The customer is always right, right? Please. As anyone who has worked in the service industry at some point will tell you, the customer is often massively, impressively, stupendously wrong, and that “the customer is always right” baloney has led to a whole lot of awful customers trying to get away with some truly ridiculous behavior.
It’s hardly a new phenomenon. Ever since humans started making and serving each other food in exchange for money, they’ve probably tried to wrangle some free food out of the deal in a particularly boneheaded way, or they’ve left lousy tips, or they just demonstrated the kind of mind-blowing rudeness and lack of sense or reason that makes you lose huge chunks of faith in humanity at large. The worst customers make us all look bad, and these Redditors have shared just a few of their most infuriating horror stories along these lines. They might just be enough to make you swear off working with the public for good if you can help it.
42. Family Drama
My first job was at Waffle House. My parents came in during breakfast to give me some support and see how I was doing; it was their first time coming to visit. But they picked probably the busiest time of the morning—every table in my section was full and I had only been on the job a few weeks so I was still a little daunted. My mother stiffed me on a tip because I didn’t refill her coffee fast enough for her liking. She thought it was hilarious.
I didn’t speak to her for a week. She has never stiffed a server since.
￼41. Tell Us How You Really Feel
Oh, let’s see… I love the guests who ignore you or interrupt you every time you try to say something. As a female, I hate when a couple comes in and I can feel the female’s eyes burning holes into my skin while I get the male’s order. I hate being talked down to by customers. I hate the old people who have no idea what they ordered or how they ordered it and then get mad at me because they think I’m wrong. I hate when a parent punishes, yells at, or spanks their child while I’m at the table. That should be done privately. I hate when people try to bribe you into doing something with the tip. I hate when people claim to be good tippers. If you have to say it, it isn’t true. And I hate when people are basically making out at the table.
40. Coolth It, Miss
Not a waitress anymore, but my favorite was a woman who frantically waved me over one lunch service. It was a fairly hot summer’s day. The conversation went like this:
Me: Hi, can I help you?
Her: Yes, we need some coolth.
Me: I’m sorry?
Her: WE NEED SOME COOLTH IN HERE.
Me: I’m sorry, I don’t know…
Her: COOLTH. COOLTH. THE OPPOSITE OF WARMTH. DO YOU EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH?
Insert rant about “why can’t they hire proper staff who speak the language etc. etc.” This was in Australia. I’m Australian. Blasted 18-degree air conditioning directly on her the rest of her meal
39. Beggars Can Be Choosers, Apparently
The restaurant I worked at in college had a LivingSocial deal that included two drinks, two entrees, and two desserts for $60, which was a good deal considering the place can be pricey. The vouchers themselves note that gratuity is not included in the price of the deal.
A group of four came in, wanted to split the two drinks and two entrees between four people. Which is fine, except for the fact that they wanted the entree portions to be divided in half in the kitchen and put onto separate plates. They then reminded me a thousand times that they had a show to get to and needed the food fast but insisted on ordering steaks well done (which takes time).
Didn’t have time to get to the two desserts so they informed me they’d be back later for them. They showed up 5 minutes before close, only ordered the included desserts, stayed for about two hours, tipped me approximately 10%.
38. The OTHER Waitress
Sooo many, but lately my favorite is when customers tell me, “Oh, well that’s the way I’ve been getting it every time before. The OTHER waitress always smiles and says it’s okay.” Ugghhh.
37. Allergy Absurdity
I was working as a server at a well-known chain that serves Sunday brunch—it’s delicious. I was working out on the patio and a couple comes in. Before I am even at the table, she tells me that I need to go back inside and get the kitchen manager because she has allergies. Her husband orders normally and she decides to order the steak and eggs. But she wants egg whites. It can’t be the egg whites from the container though—they have to be fresh egg whites because she is allergic to preservatives.
She was also allergic to salt, pepper, shellfish, egg yolks, gluten, nuts (tree nuts and peanuts), and a whole bunch more. She expected our kitchen manager to clean an area of the kitchen to cook her brunch. She ordered toast with her breakfast (!!!!!!) and said that once I bring it out, she will know whether or not she can eat it. Well… she ate it anyway and tried to convince me that I was trying to kill her.
My GM had to come out and comp the whole meal and the lady had the audacity to tell me “It’s okay, I guess I just have to go home and take some Benadryl and sleep all day because you brought me out that bread”.
Now, I understand it must be tough to have food allergies and go out to eat—but DO NOT put your life in my hands by doing this.
36. Good Way To Spoil An Appetite
I bartend at a hotel restaurant. We had a family staying for a few days, including a couple in their late 20s-early 30s, a few friends, and their collective offspring. The adults order round after round of Long Islands one evening, letting their children run. There is a special place in hell for folks that let their kids do this
Then, they proceeded to change an infant’s diaper on the table. THE TABLE. With other guests around trying to enjoy their dinner. This happened two nights in a row. *facepalm*
Perhaps that is more disgusting than annoying, but seriously. Parenting. Do it.
35. Here’s A Tip: Don’t Come Back
I worked at a fast-casual seafood restaurant and a couple got their bill to $69.74 and pass by the table to pick up the money and get $70.74. Wow… great. A whole $1 tip. I pocket it, think about how cheapskates should rot in hell because I have to tip out 3% to the hostess and bar so I have to pay money to have served on these scum of the Earth.
So I go about my business and take care of my other tables and notice they are hanging around their table unnecessarily as I’ve already cleared their table, taken care of their bill, and gotten them their doggie bags. I stop by their table and ask them if there is anything else I can do for them.
“Yeah, Can I get my change??”
I have plenty of crappy customer stories, but this makes you appreciate anyone working in the service industry.
34. I Think Your Math Is Off
I once had a table where the ticket came out to something like $24.27. They gave me $24.15, I wasn’t worried about the rest so I didn’t mention it until they complained to my manager about how the waitresses should really bring back the customer’s change no matter how little it is.
33. Costly Indecision
I worked at McDonald’s for a couple of months. It may not be exactly what you call a restaurant, but I absolutely hated it when people would change their mind like 27 times while ordering. I mean, you are not writing it down, you practically enter the order into a system, so the kitchen gets it. Once it’s in, there is no easy way to change it. After one really annoying customer during busy times, I had an 8€ difference in my cash box. I had to pay it back. I earned 7€ per hour…
32. Cheesed Off
We had a woman, her daughter, and the grandmother come into a pizza place I worked at. The woman decides to get a calzone with no mozzarella or ricotta filling, just pepperoni and sauce. That’s a weird request, but okay. Calzones take a long time to make, and when it finally comes out she says, “Is that parmesan on top? I can’t eat this. I’m allergic to cheese.”
Why didn’t you say that before? The menu says that calzones come with a dusting of parmesan and oregano, you’d think someone allergic to cheese would catch that. Even more annoying, you came to a pizza restaurant and expect no cheese to touch your plate? Everything has cheese! The salads, appetizers, pizzas, pasta, hell, the cannoli is made with fresh ricotta.
31. Free Pizza Please, Hold The Razor Blades
Someone came into Dominos saying they found a razor blade in their pizza. Take a look and it’s the full head off an old disposable razor. Oh whoops, we have a lot of those lying around…
30. Fair Enough
While getting ready to close up for the night at Subway, a guy came up to the counter, pointed a gun at me and told me to put all of the money from the register into a plastic bag. He was my least favorite customer.
29. The Customer Isn’t Always Right
I recently served a woman who ordered a pasta dish, ate the entire thing, like not even a noodle left, and complained about the oil that was on the empty plate. I told my manager who proceeded to give her a 10% discount. When I gave her the bill she lost it, yelling at me that I was trying to rip her off. She caused a big enough scene and got her whole meal for free.
28. It’s Still Good It’s Still Good!
I used to work at a high-end private golf and country club. One member once asked us if he could get a doggy bag for a sandwich he had ordered and to keep it in the fridge since he was going golfing. The man came back a WEEK later and asked for the sandwich. Obviously, at this point, we had thrown out the sandwich, but he demanded to be reimbursed for the sandwich anyway and threw a huge fit over it. Some people.
27. That Is One Tough Fly
Pizza place here. Guy said that a live bee flew “out” of his food after we brought it out to him. It had literally just gone through a 500-degree oven for 10 minutes or so. Sure sir, that totally happened.
26. Nice Try Mate
Not restaurant, but still essentially the same.
Was at the bottle shop, and these two blokes holding a carton of beer in front of me said to the cashier, “Hey, the box is a little torn, can we get $10 off?”
The cashier replies without missing a beat, “You don’t drink the box, mate.”
25. Same To You, Buddy
I was a hostess at a fairly popular restaurant close to a movie theater. This can attract some large families on busy nights, so we strongly suggest reservations in our advertising.
It’s a Friday evening and we’re already on a wait. This family of seven saunters in and the father asks us for a table. I tell him that we do have about a 40-minute wait, but if they’d like to wait on the patio and order an appetizer, there is space for them.
He frowns, whispers to his wife, then turns back to me. “Nah, we’re going somewhere else. Go bleep yourself.”
I almost didn’t believe I had heard it at first. Seriously? I was blown away that this father, husband, adult man felt like it was OK to say that to a 20-year-old hostess. What.
24. Reading Is Hard
I work at an upscale seafood restaurant. A man sent back the “smoked lobster” because he was not aware that it would taste smokey. $54 comped.
23. Very Funny, You’re Fired
When I worked at Dairy Queen, we had someone pull up at the drive through two minutes before close. The persons orders about $50 worth of food from the Brazier (kitchen) in addition to about $25 worth of ice cream products. As the car pulls around to pay, it’s one of the employees drunk off his a*s thinking this is all a big joke. Of course, he didn’t decide to tell all of us working that it was a joke. So, my nice clean kitchen was cooking up burgers, fries and just about everything and I end up throwing it away. Thankfully, the idiot was fired the next day.
22. It’s Not Rocket Science, Guys
A couple orders food together. Man gets a plain hamburger and the female gets a hamburger ketchup only. They come back up together and the man says he ordered it plain but got ketchup and the girl says she wanted ketchup but got a hamburger plain. I still don’t know if they were trolling but all I could do was to gesture to them to switch hamburgers as I was dumbfounded.
21. Shoddy Parenting
Had two little boys come up to me and say their sister’s food was made wrong. I tell the cook who was sure he made it right but made it again anyway because they’re just kids, whatever. I took the new food out to their table and as I was leaving, I heard one of the kids say, “Wow, Mom, it worked!” Ugh.
20. Classic John
This one guy, we’ll call him John, was a regular at a restaurant I worked at. He would always ask for recommendations and no matter what you suggested, John would tell you he had that last week and it sucked. He would take up as much time as possible no matter how busy the restaurant was.
He had a wife who would jokingly tell him to knock it off but she would laugh so it would just encourage him to be a jerk. Then after bringing the food to them, he would ask me to box it up so they could take it home. They would occasionally leave a tip.
Years later, I was a brand new nurse and my coworker had a tray of food thrown at her by a patient. John was the patient.
19. Serial Killers and Coffee Creamers
Seven top. The table gets excellent service. $140 bill or so. Person paying check is friendly and all smiles. Tips $0. Waits at the door to see the sad dejected look on the waitress’s face as she looks at the receipt and gives a Hannibal Lecter smile. You could just tell he derived pleasure from her pain.
Also, people who request lots of coffee creamers, open them all and turn them upside down on the table so they are impossible to remove without making a mess.
18. Crappy College Kids
A friend worked at a fancy pizza shop and brewery in West Philly. I was there one night while he was working, table of 16 students, all over 21, racks up a tab of $175. He’s the only server on their table, gets the food out on time and is a really nice guy. Kids leave cash on the table along with a ton of trash and a total mess. Ketchup in their drinks and everything. They only tipped $1.50.
17. Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out
Had a woman shouting over the entire restaurant over how my BBQ chicken wings were garbage after she ate all 12 of them, leaving nothing but the bones. She also commented on the bad smell of the sauce—it’s full of blue cheese you idiot, what did you expect? She also didn’t like my pasta carbonara that her date was eating. He gestured it was good but didn’t want to add to the scene.
Luckily there were only four other customers present. She was a semi-regular, claimed to know the owner and what not. That made it all the more fun when she was demanding a discount, the waiters refused to take her money and she was perma-banned from the restaurant.
16. Wait, What Kind Of Cattle Farm?
A couple years ago I had a lady that was irate because her extra well-done steak was tough. She swore up and down that the more you cook a steak the more tender it gets because “I grew up on a cattle farm.” The one redeeming quality about the experience is that the lady she was with apologized and left me $25 for the way I handled the situation.
I had to get out of the service industry because people become almost fiendish when they realize they can get away with being a complete jerk and get free food because of it. It’s as if the industry sustains this type of behavior by rewarding it; enough to make me sick and pretty much lose my faith in humanity for a long time.
15. They Didn’t Mean Business
Two women come in for a power lunch at Buzzard Billy’s, not the place I would have chosen for a business lunch, but whatever.
I greet them and they’re both very nice. Over the course of two hours, they order appetizers, entrees, drinks, desserts, and more drinks. Their bill came up to about $250 for the two of them.
At the end of the meal, they asked me to split their enormous check, which I did graciously since it was a large bill and was expecting a good tip. I hand them bills and walk back to the kitchen expecting them to whip out corporate cards and pay.
I come back to the table to discover them gone. They’d both paid by check, which we didn’t accept, and they had both rounded up to the next dollar for the tip.
I took my apron off, handed my boss all the cash and totaled out, and left, never to be a server again.
14. I’m Gonna Hurl
I once had a family come in while a child who couldn’t eat solid food. They brought a blender with them. They ordered him a chicken basket with fries. They put it in the blender and made a shake. I started to gag—I have a very easy gag reflex. The called my manager over for making fun of them. I wasn’t making fun, I was just grossed out by the chicken fry shake and had to throw up.
13. Birthday Brats
I had a very large group of people come in 15 minutes before closing. They special ordered everything. Sang a VERY loud and animated rendition of Happy Birthday, gospel style. Asked me very awkward questions, and left no tip whatsoever.
12. Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out
Several years ago while working at an Italian restaurant a man came in and ordered a particular brand of Scotch. the waitress told him that she wasn’t sure if we had that particular Scotch, but she would check. She also asked him if there was anything else he would like in the event that we did not have what he ordered. He said that he would like for her to go find the nearest rafter and hang herself if we didn’t have it. This couple left the restaurant a few minutes later because they thought we were being rude.
11. One Pizza Too Many
Restaurant manager here. Customer orders two large to-go pizzas. Returns to the shop with one of the pizzas three days later, stating that two pizzas was just too much food and wanted to get a refund for the one she couldn’t eat because it is taking up too much space in the fridge. Love it!
10. She Could Do Better
I worked in a place where a guy left to go to the ATM (they don’t take credit cards) and he left his date there. He never came back for her. The owner felt bad and just let her go.
9. Flawless Logic
When I was a server, I once had someone come in, order a meal, not eat it, then want it for free, “because I’m not hungry.”
8. Have Your Pancake And Eat It Too
I had a customer demand her meal comped because her pancakes were “too round”. Seriously.
7. The Imperfect Crime
One time a girl who had black hair with pink tips found a hair in her food. None of our servers, or kitchen staff, had black hair with pink tips. The hair that she found, however, was black with a pink tip. Needless to say, she did not get a discount.
6. It’s The Small Victories
I walk right up to the table, and before I can even say hello and spit out my name, I am greeted with “I want the Reuben with fries. I want some ranch to dip them in too, but I’m not going to pay that ridiculous $.50 charge. My server charged me last time, and I haven’t been back for more than a month!”
So I did exactly what she asked. Reuben, fries, and ranch… at an inflated cost of $.75 due to us making the ranch now instead of buying it.
It was worth not getting her tip.
5. Does Not Compute
Working at a sit-down chain Mexican restaurant, I had a customer present me with a Taco Bell coupon expecting my manager to honor it. I politely told the customer that Taco Bell was not even 2 minutes down the road and that we were in no way affiliated. Apparently, that response provoked this guy’s brain to fold in on itself and in a fit of rage he screamed for a manager and yelled that “This is America!”
4. Water Volume
I had a customer say that I had placed her water glass too loudly on her table. The worst part? She was vocal enough about it that she actually ended up getting free food.
3. Cheese-less Cheeseburger
When I used to work at McDonald’s some lady came in and ordered a cheeseburger without cheese. So being the person I am I just put it in a hamburger wrapper and gave it to the front. Well, she came back like five minutes later and all hell broke loose. She was yelling at the poor girl who gave her the sandwich and the girl was new. So I went up to help and asked what was the matter.
This is what she said, “I ordered a cheeseburger without cheese you gave me a hamburger I want what I ordered right now and I want to speak to your manager.” So I told her I was the manager. She proceeded to call me a liar even though I had a name tag that said shift manager on it. But I told her I would fix it. I took the burger and put it in a cheeseburger wrapper and gave it back to her she looked at it. Then at me and I’m pretty sure she had the realization of what a cheeseburger without cheese is. She then just walked away without thanking me or anything. Also, I had to send the girl home, since she was crying.
2. Real Smooth
I waitressed in high school. This happened when I was 16 or 17. A guy came in to eat with his family—a little girl and his pregnant wife. They were really, really friendly and at first, I thought it was a great table. The wife went to the bathroom and the guy asked for the check, and on the check, he wrote his phone number in the tip area along with “call me baby”.
I ran his card, waited until his wife came back, and brought over the guy’s card and his receipt. I handed the receipt to the pregnant woman and told her something was wrong with the tip. She got SUPER upset and I got in a lot of trouble with my managers for stirring the pot.
In retrospect, I probably didn’t handle that the best way, but at the same time I was furious that some guy would come to eat with HIS PREGNANT WIFE—they were both wearing wedding bands, acting couple-y, 99% positive they were married, pretty much 100% confirmed when I gave the wife the receipt with the guy’s “tip” on it—and try to hit on a girl half his age. If he’s pulling that stuff so brazenly, god knows what else he’s doing behind his wife’s back.
1. Justice Served
I was a dishwasher at a local, family-owned restaurant throughout high school. Part of my job was to occasionally go out to our patio area and take in the bus bucket of dishes that was out there. One night, as I was getting the bucket, I saw a lady eating a salad. She was almost done, and I was about to leave until I saw her look around, reach to the ground, pick up a live bug, and place it in her salad.
At this point, I stop what I’m doing and watch her call over a waitress, point to the bug, and demand her meal for free. I promptly went inside and informed my manager, who was about to comp her the meal. The manager then goes outside, tells the lady that an employee saw what she did. The woman firmly denied it, but was blushing and stammering the entire time. She ended up not getting her meal comped and even left a huge tip.