Every workplace has its own version of the village idiot and the food industry is no different. These food workers had to put up with some of the dumbest coworkers anyone's ever heard of. Luckily, the person these dummies hurt the worst is themselves.
(Content has been edited for clarity)
He Just Wanted To Test If It Was Hot Enough
“A guy almost twice my age put his hand flat a grill to see if it was hot enough. It was hot enough. He got major burns on his hand then tried to sue McDonald’s for there being no warnings or training not to put your hand on a grill. He lost.”
She Constantly Complained About Being Broke, But She Could Always Afford New Things
“Back when I was a manager at a pretzel place, we noticed that when we had this one girl on the register, the drawer would always come up short. So we were constantly watching her. We were between paychecks at the time and she had mentioned she was broke. She went on break as we were counting the drawer and we discovered we were $125 short. She came back with new shoes and was talking about how cute they looked. We asked her, ‘How much were your shoes, about $125?’
And I will always remember her shocked, genuine look of surprise as she said, ‘How did you know?!'”
“My Mom Says I Shouldn’t Have To Pay For My Mistakes”
“A girl comes in as a waitress. She would take food out of the window because she thought it was her’s and wouldn’t bother to wait for the whole order to be finished to check that it’s her’s. She would take it out to her table and realize it wasn’t hers, chuck it, ask for new stuff because ‘the cooks messed it up’ and mess up another waitress’ orders by throwing them away.
Then she asked us for change for $100 bill she got from a customer, so we gave her $100 in smaller bills. Yet instead of counting it out, she handed the entire $100 back to the woman, who left with it all. This meant the girl was $80 short at the end of the night. Normally it would come out of her pay, but our boss covered it in the meantime and told her to pay it back. Weeks went by and the girl still hadn’t paid our boss back.
My boss got persistent about it and so the girl went and talked to her mom about it. ‘My mom says we all make mistakes and I shouldn’t have to pay for my mistakes,’ was her response. Eventually, it resulted in the girl suing our boss for $80 that ‘our boss scammed out of her.’ And then she had a meltdown about working 12 hours a week, stating that it was too much for her and why doesn’t anyone understand? I’m not gonna lie, I celebrated when she quit.”
There Was A “Straight Up Prison Fight” In The Walk In Freezer
“I assistant managed this run-down Italian food restaurant that could have doubled as an insane asylum.
1) I fired a guy after he threw a temper tantrum. He hurled a dinner plate against a wall because I sat him a table so he was going to be late for a Phish concert or some other stupid reason. This would have been fine except the plate didn’t hit a wall, it hit one of our hostesses on the side of the head.
2) One waiter had a big problem with pills. One night, he came in so high that he was just babbling incoherently. I sat him in the office where he proceeded to puke his guts out. He didn’t come back for two weeks then just showed up one day like nothing had happened.
3) Two thugs came in once and threatened another manager’s life. We ran them off and they came back later that night with more guys. In front of four or five tables, the manager threw undiluted ammonia in one of the guy’s face. He was fired a few weeks later. The whole rigmarole was about a chick.
4) A straight up prison fight occurred in our walk-in freezer once. These two guys turned each other into hamburger meat. There was blood everywhere. We even dug one of the guys’ fingernails out of the sump. All over thirty dollars. I had to fire them both, which was a shame because they were both great cooks.
I eventually left after they hired a guy to run the place that was even crazier than the waiters. He’d drink two bottles a night, snorted more coke than Tony Montana, and was regularly banging a 16-year-old hostess. It was like letting the inmates run the asylum.”
A Memorable First 48 Hours
“I had to train a guy that was untrainable. He would mess up pizzas, carry the bag like a briefcase, and one time I went on a run with him, he dropped the coke bottle, tried to give it to the guy and asked for a pack of smokes. He said he would take it out of the total. ALL OF THIS WITHIN THE FIRST 48 HOURS! I said he needs to stay inside for a while and train that way and they said okay.
Cut to the next day… I get there and the junky idiot of a Shift Runner sent him out. I gripped her out, but while that was going on, he was supposed to take a delivery to a hotel but ended up two towns over and ate half the pizza on the way back. Needless to say, he didn’t stay long after that. He was eventually fired for harassing all the female workers.”
He Had A Different Idea Of What He Was And Wasn’t Allowed To Do On His Lunch Break
“A guy went for his lunch break and came back wasted. We were delivery drivers. You know the worst part? His excuse was, ‘It was on my lunch break. That’s my time. You can’t tell me what to do on my time.'”
Their Roast Chicken Always Came Out So Shiny
“They worked in the deli attached to the store I work at. One of my favorite stories was when they (repeatedly) cooked chickens with their plastic wrapping still on them. And then there was the time they were taking a full tray of sausages out of the oven. They walked to the hot counter, saw it was rather full and, instead of moving stuff around to make space, they just walked straight to the bin and dumped the whole tray. They didn’t understand why that wasn’t the right thing to do.”
His Stupidity Shut Down The Whole Business
“I worked as a supervisor for a catering company when I was in college. We had this guy who might have been the dumbest person I have ever met. I remember we had to label dishes the cooks sent out to know what went where without uncovering them. I asked him to label a breakfast and he misspelled every word, even the word ‘eggs.’
The worst, however, was late one night while we were cleaning up. I asked him to mop the kitchen before we locked up. I was in the office doing paperwork when a horrible, acrid smell started filling the kitchen area.
I told everyone to get out and started looking for the source. Turns out this idiot decided to mop the floor with bleach and ammonia. I kicked the bucket into the drain and went outside, coughed for 45 minutes and ended up in the ER.
The owner of the company was so desperate, she refused to fire him, so I gave my two weeks. A few months later, I heard the guy t-boned another driver with a catering truck while trying to run a red light at an intersection. The resulting lawsuit ended up shutting the business down.”
Jordan Was So Dumb, Everyone Thought It Had To Be An Act
“I manage a restaurant. There are certain people who are just slow. And no amount of practice is going to change that. They just move at this pace that isn’t conducive to working a cook line. You can do all the coaching in the world, and it won’t matter.
There’s this one guy we’ll call Jordan. Jordan moves at the speed of mud. His mouth is always slacked open and he speaks in such a monosyllabic fashion that you’d wonder if it was a put-on. We have Texas toast where I work. The procedure for dropping Texas toast is as follows: Pick up a piece of bread, brush with garlic butter, drop it on the flat top for 45 seconds, flip for an additional 45 seconds, serve. The end. Simple. I can drop an entire loaf of Texas Toast in under 20 seconds, followed by the 2-45 second cook times. This is a SIMPLE PROCEDURE.
Jordan stands there with his loose jaw flapping in the wind meticulously placing garlic butter on every square inch of each piece of bread, resulting in one piece of toast being completely toasted by the time the next piece hits the flat top. I’ve gone over to him and demonstrated time and again. ‘Jordan, it’s a quick process. Brush, drop, brush, drop, brush, drop, brush, drop, hit the timer. Wait. Flip. Hit timer again. Serve.’ He nods his head affirmatively then proceeds to butter every square inch of the bread again.
He walks one-foot per minute to the fridge to grab cheese sticks to drop in the fryer. He spends five solid minutes putting the chicken on a plate. He’s horrible. Half the time, I just tell him to go do dishes. But I can’t really fire him because TECHNICALLY he’s not doing anything WRONG exactly, he’s just doing a poor version of the correct thing.”
She Harassed Him All Day About His Simple Mistake, But Her Behavior Actually Cost The Restaurant
“I was working at a Thai restaurant. I didn’t have a whole lot of experience, but most of the employees were from Thailand and they needed a frontman who spoke good English.
One day, not many people were coming in, so one of the managers asked me in busted-up English to help cut chicken. Medium-thin pieces, not much instruction. So, I followed the other sous-chef’s example. Apparently, that was too thick.
The manager came back in and lost it. She started by loudly saying they were too thick while holding up fistfuls of raw chicken and throwing a few pieces on the floor and in the sink like a four-year-old. I could see customers coming to the front so I told her we’d continue this later, but she blocked the exit and continued to rant.
Next, she paced around the kitchen while grumbling and pulling at her hair with her raw chicken covered hands, ignoring the line of customers. Eventually, she sent the sous chef, who didn’t speak much English, to the front, and demanded I stir a big pot of soup for the rest of the day.
As I was stirring the soup, she went back to chastising me in some language I couldn’t understand, pacing, and grumbling in a tone your parents may have used when you peed the bed at age three.
She then looked at the chicken on the cutting board, turned to me and said, ‘We can’t let (the boss) see this.’ She then proceeded to pick up pieces of chicken, toss them onto the drain in the middle of the kitchen floor, and started waffle-stomping them through the grate.
I angrily told her to stop it and grow up, but she shot back with, ‘Back to pot!’ in a glass-shattering voice, and continued to stomp the chicken down the drain. After she had stomped a bunch of chicken down the drain, the drain clogged. So she waddled over to the sink and started mashing pieces of chicken down that drain with her greasy palm.
She harassed me for the rest of the day and kept coming back up to me with pieces of chicken in her hands, then holding them inches from my face and yelling about how thick they were.
As she started angrily hacking away at the rest of the chicken with a cleaver, she kept muttering, ‘If (our boss) was here, he would say “You’re fired!” That’s what he would say!’ When people out front ordered chicken dishes, I heard her apologizing, ‘Oh, I so sorry the chicken so ugly, that boy cut it so bad! I not know why (our boss) not fire him!’
Eventually, our boss came back and here’s what he sees: The soup I’m stirring is burnt, and none of the dishes are done. I tried a few times to turn the soup off and start the dishes, but the manager would come charging back in brandishing a rice paddle and screeching, ‘Back to pot! Back to pot!’ Also, the sous chef, who doesn’t speak English, was out front having a terrible day.
The manager tried to cover her butt, but our boss went through the security footage and saw the whole thing. He told the sous chef and I that we could leave early, and we heard them yelling in some language I couldn’t understand as we left.
The next day, the health inspector came. Imagine his surprise when he walked into the smell of rotting chicken, while two employees were fishing mangled pieces of chicken out of the floor and sink drain. The inspector nearly reported the restaurant. The manager was fired soon thereafter.”
She Gave The Girl One Simple Task, But She Still Messed It Up
“For a part-time job, a girl I was friends with worked at a hotel. One of her duties was to help set up for conferences and banquets. So she was setting up some food for a banquet when her boss asked her to please put the cartons of milk on ice. The boss left and came back a few minutes later to see the girl opening up the milk cartons and pouring milk into a giant bowl of ice. The boss promptly exclaimed, Girl! What the HECK!'”
Better The Devil You Know…
“The worst guy had an attention span of a gnat. You had to write down instructions for everything, even tasks he’d done a million times before, and check in on him every 15 minutes or so. And yet, given these parameters, he’d complete perfect work.
Every year during performance reviews, we’d argue about whether or not to keep him on. And every year, we’d keep him on, because the devil you know…I mean, at least we knew how to manage him, and he was manageable.”
She Couldn’t Even Turn Off The Espresso Machine Without Help
“It took one coworker about two weeks to learn how to turn the espresso machine off without assistance. Every time it would be:
Her: ‘How do I turn this off?’
Me: ‘…Press the power button.’
Her: ‘Where’s that?’
Me: ‘Right in front of you. There’s only one button. Push it.’
Her: ‘I don’t see it.’
Me: ‘Oh, for god’s sake, here! Right here! Just press it!’
She didn’t last long.”
The Guys On The “Ankle Bracelet Program” Never Lasted Long
“While I was in college, I worked as a shift supervisor at Wendy’s. It was lame and paid crap, but the schedule worked with my school schedule. Anyways…
It was my job to put everyone in their ‘stations’ and make sure that the various time-sensitive duties got performed.
My manager had hired a trio of guys who were on the ankle bracelet program. They were on probation for something. He had done this before. Those ankle bracelet guys never made it past a month. So, I had one of them stationed at the grill. At night, when the dining room closes, you have a limited number of people and the grill guy takes on fry duty. So he was standing there, staring into the fryer. Just…staring at it. I noticed this and saw he was watching a lone fry that had gotten dropped sizzling in the oil and spinning. But he was pretty intent on watching this thing. So I asked him if he was ok and he kinda snapped out of it, like he was spacing out.
Ten minutes later, I saw him doing the same thing, but watching the meat cook on the grill. Again, spaced out. So I called out to him, ‘Hey Derek, whatcha doing over there buddy?’
He looked at me and in a very serious tone, said, ‘I’m getting ready to start thinking about flipping the meat.’
Laughing, I jokingly asked him if he was on something. He went, ‘Yeah dude, I took acid before work.’
I was a good guy and let him go home early, with a cheeseburger and a frosty no less.”
That’s Not The Right Way To Drain Fry Oil…
“I used to work with a guy that was told to drain the used fry oil. Instead of using the metal tool to pull the drain from the bottom, he simply reached into the fryer up to his elbow. He burned himself horrifically and was off of work for the remainder of the time that I worked there.”
Well, That Was Explosive!
“I work at a bar in a small town where we make Moroccan coffees by lighting the drink on fire after pouring it into a chalice and sprinkling nutmeg and cinnamon in it. My coworker is a bubbly and adorable sweetheart, but she’s kind of a trainwreck and she drinks too much. She was making a Moroccan coffee one night and after she lit the drink on fire, decided she needed to add more in the glass, so she just started pouring 151 proof into the glass, on top of the flame.
Fire shot up the stream of liquid from the glass to the bottle, which popped the pour spout off, and lit the whole bar and a regular customer’s jacket on fire as flames spilled over the back of the bar counter. The customer started slapping his arm trying to put it out, but it wasn’t working, so he ran outside and threw it on the asphalt and started stomping on it. We stood there too shocked to do anything for a good five Mississippi’s before anyone even reacted.
The best part is the girl who lit the customer on fire is the daughter of the Fire Marshal of the small town where our bar is. She still got to keep her job. She also got a driving under the influence charge while leaving our bar a few months later and yes, she still works there to this day.”
They Were Trying To “Help,” But They Only Ended Up Causing More Damage
“When I was a manager at Subway, we’d had an ice storm, and a customer had left his car in the parking lot. It was frozen over when he came to get it the next day. Now, I am unsure of the events that led up to this because I was busy, but somehow, one of my more idiotic employees wound up pouring near boiling hot water on the guy’s windshield and shattering it. Without permission from the car’s owner.
By far though the biggest idiot employee I had was on work release from the local prison. He had six weeks to go before parole and just up and decides to cut and run with his girlfriend while on my shift. I’d actually heard them talking about it and it didn’t register what they were talking about until the realization hit me that he was gone right as the prison driver/guard showed up to pick him up. He knew the guy was gone the minute he walked in and saw the look on my face. Not fun for me. I suspect that he ran because he’d been getting illegal substances from the girlfriend and was going to fail his pee test and not get paroled.”
If He Hadn’t Noticed That, He Could Have Tainted All Those Dishes
“I work at a fast food restaurant mainly as a fry cook, and because we had no dishwasher, it was my responsibility to wash the dishes. I had filled up the sink with beautiful turquoise soapy water and gotten through most of the dishes. I was very particular about making sure the water was soapy enough and remained clean and blue until I was done, and at the moment, all I had left were about twenty small bowls that were not visible underneath the water.
One of my new coworkers, a seventeen-year-old boy, was back there with a broom washing his hands in the nearby handwashing sink when I came over to finish up. He was telling me about how he just had to clean the bathrooms and there was crap everywhere on the floors. He showed me the tip of the broom handle and was explaining that, somehow, he had gotten poop on the tip of it. I asked him to please clean the top of the broom with bleach. He cheerfully explained that he was just using my dishwater and showed me by dipping the top of the crap-covered broom handle into the dishwater.
Had I not walked by at that exact moment, I would have washed all of our dishes in crap. He thought it was OK because he couldn’t see any dishes in there (although there were still dirty dishes off to the side) and he thought I was done washing for the day. I drained everything, cleaned out the sink and washed those dishes more thoroughly than I think I’ve ever washed anything. He made me promise not to tell anyone and I promised him that I’d kick his butt if I ever caught him doing something that stupid again.”
That’s Way Outside Of Their Delivery Radius
“This was before cell phones were common. I was working at a restaurant. We got a delivery order for a house that was right around the corner. The delivery driver ended up driving to a place with the same street name which was about an hour away because his GPS told him to. We had to wait until an hour after closing to figure out what the heck happened to him.”
When He Came Out Front, There Was A Line Of Angry Customers
“I used to manage a coffee shop when I was younger.
After the morning rush, I would head into the office and work on scheduling, pay, ordering, etc. It was a small shop so there would only be one other employee manning the counter, and he/she would call me if they needed help or a break.
Well, one morning my boss called me on my cell phone and said he’d been trying to get a hold of our location for the past twenty minutes. I peeked my head out the door and saw a few people waiting in line and my employee on the shop phone.
After I got her off the phone and we help the customers, one lady, a regular, pulled me aside and says that my employee had been talking on the phone, with her friend, about the epic bj she gave her boyfriend the night before.
Needless to say, I sent her home and put in the paperwork to have her fired. Her defense? ‘That bimbo shouldn’t have been eavesdropping on my conversation.'”