The customer is always right, but up to a certain point! Waitstaff from Quora share the time they kicked out a rude customer. Content has been edited for clarity.
All Of That In One Shift
“Years ago, I worked overnights as a cook at Waffle House.
One night, about three am, two couples rolled into my store.
Now, keep in mind, that at the time, Waffle House did not accept anything but cash. No cards, no checks, only cash. There’s signage on the door that says this, there are notations on the menus, and there’s a big plaque in front of the cash register. This is important.
One of the ladies was exceedingly pregnant, we’re talking maybe twins, due tomorrow pregnant. She’s dressed in a beautiful dress that has clearly been tailored to fit her shape. They squeeze into a booth and peruse the menus, the waitress got their drink orders to them, and then asked if they were ready to order.
The pregnant lady ordered, among a couple of other things, a bowl of grits. A side of grits is a small bowl with about 3/4 cup of grits. A bowl of grits is near a quart — the grits came in pre-measured packets, and a bowl of grits is about 90% of that package. We actually didn’t have enough made up, so I made a fresh batch for this lady.
And when the waitress put this kiddie-pool-sized bowl of grits on the table, Pregnant Lady’s husband made the grave mistake of saying something like, ‘Uh, babe, maybe you shouldn’t eat ALL of that.’
She physically shoved him out of the booth, screaming, and as he scrambled to his feet, hurled the bowl of grits at his face. He ducked, and the bowl shattered against the front window of my store, spraying grits down the entire front of my store. She stormed out of the restaurant, got in the Porsche, and peeled out, with him running off into the night after her.
The other two stood there awkwardly for a couple of minutes, and decided to just pay and leave. They came up to the register and held out the first and only black credit card I had ever seen.
I shrugged and said, ‘I’m sorry, we can’t accept credit cards.’
‘But it’s a black card, there’s no limit on it,’ I was told.
‘That’s impressive, but we literally don’t have the equipment to run a credit card. No swiper, no imprinter, nothing. We’re only set up to take cash,’ and I pointed at the sign in front of the register. Meanwhile, grits were still dripping on my front window, starting to congeal, and I just want them gone so I can start cleaning that up.
The dude blinked, and said, ‘[The credit company] says this card is accepted everywhere.’
‘I think they mean, like, more countries and such. We physically can’t run the card to charge it. If you like, though, there’s an ATM just across the parking lot,’ and I pointed to the bank at the other end of the mall. ‘You could grab a cash advance there, and cover the bill that way.’
The second lady, who had been kind of instigating the whole time they’d been here, pushed the man aside and whipped out an exotic-leather, designer-named pocketbook. ‘UGH, fine, we’ll write you a check,’ and started scribbling one out with a very expensive-looking pen.
‘I’m sorry, we can’t take checks either, for the same reason. We just don’t have the equipment to verify a check,’ I told her.
‘Well, then I’ll make it out to you, personally,’ she said.
‘I’m sorry, company policy won’t let me do that either,’ I firmly stated.
She was getting louder and louder, saying things like, ‘I am a model! There is no reason for you to not take my check! Just take it!’
I shrugged and said, ‘Look, I’m sorry, but the signs are on the door, the menus, and the register, we can only accept cash. Period. The ATM is, like, 50 yards away, it won’t take five minutes to get cash and come back. You’ve spent at least that much time already fighting with me over this.’
She lost it. She started screaming there was 40k in that bank account, that’s more than I’ll earn in a year. Meanwhile, her date was looking more and more shamefaced off to the side, looking like he’d like to melt and slide down the floor drain. She got more and more abusive, and I glanced off to the side to my waitresses. One was standing at the phone, and the other was standing at the coffee pot, holding a full, fresh brew.
I interrupted Model Lady mid-sentence, with a quiet, ‘Get out.’
She actually hiccuped, she stopped talking so fast.
‘What did you say to me?’ she questioned.
‘I said get out. I am exercising my right to refuse service,’ and pointed at THAT sign, ‘and I am throwing you out. If you don’t leave immediately, Shelley over there,’ and a nod to the waitress at the phone, ‘is going to call 911. They will dispatch a car from the cop shop two blocks away, and I will have you arrested. Get out of my store, and do not come back, ever. You’re banned.’
Her date dragged her, kicking and screaming, out the door, shoved her in their car, and gave me a final apologetic shrug as he drove her away.
Happily, the homeless dude who used to camp out in my store offered to clean the window if I bought him breakfast. I made him steak and eggs, and he did such a phenomenal job that my manager hired him to do it officially.”
Good Thing They Had Proof
“It was a slow Monday night in a bar I owned years ago, and almost all our customers were regulars or friends of mine or the staff. Two kids complete with baggy sweatpants and baseball hats with those silly flat brims perched precariously high on their heads came in around midnight and immediately started problems. Nothing too crazy, just being way too loud and close-talking to people who were obviously not interested in making new friends. You know the type.
So I gave them each a glass of water and quietly told them they were welcome to hang out at an empty table as long as they like, but we won’t serve them any more drinks and they need to leave the other customers alone.
The mood turned ugly very quickly, and the kids got in my face and started talking about all the violence that they wanted to inflict on me. Bad move. One of my bartenders and I threw them out. They stood outside the bar for a few minutes yelling about how the owner is a bully and nobody should go there. When we opened the door and took a step outside, they jetted off leaving in their wake nothing but the scent of fear. I bought everybody sitting at the bar a round of shots and we spent some time laughing at those two clowns.
About 20 minutes later, we heard a sharp CRACK and I turned around to see the glass on the front door spidering out from a small hole. I tore the door open and ran outside, one of our regular customers hot on my heels, to see those two brats running away down the street, and a rock on the ground in front of the broken window.
Thank god I’m older and calmer than I once was. I turned around and shouted at my bartender to call the police, and then the customer and I started running after them to make sure they didn’t disappear. We chased them for a couple of blocks and when they noticed us catching up, they jumped into the middle of the street, flagged down a passing police car, and told the cops we were trying to assault them. The cops, understandably, started coming at us. I put my hands up and started to explain the situation. They weren’t having any of it.
But right as I’m having my ‘Oh no’ moment, my bartender came diving into the middle of the scene, cell phone in hand, telling the cops they might want to talk to their dispatcher before handcuffing anybody. There were two more cars on the way with instructions to detain two kids who matched the descriptions of our rock throwers.
We were all taken back up the street to the bar, my crew and I were let back inside, and the kids spent the next hour on the sidewalk in handcuffs while the police took statements. They spent the night in jail and had to pay for the window damage, but I decided not to press charges. I think they learned their lesson.”
He Had Back-Up
“I was 19 and it was my very first job after flunking out of college.
I was third assistant manager in a restaurant. One of the waitresses came up to me to say there were two men causing trouble in the bar.
I swallowed and went to look for them. Sure enough, they were creating a nuisance and bothering the staff and customers, so I plucked up the courage to approach them.
‘Excuse me, I’m sorry but I’m going to have to ask you to leave,’ I said, believing they would immediately bow to this imposing authority figure and sidle out.
What they did was to look me up and down and then proceeded to grab hold of me and start to rough me up.
Luckily, a waitress summoned the chef, who was an enormous bodybuilder.
He grabbed them both, hauled them out into the lobby, and asked me what I wanted him to do with them.
Not wanting a murder on my conscience, I simply said, ‘Just kick them out, please,’ which he did along with some choice Anglo-Saxon words suggesting they didn’t return.
Needless to say, the chef received an endless supply of forbidden drinks for the rest of the evening.”
Trying To Play The Ultimate Entitled Card
“I was chef and owner of my first place – a 65-seat, dinner-only, fine dining place in a smallish town outside of Washington, D.C. We were on the leading edge of what would be known as ‘farm to table,’ and were quickly the ‘it’ place.
One night in the spring, an older gentleman and his date were dining on our modest sidewalk café — one of four tables. Erica, an experienced server came to the pass nearly in tears. This guest had run down the food (which was more than 1/2 eaten), asked for his bill, and was loudly complaining to the other tables about prices and quality. The pair had enjoyed a few drinks before ordering, and after 1/2 a bottle of bubbly, were a bit into their cups. Erica did her best to appease, but was being abused by this man and asked to tap out. I went to the table.
I remember the name on the Gold Card and suffice to say he was a well-known attorney who had recently been appointed to a State’s Attorney General post and was comfortable asking me, ‘Do you know who I am?’
At the time, I didn’t, so I answered, ‘No.’ He berated my food and my establishment, my drinks, again loudly, looking to the other diners for approval. I let him rant until I’d heard it all a second time. I picked up the check and tore it in half, handed him his card back, and picked up their glasses and the bottle.
‘I think we’re done here, Mr. X, you need to go,’ I said.
He was agog and started to speak again. ‘No, sir, I don’t believe that we’re going to be able to settle this amicably, and I think it’s time for you to go. I won’t accept your money or your future patronage.’
That was empowering in a way I’ve never dreamed. And, my staff and patrons that night in a packed house were treated to how real bullies behave in a restaurant.”
He Just Wanted Crab, Not Drama
“I was tending bar and an elderly man and his much younger date sat at the bar. I’d say 70 and 40ish, respectively. This was a restaurant with a 10 seat bar and it was Sunday afternoon, so the place was packed with families in their Sunday best.
They were both very hammered, so I refused to serve them drinks but told them they could eat. The lady did not like this very much, but the man agreed.
On the other end of the bar sat a regular I personally did not care for. We will call her ‘Kim.’ Kim and the hammered lady knew each other somehow, and it became obvious they did not care for each other. After some back and forth between the two of them, I kindly reminded them they were in a family environment, and the name-calling needed to stop. The silence lasted all of five minutes before resuming.
The food had arrived at this point and the elderly man was consumed with his King Crab legs. His date was picking the fight with Kim this time around, and this time it was louder and she was using words highly inappropriate in any public setting.
I slid a check across the bar to the man and told him to pay up, eat up, and get out, since my previous warning had fallen on deaf ears.
His date leans over the bar top and slurs to me, ‘You’re nothing but a dead-beat bartender.’
At the other end of the bar, Kim apparently took offense to this and felt I needed rescuing, so she decided to shoulder check the hammered lady at a full sprint, knocking her clean off the barstool and onto her back, legs in the air.
I admit I started laughing, and the hammered lady saw this. She popped up furious and started climbing over the bar to attack me. Kim put the lady in a bear hug and pulled her down while I leaped over the bar to break the two of them up. No joke, the old man still had his face buried in his King Crab, not giving a second thought.
I wiggled between the two ladies and turned myself into a shield. The hammered lady began clawing at my face, so I pinned her arms down and proceed to pick her up to carry her out of the place.
About five steps towards the door, she got the brilliant idea to go limp, dead weight and begins screaming over and over again, very loudly at the top of her lungs.
I surveyed the restaurant and saw my manager standing a few feet away catching flies with her mouth. The entire restaurant was silent and in shock.
I then made the decision to grab the lady by her foot and dragged her 50 feet or so to the front door while she continued screaming, while simultaneously hooking her free foot around patrons’ chairs and table legs, knocking food and drink as we went.
When we reached the door, I gave her a small heave-ho over the threshold and walked away.
When I returned to the bar, the old man was still eating…I told him he needed to leave and packed up his food. It was his birthday and all he wanted was a little king crab.
I cooled off in the walk-in for a minute and returned to the bar.
Kim was laughing and I told her it wasn’t funny and she needed to stop laughing.
To hold back her laughter she took a swig of her drink, but ended up bursting and spraying liquid all over my face. I slid her check across the bar and had her leave as well.
An awful shift, but at least it’s a great story to tell people now.”
The Charade Is Up, Ladies
“When I was chef/owner of a small restaurant, we had two ladies that would come in for lunch two or three times a week. They would send everything back complaining about the taste, quality, claiming it was old. It seemed they just wanted a free meal. Every time was a negotiation about the bill. After much discussion with servers and managers, my decision was these people were just as bad as a walkout. The next time they came in, the manager and server were to let me handle the issue.
As expected, the next time they dropped by, they sent back their soups as cold. Then they complained about the meals. Both meals were bad. I got to the table, they couldn’t describe what was wrong – they just didn’t like it after they have eaten over half of it. They, of course, were talking very loudly to cause maximum disturbance. I talked just as loud. I told them they weren’t happy with us and we weren’t happy with them. I took their plates, cleared their beverages, told them to leave and not to return – loudly.
Apparently, our regulars were tired of their nonsense as well. I received a big round of applause. A few minutes later, my server gave me a big hug.”
He Left A Secret Message
“We were full, and a couple came in to eat without a reservation. I informed them it would be about 15 minutes until a table was available. He frowned and mumbled but agreed and made his way to the bar.
After five minutes, he shouted at me as I walked by and asked in a very harsh tone, ‘When the heck am I going to be seated!’
I told him calmly it wouldn’t be long and went about my business. I was able to seat him and his wife shortly after, but things went to chaos in a hurry.
His server, a very experienced and kind young lady that had worked for me for years, asked me to go talk to the guy. I could tell she was close to tears. Apparently, he had ordered our crab cakes and insisted to her that we were using imitation crab meat and they were the worst things he had ever eaten.
Anyway, I approached the table and let him unload on me. I removed the almost completely eaten crab cakes, took what was left to the kitchen to inspect. As I assumed, they were perfect. At this point, I’d had enough. The food complaint didn’t bother me, but I would not allow anyone to be abusive to my staff.
I got his check, added a 20% tip, took it to his table, and told him, ‘Sir, it’s obvious we are unable to please you, therefore I suggest that you find an establishment that can serve you better.’
He started to say he wasn’t going to pay, and I informed him it would be theft and he would be arrested (the police would have backed me up). He begrudgingly paid the bill and I saw him go to the restroom. Then he and his wife left.
For some reason, I knew he had done something. I went to the restroom and on the wall by the urinal he had written in pen, ‘The food, service and James Clary suck.’
At first, I was made and tempted to charge his card $300 for painting the restroom but upon reflection, I had to laugh and then took pity on him. After all, this was a 65-year-old, well-dressed man, who was a miserable person and actually resorted to writing graffiti in a restroom. Pitiful!”
They Did Not Expect To See Him Again
“I was in the restaurant business for about 17 years. I was running a nice concept restaurant in a well-to-do area with a good sort of upper-middle-class client base. So one night, we had a family of four for dinner. The husband was in a bit of a mood upon arrival, so I knew it was going to be a bit of a difficult table. I made sure I assigned our strongest waitress to their table, and I made a point of also keeping an eye on them.
When they ordered main courses, the husband ordered a T-bone steak, well done. I immediately went to the table and explained to him in order to get the piece of meat around the bone well done, we would have to cremate the rest of the steak. I suggested we grilled the steak until most of it was well done. He could then eat the part of the steak that was well done, after which the waitress could return his steak to the grill and we could grill the rest of his steak until it was all well done. We did this in three stages, to ensure we gave him as much well-done steak without burning anything.
After all this, there was a thin strip right up against the bone that was still a little pink. He started screaming at the waitress, at which point I stepped in. He proceeded to start screaming at me, at which point I walked him outside. We stood nose to nose outside. I told him I was doing him a favor by not beating him up in front of his family, that’s why I took him outside. If he said or did anything other than handing me the cash for the dinner, I would reverse that decision. He paid up and had to wait outside while his family finished their meal.
Now, here’s the nice part of the story: A few days later, we took my wife’s new car for its first service at the dealership. We asked to see the service manager as there were a few minor issues with the car we wanted to be sorted out under warranty. Who walks out to greet us? You guessed it, Mr. Well-done T-Bone. My wife can be a very difficult customer when she wants to be.”
“I worked at a pretty busy, semi-upscale restaurant. The bar was a big draw for the after-work crowd, and it was usually hopping on Friday and Saturday nights. Our bartenders were awesome and a major reason we had so many repeat customers to the bar.
One of the bartenders was a gorgeous young woman who was incredibly sweet and friendly. Everyone on our loved her and one customer, in particular, translated her friendliness as being interested in him. That wasn’t the case. He was really making her uncomfortable, and she started letting other members of the staff know about it.
So we noticed he started coming around a lot more often and at the time, I was the hostess manager. So I instructed my staff not to give him any information about that bartender or her schedule, and if he was getting pushy, to either get me or one of the managers on duty to deal with him. Most nights, there were at least three managers working the FOH.
So he showed up again while the bartender was working and was getting frustrated the male bartenders working were going out of their way to serve him so she didn’t have to. He kept trying to talk to her and finally stormed out of the restaurant. Well, he came back about a half an hour before closing, and from the front door, he was looking into the bar area to see if the bartender was still there. Apparently, he had done this a few other nights as well.
When he didn’t see her, he asked the hostess if she had left for the night, and she was like, ‘I really don’t know. Let me get my manager.’
So she found me, told me the guy was back asking for the bartender. I was a little spooked he came back so late, so I asked one of the other managers to come with me and help me deal with this guy.
There was definitely something off about him. We asked why he was looking for her and he said something about how he didn’t feel like they got a chance to talk that night and was hoping they could talk now. Then he started asking if there was a way he could get in touch with her or if we could let him know when she was working over the next few days. At that point, we told him he was making people feel uncomfortable and while we appreciated his business, it would probably be best if he found somewhere else to go. He said he didn’t understand what the problem was and was still insisting we help him get in touch with the bartender.
At that point, we were just telling him he had to leave and we would prefer he not come back. He left, but the whole thing was really, really weird. After that, we made our ‘No one walks out to their cars alone after dark’ rule 100% mandatory and made sure staff was communicating to each other about customers that were getting a little ‘too attached.’
The bartender worked there for another four months after that weirdness. To the best of my knowledge, the guy never came back, thank goodness.”
Not The Time Or Place, Dude
“When I was a young college student, I had the opportunity to work for a company that owned five of the top ten restaurants in Atlanta, mostly Fine French Cuisine. One of my perks as a home office employee was the ability to get two free meals a week at one of the restaurants in exchange for a QC report. I also was able to bypass the hour long wait times and be treated like royalty. My dates really liked that, and I enjoyed being able to order from appetizer to dessert with no fear of the price. I just needed to tip the waiter and sign the bill.
Anyway, on one visit to Peasant Uptown in Phipps Plaza, I was enjoying a wonderful meal of Cornish hens stuffed with wild rice and covered in a blackberry reduction. Suddenly, one of the people at the next table loudly called the waiter over and demanded a bottle of ketchup for his meal. The waiter scurried off to the kitchen and returned with the chef. The chef leaned over the table and told the man not only did they not have any Cat-sup, but that this was a fine-dining French restaurant and the sauce provided was a perfect accompaniment to the man’s meal. The man continued to state he always used ketchup on his meat and wanted what he wanted.
The chef not-so-politely picked up the man’s dinner plate, told the man he was ‘excused to take his business elsewhere,’ and disappeared back into the kitchen. I think the guy sat there for a bit trying to figure out what had just happened, then his wife walked him out of the restaurant.”