Restaurants see all types of people - some good, some bad. These servers share stories of the rudest, most unbelievable customers who went out of their way to cause a scene.
She Was The Grown-Up But She Acted Like This…
“While I was cleaning up the dining area of the hospital I worked at, there was a pregnant woman and her husband/baby daddy, whatever, sitting at the very back table in a corner. While I was picking up napkins, I heard the pregnant lady start yelling random things at me. ‘I wish I was cool enough to have my phone in my back pocket!’ …What? I ignored her but she kept at it: ‘Your job looks soooo cool.’ ‘Hey, you missed a spot.’ I didn’t know what to think. I mean she wasn’t a teenager, it was a grown up mom-to-be and I was just an 18-year-old girl. Plus I’m only 4’11 so I’m not a threat to anyone and hate confrontation. Anyway, I finished up their side of the room and went to the other side. When I had finally finished, I came back to see they were gone, but before they left, they pulled out all the chairs away from the table, threw napkins EVERYWHERE, turned the salt/pepper shakers upside down, and smeared some kind of sauce on the table. Awesome. All I can say is, I hope they gave that poor kid up for adoption.”
“Cruel Parents, Horrible Customers”
“I work as a waitress in a family run café in a relatively small country town. The place I work at is really busy normally; today was a bank holiday so it was even busier. I don’t usually complain about busy days, but with the combination of us being understaffed and a waiter being ‘ill,’ it was hard work. Anyway, it was around 4:00 (and we close and go home at 5:00), so we began to do the cleaning and the jobs we have to do before closing when a family of six, including a toddler, arrived.
First, they complained that the high-chair wasn’t clean (a lie, as I personally cleaned it when it was last used), but I cleaned it for them anyway. They then ordered their food. When I took the food to them, the toddler screamed about not wanting to eat. I have younger siblings so I attempted to make him excited about the food. I said that the beans were super beans and if he ate them he might become a superhero (we have superhero masks for birthday parties). The parents looked horrified and the dad told me to ‘butt out.’ I continued my job and served them and walked away. When I came back the kid had eaten all his food and asked me if he would be a superhero now, so I got him a mask and told him well done. The parents complained about me and the manager ended up telling me to go home. When I came back the following week the family came in again. Not only did the toddler recognized me, but he got smacked when he said hello to me. They also complained about every little thing. Cruel parents, horrible customers. Luckily this time, the manager agreed with me and kicked them out.”
“This Pizza Was My Uncle’s Dying Wish”
“I work at a ‘family owned’ pizza parlor in Tennessee. Everyone in town raves that we serve the best pizza they’ve ever had and people come from all over the country for our famed volcano pizzas. Probably the worst customer I’ve dealt with was a woman who threatened to sue me for her incorrect order. It was a busy Saturday night and we had an hour wait. I was taking an order over the phone and it was obvious that the woman on the other end was hard of hearing. She told me she wanted a 14? everything pizza. This was not uncommon, but it was a thirty dollar pizza. She told me her brother was in the hospital two hours away and she wanted us to wrap the pizza in aluminum foil so it would stay hot. Normally we don’t wrap cooked pizzas simply because the cheese would stick to the foil. I asked the woman several times if she wanted the pizza baked or unbaked. She assured me that she wanted us to put the pizza in the oven. I told her the wait was about an hour. She said she would see us then.
Twenty minutes later her daughter walks in. She demands the pizza right then. I told her that it still had a little time left on it and if she wanted to wait we would have it out to her ASAP. She sat right in front of the register and glared at me until the pizza came out. I sat the pizza on the counter and called her name. She walked up to the counter and opened the pizza box. I asked if everything was okay. She picked up the pizza and threw it at my head (it had to weigh at least 8 pounds). She was livid. ‘MY MOTHER TOLD YOU THE PIZZA WAS TO BE UNBAKED! YOU ILLITERATE IDIOT.’ (I still do not know how this made me illiterate). I apologized and told her I would go get a manager, sauce dripping from my face. One of the managers rushed over to see if they could try to make things better. She pointed at me and said, ‘My uncle is in the hospital two hours away. Who in their right mind would get a cooked pizza to take two hours away? This pizza was my uncle’s dying wish. He will BE DEAD TONIGHT. If he dies without his pizza, I will sue her. I will make her life so awful that she will wish it was her in that hospital bed.’ I was a mess by this point. I excused myself to the back and cleaned the pizza off my face. My manager took thirty dollars out of the register, threw it on the counter, and told her to get out. To this day I always repeat the order several times each time a customer calls. I’m utterly terrified of something like that happening again.”
“Did She Have To Milk The Cows Herself?”
“It was almost ten at night and I was scheduled to be off of the floor once the overnight server showed up. Right at ten with the other server nowhere in sight, a large man walked in; I greeted him. ‘There will be sixteen of us,’ he informs me. I silently laugh inside because this should have been the other server’s table. ‘Nooooooo problem!’ I always try to be cheery. Customers seem to think my perky attitude is cute so I milk it at work. ‘It will just take me one moment to get your tables ready.’ People start pouring into the lobby from outside. They almost all have the same hefty build and hook nose; my guess it’s a family outing.
I rush off to push four tables together, set them and seat my now LOUDLY complaining guests. I give them a minute to settle in. The overnight server is still not here so I take their drink orders. Eleven of them ordered shakes which we have to make by hand because our machine broke earlier this afternoon. Instead of lying and saying we were out of ice cream like a sensible person, I hurried off to check on my two other tables first before fetching the other five-gallon drum of ice cream I knew I would need from the freezer. It took me almost nine minutes to make all of the shakes. I made sure to make every single one look fantastic since the wait was so long. I carried them out on two trays, and as I approached the table I heard, ‘It’s about time. Did she have to milk the cows herself?!’ I ignore the comment; it isn’t the first time I have heard this and it likely won’t be the last. I don’t exactly work on the ‘Good’ side of town.
‘Sorry about the wait on those folks. Our mixer broke earlier and I had to mix these bad boys by hand!’ I smile and try to keep the mood light. I do my job and pleasantly hand out the shakes. From the start, I can see a little old lady eyeing me from the middle of the table. This little old lady is not Betty White. This woman looks like she might have some bullet holes under her clothing. This woman has seen some things in her lifetime. As I make my rounds getting closer to the grandma, she turns to me and literally yells: ‘I NEVER SAID I WANTED MY SHAKE RIGHT NOW! I WANT IT WITH MY MEAL.’ This woman’s reaction was so over the top and rude that it left me a little stunned. I couldn’t help but to stare blankly at her for a second. ‘I am really sorry ma’am. I assumed that you wanted your shake with everybody else since I was not given any instruction otherwise.’ I am polite but blunt; she never said not to bring it out and I really do not enjoy being yelled at. ‘I want it with my dinner.’ She is quite a bit meaner than anybody in a pink sweater with a cat on it should ever be. ‘No problem ma’am. I will make you a new one when your food is ready.’ I am walking behind her at this point with her shake that she isn’t ready for on the tray. She turns around as I pass her and takes her shake off of the tray. At this point in time I know exactly how this table is going to behave. They will be rude, demanding, want extra stuff for free, and I am dreading it. I just want to go home and play with my dog. I silently hope my coworker gets herpes.
I say nothing about the shake even though I should have charged her for it because it really isn’t worth the argument I know will follow. I go to hand out one of the shakes (only three more to go!) when a large gentleman sitting opposite me raises his hand in the air as if this was a classroom. ‘Yes sir?’ I ask sweetly. Keep in mind I still have three large shakes on a tray in my hand and am using my spare hand to give them out. ‘I want a bacon barbecue burger with extra bacon. I want it rare with no pickles, lettuce, no onion, extra barbecue, extra mayo and a side of…’ At this point I cut him off. I don’t have a great memory so I make up for that by taking detailed notes with short hand. But in order for that to work, I need to be able to write it down. ‘Sir, could you just give me a second to hand these out and I will be more than happy to take your order?’ I asked sweetly, though it was pretty clear this was not a request. I handed out the last shake, grabbed my notepad and began to audibly recall his order. By some miracle I got his burger specifications correct, but he was not as excited about this as I was. Oh, no.
‘Why did you interrupt me if you didn’t need to write it down?’ he said. I quickly glance around for a sympathetic eye; they are all staring at me wanting an answer. ‘Sir I was busy handing out the refreshments and I am not great at recalling orders correctly from memory. I needed to make sure I got it right.’ I explain myself in a pleasant but no nonsense manner. I am not going to stand here and suck up for the ten dollar tip I assume they will leave me; ten if I am lucky. I get a few more orders in before I come to the only person my age, late twenties. He is staring at his cellphone so I try to get his attention. ‘Alright trouble, what can I get you tonight?’ I live in the Midwest and most men here like this kind of banter from a waitress. I can usually have a lot of fun with guys because of the ability to joke around. I realized when he looked up at me that I misjudged my audience. ‘Don’t call me that.’ He gives me the dirtiest look I have ever gotten from a customer and I decide to shut up right then. I finish taking orders and don’t say another word.
As I am putting in their orders I got a few other tables, and since I am the only one working I seat them, put my party’s order in, and then give drinks to my new tables. My party’s food takes a half hour to come out. They stopped me to complain literally every five minutes; I had to start avoiding them. Once their food is up I start bringing it out right away; I don’t want to hear that any of it is cold. I hand everything on the first large tray out (six meals) before informing them that I need to make another two trips. ‘They don’t have a tray big enough?’ a new contender snips at me; this is a much older man, possibly in his eighties. ‘No we do not sir, and even if we did, I don’t think I could lift that much. Food for sixteen people, that would weigh an awful lot,’ I answer with a chuckle. Elderly men are my bread and butter; I feel comfortable. ‘If you can’t do the work maybe you need to stay home where you belong.’
Now I very rarely have to deal with sexist comments, and when I do I see them as ignorant and easily brush them off. This, however, got to me. I very wisely decide to keep my trap shut and go back for more food. The overnight server finally showed up; she misread her schedule. She helps me bring out the other trays while I hand everything out to everybody. As I get to the last person I feel a wave of relief… until somebody speaks. ‘Miss, where are our drinks?’ I look over to see the middle-aged lady that looks like a fat Rob Schneider. I look at their table confused; they have their shakes. ‘I told you that we needed six Cokes, four Sprites, three milks and three waters with lemon.’ The woman smiles sweetly at me but she never said a word to me about any other drinks. Nobody did except the gangsta granny whose shake I brought out. ‘I’m sorry ma’am, I must not have heard you. I will go get those for you now.’ I write them down while I can still remember what she said. I don’t want to ask anybody at this table anything twice.
‘What did you just say to me?’ She leans over the table, twisting her neck to glare at me. Once again I am totally baffled, standing there like a deer in headlights. ‘I said that I must not have heard you and I’ll go get the drinks.’ She nods slowly. ‘Yes, yes you will.’ She is so condescending it infuriates me, but I stay cool. I say nothing and walk into the back. Once they can no longer see me I flip both middle fingers into the air towards them; I wave them around enthusiastically. The cooks behind me laugh and I get the drinks for the rudest family I have ever met. I bring all of the drinks out on one of our big trays, not wanting to make two trips. I set the tray down and start handing out drinks and everything goes fine. I check back on my sixteen top five minutes later and see most of them are done eating, so I begin asking if I can clear their empty plates. They do not like this. ‘Stop trying to rush us!’ the first person I asked snapped at me. I put my hands up and stepped away. I transferred their ticket to the overnight server and wished her luck; I was done waiting on them. She texted me about a half hour after I left. They all got dessert (the servers prepare the desserts) and left two dollars as a tip. Their bill was well over two hundred dollars… some people.”
“It Turns Out This ‘Heavenly Saint’ And His Friend Were Actually…”
“I have been an overnight server for quite some time now, always taking the shifts no one else truly wants due to the tremendous amount of nut jobs that come in late at night. But I have always found that drunk people tip well and are actually pretty fun to wait on. However, to this day, I still cannot get over the situation I went through on a particular Friday night at a 24-hour diner I had just started working at known for their ‘pancakes.’
The night had been fairly slow, even during the bar rush, when two guys came in yelling and hollering for a waitress. I took them to their table in my section and got their drink order out promptly. Both men had Australian accents, so I kept asking them about where they were from and why they were in America and such. At this moment a second party came in consisting of a bald, enormously tall guy, and a makeup-smeared sack of old skin he referred to as his girlfriend. I sat the people in my section in the booth right next to the two Aussies and got their drink orders, as they savagely macked on each other like they were going to make love right in the booth. Working nights, I am definitely used to old drunken PDAs, but this was a whole other level, and she even tried unzipping his pants but couldn’t figure out how in her drunken state. They asked me if I’d come over that night, and of course it already began to get awkward for me.
At this point, I was taking the order of the Aussies who were being highly flirtatious (something I’m pretty used to being a server in a room full of drunk dudes), when the big, tall guy leaned in so his girlfriend could whisper something in his ear. He stood up, and literally grabbed and French kissed me aggressively right in front of everyone in the restaurant!!! I pushed him off me and began to yell at him to sit down or I’d call the police, when the short Aussie literally jumped up on the booth and catapulted his tiny self on top of this guy. They began fighting right in front of me as the Aussie told him he needed to learn respect, and the old hag started throwing glass cups, plates, and even food at them. Fortunately, the restaurant was a hot spot for cops late at night who loved doing paperwork. So before I could call the police department, four police officers rushed from the front door to the scene and pulled the two men apart with force.
I told the police about how the short Australian guy had practically saved me from this big lug in a weird way and how I wanted to thank him, when they began laughing at me. It turns out this ‘heavenly saint’ and his friend were Americans who would commonly get drunk, use terrible accents to attract women and bring them back to their place, and the cops had seen them pull this trick firsthand at my restaurant on several different occasions. I looked over at the two guys who were talking with other officers and heard their real accents for the first time… yep, straight Americans. As for the couple, they had outstanding warrants and were taken to jail that night despite them feeling it ‘wasn’t fair.’ I left that morning after my shift completely flabbergasted and secretly hoping Mr. Fake Accent would stop by again so I could give him a piece of my mind about his con. Turns out he did, and kept pulling the same dumb con almost every week for the entire year I worked there.”
The Cell Phone Scroller
“It was 7:30 on a Saturday night and I was deep in the weeds due to our third server calling in sick. Every single table in the restaurant was full. All of my tables contained at least three people with the exception of one — Table forty-three. My first impression of this older couple was not great. When I tried to tell them my name, the wife interrupted me with her drink order followed by very specific instructions on how to slice her lemon. Her husband just ordered coffee, but insisted I brew him a fresh pot which I had zero intention of doing. I got their drinks, a lemon wedge cut the way I always cut them as I am busy, and extra napkins because I am sure they will ask for them. When I got back to the table, the husband smiles sweetly while his wife scrolled away on her smart phone. ‘We are going to need more time sweetie,’ the husband said to me as he gestured towards his wife.
I tried to check back with them a few minutes later, but as I approached the table the wife shooed me away with her heavily bejeweled hand. I focused on my other tables for about five minutes before being given a party of ten. I get their drinks as fast as I can, before walking a loop to check on my other tables before checking back with the first person to ever shoo me. I apologize for the wait before explaining we are a server short on a very busy evening. They are ready to order. I take the man’s order first, and then with the best fake smile I could muster, I take the wife’s. She asks me at least three questions about every entrée we have, all of which could have been answered by reading the menu with the glasses sitting on top of her head. I have a party of ten along with about fifteen other tables because a coworker had called in; I didn’t have time for this game.
I finally get her order down after about seven minutes, and as I start to walk away she grabs the back of my shirt jerking it hard enough to startle me. I politely ask her what else I can get her and she starts asking me questions about the dessert items… all of them. When I began to answer her first question she looked down at her phone as it lit up with a message. I was swearing at her telepathically as she began to scroll on Facebook after answering her text message. She assured me she was listening, but because of her lurking on Facebook while I was explaining the desserts to her, I had to repeat each answer at least twice. After her taking up ten minutes of my time with round two of a million questions, I started to get a little agitated. She asked me to repeat myself one too many times and my happy demeanor dissolved. I cleared my throat and told her, ‘Ma’am, we are packed tonight. I have half of this restaurant to myself and you are taking up all of my time.’
In print this may not seem so bad, but I was pissed and I have a very expressive face. ‘If you can’t make a decision I can come back, but I will not stand here anymore while you stare at your phone.’ She quickly ordered desert without looking at me and didn’t talk to me the rest of the night. When I was back in the kitchen getting ready to run food to my party, my manager told me somebody up front wanted to see me. It was the shooing woman’s husband. He handed me a twenty-dollar bill before thanking me for my ‘outstanding’ patience. I am not proud of getting upset, but anybody who has ever been a server for a good amount of time will probably understand my reaction.”
“I Guess You Didn’t Get The Hint”
“Our restaurant presents live musical performances on Fridays and Saturdays; usually upbeat jazz and R&B. These shows are very, very popular, and we encourage people (via our website and press releases) to call the restaurant to reserve a seat. I was in the middle of seating a whole lot of people on a Friday night; the place was packed; four of my most favorite customers (who’d called the week before to reserve) were with me, heading toward one of the prime tables in the restaurant. The five of us were nearly knocked over by a rather rotund woman and her husband who went running past us — and sat down at the table we were headed to (it was marked with a card saying ‘reserved’).
I asked my customers to bear with us a moment and went to tell the couple that they couldn’t sit there; it’d been reserved and that I’d be happy to get them another table if they’d wait for a moment. The lady looked at me and said ‘we’re not moving.’ I replied that she was a party of two occupying a reserved table set for four. Again, all she said was ‘we’re not moving.’ Not wanting to cause a scene; I seated my table of four at a booth (one they really didn’t want — but they were understanding) and then went to my service staff and told the server in that section that I did not want her to waste her time on the offending couple; that I just wanted them to wait and maybe they’d just go away. Over the next 45 minutes, the woman continued to sit there, oblivious to the fact that she was being intentionally ignored, except for the fact that every time I passed the table, she’d utter some sort of obscenity, very loudly, in my direction. It started to wear on the diners seated in the vicinity.
I finally went to the table and said, ‘I guess you didn’t get the hint; you and your date need to leave right now.’ To which she again said, ‘we’re not moving.’ I called the police. We have a liquor license and are therefore entitled to eject any customer, for any reason, without repercussion. It seemed to me if an individual was being this belligerent she must’ve had something to drink, or worse. But I must tell you I can’t stand having to call the police — I’d much rather reserve that for when we really need them. Most of the time, I can get even the most unreasonable customer to a middle ground where we can at least respect each other. In this case it just wasn’t going to happen.
When the officers arrived, they heard what was going on and rolled their eyes in disbelief that all I called them for was a customer who wouldn’t change her table. I was telling them the details of this woman’s behavior as we approached the table (two of the four tables surrounding this woman applauded me and the cops when we arrived – they stood and applauded) and when she turned around and saw us all, she lunged up at me with her water glass, aiming it right at my face. The cops tackled her but not before I got a glass full of water all over my suit and a nasty knot in my head where the glass hit me (thank God it didn’t break). Meanwhile, astonishingly, her date stood by, wordlessly. When prompted by the police for a comment, he just said, ‘Oh, she’s pretty demanding. She’s like this all the time.’ We were rendered momentarily speechless. He seemed genuinely surprised when they put the handcuffs on the lady.
She, meanwhile, was vomiting obscenities and told the police and me that our mothers were some not nice things. Now, I could’ve filed assault charges that’d have resulted in up to five years’ jail time in our state. I declined. I did, however, tell the Court that I wanted this woman to get some sort of counseling — the judge concurred. Now, when that party of four, the ones who the table was intended for, comes in for one of their frequent visits to our restaurant, we have a little schtick. They sit down immediately at their favorite table, and when I come to get their drink orders, they all chime in at once ‘We’re not moving!'”
Wannabe “Health Inspector”
“Everyone knows and dreads those persnickety customers who come in looking for something to complain about. They’re on high alert their entire meal, waiting for the chance to ruin someone’s day. Well, they got me today. Let me preface by saying that whenever my restaurant gets its health inspection, we always pass with flying colors. Our staff is great about cleaning and good habits, so it’s not like anybody has to worry about the place being dirty.
It was a slow Tuesday night shift in the restaurant. Everything was going fine. I had a couple of tables outside, but I wasn’t in a hurry for anything. The inside section near the bar was almost empty except for one table right beside the service bar. It was warm outside and I made the wrong decision to wear pants instead of shorts, so I wanted to roll up my cuffs while I was waiting for a drink to be made. Admittedly, I made a mistake by putting my foot on a shelf where there are bone baskets and app plates, but people put their feet on shelves everywhere else in the restaurant and no one has ever thrown a fit.
I put my foot up on the very edge of the shelf and cuffed my pants, and from behind me I hear, ‘That’s not very sanitary; you shouldn’t be doing that.’ I turned around and muttered ‘sorry’ and put my foot on the bottom of the bar ledge (where people are supposed to put their feet). I thought that would be the end of it. I was wrong. This lady is still complaining vehemently. ‘You need to take everything off that shelf and sanitize it. That’s disgusting; I wonder what other kinds of unsanitary things are happening in this place.’ She proceeds to get a manager, and says she doesn’t even want to eat her food and she wants me written up for that, etc, etc. I took a sanitizer towel to the entire part of the exposed shelf even though my foot didn’t go anywhere near the rest of the stuff on it. I guess that wasn’t enough because she insisted that the manager take everything off the shelf (under her scrutiny) and run it through the dishwasher. I couldn’t even go on that side of the restaurant until they left. Funny thing was, I cleaned that entire area top to bottom the night before. She was just a miserable nightmare. I have to give props to my manager, though. He took my side, didn’t give them anything for free (because they didn’t deserve it at all). I didn’t get written up, and we all had a good laugh about how annoying they were.”
“I’m In A Rush”
“I had a day off and went to breakfast at one of my favorite local places, a restaurant attached to a B&B that only served breakfast and dinner. I came in around 8:45 and ordered. They closed for breakfast at 9:30, but always seated customers up until the last minute. I’ve already paid my bill and finished eating, but I end up chatting with my regular waitress and sipping coffee. At 9:30 on the dot a woman comes into the restaurant. She immediately claims she’s in a hurry and needs her food quickly (shouldn’t be a problem since there’s no one else in the restaurant). As soon as she sits down, she gets on her cell phone. The waitress makes several attempts to take her order, but the woman continues to talk and laugh loudly on her phone for fifteen minutes (keep in mind this is a small restaurant with a quiet atmosphere), only bothering to say ‘hot tea’ in between phone calls. At this point I’m just sticking around to watch the show. The woman tries to open her teabag with her teeth and one hand while holding the phone with her other. Of course, she breaks the teabag inside. At this point, she finally decides to get off the phone and gets huffy with the waitress about the ‘defective teabag’ and how she needs to place her order ‘right now because she’s in a hurry.’ It’s now thirty minutes past closing. The waitress dutifully replaces the teabag and takes her order. Oatmeal. Yes, she wasted thirty minutes of the waitress’ and chef’s time to order $2.50 worth of items off the menu. At that point I left, so I don’t know how long the woman stayed at the restaurant, but I brought it up to my waitress the next time I went to eat there. My waitress rolled her eyes. ‘She does the same thing every week. And not once has she ever tipped.'”
Bluffing At The Buffet
“Ah, Mother’s Day brunch. A paradox to all servers. While we have to deal with not seeing our families and instead cater to loads of little fully awake children, we also have a great opportunity to make tons of money. This past Mother’s Day, the restaurant I work at offered a $39 buffet. It was LOADED with good stuff. We also featured a deal where kids 15 and under paid their age. A pretty stellar bargain, considering I’ve seen 15-year-old boys eat. They aren’t messing around. Around noon, a table walked in. All the servers trembled in fear as to who would have to serve this group of three women and seven kids under 10 years old. My friend (bless her) volunteered as tribute. Upon greeting her table, the first words fired back to her from one woman were, ‘I just had surgery. I can’t eat much on your buffet. Can you let me eat for half price?’ The server smiled, gained her composure and told the lady she would check. Being a holiday, and considering we try to keep people happy, the manager said he would let her eat for $20. Had that been all, nobody would mind. However, this lady went up to the buffet more than anyone else at her table. Waffles, shrimp, crab legs, benedicts, chocolate cake. I told her server to charge her normally after that showing. She didn’t. What did she get tipped on this table? Fifteen dollars. Ten people. Brunch. Hell on earth. Holiday. Fifteen dollars. Some people don’t deserve brunch.”
The Photo Lady
“It was a Sunday afternoon which is generally a very busy time for the restaurant I work at, as we receive a lot of lunch bookings. I was serving two large tables who were both celebrating something, so I really wanted to make sure that they received the best service. I was in the process of getting the birthday cake out of the fridge for one of the tables, ensuring that it was prompt since they had to leave soon. On my way, I was stopped by a lady who was dining alone and seemed like a tourist. She wanted me to take a photo of her at her table, which is a very normal request since our venue has very nice views by the window. I stopped and took a few photos and handed her back the camera.
I was then stopped by another table who had a quick question about the menu when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around — it was the photo lady again. I said, ‘I’m very sorry, I’m with another customer at the moment, but I’ll be with you shortly.’ She tapped my shoulder again, clearly ignoring what I had just said and interrupted my conversation with the other table to complain about the photos I just took. I had just finished talking with the other table, so I turned to her and asked her what the problem was. She picked up her camera and pointed at one of the photos. ‘See here, you can’t see the salmon on my plate. The chips are in the way. Can you please take another photo. I want to be able to see the salmon on my plate.’ I was baffled at how idiotic this request was and annoyed since I had my birthday table in mind, but I took a few more photos anyway. ‘How are those?’ I asked (BIG MISTAKE).
‘Oh no, these are terrible, you made me look fat. Can you take more and make sure they are above the waist so I don’t look fat.’ So again, I took a few more. ‘Please take some portrait shots too. They are for my family overseas so I want them to be nice.’ Five minutes later — she finally seemed happy with the photos so I went on my way to deliver the cake to my table. As I was walking over, I saw the photo lady out of the corner of my eye getting one of my co-workers to take more photos of her. I was really frustrated since she had just wasted my time with these photos which now seemed even more pointless, plus the restaurant was still quite busy. Whatever. I just focused on my tables.
About 15 minutes later I happened to walk past her table again and noticed that she had now asked one of the OTHER DINERS to take photos of her. The other diners had JUST received their meals and it seemed as though they were on a date. She asked the male patron to follow her outside and take photos of her (I’m sure he was trying to be polite) leaving his female companion to dine alone. I was infuriated. Another 15 minutes had passed and I was in the kitchen when another waitress then walked in with the photo lady’s half-eaten salmon dish, saying that the lady had spilled her champagne all over it and would like a new meal. The kitchen didn’t skip a beat and began preparing one. The waitress then added, ‘Oh, but this time she would like salad instead of chips.’ This immediately rang alarm bells in my head, but the chef still prepared her a salad and sent it out. From the kitchen, I saw the waitress take the meal over to the photo lady and she seemed uninterested when it arrived. I thought that this was very rude after she had practically just received a free meal without a hassle.
Some more time had passed and my large table had all finished their meals when I noticed that the photo lady had BARELY touched her meal and was just playing on her phone. I walked over to her and asked her if everything was okay with her meal. ‘No. The salmon is cold,’ she said bluntly. This infuriated me even more, but I remained calm and replied, ‘I’m sorry ma’am, but I was in the kitchen when I saw your meal leave steaming hot and it has been sitting on your table for over 20 minutes, so there’s not much I can do about that.’ ‘Oh,’ she said, disappointed. She then began to slowly eat her meal visibly annoyed and pouting like a child. At this point, the lady had been here for 2 hours; this was just ridiculous. Finally, she had finished and was about to leave. She got up to pay and I was nearby when I heard the conversation she had with the manager who was fixing up her bill. She basically argued that her glass of champagne should be taken off the bill since she had spilled it on her meal (she had drunk half of it anyway). My manager calmly told her that it wasn’t the restaurant’s responsibility for the spillage and that he couldn’t take it off. She seemed very annoyed, continued to argue her point, but she eventually paid and left. A while later one of the other waitresses revealed to me that she had witnessed the lady purposely knock the almost finished glass of champagne over her half-eaten meal, so it was clear that she was just trying to scam us into giving her a free meal and drink. She was easily among the most irritating customers I have ever experienced — and I hope all her 1000 photos turned out terrible.”
This Elderly Woman Knew How To Make An Entrance
“This woman has stuck in my memory through the years, she truly taught me to be patient as a server.
I used to work in a small family run restaurant that depended on regular customers. The same girls worked the same days every week, knew our customers by name, knew when we could expect some of them, and often knew their order when they walked in the door. One woman came in 2-4 times each week. She was an elderly woman in a wheelchair and was dropped off by a city bus. After being wheeled inside, on nice days she’d demand to be taken back out by the benches to sit and enjoy the sunshine. Every couple of minutes she had to be checked on to see if she was ready to be brought in. When she was ready, one of 2 tables was to already be set for her, with a chair removed and all of the condiments moved to the end of the table within arm’s reach. These were fairly reasonable requests for a sweet little old lady. Yet this is when she became a real pain.
She could never make up her mind, even after being checked on several times. After a while, she often settled for hot tea and some crackers to start with. You had to put 2 Sweet’N Lows in her tea for her. An extra tea bag had to be put in her pot of extra water because ‘it wasn’t going to make tea itself’ as she often reminded me. Sometimes she even needed a third tea bag. I never got why, but got it anyway. To eat she usually wanted a simple grilled cheese sandwich. Easy order, right? They came standard with 5 slices of cheese. She swore there was only one and she needed 2, so they put 2 EXTRA on it for her. I then had to cut the sandwich in half, then only one of the halves in half again. After a quarter was eaten, she sent it back for more cheese. Another quarter, more cheese. By this point, they had to make a whole new sandwich, which angered her and the cooks, but as she was a faithful customer, the owner insisted she got anything she wanted, even when it was 3 onion rings (bring her 2 or 4 and prepare to be yelled at).
The owner finally called her son to request she not order any more grilled cheese sandwiches, it got that bad. As a newer server, she usually got pawned off on me or another server who had started just before me. We always argued over who got stuck with her. On top of the workload for one person, she took us away from other tables, was rude, and usually tipped 50 cents. I eventually got used to waiting on her and learned her routine. I spent a few extra seconds just chatting every time I stopped by her table, and even got her to crack a smile a few times. I started learning what she wanted before she asked and noticed that the more I did without being asked, and the more time I spent just chatting, my tip started increasing. I realized she was just lonely and didn’t know how to take care of herself. She still put other servers through the usual ordeal, but was always much easier on me. Crazy as it might be, I kind of miss her.”
He Was Trying To Hide It On The Floor!
“A federal judge walks into a restaurant with a martini… Wait, that’s not a joke, that happened the other night. Not only is it a violation of my liquor license, it’s just gauche. I’m a manager and tried to unobtrusively and politely pull the drink without causing a scene, all while explaining that it was a violation of our liquor license and I couldn’t allow this guest to keep the martini he had dumped into his wine glass. This is the email we got: ‘We had a very nice dinner Wednesday night celebrating our 36th anniversary. But I thought you would like to know that the manager was extremely rude to us. We exited the limo and our best man had not finished his martini. So he carried it into the restaurant. The hostess said she would have to speak to the manager. He stormed over to the table and scooped up the drink with nary a word. Our friend was no ordinary scofflaw but a federal judge who has just lost his wife. Most restaurants allow wine to be brought in. I think this could have been handled in a more gracious fashion. As I said, we did not allow it to tarnish our evening. Thought you would want to know.’ In reality this ‘judge’ was trying to hide his martini on the floor. If anyone should know better, you’d think it was him, except for his sense of entitlement.”