Being a waiter or waitress is stressful enough, but having to deal with annoying patrons makes the job that much more difficult. These servers share the most awful customers they’ve had the displeasure of serving.
The WORST Family EVER
“Okay, the worst family I served, ever. Ever.
Mum, dad, oldest sister (around 20), her boyfriend, and youngest sister, (about 8). I can tell from the first second they stand at the door that they’re going to be awful. The mother’s jaw is clenched and her eyebrows are already knitted, and she looks on the edge of tears.
I seat them, give them their menus, and the boyfriend says first ‘Get me some bread’. I reply meekly that actually, I was just about to, as was the policy here. I’ll get their water first. He can wait for his stupid bread now that he’s been rude. Anyway, I head on over to the waiter’s station for water, and the mother gets up and chases me around the restaurant, slaps a hand on my shoulder, and spins me around.
‘What on the menu can we have very quickly? Straight away? My youngest is starving!’ she commands.
I’m fairly stunned, so I tell her that I’ll put an order for the instantly assembled nibbles through, and it’ll be a couple of minutes. Mother sprints back to the table and I can now collect and serve the water. And the bread. What restaurant would anyone do this at? Especially a Michelin-starred fancy place?
The first person to have a glass of water poured for them is the mother. She picks it up and slams it down in front of the youngest sister, who immediately grabs it with both hands, downs it, holds the glass out to me, and pants ‘another.’
Apparently, I didn’t react fast enough because mother spits ‘Come on!’ at me. This process repeats until I have to get another lousy bottle of water. Meanwhile, dad is perusing the menu, older sister and boyfriend are playing with phones, but for some reason, the mother is having an aneurism. I realize that she is a mother that cannot allow her children to be put before her in any circumstance, and he has raised them wanting for nothing. The snacks come. Dad stops me for a lengthy explanation of every dish each time I walk past. By this stage, I have had to ask other runners to look after my section because these guys are taking up all my time. They put in their order, all sharing, as it comes. At least that part is easy.
However, now that they’ve had their snacks, they want new plates. That’s fine, but as I’m circling the table methodically stacking everything, my youngest sister snaps her stupid fingers at me and says ‘clean it now’, pointing at a mess she’s made. I just about splutter out ‘Now, I’ve only two hands, bear with me’, and scuttle away to drop off the plates. After that, the youngest sister just resorts to holding her glass in the air when she wants water. The bottle’s right in front of her. Her parents palpably don’t care that they’re raising the worst person to ever have lived.
So, I end up changing the plates between every dish that they share. I’ve had to call the porter to let him know the little cream plates need prioritizing, because we can’t keep up with this family. And then it happens – the last, biggest dish hasn’t come yet. Rightly so, because I quoted them 40 minutes and it’s been 30. But older sister, who’s been silent this entire time, puts down the rhinestone-encrusted phone and then just bursts into tears spontaneously. Wailing. Drawing a great deal of attention.
Now, I’m rushed off my feet trying to re-lay this table for the seventh time, but I am quite literally barged out of the way as mother throws herself out of her chair (falling to the ground along with all the knives and forks I drop – this is a loud restaurant, but people are turning around and looking, expecting a fight). She runs round to the oldest daughter, cradles her head, and strokes her hair, crooning, ‘There, there. Don’t worry. The food will be here soon.’
I am just flabbergasted by this. The older sister is an adult. Dad and boyfriend continue to not give a care. They eat their meal when it comes (the tears turned off the second the pie arrives), they pay, but sit there in silence for a good half an hour or so more. I’m asked for a pillow so the youngest sister can go to sleep under the table. We ask them to leave.”
The Legend of Mayo Lady
“I worked at a Beef O’ Brady’s while going to college. As a guy working in a family sports bar, tips weren’t the best but I’d occasionally get a few guys watching a game and would get to sit and visit with them. We serve a chicken sandwich, which is really just one step above a McChicken.
The lady and her family order and she request extra mayo, no big deal. Since it’s slow the order comes out fairly quickly and before I can put the rest of the baskets down she’s already complaining about not getting extra mayo. There was already a side container of mayo on her basket, plus the mayo on her sandwich, but she wanted more. I apologized and grabbed another two plastic cups of mayo.
Before I can even set the cups down she responds with, ‘Are you plain stupid or deaf?’ I’m a little taken back and frankly a bit ticked off since she now has three, 2 oz cups of mayo and what’s on her sandwich. All this time her family is eating their respective meals and has that all too familiar look of shame. They know this has happened before and the outcome.
She has me call my manager over and berates me as I tend other tables. It was slow so it was pretty quiet, except for a little background tv noise, which she easily shouted over. My manager has me grab one of the soup bowls and fill it with mayo. This is easily a cup of pure mayonnaise, plus what is already on the table. I drop it off at her table and ask if there is anything else I can get them.
Her response was, ‘Now you’re just being a prick!’ She wolfs down her sandwich and every drop of mayonnaise. I am not exaggerating when I say she consumed over a cup of mayonnaise for a chicken sandwich. They quickly pay and bolt before I could come back around the corner. The idiots left me a .27 cent tip. The upside is a regular couple of mine saw what was going on and rightly assumed they would stiff me, so they made up for them. The greatest couple I ever served, but that’s a different story for a different time.”
Just Trying To Get Through Here, Sorry
“As an 18-year-old bar-backing busser, I am required to go outside the bar to gather the dirty glasses and trash and such. I can’t pour drinks, but I can serve them. I run back and forth from the stock rooms and the cooler to re-supply the bar and to keep the tenders running at full speed. I do everything I can to help out the floor around the bar so the bartenders don’t have the leave the bar. On many nights, where I am seen by everyone in the bar, going around busting my chops to provide service, people still stand in my way.
Now, this place is not huge, but there are some key places not to stand. For instance, right in front of the opening of the bar. When I have two boxes in my hands, and I continually say, ‘Pardon me, excuse me,’ just endlessly, it really wears on your nerves.
Even worse is this one particular night when this man retorted with ‘What the **** do you want?’
‘I’m sorry, sir, I’m just trying to restock the bar with beverages, and I needed to come through here to get behind the bar,’ I say over the top of the two cases I’m still holding.
‘Well Jesus Christ, I’m sick and tired of your dumb*** coming through here ruining my good night! Get me your manager!’
‘I’m sorry to hear that you are upset. I’ll gladly get him for you sir, if I could just squeeze by real quick to set these down in the bar so the bartenders can have them, I’d really appreciate that,’ I say politely.
‘NO!’ Get him now!’
Thankfully the manager was on his way up at the time, and this was the best… manager says, ‘Sir, I’ve seen the entire altercation, and would like to assure you that you are impeding the work of one of my employees. I will not stand for this. Please vacate the building.’
This guy would not let up.
‘I’m not leaving, get me the owner of this place!’ he demands.
Manager at the time happened to be so…’Hi, I’m the owner, manager, and rent payer. Get the heck out of my bar. Don’t come back.’
‘Well I’ve got to pay my tab, at least I’ll help these ladies behind the bar out…’ Both bartenders shrugged shoulders and told him they didn’t care for his money. (He’d been there all night and had two drinks. Not a huge deal.)
Applause erupted when the 50-something-year-old guy left. Ten minutes later, I get to set the cases down and continue serving pleasant, grateful people.”
A Holier Than Thou Mentality
“When I was in college, I worked at a well-known Italian chain restaurant to help pay my living expenses. There were upsides and downsides to the job.
It wasn’t super close to campus, so I didn’t often run into classmates or people I knew, but it WAS super close to a retirement community, so I DID run into a lot of seniors on fixed incomes who couldn’t afford to leave me a tip.
No server likes to be told ‘You’ve done a great job, honey, but I can’t afford to leave you a tip.’ Seeing as how you’ve taken up a lot of my time, for which I am being paid a measly $2 an hour. But honestly, they weren’t so bad. Most of them were decent, polite people and I liked that they got out once in a while.
Across the street from this particular location was a large church. I don’t recall the denomination, but it was BIG and would often let out right before we started lunch service on Sundays. Some of those people still give me nightmares… But one incident in particular sticks out.
It was a very busy Sunday. I want to say it was the weekend before or after Easter. I’d been running around for hours, fetching mimosas for snobby twits AFTER having worked until 2:00 AM the previous night.
Our lovely hostess came over and told me I’d just been sat with a party of 8… that I’d be handling myself because we were short-handed and I was the most experienced waitress currently working BUT they weren’t seated in my section because they wanted sunlight, so they were all the way on the other side of a fairly large restaurant. Great.
The party consisted of some kind of church official. I don’t know what title he held, but he acted extremely entitled. He had with him six older women and one young man. Every single one of them ordered an appetizer. Every single one of them had at least two drinks. And every single one of them ordered the most expensive item on the menu. I couldn’t help but see dollar signs. The check was going to be HUGE. And since I wasn’t splitting with anyone, as was standard practice, the entire tip would be MINE.
The party took a very, very long time to finish their meal. I mean VERY long. My shift was nearing the end and they were STILL yakking over mostly empty plates. They’d been there a good three hours by that point.
I wasn’t going to be rude. I didn’t want to endanger my tip. After all, I had been racing back and forth across the restaurant for hours for these people, I was going to get paid for it.
I casually walked over and asked if anyone would like anything else. Everyone declined. I then asked the head of the group if I could wrap his remaining food (Like six strands of spaghetti) for him. He gives me the evilest glare you can imagine, coming from a man who’s supposed to be religious.
‘Missy, are you trying to rush me? I don’t appreciate that. I’m paying good money to be here. You just march on back to the kitchen like a good girl. You come back here again before we’re ready to go and it’ll affect your tip.’
Oh, excellent. 20 minutes until my shift ends and I can’t go back over there until they’re ready to leave… which I’m supposed to know how exactly? I put on my best fake smile and marched off.
Now, management HAS been on me about that table for the past hour. It’s in one of the nicer locations and is one of only two tables we have that can accommodate parties of 6-8. The shifty is glaring and asking me how much longer they’re going to be. I snap that I only wish I knew and get into a verbal altercation that I will later be written up for.
15 minutes later, just 5 minutes before the end of my shift, I walk over with a pitcher of water. I’d been debating options on how to handle things, and this seemed like the best one. I even had to psych myself up on the way over.
When I get there, I find our dear friend FURIOUS that it had taken me so long. He raged at me that he’d been waiting 20 minutes for the check. Where had I been? Didn’t I know how to do my job?
I swallowed my anger and left to print up their bill… which came to an obscene amount… well over $200. I figured I’d be getting AT LEAST a $40 tip. I tried to ignore the fact that I’d been at that table 15 minutes earlier (and you’d better believe I was watching the clock like a hawk… who doesn’t when your shift is that close to the end?) and had been scolded for bothering them and trying to rush them. There had been no mention whatsoever of wanting the check.
I smile politely and hand them the check and not one, but TWO fancy mints per person, then I make my way to the back to minimize the opportunity for telling Mr. Holier-than-thou what I really think of him.
I give them a good 10 minutes, meaning I am five minutes past when I should’ve left, before going over to check out my tip and cash for the evening…
He tipped me 81 cents in pocket change.”
Ma’am, What On Earth Are You Saying?
“Not a waitress anymore, but my favorite was a woman who frantically waved me over one lunch service. It was a fairly hot summer’s day. The conversation went like this:
Me: ‘Hi, can I help you?’
Her: ‘Yes, we need some coolth.’
Me: ‘I’m sorry?’
Her: ‘WE NEED SOME COOLTH IN HERE.’
Me: ‘I’m sorry, I don’t know…’
Her: ‘COOLTH. COOLTH. THE OPPOSITE OF WARMTH. DO YOU EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH?’
Insert rant about ‘Why can’t they hire proper staff who speak the language etc.’ This was in Australia. I’m Australian. Blasted 18* air-con directly on her for the rest of her meal.
Also, when I worked at a resort hotel where you saw the same guests every day for a week or so, the woman who said to me at dinner ‘didn’t I see you in the resort earlier today?’
Me: ‘Oh, yeah, all the staff live on-site, I was going to the gym.’
Her: ‘…is it doing anything?’”
Stupid AND Ungrateful?
“Three years after my first four years of being a waiter ended I STILL talk about this story. An Indian family walks in, two 20-something daughters and their parents. I greeted them and sat them at a booth near the front of the restaurant. I hand them their menus and it’s only AFTER I fill up their water that they ask me to move. To the other side of the restaurant. I smiled and told them it wouldn’t be a problem. Without taking any menus or glasses they walked over to the tables and sat down. I then tried to maneuver around them to get the tables together, but they make no effort to move. I then have to make two trips to grab four menus and four glasses of water and clear the glasses off the table they chose to sit in.
The father asks me about drinks I ask him what type of Merlot he would like. ‘Red,’ he replies. ‘Okay, sir, this whole side of the menu here is red wines, which would you like?’ ‘Red.’ ‘I understand, but can you tell me what you would like.’ ‘Something dry’ At this point, I realize the guy is a moron and ask the manager to recommend a drink, which he rejects. He says he likes the second one though. The eldest daughter asks for a half glass, which we don’t have so I give her a full glass.
The daughter looks at it and asks me if it’s half glass. No, it’s not. It’s a standard glass. She demands that I take it back and not be charged because it looks like a half glass. WHAT KIND OF MORON THINKS A GLASS SHOULD BE FILLED TO THE VERY TOP!? They then keep me from my other tables by asking me pointless questions, ordering and then canceling orders, and ordering again.
To give an example the eldest daughter asks for something with chicken. I have worked at this restaurant for years and know the menu very well. I told her that she can get chicken with any dish, and ask her to be more specific. She just says ‘nothing to dry.’ I had to repeat myself at least three times telling her chicken was available with any dish. Then they argued with me about the price of peanut sauce. A dollar. Seriously. And the fact that they were demanding was just part of it. They would not look at me when they spoke, they were condescending, so much so that the owner of the restaurant deliberately made the food so spicy that they would never want to come back.”
Lousy Job, Halfway Decent Manager Though
“I worked at a local mid-range restaurant, for about two years, starting when I was 14. Started washing pans and moved on to waiting shortly afterward, when the owner realized I could string a sentence together and wouldn’t drop too much. Nice family-owned place, friendly staff, the owner was a nightmare, the usual.
We had a table of four one night, I didn’t serve them but the head waitress, called Lynne, did. Throughout the meal, they are rude, dismissive, and demanding. I can’t give any specifics because as I say, I wasn’t serving them. Anyway, come to the end of the night they are not at all happy, ask to see the owner, and leave shortly afterward having paid less than half their bill, which would have been around $150. Both the owner and Lynne were spitting mad, maintaining that the food was fine and the table was being intentionally difficult. Personally, I’m not convinced, I’ve seen questionable food served there before.
So, just about a year later I’m manning the front restaurant and am having some trouble with a table. They’re being very rude, very demanding, and finishing perhaps half of their starters, most of them had complaints for me to send back to the kitchen. Fine by me, I didn’t cook the food. But the chef tastes all of it, declares it fine, and calls them a bunch of pricks (from the kitchen). Then Lynne checks out the table and clocks them as the same four people she served the previous year. Knowing what’s about to happen, I serve the mains, and again they polish off half their plates and rattle off a list of complaints about the standard of the food. They order desserts, and again they’re just no good. I think the only thing that was up to their standards was the complimentary bread rolls.
Come bill-paying time I know what’s up, and get the owner to speak to the table himself. They chew him out for the quality of food and the poor service, he listens and knowingly points out that he’s surprised they returned, seeing as they were so unhappy last time. They argue back and forth for a little bit and ultimately settle on a half-price meal. He takes a debit card, smiles politely, takes it to the bar, charges the full whack plus a small tip to the card, hands it back, and tells them to get out.
The job was lousy but Jesus, I could have kissed my boss for that one. So much satisfaction. It turns out we were not the only restaurant in the area they had done this to, so the owner did a bit of networking and made sure they wouldn’t be pulling it off anywhere within a 10 mile radius.”
All That Trouble For Nothing
“I used to work at a burger place on the main street downtown in my city, that was open relatively late. So, one Sunday night I’m working my first closing shift. It’s been pretty dead so far so the manager lets the other waitresses go. It’s just me and another waitress working at this point, and it’s going pretty well, I’m getting ahead in my re-stocking and cleaning. There’s about an hour left and suddenly people start coming in. At first, it’s manageable, but we’re suddenly hit with a huge rush. So as I’m scrambling around, trying to serve everyone and stay on top of my stuff, my manager sits at a table with three old women and one of their middle-aged sons.
So I go and greet them and ask if I can get them anything to drink. The older women all want hot water with lemon and the son wants a Busch. Okay easy enough, I go and bring it to them and ask if they’re ready to order. They say no, and ask me to come back in 20 minutes because they want to chat and look over the menu. Fair enough, more time for me to go and take care of my other customers. So the next twenty minutes go by without a hitch, and I’m feeling pretty good about things. I go back to the table and ask them if they’ve had enough time to look over the menu, they order their food as well as more hot water. Now I noticed that none of them had touched their hot water, but they wanted more because it had gone lukewarm. I comply, as well as get the man another drink.
Now the rush hadn’t really let up, so I was still running around. I had just placed their order and had given them their drinks, and was heading to another table with my hands full of plates when I’m suddenly yanked backward, spilling all the fries off a plate everywhere. I turn around to see who the heck had grabbed my arm and it was the son. He told me that his mother’s water was not hot enough and I needed to fix it now, as well as bring him more drinks. I just stared at him and said, in a moment sir I need to drop these plates off, and then I’ll take care of that immediately. He lets go and I run-up to the table whose food I was carrying apologizing and run back to get them more fries and fetch more hot water.
I get to the table to exchange the water and see that she had not taken a drink of her water, in fact, none of them had. I’m annoyed because as I pick up the hot water it is still noticeably hot. The son grabs my arm again and asks where the food is. I tell him that I was just going to the kitchen to check on it, but wanted to make sure his mother had her water. He stared at me for a beat, still gripping onto my arm and making me slightly uncomfortable and quite annoyed until he let me go with a dismissive wave. I go to the kitchen and grab their food, and bring it to them.
By the time I get back the man asks for another Busch. I go get it and when I come back the women ask for more hot water. Again, they have yet to touch their drinks. I’m getting incredibly fed up, but just grab their still-full cups and go to the serving area and get the bottle. As I’m pouring it I get my arm yanked back and spill Busch everywhere on myself and the counter and get physically turned around. It’s the son. He demands to know what the heck is my problem and why his burger is so undercooked. I stammer my apology and go with him back to the table to see what he means. He had asked for it medium well, and so I check and don’t see a problem. I ask him what exactly is wrong and he points out the little bit of pink.
At this point, I’m mad and covered in Busch, but I’m going to be nice as the rush is over and there’s no point in arguing. So as I get ready to leave one of the older women pipes up and asks me why I’ve been slacking on keeping their water warm. I turn around and see that none of them have touched their water. I’m incredibly frustrated and just dont know what to say so I walked away and went into the kitchen to get him a new burger and cool off. They eventually left 40 minutes later, after making me return their burger another time and re-heat their water another four times. They also didn’t tip. They still hadn’t touched it and I wanted to just never deal with customers after that.”
Who’s In The Wrong Here?
“I’m a server now, which can (obviously) have awful moments, but when I was a cashier/hostess, DANG. I think hosting is the worst. Honest to god, by coincidence, the rotation we have had me accused of being bigoted and accused of discriminating against fat people.
In the first instance, it just so happened that the pattern customers were walking in was black, white, black, white, blah blah blah… Two servers on. Cool, whatever, I don’t even think about it. Anyway, I’m sure you can see where this is going, but a lady accused me of being prejudiced because I was seating all the black people in the ‘back’ of our restaurant. Tried to explain it was merely coincidence based on our rotation, number of servers, etc. and that she was more than welcome to sit wherever she liked. She still complained about me to the manager.
In the second instance, a table of three (regulars that everyone hates serving) walks in, I was still fairly new and didn’t realize they always HAVE to sit in a booth (seriously, I hate booths). Again, it was the rotation at our restaurant that caused this. I attempted to take them to a section of tables, but before I can even get there, one of the ladies yells at me and says, ‘Honey, I know we’re fat, but we can still fit in a booth.’ I am stunned into silence for a bit, then try to stammer out some sort of response while I redirect myself toward a booth. She then says something like how they know how to maintain the perfect amount of fat to fit in a booth. She was half-joking, in a snooty kind of way, while I tried to apologize and assure her that I wasn’t judging them based on their weight. So freaking awkward.”