Dealing with entitled customers is the most frustrating part of any customer service job. For bartenders, some would say they have it slightly worse. Why? Well, alcohol sometimes has the tendency to bring out the absolute worse side of people. Serving drinks to individuals who already believe their unacceptable behavior is justified only makes things worse. Just listen to what these bartenders have to say.
All stories have been edited for clarity.
“With lines out the door, I was stopped by a patron who asked me if I could take a picture of him and his family enjoying themselves at the restaurant.
I politely declined with a smile and recommended that he ask someone next to his table to snap their moment instead because we were shorthanded and I was insanely too busy to complete his request.
This infuriated the man, but his group decided to stay at their table for another three hours. The next time the man came through the line, I could just tell he wanted to just pick a fight. Once the man approached me, his next request was even more insane than the first.
‘Hey, my kid lost his Air Pods. You need to come outside and help us look for them.’
I know my face probably said it all. It was by far the oddest request I have ever gotten from a customer. The fact that this father had the audacity to make it my responsibility to find something his child lost even after seeing how slammed we were was ridiculous.
After I said I would help him once I had the line under control, the dad blew up on me. He raised his voice and said, ‘Are you kidding me? Those are super expensive, and we need to find them, right now!’
Then he shouted for everyone in the restaurant to hear. ‘WHY ARE YOU SO RUDE?!’ He repeated this like a broken record player. All I could do was smile back at him and say, ‘I’m doing the best I can.’
After he continued badgering me, I got the manager who after listening to his issue, told him the exact same thing.
So the guy left a verbal complaint. At first, I thought the incident was going to be ignored, but the next day I came in, I was let go. What still hurts is that I worked so hard at that job and really did care about my duties. It just sucks that people are malicious enough to get someone fired because they are emotionally weak and didn’t get their way with an outlandish request that was delivered in the rudest way possible.”
“I was tending bar in a major nightclub in the heart of a big city. Out of nowhere, I heard someone whistle but ignored it while thinking, ‘That’s a really rude way to call your waitress.’
I hoped that it was just someone messing around, but when I heard another whistle, followed by ‘Hey, Babe, what’s it take to get a drink in this joint?’ I whipped around to see who was being so damned rude.
A middle-aged man was smirking at me from the opposite side of the bar.
I resisted the urge to curse him out. ‘Yes, sir. How may I help you?’ I forced out the words.
‘Chivas and water,’ the man grunted. No ‘please.’ No ‘thank you.’
I blinked, ‘Yes, sir, I’ll be right with you.’
I took my time making the drink. I was biting my tongue the entire time so that I wouldn’t lose my cool, but when I turned to hand it to him, the man was gone. After looking glancing around the bar, I saw the man had returned to his booth and was casually looking down at his phone.
‘Ok then,’ I thought to myself.
The waitress for that section was at the bar for another table. I approached her and told her about the man in her section who had ordered a drink, pointed him out, and asked her to take it to him.
She left the bar and took him his drink. Once she set the drink down, she asked the man whether he’d like to pay cash or start a tab.
Then the real fun began.
The man had a shocked look on his face and then claimed he’d put a twenty on the bar. He then accused me of taking it. I looked behind the bar, and a couple of people looked in the front of the bar, but we couldn’t find this twenty. Mysteriously, the bill disappeared without a trace.
This made the man blow the entire ordeal out of proportion. He shouted how I was a thief and how he knew he gave the money to me but I was lying. Furious, I was on my way to deliver him more Chivas than he could handle but one of the other bartenders grabbed my belt to hold me back.
The owner, extremely confused, came over and asked what had happened. I told him, and he went over to talk to the guy.
After a few moments, the owner came back with a grave look on his face and told me to go home.
I was fired on the spot.”
Not Good Enough!
“One night I got an order for a Passion Star Martini. I made it exactly how it should be made, and was even generous with a Prosecco shot.
About fifteen minutes later, a Karen of a woman marched up to the bar smirking. At that moment, I was positive she or somebody else on her table came up with a ‘genius’ idea to get a free drink and Karen was trying it out.
The rest of the table was staring in her direction, smirking in anticipation. The woman had the martini glass in hand, with a tiny bit of drink left in it. She drank about ninety-five percent of it before bringing it back. She’d also had the Prosecco shot and had bought the empty shot glass back.
The woman briefly introduced herself and proceeded to tell me how disgusting the drink was. She said it tasted like cheap orange juice and shared how she was very disappointed in the drink. Then to my surprise, the woman beckoned over a fifteen-year-old server and made him taste the last bit, to prove her point.
The server initially tried to avoid it but the woman insisted. ‘No, go on, try it.’ To placate her, the young server said, ‘Yeah I know what you mean, I’ll get the manager,’ before he rushed away.
Meanwhile, the Karen berated me and demanded a new drink. I extended my apologies about the drink not tasting good. I then told her that I’d be happy to make another one, but I couldn’t without the manager’s permission.
The woman scoffed, ‘Well yeah I’m drinking it but I’m not really ENJOYING it, see what I mean?’
The manager came over and the woman once again demanded another one. The manager usually didn’t bow down to unreasonable customers, but it was a long day and he wanted to shut her up already. He told me to make another one and walked away without another word.
I shrugged it off and got to work, only to realize we had no passionfruit liquor left. Of course, the woman became even more irritated. The manager was called back to the bar where he had to listen to the woman complain again. Reluctantly, the manager offered the woman a margarita for the same price.
This finally shut the woman up. When she walked back to her table, I quickly started the drink so I could be done with it already.
When I brought the margarita over, the woman then found another reason to complain. She then started having a fit because there was no Prosecco shot with her margarita. When I told her the new drink didn’t come with one, she demanded again that I get the manager.
She berated the manager for another fifteen minutes before she waves him off like a spoiled entitled witch.
Eventually, the woman and her party left without tipping.
Here’s the kicker: This all occurred well after closing time.”
In The Know
“I work at a bar in New York owned by a well-known individual.
The owner is very involved with his regulars and puts in just as much work as his bartenders and servers. If people hung around long enough, they were definitely going to run into the owner.
There are often times that customers develop a new sense of importance after getting acquainted with the owner. Some try to mention his name for special treatment, which honestly is not only ridiculous but further feeds into the entitlement crisis that’s going on in our society.
But because I work in customer service, I have to act like a little kid told me that they got a balloon and are really excited about it.
Before I got my gig, I had never worked at a bar that used the term ‘buy-back.’ Basically, a buy-back meant a patron could sometimes receive a free drink after purchasing three drinks. However, if there were live events at the bar, the rule did not apply.
So I had a regular come in one night that was going for a blackout on the annoying customer bingo card.
The woman was very loud and obnoxious. She kept asking for the owner and asked how he was doing. Crazy thing was, as with most of these types of people, they were only a close friend of the owner when they paid the bar a visit. If she knew the owner so well, then surely she knew where he was.
As the night continued, the woman kept trying to talk over other customers that were trying to order from me while she insisted on chatting with me about the weather.
When her date arrived, they both started a deep conversation that excluded me. However, when I asked if they wanted another round, both of them ignored me. Then after they noticed their drinks were empty, the woman started snapping her fingers and saying, ‘Excuse me’ in an annoyed way when I had walked away to serve someone else.
They got to the point where combined they were obligated to their free round. There were six drinks in total. I poured a round, said ‘Cheers,’ and add the drinks to their tab on the computer.
‘That’s it?’ The woman scoffed.
‘Excuse me?’ I asked.
‘Don’t I have a free drink coming?’ The woman held on her hand in confusion.
‘What do you mean?’ I asked again.
The woman tossed her hair in annoyance and then asked, ‘How long have you worked here?’
‘Over a year,’ I told her.
‘And you don’t know that the fourth drink is free? I’m certain that the owner has told you to give every customer their fourth drink free.’
‘That’s not during live events. We have live music tonight,’ I explained. ‘No free drinks during events according to my boss.’
For the grand finale, the woman tipped five dollars on a sixty-five dollar tab.”
Where Are Your Manners?
“I work as a night supervisor at a college bar. We are situated right next to a shop where a lot of campus police like to get food. We didn’t have a doorman because we didn’t make enough money to cover it. Because of this, we checked IDs when someone came up for drinks instead of immediately carding them as they walked in if we didn’t think they were twenty-one.
As I was loading up the dishwasher, a guy walked in with his son who was probably between the age of twelve and fifteen. I immediately said, ‘I’m sorry, sir. He can’t be in here,’ and pointed to his son wanting to get him out as quickly as possible. It would have taken one curious police officer to walk in and see him before we ended up with a fine for it.
The dad became irritated and told me he just wanted to show his son where he ‘spent thousands of hours in grad school’ before storming out. I didn’t think anything about it and went back to talking to a couple of regulars.
Then five minutes later, the dad walked back into the bar and demanded to get my full name.
‘Sir,’ I said patiently. ‘It’s illegal to have your son in here.’
The dad then crossed his arms and replied with, ‘I know that! But someone needs to teach you manners.’ I look over at my two regulars and they have a mix of confusion and anger on their face at the dad coming back in with his entitled behavior. I returned my gaze to the dad and gave him my name without arguing.
As the dad turned around to leave he looked over his shoulder and said, ‘I spent thousands of hours here in grad school,’ before briskly walking out of the bar. Both of the regulars flip him off. I nipped it in the bud and told the manager on duty about it with my two regulars as witnesses. They explained what happened way better than I ever could. The regulars even emphasized how much of a moron the dad was. My manager listened patiently and ended up telling the other manager about what happened to cover all bases.”
“My worst customer was a guy who started off like a normal patron but quickly turned into my worst nightmare after a few drinks.
It was him, his girlfriend, and another couple out for drinks. As they sat there drinking, the guy got more and more belligerent. At some point, he ordered a steak and persisted it be well done. The other guy at the table started to laugh and said, ‘No one orders a steak well done!’
This awakened a sense of curiosity in the guy. He turned to me and asked if what his friend said was true. I was trying to be diplomatic, so I said, ‘The chef recommends it be cooked medium rare to medium.’
That’s when the guy, sloppy drunk, started getting loud and told me and his guests, ‘What the hell does he know? He’s just a lousy bartender!’ He then said, ‘I want it well done and if it’s not I’ll kick your ass!’
I didn’t react. I had dealt with drunks like him in the past so he didn’t phase me. What I did do, was put in his order medium knowing the guy was going to drink half a bottle of wine while waiting for his food so he wouldn’t even notice.
As they waited for the food, the couple went through almost more bottles of wine. Each time his glass was empty, the drunk called me over to pour him more. Every time I gave him a refill, he would make a disparaging remark like, ‘I never had to wait on people to be successful,’ or ‘This kid needs to learn his place.’
Again I didn’t react. I calmly walked away and continued serving other guests.
Finally, the guy’s food came out. Right away, he cut into the steak and took a huge bite. I watched as his eyes grew big as he went for a second bite. It was obvious he had no idea he was eating a medium steak instead of well done. The lights were low and he was drunk.
After he was halfway through, his table erupted into laughter before the other guy asked, ‘How was the steak?’
His girlfriend then said, ‘You do know that’s not well done?’
The guy paused and looked closely at the steak. He even grabbed the candle from the table and held it up close so he could take a look. Then his girlfriend said, ‘If you like it, what’s the problem?’
The guy, suddenly enraged, rose to his feet too quickly and almost fell over his own chair. He recovered and marched right up to me from where I was watching.
‘I’m gonna be waiting for you outside!’ The drunk man bellowed.
My manager heard him yelling in the men’s room as they were getting ready to leave. While he was in the men’s room his girlfriend paid for everyone’s meal with his card and gave me one of the best tips I can remember. She then apologized for his behavior as they got ready to leave. As they were walking out I just couldn’t resist.
I handed the drunk guy my number and said, ‘I don’t get off until 1 am so if you can’t wait tonight give me a call so we can reschedule the ass-kicking!’
Well, that guy waited outside in the freezing cold for almost thirty minutes before his buddy dragged him to their car.
When I got home later that night, there was a note my roommate told me a guy called asking for me. I guess he was serious.”