, and then complain that it was bad. Being that she hardly ate, we always believed her and didn’t make her pay.
So, the next time she came in, I refused her service and she FREAKED out. When I asked her why she continued to come in even though her meal was ALWAYS bad, her response was, ‘I’m waiting to get a good meal.'”
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 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.”
These Food Workers Needed A Raincoat For This Job
“I used to work at Sonic. On rainy days, especially when it was pouring, people would intentionally park across the lot (the spare spots that weren’t covered by their famous awning), and make the car hops walk the food out there to them. We’d be standing there outside their car window with the food on a tray, waiting for them to roll down their window. They’d take their sweet time getting out their cards or cash while we were getting drenched. All the while, there were plenty of open spots under the awning, closer to the restaurant and out of the rain. By the time they took their food from us, they would demand the meal for free since it was wet.
Mind you, not wet enough to give back the food, just wet enough to demand a full refund while they shoved the offending fries in their mouth. Those people also never tipped. Also, we had people who would make us go back inside and replace their 44-oz drink four and five times, even when you insisted it was the right drink. ‘This ain’t diet.’
‘Sir, I poured this drink myself, I can assure you it’s diet.’
‘I want you to go back in there and do it again, and I better not have to send this back a third time.'”
A Truly Nasty Man
“My significant other was a bartender that often acted as the front of house manager at a chain steakhouse.
He was managing one night and this four-top came in and gave their server grief about not being able to use two coupons at the same time. They insisted she outsmart the point of sale system by splitting and recombining the checks. She said, ‘No, it’s against corporate policy and I’ll get fired.’ The guy demanding it was just really nasty to her.
So, my significant other went to try to salvage her tip and he applied a manager discount to their bill, blamed himself and corporate.
These people paid their split check and left. The one guy came back in alone. He made sure the server (who was cleaning tables down the way) saw him. He went up to the table, took all the cash out of both check presenters, and re-divided it to them, pocketing a bunch, and left again.
The total was now negative $10 and the server had been stiffed. The guy was gone by this time so they couldn’t call the police or anything.
My significant other reopened it and comped some things so she still got a tip at least, but Jesus. Who DOES that?”
“It’s My Birthday So I Want My Steak”
“There was this woman who came to my register with a whole bunch of large cuts of meat. I went to scan them automatically, but when I grabbed the label, it moved. Thank god for slightly damp meat packages. She had taken the labels of old cuts of meat she bought and dug out of the trash. There were $20 cuts of meat with $7 labels! I called my manager over, we never directly accused her, but it was obvious it was her. She made up an odd excuse like, ‘It’s my birthday so I want my steak,’ and didn’t want to pay the $20 per package but the $7. Tell me, if you picked out meat you thought was $7, would you pay $20 if you found out someone had tampered with the label?
Then there was another instance that actually got me. At the time, I was just starting on the register, so I was easily cowed. This evil witch of a woman, who has since been banned from our store for harassing cashiers and generally being unpleasant, angrily declared that the bag of pretzels rang up wrong. Now, I had a line, and my manager wasn’t to be seen, and she was making a really big deal about it, so I fixed the price and shrugged it off. Then later, when I had a moment, I checked the price. Not a single pretzel bag was on sale. It was a small theft, but no less annoying.”
The Plate Definitely Didn’t Contain A Roach When He Dropped It Off
“I was serving a table of four one time and had already put their order in and brought their food out to their table. They called me back a minute later and told me there was a roach on the plate. They’d obviously placed it there themselves. They demanded to talk to the manager because they were not going to pay for food that is unsanitary. I told my manager that there was no roach on the plate when I gave them their food, but he said that the customers come first and he was going to comp their meals anyway. I went back to the table to let them know, and they went on, telling me how disgusting it is, and they were never coming back. Then they asked me for a to-go box. I asked them why they would want food if it had a roach on it and is disgusting? They did not respond, so I took their plates and trashed it.”
He Thought He Was Only Doing What She Wanted
“I used to work at a fast-food burger place and this particular night, I was handing out orders to the cars at the second window. This woman had ordered a couple of value meals and a happy meal. We got the happy meal done first and I handed it out. She looked in the bag, then looked up at me and very sweetly said, ‘I’m so sorry, but they put fries in this bag, and I wanted apple dippers.’
So I apologized, took the bag, and replaced it. The manager on duty happened to be nearby and said to me, ‘But the order said fries.’
I told her, ‘I know, but she told me she wanted apple dippers.’
An hour later the store gets a call and said manager goes to answer it. She comes back sometime later and says, ‘Remember that order where you replaced the fries with apple dippers? She just called and complained that she got apple dippers in her happy meal when she clearly ordered fries, which is what her receipt shows. And she is demanding a couple of free value meals to make her happy over this “mess up.”‘
My jaw just dropped. I was only 17 at the time, and hadn’t really seen just how messed up people could be yet. I said, ‘I swear to you, she looked me in the eye and told me to replace the fries with apple dippers. I wouldn’t have changed that if she hadn’t.’ Luckily, I didn’t get in trouble, she believed me, but I was so angry that there was this customer who seemed so nice when she was there in front of me, then called back with a completely different attitude and tried to get me in trouble. Just so she could get a $10 to $15 worth of free food.”
Typical Chef Davey
“One regular, who everyone called Chef Davey despite him being unemployed and possibly never having been a chef, was notorious for not being able to pay his tab. He’d come up short, tell us some excuse-riddled crazy story, and then make good a few days later. I think we put up with it for the sheer entertainment value.
One time, he was like $10 short of paying his bill. He went out to the parking lot, popped the trunk of his car, and brought in two bags of groceries and asked if we’d accept them as payment. His wife had sent him to do the shopping and he’d taken a detour!”