"We have this guy, Gary. He is in his 70s, a retired marine, and certified cuckoo. He eats with us once every few weeks. When you come up to his table, LIGHT THE CANDLE, no matter how bright or sunny it may be. Also, you'd better bring him extra napkins. He orders an appetizer and an entree. You must understand though, that he'll take 30 minutes to eat his app, so don't put his dinner order in too soon. However, he expects you to have his dinner on the table the minute he's done with his app, so you need to know exactly how long it will take him to finish and how long it takes the dinner to cook. Then you have to watch him eating slowly, I've seen it take as long as an hour to finish a dinner. Then you're there at the EXACT minute he finishes to get his dessert and coffee order. The longest yet I've seen him take to eat was 2.5 hours while sitting at a prime two top. He also has this fun thing he does where when he talks to people, he isn't afraid to say anything. He asked a bald man where he got 'that haircut' from. One day, he started talking to a Korean family about the war, and those poor people just wanted to eat. We consider him to be a sort of initiation for new servers."
"I work for a famous restaurant chain that requires us to bring a bottle to the table with us when we do our greeting. Not bringing a bottle is a fireable offense, otherwise, all the servers would constantly 'forget' them.
Walking to the table, a typical family of five, I see that they have pushed their glasses to the very end of the table, as if they were a pack of poisonous snakes and they were trying to get as far away as possible. I've seen this behavior before and knew they wouldn't want any samples.
Tucking the bottle under my arm, I try to respect their obvious lack of interest (instead of automatically pushing the bottle on them as required) and proceed to take their drink order. As I am about to leave the table, the father of the family points to the bottle and asks, 'What is that?'
Figuring I must have misjudged them, I show him the bottle and start my spiel. He interrupts me seconds later to state, in his most stuck-up and holier-than-thou voice, 'No thank you, WE don't drink.'
"A family walked in, two twenty something daughters and their parents. I greeted them and sat them at a booth near the front of the restaurant. I handed them their menus, and it was only AFTER I filled up their water that they ask me to move them to the other side of the restaurant. I smiled and told them it wouldn't be a problem. Without grabbing any menus or glasses I'd just given them, they walked over to the new table and sat down. I then tried to maneuver around them to get the tables together, they made no effort to move. I then had to make two trips to grab the four menus and four glasses of water and clear the dirty glasses off the table they chose to sit at.
The father asked me about vino, so I asked him what kind he would like. 'Red,' he replies.
'Okay, sir, this whole side of the menu here is reds, which would you like?'
'I understand, but can you tell me what you would like.'
'Something dry.' At this point, I realized the guy was a moron and asked the manager to recommend one, which the father rejected. I bring a second one, which he does like. The eldest daughter asked for a half glass, which we don't have, so I gave her a full glass. The daughter looked at it and asked me if it's a half glass. 'No, it's not, it's a standard glass.' She demanded that I take it back and she not be charged because it looked like a half glass. WHAT KIND OF MORON THINKS A GLASS SHOULD BE FILLED TO THE TOP!?
They then kept me from my other tables by asking me pointless questions, ordering and then canceling orders and ordering again. To give an example, the eldest daughter asked for something with chicken. I worked at this restaurant for years and knew the menu very well. I told her that you can get chicken with any dish, and asked her to be more specific. She just said, 'Nothing to dry.' I had to repeat myself at least three times, telling her chicken was available with any dish. Then they argued with me about the price of peanut sauce, which was a dollar, seriously. And the fact that they were demanding was just part of it. They would not look at me when they spoke, they were condescending, so much so that the owner of the restaurant deliberately made the food so spicy that they would never want to come back. After years of waiting tables, those were the only customers that I genuinely disliked."
"I worked at a Beef O' Brady's while going to college. As a guy working in a family sports bar, tips weren't the best, but I'd occasionally get a few guys watching a game and would get to sit and chat with them. We served a chicken sandwich, which was really just one step above a McChicken. This lady and her family ordered and she requests extra mayo, no big deal. Since it's slow, the order came out fairly quickly and before I could put the rest of the baskets down, she's already complaining about not getting extra mayo. There was already a side container of mayo on her basket, plus the mayo on her sandwich, but she wanted more. I apologized and grabbed another two plastic cups of mayo. Before I can even set the cups down she responds with, 'Are you deaf or just dumb?' I was a little taken back and frankly a bit ticked since she now has three 2 oz cups of mayo in addition to what's on her sandwich. All this time, her family were eating their respective meals and had that all too familiar look of shame. They knew this had happened before and what the outcome would be.
She had me call my manager over and berated me as I tended other tables. It was slow, so it was pretty quiet, except for a little background TV noise, which she easily shouted over. My manager had me grab one of the soup bowls and fills it with mayo. This was easily a cup of pure mayonnaise, plus what was already on the table. I dropped it off at her table and asked if there was anything else I could get them. Her response was, 'Now you're just being a smart aleck!' She still wolfed down her sandwich and every drop of mayonnaise. I am not exaggerating when I say she consumed over a cup of mayonnaise with her chicken sandwich. They quickly paid and bolted before I could come back around the corner. The jerks just left me a $.27 tip. The upside was a regular couple of mine saw what was going on and rightly assumed they would stiff me, so they made up for them."
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"The worst family I served, ever, EVER, was when I work at a Michelin-star restaurant; it's quite fancy.
Mum, dad, oldest sister (around twenty) and her boyfriend, and youngest sister (about eight) come in. I could tell from the first second as they stand at the door that they were going to be awful. The mother's jaw was clenched, her eyebrows were already knitted, and she looked on the edge of tears.
I seated them, gave them their menus, and before I could say anything else, the boyfriend said, 'Get me some bread.' I meekly replied that actually, I was just about to get them some, since that was the policy, I just had to get their water first. Inside, I thought he could wait for his bread now that he's been rude. Anyway, I headed on over to the waiter's station for water, and the mother got up, chased me across the restaurant, slapped a hand on my shoulder, and spun me around.
'What on the menu can we have very quickly? Straight away? My youngest is starving!' I was fairly stunned, so I told her that I'd put an order for an instantly assembled appetizer in and it would be a couple of minutes. Mother sprinted back to the table and I could now collect and serve the water, and the bread.
I poured water for the mother first. She picked it up and slammed it down in front of the youngest sister, who immediately grabbed it with both hands, downed it, held the glass out to me and panted, 'Another.'
Apparently, I didn't react fast enough, because mother spat out, 'Come on!' This process repeated until I had to get another pitcher of water and just left it at the table. Meanwhile, the dad was perusing the menu, the older sister and boyfriend were playing with phones, but for some reason, the mother seemed like she was having an aneurysm. Dad stopped me for a lengthy explanation of every dish each time I walked past. By this stage, I had to ask other runners to look after my section because these guys were taking up all my time. Finally, they put their order in. It was a few big dishes that they planned on sharing, so at least that part was easy.
However, now that they've had their apps, they wanted new plates. That's fine, but as I was circling the table, methodically stacking everything, the youngest sister snapped her fingers at me and said, 'Clean it now,' pointing at a mess she'd made.
I just splutter out, 'Now, I've only two hands, bear with me,' and scuttled away to drop the plates. After that, the youngest sister just resorted to holding her glass in the air when she wanted water. The pitcher was right in front of her. Her parents palpably didn't give a crap that they were raising the worst person to ever have lived.
I ended up changing the plates between every dish that they shared. I had to tell the dish washer that the little cream plates needed prioritizing because we couldn't keep up with this family.
And then it happened.
The last, biggest dish hadn't come yet. Rightly so, because I quoted them forty minutes and it had only been thirty. But the older sister, who'd been silent this entire time, finally put down her rhinestone-encrusted phone and just burst into tears spontaneously, wailing, drawing a great deal of attention.
Now, I was trying to relay this table for the seventh time, but I was quite literally pushed out of the way as mother threw herself out of her chair. I fell to the ground, along with all the knives and forks I dropped. This is a loud restaurant, but people were turning around and looking, expecting a fight. The mother ran around to the oldest daughter, cradled her head and stroked her hair, crooning, 'There, there, don't worry, the food will be here soon.'
I was just flabbergasted by this. The older sister is an adult. Dad and boyfriend continue to not give a crap. They ate their meal when it came (the tears turned off the second the food arrived), they paid, but continued to sit there in silence for a good half an hour or so more. I was asked for a pillow so the youngest sister could go to sleep under the table. We asked them to leave."
At the time I was relatively new at waiting... like less than 2 weeks serving by myself after 2 days of training... and we had a few people walk in the door... I go to seat them and they say party of eight-MUMBLE I ask for clarity and they repeat eight-four (again mumble) so I ask again and finally they all but yell eighty-four... I have never heard of a party of this size coming into a restaurant without a reservation (not that our restaurant did reservations)... so I go to find my manager (because I don't even have a clue how to handle a party of that size)... we finally get everyone sat, my manager has me start at one end of the restaurant and she at the other because this party pretty much filled the whole restaurant... she has me do orders by table and put them in every table so that the kitchen doesn't have 84 dishes dropped on it simultaneously... eventually everything comes out but people are furious... why aren't we all getting our food at the same time, why do they have food and we're still waiting on our salads... now mind you there was exactly 3 people in the store: manager, cook, server... long story short everybody finally gets their food they eat and go to pay... now they're bitching about price and the auto-tip that the manager added to the group (they had said they didn't want separate checks) of 84 as a single bill... gotta love those party of x or more get auto-gratuity... she ended up discounting the bill a bit... maybe $20 and she threw me a $20 out of the till as a bonus on the tip I got (close to $200, some people had left tips on the table as well)... who the hell just walks into a restaurant with a group of 84 and demands everyone gets served simultaneously.
I had a table of 22 one night. They were the first table that ever made me cry. They were so rude to me. One lady's pasta came out wrong because she ordered improperly (she said chicken but meant shrimp) and she was very loud in telling me she wanted it fixed. When I returned with it she decided she didn't want it anymore. So I took it back and had to have both pastas removed from her ticket. She insisted her drink was also free for her inconvenience. As this was happening, several people wanted extra ranch dressings, refills, and one lady had yet to receive her mixed drink because the bar was so backed up that night. As they were telling me they wanted us to do the birthday song, a lady looked at me and said "you realize you're not getting a tip right?" Their check was over $500 and as a server I have to take a certain percentage of my sales out of my tips for the tip share, so I was about to lose $20 of my money for the night. I could not handle it. I found myself in the back crying. The managers stopped me and pulled me to the back to calm me down. We sang the birthday song (literally sang for them after they made me cry) and tried to get them out as soon as possible. Because there were so many of them and their tickets got mixed up I didn't even realize that half the table walked out on me.
I walked up to a table and the guy sitting there was lining up dollar bills on it. Before o could even set his menu down he starts telling me that for every time he has to ask for anything he would take one dollar away from my tip. I just stared at him in shock for a moment. Seriously?! I calmly set his water and menu down, took a dollar out of my apron and handed it to him. He looked at me in confusion and I told him it was for me telling him to fuck off. Then I walked off and refused to wait on him. For two bucks an hour I didn't put up with too much shit.
About 2 years ago I was serving in an Alehouse that was a popular spot for business lunches, especially with government officials. I know the type as soon as they sit down, and I know the drill. Greet, round of waters or tea, immediately put in order, drop food, pick up food, and drop check at the same time. No interaction, unless they extend it first.
Well an older, say 60+ woman (so dubbed plate lady, PL) comes in with another woman, who was probably in her 40s. I start to say "Hi, my name is...", and immediately PL interrupts me and says "TWO WATERS, NO ICE, NO LEMON. TWO CRAB CAKE SANDWICHES, BOTH WITH FRIES." And then turns away from me and carries on her conversation. Well that's a weird way to say my name, but sure, why not. I put in the orders and drop the waters and promptly ignore them. Someone else runs the food so I approach the table to check on them and PL practically shouts at me before I even say anything, "CAN YOU NOT SEE WE ARE TALKING?? SHOO!" Alright, sure, glad the food is satisfactory.
I thought they would have the typical quick business lunch and would want to get out of there and back to the office, so once I see their plates are empty, PL even had her napkin on the plate, I approach to clear their dishes, silly me. I slightly bent down and extended my arm, barely touching PL's plate and said "Sorry to interrupt, may I clear this for you?" PL reacted as if I told her the only payment we excepted was for her to give every cook in the kitchen a lap dance. She shouted "WHY ON EARTH WOULD YOU TAKE MY PLATE? CAN YOU NOT SEE SHE ISN'T FINISHED? WERE YOU NEVER TAUGHT MANNERS???" I look at her companion's dish, and there are maybe three fries left. She tries to push me her plate, but PL insists she takes her time and not let "the help" rush her.
So I leave and walk to the servers station, only to hear her shouting at the top of her lungs a few moments later. My manager turns the corner into the servers station looking shocked and says "Wow, what a bitch! Who has table 52??? I just tried to clear her plate and she freaked!" As I'm filling her in, I hear PL shout again, this time with a string of expletives. A moment later, our 15 year old busser runs into the service station pale and terrified. He also tried to clear the plates.
I fill in the rest of the servers not to approach them, and I just completely ignore them, casually standing at the end of the bar, so they can see me, and I can see their waters are near empty. The fries long gone. After about 20 minutes PL starts snapping wildly around her trying to get anyone's attention, but the servers all steer clear. I calmly approach with a smile, and PL starts shouting about what does it take to get her plates cleared? Can't I see that they've been finished for half an hour? I smile and clear the plates, and say "M'am, I was under the impression you wanted to take your time. No rush, but here is your check." I placed it on the table and walked away. She paid pretty quickly and huffed out of the restaurant, no tip of course. The younger woman walked passed me on her way out and shrugged her shoulders as if in apology. I just looked at her and said, "No, I'm sorry for you." They would come in every once in a while and the servers started a system with who had to deal with them based on who owed who a favor, or who came in late last, who owed who a beer, etc. Luckily they refused me as a server again, so I never had to deal with them.
Ah this is nice and recent too. About a week or two ago I was graced with a party of eight on a very, very slow day. Other servers can vouch for this being pretty much a blessing when you aren't making any money as is. All started off well, maybe even great. Everyone ordered alcohol which was awesome, got the check up to almost $70 right off the bat. That's the best it got because immediately after the drinks everything went spiraling out of control. Everyone had some sort of particular allergy or general dislike of almost every item on the menu. We have over 180 different fucking things on our menu, pick one, it's really simple. So after taking eight overly complex orders and explaining everything to the kitchen I go back to see how they are with their drinks. Apparently not great since every glass had one sip taken out of it. Suddenly they're complaining to me that the liquor they requested isn't the liquor that they got. It was, and I could have given them turpentine and I doubt they would ever know the difference. So we re make every fucking drink. Finally out comes the custom bullshit orders. And of course, everything is wrong. But worry not, they were gonna eat it anyway because they didn't want to wait. And they ate it...every last scrap on the damn plate. But they hated it, and they made that nice and clear. Finally after dropped the check I get informed that they want eight separate checks. Fuck yeah, exactly what I wanted to do, go back and try and figure out your bullshit. So I drop the eight checks, they pay the exact amount and leave no tip. The best part, they unscrewed the salt shaker, took the top, and emptied the whole motherfucker on my table. Fuck those people for wasting my time and money. I got stuck at work for over an hour after I got cut to cater to that nonsense.