Many people in customer service are familiar with the phrase, "The customer is always right," but most of the time, that is NOT the case. These employees came face to face with some of the worst Karens and Kevins of the world—and stood their ground in the most satisfying ways.
Way back in the day, when I worked in the food service industry, we once had a customer who got a salad and, when she was just about finished eating it, she intentionally placed one of her hairs in the bowl in order to try and get it refunded. Instead, she got the complimentary “I’m sorry” free bakery item to make up for it. This happened several times, and eventually, it got to the point where she was doing this every single day.
Finally, the store manager sat down at her table and told her this was her last day eating in the cafe, and that they would refuse her refund today and refuse her service in the future. She started to say something about the customer always being right—but he already had a brutal reply ready for her. He just put up a hand to cut her off. He said “You cause us to lose money every day. You’re absolutely not our customer. You are a liability, and you are no longer welcome here".
Unfortunately, this confrontation took embarrassingly long to get to. I worked in training support and the issue came to light during an associate-level customer service class. They had been rolling with it for at least a few weeks, hoping she would just stop at some point on her own. I’m not sure if the managers all knew what was going on, but I called their general manager and DM after class and it was taken care of between the two of them by the end of that week.
This happened not to me, but to my manager. At the store where I work, this one woman comes in every Sunday, without exception. And also without exception, she complains every Sunday. It really doesn’t matter what’s going on in the store or what she’s looking for. She’ll always find something to whine about. So this past time, she said, “I won’t be coming back".
And my manager goes, “Alright, I’ll see you next week!”
I was once a witness to a silent owning that I still get giddy just thinking of. A buddy of mine was serving a table and the kid at the table was around eight or maybe ten years old. He gives her an adult glass for her apple juice. The dad pipes up and says he doesn’t want her to have all that sugar, so he needed to take it away and come back with a kid-sized one.
My friend replied that the glasses are all the same size, the adult size just looks bigger because they have thick bottoms. The dad responds that “the adult glass is clearly bigger and LIKE I SAID I don’t want her to have all that sugar". My buddy is a jerk. He gives a super deliberate exaggerated nod, says nothing, and marches to our little service alley behind the bar.
That’s when he put his plan into motion. A few moments later, he re-emerges with a kids’ cup, sets it down beside the glass, picks up the glass, and pours the adult glass into the new one, lifting it progressively higher and higher until the last drop drips down into the glass, perfectly fitting into the kid-sized cup. He then darts the heck off to the kitchen without even looking at the guy, like he didn’t even exist. I exploded with laughter.
This was the funniest customer service retaliation I’ve ever seen in all my years working in retail. This lady was being unnecessarily rude to our gay cashier, and at one point she replied to something he said with: “Sorry, I don't speak gay". Without missing a beat, the cashier responded with: “Well, don’t worry, because I’m fluent in idiot".
This was not at a restaurant or a retail store, but at a visitor information desk at my university. We were having our Education Week event, where parents from all over the country were exploring the programs our school had to offer. At one point, a lady rudely walked up to the information desk, snapped her fingers in the face of the student employee, and blurted out: “Tell me where the Marriott Center is".
The student employee snapped his fingers right back, and said: “Try again".
I work in a retail store. One day, this very rude customer threw a tantrum at me, and shouted: "Why don't you get a REAL job?" Annoyed, I decided to strike back. I said: "Now if I did that, what would you have to whine and be mad about?" Unsurprisingly, she did not seem to find this particularly funny. But I felt pretty good about myself!
I work at a local bar. One night, a bunch of intoxicated people were making a huge mess, wasting our time, and harassing other tables. Finally, I went up to them and informed them that there was an issue. Me: “The manager has decided that all of you need to leave. We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone and your behavior warrants it".
The loudest guy at the table: “Screw you. If you kick us out, we're never gonna come back to this place". Me: “That's exactly the point. Please leave".
One day, a rude customer came into the store where I work and said: “I don't like (insert literally anything here), is the owner in? I know him!” I immediately expressed intense excitement and said: “OMG SAME! I know the owner too! He's not here right now, unfortunately, but I'm the manager on duty today so I'll help you out". She was not amused.
I was serving a group of 40 people with one other server. As we’re bringing plates out, she asks me for a side of ranch dressing. As I’m bringing the second set of plates out (it took me four or five trips), she asks again. Then again. Obviously, I’m going to bring people’s hot food out before your freaking ranch, lady. Basically, I ended up “forgetting” about her ranch because she wouldn't stop asking when I clearly couldn't physically bring it out yet.
She waits around after everyone leaves. By the way, this was a free meal being paid for by people hosting these people so they could tell them about some business opportunity, so she wasn’t even a paying customer. Once everyone is gone, she asks me in a snobby tone if I was ever going to get her ranch, and without thinking I just said "no".
Lady loses it and literally starts yelling at me. And in my calmest voice (since people don't like you being calm when they’re raging, it makes them angrier), I said "Haha, okay. Maybe don't yell at me," to which she kept yelling. So I again calmly went "Okay haha, but maybe don't yell at me". And after the second one, I could actually see the clarity wash over her.
Like she suddenly developed self-awareness for a split second. My clapback wasn't witty, but she realized she was flying off the handle. It was a great feeling.
I once had a guy ask me to bring him some pepper to the table, so I happily obliged. As I'm walking away after giving him the pepper, he snaps his fingers behind my back. He shouts: "This pepper. It's not coarse enough!" I turned back and said: "I'm sorry, but that's the only pepper we have". He goes: "Mmmm, yeah. Well, you can take this back, then. Maybe you could go get me some sea salt instead".
I go: "I'm sorry, sir, but we don't have sea salt, just regular table salt". He goes: "Mmmm, I'm sorry. I must have mistaken this place for an ACTUAL restaurant". I reply: "And I am sorry too, sir. You've clearly mistaken me for someone who gives a hoot about your obnoxious demands. Enjoy your soup!" And that was the end of that!
A woman once complained to me about her cocktail, saying she couldn’t taste the “punch” in it. She asked if we could make it stronger. It was already a double, but we added a splash. She apparently still couldn’t taste it, so she asked if we could add more. She was obviously intoxicated when she arrived and angling to get more intoxicated for as cheap as possible.
Which is why I took her cocktail, apologized that it wasn’t to her liking, and said I’d take it off her bill, effectively cutting her off for the night.
I work for a moving company. The customers always get mad when we don't have the equipment available for them when they show up last minute with no reservation. “Well, I'll just go to (competitor's name)!” is what they usually say. I would always reply with exact directions: “Great, they are a block north, on the right side. You can't miss ‘em".
This never failed to get a disgusted scoff, but we would always see them again in an hour or so to set up a reservation when the competitors didn't have any equipment either.
My brother was a waiter and was working with a really difficult woman. She ordered the salmon and asked when it got to her table if it was “farm-raised". She got mad at him because he didn’t mention that the salmon was farm-raised when she was ordering, even though it clearly states that it is farm-raised on the menu. She ordered the chicken to replace the salmon, and my brother said “I have to warn you, it’s farm-raised".
At the store where I work, we have sweet biscuits with icing on top. Every weekend, this lady comes in and wants them fresh, with extra icing. But every time, something is apparently wrong with them. Her main complaint is them being “too cold,” which is usually probably due to the extra icing being added on top of it. We have told this to her repeatedly.
Well, this last time she came in, we gave her the biscuit, fresh out the oven, loaded it down with icing, and she still says it’s cold. The manager tells her the only way to get it any hotter would be to melt the icing in the microwave, which we refuse to do. The lady has a conniption, demanding to know why. My manager, God love her, says “Because sugar is hotter than the seven sons of the underworld when it’s heated up like that, and no matter how much you deserve it, I’ll be darned if I give you an excuse to have a lawsuit against us".
Table of 10, Sunday brunch, fancy restaurant, I'm hungover. A crowd swarms in at the opening and my whole section is filled at once. I'm efficient and cool. I'm used to this. I get to the big table and preface that water is being brought as we speak. I then begin taking everyone's drink orders. As I'm taking orders around the table, one woman blurts out that she wants water.
She then starts screaming not to forget the water, interrupting her friends and family as they make their meal requests. I acknowledge her each time until after the fourth time. That’s when I lost it. I told her: 'If you ask for water again, I'll make sure everyone here gets water but you". She sinks back in her chair looking dumbfounded. I go put in the order, then head to the bar.
I slipped a napkin into the pocket of a customer’s jacket. I left a lipstick kiss mark and the words “It was great...you were great...let’s do it again” on the napkin before doing so. This was the same man who openly mocked my colleague who has Down's syndrome. He did this right in front of his whole Christian family, and none of them seemed to mind.
I'm quite feminine for a guy. I don't mind what people say or think about me, and I get confused for gay sometimes. That is an important detail for later in this story. While I was working as a cashier, a customer just walked up to me and started to say, and I quote: "I don't understand why so many gay people work in this restaurant, I don't even know if I want to eat here anymore!"
Lots of my coworkers are, in fact, gay; and the way he said this was... not exactly kind to them. So, when his meal was ready, none of them felt comfortable wanting to bring it to him. So I just did what any sane person would do in my position. I brought him his meal, and you bet I freaking became a full-on Disney princess for like five minutes straight!
I was walking like a model, calling him sweet names, being extremely touchy, and giving him the best attention I possibly could. It was so much fun!
A customer at my store was being rude to me recently, so I gave her attitude back. This did not make her too happy. She aggressively said to me: “I’d watch out if I were you. I know your manager". Without even stopping to think about it, I replied: “I know him too. So what?” She was completely dumbfounded and didn’t say another word after that.
An Italian customer, at a cheap steakhouse in the United States, said the following: “My pasta wasn't quite Al Dente". I replied: “You just got off a plane from Italy, ordered pasta at a cheap steakhouse in the United States, and you're surprised it was less perfect than what you are accustomed to? Not sure what you want me to do about that". He had no reply.
I once had a girl ordering a Pina Colada and then complaining about the coconut in it. Apparently, she didn't like coconut and didn’t realize that it was one of the main ingredients in the drink she ordered. So I got her another drink, and she goes: “What are you going to do with the old one? Are you going to throw it away?”
I just looked at her, told her that I do like coconut, and took a sip.
I had more than one of these encounters, since I worked as a waiter for quite a while. I remember one particular Karen wanting a sincere apology after insulting and berating one of my best friends there, and since I was the one in charge I had to do it. So, with the biggest smile I could possibly put on, I went to her and said "I'm SOOOO sorry for AAALL the things my co-worker did to you. We here know a lady like you deserves more polite treatment, so let me help you..."
She was smiling like the crazy narcissist she is, clearly thinking she had won. Wrong. Then I added: "Let me gracefully escort you to the door so you can find a restaurant that serves your kind, since you are not welcome here anymore". She was fuming. I still remember my friend’s face when he heard this. Then, as she was leaving, I said something like: "I hope you have a day as WONDERFUL as you deserve!"
She complained to management, but since I was always the "good guy" at work and my coworkers didn't say a thing, they let it pass.
I worked at a restaurant in my hometown for years, and the most common rude thing customers would pull was lifting their empty cup with ice in it and shaking it at me, implying that they needed a refill. My response was always the same: “Are you making music, or did you need something?” Use your words, jerks. I’m not your dog.
I am not a waiter, but I was in a restaurant once and this woman comes up to the waiter and goes "Excuse me, but I have been waiting for my food for nearly five minutes now". She had a party table, and a table of eight. The waiter then, calmly, goes to her: "Ma'am, you realize the restaurant is extremely busy, you have a table of eight, and we have minimal staff. It's going to take a whole lot longer than five minutes to cook your food".
Bear in mind, this was a week before Christmas, so everyone was really having their Christmas dinner of sorts. She then huffs and goes to sit down. Five minutes later, she goes back at it again. Woman: "Sir, we have been waiting ten minutes. Where is our food!?" Waiter, (Getting slightly annoyed): "Ma'am, I'm going to have to ask you to sit down and wait patiently, or leave".
Woman: "I want to talk to the manager". Waiter: "Ma'am, the manager is on maternity leave. I'm the assistant manager. And I'm asking you to sit down or leave". The woman goes to sit down. By this point, nearly the entire restaurant was trying to not laugh. The waiter talks to the cook to get the woman's food out first.
Two minutes later, he does so. They eat, leave money for the bill, and then get ready to leave. The waiter comes over. Waiter: "Did you enjoy your food?" Woman: "Yes, not thanks to you though". I could see the waiter was about to lose it. Waiter: "Ma'am, if not for me you would still be waiting". Woman: "I'm going to leave a bad review on this restaurant and get you sacked from your job".
Waiter: "Don’t worry, I won't get sacked thanks to a bimbo like you who thinks everyone has all the time in the world to cater for you". The woman and her party left after that. I never did find out what happened, but I applaud that waiter for remaining so calm under those circumstances. That woman was an absolute joke!
On my last night working as a delivery driver, I was told to keep the change on $12.98 as my tip. That’s when I snapped. I responded by rummaging through my change pouch, taking out two pennies, and tossing them back at the guy, saying “If I wanted your two cents, I would have asked you a freaking question". I then just walked away. This was my final delivery ever, and was well worth it!
I’m not a server, but I had a few of these incidents when I worked at the Comcast retail center. One guy in particular came in hot and was adamant that we doubled his bill. I look into his billing history and, lo and behold, he hasn't paid in two months. I point this out to him and say, "Let's be real, you haven't paid in two months".
I guess my use of the phrase "be real" triggered something in him, because now he's suddenly complaining that I have lousy customer service skills and that I’m unprofessional. He added that I should go work for McDonald’s instead. I immediately responded: "Yeah, but then where would you have to work?" I know Comcast is evil and all, but taking money from that jerk made my entire freaking week.
I once saw an extremely rude guy picking on waitresses and just being a total jerk to everyone around him. There was, however, one male waiter, whom he promptly summoned. Guy: “Another drink". Waiter: “Sorry, we have no more left". Guy: “I don’t believe that for a second. Bring me the darn drink I asked for, right now!”
Waiter: “Oh, sorry. Let me clarify myself. We have no more drinks left… for YOU". The waiter then walked off, leaving the guy all by himself to absorb and process what had just happened. The rude dude then left the place quietly to my great surprise. Maybe not the number one most hilarious comeback of all time, but it was a highly amusing incident to watch.
In this case, I was the customer that got confronted—but who do you think was the bad guy? A server confronted me in the men's room when I didn't tip him on top of the 18% minimum that was already added to my bill. And he wanted to fight me. I’ve never quite had an experience like that before or since. Here’s the full story.
So this past weekend, we went to a restaurant for dinner with my girlfriend and her friends for her birthday. We had about ten people and had about five different tabs, each of which included an 18% minimum tip. The service was terrible. The server was incredibly rude all night and would always respond with some kind of sarcasm when we asked questions about the menu.
He took the wrong drink orders twice and blamed us for getting them wrong. He brought all the apps and entrees at the same time and got upset when we said we didn't want the apps anymore. My friend paid in cash and when he brought back change, there was no receipt. She was expecting to see five bucks and some change back.
When the server came back there was no receipt and only four bucks and change there. She asked him to see the receipt, to see if she had miscalculated because she expected five dollars and then some back. Instead of saying something along the lines of I’ll go check or something accommodating like that, the dude got irritated and said that he threw away the receipt.
He then reached for his wallet and said "How about I just give you a dollar if you want it that bad?" That angered us all, so we didn't leave any extra tip on top of the amount that was automatically added. I wrote down "NOPE!" on my receipt in the additional tip line. When I went to use the men's room before leaving, he tapped my shoulder as I was washing my hands and goes: “You think you’re pretty funny with that tip, don't you? Why don't we step outside so I can show you how funny I can be?
I’m like what the heck? I immediately called the manager over and told him the server tried to fight me because I didn't tip him extra. I explained the whole situation to her while the dude was just glaring angrily at me the whole time. Other servers had to calm him down because he kept trying to interrupt me when I was talking to the manager.
I declined all of their gift card offers, because I sure as heck don’t want to come back to a place where the staff is gonna stir up trouble for me.
For context, I’m a female in my twenties working at a fine dining restaurant. This older guy kept giving me trouble all night. Doing stuff like ordering crudités and then calling it rabbit food and sending it back. At the end of the meal, he says: “Where do I put this comment card?” Me: “See that black box over there? Right in there!”
Guy, thinking he’s being incredibly witty and funny, when he’s actually being a total doofus: “Did you just ask me to stuff your box?!” Me: “Nope, mine isn’t black, sir. Bye! I need to actually help people now". His friends started cracking up and his face turned bright red. I don’t understand people who make inappropriate comments like that in public.
It made the entire meal uncomfortable for the rest of the evening, and his friends were clearly not impressed by the way he was treating me.
This is kind of a long one. I was working in a resort. One of the guests there was a Type A jerk that thinks he's above everything. You know the type. Obviously, he has to be the "group leader" of a table full of four or five other dudes. During my spiel, I tell the table we are out of a certain thing. I don't even remember what it was or why I had mentioned it.
So I start taking the table's order and eventually get to him. Him: "I'll have the THING". Me: "As I just said, sir, we're out of the thing". Him: "Maybe I'll just call my GOOD FRIEND GENERAL MANAGER and they'll find some for me". Me: "You're more than welcome to do so, but the number on the business card you picked up at the front is an office number, not their personal phone. Also, they're the one that just told me that we're out of the THING...
“Maybe if you had called GENERAL MANAGER in advance to let your GOOD FRIEND know you were coming, we could have held some back especially for you". Now, this may not seem all that destructive, but to this guy, at this table full of his colleagues, trying to seem all-powerful, it was freaking BRUTAL. He TRIED to save face, but it failed so darn hard.
Him: "Well, if you can't keep your food in stock, then we probably should have gone somewhere else to eat". The gauntlet has been thrown down. Me: "That's an excellent idea, sir. Would you like me to check if there is a table free at our steakhouse?" Him: "Yes, maybe then I can get some food". He starts talking to the other guys in the group like somehow we're in the wrong here.
They're ALL just looking at him like he's a total freaking lunatic, because he is. I go to the phone, call the steakhouse, and ask if they have space for one. Yes, you read that right. I asked if they had space for a table of one, not for the whole group he was with. They tell me that they do indeed have the room. Good. Back to the table.
Me: "You'll be happy to know, sir, that our steakhouse is able to accommodate you and will have a table waiting when you arrive". Him, in the jerkiest voice he can muster, which is nowhere NEAR as jerky as I could be: "THANK YOU for being of SOME KIND of service". He turns to the rest of the table. "Let's go, guys". That’s when the brutal surprise I’d planned for him came to light.
Me: "I'm sorry, sir, I was under the impression that you would be dining alone and didn't ask if they could take a party this size. I assumed they'd be dining with us seeing as they all ordered items we have available". The guy just looks dumbfounded. And while he's standing there trying to process this new development, one of the dudes at the table chimes in…
Other dude at the table: "Don't worry about it, bro, head on down there. We'll meet up at the resort bar for drinks later". The jerk grabs his drink, says nothing, and walks out. He hits the door and the rest of the table goes into that quiet "What a moron" type of laugh that only men of a certain age and income bracket are able to do properly.
The kind that lets you know this is funny now but come Monday that maniac's world is going to be slightly different in many, many small ways. The evening continues. Yes, this all happened. Yes, I still have even more stories from that night. Yes, I really freaking miss that job. Anyway, the evening continues and sometime after I bring that table their dessert, my GENERAL MANAGER pulls me aside.
General Manager: "What the heck happened? I spent the last half hour getting yelled at by some guy that says you were super rude to him". So I give the general manager a quick rundown of what had happened. I explained that we did not have what the gentleman wanted, so I made him a reservation at the steakhouse. End of story. I said I had no idea why he would possibly be upset.
I pointed out that his co-workers over at (insert table number here) are still around, having a great time. So the general manager goes over to their table and starts talking to them, presumably starting with how their meal was and ending with "What happened with the other guy that I saw with you?" It was freaking beautiful. They had my back the whole way.
They threw him so far under the bus for acting like a jerk that he rolled out the other side and got hit by a semi in the next lane over. They were nothing but complimentary to me, which was a nice bonus. Soon after, the general manager came back over and told me everything seemed fine with them, shrugged it off, and went back to doing whatever GMs do.
Overall, it was quite a satisfying experience for me, and I definitely have no regrets about how I acted! For anyone that has actually read this far, just take this bit of information and carry it with you always: NOTHING infuriates lousy human beings more than someone doing EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT DONE... monkey paw style.
Many years ago, I was working the counter at a ski resort's cafe. On one occasion, this teenage jerk came up to the counter with a container of French fries and said that he didn't bring any money, so he asked if he could just have them for free. I said nope. He said, "But I'm a good customer". And I said okay, but the French fries are for paying customers.
And I then proceeded to take them away from him and pop one in my mouth right in front of him. He had nothing to say to that, but his friend cracked up with laughter and apologized to me on his behalf. Apparently, the friend had been pretty embarrassed by the whole incident. When I turned around after this, all of my co-workers were in awe of how perfect the moment was.
My elderly neighbor has some connections at the Boston Pizza restaurant chain and, as a result, always gets free gravy with her fries. One time, when she went to this other restaurant called Humpty's, she asked for gravy. When she was told she would be charged a couple of dollars extra for it, she said: "But I always get it for free at Boston Pizza". The server promptly told her that she could go back to Boston Pizza, then.
I'm not a server, but I thought you folks might like this one anyways. I worked at Target a few years ago. When it's time to close up, a speaker warns you about 15 or so minutes early and asks you to start to wrap things up. So one day, this lady is going through clothes on the shelf at the speed of a snail. Taking her sweet time. The first warning announcement goes off.
She doesn’t react and continues slowly looking at items. All of a sudden, the recording plays again, announcing that we are closing in one minute. That’s when I came up with a plan. I walk up to her and pretend I know sign language, and start fake signing. She asks what I am doing. I replied: “Oh, I'm sorry! I thought you were deaf, since you clearly didn’t react to the announcement that we’re closing right now".
She had no idea how to respond.
I had one of those women that always complains about their food, hoping to get it comped. Which she did. But then she asked for a to-go box. I said: “I thought you didn't like your meal. Are you sure you want to take it home?” She got annoyed. I should have refused to give her the box, but I was new so I boxed it for her. I got no tip of course.
I work at a, but it’s in North Carolina. This one time, a customer came in and ordered a slice of pizza. This is how the conversation went. Customer: “Is this really a New York slice?” My manager: “How about you get the heck out of here?? Is that New York enough for ya?” The guy actually laughed. It was pretty awesome.
I'll never forget this story. I work in retail. To be more specific, I work at a big box home improvement store that deals with a lot of contractors, but I got promoted to a Human Resources position, so I don't work with customers that often anymore. That being said, I like to work the floor still from time to time, just to help out.
One small-time contractor was trying to return three large flat carts full of merchandise from her last job, and she wanted the money back in cash with no receipt. We offered to look through all of her orders in the system to find the receipts, but she didn't want to wait for that. She just wanted the cash right then and there.
So I start ringing up the merchandise, knowing full well that the system won't let me return it with no cash, but I just wanted to show her with her own eyes that store credit was the only option in this situation. The merchandise ends up totaling around $3,000, and I show her the register says "Store Credit Only". She gets irate and demands to speak to the store manager.
I tell her that he's not available and that, even if he was, even he couldn't override the system. She says something along the lines of "I don't know what magic wand you just used to make that happen, but the store manager has helped me do this before, and I want him to do it again. He knows me, and if you tell him who I am, then he will help". Well, I wasn’t letting her get out of there without a healthy dose of humiliation.
So I whip out my cell phone and call his personal phone, "Hey Store Manager! I'm really sorry to bother you on your vacation, but I have a customer here who has a problem that she says only you can fix. Do you remember [Contractor's name]? Oh, you don't? Well, she says you helped her return merchandise without a receipt for cash? You don't remember that? Okay. Yeah, I'll have one of the assistant managers take care of it".
She was NOT happy, and I told her that the only way we could do what she was asking us to do was by having one of the assistant managers call up our Regional Asset Protection manager, who would have to investigate and then decide whether or not to approve it, which could take quite some time. She ended up taking the store credit.
I will always remember my personal favorite story about this topic. There was this older couple, around 70ish, who would always come into this chain restaurant to eat every Sunday after church. While the wife was extremely polite, the guy was an absolute bag of jerks all rolled into one. He often yelled and berated his wife, along with the server.
On one fateful day, I was graced with their presence once again. He was being his normal jerk of a self towards me, and even worse to his wife on this particular occasion. Finally, I had had enough of his mistreatment toward his wife and said, “You better watch it, pal, because no matter what you say or what you do, I’ll have at least two minutes alone with your food before I bring it out. Bon appetit!”
The wife absolutely lost her mind laughing. He shot her a mean glare, to try and intimidate her into stopping the laughter. After hesitating for a split second, she continued with even louder laughing. In reality, I never touched his food…and neither did he. But the threat was enough to get the job done. They never came back. I hope the wife is doing okay!
When I was 16 years old and waitressing as my first job, a woman kept criticizing the food during a busy night, demanding free meals. Eventually, she started making personal remarks towards me. I replied with the most savage burn I could think up at the time. "I know you are, but what am I?" Brilliant, I know! She went up to start complaining to the manager, who didn't care and just walked off mid-sentence.
I’m a former waiter turned flight attendant. I fly on a regional plane in which there is a rear jumpseat at the back, surrounded by two passengers on the left, and another two on the right. This means that I am squished right in the middle. One time, some guy was giving me a hard time about being in the back and he was talking smack. My response?
"If the plane goes down, I will be surrounded by four squishy bodies and probably walk away unscathed. That's why I am here, in the back, in the middle, in this tiny seat. Bodies make GREAT padding". The look of silence on his face was priceless. Thankfully, he didn’t bother me again for the entire remainder of the flight.
When I worked in a restaurant, I once waited on a dude and a group of his friends; and he was just generally being a big jerk towards me the whole time. Condescending, snapping his fingers to get my attention, calling me sweetie, the whole nine yards. He also kept claiming that he was a “friend of the owner” and that he should be able to order from the breakfast menu because of this.
Even though I said no and informed him that all of our breakfast stuff is put away, and that this time of day was open for dinner service only. Well, after a while, I decided that I'd had about enough. When he got the bill, because there were so many in his party, I was able to autograt it (meaning add an automatic 20% tip for myself on their check).
I brought him his bill and explained the autograt, and he looked at me and said “Wow, are you really okay with only getting this amount for your tip? I could've left you more, you know!” And I immediately replied, “Oh, don't worry, there's a line below the autograt where you can add even more of a tip if you want!” And I walked away. I guess out of sheer embarrassment, he did end up leaving me more.
Not me personally, but this happened to my manager in a luxury boutique hotel. The building dates back to the 16th century, in an old town with cobbled streets and antique shops. People come for the charm of the good ol’ days. One time, I had a customer leave a TripAdvisor online review. The reason why was insane. She complained that the floorboards in the hotel freaked her out.
My manager responded by pointing out the age of the building and told the customer that next time they would probably be more comfortable staying at a Travelodge. We all laughed our heads off when we read that reply. We even had a guest check in a few weeks later who told me that he’d seen the manager's response to that review, and that it had convinced him to come and stay at the hotel.
I don’t work in a restaurant or a typical retail type of store, but this story does have to do with a customer service incident in relation to selling food. The place I work for is a 24-hour shop, so we are always open regardless of what time of day or night it is. On this one particular occasion, a customer comes in at around midnight, looking for a specific product.
She was something like 65 years old or so and super grouchy, yelling irrationally about how she wants this certain extremely specific thing to cook a dish. We didn’t have it in stock, and as far as I was aware no other store did either. It didn’t even exist locally. It was some super specific, uncommon foreign spice thing.
I don’t even remember exactly what it was called anymore, as this story happened well over a decade ago at this point. Anyway, eventually, after several minutes of this woman’s ranting and raving, our assistant store manager comes up, smiles, and asks if he can be of assistance. We hadn’t even called for him or anything.
He just heard her from all the way in the back of the store and thought he should see what the heck was going on. He asks what she wants and she repeats her ridiculous demands. He politely apologizes and tells her: “No, unfortunately, that’s a product that we don’t carry, but [alternate local grocer that’s also open 24/7] does. It’s just up the street about a mile or so".
She thanks him, and leaves. I ask him about it, knowing that it was clearly a lie, and he says, “No, of course they don’t have it, this woman is clearly out of her mind. But now it’s that store’s problem and not mine". Can’t argue with that! I’ve always wondered what might have happened when she arrived at the other store and discovered they didn’t have it either. But I guess I’ll never know!
I was a customer in this case, but I witnessed the whole thing. I was waiting for my to-go order of fried chicken one night and I overheard this crazy redneck jerk giving his waitress a hard time because his fried chicken was unsatisfactory and “not like mama used to make". The waitress literally just stared at him silently for a few moments, then told him to go make it himself if he didn’t like it the way we made it.
She then triumphantly walked off, and the guy just sat there with a stupid look on his face not knowing what to say or do. And then every single person in the restaurant erupted with applause and cheers.
I once had a customer harassing me over a product that he had bought and wanted to return. He had no receipt, it was well over the return date, and he claimed he had paid for it in cash, so there was no paper trail or evidence of the transaction whatsoever. I told him that the return policy was only valid within 30 days of the purchase, and that he also had to have a receipt in order to receive a refund.
Him: “You’re just paid to say that". Me: “As a matter of fact, I am paid to say that. That’s how jobs work!” He didn’t know what to say. But I never saw his scamming butt in the store again!
As the owner, I love this story. I used to own a concession business, selling various novelty food items like kettle corn, shaved ice, etc. One of our weekly shows was very busy. So busy, in fact, that we pretty much had 50 or more customers in line for the entire day, without any break. Admittedly, the wait for our items took a bit, due to these extremely long lines.
However, my staff and I busted our butts like there was an electric cord shoved up our rear ends to give people service as quickly as possible. Nevertheless, this one guy is non-stop whining. I can hear him from 20 people away. So I wait. Once he's just a few people away from the front, I turn to my staff and say, "Time to shut off the equipment!"
The equipment was loud, so turning it off created an odd silence. With there still being more than 50 people in line, I turn to the guy—and left him utterly humiliated. I say loud enough for everyone in line to hear. "Sir, I'm not sure if you noticed how hard my staff is working to get you your kettle corn as quickly as possible. Perhaps, you have some suggestions for us to make it go faster for you".
I can't remember if he stayed, but everyone else in line clapped on behalf of my staff. The customer is NOT always right.
I live in a small town and I used to work in a fish and chips shop, one of two such shops in the town. We were a tourist town, and one of the main attractions was the award-winning fish and chips we boast. I believe our shop was one of the top five fish and chips shops in the county while I was there. People in the town believed we were in massive competition with the other shop, but the truth is we really weren't.
We had more than 25 staff members employed. They had around seven or eight in total. We were serving thousands more customers than them per week, or even per day in the summer. So, on the rare occasion when a customer got angry, they would simply exclaim “WELL, I’M GOING TO [INSERT SUPPOSED COMPETITORS NAME HERE] INSTEAD, AND I WON'T BE BACK!”
They said this as if it was a big deal and would really hurt our feelings and/or our business. We would simply reply by telling them that we don't want them back anyway, and that they should enjoy the food from the other shop. There’s also one little interesting detail that we generally chose not to tell them in these situations. We owned both shops.
We don’t use trays at the restaurant I work at. Instead, you just take what you can carry and go back for the rest, or have someone follow you. I usually just carry one item in each hand so I don’t risk dropping things when delivering customers’ items to their tables. Pretty often, I’ll immediately hear “Uhhh, we’re missing [insert random item here]” in a condescending or rude way.
99% of the time, these comments are from older people. I just always politely say, without missing a beat, “Ma’am [or sir]. I only have two hands". Not especially creative or a witty clapback, but it always shuts them up fast and gives me a nice sense of satisfaction. Why do people have to be so rude to the staff that’s trying to serve them?
An older woman at my table once asked me what my mother must think about all my tattoos, and I said, “Well, my father doesn’t mind". She didn’t take the hint. I guess it wasn’t a very good hint for someone as slow as her. She then asked “Well, what about your mother?” To which I replied: “She’s dead. She doesn’t do a lot of thinking these days".
Did she stop there? Nope. That would be too logical for someone as dumb as this moron. She then had the gall to say to me: “Did she die of SHAME?” I just calmly said: “Nope. Breast cancer". I then dropped the check and walked away. They weren’t done eating, but her guests looked like they wanted to leave right then and there.
I used to be a server in Muskoka, Ontario many years ago. For those who don’t know, this is one of the most popular upscale summer cottage regions in Canada. There are always lots of celebrities in the area for the summer, and in my day I served burgers to Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, drinks to Martin Short and Dan Akroyd, and got to meet many other big names.
One time, I had a local nobody at one of my tables who thought he was a big-shot celebrity. He would never tip and would always crumple up both copies of the Visa bill into a tiny little ball—but that’s not the worst part. He would even chew on it the receipts until they were the size of a spitball. So this jerk comes in with a bunch of friends and treats them all to supper, running up a $600 bill.
He then crumples up the Visa bills again into a tiny little ball and flicks it at me with a grin on his face. I swiftly kick it off the patio and it falls into the lake our patio is on. He sees this and says in front of the whole table, "I guess you won't know what your tip is now!" I tell the whole table flat out that he never tips anyway, so no big loss.
I then walk away, leaving them to awkwardly digest what I had just said. But I didn’t stop there. Eventually, they left. At that moment, I immediately called the authorities and reported him on a “dine and dash” claim, because there is no evidence that this guy paid for his dinner since the receipt was in the lake now. I even deleted the pre-authorization from the debit machine, just for good measure.
So a bunch of officers show up at this guy's house and make him return to the restaurant to pay again. He was never a jerk to me ever again.
I’ve never worked at a restaurant, but I used to work as a parking attendant in the garage at a local ski resort. I was occasionally allowed to clap back at rude customers, which was always nice to know. The best one went like this. Guy: “Why can't I just park there?” Me: “Because we have a bunch of school buses full of kids coming later and we need to reserve this space for them".
Guy: “But I'm a good driver. C'mon, there's no parking anywhere else!" Me: “Yes, there is. You'll just have to walk a little bit further from your car to get to the elevator". Guy: “But I don't want to do that!" Me: “Too bad". I then left briefly to go to the bathroom, and came back to find the guy and his family getting ready and unloading their equipment from their car—which was parked exactly where I told them they were not allowed to.
When the guy saw that I had returned, he gave me a little smirk, as though he had somehow outsmarted me. Without breaking eye contact, and without saying a word, I immediately filled out a parking ticket and placed it on his windshield right in front of him and his family. Guy: “Hey, what the heck are you doing, man?” Me: “Move your car now, or I’ll tow it too".
And that was the end of that situation!
One night at the restaurant where I work, the host seated a table for me to serve. It was a couple and their toddler. The two sat on the same side of the booth, kissed, etc., so I knew they were a couple, but the woman looked much older than the man. Like, she looked terrible. I'm sure it was due to substance use of some kind, but regardless it was very clearly noticeable.
So she's super rude to me the entire time. She asked for her eggs over easy hard. Our conversation went like this. Me: “Ma'am, your eggs can be over easy, which is kind of runny, or over hard where they're fully cooked". Her: “Oh, bless your heart, you have no idea do you?” Me: “Ma'am?” Her: “Why don't you get me a real server, and he can make my eggs the way I like them".
Me: “Uhh, ma'am, I know how eggs are cooked. Over easy hard doesn't tell me anything. Do you want them over medium?” Her: “How hard is your job? Honestly, how hard is it to just serve people eggs?” I'd had it at that point. I gave her order to the cook, and of course, he asked me what she meant. I told him to just make them over medium, as I felt like that was what she meant.
I gave her the eggs and she sighed real heavily. Her: “I'm sorry, was my order too hard for you? Did ya not understand me? What the heck kind of place is this that nobody can make me eggs?” I took a deep breath—and gave her the comeback of a lifetime. I said: “Ma'am, I apologize to you, your son, and your grandson. Let me go ahead and comp your meal".
Her face twisted up and got so red that I thought it was going to pop off of her face. “THIS IS MY HUSBAND AND THAT'S MY SON!!” Ohh boy, it was so worth it. “WHERE IS YOUR MANAGER!! I NEED YOUR MANAGER RIGHT NOW!!” I got my manager. He yelled at me in the office, but couldn't prove that I was purposefully disingenuous.
My mom never told me how her best friend died. Years later, I was using her phone when I made an utterly chilling discovery.
Madame de Pompadour was the alluring chief mistress of King Louis XV, but few people know her dark history—or the chilling secret shared by her and Louis.
I tried to get my ex-wife served with divorce papers. I knew that she was going to take it badly, but I had no idea about the insane lengths she would go to just to get revenge and mess with my life.
Catherine of Aragon is now infamous as King Henry VIII’s rejected queen—but few people know her even darker history.
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