If you’ve ever complained about tipping, you have clearly never been a server. The brave souls who deal with the nightmare Kens and Karens of the restaurant world deserve every single penny. Don’t believe me? Well, keep reading. If YOU had to deal with these awful people, do you think YOU’D want a big fat tip?
1. By Any Other Name
A guest walks into brunch and orders our smoked salmon plate. The only dairy in this particular dish is a ramekin of cream cheese that is served on the side. A couple of minutes later, I’m in the kitchen getting coffee for another table. I turn around and the smoked salmon lady has followed me to the kitchen. When I turn around and see her, I ask, “Is there something you need?”
She says, “I forgot I’m not eating dairy, so can I change my order to the buttermilk pancakes?” Confused at what I just heard, I ask, “The buttermilk pancakes? There is dairy in the pancakes…” “Well, as long as it’s not a lot it’s ok.” Lady…..it’s like the main ingredient. It’s in the name. BUTTERMILK pancakes. Do people really listen to the stupidity that comes out of their face holes??? I can’t.
2. I’m A Cool Boss
It was my first day at a pizza restaurant. This place was always SLAMMED. It’s really where I learned how to be a good server, because before that I worked at over-staffed burger joints or Italian restaurants. Things were moving pretty fast but I was doing surprisingly well. I had about 10 tables and I was used to three-four table sections previously.
I will never forget this couple that came in and sat down at table 24. They were an old couple. I’m talking both grey-haired and over-dressed to be at a pizza restaurant. I will say I did give them excellent service despite my frazzledness of starting a new job. I was feeling it, and felt great about handling all of my tables…until I did mess up.
The man at table 24 handed me his card to close out. I’m BUSY, like I didn’t even have time to pick a wedgie if I had one. I go to the computer and swipe his card. Admittedly, I forgot to print out the itemized receipt, which I get can be very frustrating. The man at table 24 had every right to be upset. But instead of asking me to grab the itemized receipt, he began to LOUDLY, in a small room, with a deep and firm tone, tell me how horrible I am at my job.
He said that it’s no wonder I only got as far in life as working at a pizza shop. He kept going on with these TERRIBLE comments and wouldn’t let me walk away when I tried. So now all of my other tables just saw me get ripped a new one, and I’m in the weeds after wasting time getting yelled at by this guy. The owner of the restaurant must have come in at some point.
He saw this man yelling at me, came up to the table, and did the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. Owner: “Excuse me, sir,” he says to the man at table 24, “I am the owner of this establishment. I’m not sure what the problem is here and frankly, I don’t care. What I do care about is you belittling my waitress. So I’m going to ask you and your wife to leave and not come back to my restaurant.”
The man at table 24: “Fine, but you’ll be losing our business.” Owner: “I really don’t care, and don’t want people like you in my restaurant anyway.” It was the coolest reply I had ever seen. The owner then STOOD THERE AND WAITED for these people to leave. After they left, the owner came up to me. He said: “Screw those people. You’re doing a great job and I wouldn’t have hired you if you didn’t show potential. If anyone else talks to you like that I want you to tell them to screw off and get out. I don’t want their money.”
Coolest. Boss. Ever.
3. Service With A Smile
I know we all have had those phone calls. The ones from customers after they get take-out and something was messed up. They can range from the upset woman who got the chicken when it was supposed to be steak and who just wants it to be comped the next time she comes in, to the raging man who found one onion in his taco and is planning to drive to the store to scream at the manager and wants everyone fired.
It’s always a little nerve-wracking when you deal with these phone calls. The procedure for my store when getting one of these phone calls is to get a manager immediately, but I feel like I can deal with these customers better than my managers. And my managers all know this, so I am allowed to take these calls. Then I got one call that put all my powers to the test.
It was a busy Thursday evening because we have a burrito special, so the store was slammed. We also have Uber Eats, which means we have Uber drivers coming in and out getting takeout orders. If you know anything about Uber Eats, customers can sometimes write comments to specify certain things that they want done to their particular order.
After we slowed down a little bit, we got an Uber order, and in the comments, the man said, “Could you please add napkins and draw a smiley face on something to make me a little happy tonight.” Of course, after I showed all of the servers we all freaked out and decided we would write him so many notes just to brighten up his evening.
We ended up making over 50 notes including jokes, drawings, and little stories (we also added an extra side of queso). I felt really nice to be able to do something for someone. Later that night, as I was getting ready to clock out, one of the other servers comes and gets me and says there’s a man on the phone who wants to speak to a manager about something, but they’re all busy so can you take this?
Of course, I’m like oh geez, I do not want to be dealing with this right before I leave. Still, I reluctantly agree and ask him how I can help. He proceeds to tell me that he was the one who placed the Uber order and after receiving all of the notes he just wanted to call and say thank you. It went from heartwarming to heartbreaking in an instant.
He started to cry on the phone. I didn’t know what to say, so I just told him that we loved serving him and we hope to continue to do so. He told me that he wishes he was able to come into the restaurant, but he hadn’t been able to leave his house in years. His little splurge every week was ordering takeout from our store.
I started to tear up at this point and asked him to hold on for a minute. I got all of the servers and put him on speakerphone. I said “Hello, we all just wanted to say have a great night” and all the girls got the cue and started saying, “Have a good night!” “Enjoy your burrito!” “We can’t wait to do this next week!” I took the phone off speakerphone after everyone had said something.
I told him that he was now not only a valued customer, but a friend. I thanked him again and hung up. Now I’m sitting in my car crying thinking about this stranger and I hoped we helped him.
4. One Bad Date
I’m a full-time student getting my PhD at age 30 and I work full time as a server. I’ve been working at this Greek bistro for the greatest people for almost 15 years now. I started bussing at almost 16 and I’m now a manager. So a few months ago, it’s around six, and one of our regulars—I’ll call him Andy—comes into the store.
Andy works at a mattress store and always comes in for lunch. He’s an awesome guy, and he’s a big guy at close to 400 pounds. Anyway, Andy shows up after work with a woman. She’s maybe a good 10 or so years older than him, but it’s obvious they’re on a date. So we make a fuss over him. The owner’s wife gets him our best table and we bring them a complimentary glass of champagne.
He orders our platter of meat and she orders a vegetarian platter. They are eating, and suddenly I hear her gasp. Andy’s face is blue and his hands are over his throat. I go over and I give him the Heimlich while the owner calls 9-1-1. I’m giving him back blows when his date whacks me with her purse. “You’re hurting him, I took first aid and that’s not right!!”
She’s screaming in my face. He’s still choking, so the owner pulls her away from me and she’s screaming still. Andy’s piece of steak goes flying, and he’s then able to breathe. By now, the paramedics are there and—get this—his date is telling them I hurt him. On the contrary, the paramedics told her that I saved his life.
Anyway, they end up taking Andy in because he was wheezing a bit. She throws me a dirty look and follows them out. Two days later, Andy comes in for lunch with his co-worker and thanks me over and over. Then he tells me that was the first and last date with that woman. He brought his newest girlfriend in yesterday. She loved the restaurant and best of all, she’s nice.
5. A Helping Hand
My old manager was a real “working for the weekend” type and never went out of her way for us or the customers, no matter what. One of the most difficult things about her was that we had a homeless guy who’d camp out in our back alley (because a lot of heat comes off a vent back there) and she’d always make us toss him out because he was visible to customers from the main entrance.
She’s gone and we have a new manager now. In the new manager’s first week, one of the employees said, “Hey, that guy’s back.” The new manager said, “This guy here often?” and we told her the whole story. She asked what our interactions with him had been like and we told her perfectly pleasant, considering the circumstances.
She walks out, shakes the guy’s hand, and offers him a dishwashing job on a trial basis. She had one of the busboys help him get cleaned up and put him right to work. He knocked it out of the park, made good honest money, and got staff dinner. She told him he was welcome to come back to work any night of the week and if he was consistent, she’d see about getting him hired.
That was two weeks ago, and he started on a permanent basis today!
6. Power Couple
Bartender here. This girl walks into my bar and I walk over as usual place a napkin in front of her. Then I ask her, “Hey! How are you? What can I get you today?” “Cosmo,” she says. “Alright coming right up—that’s a really cool dress, by the way,” I say. It was like one of those expensive skin-tight Kim Kardashian dresses.
It also had these metal panels going through it that lit up when she moved—I don’t know, it was cool so I just mentioned it. It was a very quick off-the-cuff comment. Not hitting on her or anything. Her response chilled me to the bone. She then gives me this “ew” look and goes, “One. I have a boyfriend. Two. I don’t date gay men. Three, hurry up with my drink before I decide you don’t get to work here.”
I suddenly stop, slightly shocked. A flood of thoughts quickly go through my head. Like was she joking…? Would someone think that was humorous? Nope. Witch was SO serious. My Turn: “In what universe do you think you can walk into a bar—insult the bartender—and actually expect him to make you drinks???? Silence. “Nah witch, you’re dismissed.” But it wasn’t over.
This girl comes back the next day with her boyfriend and she points at me as if saying “that’s him.” He goes, “Yo, I heard you insulted my girl. Do you know what happens when guys talk like that to my girl?” Ugh, here we go with one of those jerk guys who wants to put on a macho performance for his girl. These specimens are the dumbest of the dumb.
I go, “Do you know what actually happened?” He goes, “I don’t care what happened! You disrespected my girl.” At this point, he actually jumped over the bar and I jumped over the bar as well to HIS side. Then this guy jumped BACK over the bar to the guests’ side, at which point one of the bouncers tackled his dumb butt to the ground.
If my girlfriend acted like that to a bartender and they got mad, I’d be like “Yeah—that was a rude thing to say.” God, I hope those two don’t procreate.
7. A Regular Hero
I’m a bartender at a fine dining restaurant, and when I work the lunch shift, I help the server take tables if it gets busy. One afternoon, I had a table make me cry and tell me that I was rude and didn’t know how to do my job because I tried to take an empty appetizer plate away without asking first. They were in the middle of a conversation and their main course was almost ready.
They shouted at me and everyone just turned around and stared. I had other guests on the floor, and every time I passed by these jerks I could hear them talking about me. They racked up a nearly $200 bill and didn’t leave a tip. I kind of wonder if they made up something to be upset about to justify not tipping on a large check, but whatever.
I just dipped out to the bar, which is in the front of the restaurant and away from the main dining room, and asked my food runner to take good care of them so I didn’t have to interact with them anymore. Later that afternoon, I had an older man come and sit at my bar. I knew he was a regular and that he lived nearby, but I’d never really spoken to him because he usually wanted to sit in the dining room and not the bar.
He was wearing headphones when he sat down so ignored most of my greeting, and I thought “Oh here we go again.” I’ve never been so wrong in my life. He immediately apologized and stated that he was in a hurry and just wanted some ice water and a glass of my favorite red that we offered. I talked to him about the choice for a minute while I opened a fresh bottle.
I’m studying to become a certified sommelier, so I know a thing or two. I then served it to him. He asked for the check right away. It was only a $14 glass, and after I ran his card I handed him the receipt and thanked him before going to check on my other table. I came back a couple of minutes later and his glass was untouched, but he handed me some money wrapped in his receipt. Then he said something that almost made me cry.
He said, “I hope this is enough. I was walking by earlier and you looked like you were having a bad day. I know your lunch shift is almost over. This glass is on me.” When I opened the receipt, he’d left me two 20s. I’ve heard stories of people taking care of their servers like that, but it’s never happened to me before.
I was so cut up over how my first table treated me that I definitely got teary-eyed again after the regular left my bar. Just a reminder that sometimes the most unassuming customers might have your back. My first table had me feeling less than human, but this guy really reminded me why I do what I do, and why I love it.
8. Keep Em Coming
Last night I worked a table of 14. They were all terrible people, the douchiest people I have ever come in contact with. The royal family of Worthless Jerk Land. One guy sits down and orders a pint. He says, “Every time you come to the table I want you to have a pint for me.” I thought he was probably just joking, so I leave and come back.
He says, “Where is my pint? Did you really forget what I told you like two minutes ago? Wow.” So I said, “OH! I am so sorry, it won’t happen again.” So, for the next two hours, no matter what, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I approached the table I left a pint. After about 45 minutes, the drinks began to pile up. I just didn’t ever stop.
Every time I put a drink down, he said nothing. If he would have acknowledged my presence and told me to stop, I would have. He said nothing. I started to feel bad, for a couple of minutes…and then he yelled at me like a dog to get the food out faster. THAT IS WHAT HE WANTED. I just want to reiterate that. HE ASKED FOR IT.
Also, I was watching him drink. If at any point his behavior or consumption increased, I would have stopped. He walked out the exact same way he walked in. Like a jerk. Anyway, it got so bad that the pints were SURROUNDING HIS SEATING AREA. Just glasses and glasses and glasses. It was incredible. I make my own drinks where I work, as we don’t have a typical bar, just a large server station.
A friend of King Doucherbottom even tried to take one that I put down, but I grabbed it. Then I said, “Sorry sir, this is your friend’s drink. I would be happy to get one for you if you like.” Long story short, he ended up buying 25 drinks at eight dollars a pop with a 20% mandatory auto-gratuity on the table. He maybe drank four.
I have never felt so good in my life. It doesn’t pay to be an arrogant jerk, folks! This was a crowning achievement in my seven years of serving. I work at a place where some people come in and treat me like a piece of stew meat, and I have learned to play the game in order to make money. I love my job and the people I meet, but I get stepped on a lot. It’s nice to win one for once.
No bartender was involved. I can’t deny the illegality of it, but I do not regret it! The bussers enjoyed the undisturbed drinks after he left, too. I felt so good bringing them back in a bus tub of ice. It was like seeing the excitement of children on Christmas morning. My manager saw the bill and was angry, but no reports of anything we would be liable for as of yet! And there was a sweet twist at the end.
They split the bill seven ways, and they did not even look at the charges. I put down the bill and the cards went on top. Their total bill was about $1,200 with everything included. This not common for a table of 14 where I work, but not surprising. I came out making around $240 before tip out. So all in all, a very good evening for me.
9. Fast And Fresh
So, where I work we have the option for people to pre-order food from their phone because I guess that’s the way it is nowadays; everybody wants everything fast. The system is kind of messed up, though, because sometimes they call in for the food and pop in five seconds after as if they ordered from the parking lot. So it obviously won’t be ready yet.
Anyways, this lady did exactly that, but thankfully it was a really small order so I started preparing it immediately. She walked up and I’m guessing it took me about 30 seconds too long, so she starts going “HELLLLLLOOOO!?” like three or four times. I walk over, smile at her, and give her the stuff. She then starts yelling at me as if I’m her child.
She’s yelling something like “THIS ORDER WAS ON-THE-GO WHICH MEANS IT SHOULD BE READY THE MOMENT I GET HERE SO NEXT TIME DO YOUR JOB AND HAVE IT READY.” This was out of character for me because I’m the nicest guy if you’re nice to me, but I kind of just looked in her direction and tiredly murmured, “Screw off.” She started flipping out and yelling more.
“EXCUSE ME!? EXCUSE ME!? WHAT’S YOUR NAME?” I lied and gave her a fake one. She told me to get a manager. I went and got the manager, and at this point I was enraged. I briefly explained what happened, and when my manager got over there the lady started being rude to her, saying things like, “Oh, he WILL be fired. I can guarantee that.”
She called corporate and all the managers and owners got involved. I talked with the owner on the phone, and the owner was only upset that I lied about my name. The owner was saying things like, “In the future, this is how you handle it,” so I assume I still have the job. She did mention that she HAS to call the lady back and apologize.
Anyway, if I get fired…my God, was it worth it. Telling this lady to screw off was the most satisfying thing I got to do all year.
10. Mistaken Identity
On my day off, I scheduled a lunch date with a guy from school, but traffic was brutal so he was running late. I was sitting at my table, looking at the menu. Note: It wasn’t the restaurant I work at, it wasn’t the same kind of food as the restaurant I work at, and it is geographically nowhere near the restaurant I work at. A woman came up and took my menu out of my hands.
“Why are you just sitting here? We’ve been waiting for service for 45 minutes.” No, they hadn’t. They came in the same time I did, 10 minutes ago, and they had already gotten drinks. “Ma’am, I don’t work here.” I didn’t recognize her at this point. “Don’t lie to me, you’re a waitress, you served me just last week, don’t you remember?”
I vaguely remember her coming into my restaurant now because she complained her meal wasn’t served with hot sauce then sent it back because it was too spicy. I tell her, “I am a waitress at local Mexican restaurant but I am not a waitress at ‘local burger bar.’” She says, “Same difference. You’re a waitress. Get a pen and paper and take down our orders.”
“I am a waitress, but not here. I’m just trying to enjoy my lunch like you are. I am not employed here in any capacity.” To which she replies, “But you’re a trained waitress and this place is clearly running behind. Don’t you people take an oath or something?” Well, this lady asked for it. I rarely get to stand up to this kind of stupidity in my role as a server, because 99.9% of the time it happens while I’m actually at work.
So I went over to their table with a pen and paper from my backpack. I wrote down all their orders. I said it would be 45 minutes and to just sit tight. I even brought over ketchup they asked for (just grabbed off another table) then…….I left. I texted my date to meet me at a place a few blocks over. The next day, the lady had called my boss at my actual restaurant, as well as totally unleashed on the manager at the restaurant I was dining at.
I felt bad when I realized the tough spot I’d left the people who actually work there in, so I went back the next day to apologize and follow up on the aftermath. Thankfully, they were chill and we had a great laugh over it. They were like, “We were so confused because she described the server with explicit details but no one remotely like that works here so we thought she’d lost her mind.”
My boss knew who I was from her description and told them he takes this very seriously and asked what day this occurred. Then when they told him he said, “You must be mistaken, because that’s that server’s day off, and she wasn’t here.” After some irate yelling and screaming at my very friendly manager about how I still need to “represent the restaurant wherever I go,” she gave up.
Now to just cross my fingers she doesn’t come by my actual restaurant!
11. Cruel To Be Not-So Kind
I’ve been a server at various points throughout my life since I was 16, and I am 29 now. Usually, I would serve or hostess as a part-time job, but currently, my only job is being a server. Recently, I had three guys come in who looked about my age. When they sat down, I greeted them and then asked them how many shots they were going to be buying tonight.
They were fairly loud and seemed in a good mood, and I said this mostly to be funny. The first couple of guys told me they didn’t want shots, but they would be ordering pints. Then the last guy told me he would need a few shots if I was going to be his server. I chuckled, since I thought we were joking, and went and got their drinks.
They ordered their food, a few more drinks, there weren’t any major issues, and they said it would all be one check tonight. I went to pick up their credit card receipt, and there was 0.00 in the tip line. Ok, maybe they’ll leave cash—no big deal. But as I am thanking them for coming in, one of the guys interrupts me. His words shook me to my core.
He tells me that I probably noticed he didn’t tip me. I am honestly kind of embarrassed to be having this conversation, and I was flustered, so I just replied with something like “Oh, that’s okay, have a nice night.” He then proceeded to tell me; “I didn’t really feel like shelling out an extra 20 bucks for you, because no offense, but you could step it up a bit. All the other waitresses in here are very cute and earn their tips, try putting on more makeup, or going to a gym. I am just being honest with you. If a guy wanted to screw you, he’d tip you better.”
I was so mortified I didn’t even say anything. I could feel my face turning red, while every guy at that table stared at me. Nobody said anything. I work very hard, and I take so much pride in my work. I try to look nice and put together every night, because it can speak to how much pride you do take in your job. I am friendly and outgoing, because I love working with people and I love my job.
I wish I would’ve had something to say back to him, but I just walked away instead. I’ve worked double shifts all week and closed each night. I’ve been stiffed a couple of times almost every day this week, but I don’t take it personally and I try to still always hold my head up. Even so, that really hurt. For what it’s worth, though, I don’t think what he said holds any true merit.
I love and accept myself wholeheartedly. It was more so the fact he said it at all, his entitlement, and to be reduced to whether or not he wants to sleep with me to determine my worth. This happened at the tail end of my night. I was the only server on the floor, and the only other female on staff with me tonight was the bartender, who I’ve never really confided in and or gotten along very well with.
We’re just co-workers, that’s it. I also didn’t tell my manager, because my manager is a guy. He is mostly friendly, but honestly, my manager is creepy too. Lots of unwanted hugs and shoulder touching. Comments and questions asking me if “I have a man, or if I’d ever be willing to be a stepmom”—he has four kids with his ex-wife.
Like I said, it’s been a long week. I worked doubles every day, and closed every night. Two of those nights I was the only server on for hours because so many other servers called out. I know I am better than he is, and that I am doing just fine, it’s just exhausting existing as a woman sometimes, and there’s not enough places you get to “just be.”
12. Wait And See
So last night was probably the busiest night we’ve had for the last week. I’m a waitress at an upscale steakhouse restaurant. The hostesses up front put us at an hour-long wait for walk-ins because of so many booked reservations, which is the usual protocol from the general manager. Well, this particular couple had me FUMING beyond belief.
The front lobby is packed with guests waiting for a table while reservations are seated as soon as possible. The hostesses have a system on an iPad to let all the managers know which guest is seated where, how long they’ve stayed, etc. I’m bussing a table at my section when I overhear one of the hostesses try to speak to a pair of people at my section a booth over.
This couple walked into the restaurant, saw the number of people waiting for a table, and decided to seat themselves with NO reservation. They also sat at a dirty table, and here I’m thinking, “Are these people for real?” This is what I got between the hostess and the older man sitting down with his wife: “Excuse me, sir? You didn’t come up to the host stand in order for us to find out what reservation you had?”
“We don’t have reservations. Someone needs to clean this up.” Here, he points to the messy table. “I’m sorry sir, but if you don’t have a reservation the wait is going to be an hour long. Someone has already requested this booth by the fireplace and they need to be seated.” “We don’t care about reservations. We’re hungry and we’re going to eat. Get someone to clean our table! I’m not asking a third time!”
After that failure, the hostess looked at me, and she was pretty shaken up. She had never dealt with any guests THAT rude and upfront before, so it was understandable. With my Latina blood boiling, I went over to the jerks and gave them a piece of my mind. “This is my section, and after hearing that conversation, you both have no right to be served. There’s a family waiting for this table, and I’m going to ask you to leave. Unless you want me to get a manager to escort you out.”
The couple squawked at me, demanding I get them drinks, while I went straight to my manager, who saw what had already happened with the hostess. They were escorted out and were told they weren’t welcome back. Ever. This is the type of stuff I don’t think I’ll ever get used to. If you have to wait an hour-long for a table like everyone else, then you do it. If not, go to another restaurant.
13. Putting Her In Her Place
I waited tables during college, and this is one of the best memories I have of my manager handling a rude guest. One of my tables was a gay couple at a booth. They were holding hands across the table basically the whole time they were at the restaurant. At one point, a lady with two small children flags me down from across the dining room.
Her table wasn’t in my section so I assumed she just wanted me to go find her server. I go over and ask her what I can do for her, and she says, “What the HECK is wrong with you? How can you possibly allow THEM in here? I’ve been coming here for 20 years and I’m appalled that they’d let a couple of those types eat here. Do me a favor and move those queers to a different table so my kids don’t have to see that sort of disgusting behavior.”
Literally, all they were doing was holding hands. Get over yourself lady. I wanted to tell her off for being such an intolerant witch, but instead just said, “One moment ma’am and I’ll get a manager for you.” I went and told my manager what was going on and he promptly went over to her table and told her that if she had an issue with other guests minding their own business and eating their food, then maybe she’d be better off not eating out at all.
She grabbed her kids and left without ordering. I always had a ton of respect for him for not putting up with horrible people’s issues.
14. Ding Dong, The Witch Is Gone
I am no longer a server, but I was one all through college. I worked at a franchise of a chain of 24-hour restaurants that is notorious for cheap breakfasts and bad service. A big yellow sign with red letters. I took great pride in my job and how I treated my customers. In all honesty, if I could find a server job that offered good insurance and steady tips, I would consider going back to it.
I really, truly loved waiting tables and making people’s lives a little more pleasant, at least while they were in my section. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. I had several “regulars” that always sat in my section, but there were other servers who had their regulars as well. One of them was a really pleasant, jovial man…and his horrible, nasty wife.
She was the kind of woman who got off on being a witch and making other people’s lives miserable. One particular day, I had to cover some tables in a different server’s section because a server called in sick. I was warned about this couple when they came in, but had never waited on them before, so I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect.
I was told that she had a habit of complaining endlessly about everything, demanding to speak to the manager every time they came in, and berating the servers and cooks at every turn. The husband (who often came in by himself) was the opposite—friendly, good-natured, well-liked. As soon as they were seated, before I could even get their drink orders, the husband got up from the booth and walked outside for a few minutes, leaving me alone with the wife.
I put on my best smiley, cheerful face and greeted her. She refused to make eye contact with me and instead scowled and snarled, “You would think that, as much money as we spend here, you people would know what we like to drink! Why do we have to keep going through this? I want ICED TEA, NO LEMON!!” She didn’t tell me what the husband wanted, and I didn’t ask.
I was just so taken aback by the anger straight out of the gate that I just turned on my heels and walked away. I poured her an iced tea—NO LEMON!!—and brought it back to her. Before I could even set it down, she snapped, “I already know what I want to eat, and we’re in a HURRY.” (Bear in mind that the husband is still outside).
I took her order, still trying to be pleasant, and before I could walk away, she snarled, “and the last time you people brought the food out, it was COLD!! I do NOT want cold food! And I want EXTRA CHEESE on my scrambled eggs!! and SALSA!!” Her voice seemed to drip with more and more anger with every word she spat out.
As I was ringing up the order, I thought of a thousand things I wanted to do, then I hit upon an idea. Instead of getting back at her, I was going to not only go out of my way to make her meal as perfect and delicious as possible, but I was going to embarrass her as well. I made sure everything was perfect…piping hot, lots and lots of cheese on the eggs, fresh salsa warmed up to room temperature.
By the time the meal was ready, the husband had returned to the table and was happily chatting with one of the servers. I mustered up my best scared/sad face as I brought out the food to her. As I sat it down, I started to tear up, just a little, and expressed in gushing, flowery terms how sorry I was for how badly she was treated the last time she was here, and how hard I worked to make sure the food was absolutely 100% according to her specifications.
I said that I felt SO BAD for how she was treated that I was going to pay for her meal out of my tips and how I hoped that she would be willing to accept my apology on behalf of the whole restaurant for her miserable experience. I really laid it on as thickly and sweetly as I could. Her husband, who was happy and smiling and cheerful just seconds ago, stared her down with a sick, horrid look.
His face turned bright red. She was MORTIFIED, her face turning equally red…she hung her head and said, “Ummm…okay…”. I asked her if everything was to her satisfaction this time, and if it wasn’t, I would rectify it immediately. She stared at her plate, pushed it around a bit, and said, “Ummmm…yeah…”. The husband is staring her down now, clenching his jaw.
He politely ordered his meal and as I was walking away, I heard him hiss at her, “What did you say to her? What did you DO??” She was silent and sulking for the rest of the meal, and he was polite but not overly chatty. When they were finished, she stormed out before he even left the table, head hung. He apologized profusely to me for how she had acted and left a generous tip on top of paying the tab.
To the best of my recollection, she never acted like a witch to any of us ever again.
15. Silence Is Golden
I waited tables and tended bar for years before switching to my current career. One day, this table comes in, eats, drinks, pays cash. I tell them to have a great day and walk away. While taking a drink order at a new table, I notice the lady standing there angrily, and I make eye contact with her husband and he looks really embarrassed.
I finish taking the drink order and go over to them. “Yes? Is there a problem?” She tells me I gave her the wrong change and was really nasty about it. I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I had intended to round up to avoid pennies. You heard me right…pennies. Like, their change was supposed to be $3.78 and I intended to give them $3.80.
Well, I guess I made a mistake this time and gave them $3.75. Either way, she was really rude. She showed me the receipt, and I apologized and admitted my error. But then came the best part. Looking at it, I pointed out that I had forgotten to ring up her coffee, and that I would be right back with an updated check. She was angry that she ended up paying more than if she’d just kept her mouth shut.
16. A First Time For Everything
I was a manager at McDonald’s and I worked there for about two years. After a few issues with upper management, I decided to quit and pursue another job in the food industry. The day I quit, I got an offer to work at a popular ramen restaurant, where the ramens cost between $13-$20. Now, I thought I would be a PRO at working at my new job.
But it was just like hitting rewind and learning from the start. McDonald’s compared to working at a restaurant is a huge step and has many differences. I still decided that I was going to try my hardest to be quick with learning everything. During my first shift, I guess some customers could tell I was very stressed out.
In my opinion, the training wasn’t very good. This restaurant is more of a “learn as you go, but still get scolded for not knowing something that you weren’t taught.” One of my tables in my section overheard me getting scolded for something, and continued to watch me work. I could feel their eyes on me but I thought nothing of it.
By the end of their stay, they called me over. Asked for the bill, and had separate bills between the two. I brought it over to them and they paid. After paying, one of the guys took $50 out of his pocket and told me, “You’re a hard worker and I can see that. It can be stressful, but you’ll get used to it as you work more. Don’t let the mistakes get the best of you!”
I almost started crying. Since this was an Asian restaurant, usually tips get split between everybody. But the manager let me keep it as it was specifically for me. Thank you to the guy who made my first shift 100% better and for relieving my stress.
17. A Card-Carrying Fool
I was serving a family. The parents were clearly in their 50s/60s, while their kids were in their mid-20s. When ordering drinks, I carded the kids but not the parents. The mom pipes up with the whole, “Heyyy I don’t look that old, why didn’t you card meeeeeeeee?????????” I respond with, “Okay, let me see your ID, then.” It all went so wrong.
As it turns out, mommy dearest left her wallet at home. I inform her that, unfortunately, once requested, I am legally not allowed to serve her drinks unless she produces a valid ID. Obviously, she’s FURIOUS about this, so I send the manager over to confirm with her that I am not allowed to serve her. It almost goes without saying that I didn’t receive a tip, but hopefully, this idiot learned something today.
18. I’ve Got Your Back
Setting: Miami Beach, Florida in late 2009. This was at a Seafood Bar and Grill. I had this 40-something, sweet as pie, creative, and smart regular who would come in with his elderly mother every Sunday and ask to be seated with me. We’ll call him Jimmy. He was certainly on the spectrum, but a genius in his own right. He was a very talented painter (I’m sure he still is).
Every Sunday, Jimmy would be sitting at my table greeting me with an honest to goodness smile. Between managing tasks for them and other tables, I’d have incredible conversations with Jimmy about the universe and physics. About mathematics and art. I was very happy to have met such a great customer. I could also tell he thoroughly enjoyed the company of a server who, one, didn’t find him strange and off-putting, and two, who could keep up with his favorite topics of conversation.
I had just started studying mathematics in college at about this time, and I’m also on the spectrum (but was undiagnosed at the time). I very much looked forward to seeing them each week. After about a year of this, he one day excitedly announced that his sister from New York was coming into town and that he’s told her all about me and he can’t wait to introduce us. He’s convinced I’ll love her, and I didn’t doubt him.
So, next week comes around and now there are three people sitting at my table! I can see this thin, elegant yet earthy woman with GORGEOUS wild curly hair. Jimmy introduces her as Patty. She’s oozing with charisma, and she definitely had a NYC attitude—short, to the point—but she was, you could instantly tell, very caring.
Also intimidating and smart. Not like the dreamy, colorful, wooey science stuff Jimmy and I liked, but like…savvy. Jimmy had been keeping up with my progress in school since around the time I had started. This was between semesters, and he knew that I picked four exciting classes for the following semester. More than I had ever put on my plate before.
He had asked me about how I felt now that the semester was coming up. I was freshly 19, with no financial aid, no student loans, living on my own, working two serving jobs to pay rent and tuition. I was super poor. Sure, I picked those classes…but, really I was just hoping against hope that I could come up with the $1,200 I needed to pay for them.
The deadline was fast approaching and I had, just days before this conversation with Jimmy, Patty, and their mom, made the decision to drop one, if not two, of the classes so that I could afford the semester. Smiling and embarrassed, I told him that I’d be dropping a couple of the classes. He gave a frown and an “aww” and I had to scamper off to go do server stuff.
Between the refills and the food drop-offs and the cleanups, we all just continue chit-chatting. Patty casually asked how much my four-class semester was going to run me. I told her, not thinking anything of it. The conversation naturally moved on. I run off again to serve other tables and I come back to their table towards the end of the meal.
Gabbing continues when Patty extends her hand out to me…with a piece of paper. Instinctually, I grab it and look. Its contents changed my life. It’s a check for $2,000. I try and give it back, tears in my eyes, but she’s not smiling—though I can tell she’s perfectly happy—and she adamantly refuses to take it back. NYC attitude in full swing.
I can tell she’s totally serious. And I just sloppily thank her and then run into the kitchen because all of a sudden my knees are Jell-O. I plop on the floor on my butt and sob. Other staff are running toward me, concerned, and I can barely tell them that it’s not anything bad, that in fact, it’s incredible, through the crying.
Eventually, I gather myself and I gave her a bit better of a thank you, and said goodbye. I paid for and took all four classes. Passed all of them with a perfect A. I bought a graphing calculator and a laptop, too. I’m not a mathematician yet, but I’m working on it. And I’m not rich yet, but the moment I can afford to make this kind of impact on someone else, I will. Thanks, Patty… <3
19. Dishing It Out
Boy oh boy, some people. This happened yesterday. I’ll keep this short and not bore anyone with unnecessary back-story about the type of restaurant I work in, or anything about the set up. All you need to know is that: First, it’s fairly small, so I work alone with one chef; second, it’s family-friendly; and finally, we have a wide menu, with options ranging from $7.00 dishes to our most expensive $17.50 dish.
Not very pricy at all. One day, I received a phone call asking specifically about our $17.50 dish—our seafood paella. It’s made fresh to order, and takes about 15-20 minutes to make. Not to mention that seafood is expensive. So, the price is justified. The person I was speaking to asked if we were a buffet. We are not. I told them we are table service, and can do the paella any time.
I asked if they wanted to make a reservation because of the time it takes to prepare the paella. They said no, and hung up. So I went about my day. A few hours later, a family of four comes in. They sit down, glance at the menus, and then wave me over with a snap of the father’s fingers (gotta love that). The dad then says, “Show me the paella.”
I direct him to the back of the menu, where it’s listed very clearly and shows the ingredients and the price. Him: “I want that.” I write it down. The mother then says she wants a paella, followed by the two kids saying the same. So I confirm. Me: “So that’s four paellas? You don’t want to share?” Dad: “No. We’ll all have paella.”
So I put the order in after reminding him it’ll take about 15 minutes. I offered them drinks, but they just wanted water. I started getting the cheap vibe, but they ordered FOUR paellas, so how cheap could they be? Food comes out. They love it. Dad asks if he could get one to go. I put the order in so it would be ready when they finish.
We’re at five paellas now, and almost $90, before tax. I let the chef/owner know my concerns that the family may object to this price despite having made it clear to them. He gave me the okay to give them a 10% discount right off the bat. He’s a good guy. The time comes to bring the bill, and the man’s eyes go super wide.
I wrote out the bill so that every paella has $17.50 next to it. I watch as realization hits. He opens his mouth to object, and I immediately say, “The owner said to give you a discount because you ordered five of our most expensive dish and he wanted to thank you. He was happy to hear that you enjoyed it enough to order another to take home.” That shut him up. I then watch as he scans every last line of the bill and then settles on the tax, which was nearly $11.
Him: “You added a tip for yourself?” He was angry. Me: “No sir.” Him: “What’s this then?!” Me: “…The tax.” Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a tip at that point, but he did leave me 10%. So basically the discount we had given him. They said the food was excellent, but I highly doubt they’ll be back. For some reason, they thought ordering the same dish would equal just the price of one dish.
20. Pie In The Sky
First, let me explain a few things here. This is not my story as such, but I got to witness it firsthand. A good friend of mine is from a family that owns three very successful Italian restaurants, with a pizza oven that uses actual wood, so really top of the line. So he learned the business basically from the day he could walk.
When he was 25, he had a good business idea: A place in the middle of the city that sells mostly slices out of a window, but also whole pizza, pasta dishes, and salad, and does delivery. Plus a few small tables inside if someone wants to eat here. He created a solid business plan, and had his eyes on a prime location. It is 50 meters away from the biggest parking area in the city.
There are 400 parking spots there, where several times a year we have big city fairs, and anybody who wants to go in the park strolls right by it. So his dad said he would finance him, but as a credit to be paid back in a timely manner. They agreed on everything, and a year later he opened up. The story takes place about two years after they have opened and the place is HOT.
He already repaid almost 75% of the credit in a mere two years. Usually, there is a line for the slices, which are from a huge family-size pizza. One day, we are sitting at a table playing chess, while his guys run the shop; he had already worked a full 11 hours that day. In comes a baby boomer couple, and it was clear as day that the lady with the you-know-which haircut rules this relationship with an iron fist.
They sat down at the table next to us, and after not even a minute she rudely asked us why she has no menu yet, and to get off our lazy butts. I already wanted to tell her I do not work here, but my friend winked at me and walked over to their table, giving them our menus. The lady says to him, “It’s about time you get off your lazy butt.” By the way, she has now waited a minute. “You can’t play chess when you have people waiting. What kind of service is this?”
So my friend took their drink orders and walked behind the bar to make their drinks right away. They had to wait maybe three minutes for their drinks. When he comes back, she says, “About time, did you have to brew it first, or what is taking so long?” At this point, my friend’s patience is starting to wear thin, but he still stays friendly.
Friend: “You saw me walk to the bar and make your drinks right away, then return right away. Those drinks take a bit to pour correctly. I am sorry, but there is no way I could have brought those to you any faster.” Her: “We are customers and this is how you talk to us? Ever heard of the customer is always right? How can you be so rude to paying customers?” Now my friend really had enough.
Friend: “I was very respectful toward you, while you were very rude from the moment you came in here—“ The moment he said that, she got this weird grin on her face, and you could tell this was EXACTLY what she wanted. Her: “SHUT UP ! How dare you!!! I will have you know that me and the owner are old friends. I will have your job over this, now get me your manager.”
This is where it got so good. He decides to mess with her. Friend: “PLEASE, I need this job.” Her: “TOO LATE, you should have thought about this before you treated guests this rudely. NOW. GET. ME .THE . MANAGER.” Friend: “Right away miss.” He then went behind the bar and had a short talk with one of the older guys working there.
They then both return to the table. Server: “What seems to be the problem?” Well, this woman changed so fast. Suddenly she played the sweet old lady. “When we came in here, your server sat there with someone and played chess. We waited and waited, and finally asked nicely if we could have a menu. He rolled his eyes at us and gave us the menu from his table.”
She tells the rest of her “story” in her sweet voice, then says, “Since I know the owner, and we eat here all the time, usually, the service is excellent. I demand you fire him and comp our meals.” The new server turns to my friend and asks, “Is that really what happened?” Friend: “Of course not, she came—” Then the lady’s mask drops again.
She starts screeching, “What are you asking him for? I just told you what happened. Are you calling me a liar? Wait until the owner hears of this.” At this point, my friend and the server could no longer hold it back and they started laughing. Her: “YOU THINK THIS IS FUNNY, NEVER EVER HAVE I BEEN SO INSULTED.” Well, enough was enough.
Friend: “Yeah I know, wait until the owner hears of this. Oh wait, the owner already did hear of this. I AM THE OWNER, and I have never seen you in my life, nor have you ever eaten here. You two are just trying to scam a free meal out of me, by being impossibly difficult until the server finally snaps or does something wrong.”
Wow, I had no idea people could get that red in the face. She put 10 dollars on the table immediately. Friend: “Now GET OUT.” And they shuffled out, never to return. BOY that was the most entertaining attempt to scam him I have ever witnessed.
21. Be Careful What You Wish For
This isn’t your traditional server story, as I make pizzas, but it’s still a frustrating story from the food industry. I work at a chain pizza place, and like most pizza places our busiest day is Friday during the dinner rush. Almost all the staff is on hand and everything is on fire. It really didn’t help that we had a 40-pizza order that day due at 6:00 pm.
This all happened last Friday. A lady calls in (by the way, please order from the web) and orders four pizzas for delivery. Three of them were double pepperoni pizzas, which take way longer than you would think. I tell her that it will take about 1½ to 2 hours for delivery. This lady starts asking what the heck is up with that wait time, and I explain what I said before about the dinner rush.
She goes into a rampage, telling me that she’s been at work all day and she does not want to cook. “My family is starving, my kids are crying, and you’re just making them suffer more with that wait time!” Being the shy, timid college girl I am, all I could do is apologize and apologize as this lady is grilling me. Also, the wait time is only getting longer as orders are coming in.
She still hasn’t put in her order, and I can’t help make anything as I’m on the phone. My manager knows this. So he comes over to the phone and takes it from me. He asks the problem and then says, “Here, your wait time will be nothing and you won’t have to spend any more money!” Slams the phone down, ignores her order, and continues on with his work. Thank you, manager!
22. Crying Over Spilt Milk
Saturday night, I have a table of six. It’s a mom and dad, plus four kids between the ages of probably 6-10. Nice people, well-behaved kids, whatever. It comes time to order food, and the dad gets really serious and says, “We need to have a conversation.” I kind of laugh a little because up until now, things have been light-hearted and jokey.
But then he starts telling me that his daughter has a severe milk allergy. This isn’t a problem, but as the conversation continues the mom starts to interject a little and I learn that the kid is sensitive to even the slightest cross-contamination. That’s fine, I’ll have my kitchen manager make it in the back at our separate stove for allergies like this.
But no, I don’t understand, she will literally go into anaphylactic shock, they have an Epi-Pen, the whole bit. One of the kids (not the allergic one) says, “Yeah don’t give her milk or it’ll be off to hospital-town tonight!” I assure everyone no one will be going to hospital-town, and that I’ll take good care of them and let my kitchen manager know the severity of the situation.
I’ll spare you the lengths I had to go to just to keep the kid’s burger safe because that’s not the point of the story. When it finally comes time to run everyone’s food, the little girl with the allergy got a burger with bacon and an egg on it, nothing else. I was carrying everyone else’s food on a tray while my manager carried her burger separately.
My manager sets the burger down at the spot the little girl was sitting in (she’s not around at this point) and the dad immediately springs up from his seat and sits in her place. He picks up the top bun and closely inspects it, then holds it against his nose and takes a good long whiff. Then he takes the corner of the egg and lifts it up a little to inspect it, then rips the piece he grabs off and sort of breaks it up in his fingers a little bit, and eats it.
Gets up, says all is good, and the rest of the dinner went without issue. I guess he was checking for butter. My manager and I were so taken aback. We’ve never seen anyone act that cautiously, ever. Honestly, I respect it, though. I’d hate to know what experience they had at what restaurant to cause this behavior, but I’m glad that whatever it was wasn’t in my restaurant on my watch.
23. Fighting For What’s Yours
One of my favorite co-workers is a woman who’s been serving for over 30 years. She’s not well-liked by many because she’s meaner than an entire bag of piranhas, but if you can fire back (and do your job right) she’ll respect you and be your best friend. She told me a story today from back in the 80s when she first started.
She sees this guy come in wearing a really nice suit, and she watches him take the cash someone left as a tip, right off of the darn table, as she’s going back into the kitchen. She walks up to him and says, “I saw you take that. I want that money back on the table when I get back out here.” She returns to the floor after a minute holding a pitcher of water.
Lo and behold, the money isn’t there. As she passes the table, she “trips” and dumps this pitcher of ice water all over this guy in his nice suit in the middle of a Michigan winter. She goes into a fake bout of apologetics. “Oh my goodness I’m so sorry sir! I’m so sorry!” Then she leans in and whispers: “I’ll be back in a minute with the coffee.”
She comes out a minute later, coffee pot in hand, to find that her money has mysteriously reappeared.
24. I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends
Bottom line rule at my workplace space: If you’re not early, you’re late. The other day I sat down and zonked out…right before my shift. When I woke up, I was already 30 minutes late. For what it’s worth, I’m always on time and I love my job. I hit the ground running, but then something very much unexpected happened.
I discovered my 16-year-old kitty had died in my bathroom. I of course lost it emotionally immediately. They covered my shift, but I had to be written up due to the tardiness factor. When I returned to work yesterday and mentioned signing the write-up, my awesome manager told me to forget about it and that I had enough on my plate. I can’t express my gratitude enough in words for the people I work for and with.
Everyone cares for each other so much! They are such amazing people and I just had to share this.
25. Let It All Out
Oh my God, this was one of my most embarrassing moments. I was 18 and working in a Mexican restaurant. It was a table of four, two couples, who were pretty friendly and laughing. One woman was a grouch, but no big deal. One guy asks, “What is the “chor-IZ-o”? Me: Chorizo? It is basically a Mexican version of sausage, this one is spicy.
Other guy: “Ooooh! Can I get you to put the Mexican sausage into my fish taco?” LONG PAUSE. I proceed to absolutely lose my mind. I laughed until I was crying. I thought it was a joke! It only got worse when…One girl: I don’t get it…. Other girl: OH MY GOD Guy: I …uhhh… didn’t mean it that way. Worst server moment ever.
It still makes me so embarrassed. I ran back to the kitchen and traded tables. Apparently, I am an 11-year-old boy inside.
26. Order Up
I bartend, and was working a day shift. We aren’t a restaurant known for takeout, but we allow it and are set up through the various service apps. We had an UberEATs order in the middle of lunch hour, and eventually had a driver brusquely walk in and act a little aggressive when announcing himself. I had the order ready, so I asked him to verify what he was picking up.
He raised his voice, “It’s for [name], what’s the name say?” We don’t get a name. I told him that I didn’t have one, so I just needed him to tell me what was on the order. I’ve seen them check this dozens of times. It’s usually not inconvenient. Again, louder. “What’s the name say!? Are those the wings!?” It was three items together. None were wings.
I repeated that I didn’t have a name and told him that we didn’t have an order for wings. He got angry. “Are those the wings!?” I explained again that they weren’t wings, showed him that I had three items together, and asked him to clarify what order he was looking for. At this point, he snapped, and started screaming at the top of his lungs.
“CAN I GET ANY SERVICE!?” The bar fell silent. I put the food down and told him to leave. He continued shouting. “FINE, I’LL LEAVE THEN!” He continued causing a scene as he made for the door. I told him he needed to get out immediately or I’d call the authorities. Then he spit on the floor, slammed the door open, and stormed off.
The bar stayed silent for a few more seconds before people returned to their meals. Not two minutes later, another driver showed up, verified the order, and left without issue in under a minute.
27. Bread And Circus
You sat at my bar at just the right—or wrong—moment. I’d been getting my behind handed to me, and it wasn’t even 8 pm. You found a bar seat and ordered the soup special and a drink. You asked if the soup came with bread. I assured you it did. Even though I was wary, and had a feeling your bread would be forgotten, I was on the border of weedsville, and did not risk going back to the kitchen to make sure.
I was right, your soup came out in a very timely manner, but alas, no bread! Though I was now thoroughly slammed, I did indeed notice, and ran back to the kitchen to get some bread. This bread needs to be warmed, and it’s going to be a moment. I go back to my cubicle of fire and brimstone to see I’ve gotten a rather large group that I need to make sure I ID, since they all look extremely young.
From the corner of my eye, I see you are not eating your soup. This upsets me, but I can’t do much about it in my current state. However, I am worried for you. In my state of madness, you ask, “Is that bread coming anytime soon?” I feel faint. “I’m working on it! I’m sorry, I haven’t gotten a chance to—-” You say it’s ok, you see I’m busy.
This is still not ok with me. This man needs his bread. I get through my herd of college kids. I sprint to the kitchen to find perfectly warmed bread. I present my dude the bread, but I’m concerned, since I don’t think he’s touched his soup because he’s been waiting for bread. I saw this coming. I ask if I can get him a new soup, since he’s been waiting.
No. It was the perfect amount of time to let it cool down, apparently. The bread is perfect. He proceeds to tell me I’m incredibly good at what I do, understands I’m busy, and he will take the check. I thank him for his patience, and we laugh a bit. I go back to getting nearly ruined by college kids. $14 check, $40 tip. Thank you, bread guy. May your autumn days be filled with room-temperature soup and warm bread.
28. Found In Translation
This happened years ago, but it still feels like it was yesterday. I was serving at a Steak ‘n Shake, and was about 70 lbs. bigger than I am now. I’m very white, with blonde hair, so you wouldn’t know by looking at me that I’m almost fluent in Spanish. As I was cleaning a table one night, the one right next to it was seated for me.
While wiping the dirty table, I heard the new table talking loudly about me in Spanish. When I understood their words, my blood ran cold. They were saying how big my butt was, how fat I was, and how they didn’t want to be served by someone so disgusting, not knowing that I 100% understood them. My initial reaction was anger and tears.
I wanted to give them bad service and not even try to be nice. But, I wanted to be the bigger person. I walked to the table and did my “Welcome to Steak ‘n Shake! My name is Brandi and I’m here to help you out” speech…but I said it all in Spanish. The look of shock and embarrassment on their faces gave me one of the greatest feelings ever. Then, I listed every burger, every milkshake flavor and every side item in Spanish.
For the entire meal, I spoke no English at all, and I gave them the kindest and most attentive service I’ve ever given anyone. The nicer I was, the more humiliated and ashamed they were. When one of them asked quietly if he could have some more water, I already had a tray in my hand with his water on it. They refused to speak Spanish to me, and would hardly even look at me.
When they left, they closed their ~$25 check, then left me a $50 bill under a plate for my tip. Such a glorious day! Everyone always asks why I didn’t spit in their food, give them bad service, or ring in their order wrong. Hurt people with kindness baby! That’s the way I do it.
29. Born This Way
Last night I had a table of two made up of a mother and her teenage kid. I couldn’t figure out if the kid was a boy or a girl because they had a gender-neutral haircut and amazing makeup on. Guys wearing makeup and styling themselves more feminine seems to be more common and doesn’t bother me a bit, but I didn’t want to offend them.
Instead, I did my best to use gender-neutral terms until the mom used the word “he.” Anyway, I get their dinner to them, check in, and leave them alone to enjoy their meal. Flash forward to the end of service and I really wanted to compliment him on his makeup, so I said “Hey, I hope you don’t mind me saying so, but your makeup is awesome!” and oh my god, the mom just starts GUSHING.
She’s talking about how he’s going to NYC to do a really prestigious makeup artist program or something, and how her son had done her makeup for an event and how well it turned out. She was just so proud of her son and his talent even though it’s not a “typical boy’s hobby,” and it warmed my heart. I wished him luck and joked that with his skill he wouldn’t need it.
Mom tipped $10 on $30 and drew a smiley face on the merchant copy 🙂
30. I’d Prefer Not To
To start off, I’m not a server at the moment but this happened to one of ours. The other day we had a customer go OFF on a cashier because they asked if they replaced something due to an allergy or if it was just a preference. For what it’s worth the corporate office mandates that we ask this question for their records.
She had substituted some pasta for our gluten-free rice noodles and because it’s a lot more work for us to deal with it and a lot of people just honestly like the taste of rice noodles, we want to know if we strictly need to do it as an allergy order. This lady, who was I’d say 50 or 60, got real close, and in that Mom Whisper started lecturing him on how rude it is that he asked.
She says how it’s none of his business, how she has Never Been So Insulted, how we should just treat everything that COULD POSSIBLY BE GLUTEN FREE as if it was an allergy, etc., etc., etc. He replied: “Okay, that’s great, but is it an allergy or a preference?” therefore cementing him in my heart as one of my favorites. As expected, it was a preference.
31. Course Correction
I’ve been in the industry pretty close to 10 years between restaurants, bars, coffee shops and back again. I’ve worked front and back of the house and felt pretty confident that I had seen it all and that nothing would truly shock me. That was until tonight. I work as a server in a local family restaurant. It’s a chain that is well known and we are in the parking lot of the largest shopping center for a two-hour drive in any direction.
So as you can imagine, our business can be heavily affected by the mall sales, etc. Tonight is a Tuesday evening. No weekly food specials so usually Monday-Wednesday are pretty slow compared to the rest of the week. Tonight was not. We got slammed. All the servers had their own section plus were rotating a closed section that became overflow.
They sat a table for me in the overflow section. I already had six other tables and got a solid triple seat to go with it. In other words, it took some time to get to the overflow table. I went over after probably close to 10 minutes later. At this point, I’ll note that anyone who has chosen to sit in the overflow section knows that the service in that area will be slower and they’ve chosen to sit there instead of waiting for a table in general dining.
So I go over with my best “I’m sorry” face and genuinely apologize to this table for keeping them waiting. I gestured to the restaurant and let them know it wasn’t a typical Tuesday night. This lady, with her two just shy of teenage boys beside her, laid into me. She yelled about how bad the service was and how it was unacceptable and that I should be fired.
She said if she wanted to be treated so poorly, she would have gone to the restaurant up the street to be forgotten about. Now I apologize many times, grab their drink and food orders at the same time, and let them know that I would plug in the food then bring the drinks over to cut down on their wait time. I walk over to the computer and a co-worker silently asks me if I was okay.
She heard this woman yelling at me from two sections away. That’s an easy 40 feet away. I wasn’t in the best state, but the night was busy and my armor was up. I knew I was doing my best and that’s what mattered. Food in, drinks poured, and I gird myself to go over to the table again. As I’m setting the drinks down, the lady said the absolute LAST thing I thought she would say.
“I think I might have come off as a bit of a witch before. It’s been a long day, I’m tired and I’m hungry and I took it out on you for no reason. You’re obviously busy and doing all you can and I’m very sorry.” To which I responded, “We’re good. I get pretty hangry sometimes too.” They waited, they ate, they were polite, she tipped mediocre and we all went about our lives.
I’ve had people yell at me, throw things, sometimes just be general jerks and I’ve even had people apologize on their behalf, but I’ve never had someone apologize about their own behavior.
32. A Big Ask
This happened a couple of weeks ago at the very busy restaurant I work at. A woman came in saying she had some people from a jujitsu club wanting to come in for dinner and drinks, and do we take reservations. My manager asked for how many—and she said about 75, but maybe up to 100. My manager started laughing, but was soon stricken by horror.
She realized the woman was serious. We have a large restaurant, but a very small kitchen, and have a strict table of 20 cut off. When told about this, the woman still insisted that they were already here and pretty much refused no for an answer. We ended up allowing them to come in as it was around 8 pm and things were slowing down.
They sat outside in our big patio area, and we had two servers split the group. People were ordering at different times and many were just drinking, so the kitchen managed to do okay. The worst part was that about 30 of the people never went to their designated area, and instead crowded the bar and stood there. Us servers use this area to walk through and obviously get our drinks.
After several attempts at pushing our way through the crowd, we eventually gave up and accepted it as our reality. To get our bar drinks, we would go around to the bar side, every. darn. time. We have a long bar and only entry on each side, so this is hugely out of our way. This group stayed almost all night. The people were nice, but darn, how clueless are you!!!
I wasn’t the one serving them, I was just another server trying to keep the rest of the place under control. I heard MOST of them tipped, although they did all pay separately and we ran out of check presenters, obviously. Also, a few of them walked out on their tabs. Not on purpose, I’m sure they probably just wandered to meet their friends at the bar and forgot to close out.
I find this very rude no matter who it is. If you aren’t sure how to pay, ask the server or let them know you are leaving, moving, etc. Most of all, treat everyone with compassion! Server, customer, whatever. Treat cranky old people like they are your parents, because one day, they could be. Remember rude customers are JERKS, but also probably have a worse life than you do.
Know that some people don’t understand “restaurant etiquette” as we do, and if they did, maybe they would act differently. Remember your server is just a human being, not a servant, and being nice goes a long way.
33. Total Meltdown
I saw a public freak out recently that reminded me of something that happened when I was a hostess in my early 20s at a steak house. A family of four came in, and when I sat them, the mom (I’ll call her Karen) wanted to move to an area where all the tables were full. I told her she could wait back up front and we’d seat her when one of the tables opened.
She insisted on standing right by the bus station so she had a view of the people sitting in her desired area. The four of them were in the way of guests and servers but Karen did not notice, she was too busy staring daggers at people eating. I went to the manager, who tried to move her to no avail. Finally, we just let them stay because we noticed a couple in a booth packaging up their food.
I checked in a few minutes later to see if that table had left yet and was dismayed to see they had ordered dessert and coffee. Karen was still standing there, watching them. The kids were bored and running up and down the wheelchair ramp. I asked Karen again to move back down to the waiting area as she was blocking servers and her kids were an accident waiting to happen.
She loudly asked when her table would be ready and pointed right at the couple sipping their coffee. Knowing we were talking about them, the couple looked at us and smiled. A disturbing realization dawned on me. It hit me then that they were not leaving on purpose. Oh dear God. Karen realized it as well, because she got very angry.
She yelled that they were keeping her booth from her and we should kick them out. I told her we would not ask anyone to leave until they were ready. Then I watched in horror as the woman approached the couple. Karen: “You’re done here, this is my table now. Pay the bill and go.” Couple (Smiling sweetly): “We just got our coffee and dessert.”
Karen: “THEN TAKE IT TO GO!! WE ARE HUNGRY AND YOU’RE IN OUR BOOTH.” Couple: “This is our booth. It’s not yours until we leave.” Karen raged insults at them until the manager came rushing up to help. He tried to intervene but could not be heard over her screaming about her starving children. The couple kept their cool the whole time, nibbling their dessert and stirring their coffee at a sloth’s speed.
Finally, the manager had enough and told the woman to go. She was utterly FLOORED that we were asking her to go and not the couple. Then she escalated it. She picked up an empty dessert plate from their table and chucked it across the room, where it hit a wall and smashed into pieces. The manager screamed for someone to 9-1-1, since this was before everyone had cell phones.
I remember trying to hide my smile from the people around me. What adult acts like this? This woman was in her 40s! There were a ton of open booths too, just not in that area. Then Karen’s husband appeared, grabbed her by the sleeve, and started pulling. She let him lead her toward the front door as she continued to yell insults at us.
She called the manager a loser and mocked his career choice. She told me I was “a plain nothing going nowhere” and “worthless,” and when they’d gone, I went into the back for a while to hide. I needed to get away from people. When I returned, the server of the couple ran up to me. He said, “That couple left but they wanted to talk to you.”
Apparently, they felt so bad about how that woman acted. They saw her watching them and she was being so rude, so they decided to take their time to mess with her. They didn’t think she’d do that! They waited a few minutes to talk, but they thought I went home and asked the server to give me something as an apology.
The server then handed me a $100 bill. It was a bad night but it kind of made me feel better. It’s not every day a customer acknowledges when they’ve made your life miserable. If the couple had just left, none of that would have happened. Nothing they did hurt me, of course, but the insults from Karen sure did. Thankfully, Karen was never seen again.
It’s not easy to be a young kid making $5 an hour and being berated by people who think they’re better than you.
34. You’ll Pay For This
I just remembered a lovely moment of karma from a few years back. I was serving on July 4th in a vacation town in California at an upscale German bratwurst place. Everyone mid-day drinking, we were wildly understaffed, and absolutely slammed. I’m a really fast and sweet server even when I’m busy, but I had 10 tables and I was pretty frazzled.
One of my tables was a middle-aged couple and their adult son. I can’t remember the specifics, but they were really condescending, high-maintenance, and impatient. When it came time for them to pay, I was pretty relieved for them to leave. The man paid with card, signed the receipt, crumpled the customer copy, and put away his card.
We were trying to turn tables as fast as possible because we were so busy, so I picked up his signed receipt and thanked them. Then, they sat there for what felt like forever. I didn’t think much of it because I was wildly busy. When I went to clear their table after they left, I was really confused. The original itemized receipt was still on the table with a stack of cash, enough to cover the whole bill and an OK tip—BUT THEY ALREADY PAID AND TIPPED ME WITH CARD.
I guess the guy was more sloshed than I thought, completely forgot he had already paid, and then paid again in cash and just left. It was definitely not on purpose, because the “tip” on the credit card receipt and cash “tip” on the cash payment were almost the same, and they were complete jerks. In the middle of a hellish shift, I almost started crying with joy.
It came out to a $100 “tip” for a $75 bill. A little blessing from the server gods on a hard day. Wishing accidentally generous customers on you all.
35. The Tax Man
I work security at a bar that is open until 2 AM, nightly. The job is mostly checking IDs at the front door and spotting guests who are clearly in their cups so I can cut them off. Last Friday, a small group of young 20-something guys showed up around 8 pm and started drinking like they were at a college fraternity party.
While I am checking IDs at the front door a few hours later, one of the bros gets kicked out by a manager. I’m told to not let him back in. Cool. I asked if he was driving, he said no. I offered to call him a taxi, but he told me to go screw myself because he was getting an Uber. This guy was so out of it, he couldn’t stand or see straight.
10 minutes later, he is still there and I ask what’s up. This time he decided to insult my ethnicity (I’m Jewish). A few more minutes pass, and he comes up and asks me to call him an Uber. I tell him that not how it works, he has to do it. He throws another Jewish joke at me and orders me to call him an Uber and hands me his unlocked phone.
This is the part where I could have just opened the app, ordered a ride, and left the driver a massive tip, but this guy needed to pay the jerk tax. I opened his contacts and found exactly who I wanted to call: his mother. I told her that her son was out of it, got kicked out, and needed a ride. She was livid and said she would be there in 15 minutes.
I give the phone back to him and said his ride was coming. That guy sobered up so fast when his mother pulls up and immediately starts shrieking at him in front of everyone. He gets in the car, crying at this point, and I tell the mother about his comments, which sends her into another rant before driving away. I wish I could follow up with what happened to him, but I doubt he will be drinking anytime soon.
36. Bad Vibes
I work at an upscale restaurant. We have two floors, and last night I was serving upstairs. We only have hosts downstairs. When we are on a wait, the hosts will see when there are open tables upstairs, page the guests and send them up. A server then greets them, sees where the host had pre-planned for them in our system, and we seat them.
Now that you know how that works, I’ll also just add in here that I am one of the top servers in my restaurant, consistently selling the most every week, and I’m a trainer. So my managers all love and appreciate me and mostly have my back. Okay, so the Karen family, is paged that their table is ready. They walk upstairs and stand by the host stand while I finish at my table and make my way over to them.
I said, “Hey guys, how’s it going” They just stared at me. Finally, the wife goes, “Do we just seat ourselves?” I, holding a paper cocktail menu and silverware, after walking over to them and feeling like I had made it clear I was about to seat them, said, “Nope that’s my job! You guys can follow me this way.” They follow to the table for six and they all take their seats.
I slide the silverware I was holding down to everyone individually instead of just setting six silverware on the end of the table for them to hand out. I said, “Our menu is all virtual, and there is a link on your table. I’ll be right back!” I come back and ask if they have any questions or if they’d like to get some drinks started. Again, silence.
I just pick someone and say, “Okay, can I grab you something to drink sir?” We don’t have what he asks for, but I suggest something similar and he says okay. The wife asks what we have on tap. I said, “We have a lot, what do you like to drink?” She said “I don’t know, that’s why I’m asking YOU.” I say, “Alright, we have 27 kinds on draft plus 19 that are bottles, so if you tell me what you’re usually into, I can guide you through what will work for you.”
She goes “Jesus Christ, I’ll just have a Bud Light since you can’t sell a drink.” I, looking stunned, laugh and say okay. Her husband then turns his attention to me and says, “Are you having a bad night?” To which I say, “No sir, are you?” and he said, “No, we are just trying to have a nice family night and you’re rude. You’ve been rude the whole time and you threw our silverware at us.”
I’m stunned so I just say, “I definitely did not throw it at you guys I was trying to slide it down the table for all of you, sorry if it came off that way. I’m not having a bad night and I haven’t had an attitude.” The wife jumps in and says, “It all started up front when you said, ‘THAT’S MY JOB’ (she changes the entire tone I said this in, of course) and now you’ve just been rude to all of us this whole experience.”
For what it’s worth, we’re like five minutes in from them walking up the stairs at this point. Then she yells, so loudly that all my other co-workers hear, “YOUR AURA IS UGLY AND WE DONT APPRECIATE THAT, JUST SEND US A NEW SERVER.” It took everything I had, like I mean, everything, not to say anything rude back to her.
I just said, “I’m happy to grab you a new server, and I’ll just grab my manager for you too while I’m at it.” My manager goes over, knowing everything from my side already, and they tell him I was rude by seating them and making that comment about how they could not seat themselves, when “there was no host at the stand so we just assumed it was pick your own table.”
They also mention throwing their silverware, and “my attitude and aura are just plain ugly.” My manager stuck up for me and said I’m actually one of their best, but they still insisted on another server. Imagine being one of the three other servers having already heard and seen this go down, and now it’s your table. That server made $3 on $80, by the way.
Screw you guys, my aura is shiny.
37. Party Of Eight
Oh man…this group. I have never turned to a manager before and said, “I’m done, I’m not going back over there.” But I did last night. Yesterday was a particularly slow Monday. I didn’t have any tables until 5:30. This table of two sat in my section and wanted happy hour, which is for high-tops only of course, so I moved them to the right section.
The hostesses were able to get me a new table immediately, and it was a group of eight people. Six women, I’m putting money on past sorority sisters, and two boys around eight years old. I should have just taken the two happy hour people and taken the wrath from management, honestly. The table of eight is immediately obnoxiously loud, and it’s pretty much just seat #3 causing it.
While the other women were just raising their voices, #3 was actually yelling as if she had earplugs in. They also have a birthday at the table, “Oh my gaaaawd, girls!! Let’s sing!! Every time someone mentions the birthday we HAVE to sing!: And they did. They sung/screamed happy birthday no less than five times, one for every round of drinks.
By the time the appetizers came out, my manager had already walked up to them about a noise complaint from a table across the restaurant. Seat #3, a grown adult, goes to the bathroom, but stops halfway and asks me, “Wait, do I need a mask??” “Yes, ma’am, you do when you’re traveling around the restaurant.” “Are you sure??” “…Yes, ma’am.” “Like, really sure??”
This conversation happened multiple times with seat #3 and our other staff members. She would stop a staff member every time she ran to her car, went to the bathroom, checked out the restaurant, ran after a kid, and ask, “Are you sure I gotta wear a mask?” And of course, then never wear it. My work doesn’t allow staff to enforce the mask policy, so I can’t do anything but answer her questions and maintain a biiiiig distance.
Anyway, the first round of drinks comes out. Seat #2 keeps drinking Seat #1’s cocktail, even though she has her own margarita to work on. Gets a good bit of the way through her friend’s drink, turns to her with a sour face, and goes, “You like that?” Seat #1 says, “I don’t know…” and she finally gets to try her half-gone drink.
She says yeah, she likes it. #2 goes, “Are you sure??” Seat #1 says… “I don’t know…” So, now seat #2 sends back a drink that’s not even hers, and has me get seat #1 a new drink. That new drink never got touched. I think she actually really liked the first one, but gave into some bizarre peer pressure. Thankfully, this was the only issue I ever had with seats #1 and #2. Otherwise, they were great. But I wasn’t out of the woods.
Appetizers get dropped. Kids’ food gets dropped. I’m standing there taking the ladies’ orders, and I’m watching the boys who are to my left and in front of me. One of the boys is enjoying his first ever Shirley Temple. I was so happy to give it to him, y’all. I shoved so many cherries in that kid’s cup. He’s sitting there chugging his daily requirement of sugar, when he sort of sits up while still drinking, and turns towards me.
He pulls the straw from the cup with liquid still in the straw, and his mouth was so full his cheeks were bulging. He turned towards me, and SPIT his drink through the straw down my legs. I have never…EVER…been spit on. What the actual?! I let out a bewildered, “Excuse me?!” as my legs are dripping Shirley Temple and 8-year-old saliva.
The mom? LAUGHS. And then it got worse. She even praises him! “Good one, Dom!!” I walk away now. Thankfully I had everyone’s orders when it happened. I clean up and come back out, head to a different table, and now seat #3 is rushing me from across the restaurant, absolutely hauling her butt, without a mask on of course.
She catches up to me, grabs my arm, and turns me around. Proceeds to get in my face, to the point where our breasts are physically touching, and goes, “We have a birthday at the table…do you guys do anything for that?? Like sing maybe? Ooh! Or cake! Bring out a cake! Do you have a chocolate one and candles?!” The entire time she’s going on about this request, I’m backing up slowly.
She’s following me step for step. I have backed up so far that I have now backed up into another table that actually has people eating at it, and she is still breast-to-breast with me going on about cake and singing. I can smell the drinks on her breath. Finally, I get her happy with a slice of Baked Alaska for the table for free, and she finally screws off.
The table I backed into wouldn’t let me apologize for being on top of them practically, and it actually turned out to be the table that complained about the noise in the beginning! They were 100% on my side after getting the full experience just now with guest #3, and would continue to be on my side and explain to the managers what was going on.
I hate that this one table ruined their meal, since they were really such nice ladies whose experience was ruined by this terrible group. So, I bring out dessert. Baked Alaska, set it on fire, ooh ahh. That dessert didn’t stand a chance, it was gone. I go back over to make sure no one wants anything else, and seat #3 goes, “Why did the hostess yell at us earlier?”
Me: “Oh…Well, that was the manager. She was informing you that you have a noise complaint against your party.” 3: “Who complained? Tell me who complained, I’ll take care of it.” Me: “Yeah… I can’t release that information.” 3: “You can’t? Uh okay. Well, can you tell the woman who came over here to screw off?” Me: …“Yeah, that’s my manager, I can’t do that either.” Her response made my face go red.
Lady #3: “Okay, well you can just screw off then.” Me: “Okay!!” I walked right up to my manager and asked her to cash them out and handle whatever they had left, since I was done. We had four different managers in the building that day, and all four had been watching the table since the noise complaint before appetizers, so she didn’t ask any questions from me and just printed the check for them and walked over.
She said, “Hey everyone. Here’s your check, it’s time for you to head on out of here.” Seat #2, who is actually a really nice lady and doesn’t deserve to be roped in with her awful friends but you should choose your friends better, starts apologizing for everyone’s behavior. Manager just says, “It’s time to go.” She just keeps repeating it until #2 paid for the entire check ($304 after discounts) and they left. Oh, but the disturbing climax is around the corner.
I go with my bussers and start bussing this absolutely wrecked table. One of the bussers reaches under the table and grabs this aqua blue pile of fabric. He’s turning it this way and that, trying to figure out how you’d wear that sort of face mask, when he spots the skid marks…yes. My table left their used panties under my table. And guess who’s seat they were by? Lucky #3!
What the actual heck, y’all. I just can’t believe that actually happened last night.
38. A Little Love And Understanding
This happened tonight, I work at a “the customer is always right” chain restaurant. It was a REALLY slow day, with most servers ending with four-five tables for the whole night. I was excited to have a table of six come in, my only table, and gave them my full attention. One woman got wine, one got champagne, so I went to the bar to get both.
I came back to the table with them, and the woman with champagne was very unhappy with what she received. To be fair, this was a $10 beverage and had a very small glass, and it was STILL only around half full. I went back to the bartender to make sure this was the appropriate fill level, she confirmed, so I went back to the guest.
She was very unhappy with the amount she received for her money. I offered to replace the champagne with a drink that she would rather have, and take it off her ticket. She was grateful, but said it was the principle of it that bugged her, and that they wouldn’t be spending any more money here. With this went on, I went to my manager and tried to get him to comp as much of their ticket as possible, because honestly what they got for the price they would be paying really wasn’t good.
For context, I really like all of the managers…except the one working tonight. He’s very new and has made offensive remarks to multiple people, including women wearing “too much makeup,” etc. So he went to talk to the table and was stuck there for around 5-10 minutes with both women laying into him. Eventually, he came back to the computer and comped all of their food, so I took the women their revised tickets.
When I arrived at the table, they reassured me that they knew it wasn’t my fault, I was simply the messenger, but that my manager had said that it was most likely my fault and that I had described the drink incorrectly to her, placing the blame on me. Gladly, the women had stood up for me and told him it absolutely wasn’t my fault but rather whoever thought it was acceptable to charge $10 for half a glass.
Honestly, at this point, I felt so bad about their experience, and it made me feel so much better that they understood that I had no power in the situation. In the end, they left on a good note with me, not so much with the restaurant, and left a VERY reasonable tip. Thank you so much, ladies.
39. It’s On Me
On my very first shift as a bartender, a beautiful woman in her mid-20s came into the bar. It was a regular Saturday night, so the place was crowded, but not packed. She had five female friends with her, but she was clearly the self-proclaimed ringleader. At one point, they come up to me at the bar counter and she makes a big show about how she’s going to buy them all mojitos.
These drinks run at about $13 apiece. I tell her it will take me a few minutes to get the six drinks ready and she’s fine with that. After a couple of minutes, she gets up to go to the restroom, I assume. I get the drinks ready and start wondering what the heck is taking her so long. I have a fellow bartender check up on her in the restroom, as I figure she’s either throwing up or getting it on there. Well, I wasn’t completely wrong in either of those assumptions.
The other bartender came back and says that she WAS throwing up, but then found some dude in there who was chatting her up. The other bartender informed her that she was needed back at the bar. A few minutes go by, and she and Mr. Knight in Shining Armor grab two seats at the bar. I walk up to them and the dude tries to order a drink for himself and water for her.
I inquire about where she wants the six mojitos placed and this is how it plays out: Stupid girl: “Those aren’t for me. I’m too gone to have more drinks” Me: “But you ordered them. And here they are.” Stupid girl: “But I don’t want them.” Me: “That not really the issue. I made them, so now you’ve gotta pay for them.” Stupid girl: “But I’ve been in the restroom the whole time, so I couldn’t have ordered them.”
Me: “Actually, you ordered them with me at the bar 15 minutes ago, before you stepped into the restroom.” Knight in Shining Armor: “I was with her the whole time and SHE DID NOT ORDER THOSE DRINKS.” Stupid girl looks infatuated with Knight in Shining Armor. It’s clear that they’ve just met and this dude is thinking that she’ll be an easy score if he just huffs and puffs a bit for her, putting me in my place.
Me: “Well, you’ve only just met her in the restroom JUST NOW, and she ordered those drinks BEFORE she went in there.” As a side note, some of her girlfriends, who had been hanging around the sides of the bar area waiting for the drinks, suddenly disappeared into the adjoining rooms. They clearly didn’t want to be a part of the mess.
Stupid girl: “But none of my friends are here to drink them.” Me: “It doesn’t matter. You ordered them, I made them, and now they need to be paid for.” Knight in Shining Armor: “She clearly doesn’t need more drinks, and this is your fault for serving them to her in the first place!” He’s getting angry. Me: “She was fine when she ordered them.”
Knight in Shining Armor: “But she shouldn’t have to pay for them.” Me: (having had enough) “Fine, then you can pay for them. That’ll be 78 dollars.” Dude was actually taking out his wallet until he heard the amount. Then he promptly looked at her, clearly assessing whether she was worth it. He decides no, not happening.
He puts his wallet back in his back pocket, and now it’s really awkward. She’s looking down at her glass of water, he’s looking for a way out of this situation, and I’m just standing there staring daggers at the both of them. Me: (directed at stupid girl) “If you don’t pay, we’re going to have trouble.” The stupid girl is now looking around for someone to save her.
Everybody’s looking away, including Knight in Shining Armor. Me: “So what’s it gonna be?” The stupid girl reluctantly and very slowly takes her credit card out and pays, all the while looking around for pity or someone to step in and pay. I hand her the drinks and tell her very firmly: “DO NOT DO THIS AGAIN.” We’re a small bar in a local town, you can be darn sure we gave her stern looks and asked for humiliating confirmation every time she visited after that.
40. No Show
We close at 8 pm on Sundays. It was 7:45 pm. Phone call: “Hey, I see it says you guys close at 8 but if we have 10-12 people, could you stay open for us?” Me: “I’ll have to ask the chef for you, one second.” I know I should have just said HECK NO, but I have to run everything by the chef, who is also the owner. He tells me to tell them yes—ugh.
Me: “Yeah, no problem.” Then they say, “Okay, we should be there around 8:30.” Me: “…Okay” So I put a bunch of freaking tables together and pour all their waters and put menus on their tables. 8:45 pm, they call back and tell us they aren’t coming after all. FIRST OFF, WHO THE HECK CALLS A RESTAURANT AND ASKS THEM TO STAY OPEN FOR THEM? Then you have the audacity to cancel? 15 minutes late? The worst.
41. The Bar Around The Corner
I had an older guy in tonight who was very shy and sat at a busy bar drinking soda and lime. I was powering through so I really didn’t get a chance to talk to him much. He was by himself the whole night and I introduced him to my favorite regular in the middle of making a drink because they had the same name, and my regular doesn’t drink either.
They were chatting all night. I shut down the bar and let the nice regulars finish their drinks while we closed down the bar, and he was included. At the end of the night, he gave me a hug and told me he’s just been through a very hard time. He’d just gone through a divorce. He had struggled with alcoholism and he wanted friends like the bar friends he used to have when he was younger, but he didn’t know where to go.
I told him he wouldn’t get a drop of drink from me, but he could definitely become a favorite regular and I would be missing some good chats if we didn’t see him after work next Tuesday. I really want to give him those friends. I really hope he comes back.
42. Humiliation To-Go
I worked at a restaurant that was across from a state park entrance. Spring through summer, we were insanely busy as we were a favorite of both the tourists and locals. It wasn’t unusual for the tourists to treat us like garbage or to be inconsiderate of our policies, such as the large sign on the gate to our patio telling people it was dine-in only and to see the host to be seated there.
It was such a problem, in fact, that eventually we padlocked the gate shut, since if there was a fire out there, it would actually be easier to climb over the fence to get away than go to the weird corner where the gate was. One day, when we were nearing the end of another seemingly endless lunch rush, I saw some people sitting at a table crowded with our to-go boxes in another server’s section, looking around like they were angry.
I remembered them as a tourist family from earlier in the week who had been jerks to me, so I went up to ask the server, Cait, about them. Me: Hey, what’s up with table 20? Cait: Huh? They’re done. Why? Me: Oh, they were jerks the other day, and they look kind of angry now. I just wanted to know if they treated you ok?
Cait: They were fine. I don’t know what they could be mad about now, but I’ll go check. She walked out to the dining room, where she had a clear view of the table, then immediately turned around and came back. Cait: Uhhhh…those aren’t the people I waited on. And where did those boxes come from? My party didn’t ask for any.
We ask the host; nope, she didn’t clear that table yet and she definitely didn’t seat those people. They were jerks to her when they ordered take-out from her a while earlier when she had told them that no, she couldn’t seat them on the patio with a to-go order but the picnic tables in our garden were free for them to use.
Knowing now what must have happened, and that these people have mistreated everyone they’ve come into contact with, we collectively decide to just ignore them. The rush is over and we don’t need the table, so the entire staff carefully avoids them while we serve everyone around them. This family proceeds to get angrier and angrier as we clear every table but theirs, which has not only all of their take-out garbage, but all the plates, glasses, and trash from the guests who sat there before.
In the meantime, we informed the owner of the situation, and he was looking forward to when they finally had enough and stormed inside. The father immediately starts yelling about how we let them sit and never cleared the table or served them. He’s completely righteous and red in the face about it. The owner’s response was perfection.
Owner: So, let me get this straight. You yelled at my host when she helped you with a take-out order and told you she couldn’t seat you on the patio. You were directed to the picnic tables in the garden, which is lovely by the way, I tend it myself. Instead, all four of you climbed over a padlocked gate with a sign on it telling you the same thing the host did. You then proceeded to seat yourself at a dirty table, and now you have the gall to call my staff rude?!
He took a pause here, then said, “Sir, let me tell you how a restaurant works. If you’re nice to us, we will do just about anything to make you happy. But you’re a jerk, so you’re always going to get treated like one. Now GET OUT of MY restaurant!” The father sputtered for a second, and the owner just shouted, “OUT!” again and drowned the guy’s response.
He and his family then slunk out, with Awesome Boss of the Day right behind them to ensure they didn’t try and come back. Having a boss that sticks up for you is the best.
43. In The Red
I was scheduled for a party of 135—yes, you read that right—with just me and a new server. There is also no auto gratuity at my place. I have a day job, and have been working the restaurant kind of ad hoc until they hire to recover from a mass quitting due to a clueless owner and general manager. So yeah, this is shaping up to be a really awful night, and I know it.
I went in a little early to try and talk some sense into the owner and the manager. I asked for another server, or to at least to be allowed to auto gratuity the bill. Shot down on both. The party starts to arrive, and I introduce myself and the newbie to the lady in charge. She asks where the other servers for her party are, and I explain we are it.
She is super angry immediately. I tell her I already voiced her concerns, and she will have to take it up with the manager. The people trickled in pretty slowly, so we did a pretty fair job with drink orders. I had preset some dressings to try and make the salads go easier, and preset extra napkins, bread, etc. It went as well as it could go, but it was rough.
The new server was completely overwhelmed, the head lady was rude, and they were not the most understanding party. It ended up being one check, though, thank the restaurant gods. The total was just shy of $5,000.00. The lady left $60.00 total tip. At this point, the new server is crying in the kitchen, and the vein in my forehead is popping out.
$60.00 doesn’t even cover the bar tip out, let alone the bus or host tip out. And it was a TON of work. A heated discussion between myself and the owner ensues, and it is clear she doesn’t care that I’m at negative money for the night, actually the week now. I tell her that I will not be returning. She switches gears and tries to “reason” with me.
I give the new server the 60 bucks, and tell the owner I will be calling the labor control board if I don’t get paid minimum wage for the week. I tell her and the manager both how I feel about them, and out the door I go with both middle fingers in the air. Feels good.
44. Musical Chairs
Today I’ve had probably the worst/best thing happen when bringing a group of 32 people to their table. I work in an all-you-can-eat restaurant where the people can pick out the food themselves and take it to their table. This means you need to walk back and forward once in a while to grab new food. Because of this, we don’t have rows of tables that exceed five people, so when you stand up there’s not a lot of people to walk past.
Otherwise, it’s like sitting in the middle of a row in a full cinema, having to go to the bathroom, and passing like 10 people in the process. So for this group of 32 people, we had three tables of 11 with five on each side and one at the head of the table. However, the woman who made the reservation HAD to have everyone sit attached to the same table, rather than having two small gaps in between each of the three tables so it’s easier to get up.
I tried explaining to this woman that this is very difficult as the seating will be less comfortable, but she kept on yelling and yelling that it HAD to happen. So I agreed and moved the tables against each other. What followed was probably the best five minutes of my life. Just watching 16 people struggle to get on the couch located next to the table.
After enjoying the view, I once again offered to the woman that I could move the tables slightly apart so it’s easier to stand up, but once again she started yelling that it had to be like this and she would complain to my manager if I offered again. They dined for 2.5 hours, and every time someone stood up, I watched seven other people having to move off the couch to the side of the table so one person could get their food, turning a five-second task into a five-minute task every single time.
This woman yelled at me, ignored friendly advice, and threatened to go to my manager, but in the end, she got a nice dose of karma.
45. Not A Good Choice Of Words
I work at an upscale restaurant attached to a large convention center. We recently hosted a convention for a multi-level marketing (pyramid scheme) women’s clothing company. I’ve never seen so many Karens in one place. Not just figuratively, but literally; it wasn’t uncommon to have two actual “Karens” seated at one table together.
This is a particularly dangerous situation as this multiplies the Karen Effect exponentially. The two primary Karen drinks of choice are typically either a Cosmo or chardonnay; it is from these potions that they derive their evil powers. Well, needless to say, the cosmos and chardonnay were flowing like water. The bar started to mix four-six cosmos at once and pop multiple bottles of chard simultaneously, just to keep up with the frenzied demand.
Trouble was clearly brewing. This was the recipe for disaster. As the Karens began to migrate from the bar to their respective tables for dinner service, the orders started coming into the kitchen. Naturally, everything was special ordered to accommodate their litany of dietary issues and whatever fad diets they were currently participating in; keto, paleo, macro, vegan, take your pick.
This is a trap. Special orders take extra time, are more difficult to accurately execute, and bog down the flow of the kitchen, increasing ticket times. This is exactly what the Karens want to happen. They were setting up the attack. Little did they know that we were ready and waiting for them. We had called in the cavalry and manned the lines twice as deep.
You could see the looks of confusion and dismay on their faces when their orders came out correctly and on time. We had neutralized the Karens. The night was drawing to an end…before one particularly evil and vile table of Karens came in just before close. No doubt these were pros, not to be taken lightly. Coming from the bar, they immediately notified me (their server) upon sitting that they were very upset.
Right out of the gate, they put me on defense. After I inquired as to the problem, they notified me that they were offended that the bar didn’t try to up-sell them from the two glasses of chardonnay to a whole bottle….This was a new move. I hadn’t seen this one before. Being “offended” because someone gave you exactly what you asked for? Brava.
I was not prepared for this tactic. But before I could offer a solution, the Mecha-Karen dropped the mother of all Karen phrases: “I don’t understand why the bartender didn’t offer us a bottle instead. I just wanted you to know that we feel very violated…” Except, she used a much stronger word for assault. Yup. I couldn’t believe it.
I was floored. I’ve seen some Karen moves before, but this was the most outrageous and offensive thing I’ve encountered. Not even knowing how to respond to that, and being short for words for one of the only times in my life, all I could muster was: “Well that’s certainly very strong verbiage. I’ll give you some more time to look over the menu.”
I left the table and immediately went to the manager. Explaining what just transpired, I flatly told the manager that I was not comfortable waiting on a guest who was not only apparently intoxicated to some degree, but that would also use such inappropriate language so casually. Shockingly, the manager agreed. She went to the table and let them know that they were welcome to place an order for food through her, but would not be served any more drinks at that point.
They thought they were pulling the mother of all power moves, but in reality, they had overplayed their hand and crossed the line. The Karens knew they had been defeated.
46. Empty Head Syndrome
The following occurred earlier tonight. Some guy wandered into the restaurant when we were obviously closed (lights off, no open sign, tables all flipped) with a phone in one hand, a bag in the other, and an expression that I can only describe as “stupid face.” Him: Doordash. Me: We’re closed. Him: Doordash? Me: We’re closed.
Him: DOORDASH! starts waving the bag around and pointing to it Me: We. Are. Closed. Him: Should I go through the drive-thru? Me: No, you can’t go through the drive-thru. We are closed. There are no more orders tonight. Him: I’m here to pick up (stares at his phone and starts reading off food items) for (someone’s name).
Me: When did you place the order? We don’t have any open tickets left. Him: Right now. Me: We’re closed right now, and we never got that order. Him: It says here (pointing at his phone again) that I have to pick up (names food items again). Me: Who ordered it? We never got any orders for Grubhub. Did you order it over the phone?
Him: No, I’m supposed to order it now. Me: You can’t order it now, we’re closed. Him: Staring into the abyss But they already ordered it. Do I cancel it? Me: I don’t know. That isn’t my problem. Him: Leaves the restaurant looking defeated and confused The owner of the restaurant (who had just come out of the back): What an idiot.
47. Thank You, Next
I work in a rich, very conservative part of town, so sometimes we get super conservative people in. I generally ignore the political attire that you see a few times a week, because as long as they respect me, I don’t care. By the way, I also have buzzed hair, so I’m used to comments about being feminine with short hair (usually positive), and I think this is why one customer started this conversation with me today:
Customer: Are you a homosexual? Me: Excuse me? C: I asked if you were a homosexual. M: Why do you ask? C: I don’t want to be served by a lesbian. M: (after a stunned silence to make sure I just heard what I just heard) Well, then I guess you can go ahead and leave because no one here wants to serve you. And I immediately walked away to get the manager, who proceeded to ask them to leave because, well, you know.
I went outside for a few minutes to calm down, because I’ve never had this type of hatred spewed directly to me, face-to-face like this before.
48. This Customer Is Right
Dear sir. You stuck your head in the front door around 20 minutes to 10:00, looking expectantly with your blonde wife in tow. I swallowed disappointment, yet again, while wearing a pained smile, and waved you into the bar area. You sat down and ordered straight away: top-shelf bourbon on the rocks for you, Prosecco for the wife, and a volcano cake to share.
You were both well dressed and charming and funny. Your wife was hot and smelled good. You both savored every bite, made me laugh, tipped 30%, and breezed out the door with two minutes left on the clock. I love you.
49. Buy Me A Drink First
My friend is a manager at a popular tapas spot. One night she received a call from a man whose girlfriend was currently dining in, asking to send a bottle of his girlfriend’s favorite red to her table and to pay her tab over the phone. He made a point to make sure that the server knew it was from him, her boyfriend. There was a disturbing reason for this.
Turns out that the girlfriend was on a date with another man, and he knew. The server knew this, too, but told them anyway that her boyfriend had paid their tab and sent the bottle over. Apparently, “Their facial expressions and abrupt exit were priceless.” God, I wish this could’ve happened when I worked. This is the karma all servers would love to watch.
50. Thanks For Playing
Last week, it was a glorious night. A party of six comes in…headed by a Karen. This Karen wants two four-seater high-tops pushed together. Our host says she can’t do it because the restaurant was too busy. Karen looks her up and down and says, “Let me speak to the manager.” She’s calm, just insistent, and it’s obvious she’s played this card before.
So I roll up. “How can I help?” “Can we push those two tables together?” Nope, I say. “You can have that table that’s for six in the corner, you can have that booth for six after we clean it, or you can have that table for six outside after they get up—in about 10 minutes.” All the while, I’m pointing to each table like I’m showing them emergency exits on an airplane.
“You can’t push those tables togeth—” “No, we will not be moving the tables. You can have……” and I point out the tables again. “You know what I think? begins turning to her friend You know what I think?” both of them together “We go somewhere else?” But I had the absolutely perfect response to this. At this point, I clap my hands together.
Then I say, “Thank you and have a great night,” and immediately turn around and walk away. The best part? The Karen stares at the back of my head for a solid two seconds before she shuffled out. I didn’t realize this until I watched the video of the exchange.
51. The Old Switcharoo
When I was a server, I was that server that everyone claims they would always be if they did one day become a server in a restaurant. I filled up glasses when they needed to be refilled without asking, I brought out a bowl of lemons if you asked for lemons; if you wanted extra ice, you got a whole extra glass full of ice. Heck, I was even careful enough to write down every order even though I could easily memorize it and get it right.
One particularly busy night, I’m working a party of about 20 people. It’s a Friday night and the kitchen is slammed. Everything was going smooth, I thought—until I bring out the drinks and salads. There is one idiot that starts off saying I didn’t bring her anything right (wrong dressing, drink had a lemon, too much ice, etc.). I play the gracious and apologetic server correcting the issue despite knowing she is wrong.
The meal comes out. It goes from bad to worse. She explodes about how I can’t seem to do anything right and what a screw up I am. I proceed to congratulate her on the fine example she is setting for the kids at the table on how to treat another human being, and what classy language she was using. I then proceeded to show her where I wrote down everything she asked for.
The type of salad, the dressing she wanted, how she wanted it on the side, pulled the straw I gave her from under her bread plate and told her that I did give her one. I also talked about how I heard when her sister had ordered another dish, that she told her sister that she wanted that dish instead, and advised that she maybe should have simply asked for me to change the order instead of trying to play it off as if I was truly a “screw up” as she claimed.
I said maybe next time she would do a better job of making sure the server was not in earshot when she says something like that. I then told her that I would go and have the kitchen fix the meal she really wanted, instead of the one she ordered, and that it would take about 10 minutes before it was ready. Needless to say, the whole table was quiet. Then came the most glorious moment.
Her father piped up and simply said, “Honey, It’s about time someone called you out on your antics.” The old man gave me a $100.00 tip when he paid for the meal, strong handshake, and a thanks.
52. Extra, Extra, Read All About It
During high school, I worked at a Burger King. There was this one woman who would always come into drive thru during the afternoon and ask for a Whopper Jr with extra onions. And I mean, a LOT of extra onions. And no matter how many we put in, she always came into the store and complained that there weren’t enough. Still, this was in the middle of the afternoon, so we didn’t care.
However, one day, we had four buses full of US Army enlistees at the store at the same time. Convoys of chartered buses would go by periodically, and they usually stopped at our store because the bus drivers knew my boss. Now, these people were always the nicest, most respectful people you can possibly imagine, which was a welcome change after dealing with jerks the whole day.
They also always ordered a ton of food—all king-size, tons of double and triple whoppers, the whole nine yards. My boss would always have me give them the “senior discount” (15% off), and they enjoyed that immensely, because it said that they were getting a senior discount on their receipts. Anyways, nice as they were, they strained our store to the limit because they ordered so much food.
So we were almost literally going hammer and tongs to keep up, and then the worst happens. Onion woman comes into drive thru. My boss told me to just grab two handfuls of onions and put them on the sandwich, because she didn’t need a scene when we were as far behind as we were. I could barely close the burger because of the onions, but I managed it and we gave it to her.
Now remember, the store is completely full of US Army enlistees. They probably have not had fast food for weeks (I think they were going from boot camp to get their first assignments). And the line was out the door. So onion woman pushes her way past all of these people, rudely shoving them out of her way, and comes up to the counter screaming that she didn’t have enough onions.
My boss is angry, so she takes the sandwich, hands it to me, and tells me to do whatever I want with it. I knew just what to do. I dumped the ENTIRE TUB of onions on this (probably about 1.5 LITERS of onions), and wrapped it up really, REALLY tight, and taped it shut (Note that the wrappers were somewhat elastic…). My boss hands it to the woman, and she opens it right on the counter to “make sure we have enough” even though it’s like six times bigger than normal.
The thing EXPLODED ALL OVER. SO freaking awesome. All the guys trying not to laugh. One of their officers (a quite young 1st Lt.) was waiting by the counter for his food, and finally he just gave up and started laughing his butt off. The men took this as a cue, and she had about 250 men dying laughing at her.
One of the best days of my high school life. She didn’t come back for a month, and she never, EVER complained about not having enough onions.
53. Owning It
I used to work at a restaurant chain that started about 15 or 20 years back and has about 15 stores in total. People all the time would complain and release their vague threat “I know Tommy! (The owner, guy who started the chain) Do I have to call him to get some good service?” It came from so many people, but we had to put up with it because that’s what you do in the restaurant business.
But one time when this happened, Tommy was actually in the restaurant. He would come in once every couple months or so and just act like a regular customer, just to kinda evaluate how things were running from a non-owner perspective (of course everything magically went smoother for him than any other customer, imagine that). Anyway, this lady (that had been a total witch the entire night) starts complaining, talking about how her meal was cold or bad or whatever, even though she had powered through 4/5ths of it.
She wants her money back for this atrocity! And then she drops the bombshell. “I know Tommy! He wouldn’t stand for this!” The only thing was, Tommy was sitting almost directly behind her, and pretty obviously didn’t know her, and she didn’t recognize him. After getting a bit of the old discreet “Go ahead” nod from him, I just said, “Ma’am, Tommy is in the restaurant right now. If you could just point him out I’d be glad to let him know what you think of his restaurants.”
She stammered, gave the, “No he’s not, I would’ve seen him!” until the owner stood up and said hello. He put on the kind of sickly sweet personality, where you’re ever so polite but a total dick at the same time. She shut up and paid pretty quickly after that.
54. The Honey Trap
I used to work in a Deli restaurant, and this lady comes in and rudely orders her food. I told her that everything should come out all right and that I will double check for her to make sure her order would be correct. She insisted on getting LOTS of honey mustard on her sandwich. I typed in extra honey mustard on the ticket. Sure enough her order comes out and there seemed to be plenty of honey mustard there.
But when I deliver it she yells at me for not having the extra honey mustard I promised her and told me to “get a ton more honey mustard” for her. I go to the back of the store, get an entire new gallon jug of honey mustard, and plop it on her table. Her friends were laughing and she was steaming mad. She complained to the manager, who thought it was hilarious and actually laughed in her face.
55. All Choked Up
I was waiting on a couple at the steak restaurant where I worked. Suddenly, the man stood up and held his throat. He was obviously choking. He started turning different colors and was in need of help. I began giving him the Heimlich maneuver, and after several tries, some steak popped out and the man could breathe again.
It was a big spectacle. The customers and wait staff were shaken for a couple of minutes. Without even saying thank you, the wife of the choking man asked me to box up the uneaten portion of their meals. But it gets worse—there was a crust of Texas toast left on the plate that I didn’t remember to include in their to-go box. The woman yelled at me for not including it and did not leave a tip.
56. Practice What You Preach
I owned a bed and breakfast in a little southern town. It was a small business— just three rooms in an old farmhouse that was built in 1835. During the off-season, which was late fall through mid-spring, we would give away three-day packages for charity events, such as auctions. We were never in charge of the money that was collected.
A man and his wife booked for a weekend in late March. They showed up on Friday afternoon with their gift certificate from the charity auction, which we gladly accepted. I greeted them as Mr. and Mrs., to which the guy responded, “It’s PASTOR.” I proceeded to show them their room, inform them of our policies, and explain that there was going to be another couple arriving that evening.
The next morning, I served both couples breakfast, and after the other couple left, the pastor said to me, “I don’t think it’s a good idea to have more than one couple here at a time. Why did you schedule us both?” I told him that we were just like a hotel and it couldn’t be expected that we should only take one room at a time. He didn’t like that answer, not one bit.
He said he found out the other couple was not married, and he was bothered by the idea that we would promote “immorality.” It got worse. We had a huge farm with wonderful little gardens and nice spots to sit and enjoy the country. I walked out to the grounds and found the pastor, sitting on a plastic folding chair, right in front of the entrance to the farmhouse.
I wondered about it, but I didn’t say anything. Later that night, the lady of the other couple came to my door and told me that they were leaving because the pastor had blocked their entrance to the house and began to preach to them about being immoral. I apologized and offered her almost everything I could think of to have her stay.
She was lovely and told me that she knew it wasn’t my fault, but that their weekend was ruined. The following day, I was getting breakfast ready, and I saw the pastor putting his luggage in their car. They had another night left, so I was kind of confused. I walked out the driveway, and I said, “I think maybe there is a miscommunication; you have another night.”
He said, “Your air conditioning is broken, so we are leaving.” I told him that I could check on it since it might just not have been on. It was still cool out, and, in fact, the heat might have been on. He looked at me and said, “No, it was too hot last night, and YOU should have known that. I want my money back!” For SOME reason, I was still trying to keep the whole thing friendly.
I explained to him that I didn’t receive any money from him, that the certificate he used was from a charity auction, so I am not even sure what he paid, to which he responded, “Well, I paid $110, and I didn’t pay that to sleep in a hot room next to sinners, so you better write a check.” I told him that I would not be issuing a check since ONE night at our regular rate is $100.
Therefore, his nightly rate was less than a third of that, and I didn’t receive any of that money. I walked back inside and began to shut down, making breakfast. About five minutes later, he came back to the door and he caught me completely off-guard. He said, “We’ll be taking our breakfast and my check now.” I explained that I would be happy to put his breakfast in a box, but I was not giving him any money.
They left, and there was a letter in his room to me, telling me that he was going to call his lawyer. Two weeks later, I got a package in the mail with their name on the return address. I was both scared and intrigued to open it. It was a letter from his wife, whom I didn’t hear more than two words from during their trip.
She apologized for her husband’s behavior. She told me she knew I had not done anything wrong, that the room was charming, there was no issue with the heat. She said that since her husband had become a born-again Christian and an online minister, he had become a complete terror. She included $200 in cash and asked that I not contact her since she was trying to get officially separated from him.
57. His Stunt Made Zero Sense
An older man came in by himself and ordered dinner and a drink for a total of $30. A table of college kids also came in and sat a few tables away, and they ordered dinner and appetizers for a total of $150. My service to the old guy was sharp. I was professional and attentive—all was well. When I asked him how everything was, he was very curt and didn’t even look at me.
He ordered another martini, stopped me, and said, “I want you to add those kids’ bills to mine anonymously, and I want you to tell them not to pay you or tip you. And I want to hear you say it to them.” His demeanor was still terse and cold, but no problem. I had been doing this for a decade and I was cool with whatever.
The other table was about five feet away, across an aisle. I told them the news, and they were psyched. The guy asked for his check, and I brought it. The total bill for both tables was about $185. He handed me a credit card, and I rang him up. I placed the check holder in front of him, thanked him for coming, and began to walk away, at which point he said, “Wait. I want you to see this.”
He made a big show out of signing a big ZERO on the tip line. He looked at me square in the face, stone-cold, like someone daring you to say something smart. It had been clear that this guy was weird from the start, so I said in a sincere tone and with proper courtesy, “Have a nice evening, sir,” just as I would have if he had tipped me appropriately.
He stared me in the eye for a fraction of a second, which felt much longer. He reached into his breast pocket, pulled out a fifty, and said, “That’s for you.” I thanked him. He got up, put on his cowboy hat, and walked out—not a word to the kids whose dinner he’d just bought, not another word to me.
58. Mean-Spirited Mamma
In high school, I worked as a waitress at a pizza place. The manager would hire mentally challenged people to wash dishes and bus tables during the weekends. One weekend, we were swamped, and things were getting a bit crazy. A woman with four or five kids was sitting close to the waitress station. It wasn’t my table, but I could tell she looked angry.
One of the mentally challenged workers was busing tables and walked by her. The woman grabbed the worker’s arm and swung her around. She yelled at her for not bringing out the appetizer or something. I walked over to the woman, told her that the woman was not one of the wait staff members, and asked what I could get for her. Her reaction shocked me.
She then got out of her chair, called the worker a name, and walked off. I was speechless. I felt horrible. I don’t think the woman knew what she had just said. Then one of the woman’s children told me, “Sorry about my mommy. She is mean.” I told her, “It’s not your fault,” and patted her on the head. The woman came back, grabbed her kids and coat, and left. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to tell the woman that her daughter was more grown-up than she was.
59. Beachside Brawler
I was a thin, young woman working at a small beach restaurant when I was in college. I had a customer punch me in the chest because the restaurant was crowded. He said his dinner took too long to get to him. I went down like a ton of bricks, dropped the tray of food I was carrying, and wiped out a whole table that some other family was sitting at. It happened so fast I didn’t know what was going on. It was bad, but he got what he deserved back—several male customers charged the guy and threw him against a wall. He was taken into custody.
60. Misogynistic Mayhem
A family of four came in, and the dad started slamming drinks. He probably had four or five before they got their appetizers. The couple was a little rough around the edges in general—loud, blunt, and without good manners. The two daughters, who were about eight and ten, were quiet, though…and I could quickly see why.
As the dad got more and more intoxicated, he was really touchy with the girls. He made them sit on his lap, etc. They were visibly uncomfortable. I felt so terrible for them. I brought out one of the appetizer dishes, but the other one took a little longer to cook. I had alerted them of that when they ordered. The dad got angry, saying that the appetizers needed to come out together.
The dad started yelling at me, pointing at me, and calling me a terrible server while the daughters and their mom stared at their laps. He asked to see my manager, so I went to get her. She came out to talk to the guy. He was furious that there wasn’t a “male boss” available. He was spewing gems like, “Are you kidding? I need to speak with a man about this. You’re telling me that the only manager here is her?” I had never dealt with such an insulting, crude person before.
61. Bible Brunchers
I worked in a restaurant. On multiple occasions, I served a Sunday post-church brunch crowd and they told me the most peculiar thing—apparently, I was going to rot in heck for working on a Sunday. The funny thing was that it never occurred to them that I wouldn’t HAVE to work on Sunday if not for them coming in to eat. Not only that, but they would proceed to leave me Bible tracts instead of money as tips.
62. A Frosty Reception
I had a family come in for their daughter’s birthday with a handful of her friends. They ordered a round of drinks that I promptly brought to the table. When I gave the father his pint, he requested that I bring his drink back in a frosted mug, not a frosted pint glass. I informed him we didn’t have any mugs in the house, which sent him into a rage.
He called me a liar, flipped the table—breaking several of the gifts, and punched the wall on the way out. This left me, the family, and all of the patrons in a state of shock. The daughter started to cry, and the mother apologized profusely. She said they would pay for the drinks and leave. I tried to be as graceful as possible and suggested they stay as it was still the daughter’s birthday.
I got someone to bring fresh drinks, got help cleaning up the mess, and took their orders. I told the kitchen and management what happened, and everybody pitched in to make the evening better. Their meals were comped, and I made a dessert bonanza for the daughter. By the end of the meal, it was as if the father was never there.
63. She Thought The Service Was Subpar
I was working at a sub sandwich shop with my manager. We had just finished cleaning everything up, and my manager had his hand on the door lock when a woman desperately came running to the door screaming, “WAIT! WAAAAAAAAAIT!” My manager gave me the most “Oh God, I’m SO sorry” look and let her in. We proceeded to unwrap ALL of the sandwich-making material.
This involved pulling plastic wrap off of EVERYTHING, re-filling sanitation sinks to wash any dishes we dirty, and basically having to completely re-do all of our closing procedures. The woman ordered somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 sandwiches for ten different people. It sounded as if it was for a party because for each separate sandwich, she had to talk to a different person.
She was shouting into her cell phone and breaking into random bits of other conversation while my manager and I were sitting there trying to get information from her on what to put on the sandwiches. We got her sandwiches done about 25 minutes later and waited for another 10 minutes for her to finish her phone call and come up to the register to pay. But it gets even worse.
She only had a $100 bill, for which we didn’t have proper change. She became exasperated, flustered that she had to use her credit card. Finally, we got everything sorted out, and she gathered up her sandwiches, looked at the clock overhead, and said in the most condescending voice I’ve ever heard, “Don’t you think you guys could have made my sandwiches a bit quicker?
“Now I’ve missed 10 minutes of my TV show! No tip for you!” She then walked out the door. It took us another 20 minutes or so to re-do all of our closing procedures. My manager felt so bad about being the one who let her in that he gave me the full share of the evening’s tip, which was usually split 50/50. Still, people like that lady make me SO GLAD I don’t work in food service anymore.
64. I Wanted To Pan This Nini
I worked in a cafe on the Jersey Shore during the summer. A nice-looking woman, who was obviously one of the “summer people,” came in and asked me about our sandwiches. She wanted to know if they were paninis. I told her that we press them on a panini grill, but the bread is just sub bread, not the kind generally used for a panini.
She asked, “So, it’s like a panini?” I said yes…but when she got her sandwich, she surprised me with her next move. She opened it up and threw it at me. She started screaming to speak to a manager. When he came out, she told him that I had lied to her and told her it was a panini, and she refused to pay and wanted me fired. The manager just quietly told her to get out of his store.
65. Soup Or Salad?
I used to work at a cafe that had this spinach salad with a hot bacon dressing. The dressing was repulsive. It came in a giant tub, and it looked like a spicy, greasy gel that we put in the microwave for about two minutes until it had a nice film on top. Then we would give it to the customer in this side monkey bowl, and they would pour it on their salad.
One day, this HUGE GUY came in and sat at one of my tables. He ordered three cokes off the bat and the spinach salad with hot bacon dressing. I was pretty busy with other tables, so I tried to economize my time by running his dressing over a minute before the cook put his salad in the window. When I swung back to drop off the salad, I noticed the dressing bowl was empty.
I just put the salad down and didn’t say anything. As I was walking away, his face turned tomato red. He screamed out loud to me in full volume, “Waitress, where is my dressing?!” I walked back over to him, and I just said, “Sir, you ate it.” He retorted, “I thought that was my soup!!” I told him he didn’t order any soup.
He was so angry he was turning red. He screamed, “Well, bring me extra for my salad.” I brought it out and later saw him drinking it like soup again.
66. What A Nut!
I used to work at a roadhouse grill in Texas, and we kept full buckets of peanuts on the tables. One night, a family came in five minutes after closing, and my manager sat them in my section. I was okay with it, but I had already swept up the peanuts and cleaned my tables. So, I told them, “I hope y’all don’t mind, but I’ve already swept the peanuts.”
The guy flipped out and yelled, “What do you mean we ain’t getting no darn peanuts? Why do you think we come to this hole?” To avoid confrontation, I said, “It’s not a big deal,” but he’d make me soon regret it. He then replied angrily, “You’re darn right it’s not.” As I walked away, he said, “And bring some of them darn buttered rolls while you’re at it.”
The night went on like this until he paid but not before he went off on a tangent about what a terrible server I was. He even went as far as to call me a name. On his way out, he dumped the bucket on the floor, scraped the peanuts over the floor with his feet, cursed at me, and said, “Have fun cleaning that up.” Easily the worst guest I ever served.
67. Church Chump
A well-dressed older man and his family came in for lunch on a Sunday morning. It was evident that they had just gotten out of the church. I heard yelling, and I asked if I could help since I was both the cook and the manager. He said, “I want to speak to your manager!” I told him, “You’re looking at him. What can I do for you?”
He pointed to the waitress and said, “This hussy here is giving me lip and COLD FRIES. I want to speak to your MANAGER!” Apparently, I was too young-looking to be anyone important, so he just blew his top and threatened me. He told me, “I’m going to make you wish you’d never been born. You’d better watch your back!” I had my waitress call the authorities and throw him out.
68. Award Winning Wiseguy
I managed an upscale steakhouse in a resort town. This couple, who had been there before and always caused trouble, walked in. We sat them at a table, but no one wanted to wait on them. I put up an offer to my staff to try and entice them, and my best waiter took the deal. The meal seemed to go without a hitch. The waiter dropped the check, picked up the credit card, and a few minutes later ran it. The couple signed off and left.
The waiter showed me the credit card receipt. Above the signature line, where it says, “Tip”, the guy wrote a rather rude statement, and it was completely uncalled for. “YO MAMA!” I congratulated him on doing such a good job with such a lousy customer. I took a copy of the receipt, framed it, and hung it on the office door with a note that said, “Congrats, Steven! You win the Biggest Idiotic Customer Award!”
A week later, the couple came back. They put their name on the list and had a seat at the bar. The bartender, who was a BIG guy, came back and informed me of their presence. I told him to let them know that they were not welcome at our restaurant in no uncertain terms and to get their butts out now. I watched as he told them. The guy turned two shades lighter while his wife got a look of shock on her face. They walked out and were never seen again.
69. She Was No Bed of Roses
I worked at a small, family-owned pizza place in the suburbs that was fairly popular. For some reason, Mother’s Day was a BIG day for this place, and as a thank you to the moms, we were supposed to give every mother, grandmother, or special woman a rose with their dinner. One Mother’s Day, I opened the restaurant with only one other server, two cooks, and no highchairs or tablecloths because a sister restaurant had borrowed them.
I hadn’t had a food break, so by the end of my seven-hour shift, I was pretty beat. I had a table of two adults, who seemed totally pleasant and lovely…until I brought them their check. The woman looked at me and asked why so many people had roses. I explained the whole Mother’s Day thing, and she got a look of total rage on her face. Her response was totally unexpected: “How rude of you to assume we don’t have kids!”
It had honestly slipped my mind to ask. She continued, “I can’t believe you would be so horrible! I want to talk to your manager.” At that point, she started yelling loudly, and people were staring. I apologized to her and got my manager. He tried to appease her, but she started yelling how she wanted their meal comped.
My boss wouldn’t comp anyone’s meal short of it coming out on fire or something extreme, so he politely refused. He offered to comp their drinks, but that’s it since I had apologized and didn’t mean to be so thoughtless. I brought her a rose and apologized again, but she just wouldn’t let go of her hatred. She proceeded to throw it back at me and declared she didn’t want it. She said that they were leaving and never coming back.
She stormed out, leaving her husband behind to pay the bill. He paid it and left me no tip, pointedly telling me that I had completely ruined Mother’s Day for his wife. He said he hoped I was happy being a worthless person and that he would call the owner and tell him just what a horrible waitress I was. I spent the rest of my shift crying in the back hallway between serving tables, convinced I was going to be fired.
70. Petty Princesses
Three girls came in a few hours before our dining area was about to close. They were all in their 20s and they looked prissy. Even though I had just finished a long day, I toiled for a good two hours, getting them food and drinks. I was kind to them, tried to crack a few jokes, and made them feel at home. It was rearing down to the last half hour, so I let them know that our dining area was closed, but they could feel free to move to the bar.
A half an hour later, I realized that they had no intention of doing so, so as the cook left and the lights were dimmed, it was just me watching these girls and bringing them drinks. At this point, it was about 11:30 pm, and I was tired. However, we are expected to stay and serve until the last group lets out. The three girls were joined by their two friends, who promptly ordered drinks even though we had already closed the dining area.
They finally called me over to let me know they were ready to pay. This is when they really got on my nerves. Their bill was over $50, and they paid with a credit card. When I got the receipt back from them, next to the tip was written $0.45. I was so furious I wanted to smack them all. I expect that kind of behavior from kids who only have a few quarters in their pockets, but not from five 20-somethings with credit cards and designer purses.
71. No Cents In Figuring This Out
I was serving a table with two people—one was a woman, and the other was a person whose gender I couldn’t quite determine. I took the woman’s order and turned to the person of indeterminate gender, and they said nothing. Not a word. I asked, “And what can I get for you?” I waited, but there was no answer. I figured I had a 50/50 shot, so I said, “Sir?”
That was a huge mistake on my part—it was a woman, and now she was angry. She proceeded to tell me just how awful a person I was. They stayed for the whole meal, saying terrible things to me the entire time. They tipped me six cents—in pennies. The girl I was working with that night had been into Wal-Mart and told me that the same woman worked there in the women’s clothing section. So, we went, took clothes off the hangers, and put the six pennies she left me on her fitting room desk.
72. She Was A Whiner
I worked a 13-hour shift catering to more than 6,000 people—all bankers and their families. Towards the end of my shift, I was going around collecting all the glasses from the tables. I reached forward and picked up the glass sitting in front of an unhappy-looking granny figure. Her head snapped up, and she started shouting that she hadn’t finished her drink.
When I offered it back to her, she claimed that I had touched it with my fingers, so I offered to get her another glass of red. She agreed. So I brought it over and set it down in front of her, smiling amicably. But no smile could appease her—she started shouting again, this time that I had taken too long to get her drink and that she wanted to talk to my supervisor.
I walked around to look for one, but they were all busy working. Hence, I came back and told her that they would come and see her as soon as they could. Without a word of warning, the old woman threw the contents of her glass at me.
73. This Was Not A Barrel Of Laughs
There were two gay guys who worked at a Cracker Barrel in the deep South with me. None of the staff had any problem with them; they were just ordinary guys who happened to be attracted to other men. The managers were sort of prejudiced, though, and didn’t like them. One day, two regulars came in to eat.
These regulars were notorious for requesting a million things before the meal even got there. They were annoying, but at least they tipped decently. One of the gay guys accidentally told the regulars something about his boyfriend. They went ballistic and asked him if he was gay. He told them he was. Then, one of the two regulars grabbed his hand and forced him to sit at the table. They then crossed the line—they proceeded to lecture him for about a half-hour about how he was going to the underworld for eternity.
I was watching this from another dining room and could not help him out because we were swamped. So, I got my girlfriend to help cover his tables because every time he told them he had to go, the man would grab his arm and physically force him to stay put. I finally got the manager, who simply said, “Well, he needs to hear this stuff anyway.” and refused to do anything about it.
Eventually, after about a half-hour, once the regulars realized they couldn’t convince him to give up his “sinful” ways, they said, “Well, we’re going to need back every tip we ever gave you. It’s okay if you can’t remember exactly how much; just give us back an approximate amount. I think $200 should cover it. We can’t be supporting the gays.”
74. What A Hot Head
I was working at a restaurant when a nice-looking family of four came in. The parents ordered a sizzling fajita plate for two. When I brought out the fajitas on the skillet, they were sizzling like they are supposed to be. That wasn’t hot enough for them. They asked me to go back and make them hotter. So, I took it back to the kitchen where the kitchen manager decided to pull out a blow torch.
He heated the iron skillet up to burning red, then threw the fajitas back on the skillet and sent me back out with them to the table. The father at the table was not very pleased with the profuse amounts of smoke billowing from the plate, and his next move was absolutely appalling—he decided to throw the thing at me. Luckily he had bad aim and missed me. He just broke a window. The manager got his information, told him to get out, and we would be contacting him about replacing the window he broke.
75. Prime Prejudice
I was waiting tables at a popular steakhouse when I got a party of six seated in my section. There was an older couple, who sat nearest me, and two younger couples. The older gentleman requested an eight oz. prime rib. I asked him how he would like it cooked, and he gave the most shocking reply: “I want it your color.” His wife gleefully laughed as if it was the joke of the century, but I was taken aback.
My immediate response was, “So you don’t want any pink on it?” I informed my manager of this offensive remark, and he asked if I wanted to kick them all out. I told him that I would bite the bullet this time, but I wasn’t too happy to serve anyone who would think that was an acceptable answer. I believe they knew they offended me because they ended up leaving me a 30% tip. I guess taking the high road was the best road in this case.
76. Neat Freak
I worked as a valet for about a year at a really classy hotel. We routinely had Mercedes, BMWs, Range Rovers, football players candy colored cars, Porsches… Think of pretty much any kind of high end car and I must have driven one at some point. One time, a guy pulled up in a decent Mercedes, not anything super high dollar. He seemed cool at first, but then he did the rudest thing I have ever seen.
After I gave him the valet claim ticket, he casually went to his back seat and retrieved a newspaper. I was still holding the driver’s door open for me and he started disassembling the newspaper. Once he had 4-5 single sheets of newspaper, he began setting the newspaper on his driver’s seat, as if to protect it from my apparently dirty self. He didn’t even have to say anything, and it was still the rudest insult I had ever received
77. Bottle Service
I was opening a bottle for this table when I started getting chest pains. I was scared because the last time that happened I had a seizure. The pain hit so quickly that I almost dropped the bottle, so I put the bottle down on the table. One lady said: “Honey are you okay?” because it was clear something was wrong. The man who ordered the bottle said “We aren’t paying $50 a person for you to die here.”
After a couple of seconds—which felt like it lasted forever—the pain gradually went away and I apologized and explained what happened to me the last time. Then the man replied with the cruelest words: “At least you didn’t drop the bottle—it costs more than your life.” Tears started to well up in my eyes as I poured their wine. I never went back to that table.
The lady who asked if I was okay came up to me later and apologized for the man and gave me a $100 tip. But still I remember feeling completely worthless at that moment. The bottle cost $300.
78. Pour It Up!
I was bartending one night when a rude man asked how I was ever going to get a job with all of my visible tattoos. I had the perfect response. I said, “Well, as you can clearly see, I am at work right now.” He gave me a condescending half-smile while I poured his drink. I added, “And I own this restaurant!” Then I took a huge sip of his drink in front of him. “It’s great to be the boss!”
79. Childish Dad
I was working a catering job for a 4th of July party at an exclusive yacht club. I went about my business and was clearing used plates from tables. After stacking as many plates as humanly possible, I turn and start walking back to the kitchen. Next thing I know I feel something hit me in the back of the head. It was a chicken bone.
A grown man had been watching me the entire time, with his four-year-old son at his side. Apparently, he decided he didn’t want to wait the five minutes it would take for someone else to come by and clear his table, so he chucked his garbage at my head. And then he pointed at me and cracked up. I calmly set down my tray and just walked out of the restaurant without saying a word.
80. Excuse Me!
Once I had a job as a cocktail waitress at a bar in Hollywood. It was very “A-List.” We served movie stars and celebrities there all the time. It was a very busy Thursday night and I was running drinks back and forth from the bar to the tables. One of my tables had about five glammed up women that looked like they were on a girls’ night out.
They were probably in their late 20s and they obviously had money, I could tell by the purses, shoes, and snotty attitudes. I put their order in for their second round of drinks and I’m rushing by their table holding a tray full of drinks including martinis going to another table. The one girl decides she wants to change her drink order so as I pass by her, she turns and grabs the back of my dress to stop me so she can change her order.
Of course my tray tips over when I’m jerked back and the drinks crash all over me and onto the floor. I turn and give her a withering look but she barely makes eye contact and says: “Instead of a cosmo I want a vodka on ice” and turns back to her friends as if nothing happened. I was very tempted to spill some drinks on them next!
81. Geography Lesson
I worked at this fancy event center where a bunch of yuppies host their weddings. My job was so easy; I literally just opened doors or clicked buttons on the elevator. One time, a man who I had previously opened the door for had come back to talk to me. He proceeded to ask me where I am from and what I thought about him adopting a daughter from Korea.
I am an Asian American, born and raised in the United States, so I responded with something along the lines of: “Yeah that’s really cool..good for you.” He kept asking me uncomfortable personal questions about living in Korea and made offensive comments. For example, he said the fact that I could fluently speak English was amazing.
The funniest thing is that I’m not even Korean, I’m Cambodian! I told him this, and that Korea and Cambodia are very different places even though they are both in Asia. I come from a very educated and upper middle-class family and in times like these, I literally feel like they think I came straight from the slums or something.
82. Nice Try
I was a host at a local mom-and-pop breakfast place in San Francisco for 7 years. Despite being small it catered to a lot of high-end people like the Mayor and professional football players. So we’d end up with an hour or more wait sometimes on busy brunch days. My favorite thing that people would do is pull the “I know the owner” card to try and get a table. But there was just one problem.
They were totally unaware that the owners both worked the line every day and were right next to us. So I would respond by saying: “Oh, let me get them. I’m sure they’d love to say hello!” The looks on their faces when the owner would come out and say: “I’m sorry where have we met?” was priceless. It was one of the only restaurants I’ve ever worked at that cared more about their staff than the customer always being right.
83. A Little Harsh
I worked as a waitress at a fancy bed-and-breakfast when I was 20. We hosted a date-night special and it was completely packed with couples. There was an older married couple that was in my section and the husband was super nice. He asked how my night was and even postponed his order so that I could clear a nearby table.
His wife had a permanently angry face and glared at everything I did. After their meals were cleared, it was time for dessert and champagne, as per the date night feature. She orders a brand that technically isn’t champagne, it’s a sparkling white wine. I didn’t want them to feel ripped off so I told her: “That’s a great choice but just so you are aware, this is sparkling and not champagne. Is that okay?’
She looked at me for an uncomfortable amount of time. Her husband is looking at her with an expression of mild concern. Well, her brain must have been going into overdrive trying to think of something insulting, because after a long silence she says the meanest thing: “Sweetheart, I see how hard you’re working. Have you considered getting some work done? You wouldn’t have to work so hard if you were a little prettier. Just a thought…”
I could not even process what she said until I got to the kitchen. Her husband’s face was what made me cry. I can take an insult but the mix of embarrassment and shame on his face just made me lose it. I comped his dessert and made her drink with mostly apple juice. I hope that $27 glass of 80% cheap apple juice was good.
84. Mind Games
Back when I was a server, there was a woman with a group of friends at one of my tables who asked for a can of Coke. When I brought their drinks and gave the woman her Coke, she looked at me and said, in that typical rich-girl voice,”Excuse me, honey? I asked for Fanta, not Coke.” I apologized, wrote it onto my notepad, and went back to get her a can of Fanta.
I brought the drink to her but again she turned to me and said: “I didn’t ask for Fanta, I asked for Cream Soda.” By this time, I was getting a bit annoyed, but I went back and got her a Cream Soda anyway. Sure enough, when I returned to her table, she did the same thing again. “I asked for Sprite. Should I call the manager?” Oh, honey. She should have stopped testing me when she had the chance.
So, for the last time, I smiled and I went back to the kitchen and packed cans of Coke, Cream Soda, Fanta, Sprite, Pepsi and Sparberry Soda, into a small plastic box and took it all to her and said: “Here you go, miss, take your pick.” She looked offended and almost made a scene. She started lecturing me about how I’m incapable of getting the simplest order right and that she wants to talk to the restaurant’s manager.
I told her that I can call him, and that I’ll show him all the soda types I wrote on my notepad that she asked for, and we can get his opinion on the matter. She turned and took her Sprite out of the plastic box and said “Just leave it.” None of them gave me any issues after that!
85. Fresh Air
I once worked at a country club in Texas for four months. I asked a customer, who I should mention was fairly intoxicated, if needed anything else besides his next apple martini. Even though I’d dealt with smug business men for ages, his words made my jaw drop: “Some air that lacks the stink of welfare.” I’d never heard that one before!
86. Enough Is Enough
I approached a table and said the usual: “Welcome, how are you two doing tonight?” Without even looking at me, the guy at the table said “I’ll have a beer.” So I replied, “I’m doing great, thank you. What can I get you tonight?” The guy actually stopped and looked me in the eye and apologized for being rude. This was after almost 10 years in customer service. I was always bold about being sassy with customers who treated me like a servant.
87. Leave the Jokes to the Professionals
An older woman at my table asked me what my mother must think about 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—and asked: “Well, what about your mother?” To which I replied, “She’s dead. She doesn’t do a lot of thinking.” I thought this woman couldn’t get any ruder, but I was so, so wrong.
She said, “Did she die of SHAME?” I just said, “No, breast cancer,” and dropped the check. They weren’t done eating but her guests looked like they wanted to leave.
88. Lesson on Humility
I served in Muskoka, Ontario years ago. There are lots of celebrities in the area for the summer. I served Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn burgers, Martin Short, Dan Akroyd, etc. We had a local nobody who thought he was a big celebrity. He was the worst customer ever, but he got what was coming to him. He would never tip and would always crumple up both copies of the Visa bill into a tiny little ball, even chew on it until it was the size of a spitball.
So this clown comes in with a bunch of his friends and treats them all to supper—$600 bill—crumples up the visa bill 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 into the lake our patio is on. He sees this and says, in front of the table, “Guess you won’t know what your tip is now.”
I tell the table flat out he never tips anyway so no loss and walk away. They leave, I call the police on a dine and dash because there is no evidence this guy paid—it’s in the lake now—and I deleted the pre-authorization from the debit machine. The cops go to this guy’s house and make him return to the restaurant to pay. He wasn’t a jerk ever again.
89. Authentic in Every Way
I work at a New York-style pizza place but it’s in North Carolina. 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 out of here, is that New York enough for ya?” The guy laughed. It was pretty awesome
90. Perfect Comeback
A customer who was angry about something absolutely inconsequential said, “I’m never coming back, and I’m gonna tell all my friends!” The owner of the store replied, “Great, I doubt you have many.”
91. Playing Mind Games
This older couple, around 70, would always come to this chain restaurant to eat every Sunday after church. While the wife was extremely polite, the guy was an absolute jerk. He often yelled and berated her along with the server. On one fateful day, I was graced with their presence once again. He was being his normal rude self toward me, and even worse to his wife on this particular occasion.
Finally, I had enough of his attitude. I said, “No matter what you say and what you do, I’ll have at least two minutes alone with your food. It will be right out.” The wife absolutely lost it laughing. He shot her a mean glare, and after hesitating a split second, she continued with even louder laughing. I never touched his food, and neither did he. They never came back.
92. That’s Some Fine Handywork
I worked with a guy who always talked a mean game about how he was going to get revenge on his most awful customers, but when push came to shove, he never followed through—until one day, when the wrong guy pushed the wrong buttons. My buddy declared he was going to employ an angry waiter classic: The butter trick.
A group of us tried not to stare as my friend approached the table, leaned down to speak to the offending party, and placed his butter-filled hand squarely on the man’s expensive-sports-coat-covered shoulder. I hope he had a really good dry cleaner.
93. Choose Your Words Carefully
This is kind of a long one. I was working at a resort. The guest is a Type A jerk. He obviously 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 remember what or why. I start taking the table’s order and get to him. He asked for the thing we were out of and I reiterated: we were out of it.
He then said he’d have to call up his good friend, the general manager, and see if they could find any for him. I said: “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 we’re out of this thing. Maybe if you called in advance to let your GOOD FRIEND know you were coming we could have held some back specially for you.”
Now this may not seem all that destructive but to this guy, at this table full of his colleagues, it was BRUTAL. He TRIED to save face but it failed so hard. He said, “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. I said, “That’s an excellent idea, sir. Would you like me to check if there is a table free at our steakhouse?”
He said yes and then he started talking to the other guys in the group like somehow the restaurant was in the wrong here. They’re ALL just looking at him like he’s a complete jerk, because he is. I go to the phone, call the steakhouse, and ask if they have space for ONE. They do. Good. Back to the table. I said, “You’ll be happy to know, sir, that our steakhouse is able to accommodate you and will have a table waiting when you arrive.”
This guy, in the rudest voice he can muster, which is nowhere NEAR as rude as I could be, said, “THANK YOU for SOME KIND of service.” He turns to the rest of the table and says, “Let’s go, guys.” That’s when I say, “I’m sorry, sir, I was under the impression 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 one of the dudes at the table chimes in: “Don’t worry about it, head on down there. We’ll meet up at the bar for drinks later.” The rude grabs his drink, says nothing, and walks out. He hits the door and the rest of the table goes into that quiet “what a jerk” laugh that only men of a certain age and income bracket are able to do properly.
Later on, the dude called my manager and complained about me. When my manager talked to the other guys at the table, they had my back the entire way. It was beautiful.
94. The Pie Stops Here!
I worked for a guy who was too timid to refuse service to a couple who would come in every Saturday night, order a pizza, and find some asinine excuse to demand a refund and wouldn’t even tip. When I told him he needed to put his foot down, he gave me that “customer is always right” excuse. So, next Saturday, I see their usual order, and the waitress said they bragged they were “here for their free pizza.”
I figure what the heck, I can make $15 anywhere, so I decide to finally speak my mind. I walk to their table and introduce myself as the guy who has made their pizza every week for the last six months. I said I was doing our paying customers a disservice by entertaining their act, and I would no longer be cooking any food for them whatsoever, since it was clear they didn’t like my cooking, anyway.
If they wanted to pay for a different meal prepared by someone else, then that’s up to them, but I wasn’t wasting any more of my time making pizzas for them. One muttered, “but we wanted a pizza”, so I told her to try Dominos.
95. Stories for Days
I was managing a restaurant and one of my waiters comes to me saying that one of his customers complained about hair in the food. This is a serious issue, and I take it seriously. The waiter shows me the hair—it is a 12-inch long, bright fuchsia-brownish-reddish strand of hair. In other words, not a color normally found on humans in nature.
I tape the hair diagonally across a piece of white printer paper and then go to the table. It’s a party of six, and they’re ready to rumble, especially the husband of the one lady at the table with the 12-inch long fuchsia-brownish-reddish hair. I go in all smiles, ask for their story, etc. End of the day, I’m a nice guy, and I have a good budget for comps, so I look at the lady with the hair, and say, “Look, you’re not happy with your entree, I’ll take care of it. But I want you to understand, nobody on my staff has hair this length and color.”
I give her the paper and walk away.
96. Took Them a Second to Get It
I had a large table at the end of the night. They were okay, except for one incredibly annoying guy. He was the guy that was so sure he was the funniest in any room and kept being obnoxious and would make jokes at my expense. They were not hurtful or rude per se, but obviously he didn’t care how I felt about it and knew, as a server, I couldn’t say anything.
So, near the end of the meal, everything had been going well but he kept up his schtick and someone commented about their group and “funny guy” says, “oh, I bet jester hates us! Am I right?” To which I replied, “No sir. I love all my tables. Some when they sit down and others when they leave, but I love them all.”
To which everyone at the table laughed—then a few seconds in, as they realized that I might be talking about them, it turned into nervous laughter
97. Typical Karen
When I was a server I would always record my tables’ orders. Even though my memory is good, my handwriting is bad so I didn’t want to take the risk of getting something wrong. My manager said it was ok and he even put a sign up stating that some of the staff may record your order for accuracy purposes. Seems normal, right?
At the beginning, I ask each person for their name before I take any drinks or food orders. One of the people at the table orders a steak well done, which is gross but whatever. Food comes and she said her steak was not medium rare like she wanted and I apologized and told her that she did order it well done. Here we go…
This sparked a big rant, lots of cussing, a call for the manager, etc. Again, I apologize and say let’s go to the tape. The look on her face when I played back the recording of “And Karen how would you like your steak?” was priceless. She tried to play off that it wasn’t her but nobody else ordered a steak at her table. Her friends just laughed at her.
98. Sir, I’m Afraid You Are Mistaken!
At our local Red Lobster, someone once grabbed the “manager” to tell him that his shrimp was cold and that he wanted a free beer as compensation. He even went as far as to exclaim that he could get better fish by fishing. This “manager” was actually just my dad, who was there to pick me up from work, but apparently looked like an authority figure since he had a tie on.
My dad replied, “That’s cocktail shrimp, you moron!”
99. Karen Versus Carl Jr.
My mom is a Karen. She thinks the world is supposed to cater to her and that everyone else is wrong. Once, we went to Carl’s Jr. and she ordered four burgers for the four of us. What she did next made me so angry—she pulled one burger out of the bag while the guy was getting our drinks and hid it. She complained that he forgot a burger, pulling out the remaining three in the bag one by one and counting them in front of him.
He keep swearing up and down that he put them all in the bag, but she threatened him, saying, “If you don’t get me another burger, I will call your manager.” I was stunned speechless, but it happened so fast. She got a free burger and laughed as we drove off. I just stared at her and she opened it up to eat it on the drive home. She ate her actual burger like the fifth one never existed.
I can’t even explain how she is when she’s in the hospital. She treats it like a luxury stay in a hotel.
100. Unluckily, He’s a Family Guy
Not awkward for me, but I was the reason for it. I served for a couple of years and worked multiple restaurants in that time frame. I worked at a Denny’s, nightshift—best and worst job for many reasons. Anyway, there was a regular that came in often, drunk as a skunk and nasty as hell. He tipped really well but was so nasty to us girls.
It never phased me, so I served him often. He offered many, many times to pay for “extra service” and tried to get me to leave with him often. Of course, I never did but a couple of months later, I’m working at a new place, a little more high-end. I work mornings there, and this was a Sunday morning church rush.
Guess who was sat in my section? My nasty regular from my last job with his entire family. His wife, kids, parents, the whole group, fresh outta church. The look on this man’s face when I walked up and said hello. He was red as a firetruck, and I made it worse by asking if he remembered me. He left me a HUGE tip, probably because I didn’t bring up his nasty mouth and grabby hands from his late drunken nights.