Working in customer service is bad enough, but there’s something about the food industry that makes people go crazy. Some workers choose to take it in stride, grin and bear it. However, these workers hit their limit and took a stand. Content edited for clarity.
Work What You’re Paid
“When I worked in a kebab shop the owner used to tell us he didn’t pay us enough to put up with any abuse. I served this nasty woman one day who refused to wait where she was directed to. When her kebab was ready, I called her name many times and she never answered.
When she finally came back, her kebab was cold so she started swearing and carrying on at me. I casually took the kebab from her, opened the till gave her back her money, and told her to have a nice day.
Then she started demanding to know where her free kebab was and I said, ‘Sorry, but you refused to stand where you were told so you could hear your name and then you didn’t come back for so long of course it’s going to be cold. On top of that, I don’t get paid enough to be treated the way you are treating me, so you can have your money back and run along.’
Then she got really mad and wanted to see my manager. My manager had listened to the whole thing, so when he popped his head out he said, ‘She’s right, we don’t pay her enough to be verbally abused by customers, so off you go!’
She wasn’t happy and stormed off swearing like a trooper, but we never saw her again.”
A Bad Cup Of Joe? No, Just A Bad Joe
“I was working in a small cafe in my neighborhood, that had maybe a dozen tables, only open for breakfast and lunch. It was a fun job made more fun by my recently immigrated Italian boss/cook. We had a bunch of laughs. Too bad he was married. We had our regulars every day as those sorts of eateries tend to attract.
This one guy used to come in every day because his wife divorced him and he didn’t have anyone else to verbally abuse or make the coffee. He showed me the scar from where she shot him. I may have made a comment about she must have had a reason, but that wasn’t the stand I am referring to here.
He always had some nasty comments about the service, the food, or the coffee. I asked him why he came in every day if it was so awful. He had no comment, but I knew why. His favorite thing to criticize was the coffee. I made that coffee fresh every morning and it was never more than an hour old during the day because I’m fussy about my own coffee. But every morning, without fail, Mr. A—hole would walk in, order coffee and make a horrible face, and ask how long that coffee had been sitting there.
I started making a fresh pot when I would see him parking his truck in an attempt to make sure he got it as fresh as humanly possible. Still, the same face and the same comment was my reward for the effort.
So one day, instead of throwing out a leftover pot of old coffee at closing time, I saved it. It was nasty looking, thick, and starting to get a green tint. The next day when Mr. Sunshine came in I couldn’t wait to serve him that special brew.
He took a big old sip and said, ‘Now that’s good, you finally made a good cup of coffee.'”
Whining And Dining
“My very good friend, ‘Ugo,’ was working for Studer Revox, a well-known Swiss Hi-Fi firm back in the days of tape recorders. One day, his boss said he had to wine and dine an important customer from America, but couldn’t make it, so he asked my friend to stand in.
Ugo led the customer and his wife to an expensive restaurant in Zurich. The American had a simple method of ordering; he always pointed to the most expensive dish on the menu.
After they had consumed an extravagant meal, the customer asked for a Cognac. The waiter proudly brought him the restaurant’s own Cognac menu, which contained some of the greatest brands and vintages ever produced. True to form, the American pointed at the last one on the list, which was, of course, the most expensive, and said: ‘I’ll have that one – on the rocks!’
The waiter did a double take and then tried to explain that this was a very old and special Cognac that was meant to be consumed by real connoisseurs, who would never think of ruining it by adding ice.
The American insisted, saying, ‘I’m paying (actually, he wasn’t since Studer Revox was picking up the tab) and I tell you I want it on the rocks!’
The waiter excused himself and went for the head waiter. He also tried to convince the American that a lesser Cognac would be just as fine with ice, but the guy was stubborn.
Finally, the head waiter brought came back with the owner of the restaurant, who after a heated discussion flatly refused to serve his precious Cognac with ice.
The American grumbling acceded, and instead ordered a glass of the precious Cognac straight up and a glass of Coke for his wife – ‘with lots of ice!’
When the waiter brought their order, the American looked him in the eye, reached into the glass of Coke, took the ice, and dumped it into the snifter full of irreplaceable Cognac.
A minute later the owner and the head waiter appeared with the Americans’ coats and said, ‘Please leave this restaurant immediately and never come back! And forget the bill.'”
15 Minutes Or It’s Free
“The restaurant I worked at had a 15-minute service policy, meaning we would have food on the table within 15 minutes of the party being seated or the meal was free.
This group of six ordered and the food was delivered in less than ten minutes. They all wanted separate checks and were particular about the food. All of them had made special orders from the menu with changes to the standard menu items.
Three minutes after serving the food I went back to check on them and make sure everything was alright with their meals. One person asked me to change something. The girl had ordered a burger medium and felt it was overcooked. I replaced her entire meal.
Because the second burger was not served to her until after the 15 minutes, the entire table expected their meals to be free.
The manager allowed it, and the entire group ate for free. They left me a nickel as a tip.
I followed them outside, handed them back the nickel, and told them I would rather they kept it. They insulted me and my desire to serve. They insulted the restaurant’s commitment to a fast but still well-served lunch. They deserved to be called on their rudeness.”