Fast food restaurants can sometimes seem like the Wild West. These Redditors shared their weirdest stories from their time as employees, from crazy Karens to exploding equipment. You may want to bring your camera with you the next time you get a burger.
1. Hot Or Cold
I worked at a Starbucks and a woman ordered her coffee at 140 degrees in the drive-thru. I'm still stunned at what she did. After giving it to her and her pulling out, she walked back into the cafe and complained that her coffee was 139 degrees, because she has a thermometer in her car. She then demanded it be remade immediately.
I laughed at her and asked if she was joking and she demanded to see my manager. My manager remade it but I didn’t get in any trouble. She was ridiculous but Starbucks’ policy is to remake anything if a customer asks for it.
2. If You Can’t Stand The Heat…
I was working at a pub shortly after college. During the evenings, things would always get pretty stressful and hectic. People would be snapping at each other, or saying mean things, or arguing, or whatever. Pretty standard stuff in a high-stress situation like that. One day, though, in the middle of dinner, the other cook—my immediate manager, but not the restaurant manager—apparently just had a bad night.
He'd been getting progressively more agitated all night, though not with me, luckily. Suddenly, a waitress came back and complained that one of her tables was complaining because the food was cold. First, the manager responded by telling her that if she'd come to get her orders when they were done, they wouldn't be cold.
She made some comment back. That's when he just snapped. He picked up a hot pan from the stove, and I was terrified for a second that he was going to throw it at her. Instead, he swung it as hard as he could at the entire stack of clean plates and knocked almost all of them off the table, shattering them all over the floor.
Then he literally tore off his apron and stormed out, but not before knocking a tray out of another waitress's hands. Weirdly enough, the store manager was going to let him keep his job if he'd admit being out of line. She brought him in during lunch the next day to talk to him. That didn't go as planned, either. Instead of apologizing, he smashed a coffee cup against the wall and left.
All told, it was probably for the best.
3. Life Lessons
I had a rough-looking guy in a beat-up truck try to use one-year-old coupons. I refused to take them. That was a mistake. He held up the drive thru and screamed and screamed at me. Including, "smarten up son, or you're going nowhere in life". It made me feel terrible until I realized that someone who is screaming those things at a 15-year-old running the drive-thru...did not go anywhere in life.
4. A Stinky Situation
I worked at Wendy's for two weeks. It wasn't bad...until the single worst moment of my life occurred. Someone spread poop all over the men's restroom, and the manager wanted me to clean it up. This was not in the job description. It was on the ceiling, toilet, and all the walls. It was like someone had exploded confetti all over the restroom.
I just had rubber gloves and no mask. I quit immediately.
5. The Metal Detector
I was a waitress at a pizza place. An older man and woman flagged me over and they just started yelling at me, going on and on. They said that they found metal in their food. The lady was showing me and yelling, and I tried to apologize and tell them that we can make them a new pizza. I said, “I am sorry, I have no idea where it came from”.
After several minutes of yelling, the man got quiet. Then he went, "oh, I lost a filling". Then they tried to be all nice and laugh it off. I just wanted to say “screw you” for treating me like garbage.
6. The Soda Shower
I worked at McDonald’s part time while I was in college. One day, I was working the drive-thru and this guy ordered a lot of drinks. One of them was low on soda syrup, but instead of just telling me about it like a rational person so I could give him a replacement drink, he made a terrifying decision. He threw the extra large drink at me.
Of course the lid came off and I was soaking wet. The manager, who was actually pretty good as far as fast food managers go, saw this happen. He took off running into the parking lot, flagged down the driver before he could leave, and told him to never come back. Then he came back in, found me a dry uniform shirt, and let me have a few minutes on the clock to sit in the break room and calm down.
I worked in a small McDonald's during the Sydney Olympics. I was about 15 at the time. There was a series of big screens at Circular Quay showing live Olympic events. There were always large crowds down there. This store was around 500 meters or so away from my normal store, and because of the demand we occasionally had to work down there.
Our store was closing and they were running out of buns at the busy store so they sent me down with a big trolley of buns—those pre-split ones. Easy right? I got about 20 meters from the store and there’s a giant crowd between me and the store. So I start asking people to move and most people are nice until one guy grabs one of the bags. Then chaos erupted.
He ripped it open and started throwing them up in the air, screaming out, “Free burgers, free burgers”! The crowd moved towards me, and some crowd control officers noticed this and came over and told everyone to back off. Then they had a few heated words with the free burger guy. They guided me through the crowd and to the store that was awaiting the buns.
I get grilled about arriving with one less tray of buns but once I tell them the story it’s all good.
8. All In A Day’s Work
Last week, I was on the assembly line at my McDonald’s, making sandwiches, when my manager ran up to me. She said there was someone having a seizure in our men's bathroom. I ran into the bathroom with ketchup and grease still on my fingers to find a 60-year-old homeless man having a stroke on the floor with a bunch of blood coming out of his mouth.
I sat there for six minutes with this guy while on the phone with the emergency operator until finally some help arrived. Then I went back, washed my hands, and went right back to making sandwiches.
9. Patience Doesn’t Always Pay Off
I worked at Ikea in the restaurant, not the main one, but the small one at the end. I remember we sold out of prepared pizza one time, and the next one was available in six minutes. This ended up causing a total disaster. We then had six people ask for pizza, and we asked if they were fine with waiting, so we also sold out of the pizza that was in the oven.
Well it was finally ready, people were waiting, they already paid. My co-worker took it out of the oven as another coworker was calling his name from behind him. When he turned his head to see who called, the pizza slid off and fell cheese side down, making a huge splat. The sauce went everywhere. There was just a collective "AHHH" from the people who had ordered that pizza.
At first I was laughing because at least it wasn't me, but then we had to process six refunds while the line piled up.
10. Hot Stuff
When I worked at Subway, this guy asked for Sriracha sauce on his sandwich. I put the regular amount on, then he asked for more. I put more on. He asked for more. Eventually, he was SCREAMING at me to put more Sriracha on the sandwich, to which I ended up emptying out the entire bottle on it. He was still not satisfied, so I had to get more.
One half bottle of Sriracha later, he said it’s enough. I still remember him to this day.
11. Breakfast In The Buff
Breakfast shift yay! I’m not a morning person. My McDonald’s was situated inside an Asda—Walmart for you Americans out there—and the bulk of the customers were older pensioner types who were doing the shopping. They pretty much used it just to get out of the house. So they’d come in and sit there for an hour and read a paper, drink a coffee, and chat to the staff.
Because of this, we ended up with a lot of newspapers lying around on tables and what not. Normally we just leave them on top of the bins in case someone else wants to read them, so they’re not cluttering tables. But this day our customer care staff was absent for some reason so there was no one out there keeping things pristine.
We wiped tables, but we just did the bare minimum so we could stick to our assigned roles. In came my worst nightmare. This woman walked in, put her kids at a table and came to the counter to order. She was a bit abrasive, the typical, “I’d like to speak to the manager” type that you see in memes and such. I gave her her food and she took it to a table around the corner from the counter, out of sight from where we all were.
She came back in less than a minute and threw a paper at me going, “What is this”? It’s The Daily Star. She’d come back to find her four or five-year-old kids looking at women's chests on page three. I apologized, trying not to laugh, but I informed her that we didn’t leave it there and it’s not our fault. She went on and on about how it was filth and it shouldn’t be anywhere near a store that is known for selling food for kids etc.
I probably seemed smug because I found the situation more amusing than anything, with her fury only fuelling that. She did ask for a manager and the shift manager had a more professional response than me but she ultimately refused to accept that the blame was ours. The lady filed a complaint with head office but my store manager had it dropped as soon as it reached her.
12. Soggy Spuds
I used to work at Sonic. On rainy days, especially when it was pouring, horrible people would intentionally park across the lot—the spare spots that weren't covered by our famous awning—and make the car hops walk the food out there to them. We'd be standing there outside their car window with the food on a tray, waiting for them to roll down their window.
They'd then take their sweet time getting out their cards or cash while we were getting drenched. All the while, there were plenty of open spots under the awning, closer to the restaurant and out of the rain. But they had an evil plan. By the time they took their food from us, they would demand the meal for free since it was wet.
Mind you, not wet enough to give back the food, just wet enough to demand a full refund while they shoved the offending fries in their mouth. Those people also never tipped.
13. Would You Like Guac With That?
I used to work in a bakery where our “Head Chef” had a reputation of being a grade A douche. We called him all kinds of terrible nicknames. We had to work at an insane pace and he acted as if he was God’s gift to Earth. One time when I was making a customer a sandwich, she requested a side of avocado, but our avocados were not ripe at all.
I mean, they were like plastic! They were basically inedible. I mentioned this to her and she said it was fine. So I sliced it for her and gave it to her. She called the head chef like an hour later complaining that her avocado wasn't ripe and she was unhappy. The chef was on her side, of course, and he reamed me out. People are stupid.
14. The Customer Isn’t Always Right
I worked at a pancake stand at a concert. We had two kinds of fillings and sometimes people would ask for both at the same time. I usually just spread one on one half and the other on the other half and rolled it up so that they'd get the same amount of each with each bite. Two days in, my new boss saw this and absolutely flipped out.
He did this right in front of a guy who at that point had been my regular customer. Apparently I was supposed to spread one kind on the whole pancake and then just do little dabs with the other one. The customer said he liked pancakes the way I made them, but from that point forward I was not allowed to make them the same way.
15. A Not So Happy Birthday
I used to work in a bakery in a grocery store. I was the cake decorator and the cakes were in containers and in a cooler that customers could just take and go to pay. One day, two kids, about six and eight years old ran over and started throwing the cakes on the ground. Like with the “happy birthday” icing right to the ground.
They were on their sixth cake before I could reach them and take the cakes out of their hands. But the worst was yet to come. Their mom came over, saw them, and just turned the kids around and started to the produce section like nothing happened. No apology, no acknowledgement, no words to the kids about the hundreds of dollars they just cost us, and my time.
16. We’re Fried
I worked at a Cane's Chicken around graduation season. We had massive catering orders, like 600 chicken fingers, 500 pieces of toast, 250 coleslaws, etc. Multiple orders like this came in on the same day while also being our busiest day of the week. We were going nuts. Even the owner was there to help. Of course, this was the day corporate decided to make a surprise visit.
The owner got reamed out, even though we were consistently scoring as one of the top locations on a regular day. He reamed out the manager, who then reamed us out. So we're already stressed out and tired and now we're being shouted at by irate customers, the owner, and our manager. I'm surprised we didn't all quit that day.
17. Fast Food Frankenstein
I worked for McDonald's in a mall while I was in high school, and my worst experience was Black Friday in 1987. The night before, I had slipped and fallen in my bathroom and cut open my eyebrow. It needed an ER trip and seven stitches, and it left me looking like Frankenstein's monster. I tried to call in, and was informed that I hadn't called early enough.
They didn't have time to call someone to fill in on my scheduled shift. And so, I showed up for work with an oozing eyebrow, a splitting headache, and operating on about four hours sleep. It was also insanely busy, so I barely got to grab lunch—I spent 20 minutes in line to order my food, out of a 30-minute lunch break. Basic training for the Navy was less stressful.
18. The Hazards Of Fried Chicken
I used to work at a fast food chicken place. For anonymity reasons I'd rather not say which one but I'm sure most can guess. One night I was working with my co-worker, Andrew. Andrew was a big dude working in a small kitchen. It was kind of cramped and hard for him to move around. That night began one of the worst times of his life.
He went into the chicken cooler and ended up slipping on some chicken grease. His foot flung forward and he flew backwards into the wall, but the wall had metal paneling on it. One of these panels was bent on the corner, so when he slipped he subsequently sliced his back from the bottom of his back up to beyond his shoulder blade by landing on this bent corner.
He screamed out in pain, and I ran over and asked what's wrong since I didn't witness it. "My back my back dude it hurts so bad"! When I looked at him, I went pale. I saw blood staining the back of his shirt and screamed to my manager to call an ambulance. I rushed over and sat him up and told him I was going to take his shirt off so I could put pressure on the wound.
When I lifted that shirt…oh my God. It was bad. I kind of automatically went "oh no," and he asked if it was bad. I told him “nah”. At this point my manager, instead of calling an ambulance, called THE DISTRICT MANAGER. Instead of the district manager yelling at him to call an ambulance, he instead wanted an entire description of what was going on.
My other manager and my store manager began to argue about this, all while I was asking my other co-workers to find a first aid kit. My co-worker found one. I looked instead and nearly screamed. I swear on my life I am not making this up: It only had one small, partially used roll of gauze, a bottle of rubbing alcohol, and a set of third-grader Band-Aids, that's it.
That right there should've put the store completely out of business. I asked for some towels—anything I can use to put pressure on the wound. All they could bring me that was "clean" was some paper towels. I didn't want them to stick to him so I had to kind of hover over the wound with it, lightly tapping it in some places and putting pressure on others.
I'm no medical expert but I felt it was better than doing nothing. 20 minutes went by. During those 20 minutes someone else called an ambulance and eventually they came. Then they had trouble getting the stretcher into the place. We had to move all sorts of stuff around. Finally after about an hour ordeal he was on the stretcher in the ambulance.
If I recall correctly he required 12 stitches and a few staples. Unfortunately he couldn't sue, or at least he didn't for a few reasons. One, he said that since he wasn't wearing the proper shoes it wouldn't have gone anywhere in court, and two, he's just too nice of a guy. He would rather get back to work than anything. Oh and the real gross part is all of that chicken should've been tossed, and only half of it was.
19. Donut Leave Me
I worked the night shift at a Krispy Kreme. It was always just me and the manager. She never helped. She'd just go to the office to do "paperwork", and leave me alone for eight hours to make everything. Because I knew she'd leave me alone, I'd take the trash out multiple times a night, and use that time for a smoke sesh.
Well, one night I came back in from my smoke sesh, and noticed the conveyor for the OG glazed donuts is starting to rattle pretty badly. There were several things you needed to turn off prior to stopping the conveyor: glaze fountain, heating elements, dough ejector thing. So I turned all of those off, but for some reason the conveyor was in a weird "dieseling" state.
It continued to run, but was disconnected from power. I started to panic, the conveyor kept going, and continued to get louder and louder. I started pounding on the manager's office door, but she wouldn't answer. Things were starting to fall apart, and my brain couldn’t handle it what with all the panicking. It hit a disturbing breaking point.
I finally shoulder charged her office door down, screaming " I NEED HELP"! ....But she wasn't there. I looked on her security screens and saw that her car wasn't even in the parking lot. Once I realized that she was gone, the conveyor finally went. The motor took out one end of the conveyor line, and gallons of 100% pork lard fryer oil covered the floor of the entire kitchen.
I called the off-duty manager, told him what just happened, said "screw this, I'm done", and just left.
20. Creepy Crawly
One of my experiences was a bit unusual. It wasn’t about the clients, the food, or the dirty restaurant. I was working at the drive-thru in my restaurant in Sydney, and this lady arrived with a Jeep. I noticed something wrong with it immediately. Her car had several spider webs on it, just very noticeable and obvious.
As I'm giving her her cash back, I then noticed this huge spider trying to crawl inside the car from the passenger window that was slightly open. I just told her, "that's a big spider" and pointed at it. She tried to stop it from coming in but failed. So I gave her her food quickly and saw her drive to the parking lot ASAP. I wonder if she survived.
21. What Can I Get For You?
I worked at a McDonald's for about eight years, and have a ton of these stories, but the most memorable one comes from my last year there. It was a Sunday morning, and we were actually pretty quiet by normal standards. Then, in walks a small group. Their order is long, and slightly complex, but most of them were friendly, so I didn't mind.
One lady had her son with her and tried to order a blueberry pomegranate smoothie, which had been taken off the menu several months ago. She got this annoyed look on her face and told me it's the only thing her son likes. I apologized again and she ordered a sausage biscuit with extra sausage instead. A few minutes later she walked back up.
Our exchange was as follows. Note that she got angrier as this went on: "Hey, since you don't have the smoothie, can I get a toy for my son"? "Oh sure, they're $2”. "Can't you just give it to me”? "I'm sorry ma'am, I'm not allowed to do that”. "Well, I don't want to pay that much”. "I'm sorry, but—" "Get a manager, they can help me". I had the perfect response.
I'm in a button-up shirt with a tie and a name tag that said “manager” on it. I said, "I am a manager ma'am, I'm sorry, I can't just give you a toy”. "Well, my son's going to cry and we're going to leave”. My immediate supervisor was standing behind me the whole time and he looked like he was trying very hard not to laugh.
The older lady this woman had come in with was up at the counter the whole time giving her a look of "What is the matter with you”? Had this been the end of it, I wouldn't have even blinked about it. But it wasn't over. She came back up five minutes later. "You didn't put extra sausage on this” she said as she flung the sausage biscuit down on the counter, looking at me like I tried to hurt her firstborn.
I took the sandwich and made a new one. I handed it to her and apologized. Before storming off she said, "Why don't you apologize to my son for making him cry”? I could see her son from across the restaurant. He was laughing and playing in the play place. That wasn’t even the worst customer I ever dealt with, but it's probably the best story.
22. Cowboy Encounter
One night there was only one customer in the building when a limo pulled up alongside the building. A guy wearing a cowboy hat and holding a guitar case stepped out. He sauntered in the door, set his guitar case down, and looked around. He then went up to the only customer in the building and asked if he could sit where he's sitting.
The guy said no and motioned to the otherwise empty restaurant. There was nothing special about that table. He grumbled a bit then asked to get a to-go order. He ordered something—I can't remember what it was, but it was something we didn't even sell. I told him this and he got his guitar case and walked out the door. There’s a chance he could have been someone of some renown but I wouldn't know.
Obviously not famous enough to boot someone from their seat.
23. Change Please
I work at a sports bar/bowling alley, and an older lady, her friend, and what I assume were her grandchildren were very hungry, apparently. They ordered their food—some burgers, chicken sandwiches, stuff like that. Before paying, the lady asked if I could break $100. I told her yeah. So I didn't expect her next move. She then handed me two $20 bills.
I thought it was a bit odd considering her previous question, but I just rang it through and gave her back the $2 and change. She asked me for the rest of the change, and when I told her that's it. She started yelling at me saying she gave me a hundred. It got to the point where I actually ripped the drawer out of the register and put it on the counter to show her that there was no $100 bill.
Meanwhile, she was bickering to her friend saying, "I know I have him a hundred, I had four of them in my purse, now there's only three", holding all her money in her hand. At this point, I could clearly see the $100 lying on top of some stuff in her purse, and I pointed it out, nicely but obviously quite aggravated. She didn't even apologize for the whole thing, and just asked when the food would be done.
24. A Hairy Situation
Back in the day a customer went ballistic about the short blond hair in her food. The bald cook just looked at her, confused and amused. I casually took off my cap and let down my waist-length brown hair. The blond customer kept yelling insults as she realized she would get no free food today. Then she grabbed her stuff and walked out.
25. Toy Troubles
Former Burger King employee here. One time I was working the register and a buff bald dude with his five-year-old daughter came up to order. He angrily went, "I want THREE rodeo burgers, and make sure there's extra BBQ sauce! And then I want a Happy Meal with a girl's toy”! So I said, "All right, sir, three rodeo burgers and a kids meal”.
Angered, he said, "...with a girl's toy, right”? I told him he didn’t have to worry because the toys were "unisex". This turned out to be a big mistake. His eyes buldged and he yelled, "WHAT ABOUT S-E-X”?!?! I explained to him the meaning of the word, and he mumbled "...Ok... just don't mention that around my daughter again”.
Just one of the many horrific experiences I had working there.
26. Condiment Conundrum
I worked at Carl's Jr and this one elderly man ordered a full-sized Thickburger meal, and specifically asked for no cheese on it. He repeated this multiple times. So when we finished the meal and took it out to him he went to the dine-in area and we continued about our business. The old guy came back five minutes later all red and extremely angry.
He was cursing like crazy and was yelling about how there was cheese in his burger. My co-worker and I made sure there was no cheese in his burger so we told him there couldn't be any cheese in it but he insisted that there was. He opened the burger box and it turned out that what he thought was cheese was actually mustard.
We showed him that it was just mustard, and he realized he messed up by not even looking. He lost his mind and threw the perfectly good burger and the fries straight down the trash, and kicked the door on his way out while cursing at us.
27. Don’t Cry Over Spilt Soup
I used to work in Coney Island as my first job. Coney Island had a drive-thru and we also had 99 cent Coney days, so being the drive-thru person wasn't easy peasy, but it wasn't terrible either. I had been working there for about six months, came in when needed, you name it. So when we had new hires, I often trained them, especially since I had been there the longest.
Anyhow, we had drive-thru and phone takeout, and I let a new hire take a phone order, while listening to her end to make sure she was asking the correct prompts, etc. She asked the prompts, and seemed to do fine, and so when she told the person on the phone about the total and such, we sent the ticket through. I still remember this order.
It was a cold club sandwich, turkey and ham, American cheese on toasted white bread with a cup of chicken lemon rice soup, and extra crackers. Fast forward to about half an hour later, she had left for the night, and so my manager was helping during the mini rush we had. The lady who had called came to pick up her order via the drive-thru.
She paid, I grabbed the bag my manager packed, and sent her on her merry way. Not even 20 minutes later we got a phone call from this lady, and I was the one who unfortunately answered. And she started SCREAMING about her toasted bread being soggy and the soup pouring all over the bag. I had never dealt with a customer like that before.
She was so rude and screaming and just all around not understanding at all. All I could muster out was that I was sorry it happened, but I told her I was positive the order was fine when she took it. Then it took a cruel twist. She proceeded to tell me how I was rude and how I had no idea how to work in a restaurant and that she thought I should just go die.
I remember I was on the phone by the register. I just started crying. Eventually, between my apologies, she just hung up suddenly. And I felt so bad that I needed to excuse myself to go cry in the staff bathroom for like five minutes. I was so young and shaky. I will never forget that lady, and I have no idea what possessed her to act like that.
28. Tomato Guy
I worked at Taco Bell for two and a half years, when I was 16-18. We had a couple of regulars that we hated, but Tomato Guy was at the top of our list. Almost every single day he would come and order three soft tacos, a medium drink, and cinnamon twists. For the first year we were open he would always try and get free tomatoes.
Then he would have a temper tantrum when we'd charge for them. No one ever gave him free tomatoes though, so eventually he started to bring his own. He would dice them on the table. He'd also take the only six-person table in the lobby and sit there for four to five hours, doing things like clip his nails, pick his nose, hack up loogies, and complain about being cold.
When he finally left he'd leave his newspaper on the table. He'd also leave the table a sticky, nasty mess. Oh, and he always tried to get all of the girls to go home with him even though we were all minors. We also had one service guy who was autistic and the sweetest person you'd ever meet, but Tomato Guy would always be the biggest douche to him.
29. Blizzard Blow Up
I worked at a brand new Dairy Queen back in 2013. I did the interview at a hotel in April because the store hadn't been built yet. I was pumped, until I made an unfortunate discovery. I found out that the manager was the same nasty lady who previously managed a McDonald’s I used to go to a lot. Still, I thought maybe my impressions of her were wrong.
Well, they started training us in May and the building was ready for us to use in June. I had just started learning how to make the DQ Blizzards that day, and this lady kept walking by me, watching me. Turns out she hated me from the start because I was not one of her besties and was actually there to earn money and not mess around.
Anyway, it was my turn to practice with the blizzard machine again. Anyone who has used this equipment can tell you it's a bit sensitive. Well, I could see her standing there eyeballing me the whole time. The cup I was holding accidentally ripped, so the ice cream sprayed on the floor. Next thing I know, she was less than an inch from my face, screaming so loud she was spraying saliva on me and threatening to send me home.
She was so full of it.
30. Power Play
So when I was 16, I was working at a Subway on the outskirts of a bigger city. The outside of the city was all farmlands that stretched for miles out. Our particular Subway had a drive-thru. It was around March and we had a super bad wind storm that knocked out power from a block past my Subway, off into the farmlands.
Essentially EVERYONE was out of power for miles past this Subway for a couple days at this point. This Subway was one of the only restaurants within reach for the people on the farmland. This was the day they decided to leave me alone for the lunch rush. I had a line out the door and cars wrapped around the building waiting to get into the drive-thru.
This was due to everyone living in the farmlands having their food perish without power. About 30 minutes in, I realized the opener didn't prep any backup chicken or veggies for me. So I had to begin thawing chicken and frantically cutting vegetables while the drive-thru was beeping in my ear and customers were yelling from the lobby to take their order. I quit a couple weeks later.
31. When You’ve Got To Go…
Well, once on the overnight shift when we weren’t open in the store, some guy came to the window saying he needed to use the toilet and asked us to let him in. We said that we couldn’t, and then he asked for some napkins. What he did still haunts me. We gave him some napkins and he went to the edge of the car park and took a dump, a literal dump on the floor outside, and then he left.
32. Where There’s Smoke…
I worked at Wendy's as a teenager. One night, it was super slow and the staff were all just hanging around waiting to close up so we could go party afterwards. We were all high schoolers, and hung out together all the time. My boyfriend at the time was working on the grill, and kept complaining that he could smell smoke from somewhere.
Me and my bestie came over to investigate. Yep, it smelled smoky by the fryers. The manager came over. She decided to pull out the fryers, thinking there was food caught on the element in the deep fryer, but nope. She then hauled out the pressurized deep fryer. It went from 0 to 60 super fast. Flames started shooting up the back of it.
We all start freaking out. Bestie and I each grabbed fire extinguishers and started coating the area with them. The manager called the fire department, and my boyfriend ran out to the dining room to evacuate customers and tell the attached Tim Horton's staff to get out. By the time the fire department showed up, we had gotten the blaze down to a spark.
All they did was disconnect the pressure fryer from the main power. That simple, but so much mess. We stayed until 6:00 am cleaning. All the food and cooking oil had to be thrown out, all surfaces scrubbed and sanitized. The floors had to be stripped and resurfaced, because it was almost impossible to get fire retardant off of textured tile. It sucked.
But we all got a little bonus, and a thank you or whatever from the owner for not letting the store burn down. And we got a new pressure fryer. Also, when that new pressure fryer did the same thing about three months later, we all knew what to do: Cut the power, call the fire department, and go outside for a smoke. Lesson learned.
33. Theater Theatrics
I worked in a snack stand at the movie theater. We had no free or reduced price water cups. If you wanted water, you had to pay the full price of $4.25 or however much a soda was at the time. You were allowed to bring in your own sealed water bottle or use the water fountain, but most people just liked yelling at us teenage staff about the sad no free water situation.
One older hoity toity woman came in with her husband in my second week of work. She wanted a large water. I nervously explained the situation of having to pay full price and she looked at her husband, then calmly said that was fine. I filled up the cup and handed it to her. They paid...and then she got revenge. She threw the water in my face.
Afterwards, she wanted me to refund the drink for being rude by indicating she couldn't afford our water. My manager had seen everything and refused to refund them for their snacks, but did refund their movie tickets because he kicked them out. That job was pretty disheartening being yelled at 90% of my day by customers unhappy with food prices, but it did make me learn how to give excellent customer service.
34. Don’t Mess With The Chef
Years ago as an international student I got to work in a Dutch restaurant during a summer break. We served grilled chicken with sides of fries etc. One particular day was so busy, and we had a lady send her chicken back three times to be re-grilled. The owner came in and screamed about how terrible the cooks were and how we should get the chicken right this time.
Then he stomped out. The chef picked the chicken breast from the plate, dropped it on the floor, stomped on it repeatedly, flopped it on the grill for a few minutes, and had it sent back out to the customer. We got compliments for the chef, and a big tip from that table. I’ve been wary of restaurants ever since this event.
35. Risk Takers
I was at a station putting the salsa on burritos and bowls for a Mexican grill. This couple entered the restaurant and began to order their food. First up was the wife, and she began to order tacos. She got the meat and what-not for her tacos, then the order got down to me. She looked me in the eye and told me that all she wanted was cheese and sour cream.
Extra sour cream. After placing an amount of sour cream on these tacos that rivaled the Rio Grande, she turned to her husband and said, “that’s going to hurt tonight”. The husband then looked at me and said, “she is lactose intolerant”. I have never felt worse for another human being than I did in that moment of sad eye contact with that poor poor man.
36. Hide And Seek
I was in the drive-thru handing out food, and while I was getting some food, out of the corner of my eye I saw the lady in the car put a cheeseburger in her glove compartment. I thought that was weird but didn’t think anything of it. When I handed out the rest of the food, it all made sense. The lady put the bag in my face and said “I didn’t get my cheeseburger”.
I busted out into laughter and told her that I saw her hide the food. She gave a nervous laugh and drove off really fast without the rest of her food.
37. Where Am I?
One time this older dude rushed up to order and slammed a coupon on the counter saying, “I want this”! I picked it up. It had menu items for KFC. I asked him, “What exactly would you like to order”? He instantly got disgruntled with me for not reading his mind and shook his finger at the coupon and said in a condescending tone, “Well whatever is on the coupon, obviously”?!
I just looked at him for a minute and said word for word, “Sir, this is McDonald’s. I don’t know what you want me to do with this KFC coupon”. He looked at me dumbfounded. Then he looked behind me at the menu and around the store, and yelled “Awh, Man”! It was like this wasn’t his first time walking into the wrong establishment.
He grabbed the coupon and stormed off.
38. Not Made In China
Y’all wouldn’t believe the amount of disappointed rich people who come to Panda Express and find out we aren’t serving authentic Chinese food. Once a well-traveled rich woman came into Panda Express and stood at the buffet line for about 10 minutes, critiquing our “mistakes” and explaining how Chinese cuisine doesn’t actually have fried wontons with cream cheese filling.
Ma’am, we just fry what came in the bag from a warehouse in California.
39. Creativity Is King
I worked at a Chipotle for four years and got some pretty interesting requests. But I’ll never forget the time someone ordered soup. Chipotle doesn’t have soup. I promptly reminded her this was a Chipotle, but she insisted we could do it. But here's the kicker. We did it. we made her soup at Chipotle! It was the grossest concoction of bean juice, sofritas, mild, medium, and hot salsa, and sour cream. She was stoked.
40. Nuke It
I worked at the concession stand at a movie theater in high school. This guy ordered popcorn and a large diet Pepsi. He came back to the counter like 10 minutes later complaining that his soda was carbonated. I explained to him that all of our sodas were carbonated and he asked me if we had a microwave. We did, so he wanted me to go into the back and microwave his soda.
He wanted it warm but not too warm. I went to the back and had to pour the soda into two different cups because the original wouldn't fit into the microwave. Truly bizarre experience.
41. Burger Duel
I worked at McDonald’s. We would always get people who would ask for a Whopper burger, either seriously or trying to be funny. Cue the exhausted "We don't sell Whoppers sir/ma'am, we have the Big Mac" in response. Usually we get an "Oh, right. Ok, one of those". Until one day we had a guy come through the drive-thru and ask for a large Whopper Meal.
I gave him the instant reply back: "Sir, we don't sell Whoppers here, we have Big Macs or Quarter Pounders or McChickens". He replied, "No, I don't want that, I want a Whopper". Me: "Sir, we don't sell those. This is a McDonald’s. The closest equivalent would be a Big Mac, but it's NOT a Whopper. If you want an actual Whopper burger you need to go to Burger King".
Reply: "A Whopper Meal”! Me: "Ok sir, I can't give you a whopper meal here, but I can order a Big Mac Meal for you. The Big Mac is the closest equivalent we have, but it is not a Whopper. Are you happy with a large Big Mac meal instead”? Him: "Yes, was that so hard”?! We gave him a large Big Mac meal. Unfortunately, it didn't end there.
Sure enough 10 minutes later he is back through the drive-thru screaming into the speaker that he hasn't gotten his Whopper Burger.
42. Lunch Meat Ladies
About 11 years ago I had just gone into management at McDonald’s and they sent me to “practice” running our location inside a Walmart. Two older ladies, probably in their 70s or 80s came in, and while one came up to my register the other sat down about four meters away in a booth. They both looked and sounded frail. The exchange went like this:
Me: “Hi, what can I get for you today”? Lady one—standing: “Yes I’ll have the lunch meat combo”. Me: “I’m sorry what”? Lady one: “The lunch meat combo”. Me: “I’m sorry we don’t have that here”. Lady one: “Oh...well what do you have”? Me: “Well we have burgers, fish, chicken”. Lady one: “Wait...what is this place”? Me: “McDonald’s”.
Lady one turned and looked at her friend and literally yelled, “They don’t have the lunch meat combo here”! Lady two, sitting four meters away said, “What”? Lady one: “They don’t have the lunch meat combo”! Lady two: “What do they have”?! Lady one: “It’s McDonald’s”! Lady two: “What”?! Lady one: “McDonalds”! Lady two: “Where are we”?!
Lady one looked at me and said, “Give us just a couple minutes”. Me: “No problem, take your time”. At that point I had to step away because the interaction reminded me so much of the Spongebob episode with the two older ladies and the chocolate bars that I was about to laugh way too hard, so I had someone else take over the register and told them to promo their meals because they made my day.
43. Dining On A Dime
I was working at a fast food restaurant and one day I had someone ask if we gave military discounts. The answer was no. The reason why this was memorable was because I live and work in Australia...and he was an American tourist. Even if we did give out those discounts it wouldn't be for people from foreign countries! It was very strange.
44. Mall Drive-Thru
I was a shift manager at a McDonald’s in the middle of a mall. A guy walked up to the counter with several McDonald’s bags of food. The words that came out of his mouth were utterly ridiculous. Guy: “My wife came through your drive-thru and you messed up the order”! Me: “Are you absolutely sure she came through our drive-thru”?
Guy: “Yes! She told me she came through the drive-thru, and when she got home she realized the order was wrong. Y’all need to give us our money back and give us the right food”. Me…confused while looking around the mall…”Did she drive through Sears or JC Penny to get here”? The guy looks around and finally realizes he’s in the middle of a mall.
He grabbed the bags and huffed away. That was the single greatest amount of human stupidity I had experienced.
45. Fine Dining
Now, working at McDonald’s, every single day at the same time, 4:00, this old guy would come in and order his food. Most people knew that he wanted a special order: over-cook the patty. We started up right when he walked in. Anyway, that’s not the problem, that was easy, the problem was that this dude was so forgetful.
He would demand a ceramic plate to eat on every single time. So that’s when we would explain it to him. “Dude this is McDonald’s, we don’t have plates”. And he’d usually be like “oh right, right”. But sometimes he would just rant about how we SHOULD have plates. I saw him absolutely flip out once because a girl stepped outside the break room with a plate of food she brought from home.
He yelled, “I KNEW YOU HAD PLATES” and we could not convince him otherwise ever again. Keep it in the break room is the moral of the story.
46. Korean Karen
I had been working at a popular deli chain restaurant for a few years when this happened. I was working in the back when a new trainee came rushing over, absolutely bawling, so I immediately knew something was seriously wrong. I had her stay in the back to calm down and alerted the head manager from the office so we could go tackle the situation.
I got to the register and found a rather petite Korean lady, shouting very loudly and demanding the trainee come back, and saying she was trying to cheat her out of her money. She also kept shouting what I can only assume was bad words in Korean. The manager looked at her with an expression that basically said, "Oh, no. She's too much for me to deal with."
So he said he'd handle the line of people that was formed and I got the pleasure of dealing with Korean Karen. Somehow I managed to keep a level head and asked her calmly to explain her situation. She was screaming and yelling and rambling about how upset she was and claimed the cashier refused to give her any change and that the bagels she wanted were too expensive.
I handled giving her the change and reprocessing her bagels so they came out to a better total. The trainee had keyed them in as individuals instead of as a pack, which changes the price. It was literally her first day by herself. The whole time I was packing up her dozen and a half bagels, she was still angry and was waving her arms around in a fit.
In the process, she bumped a customer next to her. He very politely, but sternly, said, "Excuse me”! Then it escalated. She decided to take this opportunity to SPIT on him. While all this had been going on, the assistant manager had called the authorities as he'd been witness to her fit from the beginning, and an officer came in right after.
As I was finishing slicing up all her stuff, the cop was trying to ask her questions, again very calmly. Things like, what is the problem, what's her name, etc. Then he asked to see her identification. And she went ballistic. She shoved the officer, who had kept his hands to himself this whole time, and spat at him! He tried to take her wrist.
He ordered her to put her hands behind her back, and out of nowhere she let out this howling scream and started trying to fight with this guy, and was shoving him around. His partner came in and saw the commotion and immediately jumped in. They were shoving into the refrigerator items and tackling her to the ground. They took her out to their car in cuffs and came back inside to pick up her personal items that were dropped in the fray.
They asked me if anything else was hers and I gladly handed them her change and bagels.
47. No Soup For You
While working at Panera Bread, this lady came up to the counter to order broccoli and cheese soup, but we were out. Upon hearing this she goes, “THEN WHY IS IT ON THE MENU, WHY IS IT ON THE MENU, WHY IS IT ON THE MENU?! THIS IS BULL! I CAME OUT MY HOUSE FOR THIS SOUP AND Y’ALL ARE THE ONLY PANERA WITHIN DRIVING DISTANCE FOR ME! WHY IS IT ON THE MENU”?!
16-year-old me was the only person at the counter. I didn't react well. I started laughing, and the lady just got even more upset. Eventually we had to call the authorities. Things got even more heated and she struck one officer. Then, I got to witness another officer flip her clean over a booth in the restaurant. It was very satisfying.
48. Coffee And A Treat
I work at a certain mermaid-themed coffee chain. Our drive-thrus have cameras where we can see the customer and they can see us if we have our camera on—I always keep it off. One day, I was trying to take a customer's order and I noticed the girl, who was the driver, acting very strangely. She was having a hard time speaking coherently and kept making vaguely suggestive noises.
While I was talking with her, I wasn’t actually at the order screen as I was doing side tasks. Because of her odd speech, I stopped doing what I was doing and went to the drive-thru to finish taking her order. I looked at the customer through the camera and I realized why she was having issues speaking. Her boyfriend was in the passenger seat...."servicing" her.
I was so shocked that this was happening that I had to take my headset off and walk away. I didn't tell my co-worker who was working in the window with me what was going on, but I made them finish with this customer. It was only after the fact that I told her what happened. Bear in mind this occurred around 8:00 am on a Sunday.
49. Bagel Blast
I managed a breakfast joint for awhile, beginning a few months after it originally opened. We had a very large oven where we baked our bagels, and one day, after the bagels had been baked for the day, the baker left the door open to cool. While I was up front in the restaurant, I could hear a deafening, "OH MY GOD" from the back where the oven was.
I walked back laughing, expecting to see something like a proofing rack knocked over, or some other stupid mistake. The sight was far more horrific. Instead, I was hit with a geyser of jet black water from the sprinkler system above the oven. The shouting resumed as we tried to cover what we could while waiting for the fire department to arrive.
The fire department arrived and spent the next two and a half hours looking for the shut-off switch for our sprinkler. Turns out the switch had been inadvertently covered or obstructed during our store's construction. I got to stay late that day and help clean every ounce of black, smelly water from our appliances and slicers. It took about three hours of pressurized water in the kitchen to clean it. Ahhh.
50. Extra Protein
For about a year and a half I worked at a family-owned small chain restaurant. There's about eight of them in my area. I worked at the main one. It was the only one that had a dining area, and it was probably the cleanest out of all of these particular establishments. Anyway, all of our food was pre-made at a company-owned commissary and stored there until used by one of the associated restaurants.
One particular item commonly used on our pasta dishes were bread crumbs. On a particularly busy Sunday, a large group of old church ladies was in our party room and had ordered a certain pasta dish en masse. This dish required bread crumbs to be spread on top of the dish before cooking. After making about half the dishes, and realized we had a problem.
The pasta table had run out of bread crumbs. I was running the pizza oven but wasn't busy so I proactively grabbed the container of breadcrumbs that everyone had been refilling from that night. I opened it and dumped some into a container. I noticed some sort of...webbing? A spider web? Was all over the mouth of the breadcrumb container, and clinging to breadcrumbs.
Wait a second. My next realization made me want to vomit. The breadcrumbs were moving. They were “undulating”. What in the world?! Maggots. Silk-weaving maggots. Thousands. We stopped sending food out. We looked at our dishes. They were wriggling. Crawling with web-spinning worms. Apparently every bag of breadcrumbs at the commissary was crawling with worms.
All eight or so restaurants had served worm-filled pasta anytime a dish was ordered that required breadcrumbs, and no one even noticed until I went to refill the breadcrumbs so old women could eat worms.