These are the worst-case customers that make those in the restaurant business totally regret their jobs. These people seem to have the problem-solving skills of an angry toddler, causing numerous fights and shouting matches. And they didn't even tip well! Content has been edited for clarity.
People these days! Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
Tiny Whimper Sets Off Massive Rage
“One day, a woman came in with a service dog. She actually brought a legitimate service dog, not some tiny purse dog with a fake dog tag printed off some website. I sat her at a booth that was right next to another couple, a trashy looking woman with an older man. So I’m clearing a table close to them when I hear the dog let out a small whimper, literally the quietest whimper ever. Instantly I hear Trashy Woman scream to her companion, ‘I didn’t come here to listen to a idiot service dog. Why?! That mongrel dog needs to shut up!’
I quickly approached my manager and told her this Trashy Woman was cursing and making a scene. When we turned to go back to the table we’re both horrified to see that Trashy Woman has gotten out of her seat and is standing over the poor woman with a dog. Trashy Woman is screaming at the top of her lungs while the woman with the dog is sobbing. Now kicking her out would be very serious in the eyes of our owner, and although we were fairly positive he would have been okay with it, we wanted to be sure. ‘
So we move Trashy Woman and her friend to a different table, so we can call the owner. After quickly recounting the story to our owner, he said, ‘You didn’t even have to call me. Kick her butt out, and if she doesn’t leave, then call the police.’
My manager goes to Trashy Woman’s table and begins to tell her that she has to leave. Before she even gets two words out, Trashy Woman cuts her off and says, ‘Are you actually kicking me out?!’
To which my manager calmly replies, ‘Yes, we are actually kicking you out. Get out immediately or we’re calling the police.’
Trashy Witch says ‘Well stuff it!’ turns her head in the direction of the woman with the dog, and screams at the top of her voice, ‘And get rid of that putrid dog and that witch too!’
Then she finally proceeds to leave. We go to the woman with the dog, who is still sobbing. We apologize profusely and give the biggest hugs we can possibly muster. Turns out she had the dog because of severe agoraphobia. She’s terrified of being in public, and the dog comforts her and makes her feel protected. The woman (Susan) with the dog (Jack) are now regulars, who come in at least three times a week. To this day, I have never experienced someone as disgusting as that. Wherever you are, Trashy Woman, I hope nothing but awful things are happening to you right now.”
“Nervous Sweat Intensifies”
“Many moons ago, back when I was a struggling student, I was a waiter in a primarily Chinese all-you-can-eat restaurant. There was also some more ‘bland’ fast food for those that didn’t like the Chinese food. My job was greeting, seating tables, getting initial drinks, and taking payments as they left. If it was quieter, I might wander about checking on the diners and getting follow-up drinks.
Enter a table of four self-important ‘business’ ladies on an unusually busy day (we were virtually full). They’re semi-regulars, and always terrible people, very rude and excessively demanding. They always complain about the food, but come back anyway. As per norm, they decide they’re too important to wait to be seated and go find their own table. I go over to ask them about their drinks. We’ll call the first woman ‘Karen’, who said, ‘Excuse me, but I’m deathly allergic to onion,’ before I’m even finished saying hello. Now, minor allergies aren’t a problem, all the buffet dishes had their name and ingredients in bold on a label above them. In serious cases, we did usually offer to make them a fresh dish from scratch, but only if we weren’t too busy.
Me: ‘I’m sorry, but with such a serious allergy, we can’t guarantee any of the dishes would be completely devoid of any traces of onion.’
Karen: ‘That’s okay, I want the chef to make me a fresh sweet and sour chicken, that’s what they did last time.’
Me: ‘Well, whilst we do usually try to accommodate such requests, as you can see we are extraordinarily busy. We won’t be able to do so tonight.’
Karen: ‘That’s ridiculous, turning away a paying customer? Go and tell the chef to make me my meal!’
Her three Karen associates making snide comments backing her up.
Me: ‘Well, I’ll go ask, but please DO NOT get up to have anything to eat, until I’ve confirmed that the chefs can make her meal.’
Now I knew fine well that the kitchen were already struggling just keeping the buffet going. They didn’t have time to spare making a single dish with the additional care it requires. But I have to go and check, if only for appearance’s sake. Unsurprisingly, they said no. When I returned to the table, the other women already had their buffet meals because of course they didn’t listen.
Me: ‘Regretfully, the chefs can’t accommodate your request tonight, as we are so busy.’
Well, Karen just explodes into a rant about what’s she supposed to do now. Her friends have got their food, so they can’t go anywhere else. She can’t go to the buffet. She’s a paying customer and demands service. You get the picture. By this point the rest of her gaggle had returned and were also making such comments in between wolfing down their food like they’d never eaten before.
Me: ‘I told your table not to serve themselves until I had confirmed your dish. Now, as they’re already eating, I’m afraid you’ll have to leave alone or wait for them to finish, but you will have to eat elsewhere. The only food we can guarantee is safe is the ice-cream.’
Karen: ‘I guess I’ll have to chance the buffet, but if I get sick I’m blaming you.’
Me: ‘Unfortunately, since you’ve made us aware of the seriousness of your allergy, we simply can’t allow you to eat from the buffet. We can’t risk the lives of one of our customers.’
Karen: ‘You can’t stop me eating here!’
Me: ‘Actually, we can if we believe you are a risk to the staff, other customers, or yourself. If we catch you risking your life against our advice, we will not hesitate to ask you to leave. Likewise, if your friends attempt to provide food for you, we will ask your entire group to leave immediately. In the meantime, would any of you like any drinks?’
All four decide to order drinks.
Karen doesn’t really seem to know what to do at this point. Clearly, she expected us to bend over backwards for her. Just as I leave to get the drinks, she makes another plea, but I tell her the kitchen already said no.
Karen: ‘But I’m a paying customer!’
She screams at me loud enough for most of the tables to hear.
Me: ‘And so are the other 150 people sitting at the tables, and the chefs have to prioritize them in this rare instance.’
Karen: ‘But why can’t they serve me instead?’
Me: ‘Are you going to pay 150 times what it usually costs for the buffet?’
Me: ‘Then that’s why the chefs have to prioritize everyone else. Now if you’ll excuse me, I do need to get your drinks and see to other tables.’
So, they all sit grumbling and berating how terrible we are, all while the other three women are stuffing their greedy faces. They’ve clearly plotted a plan for when they come to pay. So the price was the three diners, plus all their drinks. Karen demands that her drinks be provided for free, because she wasn’t able to eat. I told her we hadn’t stopped her leaving and eating elsewhere. She chose the drinks of her own free will, so we weren’t providing any for free. She threw a loud tantrum, but I wasn’t phased. Her friends paid, and eventually, so did she.
The best part was I knew she was lying about her allergy. As she was a semi-regular, I’d seen her eat from the buffet a few times before, and she hadn’t died beforehand. However, on her last visit, one of her other friends had mentioned their minor allergy. I’d offered them the choice of a specially prepared meal or the buffet for the same price. She’d taken the specially prepared version, and we always provided generous portions. So clearly, Karen decided she wanted that special treatment, but it backfired and she got nothing at all. I was tempted the next time she came in to call her out on her allergy when she went straight to the buffet, but decided I’d rather have her money.”
A Most Desperate Need For Dessert
“I work in a pretty busy restaurant, with Fridays and Saturdays being a living nightmare. On average, we have 250 guests for dinner on these days, which means we are packed until we close. We have a system that every waiter has their own area, but one of these is a lot bigger than the others, so usually there’s two covering that area instead of one. We were understaffed on a Saturday night, and my manager decided to put me in said area by myself, as the others couldn’t handle it. Which has happened before, and it’s usually not a big deal. There’s two round tables in this area, one with 6 and one with 4 seats, both tables had families on them.
As the evening goes on and the restaurant gets busier, so does my area. So my service slowed down a bit, and the tables had to wait for their food longer. I apologized and explained this to every table, and they understood and told me not to worry about it. Except for the father on the round table with 4 seats, who had been drinking quite a bit already and was obviously wasted. He started getting angry every time I walked past.
At a given point, when said table was waiting for dessert, apparently the father thought it would be a good idea to stand up and pour his his very full mug all over me. Exactly when I was serving the food to the family at the round table next to them.
At this point I had no idea what just happened, I almost shut down entirely, so I didn’t know how to respond. Luckily for me, one of the bartenders saw this happening and stormed towards the guy at the speed of lightning to kick him out, almost literally. The only positive thing that came from this was that all the other tables felt so bad for me, they didn’t mind about ticket times at all anymore.”
Setting Her Straight
“A man comes in alone, looked to be in his late 50s or early 60s, and snaps at me to get my attention. Before I can speak he says, ‘Coke. With a lemon wedge.’
We were a tiny little café, without the funding for a machine or the attention for a sponsorship, so we didn’t serve soda. I told him so, and he said, ‘I don’t think you heard me. I want a Coke with a lemon wedge.’
I was pretty confused, because I made it pretty clear we didn’t have Coke. Turns out he actually wanted me to walk next door, buy him a Coke, and then bring it in and serve it to him. I told him as politely as I could that this was absolutely not happening. He picked up the china tea cup we put at each place setting and threw it on the ground, shattering it and cutting open my ankle just a bit (I didn’t notice this until way later).
The whole café went very quiet, and I just kind of stood there looking at the mess of broken china. These were beautiful, rare cups that were all but impossible to replace, and I just didn’t know what to do, being an 18-year-old against an aggressive older man.
Fortunately, just literally a few seconds after the china hit the floor, a man got up from his table across the café and walked over. He then reached in his back pocket and showed the man his police badge, because he was an off-duty cop. China-throwing guy did not get his Coke with a lemon wedge or any food, but he did get arrested and a ticket for making threats and breaking public property. The fun part?
‘I JUST WANTED A FLIPPING COKE! IF THIS LITTLE GIRL KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT SERVICE, I WOULDN’T HAVE HAD TO SET HER STRAIGHT!’
I learned later that he was the town looney, who had actually done something like this on several other locations in town. I still have the scar from the piece of China that cut my ankle.”
Never Ending Family Horror
“I served at Olive Garden for two years. It was the typical busy night. We had our never-ending pasta bowl time of year. Yay. It was one of my first tables of the evening. Family of five, including Mom, Dad, two sons, and a little girl (probably 2 or 3). The daughter had on a dirty shirt and no pants, just a diaper. Well on a check back, I noticed an overwhelming scent of poop lingering around the table. I don’t judge, and I have no idea what’s going on in their life. I just tell myself someone probably farted, and I just walked up at the exact wrong moment.
Well I return with some refills (the poop smell was still just as intense as before), and on my way around the table to pass out beverages, I pass the high chair. I notice the little girl has her hand in her diaper. I then proceed to watch her pull out a turd and throw it on the floor to join an even larger turd, that was already there and slightly covered by a napkin. I could not hide the disgust on my face.
I don’t remember exactly the words I used, but I turned to the parents and said, ‘Um, your daughter has a situation going on over here.’
The mother replies, ‘Uh yeah I know, I threw that napkin over it,’ then continues to devour her third refill on never-ending pasta. I was in disbelief. Not only are there two pieces of fresh feces on the floor, but the girl’s hands are obviously covered in it and not one family member seems to care in the slightest! One of the brothers even asked me for another Dr. Pepper while I was standing there still in shock.
So I immediately told the manager on duty, and she didn’t believe me. Once she saw it for herself, she ended up politely asking the mother to clean it up immediately. She even gave her disinfectant wipes. The mom became irate and claimed it’s not her job, and that she feels discriminated against that we would ask her to do such a thing. The mom demanded everything be paid for. Thank god she finally picked up the poop. She picked it up, but she didn’t wash her hands, didn’t clean up her daughter, and continued to finish her meal. I thought it was over and they’d pay and get out, never to return. But no, as I’m dropping the check, the mom says, ‘It’s my sons birthday. Don’t y’all sing and give us dessert?'”
The Grudge Runs Too Deep
“During my post-grad degree, I worked in a little pub. It was a great place, most of the time. The bosses were lovely, tips were decent, and most importantly the regulars were some of the nicest people I’d ever met. Except for one particular couple, who I had the misfortune to meet during the worst shift of my life.
It was a Sunday evening, but my bosses had forgotten that this particular day preceded a Bank Holiday Monday, so I was stuck on my own. I was desperately trying to keep up with drink orders, food orders, and cleaning in a bar packed shoulder-to-shoulder. The customers waving money in my face. It was sweltering hot that day, and although the AC was on full blast, I’d noticed someone had shut the door leading outside, trapping all the heat in. I asked someone at the bar to open the door for me, which he kindly did. Before I knew it, it was mysteriously closed again. My new-found bar friend opened it once more, and once more it was closed. At this point, running around pouring drinks, I was sweating like a nun at a cucumber farm, so I took a quick break from serving and went to ensure the door stayed open myself.
No sooner had I latched the door open did a tall, blonde woman clad in a big puffy jacket snap ‘NO! Get that door closed right now! It’s too cold for customers in here!’
I turned around, sweat running down my face, t-shirt sticking to my body, and politely told this Witch that no, I was about to faint from the heat and needed this door open, and proceeded to go back behind the bar and serve. Next thing I know, the door is closed again, Witch is swearing her head off, throwing insults at me, and her lump of a husband, let’s just call him ‘Snob’, was shoving his way to the front of the bar, yelling to get my attention.
Snob: ‘Let me ask you something. Is your job all about the customer, or is it all about YOU?’
His many chins trembled with rage and indignation. How terrifying.
Me: ‘Sir, I’m sorry to have upset your wife, but I cannot work in this heat with the door shut. It needs to stay open, or I will pass out and no customers will be happy.’
I proceeded to go back to my job. Snob then attempted to come behind the bar and approach me from there. I stopped him, at this point infuriated by this loser’s sense of entitlement. I don’t care who you are. If you don’t work here, you never come behind the bar. That’s Rule #1.
Snob: ‘Look, I know the owners of this pub.’
Nope. Nobody gets away threatening me with this game. I internally rolled up my sleeves and glared right back at his smug face.
Me: ‘I don’t care who you know. You do not come back here. That door will be kept open, and I will not be serving you or anyone else in your group again tonight.’
Snob: ‘What’s your name?? Tell me what your name is!’
I refused to talk to him, and a few minutes later another colleague arrived and firmly told Snob and his tantrum-throwing Witch wife to leave. The rest of the night passed without incident. I explained the incident to the owner, who reviewed the CCTV and said that he had received a complaint from Witch (turns out they did know them), but he knew I was not at fault. He told me to kill them with kindness the next time they were in.
Apparently, Snob was born into wealth. He was the son of a very prestigious dairy farmer, and he and his wife owned an old hotel in the countryside. Being a small town, quite a lot of other regulars knew them, and I was assured that I was by no means the problem. Snob was rich, spoiled, and arrogant, and he thought he was God’s gift to mankind and was owed everything by the world. Made sense. He despised me for knocking him down a peg, but I had no idea how deep that grudge would go.
A few weeks passed, and they were back in the pub. I saw Witch outside when she turned to her husband with a glare and whisper while ‘covertly’ pointing at me. Snob barged in, and I served that man swiftly with the biggest grin plastered on my face, and all the niceties I could muster in the face of such a vile human. He turns away, and after a moment, turns back.
Snob: ‘What was your name again?’
I’m still smirking as I tell him.
Snob: ‘Good… good.’
I knew exactly what game he was playing. Go on pal, just try me. Lo and behold, the next day another complaint was filed, this time with my name explicitly on it! Something about pouring a drink incorrectly, which was total nonsense, of course. I was fantastic at that job (and totally humble too of course). The owner, of course, was already in on this, so nothing came of it once more.
Fast-forward another couple of weeks and they were back. This time, the bar was busy again, and though there were two of us (myself and my colleague), there was about a five-minute wait for drinks. Snob was next to be served, but I had to go and put a food order in, so my colleague had the pleasure of meeting him. The entitled man proceeded to explode at my poor coworker.
Snob: ‘Is this the invisible spot at the bar?! Why have I not been served yet?!’
Colleague: ‘I’m sorry sir, we’re very busy and these other customers had to-‘
Snob: ‘Don’t bother! I’m leaving! The owner will be hearing about this right away!’
He jabs his sausage-like finger toward the kitchen, where I am busy putting another customer’s food in the oven, before storming out. At this point, it was clear that he was only coming into my workplace to look for ways to get me into trouble.
I immediately called the owner to explain what happened. He reviewed the CCTV and determined once again that I had done nothing wrong. He dismissed Snob’s third complaint about me. After this incident, Snob and his wife turned their attention to my coworker too, who is absolutely lovely, amazing at her job, and did nothing wrong. They began to put complaints in about her as well, whining about slow service, that she’d made their drinks wrong, and that she was rude. All of these were baseless claims.
Eventually, I left the pub to move on up in the world. I left on good terms and still drink there. I sincerely hope that now I’ve left, I can see the couple one last time to lay into them about how awful they are. Last I heard, their behavior toward my now ex-coworker became so rude that they were finally asked not to come back to the pub.”
Adult With The Manners Of A Toddler
“I work in a place that has two restaurants, a café, multiple party rooms, and a jazz room in the same building. All of them were fed by one single kitchen. On this particular night, every single place was filled, and we were absolutely slammed. In the jazz room alone, there were something like 200 people, and they all ordered at once. I was the poor food runner, and on my first of many trips to that jazz room, I witnessed a grown man making such a scene that I thought something was seriously wrong.
He was whining like a child to the bartender, who was trying to serve drinks and help her own tables. He was complaining that he had told his waitress that he didn’t want to order anything when she was taking orders, but now he’d changed his mind and was absolutely livid that she had warned him of a two-hour wait for any food ordered now. Just the amount of people in this room should have been enough to show any sane person how busy we were, but nope.
This guy proceeded to whine like a child, stamp his feet, complain to any employee who passed by (even me, and as the food runner, I was literally the least qualified to do anything about his problem), and he actually threatened to order takeout to our venue and stick our managers with the bill.
All our managers were helping out, running food or were literally in the kitchen cooking, and one of the managers eventually had to sit him down. They told him how there are two hundred people in this room. We have another party of 80 in the room beside this guy, a few big parties upstairs, and a full restaurant above and below this guy. Not to mention the café was full today too.
He finally stopped whining, but he paced around the area where runners/waitresses were bringing food around, getting in our way and scowling at me every time I dared bring a plate that wasn’t his. I’ve been working here six months as a hostess/food runner/expo/busser, and this is by far the worst customer I’ve ever encountered. I’m trying to get promoted to waitress, but every so often an encounter like this one makes me think twice about it.”
Drama Bomb Erupts
“I worked in food service from the age of 10 until I was 22, mostly waiting tables and managing the front counter at my family’s bakery/deli. We mostly catered to the upper-middle class of my city, meaning mostly lawyers and their spouses. Obviously over that 12 years, I dealt with quite a few super entitled customers. After a while, I became numb to having some raging monster screaming in my face because it was the end of the day on Christmas Eve, and we didn’t have the scones they wanted, and now I was personally ruining their Christmas morning.
One incident kind of sticks out in my mind, though. I don’t really know what this one couple’s deal was. They came in with this weird chip on their shoulder and were super confrontational about everything. Like I said my usual greeting when they walked in and was met with eye rolling and this contemptuous sort of snort, like they were calling me out for saying hello.
Cue about ten minutes of them asking strangely hostile and nitpicky questions about the baked goods in the display case, until they finally decide to order a sandwich. I begin asking them the usual list of questions regarding what they want on their sandwich (which they felt was necessary to loudly proclaim for all to hear they were going to eat TOGETHER), and about midway through the ordering process they begin making out right in front of me.
At this point I’m wondering if maybe these people are wasted, as we did get people in sometimes from a nearby restaurant who had too much to drink with their lunch. The guy opens his eyes and stares at me while making out with his partner. I interrupt their kissing by trying to get the rest of their order so that I can make their sandwich for them. This was apparently the last straw for them. They get super angry and begin the usual barrage of ridicule, making fun of my job, my appearance, and my family. One of the guys I worked with hears the commotion and surprisingly knows these two monsters. The customers accuse me of being bigoted. My coworker defends me, and a massive drama bomb erupts in the store. My coworker begins airing gossip/dirty laundry and berates the couple for being stupid and causing a scene at his job. Meanwhile, I’m just standing there in the middle of it while my coworker and these two people scream at each other. I’m holding the sandwich order pad, waiting to see if they still wanted their sandwich. Needless to say they did not, and they left in a huff, threatening to sue for discrimination and other stuff on the way out the door.
I spoke with my coworker afterwards, confused about what I had done and apologized for causing a problem for him with his friends. His response was, ‘They’re always like that, we’ll be friends again in a week.’
Gotta Go Now!
“I had a lady come to the window with her two children. First off, she had on booty shorts with her butt cheeks hanging out, and a corset type top that was 10 sizes to small. And did I mention she had her two young children with her? Well anyways, it’s busy and the line is long and she comes up. I take the order for her daughter, and then her son says he has to pee. She then takes her son to the side of our building and has him pee there, when there was a huge tree about a few feet away AND we had a bathroom in the building.
I take the next customer while she lets her son pee up our building. She then comes back, and steps in front of the lady and says she’s ready. I asked her to give me a minute, since I was almost finished with the customer that she just stepped in front of. She then goes on to yell really loud how unprofessional I was and how I had terrible customer service. I then explained to her that while she had her son pee on the side of the building, I decided to try to get the next person out of the way. She then goes to deny her son peeing on the side of the building and says she would like to speak to my manager. (My manager doesn’t believe the customer is always right and hated people like this).
So I gave her his number and wrote down my name for her to tell him, which ticked her off even more. She did wait to get her stuff though, screaming the whole time I’m making it, then huffs off. The people behind her each apologized for the way she acted, told me I was doing a great job, and gave me tips. So glad I don’t work there anymore.”
Give Me Food Or Else!
“My restaurant closes between lunch and dinner for a couple of hours. We do what we call a ‘hard close’ at 2 p.m., meaning all food orders must be taken by 2 p.m., no exceptions. Our kitchen staff does not speak English, and they work both lunch and dinner. Once the last tickets come through, they leave for break. My shift begin at 2 p.m. as I take phone calls and schedule upcoming events. I begin the shift by bringing in the lunch sign from out front during our closed period. This particular day as I was dragging it through the front door, I hear someone come running up behind me exclaiming loudly, ‘WAIT WAIT WAIT!’
I turn around to see an already-exasperated looking woman (sporting a ‘can I speak to a manager’ haircut) with her hands balled into fists.
Woman: ‘You CANT be closed, I’m hungry!’
Me: ‘I’m sorry ma’am, we close right at 2 p.m.’
Woman: ‘It’s just after 2! You have got to be kidding me! Sit me right now!’
Me: ‘Ma’am, it’s 10 past, and our kitchen is already broken down.’
Woman: ‘I walked all the way over here! I’m starving! You can’t just make me something?! Seriously?!’
Me: ‘Ma’am, our chefs have already left, there isn’t anyone in the kitchen to make you food. I’m sorry.’
Woman: ‘That is GARBAGE and you know it!’
She points to a table on the patio finishing their meal.
Woman: ‘Look, they are eating, why do they get to eat? You’re obviously still open!’
Me: ‘They got here at 1 p.m. They are finishing their food, and we don’t kick people out at 2, we just stop taking any further orders.’
Cue the woman stomping her feet and throwing her hands around, like a literal 3-year-old having a tantrum. At this point, I’m really trying not to start laughing because of how ridiculous she is being. We’re a downtown restaurant and you can’t throw a rock without hitting a restaurant, plenty of which are still open. It’s not like we’re depriving her of needed sustenance. At this point she turns her attention to the one bar tender juicing lemons, who is bemusedly watching her hissy fit.
Woman: ‘I want to order some food!’
Bartender: ‘The host is correct, we closed at 2. You can come back at 5.’
At this point she turns to me and shakes a nasty fist at me and spits out, ‘This is atrocious behavior, you are incredibly rude, and I AM NEVER COMING BACK HERE AGAIN!’
Me: ‘Great! Bye!’
Honestly, why are some people so inherently rotten? No lady, YOU are being rude, ridiculous, and childish. And why on EARTH would we ever want you in our establishment. We are ALL set on entitled customers. Thanks but no thanks.”
Shame Shame Shame
“My sister and I work at a local restaurant on the bay. Our deck has about 34 tables, which we split amongst three waitresses on this morning shift. Clearly, we’re all really busy. This woman asked my sister for an orange slice with her drink, but we didn’t have any to offer.
This woman actually stuck her finger in my sister’s face, wagged it left and right, and yelled, ‘Shame on you!’
My sister apologized, but there’s not much else she could do. We just don’t have them. This is an adult woman getting angry about oranges to a 19-year-old girl. Some people just need perspective. Then she was just rude and flagging down any waitress on the deck for small things during the rest of the hour. Honey, I’m not your waitress, I have my own 12 tables to worry about, and you were just so rude to my sister.
The next day, my sister went to a local gift shop, where, as it happened, this atrocious woman worked. As soon as she saw my sister, she started loudly complaining about how our restaurant doesn’t have orange slices and how the food is awful and the service was bad. My sister just walked out. Seriously, what is wrong with people? I wish I was there at the store with her, because I wouldn’t have taken that nonsense. I would’ve gone literally next door, bought a bag of oranges, and thrown them at her.”
“His Whole Face Turned Red”
“I work at a place where you order at a counter and come back later to pick up your food. Most of my job takes place in the kitchen, but I also man the cash register at the front of the store.
So this 30-something guy arrives dressed in a suit, which is odd where I work, and I go to hand him his order and cash him out. I might have taken 30 seconds to wash my hands before helping him, but this was 30 seconds too long. He straight up sighs at me, like a teenage girl who’d been confronted by something totally not cool. So I hand him his super time-sensitive pasta, and he pays with a 20 and I hand him his change. That should be it. But that was not it.
He’d called me darling when he handed me the money, which was a little weird, but not much of a blip. When I hand him the change though he completely exploded. ‘Darling I know you can’t do math, but I promise YOU’RE SHORT-CHANGING ME!’ he screamed.
I try to show him his receipt, but he is not having it. He’s telling me he’s suppose to have 5 more dollars because he used a coupon. The whole time he was calling me darling, and now it’s getting on my nerves.
It’s hard to explain to some people why calling someone names like darling and sweetheart is so rude, especially in a setting like this one. It feels incredibly belittling and you just have to deal with it. It’s this passive aggressive way of telling someone they’re beneath you and giving them no way to call you out on it. The best way I’ve come across to explain it to guys is the term ‘boy’. Imagine if some person, man or woman, who’s not that much older than you, got irate and started calling you ‘boy’. Except with a word like darling you are expected to take it. I get called darling or sweetheart way too often by people who don’t even seem to realize it’s not a nice thing to call someone.
So anyway, I pull out a calculator because we keep one under the counter, and this guy was obviously not trusting the numbers on his receipt. He slaps my arm out of the way to grab it from where I’ve set it down. Plugs in the numbers and, miraculously, finds that the calculator is in on the con.
I could visibly see the moment he realized he had just had a public tantrum because he couldn’t do basic mathematics. His whole face turned red. He then grabbed his food, said, ‘Sorry Miss,’ and physically ran out of the store. This is the only negative interaction I think I’ve ever had with a customer that ended up making me happy. Because that guy actually realized how nasty he actually was. It was beautiful and it hasn’t happened before or since.
But seriously, please don’t call someone serving you darling, or sweetheart, or honey. It feels really bad to be addressed like that.”
Disgusting Runs In The Family
“I was a busboy the entire time I was in high school. We had this family that would come in and seemed like the most ordinary family. But they were truly The Destroyers of Tables.
They always left a disaster. Fries everywhere, garbage all over the floor. I sat and watched as one of the kids put the salt and pepper shakers into a glass of milk, and then watched the dad be like, ‘Hey, can Junior have a new milk? he had a little accident.’
THEY WERE BOTH SUBMERGED IN MILK. Fries everywhere. The meal went everywhere. Crumbs everywhere. 1% of the food had been consumed. The children screamed the entire time, to zero reaction from the parents. It was chaos for the entire hour they were there, every single time. I had to clean this up probably a dozen times before the hostess asked them not to come back. Yeah, they threw a massive fit. They didn’t come back though. Nightmare.
Evil Behind The Smirk
“I wait tables in a country club. I had a couple come in once and as they were sitting down, before I had even introduced myself, the woman was already complaining. Apparently, they had to wait five minutes while we resat ‘their table’. She started off by telling me every time she gets the filet mignon its awful and cooked wrong. I suggested she tried something else. Nope. Goes for the same thing again. I gave the kitchen heads up and make sure it was perfect and save us all a headache.
The steak comes up and seems fine. I drop her plate in front of her, and I can already see that nasty smirk people get when they aren’t amused. She grabs her butter knife and legit slaps the top of the steak with the flat of it three times and goes, ‘This is disgusting.’
Hasn’t even cut into it or tasted it. She has me take it back and bring her a new one. So of course we do it. She gets her new one. Eats half of it and takes the rest home, but she still wants to talk to a manager. She rants up a storm, and even gets her whole meal free with dessert. Of course, she left me a terrible tip. She even left me a comment card, just saying ‘STEAK GARBAGE’ and one star for service.”
All That Over One Cup
“So I am living and working for the summer in a popular vacation spot in the northeast USA. I’ve been working at this amazing family-oriented restaurant for almost a month and have had very few bad people so far. Yesterday afternoon, a woman comes up to the bar where my friend Jacob was working as a bartender, and he also takes to-go orders. She places her order and told Jacob that she’s like a to-go soda with her order as well. Jacob goes over to our drink station in the dining room, grabs a to-go cup and starts filling it up. Suddenly, the lady, who I’ll call Brenda, grabs his attention.
Brenda: ‘Excuse me. My friends were just in here and they got to-go cups that are twice the size of this one. Why am I getting a small one?!’
I overheard this and saw that Jacob didn’t know how to really react to her, so I swooped in.
Me: ‘I’m sorry ma’am, but we don’t carry that large size of to-go cups here in the dining room. Your friends probably got them from our take-out window next door, where you can choose the size of drink.’
Brenda: ‘That is unacceptable. My friends were JUST in HERE and got big cups. I want a BIG cup.’
She points to a small group of people waiting outside. I never saw her friends come in the dining room. They are holding some small boxes that look like they came from our takeout room next door, and I see their large cups.
Me: ‘Are you sure they came in here? Because like I just said, our takeout room next door has cups that size but the only ones we carry are this size. If you’d like I can gr-‘
Brenda: ‘OH now what an attitude this one has! WHEN I SAY I SAW MY FRIENDS GET A BIG CUP IN HERE, I MEANT IT. GIVE ME A BIG CUP!’
At this rate, I just gave my head a little shake and left Jacob to deal with it, as it was busy in the dining room and I had to attend to my tables. I hear Brenda screech about me for a few minutes longer and my ‘terrible attitude’, before I saw her stomp out. After she left, me and Jacob chuckled about it for a bit and I put it out of my mind, until Brenda came back not even ten minutes later. She stomps her way back to the bar and I hear her start yelling, so I move my way past to the kitchen to be away from her.
Brenda: ‘THIS ONE has an AWFUL attitude. I can’t BELIEVE-‘
I sigh and head into the kitchen, where my manager Kyle is standing, looking over food.
Me: ‘There’s a crazy lady at the bar who got food ten minutes ago and is yelling at Jacob about my ‘terrible attitude’, when I told her we didn’t have large to-go cups in the dining room.’
Kyle raises an eyebrow, sighed, and gave a light chuckle before heading out to her. A few minutes later, he comes back in laughing.
Kyle: ‘Don’t listen to a single thing that woman said. That lady had a stick so far up her butt I can’t believe she was even walking.’
So yeah, apparently I was the worst person in the world for telling her she couldn’t have a large to-go cup from the dining room?! Too bad, too. I was about to grab it for her with no extra charge before she started throwing a tantrum.”
“The Entirety Of My Being Was Shrinking”
“There was another four hours and forty-five minutes until the restaurant closed. I had tables arriving in ten minute intervals. I had to get to work. But I was distracted. No matter what I focused on, I could not shake the feeling I knew the guy at table 35 from somewhere. I kept sneaking glances of the guy whenever I walked past. A well-to-do professional around my age, 32 years old, the guy wore khakis and a polo as did an older gentleman at the table, presumably the guy’s dad. The five-seat table also included an older woman in a cardigan (probably the mother), a younger woman in a peasant blouse, and a two-year-old in a high chair. I recognized the configuration. Proud grandparents treating the young family to a sumptuous Tex-Mex dinner. That’s when it clicked.
We had gone to the same prep school. I sat next to the guy at table 35 during high school graduation. To him, I was just a waiter. I wasn’t the honor student that graduated one spot ahead of him to clinch a coveted spot in the top ten of the graduating class of 2008. All I could do was watch. Watch the happy family break bread. Watch a former classmate enjoy the fruit of his professional and personal success. All I could do was watch the scene and feel awful.
I had gone to college. I’d had a few chances to fulfill my lifelong dream of being a writer. It hadn’t panned out as a career. My few attempts to get established in another career were about as effective. I hated the regularity of office culture and the tedium of working as a marketing copywriter. When I finally decided to give it up two years ago to return to restaurants, I was also annoyed to find that I was making about much more a year as a waiter than as a sellout writer. I could feel the entirety of my being shrinking. The typical savory smells of the Mexican restaurant became more gross with each inhale.
I grabbed the food from the window and put the 30-pound load onto a tray and balanced it on my left shoulder, forgoing the tray stand because it wasted too much time and required a third hand to operate effectively. I wished I was a good lawyer or corporate executive or cop or something dignified. I wished I was a better writer. I wished the guy at table 35. I wished for anything that might take away the feeling I had wasted too much time on the wrong things. That’s when it happened.
A slowly building shriek emanated from table 35, like a tornado siren on the plains. The restaurant quieted just in time for attention to gather on the two-year old in the beginnings of a spectacular temper tantrum. His parents attempts to quiet him down only seemed to exacerbate the problem.
‘Tyler,’ my old classmate said in a soothing voice, practiced the way I smiled at work. ‘Tyler, could you please calm down, buddy?’
‘BLAWWWWWWWHHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!’ the two-year old shouted in response, leaping from his high chair as his parents struggled to push him down. His pants, now around his ankles, seemed to be little hindrance to his animated movements, his dirty diaper tossed onto the table’s fajitas. The kid quieted for a second, half of which was spent recharging his lungs for a truly epic scream. As the kid screamed, someone called my name called from the kitchen.
‘Hey, what’s going going on out there?’ a co-worker asked. ‘A kid’s pitching one massive fit,’ I explained. I loaded up the tray and hoisted it on my left shoulder. I took a few steps then stopped, turning around to get the kitchen manager’s attention. ‘There’s one thing I can tell you. You couldn’t pay me enough money to trade places with that guy.’
We laughed as I walked away to deliver my customers’ food.”