The mantra, "the customer is always right," that restaurants operate by has been completely abused by the pricks of society. These customers don't want a server, they want a punching bag. Sometimes it takes a fed-up employee to bring them back down to Earth.
Let's take a look at the most satisfying times servers have stood up to rude customers.
All posts have been edited for clarity.
Bravo! Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
“I used to work in a busy food place in an airport. We were working for minimum wage and understaffed every day, so it was a pretty stressful job in itself. Most of the people I met were great, usually excited to go on holiday. Then there would be the business people or pilots and flight attendants that I would see often and made friends with.
Then there were the regular travelers who were just nasty people. They would wait for me to do a closing clean in an already closed airport, and then they would just welcome themselves. That meant that I missed my bus and had to walk home four miles.
The absolute worst was when a man came in with his family. I could just tell they were snotty with the way they were looking at people. So they came to my register, ordered a baguette sandwich, and I gave them the subtotal and said that their order was for take-away.
The man screamed, ‘Where on Earth am I supposed to eat it??’
Then the wife looked at me and said, ‘Not very bright, is she?’
So I decided to put on my biggest smile and sarcastically said, ‘It is a bit tricky to understand how the total price is calculated.’
That led to a back and forth between me and the psycho family. At one point, the man shouted about what a joke I was which prompted an elderly lady to start shouting at him. That made him more upset to the point that he leaned over the counter and started shouting at me.
I called security and the whole family was kicked out of the airport.
Their children were screaming in their high-pitched voices, ‘Why are they doing this mummy?!’
I told my senior manager I felt threatened. I didn’t actually feel threatened, but the guy was being a nightmare for absolutely no reason.
The couple was banned from the airport for six months, so they couldn’t just re-book the flight they had missed as a result of the incident. They weren’t reimbursed because the whole situation was completely their fault and the hotel wouldn’t reimburse them for the missed days on their trip. I could have gotten them arrested but I chose not to because of the kids. The parents were humiliated by the whole situation and even tried to use sweet voices as they were walked out of the airport.
It was a proud moment of mine. Never assume employees can’t protect themselves, or that we love our jobs enough that we won’t retaliate.”
“I was working in a small café in my neighborhood that had maybe a dozen tables, and it was only open for breakfast and lunch. It was a fun job but it was made more fun by my recently immigrated Italian boss. 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 his coffee. He showed me the scar from where she shot him. I might have made a comment about how 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 was fussy about my own coffee.
But every morning, without fail, he would walk in, order coffee, 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 park his truck in an attempt to make sure he got it as fresh as humanly possible. Still, the same face and the same comments were 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, starting to get a green tint. The next day when he came in, I couldn’t wait to serve him that special brew.
He took a massive sip and said, ‘Now that’s good, you finally made a good cup of coffee.’
His ex-wife had probably been trying to poison him with coffee for years.
Another time I hit him in the face with a dirty dishrag. I wouldn’t apologize for any of it because I probably had a good reason.”
“This guy was a regular, and also a total dirtbag. He would snap his fingers and yell across the restaurant to get my attention, snottily mumble orders instead of asking for things like a normal person, and completely ignore me if I came to the table and he didn’t need anything. The event in question was on a busy weekend.
It was a small restaurant that only sat around forty people and I was the only server. I was running around like a madwoman because most of the tables were filled and there was one large party of eight people there as well. This party was seated next to the dirtbag’s table. I admittedly hadn’t checked on his group since bringing them their food, but I hadn’t been gone long. I had a tray of plates for the big party in my hand, and as I was moving towards their table, the dirtbag decided to get my attention by swinging his arm out into the aisle and catching me in the legs. I could’ve fallen, plates would’ve broken, and very hot food could’ve gone all over people, mainly the little kids who were seated at the end of the table.
I put the tray down and lost it at the guy. I was quiet at first, but the angrier I got the louder I got. I yelled at him about how his obscenely rude, childish behavior could have seriously burned little kids, injured me, caused damage to the restaurant, and potentially gotten us sued, just because he wanted a refill.
To my surprise, people started applauding at the end of my tirade, I didn’t get fired that night, and the dirtbag didn’t really quit being a dirtbag, but he was certainly quieter. Given his attitude, I’m surprised he didn’t complain to the owner about my behavior, but I’m not going to complain.”
“I Don’t Want Him To Serve Me”
“There was a guy who came into the restaurant where I worked on the waiting side, who was a complete snob. He complained about everything. He moved tables multiple times and clicked his fingers when he wanted someone’s attention until they came to the table. He talked down to everyone and sent every course back multiple times.
It was a hotel restaurant, so this went on for a week until the third night when the chef got sick of him and started messing up his meals deliberately because well, he was going to complain anyway. We sent out raw instead of steamed vegetables, underdone steak for what he ordered which was well done because of course, lumpy mashed potatoes. The best of all was near the end of his visit with us.
He had at no point ordered this meal yet and when the check came, the chef lit up. He told me he had this idea and hadn’t been able to do it yet. There was gravy on the meal so he sent it out the first time and the meal was perfect. Of course, it got sent back without being touched. So, I got to eat it and the chef made another while I watched and ate the first meal.
He opened the grease trap above the cooker and got a nice big slimy handful and chucked it into the gravy. He mixed it all in and this stuff was absolutely vile. The guest ate it. He still complained about it being cold but ate it.”
“Back in the early 80s, I was managing a fast food place. Their slogan was ‘Have it your way.’
I had hired a lovely young lady and she was very shy. I had trained her on all the positions in the back for food prep, sandwich board, and the fry station. She became confident and was a great employee. Her shyness had become minimal. Her confidence had increased.
One day she expressed interest in working the front counter. I always thought she would be great.
The first week she was doing so well. Taking customer orders. All was good until one of the regular customers who was known to be rude, short-tempered, and just difficult, came in. He stood in the usual lunch rush line and placed his order with the employee as I listened. He was very particular. Always.
I personally made the sandwich for him, knowing how particular he was. I had made this same sandwich for him for three years. Never a problem.
The employee placed his sandwich, fries, and drink on the tray for him.
The next thing I knew, I heard yelling. I looked up from the office to the front and saw the nasty customer. He was awful.
I went up front and he started yelling at me, asking why the new employee was so stupid. He proceeded to dump his soda onto the lobby floor. He threw his fries at the employee, who by now, was back to her shy, shaky, anxiety-ridden self. The customer said his sandwich was all wrong.
I asked him what was wrong and he said, ‘It’s just not right, you must be an idiot!’
As the manager, I apologized because ‘The customer is always right.’
I made a new sandwich for him, specific to his order and identical to the sandwich I made earlier. I replaced his fries and soda. I brought the fresh tray to him in the booth where he was sitting as a courtesy to him.
Five minutes later, he was back at the front counter cursing and yelling. I came running up. He picked up the sandwich and threw it in my face, literally. It bounced off my face onto the counter. He then flipped the tray and soda over the counter at the employee I had trained. It was awful.
Well, that did it for me. I picked up that sandwich and threw it right back at the customer. I nailed him with it. As horrifying as that was, all the customers in the lobby started clapping.
I then told the customer to leave and never come back. We had the right to refuse service and that was one of those times.
I called the owner of the fast-food place and told him what happened. He was amused. I quit, not because I wanted to but because I knew the situation the owner would be in had I stayed.
We don’t throw food.”
National Guard Officers
“We used to have the national guard come in once a month and we would feed everyone breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then once a year, they would come in for their annual two weeks of training. It was usually about two hundred to two hundred and fifty more people than usual. It really was not at all that much of a problem.
One of my cooks called me to the front of the house just after breakfast had been served and showed me some derogatory comments the national guard officers had written in our guest book. I took the guest book, called my person of contact for the national guard, and asked if these particular officers were with his unit.
He said, ‘Yes, why?’
I explained why I had asked, read him several of the comments, and told him the officers were no longer welcome to eat at the Enlisted Dining Facility. It would cost them much more money to eat at the Officer’s Club or off base.
The next day at lunch, the four officers who wrote the comments, their commander, my commander, and various supervisors showed up to my office. My supervisor had called and told me to expect some visitors and feel free to speak my mind.
They apologized and said they were only joking and asked if I would let the officers eat there again. My commander and my supervisor said it was entirely up to me. I said I would let the other officers eat there, but for the rest of the weekend, I did not want those four in my dining facility. Their commander and my commander thought it was an okay resolution to the situation and they all left.
We never had another incident with disrespect again when the national guard ate at our facility.”
Barista With Amnesia
“He used to come in twice a day, and order three extra-hot triple grande lattes. It was the same thing every day. He was a bully. He was always mean to the new guys, freaking out if they didn’t get his order exactly right, always complaining about our store even though he was the most die-hard regular we had.
He walked in like he owned the place. And the worst part was, after a while, it was like he did. The staff tripped over themselves to make sure that guy was happy. The line could be out the door, and then whispers of him being there would be echoed throughout the store, and making his drinks would become the store’s top priority. He was rude, didn’t tip, and yet, he was treated like royalty.
I could only resist in one small way as a sixteen-year-old, but I looked forward to it every day. If I was working the register, or if I was the barista asking the line for their drink orders, I would look at him with the blankest of expressions, and innocently ask for his drink order.
Every day, I saw the expectation in his eyes that I would finally remember his three triple grande extra hot lattes. And then the very next day, I would forget.
He must have thought I was the biggest idiot in the world, or suffered from 50 First Dates level short-term amnesia. For two years, he would sigh in exasperation, roll his eyes, and repeat through gritted teeth his order. And for two years, I would leave work knowing that I had ruined that guy’s day. It was awesome.”
“I was born in South Korea but was adopted and brought to the US at four months old. I never learned another language and the accent I have is the one for the area I live in.
Most of the time, I could brush it off people being rude to me, but if they ever did that on a bad day I’d get someone and then make the food. It was an ice cream place and I would make everything I could wrong. With shakes, I’d use water and frozen yogurt. I’d make sure the frozen yogurt was in every request.
At first, you wouldn’t think that sounded bad. However, the only part of the machine that was cleaned regularly was the plastic tips where the yogurt comes out and the little drop pan under it. I worked there for three years and only saw the inside cleaned out once and that was because someone got a maggot in their yogurt. Maggots weren’t out of the norm, but most workers knew to just get another cup. The health department never said anything because they never looked into the machine they just checked the outside.
Had they opened it up they would have seen a disgusting tub with years of yogurt liquid buildup that smelled like a dead animal.
So yeah yogurt was always my revenge.”
Monster Organizer Part 1
“This customer from another state came to the city where my business was located. He was there for a computing science conference, stayed in a nearby hotel, and was recommended to a few dining establishments in the city for a banquet. He must have organized the group of international computing science delegates for a celebratory dinner. He chose another establishment nearby but was told to leave the place for being overly rude and demanding.
Then he rang to book our establishment as a replacement, and we had accepted him and the group since we did not know the story in the previous establishment. The proprietor of that establishment kindly rang to warn us later of the behavior of that organizer. However, it was too late.
Immediately after entering our establishment, he asked for a certain ethnic specialty menu for the banquet. We hadn’t even finished welcoming his party yet. I replied that we had already provided the menus but he loudly and arrogantly responded no one from the ethnic group could do that menu. I responded saying I was from that same ethnic group and had no issue with the menu. He was constantly trying to impress his group with his knowledge on a variety of topics, including the cuisine we were serving. He was definitely a flashy character. Before the start of the banquet, we settled all of the details, including the price, which was clearly stated on the menu.
After the first course, a staff member had checked with him that the course was to their satisfaction. He was affirmative. The next few courses were good too. Then came the sixth of the ten-course banquet meal. He suddenly appeared in the back of the restaurant and began instructing the staff on how he wanted it done. I communicated with him politely and assured him that we knew what to do, and he should not worry. He kept on giving instruction in a busy production line, which was normally strictly out of bounds for customers. His instruction actually got even louder after he was asked to stop.
To get him to leave the kitchen, I had to raise my voice with a marching order, ‘Please get out my kitchen now!'”
Monster Organizer Part 2
“We guess, he must have been trying to impress the group of international delegates, with his dramatics.
When the banquet was over, a lead staff member checked that they were all happy with everything, and they said, ‘Very good!’
They wanted the bill settled.
Upon receiving the bill, the same difficult man accused us of short-changing them and ripping them off.
I replied, ‘How so? You agreed on the price you saw in the menu right at the beginning. It is the price we commonly charge anyway, and not a price we concocted just now. You told us many times you were happy with the meal, so how did we rip you off?’
The entire group was very embarrassed by the man’s behavior. They had their heads bowed, some even placed both hands on their forehead, and looked like they felt very embarrassed. I couldn’t fault the group at all. They were appreciative and polite, but sadly their night, it seemed, was spoiled by that monster organizer.
On departing the establishment, the dreadful man asked the staff to ring for taxis.
The head-staff member was rather quick on her feet and politely said, ‘Sir, that would cost you fifty cents for the call.’
Normally, it would be a complimentary service for guests but not for that guy.
We also immediately rang the international hotel management in which they stayed, to inform them of the incident with the group. The hotel’s concierge staff would always recommend guests to dine in our establishment and we wanted them to know the true story.
They laughed and said, they knew and asked if it had to do with that unreasonably demanding sort of an organizer. They said they had a lot of incidents with that man in the hotel too. Nothing seemed good enough for him. He was the true embodiment of a monster customer.
Fortunately, there are very few customers like this but the few often spoil the night for everyone involved. They would have gotten the best service from us regardless but instead, he had to make everyone miserable.”
“Kill Them With Kindness”
“I worked at McDonald’s for almost two years before I left the country. I usually tried to kill them with kindness or make a small remark.
There was one regular customer that always came in and used our WiFi. He would order a ton of food so I was always told to be nice to him. Truthfully, I hated the guy. He knew our owner, who didn’t like him at all, so that was his bargaining chip. He gossiped about everyone and generally was a complete bully who constantly harassed me at work.
One day, he was sitting underneath the TV and some other of our regulars come in and they want to watch Dancing With The Stars on the TV, so I changed the channel without asking. He threw a complete fit because he was listening to the TV. He boycotted the store for weeks. When he finally came back, he would ignore me and act like I was the worst.
I thought, two can play at that game, and I became friends with more regulars. I gave them free food all the time or my discount, but he would have to pay full price for everything. I refused to take his order. I would talk to the people sitting behind him but I would ignore him to his face.
I made sure to slide in comments I knew about him secretly to other people like, ‘Man some people can be huge bullies to their ex-wives, I hate that,’ while talking to them.
Everyone was mad at him because he would talk bad about me when I wasn’t there, but they all sided with me since I hadn’t done anything.
I guess that was the worst thing I ever did. It wasn’t a lot but I’m a very happy and vocal person, I loved being friends with our regulars, so if I made him uncomfortable or feel left out in any way, I did my job. He was a complete tool anyway. He literally chose to be homeless and lived in his car on purpose so he didn’t have to file taxes or pay his ex-wife any money.”