Unfortunately, anyone who works in the service industry these days is exposed to a plague of Karens. As any of them will admit, Karens come in all shapes, sizes, and genders. Some lie hidden amongst the general population until their vitriolic, entitled behavior comes spewing out. Here are some stories about Karens that show how bad and prevalent these creatures truly are.
1. Pennies From Haters
When I worked in Domino's, I had a guy throw a handful of pennies at me while laughing. The 30 odd cents was apparently my tip. He got mad when I turned around and walked away without picking any of them up. But throwing the pennies wasn't even the bad part. What he said next made me facepalm. "Oh, my money is not good enough for you? Fine, I'll never order Domino's again!"
2. Freebie Fiasco
At the pizza shop where I worked, we used to do a “buy one large get one free” deal on Tuesdays. This deal was stackable, so it was always hectic. One week, the deal changed to “any large pie for $15.” They were generally between $20 and $24. One woman was irate, yelling about how we would lose so much business by not giving out the free pizza.
She said she knew people who couldn’t afford meals but come to us on Tuesdays and that she will now never come back. I smiled, because I knew exactly what was coming. She came back the next week and even pre-ordered.
3. Her Daily Ritual Was A Grind
I used to work at a Starbucks right next to a Walmart. One of the Walmart employees would come in for lunch every day. She was in her 60s and was very strange and very demanding. She always ordered a spinach feta wrap on a plate with cutlery and a tall hot coffee with room for cream. When I would see her, I would say hi and then say her order, and she would reply, “Yes, that's right.”
Then while I would type it in, she would repeat it very sternly. Then, while I would put it in the oven and get the plate ready, she would tell me again very sternly. She would repeat her order a few times despite me displaying that I knew what it was. She was always angry and scoffing during the process. The next part of her ritual was somehow even MORE annoying. She would go find a table and rearrange the furniture VERY loudly.
She would drag the metal bottom of a table across the polished concrete floor. Then drag the wood chairs across it as well. Even some customers would offer to help her move them, but she always insisted that she could do it. So for a solid five minutes every day, everyone in the store just had to listen to thunderous sounds.
Next, she would go get her coffee ready at the little bar and make a HUGE mess. She always pulled out a bunch of sugar packets and spilled them everywhere. Then she would take a load of napkins and come back to the counter without cleaning her mess. She would squeeze in front of whoever was currently being helped and say that we were out of napkins.
Then, she would go have her food and drink, leave the plate and cup there, go into the bathroom and throw all of the napkins on the floor, along with some paper towels as well. We always had to have someone go clean up after her. She would go back to work and return later. When she returned, she would always complain that she had left her stuff on a table and that it was now gone.
We explained that we had cleaned it up and that she could not reserve a table for herself. She would be furious and demand a free coffee, which she automatically got anyway with her first order. So, I would give her a free refill and she would drag the tables and make a huge mess for us to clean up all over again.
4. A Slam Drunk
I was working at a busy bar in a major city. There was one guy who wouldn't stop pounding his empty glass on the bar, rolling his eyes, and yelling, "I'M EMPTY OVER HERE." It was 11 PM on a Saturday night, and the bar was packed, with a line around the block. I told him I would get to him as quickly as I could. About 20 seconds later, I heard him slam his glass on the bar, AGAIN.
I leaned over to tell him if he couldn’t stop mistreating my glassware, I was going to give him a plastic cup. The man proceeded to spit in my face. I was honestly shocked. But don't worry, he got what he deserved. One of my regulars grabbed him by the back of his head and slammed his face into the bar. A melee broke out, and at least 20 of my glasses ended up broken.
5. She Was Tea-d Off
One day I was making drinks at the cafe I worked at. A coworker was at the register. We were swamped, so she missed writing down the specific instructions for one of the orders. All I knew was that the customer wanted a small black tea. So I made it and called it out. The lady very rudely told me she wanted it in two cups.
So, I split it up and put it on the counter. She then said she asked for extra hot water in both cups and told me I was terrible at listening to directions. She was basically asking for two teas for the price of one. I didn’t have time to argue, so I just did it, and put it back on the counter. But she had more crazy left in her. She then spilled it on her hand while picking it up. She yelled, “Ow!! Why did you do that?” as if I handed it to her myself and intentionally poured it on her.
She then proceeded to go on a rant about how she would sue, and I would lose my job. I was so mad that I started crying. I guess that made her feel bad because she returned after she finished her tea to tell me her hand was okay, so there was no need for any recourse. She was an insane piece of work that I had to deal with a handful of times. Her brother, who came in with her, would often apologize on her behalf.
6. Karaoke Kooks
I worked in a restaurant that was in a 55+ community. During our busiest night of the week, Thursday night karaoke, I was bussing tables. I was trying to get all the empty glasses because the bar desperately needed them. When I grabbed a clearly empty glass from in front of a woman, she pierced my hand with a fork. It drew blood. She yelled, "I'm not done with that!" Mind you, the only thing left in this glass was a droplet at the bottom that had dried up.
7. An Authentic Pain In The Pasta
I worked at a local Italian restaurant, and one night, I had a couple that came in, seated themselves, then demanded their menus. I was leery. When I came over, the man told me how he was from Italy, and he had already noticed that the carbonara wasn’t made like REAL carbonara. Apparently, authentic carbonara has four types of cheeses on it. Cue my eye roll—but he was just getting started.
He made me check with the kitchen to see if they could make it the real way, which they couldn’t. However, he still decided to get it, knowing he wouldn’t like it. At that point, I knew that I was going to get a lousy tip because he ordered something he wasn’t going to like. I got them their complimentary bread, and he complained that it wasn’t hot enough, so I had the chef pop it in the pizza oven.
The dude still wasn’t happy with it, so I had to wait for the kitchen to prepare fresh bread, and, in the end, he barely ate any of it. Without any surprise, he hated the carbonara, and he, of course, chewed me out over it. He told me how disappointing he thought our restaurant was and how he would have to drive back home to Miami unhappy. I comped his bill, apologized, and told him I hoped the rest of his night went well. His wife sheepishly smiled at me, and they left no tip.
8. Entitled Over Espresso
We were cleaning up after a wedding reception at our facility, and I had begun the cleaning process on our espresso machine. The party had been over for almost a half-hour. The cleaning process takes 12 minutes. People were still milling about as the party slowly let out, and the bride's father asked me for an espresso.
Since we had a strict policy of always trying to satisfy a guest's needs, I told him I could get it to him, but the machine was cleaning, and it would be done in about 10 minutes. He began ranting about how much he paid for the wedding and stormed to our banquet managers. He told them I refused to make it for him. The manager started tearing into me. I showed both of them that the machine was just finishing the cleaning process, and it was impossible to make it beforehand. I got suspended for two weeks.
9. What A Clucker!
I worked at a local chicken joint. To help drum up business, my boss made an “all you can eat” deal. The only stipulation was you couldn’t order one all-you-can-eat for multiple people. It was reasonable enough, and often it wasn’t an issue. However, one evening as we were near closing, a couple of guys wandered in, and one of them ordered this all-you-can-eat deal. He started sharing it with his friend, and we told him that he couldn’t do that.
Since we were getting ready to close anyway, my manager told him that we wouldn’t cook anymore for him because of it, but rather than throw out what we had already cooked, he could just have that. The guy had a tantrum and threw the food across the entirety of the restaurant once we turned our backs. There were french fries and ketchup everywhere. However, he kept the chicken though. Not only that, but the next morning we found that the restaurant's windows had been vandalized.
10. She Ran Out Of Manners
I was at a family restaurant. Everyone was ordering the special that day, so they ran out of an ingredient for the dish. There was a customer complaining to the waiter as if it was HIS fault this happened. Then as my family and I were about to pay our bill and leave, that same woman yelled out to me, "You would be handsome if you weren't so fat!" Her daughter was even mortified and actually called her out on it.
11. She Went Postal At The Library
I worked at a library. The post office was down the street and around the corner, about three blocks away. A lady waltzed into the library with that angry "Karen" face and haircut and slammed her pointer finger on the table. She said, "I JUST called and was told the post office was open. I drove all the way down here, and it's closed. WHY was I told it was open if you're just going to close after you hang up?"
I had a dumbfounded expression on my face. I had no idea who this woman was or why she was shouting at me. I responded, "They must have closed early, but ma'am, you never called here. This is the library." That was a huge mistake. She said, "I JUST CALLED. I know it was you I spoke to. I just had to dress a screaming two-year-old and drag her into the car, so I could get my mail, and you lied."
I knew I was in big trouble because my boss was in the other room, and she always wanted the patrons to be pleased. I went and got my boss anyway, so I had a quick chance to tell my side of the story first. Shockingly, my boss took my side instantly and screamed at the woman for yelling at her "precious employees." The lady fell silent and stomped away like a mad toddler. I was a happy librarian that day.
12. Subway Spinach Spat
I was working at Subway. One night we were running out of spinach. A guy dressed as a cowboy came in and ordered a foot-long. We got to the spinach, and the cowboy said, “I want a lot of spinach.” We were only supposed to put pinches on anyways, but this guy was used to me giving extra when my manager wasn’t around because I roll that way, but not today.
He demanded, “You’re gonna give me more than that.” I replied, “We’re running out of spinach today,” knowing a boomer tantrum was brewing. “Give me more,” he said, so I gave him pinches, but he wanted handfuls. The cowboy demanded, “I NEED MORE SPINACH THAN THAT, BOY.” I told him again, “Sir, we’re running out of spinach.”
He said, “DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH I COME HERE AND THEY GIVE ME ALL THE SPINACH I WANT.” I told him, “Yeah, but other customers are gonna want spinach tonight, though.” He went on saying, “I've been coming here for years even though your prices keep going up. Why do the prices keep going up?” I told him I was just the cashier and didn’t know.
He told me I talked him out of a sale and asked for my manager’s number. I gave him mine. He left a message, and I just texted him back, “Yeehaw.”
13. He Paid The Price For Some Nuggets
I worked as a manager at a McDonald's. I was pretty easygoing when it came to mess-ups and credits. If you said we messed up, I would replace it. Nearing the end of my shift one day, this dude came walking in, yelling and cursing at me. He clapped at me and told me he wanted his darn kids meal. I finally had enough and said I would give him his money back for the nuggets and half the food he had just spewed out all over me and the counter.
He yelled at me that he wanted his nuggets. I gave them to him and told him to have a nice day, and he threatened to beat me up. A regular in the restaurant called the authorities, and they took the guy in for public intoxication and endangering the welfare of a minor. The guy ruined his life over some nuggets, which I would have given him for free if he wasn’t being so difficult and rude.
14. This Party’s Not For You
Our bar was having a private party. A tipsy dude, who came in every so often, walked in and ordered a drink. I knew he wasn't with the party based on his attire. I told him I couldn’t get him a drink because we were hosting a private affair, and he lost his mind. He cursed at me and told me he wanted to fight me. On his way out, as he walked by the signs on the door saying we were closed for a private event, he yelled that we should put up signs.
15. Repeat Offenders
I worked in a place that was frequented by local families and youth sports teams. On Sundays, this one large group of people would always come in, and they were the worst. The parents drank and ignored their preteens, who ran around playing games in the entire restaurant, disrupting everyone else. They once tried to walk in a party of 45 people when we were booked solid and got mad that there wasn’t enough space for them. They would also try to modify everything and leave no tip.
16. Anything But Friendly
I was a server at Friendly's when I was in high school. I worked all night once for a whole soccer team and their parents, who came in without any notice. At the end of the night, they wanted everything split up. I almost laughed in their face. The kids were sitting at different tables so trying to get the right kids' food to the correct parent was nearly impossible.
Not to mention, some kids split meals or got specialty drinks, ice cream, and appetizers. Some parents were trying to tell me what their kid ordered, while others were just saying, "Whatever the blonde kid with the headband ordered," etc. About half of them had coupons that they were all switching around with each other, some of which were expired, but they wanted to use them because they were "spending so much money."
A considerable portion of the bill had to be comped because no one would claim a bunch of items. I had to reprint checks about ten times because no one wanted to pay an extra $2 on a milkshake they said their kid didn't order. By that point, I started crying. My manager was yelling at me over what a fiasco it was, and mad because the kids had been drawing on the tables and throwing crayons at other customers over the partition.
I finally came back out to hopefully get everyone paid up when one of the dads had the audacity to tell me to "Not look so stressed out. It's just Friendly’s." They then left me a $15 tip in total for the three hours I waited on them with a bill that was over $400. A lot of them tipped on the coupon price instead of the ACTUAL cost, and some just left whatever change was leftover.
17. Chicken Box Blunder
It was the middle of summer. A lady from the real estate agency next door ordered a chicken box, then proceeded to drive an hour to her next showing. The order probably stayed right in front of her AC unit in the passenger seat during the drive, so it obviously got cold. Upon her shocking discovery that food doesn't stay warm, she called us screaming that we tried to kill her.
My boss agreed to give her a new free meal when she came back. She came to get her free food. Things somehow got even worse. One of our chefs came to collect her cold food. While still in front of the window, he opened the box and fished out the uneaten biscuit. He threw the rest away but walked away with the bread. I presume he meant to eat it.
The woman then started screaming about how we were "recycling" food, that she was good friends with the health inspector, and that she was going to see us in court. The histrionics brought my boss out of his office, and after chewing out the idiot chef, he tried to smooth things over. She wouldn't move forward in line, and the line was piling up.
My boss was starting to get annoyed. Her hot, fresh meal came up, and he went to hand-deliver it and tell her to get out of the line. Suddenly, our food runner let out a gasp and looked up to see a box of steaming hot chicken come sailing through the window and scatter across the front of the place. My boss barely stepped back in time. We could only stare as the crazy lady roared out of the parking lot.
18. This Dude Got Dialed Up
I was bartending at a restaurant. There was a private party, and one of the guests asked me to plug in his iPhone to listen to a song—no big deal. I did, and he tipped me $20. He left his phone behind the bar and got trashed. When he was leaving, I said, "Sir, don't forget about your phone!" He proceeded to throw a drink at me and told me to leave him alone and get a real job.
19. He Made A Scene, Then Wanted A Job
I had a guy who was a germaphobe and had really bad OCD. He had come through before, and my coworker didn't want to deal with him. So, I went to the drive-thru window after washing my hands. Biggest mistake of my life. I cashed out the order that was on the screen, he reluctantly handed over his card, and I gave him his coffee. He started yelling at me, saying that it was wrong.
Apparently, the person who took the order forgot to type it in. He started yelling at the coworker that didn't want to take his order at the window. Instead of just saying that it was the wrong order, getting refunded, and being on his way, he stayed in the driveway for 20 minutes, telling my coworker that she was stupid, unprofessional, and unfit to be a supervisor.
He kept demanding that we get the phone number of our franchise owner, but apparently, the number was wrong, and he kept yelling at us. About a month later, he called the store to apologize, and the manager made sure that my coworker never dealt with him again. He was told he could come in as long as he didn’t make a scene. He spent three hours on the phone with the manager, and at the end of the phone call, he asked if we were hiring.
20. This Customer Was Half-Baked
I worked at a bakery and had to deal with the most HEINOUS and rude customers ever. One day one of our staff members quit by text message five minutes before her shift and 30 minutes before we were set to open at 8 AM on a Saturday. We were hard-pressed finding someone to cover, so I was alone until someone else was able to come in, about an hour later.
I had one of the kitchen staff helping me, and all they could do was grab things and bag them as they weren't trained on cash or coffee. So here I was running around trying to help customers, make coffees, ring people through—I was clearly stressed. This man was clearly annoyed that he had to wait, huffing and puffing, and eventually loudly exclaimed, “Forget this. I’m not waiting for this garbage,” and proceeded to throw his bagged muffin at my head and storm out.
21. What A Wing Nut!
I had a man and his wife come in during a hectic lunch rush. He was rude off the bat, interrupting me, and not wanting to listen to me speak. He was very adamant that he wanted both chips and salsa and a plate of roasted wings as appetizers. He kept emphasizing that he wanted them together before they ordered their lunch. Even though chips and salsa only take a minute and wings take about 12, I rang them in together because of how he ordered them.
Three minutes later, the man was waving at my coworker across the restaurant, yelling at her about how they had been there for thirty minutes, his appetizer was taking too long, and he wanted it before his wings. I was at a party table, so she ran back and grabbed the chips and the wings, which were somehow up as well, and brought them out.
He took one bite of a wing—and his reaction was beyond horrible. He tossed the plate like a frisbee across the table at her and started complaining about them being cold. I rushed over to see what was going on, and he started yelling at me, saying his food was awful and this was the worst service he had ever gotten in his life. I don’t do well with grown men yelling at me, so I went to the kitchen and got my manager.
He came out and, thankfully, had my back as much as he could and made the guy pay for the wings and the chips, then leave. After he left, I started to clean the table where I found the single penny he tipped me with, which my coworker promptly threw in the trash. I then got a call from my general manager asking why a man had called me “professionally challenged” on Yelp.
22. They’re Entitled, But Not To A Free Meal
I used to manage a restaurant and had entitled customers who would leave without paying because "the waitresses didn't come to pick up my money." Once, it was a family of four who left the restaurant during a busy evening. We realized that the bill hadn’t been paid after some 10 minutes had passed. I checked the cameras and saw the father taking the bill, putting the money in, sitting there for just 3-4 minutes, looking around, then taking the money back and leaving with the whole family!
Our owner told me to simply ban him and his family. To my surprise, he actually came back with friends on a busy evening a couple of months later. I was very excited watching the embarrassment on his face in front of his friends and customers when I told him that he had been banned. When his wife started to get upset, I told them I remembered them and told them the whole story with me checking the cameras and seeing him taking the money back and all!
23. I’d Give Her A Failing Grade
A customer ordered one of our daily specials and didn’t like it. Instead of complaining to me about the food and letting me offer something else, she complained to my manager about ME. She left, and I was glad to be rid of her. But the nightmare was just beginning. As it turned out, she was one of my college professors for that semester, teaching a management course.
On the first day of class, she recognized me, but I played it off like I didn’t know her. Bet you can guess how fun THAT class was.
24. The Lingering Ladies
It was my first week of waitressing when two old ladies came in two hours before the end of my night shift. They ordered the turkey specials, which came with soup and dessert. They seemed nice. If only I'd known what I was in for. I got their food and checked on them. Everything was fine, but they were still eating. I came back 15 minutes later to check on them again. One woman was finished, so I took her plate, but the other wasn’t, so I left her to it.
I came by again 10 minutes later and asked, “Still eating?” The centerpieces in the middle of the table were positioned in such a way that I didn’t notice the fork in her hand. She responded very rudely, “Obviously, I am. What does it look like?” I was new at this, so I was taken back. I apologized and laughed it off nervously. At that point, however, the kitchen was 10 minutes to closing.
I needed to put in their dessert order so the staff would know what items to not clean up and put away. So, I asked the women if I could take their dessert orders, and the same woman looked at me angrily and said, “Do not rush us! We come here every week and never have experienced such poor service. There is no need for you to be hovering like this.” I suppose I was hovering, but they were taking forever.
I apologized and explained the kitchen was closing soon, but she wouldn’t have it and sent me on my way. The other lady was just sitting there awkwardly, not saying a thing. I went back to the kitchen and noticed my boss walking to their table. A half-hour passed, and the kitchen closed, and the restaurant was about to close too. However, they were still chatting. When they were finally done, I went and asked if I could take their dessert order.
They ordered something that needed to be prepared by the kitchen, as well as coffee for the table. The coffee machine had already been cleaned, which was a whole process, and the kitchen staff was gone. I told them the situation, and the one rude woman insisted I ask my boss to reopen the kitchen because he knew them and they were regulars.
He reluctantly did it. We made a whole new batch of coffee, and he whipped up their order in the kitchen. I had to stay an hour and a half late while my ride waited in the parking lot so that I could re-clean the kitchen by myself. Then I got yelled at by my boss for not taking their dessert order earlier. He gave me no chance to explain myself. To top it all off, when they left, I got a measly $8 tip on a $75 bill. It was the worst day ever.
25. All Pho Nothing
I worked at a Vietnamese restaurant back in high school, and I had a family come in to eat. They gave me a snobby vibe the entire time, especially after I told them I couldn’t speak Vietnamese. They ordered regular pho but asked for no cilantro, so I rang the order in with “no cilantro.” It came out with cilantro in it, and I told the kitchen the family didn’t want any.
The kitchen told me they couldn’t do anything about it, so I told my manager, and they told me to ask the family if they still wanted it. The family said yes, so I brought it out, and they took out the cilantro and ate the entire thing. At the end of the meal, they spoke to the owner and complained about how I got their order completely wrong, got the food for free, and got their bill taken out of my pay. The owner told me I should’ve removed the cilantro myself.
26. Fry Fall Out
When I was in high school, I worked at a fast-food restaurant. We had a regular who would come in every Sunday morning and order the same thing—a side salad, super-size fries, and a Happy Meal for her grandkid. One day, the person who bagged her order put the salad and the fries in the same bag, as we were trained to do.
The supersize fry containers were tall, and the side salad was in one of those little rectangular plastic things, so as you can imagine, the fries fell over. For a normal person, this isn’t a big deal, but for this lady, it was. She needed new fries and a new salad in separate bags this time. Of course, the fries we had already made for her were not good enough, and she refused to leave or accept the new ones until we made a fresh basket.
27. What A Disgrace!
I worked at a hotel restaurant in a border town where many wealthy Mexicans would come over to the US to shop. I, myself, am an American of Mexican descent, although I don’t speak Spanish. One day a lady called to ask a question. I told her I didn’t speak Spanish and was the only person available, so I could not help her. She asked for my name and, because my last name is a Mexican last name, she told me I was a disgrace to all Mexicans and tried to get me fired.
28. I Was Praying He Would Never Return
I waited tables for a few years when I was in college, and the worst table that I ever had was a priest and some guy he was trying to hit up for donations. He was very condescending and demanding during the whole meal. After everything was done, I left the check at the table. He ended up walking out, stiffing me not just on the tip but on the entire bill. He even took the leather check holder.
I reported the incident to my manager. A couple of weeks later, the same priest came in with about 20 members of his congregation. My manager told him, in front of his whole party, that he wasn't welcome in our restaurant after he walked out on his previous tab. They all left and went somewhere else.
29. This Dude’s Order Was Peppered With Problems
I worked delivery for a pizza/ice cream/sandwich shop in a small rural town. We had a guy who lived a solid half-hour outside of town who ordered about once a week or so. None of us knew why the owner ever agreed to deliver to this guy in the first place, being that far out, but we used to wonder if the owner was being threatened into doing it.
The level of nonsense this customer would raise if you didn't bring him cheese and peppers for his pizza was absolute madness. He was genuinely a psychopath. There was an incident where a delivery driver found the customer waiting on his porch polishing a shotgun, and the first thing the customer did was loosely point it towards the driver and say, "Did you bring my cheese and peppers?"
We fully believed the customer would have shot our driver if the answer had been no. As it was, the driver didn't have as much cheese and peppers as the customer would have liked. He called the restaurant and threw a fit. From then on, when we delivered to this guy we were told to take a giant bucket of cheese and peppers with us.
30. This Was No Pint-Sized Problem
I used to be a bartender at this hybrid restaurant/bar/movie theater. On big movie releases, the bar would get absolutely slammed. On one particular night, we had completely run out of glassware. The only glasses I had at the time were regular pint glasses that we would normally serve water in. A guy and his date got lucky and caught a seat at the bar.
He ordered a Jack Daniels neat. Having no other glassware, I put it in a pint glass and explained that we were running low on rocks glasses, assuming he would understand since it was absolute chaos everywhere you looked. He took it and said, “I’m not very happy,” and gave this smirky little grin. I apologized again and said, “Unfortunately, we’re not making any more glasses back here.” He and his date acted like I had reached across the bar and slapped him.
I got my manager and told him to deal with them.
31. Cafe Kick Out
I worked at a cafe for a few years, and while there were some bad one-offs, the WORST people were difficult regulars. We had one woman who would come in about an hour before closing and stay until after we had closed, constantly asking for little things in piecemeal. Every time I saw her, my stomach dropped. Although at sit-down restaurants, customers can generally come in whenever they want as long as the doors aren't locked and stay as long as they want, we were a small cafe.
Once I would lock the doors, everyone would get kicked out. However, this woman just wouldn't leave—ever. Once, she was on the phone when it was time for her to leave, so I ended up just shouting at her, loud enough for whoever was on the other line to hear, "IT IS TIME TO LEAVE THE CAFE NOW."
32. This Onion Didn’t Ring A Bell
I used to wait tables at a breakfast place. Mother’s Day was always the WORST day to work. This one Mother’s Day is going particularly well until towards the end of the brunch rush when I got saddled with a party of eight. Everyone was in a good mood. The mom ordered our breakfast tacos with no onions. She repeated “no onions” multiple times, so I was sure to make a note of it.
The drinks went fine, and everyone was doing well. When the food came out, I asked how everything looked. The mother pushed her plate away and loudly and aggressively said, “I said NO ONIONS.” I looked down at the tacos to see that there were, in fact, no onions. I told her, “Ma’am, I put your order in with no onions. There are no onions.” Nothing could have prepared me for what she said next.
She got a weird grin and said, “Oh YEAH? Well, what are these!!?” and pointed to the green bell peppers on the tacos. I told her, “Umm, those are green bell peppers.” She rolled her eyes and said, “SAME THING!” The table was now silent as no one in her party knew what to do, clearly blinded by her stupidity. My brain short-circuited.
I thought to myself, “No, no, they AREN’T the same thing. They’re not even the same color. You can read, you’re an adult, just say how you want something and stop making a scene.” Instead, I just put on my best customer service smile and said, “Right, sorry about that. We’ll get that fixed.” I took it back to the kitchen and told my chef. He started laughing about it. After all that, they didn’t even leave me a tip.
33. It Was The End Of The Line For Him
We had one dude who would come into the cafe with his two dogs that would hop on everything and bark at people. Even if there were a line, he would just raise his hand and yell, “Coffee,” then walk past the line and wait for his drink, where he’d pay cash at the pick-up area. One day, after he skipped a particularly long line, I refused to make his coffee. He started shouting at me and saying he’d get me fired. Eventually, he went to the end of the line where he had to wait and order his coffee from me when it was his turn like everyone else.
34. Chewed Out
I had a guy who hated his order. He waved me over and told me to put my hand out. He then proceeded to entirely let out what was in his mouth into my hand and told me to refund him his money. He then demanded I make him something else. I was so shocked, I couldn’t say anything. I just walked away to the bathroom and cleaned my hands for what felt like hours.
Luckily, my boss kicked him out, and he was never allowed back.
35. I Couldn’t Suck This One Up
I was working as a busboy, and it was getting close to closing time, so I started vacuuming. There was a table about 20-ish feet away from where I was, trying to say to me, “That’s a free meal.” I stopped vacuuming because I just didn’t understand what they were asking me. They were under the belief that if someone was vacuuming before close, then they got a free meal.
Eventually, the owner came up to me and asked me how far away I was vacuuming, and I told him. She just said, “Yeah, they’re idiots,” and told me to wait a little bit. They ended up leaving a good half-hour past closing, and I don’t think they left a tip. However, they didn’t get their free meal.
36. His Number Was Up
I was working my first job as a front-of-house staff for an on-campus, locally owned burger place. My main job was to call the order numbers out to customers and pass their food off. It was easy enough. However, one night we get absolutely slammed with to-go orders at closing time. I was the only person out at the front, and there were two cooks behind me working on the food.
A man ordered two burgers. We were so busy, I was not aware of what number went with what customer off the top of my head. I called out a number. A customer took it and headed out. It turns out the wrong customer grabbed that man’s order. He proceeded to YELL profanities at me, calling me an idiot, demanding his food be free, AND that he gets free fries—all in front of other customers. I started crying. It held up everyone else’s food in the process. The manager told him off and remade his food.
37. Her Wings Got Served
I worked at a grocery store that had hot food to go and pre-prepped meals. We had a glass-covered counter with heat pads and lights to hold the food. The counter allowed two people to be served at once, which was handy in a rush but could cause some issues. One night, I started serving a lady who ordered something along with the rest of the chicken wings.
My coworker started serving the second customer in line who had heard the first order. She wanted chicken wings as well, so my coworker told her she would have to wait about 5-10 minutes for the next batch to come out. She immediately flipped out, saying that she ordered them first, which she hadn't, and that her kids were hungry at home.
She insisted that the other lady wait instead. I finished packing my customer’s wings and began handing them to her. The rude lady said something like, "Wow, you couldn't leave ANY for me!?" That's when it got physical. At the same time, she shoved the first lady into the counter in an attempt to reach for the wings. She pushed her so hard the glass case rattled, and the baby the first lady had in a carriage began to cry.
The second lady went to pay and leave. The lady I was serving was so stunned she didn't know what to do. We told her to call the authorities because she had been pushed. She agreed and went outside to see if she could get the other woman's license plate. Apparently, in the parking lot, the lady who had stormed out almost hit her as she was leaving. Officers arrived and took everyone's statements.
38. The Brat Pack
I worked as a server in a 24-hour diner in a small Massachusetts city. There was a prestigious school around the corner with a lot of wealthy kids, almost all of whom were awful. The kids treated us like we were sub-human. They would snap their fingers, interrupt me while I was taking another customer's order, make a giant mess, crack jokes about us, all sorts of terrible things.
THEN THEY WOULDN'T TIP! I had one group of boys order about $70 worth of food. They paid with a $100 bill. I brought them their change. As they walked out the door, they made a point to tell me, "Your tip is on the table.” I walked over, and wanted to scream. They put the $0.13 in a cup full of water, napkins, ketchup, and half-chewed fries, just to be mean. The change at the bottom of the glass was my "tip." That's the only time I threw a glass in the trash.
39. The Old Timers Had Two Faces
There was an old couple who used to come in every single week to the restaurant I worked at. They were usually super nice. However, one day we were doing a charity thing for World Hunger Day, specifically for children in Africa. There were relevant pictures of starving kids on the flyer we gave out with the bill. It was a bit cringy, but most customers didn’t mind. When I gave them their bill, the guy totally blindsided me with his response. He went into a bigoted rant and said, “I ain’t giving no money,” and used a slur.
40. Sunday Stingies
We had a group of little old ladies that would come in every Sunday after church. All four would get the same thing every week—iced tea and a half grilled Asian salad. With their senior’s discount, it came to $4.16. Every time they paid with four dollar bills and two dimes—the tip was four cents. While this was bad enough on its own, the fact that they were always super sweet to everyone made it burn even more.
On top of all that, on Sunday, late morning/early afternoon, which was the time they would come in, was a hectic shift. They would sit there for several hours. So, on a busy day when you only had three or four tables, having one of those tables taken for hours with a guaranteed four-cent tip really took a bite out of your income for the day.
41. Copycat Crisis
I only had two tables at the beginning of a weekday shift. We were a bar/lounge, so slow weekdays were common. For some reason, they chose to sit near each other. Well, one table ordered BBQ chicken nachos, and once they were ready, I took them out. The woman at the second table saw them and asked me what they had ordered "because it looked amazing.” I told her and listed the toppings for her.
She said that she wanted exactly what the other table had, and I told her that was the BBQ chicken option. She confirmed, and I put the order in. I brought it out to her. She was polite and took the food. She ate about half the nachos, and when I stopped by to ask her if she needed anything, she told me, "This is not what I ordered; I want a refund. I don't like BBQ sauce.” It took everything for me to not slap her.
I apologized and told her we would take them off the check. I took the half-plate back to the kitchen. I stopped by her table to check on her drinks shortly after. For some reason, she was suddenly furious. She wanted to know where her new free order of BBQ chicken nachos was. I explained that she would have to pay to reorder; they wouldn't be free, especially if she was trying to order the SAME THING.
I reminded her that there was BBQ sauce on the BBQ chicken nachos, and she returned the last order because she didn’t like BBQ sauce. This woman began yelling at me about how she was owed a new dish for free, and she became the first and only customer I flat out told we would refuse to accept ANY further food orders from. She closed out her drink tab but decided to linger for about another hour before leaving.
42. They Made A Bad Move
A middle-aged couple sat down at a table, and a lovely old couple who were regulars sat down next to them. The middle-aged couple suddenly lost their minds saying, “How dare you sit next to us. We’re having our meal here. Move to another table.” That entire area of the restaurant was mine to watch over and take orders at.
I asked what was wrong, despite knowing the middle-aged couple was the problem. The old couple was dumbstruck over what had just happened. The manager walked in and told me to take their orders, as usual. He told me the moment the middle-aged couple asks for their check, I should give the old couple a treat on the house and say, “For being so patient with the service.”
The middle-aged couple immediately asked why they didn’t get one.
43. Hook, Line, And Stinker
When I was a waitress at a dive bar in Florida, I had a patron who offered to buy drinks for everyone in the bar. He was a very elderly fisherman who both appeared and smelled as if he had just arrived back to land for the first time in quite a while. I did my job and got drinks for everyone, probably about 20 people or so. Tips were sparse as it was, so I didn’t expect much. When I came back with the bill, he paid me and told me, “Keep the change.” The change was $0.10. I told him he could keep it. He obviously needed it more than I did.
44. He Was Extra Mad At His Extra Cheese
I was working at a fast-food restaurant when we had a man come in and order a double cheeseburger with extra cheese, so we added four slices instead of the usual two. Two minutes later, he was absolutely red in the face and began screaming at the cashier, demanding to speak to the person who made his sandwich. He asked if we thought this was some kind of a joke because, apparently, when he ordered extra cheese, he wanted one extra slice, not two.
45. This Karen Was No Joke
I was working at the Olive Garden when I had a guest ask me if a particular entree was good or not. I replied that the dish was amazing and one of my favorites on the menu and told them, “Honestly, if you don’t like it, I will pay for it.” He happily agreed to order it, and later, when I walked past his table, I noticed his plate was completely empty. I asked him how he liked the dish, and he replied he hated it and demanded I uphold my promise from earlier to pay for it. I laughed, thinking he was joking but soon realized he was 100% serious.
46. She Took Matters Into Her Own Hands
I worked at a popular restaurant. During dinner service, we usually had 30-40 minute long wait times. People were told about this by the hosts. There was this lady who got fed up with the wait after 10 minutes. She stormed into the restaurant, stood next to a table of four people, and literally asked them, "Are you guys done? We've been waiting for a long time now and would like to have the table if you guys are just chatting."
47. She Got All Fired Up
When I was bartending one night, I had two people come in who seemed a little loose but not so much that I shouldn’t serve them. I gave them a round or two, and they were having fun and interacting well with customers—until they weren’t. They started crossing the line, so the time came to cut them off. I apologized and had to let them know that I couldn’t serve them anymore because they were being disruptive and were obviously very loaded.
At that point, one of the two started yelling at me for refusing to serve her. It got so bad that the customers around her began to defend my choice. She then started throwing a tantrum at them, as well as my manager after that. And, somehow, she wasn't even the worst one! Her friend had meanwhile retreated to the bathroom and set fire to one of the wicker baskets that we used as a trash can.
48. Mother And Daughter Tag Team
I worked at a restaurant with my mom. I got the job when I was 18, and my mom had been working there for 25 years. She worked her way up from waiting tables to bartending and had been bartending for years by then. The first summer I worked there as a server, it was a typical, busy summer night. My mom and I had been there all day.
We had both been working double shifts, and it was coming close to 6 PM. The restaurant was set up with a bar side and a dining room side. I was in the dining room with two other servers; one was an older lady. I remember hearing a horrible scream. The older lady ended up slipping and falling right in front of the kitchen to the door. She shattered her elbow and her knee.
She couldn’t move, so at that point, we were all waiting for the ambulance to arrive. Dishes were stacking up, and no food was going out of the kitchen because none of us could get in. My manager that night had to take over all the tables from the server who fell had. Just before the server fell, I had a new table seated.
Apparently, the host informed me she saw the couple practically fist fighting in the parking lot before they came in. I greeted the table, and they seemed okay. They both ordered drinks, and I brought them promptly. They ordered their food and ended up getting FOUR entrees for the both of them. They were all expensive seafood dishes, and at that point, their check was over $100.
A couple of minutes after I put the food order in is when the other server slipped and fell. Therefore, the food for my table was taking a little longer. The food finally came, and my mom just happened to help me run it over. We put it down, and the woman goes, “FINALLY.” We explained that an older server fell in the kitchen and had significant injuries. There's no WAY they didn't hear it.
Then the man then said, “WELL, THAT'S JUST GREAT.” The woman started manhandling the lobster roll she got, complaining it was cold. I told her we could get her another one right away and asked if they needed anything else. The lady said, “Well, now I NEED another drink!” My mom was bartending and I had about five other tables going.
So, my mom made the drinks and brought them to the table. The woman at the table said to her, “Oh, well, you’re really good at your job.” My mom told her she had been there for 25 years, to which the woman responded, “Oh, so you have to pick up the slack for all the others?” My mom said, “No, we are a team and all help each other. Plus, your server is my daughter.”
The woman was looking to get a reaction, so she said the meanest thing possible: “Oh well, I’m really sorry about that.” Being a calm and collected person, my mom just said, “Well, I’m not. My daughter is pretty great.” The woman lost her mind and began screaming and cursing at my mother at the top of her lungs in the middle of the dining room.
The man at the table got up in the middle of the interaction and just went outside. My manager ended up having to comp all of their food. Other tables that weren’t even mine were coming over to me and apologizing because they had seen what happened. They even overtipped me because they felt bad about what went down.
49. Early Bird Boozers
I was working at a popular Italian "fine dining" chain. We opened at 11 AM, but I was scheduled for 10:30 AM to do opening duties. Two middle-aged women were at the doors at 10:45 AM. I prepared myself for two crazy Karens—but they were so much worse than I feared. We let them in because it wasn’t a big deal. However, they both ordered drinks, and our bartender didn't get there until 11 AM. I let them know, and they seemed ok with it.
I dropped off a couple of waters while they waited for their drinks. The one woman said, "That's great, honey, but that's NOT what I wanted! HAHA!" They smiled, and it was clear she was just trying to make a bad joke. I told them again that it was only 10:55 AM, and the bartender was not in yet. They told me to make the drinks.
I couldn’t because of corporate rules, so I asked my manager to make the drinks. While he did that, I took their food orders. By 11:05 AM, they had their appetizers and beverages and said, "UGH was that so HARD? FINALLY!" Other guests, including young families, began to arrive and sit in my section. They ate half the calamari appetizer and decided it was undercooked.
I asked the kitchen to drop new calamari in and cook it a minute longer than typical. That ruined the calamari. They hated it and said, "I'm not eating this garbage!" and I asked the manager to take it off their check. They were taking up a lot of my time and asking for many little things. I went to take care of some other tables. But I wasn't the only one who hated them.
The customers at the other tables asked if I was ok and requested that the women stop swearing so much in front of their children. When I reminded the women that they were in a family restaurant, they replied, "Blah blah blah free country. Oh, I want another DRINK!” I put the order in. Their meals were up right at that moment, so I returned within a minute to drop their food off.
They yelled, "WHERE IS MY SECOND DRINK?!?! HELLO!?!" Now they were banging their half-empty glasses on the table. They continued to yell at me to the point where I started to cry while still trying to take care of my other tables, which posed no problems. I asked my manager to take over the rude folks and to let them know they were cut off.
He tore them a new one in the way only managers are allowed to. They got upset they couldn't order more drinks and asked for the check and left. They barely left enough cash to cover the bill, but one came back and asked if she left enough of a tip. I said, "No. You left me a 2% tip." She gave me five more dollars and, luckily, I never saw them again.
50. Slow Eating Psychos
I was waitressing at a bar in Philly. I had a couple of patrons extremely upset with me because they didn’t eat their wings fast enough after they came out, so some were cold by the time they got to them. Wings were $0.50 that night. They demanded a refund for this inconvenience, which I obviously told them, unfortunately, I could not provide them with. But karma got them in the end.
They accidentally tipped me. I found $5 on the table after they had left, so I took it. They came back looking for it. I never felt an ounce of guilt for not helping them search for it.