Anybody who has told you being a waiter or waitress is easy money has never done the job a day in their life. From complicated orders to rude guests, these workers have to manage it all. These fellow customers and servers share the most entitled behavior they’ve experienced from a restaurant patron.
“Coffee Is Now $2!”
“I worked at a soup and sandwich cafe for three years while I was in undergrad. Good job, easy money. Anyways, we offered quick breakfast options- bagels & cream cheese, breakfast sandwiches & burritos, and a quick two egg breakfast with toast, hashbrowns or grits, etc. We offered a $1 small cup of coffee because Starbucks was two blocks down and my manager was like that. We broke even on the coffee, not really hoping to profit. Just trying to get people in the door and serve quick, good food. That kind of place.
A super-yoga soccer mom started coming in every morning to buy a coffee. She would bring in her own bagel and her own cream cheese. She would purchase the coffee and then ask us to toast her bagel and put her cream cheese on it for her- and expect us to run the food out to her as we did for every other paying customer. While she was purchasing her coffee, she would ask that we put on new gloves while preparing her food. Okay, fine. Not a big deal the first few times- because the owner (a working manager) was trying to keep his customers happy all of the time. However, this budding new cafe was starting to increase in business, exponentially. This Bagel lady started coming in every, single day. The boss grew a little tired of her request because after all, he isn’t seeing the benefit of selling her a $1 cup of coffee and having us prepare her food for her. She didn’t tip either however because my boss always lived by ‘The Customer is always right’ method, he did this.
She came in on a Saturday morning once- thinking she got special treatment because she was a regular customer, she decided she would skip the line and put her bagel on the counter near the register. She waited in line, purchased her $1 coffee and noticed her bagel was right where she left it, untouched.
‘Excuse me, I expected this to be toasted and ready when I purchased my coffee. I come in all of the time, you should know me by now. I am one of your most frequent customers.’
‘Yes Ma’am. I apologize, I did not see it. Here is your coffee and I will bring it out to you in a moment.’
‘I just don’t understand you people sometimes- so incompetent and rude to your customers. This is the kind of behavior that leads to disease and sickness in restaurants.’
I didn’t realize my boss was standing over my shoulder during this encounter. He sort of pushes me out of the way grabs her bagel (ungloved hands) takes a bite, goes to hand it to her, drops it, and asks her to leave with a mouthful of bagel. He goes to his office and closes his door still chewing the bagel. He comes out and says ‘Coffee is now $2.’
This Poor Waitress
“Several years ago, my husband and I went to an IHOP in Nashville, TN. It was a slow evening and I could see perhaps four other tables occupied in the whole restaurant. There was just one waitress serving all of the tables, and she was very pregnant. She was obviously having trouble walking and carrying the food to the other tables, then she came to our table to take our orders. I asked if she needed to rest for a few minutes, as we were in no hurry and I was very sympathetic to her plight. She explained she would love to, but was not permitted to sit or rest except on scheduled breaks. I understood, as I have worked at places like that before, too. We placed our orders and soon enough our food and drinks were brought to us.
Soon, an ambulance arrived and the EMTs entered and went to the far side of the dining room. There were two partitions between our seats and the area they were directed to, so we were unable to see what was going on, but I soon noticed we had not seen our waitress in a long time. Eventually, the manager brought refills for our drinks and I inquired about our waitress. ‘Don’t worry about anything,’ was her only reply. I figured our waitress might have been busy with the EMTs and whatever diner they were helping on the other side of the room.
About 15 minutes later, our waitress returned and apologized for the delay in checking on us. I explained it was no problem and asked if the diner was all right. ‘Diner? Oh, the paramedics… they were here for me,’ she said. She explained she had passed out, so the store policy was to call 911. However, she did not have insurance and so she couldn’t afford the ambulance ride any more than she could afford to go to the emergency room, so the EMTs left and she went back to work. She further explained she was three days overdue, which really worried me.
I felt so bad for her, and absolutely hate the healthcare system in this country.”
The Devil’s What Now?
“This story will be a bit unique.
Spend enough time in the industry, and you’ll have tons of stories where you feel sorry for the server. Unfortunately, most of those stories are repeated over and over again. You don’t feel less sorry for the poor server, but they tend to all get muddled together.
This one stands out to me.
There were six of us opening the restaurant as usual. Most of the servers came in and left the restaurant so we wouldn’t get targeted and mugged on the way out. Our rule was that you had to be changed into uniform 30 minutes before opening when the pre-shift standup would begin.
This pre-shift was special. Chef had just received an order of specialty hot sauces in the mail. This was before artisanal hot sauces were really a thing, so you had to really search for them, usually through mail order.
So, the chef had us try out about six different sauces. He poured a little onto some bread plates for tasting. The last one, his pride and joy named Diablo’s Taint, was different. He put only five drops onto the plate and gave us each a toothpick to dip in the sauce, with a dire warning about how many gazillions of Scoville units hot it was.
I must admit. That toothpick had my mouth humming pretty good and I can take some heat. I was starting to break a sweat.
Chef went on with the normal pre-shift when here comes Kevin. Kevin — who could not change into uniform and show up to pre-shift on time if his life depended on it — rounded the corner, said ‘Oh, hot sauce! Yummy!’ wiped up all of the Diablo’s Taint from the plate with his finger and stuck it in his mouth.
Three minutes later, the GM is on the phone with poison control. Kevin, as red as the lobster special, was on the patio puking his guts out. Someone was pouring a bucket of ice water on his head to keep him conscious.
I felt bad for Kevin. We kept him in the back for about an hour or so until he recovered enough to drive home. Apparently, that wasn’t the last of it. Later that night, he had another ordeal after the sauce had worked its way through his system and he found out why Diablo’s Taint was so named.”
That’s One Great Manager
“I owned a small restaurant for about 10 years and worked in a lot of others. I’ve seen servers get grabbed, hit on, hollered at, stiffed (not tipped) and so much more over the years. The worst I saw unfortunately happened at my place. The place was small and I had an apartment upstairs in a small relatively upper-middle-class city. The restaurant had fine food and casual dining so it was mostly professionals that came in.
Well, I had a server and this girl was the sweetest person I’ve met to this day, never got angry no matter what customers (or staff sometimes) threw at her. She was a pretty 20-year-old working for a college, her goal was to be a nurse practitioner/physician’s assistant. Well, one lunch shift I was in my apartment working on books and I hear someone running up the stairs. Of course, I run to the door and there was this incredibly sweet compassionate kid at my door in tears.
Seems an apartment developer was bothering her to buy a bottle of Moscato to take home, we didn’t have a carry-out license so the answer was no. The man kept bothering her and eventually started screaming across the dining room ‘Do you know who I am?!’ Now the chef is in the dining room and other customers are out of their seats defending the poor thing and she’s in tears because between the ruckus and the complaint about her she thinks she’ll be fired.
I went downstairs into the dining room and asked the gentleman what seemed to be the trouble. ‘She won’t sell me a bottle!’ he whined. Of course, now he’s leaving out the part about wanting to take it home. I told him he seemed to have disrupted the whole dining room so maybe he’d had enough (more than a few chuckles) now I’m getting his lame ‘Do you know who I am speech’…ugh.
‘We’ve had the CEO of Constellation Brands, attorneys, artists, and local TV and radio personalities come in so yeah I don’t know who the heck you are but I’ll tell you who I am,’ I say, ‘I’m the person who owns this business you’ve ruined everyone’s meal, my afternoon off, and made a complete idiot out of yourself. Leave.’
It finally took the cops to get him out and when the girl showed up for her next shift I was incredibly grateful because I don’t know if someone made me cry at 20 I would’ve returned. When she came in for her next shift I gave her some movie passes and a Starbucks gift card. She did nothing wrong!”
Do The Right Thing
“I was at a breakfast place near my house a few years ago that was slammed. Every table was taken so we decided to eat at their ‘bar,’ a holdover from the previous restaurant that had occupied the space.
Sitting just down from us was an attractive older woman, likely in her late 50s or early 60s. She clearly took great care of herself and seemed to be wealthy, based on her clothing, watch, and jewelry.
Behind the counter was a young woman working hard to keep up. She was not only waiting on the people at the bar, but preparing orange juice, coffee, and water for the entire restaurant—which was packed.
About ten minutes after we got there, out of nowhere, the older woman suddenly started berating the young server behind the counter.
‘I’ve been sitting here for 15 minutes and you haven’t done anything for me! My coffee is empty, I’m still waiting on my food and you’re waiting on everyone except me!’
To which the poor girl replied, ‘Ma’am, I’m doing the best I can—we’re extremely busy now and I’m the only person at the bar. I’ll do whatever I can to help you—what do you need?’
To which the Karen replied, ‘Then maybe you need to get a different job if you can’t handle this one! That’s no excuse—do your job or give it to someone who can. They need to find someone who can handle busy times like this. I want to speak to your manager!’
Everyone sitting at the breakfast bar was appalled. The girl was not standing around, she was working—hard.
This Karen wasn’t getting the celebrity treatment she was used to because of her wealth and status and didn’t mind running her down and potentially getting her fired, all because she’d ran out of coffee and didn’t get her food fast enough.
At that point, I said, ‘Excuse me, I think you’re doing a GREAT job under the circumstances. Don’t let this ruin your day.’
Then a few others joined in. ‘Don’t worry Dear, you’re going a fine job!’ ‘I think you’re doing great, too,’ was overheard.
Karen got the message, slammed a $5 on the bar, and stormed out. I’m sure she still thinks we were all ganging up on her despite the fact that no one said anything about her or directly to her.
The server thanked us. She was clearly shaken and almost in tears. And ‘Karen’ was fine doing that to a young girl who was just trying to make a living.
Whenever you see something like this happening, do the right thing and stand up for the person being bullied. You’ll help them, feel better taking the power away from a bully, and empower someone who really needs it at that moment.”
Sorry For My Friend
“You know things have really messed up when you need to write an apology note to the waiter to try making things up for them!
This is from 2016 or 2017 I guess. I was meeting an old friend of mine from school. After school, he moved to a different city to pursue his engineering and had come to Kolkata for vacations. So we decided to catch up one day and meet at a restaurant over food.
The guy was quite popular in our school. Girls used to go gaga behind him because he had got the looks and came from a wealthy family. I had ordered a burger with fries while he had ordered pasta and he requested the waiter not to include olives in his pasta dish.
My dish came first, his one was taking some time. Out of politeness, I did not start eating even though my fries were getting cold. His pasta came after another 15 minutes or so but mistakenly, it had olives in it. And that angered him! the guy literally banged the table and shouted ‘Waiter!’ He was shouting at the top of his voice, scolding the waiter because the pasta had olives and he demanded olives not to be added. The waiter apologized and offered a replacement. I disliked that behavior of his; if I was in his place and I had a beef against olives, I would have simply picked them up and kept them on the side plate. I surely wouldn’t have created a scene. Even if I wanted a replacement, I would have politely called the waiter, shared the issue with him, and requested if the dish could be replaced. I wouldn’t have been so rude.
Anyway, he talked about our school days, I don’t remember much of what we spoke about anyway. I hardly meet my friends from school or college, it is they who insist on meeting and I unwillingly tag along. When it came to paying the bill, he passed a comment that he would ask them not to include that pasta in the bill because they had messed up the order. That was again, very mean of him to have eaten the pasta and then think they would waive off the bill. I made sure he didn’t make such weird demands but he was not happy with that. Whenever the waiter arrived at our table, the guy made sly comments and I hated the fact.
I always leave behind a tip when I am dining outside and this guy had a problem with that too. He told me not to tip them. Anyway, I dismissed his opinion and kept a note in that black-colored tab that they have. While he went to the restroom to wash off, I left behind an apology message on his behalf on a paper napkin, just in case that makes up for the humiliation the waiter had to face that day.”
Karma Finds A Way
“I was eating at IHOP with three other family members in a booth. The waitress brought our drinks on a tray, and as she went to serve them, all four drinks spilled all over me. The waitress immediately apologized profusely and indicated that our drinks would be free. I excused myself to the restroom, dried up the sticky mess as best I could, and returned to finish my meal delivered to the table in my absence.
Following the drink mishap, the restaurant manager took over waiting for our table and the original waitress looked on appearing quite distressed. Once the meal was over we went to check out and I discovered that the beverage prices had been included in the bill. When I pointed it out to the manager, he stiffly indicated that the waitress didn’t have the authority to discount the drinks. I paid the bill and passed a tip to the waitress as we exited, I realized the spill was an accident and the manager’s actions were not her fault.
I felt bad for the waitress, she was mortified about dousing me with drinks and embarrassed that the manager overrode her act of apology. I chose to complain, not to the waitress but to the manager, primarily because of his insensitivity toward both customer and employee. The customer representative logged the phone complaint and a regional manager contacted me and apologized. He mailed me a voucher for four free meals at any IHOP but encouraged me to give the restaurant we were at a second try.
We went to the restaurant a couple of weeks after the incident. Our waitress had been promoted to shift manager, and the GM I complained about had been terminated. The waitress laughingly explained that the regional manager decided she was better at management than serving drinks. I hope it worked out for her!”
Where’d Everybody Go?
“We were at a family-style chain restaurant that is (sadly) no longer in existence. In the center of the room was a large round table where a large party of at least a dozen people was seated. We were in a booth to the side, furthest from the entrance and facing the table with a line of sight to the front door, so we got to enjoy the show as it were.
As our order was taken, a couple of the people at the large table got up to use the restroom, conveniently but not very intelligently placed by the front doors. They slipped out the front door, and others in the party proceeded to do the same. The server noticed when only a few people were left at the table and ten or so empty seats. Dine-and-Dash was in full swing. She would not leave the table, standing with her arms crossed between the table and the front door to make sure these last people didn’t need to use the restroom and the bill was paid. The manager was called and he also took a stand at the table. That left the rest of her tables unstaffed and ignored, because of these dine-and-dashers. But if they left, that was an unpaid bill and no tip, and she likely could have gotten into trouble.
Forty-five or so minutes later, after the situation was cleared up with the threat of police action (I have no idea why they weren’t called earlier), we got our cold food after another server noticed it still sitting in the kitchen pass. It was at least edible but there was no way I was having it sent back, knowing what that poor server had been put through by that large table of folks who wouldn’t pay their rightful bill, let alone leave a tip for the poor girl.”
How Is That The Waitress’s Fault?
“We were at a newer restaurant. The waitress took us to our table, a very tiny table right against the wall. I can’t understand how anyone did not see that such a tiny table up against the wall was not comfortably functional. We asked nicely for another table and the waitress very nicely moved us. A few minutes later the same waitress sat another couple at the table. The older gentleman started grumbling and banging his elbow against the wall obviously having the same opinion as us as to the functionality of the tiny table vs wall combination.
The waitress offered to move them but the man just glared at her banged his elbow on the wall and said loudly and curtly no we are going to sit right here and this will come out of your tip! His wife (I assume) looked at him with a blank gaze of defeat over having another pleasant experience ruined by her husband. The husband mumbled and groaned through the entire meal.
I felt sorry for the waitress who was seating people at that table because she was told to, and was catching the wrath of this man even after she offered to change table for him. But I felt even worse for the woman that had to live with the moron. Her emotionless demeanor throughout the meal spoke volumes about their relationship.”
“I was having a drink in a ski lodge and waiting for my friend, a server, to get off work for the night. Saturday nights were always busy at the lodge during ski season, but this night was one of the busiest I had ever seen. There were supposed to be two additional servers on duty along with a bartender to compliment my friend and an additional server/backup barkeep. The bartender and two additional servers all called off, leaving the other server to act as the bartender and my friend as the only server for all of the tables in the lodge bar.
My friend was just literally run off her feet and hadn’t stopped at all for the duration of her six-hour shift. It was nearly closing time and she just had one table of eight rowdy drinkers left to clear. These folks were noisy, messy, crude, and getting very tipsy. The bartender gave them the last call, which of course they all had (shots and a bottle for each). They finally finished, and after cat-calling and trying to proposition my friend, they weaved their bleary-eyed way out of the bar.
Their tab was over $200.00 (which was quite a sum of money at that time). They left exactly the amount of the tab on the table, plus one penny. The dreaded penny indicated they had received very poor service. My friend put up with all their verbal abuse and served them multiple rounds as well as provided foodservice and got exactly one cent for her trouble. She spent about 15 minutes just cleaning all the mess from the table, the chairs, and the surrounding floor swept the penny onto the floor, and said, ‘We’re outta here.’ I wanted to cry for her. She was a college student struggling to make ends meet and the tip from that tab alone would have set her up nicely for the next week. Some people should not be allowed out in public. At the very least, the bartender should have denied them the last call, since they were already visibly inebriated.”