1. Server stalked
I was eating with a female friend at a reasonably nice restaurant. Not posh, but expensive. Before we were seated we grabbed a drink at the bar, and whilst sitting there she signed up to the restaurant’s newsletter.
Anyways, we sat down and my friend received a text telling her “how beautiful she looks”. She ignored it and another one came through asking her what she's doing later. She didn’t have a clue who it was and ignored it.
As we were finishing up our meal, a third text came through saying she shouldn't be with a guy like me and asking if she wanted dessert with a "real man".
It became clear that someone in the restaurant had her number and we remembered that she had put it down on the application form for the newsletter. Considering the forms went into a box behind the bar, it had to be a member of staff.
After getting the manager down and him calling the number and pegging what member of staff it was, we learned that one of the waiters had taken her number and address off the form, written it in his phone and had spent the evening taking pictures of her from behind the bar. The police ended up involved.
2. Dazed and confused
We were at a bar that served food. The waiter was so bad, it really just became funny.
We were 99% certain that he was very high during his shift because he would just wander around aimlessly as we tried to get his attention. Then he’d start walking over to us, look over our heads as we tried to wave at him, and slowly turn and walk away.
When we ordered food, he brought the right dishes, but gave them to the wrong person, no big deal. As we are saying "oh, that one goes to him", etc., he quickly said "oh sorry," gathered the dishes, and started walking away! We were almost screaming at him trying to get him to come back, but he kept walking. Thankfully he came back 5 minutes later, with the same food. No idea what happened. We were so hungry after being teased with the food, we didn't even care if he spit in it.
When he came around for my next beer, I said "surprise me." This is a bar famous for having hundreds of beers. After 20 minutes, he brought me the same exact beer I just had. I was surprised!
He continued to bring us the wrong beers, probably what another table had ordered. But he took so long and it was so hard to get his attention, we started just drinking whatever we got.
3. The “kids” table
When I was in high school I lived in a tiny rural hamlet. We would go on field trips to the city to watch plays and the ballet and always would stop at a new restaurant before the productions began.
On this day, we settled on Earls. There were thirty kids and one teacher, we were all well behaved and respectable country kids. We had all decided beforehand to tip our waiter ten dollars each.
We asked the waiter before we ordered our food if we could have separate bills between us, and he told us that due to the size of our party he was not willing to do that. We told him that we understood and would sort it out amongst ourselves.
We ordered our food and after it arrived our waiter was nowhere to be seen, no refills, no checking up on us, but we knew it was busy.
Without a word he walked up to our table and dropped a bill in the middle.
We started calculating who owed what and after we figured out the bulk of it began counting out change. The waiter walked by, saw the change and tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up at him and in the most disgusted voice he said, "You kids realize that I put up with you all evening and that (pointing to the money on the table) is NOT 10%"
I was so shocked. We hadn’t even started getting our tip money out. We were planning on leaving $10 dollars each on a bill of $955.65 (that was the total for all 5 tables). That would be a 31.39% tip.
After that, my teacher told us not to leave our tip.
4. Chickened out
I went to Chili's for lunch with my husband.
The place was empty. We were finally seated after a ten minute wait (it was this or nothing, and I was starving). The waiter arrived, took our drink and appetizer order. But he never came back.
More customers arrived, maybe four tables, and we watched our waiter sit down with what we assumed were friends of his. So we flagged down another waiter, who practically threw our drinks at us. He took our entrée order, threw those at us too.
I cut the chicken and I was surprised it didn't cluck and jump off my plate, it was so raw. The original waiter came over and I showed him the still-pulsing bird and he rolled his eyes and said, "It's rare. You want me to microwave it for you?"
I explained that I want it cooked through, not heated, and that poultry isn't served rare. He snatched the plate and left. I never got my food back.
Meanwhile, my polite husband was waiting for me to start eating. I finally told him to go ahead, at which point he opened the bun and found a fake fingernail. We attempted to get someone's attention so we could pay and leave, but 15 minutes later we just got up and left. I've never gone to another Chili's.
5. A public firing
I was at an IHOP with my then fiancée having our usual Saturday IHOP treat meal.
We had ordered our regular meals (blueberry topped, stuffed crepes for me, and a bacon and ham scrambler for her), and chatted while waiting. Everything was great as usual, then the food came.
My crepes were cooked badly and cold, her scrambler was not the right one and also cold. We complained, (politely mind you, we liked this place after all) and wrote it off as a new cook. When the food came back out I noticed right away that my blueberries were missing and the food was cold again.
We told the waitress who retrieved the manager, who apologized profusely and went into the kitchen. We were seated in such a way that we saw the cook when the manager opened the door, and I noticed two things right away. The cook was indeed new and also appeared to have a learning disability.
The manager came back to us and explained that the cook used to be the dishwasher but was shadowing one of the regular cooks and trying his best. The regular cook had called in sick that day leaving the ex-dishwasher cook to fend for himself. The manager comped us and said that he tried to help but was too busy to constantly be back there. Then this happened.
The manager had one of the wait staff step in to cook while he BROUGHT THE DISABLED GUY TO OUR TABLE and had him tearfully apologize to us. That caused the manager to tear up as well as my significant other. Then the manager FIRED THE GUY IN FRONT OF US! We of course left pronto.
6. Hot sauce thieves
I went to a Chinese restaurant and had a decent meal with a group of friends. The serving staff wasn't very friendly or nice but oh well, we were hungry.
After we paid and left the restaurant, walking towards the car, the owner of the restaurant came running at us yelling, " where is the hot sauce?". At first we didn't understand what she was saying or why she was yelling.
Finally we understood she meant that we had stolen the hot sauce bottle. We said we didn't take anything but she kept demanding and yelling for it. Five minutes into this her staff called her back and she just walked off. (Imagine yelling and then no noise.)
We walked back to the restaurant and asked her what happened. She made little eye contact and ignored us and then her staff told us that they misplaced the hot sauce and found it again. We asked the owner again and she just said, “hot sauce found” as if none of the yelling in front of the parking lot had happened. No apology.
7. Ant colony
I was a small child, in a small town where the fanciest restaurant was a Ponderosa Steakhouse. One night, my parents decided that a fine meal was in order, so we made our way there.
My father was a quiet, unassuming man. I can count on one hand the times I saw him get angry. Dinner at the Ponderosa was one of those times, and it was the only time I ever heard him swear in public.
My dad and I went to the buffet, filled our plates (and one for mom), and returned to the table. I slid my fork into the mashed potatoes. I brought the fork to my mouth. I realized the pepper flakes were moving.
I dropped my fork. I'd never heard my dad lay down an f-bomb before, much less one fueled by so much rage, and it legit scared me. I began to cry. My father's gaze was fixed on his green beans, which were also moving.
A waiter came over, with a manager in tow. They began very sternly reprimanding my father for using such language in a family restaurant.
"There are ants in this food," my father interrupted him. "About a thousand ants." By this point, everyone else in the restaurant had stopped eating and were inspecting their food.
One guy got up and went to the buffet with a little pocket flashlight. He clicked it on, took a look at the food, clicked it back off, and began dry heaving.
The Ponderosa closed its doors forever later that week.
8. Brothel sandwiches
A friend and I were sent to Buenos Aires for business. We arrived 2 days early to have some time to walk around the city and enjoy ourselves. After a red eye flight and a really long customs and immigration process we finally arrived at our hotel, changed out of our travel clothes and hit the street for lunch.
We made it to this one cafe where not one of the 3 employees even glanced at us after they saw us walk in. Hungry and annoyed, we left and walked across the street to another cafe. We sat down and a nice old man brought us water and took our order. Everyone was staring at us but we didn’t care, we were hungry.
An unusual amount of ladies began to walk in and out. Each sitting at their own table, dressed up with makeup and heels, sipping on some sparkling water. There were no other patrons aside from them.
Our waiter brought our sandwiches and damn they were good but something felt really odd about this cafe. It hits us at the same time - this was definitely a brothel.
As we paid our tab some tourists (men) walk in and stare straight at us like lobsters in a tank. We made it to the door pretty quickly after that.
9. Off the clock
Went to a restaurant, a bit more than an hour before closing for a quick bite to eat.
Us: "are you still taking orders for dinner?"
We sat down.
Almost instantly they packed up ALL the other tables. They put the chairs on top of the tables, and started vacuuming. It was surreal! We were sitting in a maze of tables and chairs.
We persisted, and ordered quick and easy meals. The food took nearly an hour to come out. The meals were all wrong, cold and horrible. Worse still, our vegetarian friends ordered vegetarian panini. They came out loaded with pink stuff. We finally managed to call the waiter over.
Us: "Are you sure this is vegetarian?"
Waiter: [sigh] "I'll check.." ...
Waiter: "yes, it's vegetarian"
Friend shrugs, takes one bite.. Sandwich is filled with some prosciutto/ham type meat!
The kicker happens when we complain.
Us: "Excuse me, we ordered vegetarian panini.. This is full of meat!"
Waiter: "Oh. The kitchen must have stuffed it up because I definitely wrote down vegetarian.." [Shrugs, walks away and doesn't come back]
We wait because after walking off like that, surely our waiter is going to check on something or fix the problem!
Nope, he’d left for the night.
10. A teacup full of surprise
There's a sushi restaurant at a certain major train station in Japan which I've been to at least 50 times. Two of those times I've seen a cockroach running across the counter. That's not good, but not as shocking as it might sound, as the front door opens right onto the street. Anyone who's lived in Japan knows, even the most meticulously clean environment can get a cockroach wandering in from time to time.
On the occasion in question, I spotted the little guy running towards me, about a meter away. Nobody else seemed to see him so I discreetly grabbed an empty tea cup and dropped it over him like a cage. I'm not the type of person to make a scene; I finished my sushi and asked for the bill.
The waitress brought it to me while carrying a tray of miso soups. I whispered to her, "watch out, there's a small cockroach under that tea cup" and indicated the one I was talking about. She apologized profusely and I started to leave.
What she did next is a bit hard to understand. She didn't serve the miso soups that were on their way somewhere. She didn't clear my plates. She didn't call anyone for help. She went straight to the cup.
She clearly understood my Japanese because she stood way back from it and tapped it a couple of times while wincing. Then she picked up the cup. The bug happily scampered out.
She absolutely lost it. Miso soup went everywhere as she pointed at the bug while screaming/crying. Everyone in the restaurant stood up to look at whatever she was pointing at. Then she looked back at me. Everyone in the restaurant looked at me.
11. Not our margs sorry
I was at a Texas RoadHouse, we sat down, didn't even see a server for about fifteen minutes. When we finally saw one, she walked over, looked at us, and said "I'll get your drinks in a minute", as if she had already asked us.
Then she came back with 2 margaritas. When we told her we hadn't even ordered anything yet, she rolled her eyes, said we were ridiculous, and walked away.
We asked for a Manager, who was an 18 year old. She walked over and told us not to harass their servers, so we walked out while the manager yelled at us for not paying for the margaritas we never ordered.
My girlfriend wrote a 3 page letter in great detail about the entire experience and sent it to their corporate offices. The next day she had a voice mail from the franchisee owner of that restaurant, stating she shouldn't be contacting corporate with service issues at their restaurant. When she finally got him on the phone after 2 weeks of attempting, he told her she shouldn't be saying things that didn't happen, and offered her a $5 coupon for our next meal.
12. Joy ride
This wasn't the restaurant's fault, but it was the worst dining experience my husband and I have ever had. We decided to go to a very nice steak house on a whim. A valet parked our car and we went in. We placed our order. The appetizers came out and they were great.
We saw the manager and the seating host going up to every table, but they looked very concerned; not the typical, "How's your meal?"
The manager got to our table and he asked if we valet parked the car and we said yes. He then asked if it was a red Nissan. We said it was. He then asked us to follow him out front. We got outside and there was a cop car.
I was thinking someone hit my car or something. NOPE! Two kids hopped in my car and took off.
Right from the valet. I was in total shock as this had never happened to me before and it was a broken-down 2004 Nissan!
The manager and head valet were falling over themselves apologizing. We got a free meal and they offered to pay for a cab. My husband went inside to fill out some paperwork and I sat outside in shock.
The cop pulled back up and said, "We got 'em!" We got to ride in the back of a cop car to pick up my Nissan in the middle of the 'hood’. We felt like we were in the movie Date Night for a while.
At least we got a free meal and a good story out of it.
13. An overly friendly waitress
I took my husband (then boyfriend) out to dinner one night, my treat. When we sat down, the waitress was overly friendly with him, touching his shoulder, asking him what he wanted to order before me, and giggling at everything he said.
In the beginning of the evening I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I was a server at the time at a different establishment and had seen my coworkers flirt with customers. I figured she probably thought he was paying and assumed she'd get a big tip if she paid more attention to him.
The experience was awful for me but fantastic for my husband. His food came exactly as he ordered it, his glass was always full, and anything he needed, she immediately went to retrieve from the kitchen.
All the while I sat there with an order that was made wrong, my glass empty, and my request of ranch dressing forgotten. I asked her every time she came to our table for whatever I needed, only for her to neglect fixing or bringing anything. Not only that, but who flirts with someone who is clearly on a date?
I made sure that I kept eye contact with her as I handed her the bill and the exact amount in cash. Her face fell when she realized she had been flirting with the wrong person throughout our meal.
14. Full of bologna
We got scammed at a fake restaurant in Bologna. I can't believe we fell for it.
The place was all bohemian and rustic, so of course you’d think it's a local place right? Plus it was off the beaten track. Usually these traps are right in a major tourist area.
Since it was right outside our bed and breakfast, I made a reservation. I should have known something was up when he wanted a deposit. If this happens to you in Italy, run, don't walk towards the door.
The scam is that the owner's afraid that you'll hear the truth about the restaurant when you tell someone you are going there, and then you won't come for dinner.
Second warning sign: no prices anywhere. You are going to get hit with the "idiot tax." And we did.
We were served frozen entrees and old shellfish. I had the scariest spaghetti alle vongole ever — I swear the garlic was piled on to hide the stench of rotting clams.
My husband had an obviously frozen vegetable lasagna. The veggies for everything, including the antipasto, must have been weeks old.
The waiters were sweet as pie, because they know it's harder to complain when you're given a free drink here, a little extra dessert there. They also know that you are on vacation and don't want to cause a scene in a country where you don't know the rules.
Oh yeah, they also "don't speak English." Then you get the bill. It's going to be double or triple any other place. Maybe quadruple. And there is nothing you can do. You just pay the idiot tax and write a scathing review on TripAdvisor hoping that helps someone else.
15. Lick it clean
This didn’t happen to me directly, but my dad. I was about 4 years old at this time, eating out with my sister and folks at Captain D’s. The restaurant has a kids policy: when you finish everything on your plate, kids under 8 or 9 get a free lollipop.
My father had ordered the 3-piece fish dinner. He was almost done with his meal and had just gotten to the last bit of his piece of fish when he noticed something 'charred' in his fish. He picked at it and picked at it, then eventually just tore it open and right there as plain as day was a cockroach inside his fish filet.
He got up, threw it away, told the manager and just walked out.
On the car ride home I piped up and said as I was holding my lolli pop up, "If you manned up and finished, you'd have a lolli pop too!"
We were in a restaurant we've gone to sporadically over the years. It's usually reasonably good. We sat and our drink orders were taken. I mentioned to the waitress that there was no silverware on the table, and she said, "Oh, no problem, I'll be right back."
She came back ten minutes later to take our dinner order. We ordered, and I again mentioned the lack of silverware. "Oh, right, hang on". We didn't see her again for thirty minutes. Our drinks were empty, there was no silverware, nothing. We couldn't even find her in the restaurant.
Finally she showed up with our meals, both pasta dishes. She set them down, and I again mentioned that we had no silverware, and couldn’t eat our dinner. "Oh, I'm so sorry, hang on". She disappeared again.
There's something horrible about being very hungry and staring at your meal while being unable to eat it. Stomach's rumbling, you're salivating, you're ready to dig in... but you can't.
After staring at our dinner for at least five minutes, I got up, went to the setup table and grabbed two full sets of silverware and napkins, and returned to the table. We ate, and the waitress continued to be MIA. Twenty minutes after we finished our meals, there was still no waitress.
I got up and asked to see the manager. I told her what happened and she accused me of trying to steal the silverware. Blew my mind.
The servers and managers respond
We've heard the worst of the worst from customers, but it takes two to tango. Here are some stories from restaurant servers and managers about the craziest customer demands they've ever witnessed.
1. Spoiled rotten
Okay, the worst family I served, ever: Mum, dad, oldest sister (around twenty) and her boyfriend, and youngest sister, (about eight). I could tell from the first second they stood at the front door that they were going to be awful.
I sat them down, gave them their menus, and the boyfriend said first 'get me some bread'. I replied meekly that actually, I was just about to.
As I headed over to the waiter's station for water, the mother chased me around the restaurant, slapped a hand on my shoulder, and spun me around. 'What on the menu can we have very quickly? Straight away? My youngest is starving!!'. I was stunned, but I told her that I'd put an order for the instantly assembled nibbles through, and it'd be a couple of minutes. She sprinted back to the table.
The mother then grabbed the first glass of water as soon as it was poured and slammed it down in front of the youngest sister, who downed it, held the glass out to me and panted 'another'. The mother spits 'come on!' and this process repeated until I had to get another bottle of water.
The youngest sister then clicked her fingers at me and said 'clean it now', pointing at a mess she'd made. And then it happened - the last, biggest dish hadn't come yet. The older sister put down her rhinestone-encrusted phone and burst into tears spontaneously. Wailing. Drawing a great deal of attention.
I rushed to re-lay the table, but I was barged out of the way as the mother threw herself out of her chair. She ran round to the oldest daughter, cradled her head and stroked her hair, crooning, 'there, there. Don't worry. The food will be here soon.'
2. Get out while you still can
One of my funniest nights as a waiter was having one of those tables where everything just went wrong. I worked at Friendly's and we were severely understaffed and it was dinner rush.
We had no host or bus boy so we were required to clean the tables and seat the tables. This table came in and waited probably like 5 mins before someone came to seat them. Then they were put in my section at the not cleanest table. So I cleaned that up.
I was trying to get their stuff out quickly but other people kept asking me for one more napkin or a ranch or another straw. The cooks were super slow too. I kept trying to tell the table that I was trying to get their food asap. Well, I got their food about thirty-five minutes after they ordered. They weren't happy, and this is glorified fast food.
Then I just didn't have time to get back to them in time. This table was destined for failure and I just kind of felt that my tip had already walked out the door so I wasn't overly concerned. I brought their bill. When I came back to see how much they had left me I saw that they had written QUIT NOW in the 'tip' box. I don't know if I've ever laughed so hard in my life.
3. Your wish is my command
When I was in college, I served a party of eight on a busy Sunday. Each of them ordered the most expensive item on the menu and two drinks. The check was going to be huge.
The party took a very, very long time to finish their meal. My shift was nearing the end and they'd been there a good 3 hours, but I didn't want to endanger my tip.
I casually walked over and asked if anyone would like anything else. Everyone declined. I then asked the head of the group if I could wrap his remaining food for him. He gave me the most evil glare. “Missy, are you trying to rush me? You just march on back to the kitchen like a good girl. You come back here again before we're ready to go and it'll affect your tip."
Twenty minutes until my shift was meant to end and I couldn’t go back over there until they were ready to leave... which I was supposed to know how, exactly? After fifteen minutes I decided to walk over with a water pitcher.
When I got there, the guest raged at me that he'd been waiting twenty minutes for the check. Where had I been? Didn’t I know how to do my job?
I swallowed my anger and brought their bill which came to well over $200. I figured I'd be getting at least a $40 tip. I gave them another ten minutes before going over to check out my tip and cash out for the evening.
He tipped me 81 cents in pocket change.
4. The mayo lady
I worked at a Beef O' Brady's while going to college. We served a chicken sandwich, which is really just a fancy McChicken.
This lady and her family ordered and she requested extra mayo — no big deal.
Since it's slow the order came out fairly quickly and before I could put the rest of the baskets down she was already complaining about not getting extra mayo. There was already a side container of mayo on her basket, plus the mayo on her sandwich, but she wanted more.
I apologized and grabbed another two plastic cups of mayo. Before I could even set the cups down she responded with, "Are you deaf?! I WANTED MORE MAYO."
I was a little taken back and frankly a bit annoyed since she now had three 2oz cups of mayo, including what's on her sandwich.
She had me call my manager over and berated me.
My manager then had me grab one of the soup bowls and fill it with mayo. This was easily a cup of pure mayonnaise, plus what is already on the table. I dropped it off at her table and asked if there was anything else I could get them. Her response was, "Now you're just being a jerk."
She wolfed down her sandwich and every drop of mayonnaise. I am not exaggerating when I say she consumed over a cup of mayonnaise for a chicken sandwich.
They quickly paid and bolted before I could come back around the corner. They left me a $0.27 tip.
The upside is a regular couple of mine saw what was going on and rightly assumed they would stiff me, so they made up for them. Greatest couple I ever served, but that's a different story for a different time.
5. The mayo man
I met the male equivalent of the mayo lady.
During the lunch rush, this guy came in and ordered a turkey sandwich with "extra extra mayo."
I loaded him up with mayo, but this guy kept sending it back — more, more, more.
By the end of it there was so much mayonnaise on this sandwich that I couldn't cut it in half without the bread just slipping and squirting all over the place.
I wrapped the sandwich and rang it up.
He paid, then unwrapped the sandwich, looked inside, and just LOBBED the thing at me.
“You moron! I said extra mayo!”
I dodged it (barely), and he stormed out in a huff. The manager rushed back to see what happened.
My coworker was able to back up my story, so she grabbed the sandwich off the ground, rushed out to the parking lot, and open-face slammed the unholy thing right onto the hood of his car.
A family walked in, 2 twenty-something daughters and their parents. I greeted them and sat them at a booth near the front of the restaurant. After handing them their menus and filling up their waters, they asked me to move to the other side of the restaurant.
Without taking any menus or glasses they walked over to the tables and sat down. I then tried to maneuver around them to get the tables together, while they made no effort to move. I made two trips to collect their menus and water.
The father asked me about wine so I asked him what type he prefered. "Red." he replied. 'Okay, sir, this whole side of the menu here is red wines, which would you like?' "Red." "I understand, but can you tell me what you would like.' "Something dry". I asked the manager to recommend a wine, which the guest rejected.
The eldest daughter asked for a half glass of wine, which I explained we didn’t offer, so I gave her a full glass. She looked at it and asked me if it was a half glass. No, it's not. She demanded that I take it back and she not be charged.
They continued to ask me pointless questions, order and then cancel orders and order again. The eldest daughter asked for something with chicken. I told her that we offered chicken with most dishes, and asked her to be more specific. She just said "nothing too dry." I had to repeat myself at least 3 times telling her chicken was available with any dish.
One night, the head waitress served a table of 4. Throughout the meal they were being rude, dismissive and demanding. Come the end of the night they were not at all happy, asked to see the owner, and left shortly afterwards having paid less than half their bill, which would have been around £150.
Both the owner and the waitress were spitting mad, maintaining that the food was fine and the table was being intentionally difficult.
Just about a year later I was serving a table of 4. They were being very rude and very demanding. Finishing perhaps half of their starters, most of them had complaints for me to send back to the kitchen. The chef tasted all of it, and declared it fine.
Then the head waitress checked out the table and clocks them as the same four people she served the previous year. I served the mains and again they polished off half their plates and rattled off a list of complaints about the standard of the food. They ordered desserts, and complained again.
Come bill-paying time I know what was happening and get the owner to speak to the table himself. They chewed him out for the quality of food and the poor service. He listened and pointed out that he was surprised they returned, seeing as they were so unhappy last time.
They argued back and forth for a little bit, and ultimately settled on a half price meal. The manager took a debit card, smiled politely, took it to the bar, charged the full whack plus a small tip to the card, handed it back and told them to get out.
8. Sunday best
One Sunday after church, a van full of "church mothers" came through the Drive Thru of the fast food restaurant I worked at and placed their order.
Everything was sent out correctly, as we double checked their order with them before handing it out. Five minutes later the van pulled up and the driver got out and came into the lobby. Her white "church dress" has a large red stain from her strawberry soda down the front.
As she walked through the door she started screaming at me, calling me everything a good church lady should not be saying. Full out cursing. Apparently a few blocks away she had to slam on her brakes and the soda that she was drinking while driving splashed all over her.
She demanded that the store replace her dress. I declined.
She then demanded that we pay for her dry cleaning. I declined.
Finally after five minutes of cursing and demanding she asked me what I would do if I was in her place with stained clothing. My reply was “I would have no problem because I drink Sprite."
I was a corporate training manager with three franchise owner trainees with me at the time. It was a perfect lesson for them to learn (as new store owners) that the customer is not always right.
9. Check out the crabs in the bucket
I worked in a wonderful seafood restaurant on California's central coast. It was a really touristy spot, but made amazing money during the busy season. It was tough because with tourists, it was always hit or miss. You could usually spot the people from the valley who were coming for the beach, and unfortunately, that meant a bad attitude and an even worse tip.
Usually, the average bill would be around $150. So you could easily make around $80 an hour with a 4 table section. Sometimes it was less, but most people ordered the house specialty. It was called the "bucket." It consisted of 3 choices of seafood, different crabs, shrimp or slipper lobsters. And corn, cajun sausage and red potatoes. It's $100, and good for 2 people to share.
It's a lot of work as a server because you have to prep butter warmers, sauces, and mini buckets of tools to get the crab out. Then you come out and dump the bucket directly on the customers table. It's a mess, and a lot of cleanup, but a really fun experience.
Anyway, we had a party of twenty-seven one night. So another server and I were forced to merge sections and tables to make room. It was a small restaurant. Three hours and twelve buckets later, we were left with mess everywhere. They got their $1400 bill. They were complete valley trash, drunk, idiotic and very demanding.
They left us a tip of $7.06. To split.
10. No sir I am not on the menu
I had a group of gentlemen come in and they ordered quite a large amount of food. Within 5 minutes they asked me why their food hadn't come yet. Well, we aren't fast food and it takes a while for things to cook.
They had taken a great liking to me and decided to give me a name (without bothering to ask me what my real name was.) Throughout the entire meal, they kept yelling my temporary name they gave me.
They proceeded to ask me for a discount the entire time, repeatedly, and each time my answer was no.
I really dislike people touching me, I just like my personal space. Anyways, we were super busy and these gentlemen did not stop talking. I would back away slowly, wrap up the conversation and tell them that I had to get back to work. They wanted to keep talking despite that so one of them grabbed my wrist and continued talking. I tugged my arm a few times and said I needed to go check up on their food. Still they continued talking.
Then, when I was taking the order from the table beside them they started tugging on the back of my apron while yelling the name they thought up for me.
At the end of their meal, they had quite a few left overs so I asked if they would like me to pack up the food so they could take it home. One of them then looked up and said that he wanted to put me in a bag and take me home. He proceeded to ask why I was not on the menu. Awkward laughs were had.
At the very end, despite me telling them that they could not have a discount they threw a fit when their bill came. They demanded a discount because they were regulars (never seen them, neither had my manager.)
11. Oh Gary
We have this regular customer, Gary. He is in his 70s, a retired marine, and has a lot of expectations. He eats with us once every few weeks.
When you come up to Gary’s table you are expected to light the candle no matter how bright or sunny it may be. Also, you'd better bring him extra napkins. He orders an appetizer and an entre.
You must understand though, that he'll take thirty minutes to eat his appetizer, so you can’t put his dinner order in too soon. However, he expects you to have his dinner on the table the minute he's done with his appetizer, so you need to know exactly how long it will take him to finish and how long it takes the dinner to cook.
Then you watch him eating slowly, I've seen it take as long as an hour to finish a dinner. You have to be there at the exact minute he finishes to get his desert and coffee order. The longest yet I've seen him take to eat was 2.5 hours sitting at a prime two top.
He also talks to other guests. He isn't afraid to say anything. He asked a bald man where he got "that haircut" from. He one day started talking to a Korean family about the war. Those poor people just wanted to eat.
We consider him to be a sort of initiation for new servers.
12. Allergic to common sense
I was working as a server at a well known chain that serves Sunday brunch.
I was working out on the patio and a couple came in. Before I even got to the table, she told me that I needed to go back inside and get the kitchen manager because she has allergies.
Her husband ordered normally and she decided to order the steak and eggs. But she wanted egg whites. It can’t be the egg whites from the container though, she says — they have to be fresh egg whites because she is allergic to preservatives.
She was also allergic to salt, pepper, shellfish, egg yolks, gluten, 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 (despite her supposed gluten allergy) and said that once I brought it out, she’d know whether or not she could eat it.
She ate it all, and then accused me of trying to kill her. My manager had to come out and comp the whole meal. Then the lady had the audacity to tell me, "It's okay, I guess I just have to go home and take some Benadryl because you brought me out that bread."
13. Beware the little ones
I used to work at Wendy's. One day I was at the front counter during the lunch rush and this little girl (maybe 8) came in. She came straight to the counter to tell me her family just went through the drive through and they didn't get an order of large fries.
I apologized to her then turned around to talk to the drive through workers. They told me that we had ran out of fries for the moment and that more were being cooked. I relayed this information to the little girl and she thanked me and stood off to the side.
I continued to take orders and after a minute she disappeared outside. She returned with her mother who interrupted the gentleman currently giving his order to yell at me. She accused me of calling her daughter a liar and she "didn't raise no liar".
I tried to explain the situation, but I couldn't get a word in edgewise. I ended up yelling over her voice to tell her that the fries would be done momentarily. Just at that moment a bag containing a large fry was handed to her and she stormed out. I was so worked up that the manager told me to take my break and cool off.
14. Kitchen courtesy
At a restaurant I used to work at, the kitchen would try and close at 10 pm. We kept on two servers and a bartender until the last customer left the restaurant. On this night, it was 9:45 pm and I was one of the last two servers working.
A couple came in and sat in my section. No worries. I only had two other tables and this wasn't unusual. They each ordered a glass of wine and I let them know that the kitchen was closing shortly. I got the response, "The kitchen will close when I get my damn food." I knew from that statement this couple was going to be trouble.
I brought them their glasses of wine and immediately, the wife declared that it tasted like crap and ordered another kind of white wine.
I brought the wife her second glass of wine and asked for their food order. They ordered an appetizer. I let them know, once again, that the kitchen was closing, explaining that it's better if I can get their full order now so the cook can do what he needs to. They refused to give me their order until their appetizer came.
I went into the kitchen and let the cook know. He wasn't happy, but agreed to stay until the meal was cooked.
One they finally ordered and received their food, they declared that it was disgusting and the worst thing they had ever eaten and immediately asked for the bill. My manager spoke to them for a while.
She came back in and agreed, they were awful. She made adjustments to the bill to appease them and it came to $150. They didn't tip.
15. Strong armed for hot water
I used to work at a burger place that was open relatively late. One Sunday night I was working my first closing shift. At thirty minutes to close it was just me and another waitress working. Suddenly we were hit with a huge rush.
As I was scrambling around, my manager sat a table of three old women accompanied by a middle aged son. The older women all ordered hot water with lemon and the son ordered a beer. Okay, easy enough, I brought it to them and asked if they were ready to order.
They said no, and asked me to come back in twenty minutes. When I returned they ordered their food and more hot water. I noticed that none of them had touched their hot water, but they wanted more because it had gone lukewarm.
The rush hadn't let up. I had just placed their order and replaced their drinks, and was heading to another table with my hands full of plates when I was suddenly yanked backwards, spilling fries everywhere. The son had grabbed me to tell me his mother's water was not hot enough and I needed to fix it now.
When I exchanged the water I saw that they still had not taken a drink. And their cups were still noticeably hot. When I returned with their food and another beer for the son, the ladies asked for more hot water. They had still not touched their drinks.
As I poured it I got my arm yanked back and spilled beer everywhere on myself and the counter. It was the son again, wanting to know what my problem was.
They made me re-heat their untouched water another 4 times. They also didn't tip.
16. Teeth or no dice
Let me paint the picture that I have burned in my memory of these horrible customers. They were friends with my equally horrible boss, and they always sat right near him in the restaurant. I tried to be a sweet waitress, but they refused to give me any kind of human emotion in return.
On one occasion they ordered 3 very expensive steak and egg plates. Knowing that there were similar things on the menu that cost far less, I double checked, NO, triple checked to make sure their order was correct. When I brought out the food they said it wasn't. So I had to explain to my boss why I wasted $40 of his food, which likely would be coming out of my tips for the day.
I finally finished dealing with these obnoxious men and was overjoyed to get to hand them their check. For their entire meal I had presented a courteous waitress poker face– not quite a smile, but in no way was I scowling or angry looking.
As I lay their check down, one of them looked me in the eyes and said "Hey. How about you give me a pretty smile before I pay this.” I was a little taken back by that request. I looked back at him and stammered "What?"
He repeated in a far creepier voice "I want to see you smile. Or I'm not paying this." I turned to look at my boss, who gave me a 'you better do it' kind of look.
These men proceeded to make me lean in and smile like I was at the dentist or something. And then they laughed as I walked away.
17. Choose your battles
I used to work at a pizza place right next to the Metrodome in Minneapolis. The owner had a habit of chronically understaffing the place, which made it really hard to work on days there were events.
This one particular Sunday, there happened to be a massive blizzard. There also happened to be a Vikings vs. Bears game. This alone made for a perfect storm of terrible working conditions. I kept having to go outside, and I was soaking wet. There were at least fifty people in the store.
A woman approached the counter and started complaining that all of her food was inedible. I was shocked that she'd be complaining at all with the circumstances around her, but it's possible we made a mistake since we were working in chaos.
I asked her what was wrong. She said her food just tasted like garbage and she couldn't eat it. "What can I do for you to make you feel better?" She asked for a salad. I'm usually not allowed to give out food, but I got this woman a salad so I could service our other customers.
2 minutes later her husband came up. "I just want you to know that this is the grossest food we have ever eaten. We're from Chicago, blah blah blah." He kept going on about how he's from Chicago.
There was a line of people behind him out the door. I was dripping wet, freezing, and I’d been yelled at all day. I snapped and yelled "then go back to Chicago asshole!"
My manager looked at me (I never did stuff like that. Ever.) told me to go into the office and wait. Five minutes later she handed me receipts for my next order, gave me a hug, and said it never happened.
18. Running circles around her
In high school I worked at a regional franchise and the guy who trained me on drive-thru was the owner of that store.
While he was taking someone's order he missed an item, so when they came back through he offered the woman the item he missed for free. That wasn’t good enough. She wanted the whole meal refunded.
He refused and she demanded to see the manager. His reply was to say, "Sure! Let me get him for you." He turned around in a full circle before saying, "Hi! I'm the manager."
She flipped and demanded to see the store manager so he repeated his little circle-turn routine and she went nuts, demanding to speak to someone above him.
He replied, "Well the owner is here, I can get him." Turned one last circle, leaned out the window and said "Hi, I'm the owner. Get out of my drive-thru."
19. Liar liar pants on fire
I had a customer from a large party who was rude to me and actually accused me of being racist against her. The incident happened when I was gathering their dinner plates to clear the table after they had finished eating.
She handed me her plate with the knife precariously perched on it (I’m convinced she did it on purpose to this day) and the knife fell off her plate between us and hit the floor. She went ballistic and said the knife hit her and it stained her dress and she was going to have my job for it.
She demanded to see my manager and told them that she expected me to be punished for it. She told my manager that I was rude and snarky to them all night, didn't attend to them properly, and that I was constantly rolling my eyes and making comments about them under my breath then gossiping and laughing at them in the kitchen. Absolutely none of this happened, of course.
Even if I hate a table I am always professional and courteous and even tend to show tougher tables more attention. She demanded money to pay for her dress to be dry cleaned and actually managed to get $20 from the manager.
I think it was her accusations of racism and saying I was muttering about them under my breath the entire time are what got to me the most. She was one of the only customers I had who flat out lied in an attempt to get me fired for no other reason than she didn't like the look of me.
I waited tables at a place that had a buffet on Fridays. A lady came in with her twin sons and they all ate at the buffet.
When I brought her the check she flipped out on me because I didn't charge her for two "child buffets." I told her that the cut off age is ten years old. She said her kids were ten exactly.
I pointed out that:
her kids were wearing their high school varsity football jerseys and
I knew they were seniors in high school because I WENT TO THEIR SCHOOL.
She called me a liar, then she tried to name drop the owner's names, but got them completely wrong. She asked to speak to the manager, so I got the manager from the office, who happened to be the owner's daughter.
She pulled the whole, "I am close family friend of the owners" and botched their names again. The manager just said "Well, you're at the wrong restaurant, because no one by that name owns this place and I am the owner's daughter, and I've never seen you in my life."
The lady just gave a, "Well, I never..." and wrote a check. Which bounced.
21. Let the ladies eat!
I was serving at a popular chain restaurant one time, and I had these three customers: a man and two women, all probably in their seventies. I got to their tables to take their drink orders, and the man proceeded to order for both women. Except he only ordered a cup of coffee and a glass of water. Alright, fine.
Things got a bit strange when one of the women asked for a glass of water, and the man got very agitated and said "No. No water for her." At this point I felt concerned.
As I got the drinks, I decided to bring her a drink anyway. Water is free after all.I thought I'd 'accidentally' bring it to the table. But nope. The man got upset and demanded I take back the water. Not only that, but the coffee and the other lemon water he ordered originally, were apparently both for him.
Then, he ordered his meal. One meal. Again, the same woman started a very weak attempt to protest so that she could eat. The man snapped at her to shut up, and told me "for any reason, do not bring her a meal."
I couldn't handle it any more, so I tried passing off the customer to my manager. Except they were busy. So I ended up just watching the abuse and ended up with a 5% tip.
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