"The customer is always right" is a saying that the food service industry lives by. Ask any employee how they really feel, they will tell you it is a load of crock. However, to stay in line with the rules, they have to at least pretend that they are correct even when it is clear they are not. Then, there are those rare moments when a customer's mistake is so bizarre, it almost makes your day.
Workers of restaurants and grocery stores alike looked back into their decidedly large vault of ridiculous customer interactions to find the most satisfying moment a customer was dead wrong and share the experience to Reddit. For those who have been on the other side, these stories may inspire you to reconsider that the sometimes, the employee is right.
She Knew Exactly How She Wanted Her Coffee
“This lady ordered an iced mocha and I forgot to add the mocha syrup. Obviously, it was my mistake, so I fixed it for her. She came back a little while later.
‘I’m sorry, this just doesn’t taste right,’ she said. ‘I want a new one.’
I said, OK, and started making her a new one while she went to the bathroom. When she came back, she walked up to the bar and saw her old drink, which I had not picked up off the bar yet.
‘Ah, that one looks better already,’ she said. Then, she took a big drink and said, ‘Now, see, this is perfect.’
As she walked away, I was left standing there with her half-made drink in my hand. She left before I could even say anything.”
Imagine What Else That Woman Had In Her Pantry
“I was working as a stock guy a grocery store around 2004 or 2005. A customer brought in a bottle of Heinz Ketchup and asked to return it because the ketchup inside the bottle was brown, not red. Customer service called me to investigate. Not only were there no other bottles with the brown substance inside, but Heinz had since changed the sizes of their bottles and we didn’t even carry that particular size.
Finally, it hit me to check out the sell by date. It was from December of 1987! Needless to say, wherever she got the bottle, we were not allowing her to return it.”
“Who Puts Brown Sugar In Their Coffee?”
“I used to work at a fine dining restaurant. This one particular time, I was serving a middle-aged gentleman a cup of coffee, and he asked for some brown sugar.
‘Brown sugar?’ I asked, to clarify.
‘Yes,’ he assured, ‘brown sugar.’
So I went to the kitchen to get a small amount of brown sugar, wondering who the heck puts brown sugar in their coffee. When I returned to the table with the brown sugar, the man gave me a blank stare and asked what it was I had just brought him.
‘Brown sugar, sir.’ I responded, to which he became flustered.
‘No, I want the brown sugar!’ he berated. ‘The kind in the little packet!’
It turned out that he wanted Sugar in the Raw. I could not believe I had apologized to a man for giving him brown sugar when he asked for brown sugar. But hey, that’s the service industry!”
Sounds Like She Did Not Want The Pizza After All
“I used to work at a pizzeria. A woman called one night and ordered a large pizza. She showed up about 20 minutes later to pick it up. She must have been seven or eight months pregnant. The pizza had just come out of the oven and had been cut and boxed. The cashier opened the box to show the woman it was her pizza and that it wasn’t messed up.
The woman took two of her fingers, stuck them straight down in the middle of the pizza, and pulled them out. She looked at the cashier (who happened to also be the manager) straight in the eye and said, ‘It’s cold. I want a new one.’
You could see steam coming from this pizza. It was not cold in anyway. It had just come out of a 550-degree oven.
The manager said the pizza was not cold, as she could see the steam and that it had just come out of the oven. The woman picked up the pizza and shoved it into the manager’s face before running full speed out the door. One of the drivers got the license plate, and the woman was arrested. She gave the cashier second-degree burns from the scalding hot cheese.
Watching the woman run was one of the funniest things I had ever seen. I had to hold back my laughter because the cashier was hurt. I picked up the cashier, tossed her over my shoulder, and ran her to the back and sprayed her face off with water to get the cheese and sauce off as quick as possible.”
That Guy Will Never Be Invited Out To Eat Again
“I was serving a large table at a small restaurant. I was running out the food and had three plates in my hand. One was resting on a linen covering my arm because it was a hot dish. I walked up to the table. I was setting the first dish down when a guest decided to grab the hot dish off my arm. He immediately burned his hands and dropped the dish all over the table. He freaked out and started yelling at me for not warning him it was hot.
He demanded to see my manager, who happened to be the owner as well. My owner talked to the guy and bought his dinner for him. He kept yelling that he was embarrassed, that he wanted everyone’s dinner paid for, and he wanted me to be fired. At that point, his friends told him to calm down, that it was his own fault, and to stop embarrassing everyone. He finally shut up and they continued the meal. I split up everyone’s tabs and ran the cards. This guy walked up to me with his booklet, opened it up to show me that he’d tipped me a penny.
‘I tipped you one cent because you were terrible,’ he said. ‘How does that feel?’
I was kind of shocked that he could be so mean, but I responded by saying that I absolutely didn’t care and tried to walk away from him. He then tried to punch me. Luckily, he missed. The rest of his group saw this, ran over, and grabbed him. He started screaming at me. Then, we called the cops and he was escorted out of the building. Weird day at work.”
The Great American Cake Meltdown
“I’m a cake decorator. We recently had a customer pick up her cake, which had a printed picture of a high heel shoe that she sent us, on top.
‘What is this?!’ she asked.
Then, she just started flipping out: banging on tables, screaming at the top of her lungs in front of other customers, trying to fight the owner, threatening to come back with a weapon. We had to call the cops.
As it turned out, she wanted a life-like, edible version of the shoe, not a printed picture. All of this happened because when she ordered the cake, she did not know the difference between 2D and 3D.”
The Cashier Had To Defend Himself
“I used to work in a patisserie. We specialized in wedding cakes. This guy once ordered a Noah’s Ark cake and prepaid for it. My boss made these cute little fondant animals going into an ark on the sides of the baby blue cake. The customer came to pick it up. As soon as he looked at the cake, his nose scrunched up and he frowned.
‘This cake looks absolutely horrible,’ he said. ‘I demand a refund!’
I called my boss several times but got no answer. I told the gentleman that I could hold onto the cake until my boss was free and would call him back personally. He started yelling at me, a minimum wage cashier, and demanded his refund. I told him I wasn’t able to because of my position. I tried calling my boss again while the man continued yelling. I asked him to calm down or I would have to ask him to leave. He yelled back at me one more time.
‘I want my FREAKING refund!’ he shouted, which, I told him AGAIN, I couldn’t do. His response was to open the cake box, remove the cake, and throw it at me. I ducked and it hit the wall. I told him that he wouldn’t get his refund back and if he didn’t leave, I would call the cops.
The next day, he called the patisserie and demanded to talk to my boss. She told him that since he threw the cake at her employee and because he wouldn’t just relax and let her call him back, he wouldn’t get his cake and was permanently banned from the establishment.”
It Got Ugly At Sbarro
“I was working at Sbarro in a rather affluent area. A woman came in with that oh-so-familiar attitude of I’ve never worked in my life for money, and I’m a princess. She ordered a slice of the stuffed pizza. Our pizza maker, a very polite guy of Guatemalan descent, scooped the pizza up with a spatula and put two fingers (with gloves on) on top of the pizza to make sure it didn’t fall.
‘UGH!’ she screamed. ‘THAT MEXICAN JUST TOUCHED MY PIZZA!’
I politely informed her that he had gloves on, the brick oven was 450 degrees, and he was not a Mexican. She continued to rant and rave about it. She even demanded a discount, despite the fact that we gave her a new piece, sans ‘Mexican’ finger touching. I told her that we would not be giving her a discount, despite the fact that she was buying her pizza within the time frame when corporate allowed us to discount pizzas. Meanwhile, her poor husband, with a child in tow, had a disappointed look on his face of, I can’t believe I procreated with this despicable witch.
After she sauntered off, the woman behind her in line began to empathize with us, calling her an ‘ungrateful bimbo.’ I, then, offered the woman and her two sons their pizza for free if we could get a little poetic justice. She happily obliged and took off in the woman’s direction in the all but empty food court. From completely across the court, we heard our hero shouting at her, calling her, among other things, a ‘disgusting human being, scum of the earth, and arrogant bimbo.’
All the while, the wench maintained her uppity ‘salt of the earth’ composure and called the woman and her two young boys ‘lowly n-words.’
‘Get stuffed!’ the other woman screamed. She promptly threw her slice of pizza in the woman’s face and took off. I honestly have never laughed so hard in my life. That woman glared daggers at us as we laughed at her.”
The Long-Awaited Moment Of Victory
“I worked at a locally owned pizza place, and this land cow would always come in five minutes before we closed and would order so much food. We’d end up working until midnight just getting her out and to clean up.
One day, it was 10:59 p.m. She had not shown up yet, so I walked over and locked the door. At 11 p.m., the Land Cow made her arrival and started shaking the earth as she walked toward the store. We had already flipped off the ‘Open’ neon sign before she rushed the door screaming, ‘You can’t close yet! We just got here!’ When she got to the door, she started banging on the door and trying to open the door by pulling it off the hinges.
‘Sorry, we just closed,’ I said to her. ‘You’ll have to come back tomorrow.’
She freaked out and almost broke the door. We called the owner.
‘That fat lady came after we closed,’ I explained. ‘She’s trying to break the door down.’
‘Land Cow?’ he asked.
‘Tell her I’m on my way, and we will figure it out, but don’t open the door.’
He made it in record time and started asking the Land Cow what the problem was. She started scream-breathing, ‘Your staff should be fired. They saw us coming and locked the door.’
‘Did you notice you came after we closed for the night?’ he asked her. ‘They were already cleaned up, and we start early.’
This did not appease the Land Cow, who had now started demanding breadsticks. My boss denied her requests for yeast-based sustenance. She started to get angry. That was when the cops showed up. The boss called them when we told him that she was breaking the door.
When she saw the police, the Land Cow went into rampage mode and started swinging her fists. The cops came up and tried to calm her down. She refused. Then, they tased her. It took three officers to get her in the car and they left. The husband and daughter were shell-shocked and quickly got in their station wagon to follow her to the station. It was a great victory.”
It’s Called A Drive “Thru,” Not A Drive-“Into”
“Back in my days of working a crappy drive-thru, I had a guy in a new car come through and hit a pole or wall on his way up. He began to yell at me about how this car had just cost him $40,000. He was expecting compensation for the damage we did to his car because it was all our fault.
I told him that if he was going to buy a car that expensive, he should be able to drive it properly. Then, I rang up his order. He went off again about how we should be compensating him for his car and he couldn’t believe I was going to (Gasp!) still charge him for his meal.
Sorry buddy, I am not responsible for your inability to drive.“
In Desperate Times, People Are Not Concerned With Preferred Names For Food
“I was working concessions at a race track, running the register. This one particular night, it was super busy. It was on the last race weekend of the season when we ran out of Coke and the deep fryer caught fire. I was at the burger stand and the line was crazy. This one lady came and ordered a burger with cheese. Trying to be quick, I yelled back to the cooks, ‘ONE CHEESEBURGER.’
‘No,’ she said back to me with a huff, ‘I said a burger with cheese, not a CHEESEBURGER!’
‘SORRY, A BURGER WITH CHEESE!’ I yelled back. ‘CANCEL THE CHEESEBURGER!’
It was one of the many moments in my customer service/retail career that made me question my sanity just a little.”
Reason Went Up In Smoke
“I used to do outdoor catering. We would set up a grill and buffet at people’s houses. We cooked, they ate. One windy day, I was set up for a grad party or something, cooking away. There was only one location I was allowed to grill, so that’s where they put me.
After the burger grease and such started falling onto the coals, a significant amount of smoke began to rise, as one would expect. The wind was blowing it in their direction. Mind you, they were 30 yards away, so it wasn’t like I was fumigating them. The lady came over, screaming at me to make the smoke stop going that way and told me to turn the grill the other way.
‘Ma’am,’ I explained, ‘the orientation of the grill will not change wind direction.’
After arguing with her, I rotated the grill, but the smoke was still coming. She then told me how I needed a wall to block the smoke. Then, she called my boss and complained about me, about smoke, and about not having a wall by the grill, which would have accomplish about as much as turning the grill around.”
When You Get What You Asked For, What Is The Problem?
“I was working in a coffee shop. A lady asked my colleague for an Americano in a small cup. An Americano is two espresso shots topped up with hot water. It’s a lot more expensive than an espresso. He put the order through as a ‘small Americano,’ as anyone would.
I made it and brought it out to her. She exploded at me, saying she wanted an Americano in a small cup. I explained that this was exactly what she had received. Then she pointed at the espresso cups.
‘Oh, you want an espresso?’ I asked.
‘No,’ she replied. ‘I want an Americano in one of those small cups!’
‘I can make you a double espresso, and it will be cheaper than a small Americano, which is just two shots of espresso topped up with hot water.’
‘I don’t WANT a double espresso. I want an Americano in a small cup!’
‘I can make you an espresso and I can add a little bit of hot water to it – though not much will fit in the espresso cup – if that’s what you want? It would be much cheaper that way as well.’
‘HOW STUPID CAN YOU BE? I WANT AN AMERICANO IN A SMALL CUP.’
She flounced out, telling me she’d be taking her business elsewhere. I still don’t know what she actually wanted.”
How Upsetting To Discover That Ice Cream Melts?
“I was working at a small ice cream shop at which we made our own ice cream. There was a woman who came in asking for a few pints of vanilla. While I was filling up the containers, she mentioned to me that she was going on the road and that she wanted it packed in such a way that it wouldn’t melt. I told her that I wasn’t aware of anything like that, but, since I was a new employee at the time, I asked one of my more senior colleagues to help me out.
She came out and told the woman that we did not have anything like that and that we never had anything like that. The woman insisted that she had been given this packaging before. When my friend firmly told her that was impossible, she started throwing a fit. Tears were shed until my manager came out and calmed her down. I wrapped it as best I could in paper bags. She left, clearly still upset.
‘That woman has been here three times,’ my manager said to me. ‘She has always asked for insulation. We’ve never had any and have never given her anything beyond extra paper bags.'”
She Tried Something New, But It Just Was Not Enough Like What She Was Used To
“I worked as a Seattle’s Best barista at a Borders bookstore back when that was a thing. We made these delicious cold drinks called ‘Javakulas.’ It was a summer day and there was a very long line wrapping all around the cafe filled with people who wanted drinks from us. A lady approached the counter and asked if our Javakulas tasted at all like the vanilla coffee frappes you get at gas stations.
‘Honestly, no, they’re not the same,’ I explained to her, ‘but they have enough similarities in taste and texture.’
She agreed to try one. I made her a vanilla Javakula. She tried it and immediately wanted it remade because it wasn’t ‘quite enough like the ones at the gas station.’ Again, I told her this would not be the same drink, but I could add more vanilla powder as to give it a creamier taste. She tried the second attempt. Again –
‘This isn’t what I get at the gas station!’ she said, beginning to get irate. ‘Put less coffee in it. Put more milk. Add more flavor.’ She said all this as if she could somehow design this drink herself. This went on twice more, each time she asked for it to be remade.
Finally, the customer behind her loudly said, ‘Maybe if you don’t think it’s enough like the frappes at the gas station, you should go to the gas station.’
The lady’s face was priceless. She walked away and I was able to proceed with my other guests. It took everything out of me not to laugh at her.”
And She Wondered Why This Cake Went Bad
“I worked at a store that sold ice cream cakes. A woman came in with half a cake. We thought it would be melted. Nope. It was much more concerning. Her son had a piece the pervious and day and got ill. They didn’t make the connection until the daughter ate a piece that morning and also became ill. To say the least, my manager was freaking out. If there was some kind of food poisoning going on, the whole store could be shut down, and it would be a huge mess.
She passed me the cake and told me to check and see who made it so we could call it in. I opened up the case and took a look at it. It took every bit of control I could muster to not laugh in front of the customer.
The cake was a Valentine’s Day cake. It was September. My manager had to explain to the woman that half-eaten ice cream cakes don’t hold for a half a year. The woman kept insisting we test it.”
Watch Out For The Name Police
“I had a customer read my name tag when I worked at a local coffee shop. He then looked at me and said, ‘That is a very peculiar name.’ I told him I was named after an automobile. He then proceeded to tell me that I could not be named after an automobile because that is illegal. Me being polite, I just went along with him…Until he told me that I should change my name because it was copyright infringement and that he will report me to the right authorities. I really hated that job.”