1. Take it to go (no really, please leave)
I was working at a Quiznos outside a children's hospital at the time. I was having a terrible Crohn's flare and it was early enough in my disease that I still didn't know exactly what the heck was going on. So I'm trying to stay on my feet and do my job when this surly jerk comes in and decides he doesn't like my attitude. Tells me, "My kid's in the hospital, what's your problem?!"
Turns out my problem was that my intestines had scarred shut and I would need surgery within a month to take out six inches. I still have shower conversations with the dude where I give him what-for.
2. Calling in sick
I was 16, working front line (cashier). A man walked up and, instead of ordering, he started talking about how his daughter was in medical school. I smile, nod, say something like, "that sounds nice."
He then responds with, "Yes. She did something with her life, unlike you."
3. He has literally seen it all
I worked at a popular Canadian coffee franchise almost ten years ago.
One day, a drive-thru customer had some sort of altercation with a pair of pedestrians who had been walking through the drive-thru. The way I understand it, the customer had almost hit the pedestrians — a man and his mother, and then had started shouting. This is what I heard over the drive-thru headset: "YOU WANNA FACE FULLA BICEP?! I'LL GIVE YA A FACE FULL OF BICEP!"
I had a teenage coworker who believed in Santa. When a mall Santa came into the store, this coworker started looking out the windows for his sleigh.
I had a customer who requested a bagel "dripping in butter," noting that she would "send it back if there's not enough butter." I buttered until the butter was soaking the paper. She sent it back, quite livid. I put a BURGER PATTY worth of butter on the bagel.
She opened it again, inspected it, was clearly still not satisfied, and drove away angrily.
4. I'll take an extra large Powerade
I went to hand a drink out the drive-thru window and someone in their car threw a large blue Powerade all over me. My manager said if I went home early due to being soaked, I would be fired.
5. The fast and the furious (but mostly furious)
While I was working at a chain grocery store, a middle-aged woman was pushing her cart through the parking lot when she lost control of it going downhill, and it slammed into someone's car while they were in it. She attempted to blame me when the person went to confront her.
Luckily the person saw through her blaming it on me, and proceeded to ask her again if the cart full of groceries were hers. When she repeated it wasn't, he shrugged and said, "Guess it's no ones", then proceeded to load all of the groceries from her cart into his car, all while she had to stand there and say nothing.
If that car owner had been in a bad mood, it could've turned real different for me.
6. Off the clock
I’ve had a customer come up to me in the middle of the mall (while I was off shift) and tell me about how I forgot his sauce for his burritos.
7. System malfunction
I managed a breakfast joint for a while, beginning a few months after it originally opened. We have a very large oven where we bake our bagels, and one day, after the bagels had been baked for the day, the baker left the door open to cool.
While I was up front I could hear a deafening, "OH MY GOD" from the back where the oven was. I walk back laughing, expecting to see a proofing rack knocked over or some other silly mistake. Instead, I'm hit with a geyser of jet black water from the sprinkler system above the oven.
Shouting resumed as we tried to cover what we could while waiting for the fire department to arrive. Fire department arrived and spent the next two and a half hours looking for the shut off switch for our sprinkler. Turns out the switch had been inadvertently covered/obstructed during our store's construction.
I got to stay late that day and help clean every ounce of black smelly water from our appliances and slicers. ~3 hours worth of pressurized water swamped the whole kitchen.
8. Venti-sized entitlement
Does Starbucks count? A woman demanded room (space for sugar, cream) in her latte, then burst back in line demanding more room, then berated me for throwing out the ones she returned for damaging the environment (because I didn't resell them, apparently) then demanded less room. Our manager ended up telling her she just had to leave because the line became enormous.
9. Soda popping off
I worked at McDonald’s part-time while I was in college. One day, I was working the drive-thru, and this guy ordered a lot of drinks. One of them was low on soda syrup, but instead of just telling me about it like a rational person so I could give him a replacement drink, he threw the extra large drink at me. Of course the lid came off and I was soaking wet.
The manager, who was actually pretty good as far as fast food managers go, saw this happen.
He took off running into the parking lot, flagged down the driver before he could leave, and told him to never come back. Then he came back in, found me a dry uniform shirt, and let me have a few minutes on the clock to sit in the break room and calm down.
I was working the drive-thru and gave the lady her food. Not 15 feet down the road from the window is a trash can and a sign that says, "please do not litter." You can probably guess what happened next. She throws her wrapper right in front of me and as she drives off I say, "Are you kidding me?"
Next thing I know I hear a screech of tires and hear a car door slam. She walks back to the window and starts to curse me out saying, "What did you say?! You throw your trash on the ground too, don't lie to me!" I just point to the sign and say, "No, I throw my trash in the trash can like a normal human being. Have a nice day."
Luckily my manager was pretty chill and didn't care and I just went about the rest of my day.
11. Birthday cake bonanza
I used to work in a bakery in a grocery store. I was the cake decorator and the cakes were in containers and in a cooler that customers could just take and go to pay.
One day, two kids, six and eight years old-ish ran over and started throwing the cakes on the ground. Like “happy birthday to the ground” style. They were on their sixth cake before I could reach them and took the cakes away from them.
Their mom came over, looked at them, and just turned around and went to the produce section like nothing happened. No apology, no acknowledgment, no words to the kids about the hundreds of dollars they cost us.
12. Feeling the heat
I worked at Starbucks and a woman ordered her coffee at 140 degrees Fahrenheit in the drive-thru. She walks back in the cafe after pulling out and complains that her coffee was 139 degrees Fahrenheit — she has a thermometer in her car and she demands it be remade. I laughed at her and asked if she was joking and she demanded to see my manager.
My manager remade it but I didn’t get in any trouble. She was ridiculous but Starbucks’ policy is to remake anything if a customer asks for it.
13. Cold as ice cream
Worked at Braum’s for a bit. Went to hand an elderly lady her ice cream cone. She took it from me, pulled her arm into her car, took a lick, and then dropped the ice cream down her door.
I genuinely felt bad for her and offered to give her another one and clean it up if she would pull around. It’s 100+ degrees Fahrenheit out and I’m in full uniform. I begin wiping the side of her door when she throws a plethora of insults my way. “This is why your generation is so messed up. You saw I had braces on my wrist. You knew I had arthritis. You should never have handed me that cone. You should ask if I want a cup instead. You’ll probably only ever be a fast food worker. It’s people like you that make everyone’s life hard.” She said a few more things.
The heat and moment got the best of me. I threw the dirty napkins in her lap, told her to shut up, reminded her I was doing her a favor (and it wasn’t my fault), advised her to order correctly, and told her to clean up her own mess.
I walked back inside, explained to my manager what I did, and in comes this lady playing the “I’m a good, sweet old lady and would never disrespect someone” card. Manager told her to leave.
14. That's not on the menu
Not fast food but at a restaurant. I was a waiter for a nice, older couple and they ordered salads as an appetizer before their meal. After a couple minutes, the man calls me over and shows me the tip of a broken drill bit he bit into from his salad. Expecting a lawsuit, my heart skipped a beat and went into adrenaline mode as I quickly got the manager.
The manager came over white-faced and apologized profusely while offering a few gift cards and comping their entire meal. Shockingly, the couple didn’t threaten or get irate. Found out later that my manager had been drilling near the prep line in the kitchen earlier in the day to fix something and saw the drill bit snap but couldn’t find the tip. The couple even tipped me well.
We dodged a bullet that day!
15. Pizza puzzlement
I was a waitress at a pizza place and an older man and woman flagged me over — they just start yelling at me, going on and on that they found metal in their food. The woman’s showing me and yelling while I am trying to apologize, saying, “We can make you a new pizza, I am sorry, I have no idea where it came from.”
After several minutes of yelling the man gets quiet and he goes, "Oh, I lost a filling." Then they tried to be all nice and laugh it off.
I just wanted to say, “Screw you for treating me like garbage.”
16. Would you like fries with that?
This one guy enters and he’s like, “Get me a burger. No pickles. No onions. No lettuce. No meat. Only plain BREAD.” And he actually paid for it.
17. The mother of all dinner rushes
I worked at a Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers around graduation season. One day, we had a surprise onslaught of massive catering orders — like 600 chicken fingers, 500 pieces of toast, 250 coleslaws...Multiple orders like this on the same day while also being our busiest day of the week.
We were going nuts, even the owner was there to help. Of course, this was also the day corporate decided to make a surprise visit. The owner got reamed (even though we were consistently scoring as one of the top locations on a regular day), so he reamed the manager, who then reamed us. So we're already stressed out and tired and now we're being shouted at by irate customers, the owner, and our manager.
I'm surprised we didn't all quit that day.
18. Keep on truckin'
I had a rough looking guy in a beat-up truck try to use year-old expired coupons. I refused to take them. That was a mistake. He held up the drive-thru and screamed at me, saying stuff like, "Smarten up son, or you're going nowhere in life." Made me feel like garbage until I realized he’s the one who’s screaming those things at a 15-year-old running the drive-thru. He’s the one that did not go anywhere in life.
19. Milk, cream, or bleach?
Not fast food, but a gas station. My coworker decided to clean the coffee machines. Normally, we have a special cleaner, but she used bleach. Just filled them with bleach, emptied them, and rinsed them out.
If I hadn't noticed the bleach smell from the morning coffee, we might have had somebody drink bleach/bean water.
20. Condiment conundrum
When I worked at Subway, this guy asked for Sriracha sauce on his sandwich.
I put the regular amount on, then he asks for more. I put more on. He asks for more.
Eventually, he’s SCREAMING at me to put more Sriracha on the sandwich, to which I end up emptying out the entire bottle on it. He’s still not satisfied, so I have to get more. One half bottle of Sriracha later, he says it’s enough. Still remember him to this day.
21. Always tip well
I used to work at Sonic.
On rainy days, especially when it was pouring, people would intentionally park across the lot (the spare spots that weren't covered by their famous awning), and make the car hops walk the food out there to them. We'd be standing there outside their car window with the food on a tray, waiting for them to roll down their window.
They'd take their sweet time getting out their cards or cash while we were getting drenched. All the while, there were plenty of open spots under the awning, closer to the restaurant and out of the rain. By the time they took their food from us, they would demand the meal for free since it was wet.
Mind you, not wet enough to give back the food, just wet enough to demand a full refund while they shoved the offending fries in their mouth. Those people also never tipped.
Also, we had people who would make us go back inside and replace their 44 oz drink four or five times, even when you insisted it was the right drink. "This aint diet." "Sir, I poured this drink myself, I can assure you it's diet.” "I want you to go back in there and do it again, and I better not have to send this back a third time."
22. VIP treatment
In high school I worked for a certain gigantic movie theater chain. Our location was smack-dab in the middle of Newport Beach, California, where a ton of various one-percenters live. One resident in particular, a famous athlete, would come to see a movie every other week, and he made a point to make sure everyone on staff at the time was aware.
His “guy” would call whomever was the manager on duty at the time, and we would have to drop what we were doing, no matter how important or time-sensitive it was, and go open the theater exit doors (you know the ones, to the left and right of the screen) in order to escort him and his sizable entourage in.
There are a number of things wrong with that kind of special treatment. For starters, they would never send someone to the box office afterwords to pay for the tickets, which really messed with our audits.
What really would get to me though was the obscene amount of noise he and his family/friends would make. The cherry on top? After the movie was said and done, and we'd ushered his group out via the way they came in, the entire auditorium would reek of his cologne. No joke, you could show up the day after he came to see a movie, and at least two or three rows would still smell like him.
Not exactly a horror story, but a great example of people presuming they'll be treated like VIPs no matter where they go. It's condescending .
23. Of course she didn't tip
I worked at a pizza place with my then-girlfriend, and some lady had a walk-in order. She tells me what she wants, I tell her the price, she gives me money. I look down and I don't have a key for the till, but my girlfriend does, so I get her and come back to the customer ranting that I stole her money. We argue for a bit and she starts pulling out her phone to dial 911.
Turns out her money was on the counter under her purse THE WHOLE TIME. She just stopped arguing and paid for the pizza. Didn't even apologize for needlessly accusing me. And of course she didn't tip.
24. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen
Was a line cook at a local burger joint. We had a burger advertised as “The Spicy One” that was topped with habaneros and cherry peppers, then a squirt of sauce made from the same, then pepper jack cheese.
Usually we just put a few of each pepper and a little sauce because we still wanted it to taste like food, not death. Some guy came in during a dinner rush and was incessantly whining to the server about how unimpressed he was with the burger last time and was there any way we could make it way hotter?
Stand by, Mr. Special Order Jerkface. I crammed a fistful of peppers and seeds under the cheese and doused that baby in sauce. My eyes were watering at the grill. We watched from the kitchen as he wept while trying to eat his burger, cursing in-between gulps of beer.
Don't throw the gauntlet down if you aren't ready for a challenge, young man.
25. Beware of dog
In college I worked in a pizza place and I remember a particular customer who would order the delivery minimum every day.
It was an order of six chicken wings, twelve ranch dressing cups, and a two liter Dr. Pepper. Every day she ordered this. Every day I delivered this to her. Every day I fought off her swarm of pitbulls to get to her trailer.
26. Submarine salad
I used to work at a Subway located next to a modeling agency. One of them came in and ordered a mustard and lettuce wrap. Only mustard and lettuce.
27. Sickeningly Sweet
I worked at Dunkin’ Donuts for a little while in my early 20’s. There was a woman who came through our drive-thru every single morning to order a large tea with no more and no less than seven slices of lemon and TWENTY SUGARS. TWENTY. She would routinely send her drink back to be remade saying that she could tell all of the sugar wasn’t in there.
Got to the point where every time she came everyone just refused to make her drink so the manager had to be the one to make her drink everyday.
I'll never forget that psychopath.