Enough is enough. When the job or the work environment is terrible, then it's time to call it quits. It happens, and here are some of our favorite "I Quit" moments from food workers this year. Content has been edited for clarity.
The Chef Gone Mad
“I got hired at a burger joint in the south Loop in Chicago. Even though I was going to work nights, they only brought me in to train for a weekend breakfast. Then I immediately went to work in the evening shift a few days later after that one training session. It was a nightmare.
The night shift consisted of the night manager (not a working manager, just someone who assumed he was there to schmooze customers and yell at the staff), a petulant bartender, a megalomaniac cook, and me. I worked with these horrible people as the one waitress on shift for the entire restaurant with zero dinner training, and I think the restaurant sat at least 100 people inside and out. I think I lasted about a week, doing my best.
On my last shift, one of the customers asked for mayonnaise for his burger. The manager was too busy talking to someone to help me and shook me off (surprise, surprise), so I went into the kitchen and asked the chef where they stored the mayonnaise. He yelled at me to freaking figure it out. Remember, I had trained on breakfast, and nobody had used mayonnaise at breakfast. So I went down into their storeroom, which filled the entire basement of the restaurant above it, and wandered around this giant space for 10 minutes trying to figure out where in the world they would store their mayonnaise. I checked all the fridges. I checked near all the dry condiments. I looked literally everywhere else as best as I could. I couldn’t find it. Meanwhile, there was literally no waitstaff up on the floor. I finally went back up and told the cook I couldn’t find it. He cussed a blue streak at me about how I was a freaking idiot, but still refused to help me, so I had to go tell the customer he wasn’t going to get his mayonnaise.
Right after this happened, a table for 12 came in. Each one of them ordered a different drink and different temperature meat with either cheddar or American cheese. The bartender was mad at me (as if I have any influence whatsoever over what drinks they’d order, especially since the drinks were the bar specialty). The cook just threw food up in whatever order he felt like working on first, not in any particular order according to the ticket. But even though he’d just cooked them and didn’t have another order waiting, he absolutely refused to tell me which burger was which.
He’d put all 12 burgers up on the counter in no particular order and wanted me to magically figure out which were well done or medium well with American cheese and which were well done or medium well with cheddar cheese, etc. The buns were giant and you couldn’t even see what was in the burger. With the cook refusing to tell me what was what, I started to peel back the bun on the first burger a little to at least see if I could see what kind of meat and cheese was on it. He saw me touching the burger with my hand and screamed bloody murder at me again about how I was a freaking idiot. He cussed me out in both English and Spanish (I had already previously told him I spoke Spanish, so he loved being able to cuss me out or call me rude names in his own language and knew I understood).
I looked from his screaming red face down to 12 burgers that just looked like giant buns with who-knew-what inside them, and I knew I’d never be able to deliver the food to the table. I went out on the floor to try to think for a minute while I picked up the drinks from the bar. But the bartender still wouldn’t give me my drinks. He wanted me to go back to the table and convince them not to order their special drinks.
What kind of bartender refuses to do drinks? That’s their main job – to make drinks. If he didn’t want to work, then why even show up?
It was then that I said, ‘Forget it!’
I walked towards the manager to quit, taking off my apron as I walked. He was coming back from the kitchen, red in the face, screaming at me in front of the customers that he was going to fire me because the cook said I was an idiot and wouldn’t deliver the food.
I told him, ‘You can’t fire me. I’m quitting.’ Grabbed my stuff and left, and I’ve never been back. They make good burgers there, but dang, what a bunch of bullies.”
A Huge Blizzard
“When I first moved to New York City, I got a bartending job at a pub in Williamsburg. The manager was always missing in action and the staff was usually left to their own devices. One weekend a huge blizzard hit the city. I had made it in to work when the city declared a state of emergency and started shutting down the trains. I called my manager to tell them the trains were shutting down and the staff wanted to leave to catch the last trains home before it was too late.
He said no and told us all to stay. What kind of manager would do that to their employee? First, they’re not going to earn any money in a life-threatening blizzard, and secondly, think about their safety.
At this point, the snow was getting deep enough to make opening the front door difficult. I texted my manager that we were leaving, and we packed up and closed the store. The next morning the manager texted to say that we were opening for brunch despite all the trains being shut down. I told him I couldn’t make it in, so he said he would come to pick me up in his car and asked for my address. I gave him a fake address, turned off my phone, went back to bed, and found a new job later that week.”
“Making Jokes About My Manhood And Our Dead Baby”
“The general manager of the restaurant I worked at was fired for being a scumbag pervy moron. This does not sound like a good start. I can just imagine how he was.
He was married and had young kids. When he needed a babysitter, he would drop his children off at employees’ houses unannounced. If they refused, he would cut their hours or give them only terrible sections.
At the Christmas party, he got wasted and openly went home with the karaoke lady he had hired. He later told the staff about nailing her. His wife was friendly with several of the people who witnessed this and then he hired the karaoke lady to be a server, giving her preferential treatment even though she had never done the job before.
He left the office safe open one morning, and then left the office door propped open. When money came up missing that night, he blamed the manager who had worked the night before. When confronted about the illogic, he claimed he had a headache and went home for the day.
He started a side business on his own, providing food for weddings and other parties. He used the restaurant’s food, equipment, and staff to put these things on, but refused to pay for any of it. He would then complain about our food cost being high.
When the staff would ask him about getting paid what he promised for the wedding they worked for him, he would say, ‘I do a lot for you when it comes to your schedule, don’t I?’
My wife had a late-term miscarriage. I had to change my days off to comfort her. He was so rude about it, so I had to tell him exactly why I needed the change. While I was gone, he spoke about the miscarriage at shift meetings with the staff, making jokes about my manhood and our dead baby.
Okay, now that’s crossing a line. Not only is that inappropriate on all levels, but also a personal matter that had no right to be discussed at a work meeting.
Once I found out about that last one, I confronted him. He denied it. I called the district manager and let him know I was quitting.
That got the ball rolling on all this other stuff coming out, and he was fired.
After he was forcibly led to his car, he drove to the front of the restaurant, got out, ran to the grassy area, and started pulling up hand fulls of grass and throwing them at the windows while screaming like a child.”
His Manager Didn’t Give A Hoot About His Availability
“Today I quit. After two years at this place, I quit. I was one of the longest-lasting employees, and I loved this place. No problems for two years. And then in the last few weeks, one of the servers got promoted to FOH (front of house) manager. We’ll call him ‘Brock.’ Small restaurant and the manager also still served. This position was offered to me and I said no because I was in school and couldn’t work full time.
This guy. We had butted heads a few times before but after he became manager he just started treating me like garbage. I dislocated my shoulder, badly, and was very injured and unable to work. I had to call out of several shifts because I literally couldn’t use my arm and was in incredible pain. I had doctors’ notes. Brock took me off the schedule the week after my injury which would have been fine and understandable except that he called it probation. We didn’t have probation at my job. He told me there must be consequences when people repeatedly call out of shifts. Funny, everyone else could call out or leave due to being hungover or wasted several times a month and never get put on this probation he speaks of. In fact, I was probably the only person who worked in this place that didn’t show up hungover or try to call out for one every week. But I hurt myself and suddenly get treated like this.
Anyway. I finally came back and he completely ignored my availability. I was like okay, fine I would do it this week. And then the next week’s schedule came out and he ignored it again. Scheduled me all weekend, which was not in my availability nor has it been for almost a year. I simply could not do it because of my course load. He had this information, we had talked about it. I told Brock I couldn’t work, and he said he would get my coworker to cover my Saturday. She texted me and said she couldn’t, but another coworker could cover my Friday.
Brock fired a girl, who we’ll call ‘Jen,’ for calling out multiple times a week, week after week with no excuses. Fine.
He texted the group chat and said: ‘Hey! Can anyone cover Jen’s shifts next week?’
I replied, ‘Yeah I’ll work her Wednesday, but I still can’t work all weekend.’
Wednesdays were in my availability, so of course, I was going to pick it up to help out. Brock told me I told my other coworkers I would work all of those weekend closing shifts. I sent him a screenshot of the texts where I said yes to one of them working my Friday, I figured hey, maybe they just forgot because they were both wasted at the bar next door the day we talked about it. Brock said that they showed him a screenshot of me saying that I would.
I was like, ‘What the heck?’
I was by myself for two hours until Brock got there to cover (an hour later than he said he would) because he fired Jen. He immediately was like (and I know this is text so you can’t hear his voice but imagine super condescending power-trippy manager voice), ‘Hey they can’t work those shifts so you have to.’
And I said, ‘They said they would work my Friday. I cannot work all three days.’
And he said, to my face, ‘You said you would work them.’
And I replied, ‘No, I didn’t. They were super wasted that night. And you’re neglecting to realize the reason we have this issue is that you scheduled me outside my availability in the first place.’
Mind you, our previous manager always worked with our availabilities and this was never an issue before. And Brock just told me that it didn’t matter and that I was going to have to work. And I told him, ‘Okay, then I’m not going to work at all. I quit, I’m done.’
I turned to leave and told him that it was because he was been treating me like garbage ever since he became the manager, and I called my mom and cried about it on the phone. I loved this job and my coworkers. I was sad that it was over. Also, a regular customer texted me that Brock was drinking at a bar down the street right before he came in, which must be why he was extra late.
It sucks when you love a job, but the management team sucks! But, it’s never right to be mistreated like this. I’m glad he left.”
Owner Vs Employee
“I used to work at a barbecue. The owner was this big ol’ bald brat who went around looking for anything to be angry about. Always yelling at people, belittling them, complaining about his employees around any friends he conned into visiting him, and that’s not even getting into the messed up way he did business.
Near the end of a very busy Friday, I went on break, just a 30-minute sit-down.
He came back after having scrammed for the dinner rush (not that he would be any help anyway) and appeared in the doorway to the dining area (it was an enclosed patio).
He was standing there trying to look fierce and said in this angry tone, ‘Did you make a drop today?
We were supposed to periodically take money out of the register and put it in the safe inside the store, but it was so busy so I had forgotten to do so.
I said, ‘No’.
He said, ‘Well, were you planning on it?’
And right then I remember something inside me broke or disappeared or something, and I realized I wasn’t going to take any more of his bullying.
I think a lot of people could relate to this moment, where you reached your breaking point. It might be over something very little at the moment, but it’s those little things that lead to this point.
So I stood up and threw the chair I was sitting on into the table and said, ‘No, I wasn’t planning on doing anything today.’
He walked right up to me and looked up at me and said, ‘If you ever stand up to me like that again-‘
I didn’t let him finish. I got right down in his face and said, ‘I don’t care! Get bent!’ and walked around him and left.
He followed me out into the parking lot, saying things like, ‘You piece of trash, get out of here!’ and ‘I don’t ever want to see you again!’ and ‘Why don’t you clock out so I can beat some sense into you!’ and so on.”
“I worked at a grocery store for my first job as a cashier. One of the fellow employees hired with me was pretty cool and we got along. Let’s call him, ‘Tom’. After a month of working there, he would always say he was going to quit. It became an everyday thing, so I just took it as that was how he coped with working there.
So one busy Saturday morning, he was at the register behind me. We bagged the groceries ourselves as well. This guy entered Tom’s line on with a full cart and two kids. The only reason I looked back was that they were being obnoxious and the guy was talking loudly on the phone. Tom tried to be friendly and greeted the customer, but the customer just ignored him.
He had scanned most of the items and one of the last items was a jug of milk. We were supposed to offer bags for milk jugs even though they had handles on them.
Tom asked the customer, ‘Would you like your milk in a bag sir? Sir?’
Customer: (Still on the phone) ‘What?! Yes, of course, you idiot. Can’t you see I am on the phone?!?!’
I looked back from overhearing that and I could see Tom trying not to seem angry, but I was helping my own customer.
Tom said, ‘Ok’ with a forced smile, took the milk jug, opened it, poured it all into a bag, and presented it to the customer.
The customer was startled and said, ‘What the heck is this?’
Tom: ‘Your milk. You said you wanted it in a bag.’
The customer looked dumbfounded and started yelling. I mean, technically, he did agree to milk in a bag.
Tom just dropped the bag spilling milk all over the counter, floor, and customer. Tom just turned and walked out never to be seen again at the store.
It was a pretty awesome way to quit if you asked me. The bad thing is is that I had to clean up the milk and deal with the rest of the angry customer’s items. My manager didn’t believe the story and we had a nice laugh about it once the guy left.”
“Buy The Order Or Get Fired”
“About sixish years ago, I worked as a delivery driver at a certain chain pizza place. I didn’t work there long enough to know if everywhere treated the employees as bad as the store I was at but if you weren’t a manager your job was awful. I was unfortunate enough to get stuck with a scam order. Unfortunately, my shift manager was more concerned with covering his own butt than doing his job.
I loaded up the order, needing two insulated bags to fit all 200 dollars worth, and drove to the place. It was less than a mile from the store which was pretty weird for delivery. I pulled into their driveway and there were already five people just standing on their porch in a line. Four big guys and one very obese woman. Before I even had the car door open, she was already yelling that she wasn’t going to pay, that the order was canceled already, but since I was already there to just leave the food. The guys were just silently staring at me.
I just got back in my car and went back to the store. When I got back, I found out the shift manager had already entered the order as complete, which he technically wasn’t allowed to do but he was just a butthole like that. Deliveries were supposed to take less than 30 minutes to complete, basically impossible because we delivered to four different towns and all the farmland between them. This manager was getting around it by using his management override in the system to make the times seem shorter. The only downside was that in very common situations like this, the driver would end up having to buy the order themselves or dip into their ‘strike fund’ aka to total value of orders they could mess up before being fired.
Then the prick gave me an ultimatum, buy the order or get fired because he wanted to look good. I paid for the order because it was the only job I could get at the time. But I wasn’t allowed to eat anything till shift ended, four hours later. I don’t think I need to tell you how nasty food gets when it’s been in a warmer for four hours.
Oh no, people like this shouldn’t be in management. Managers are supposed to be great leaders and to create a positive atmosphere, this manager made a mistake and then manipulated his employee to pay the price. Quite literally!
The worst part was that this guy was the nicest manager. There were two others, one who spent her entire shift selling crank out the back door and the store manager who grabbed the behinds of every female employee so often they’d all quit after finding out the regional manager was his dad and all harassment complaints went to him.
I was fired on the spot a little while later when I asked about the education assistance program corporate sent fliers on. He wanted to be the only one with a better than high school education in the store. Technically that was against store policy but all complaints went to his dad, and technically it wasn’t wrongful termination because the contract they made me sign included an ’employment may be terminated at any time for any reason’ clause. Not to mention that I wasn’t willing to fight in court for a job that had actively wronged me and generally treated me like garbage.”
“He Started Yelling At Me Two Weeks After I Started”
“I worked at a fancy restaurant for my city’s nicest hotel. Great food that I still yearn for, and awesome coworkers. The head manager was such a sweetheart.
The assistant manager was a pain. I don’t know why he didn’t like me. I think he associated me with the fact the two waitresses he sent to train me both stopped coming in, so I never got any training and learned the job and menu by myself.
He was never satisfied and started yelling at me two weeks after I had been there, stating I should know everything by now. I had asked him several times for some actual training but never seemed to get it.
Now, my job was hostess/waitress/ food runner. As a hostess, I would seat people, give them menus, take room service orders and run them up. I had a few bumps along the way, but I had a handle on the job, but he was extremely harsh to me. The head manager had talked to him a few times, but I think it didn’t sink in.
Now my boyfriend also worked there and we also live together and would watch me come home in tears sometimes, but the assistant manager would tear me to shreds before I left. Listing all the mistakes I did that day, even if they were tiny (I forgot a single fork on a table and I did not hear the end of it). But this time it was like a week straight he saw this and was getting upset as any good boyfriend would.
Anyway, the fateful night was a little busy but it was the ending hours so it slowed down. I was proud of myself because I hadn’t made a single mistake, and then the phone rang for room service.
I was in the middle of taking an order when a new hire suddenly started asking me questions. When I tried to direct her over to the assistant manager, he got mad at me and started yelling.
Long story short, I forgot the room number because I had three different conversations going on. He went on a tirade about this and started calling me names as I was making the drinks at the bar. I don’t know what it was he said that made me think, ‘I can’t do this anymore. I don’t deserve this,’ but it happened.
I just gave him a look when I set the drinks and asked him if had better things to be doing, and he said some snide remark that just made me so mad.
So I took the soda hose that was behind the bar and sprayed him with it. Then I dumped the drinks I made into the ice so they couldn’t use it to make more drinks. I grabbed my stuff and left.
I started crying on the way home because the weight of everything hit me. My boyfriend saw this and was enraged and got his bike and left before I could tell him what happened.
He told the assistant manager he was a piece of trash and left.
I only regret doing this because my boyfriend lost a job. Other than that, no regrets.
No one should ever be treated like this, especially if they didn’t receive adequate training. These employers are just wanting people to fail and for that, they don’t deserve hard-working employees. “
No One Was Going To Ruin His Night, Not Even His Manager
“I worked at a Denny’s and we had an assistant manager that was extremely full of himself.
One night, I got a booty call from this gorgeous redhead that I’d been trying to get with for months, and she wanted me over at her place at 11:30 pm at the latest, and she stressed that.
I got off at 11. So I was working hard getting all of my side work done, making sure there were no silverware left to roll, etc. I got everything done and had no tables when my relief came in. I got my bank transferred over, hung up my apron, and started to clock out.
Here came this idiot aka the assistant manager.
‘Hold on, hold on… Where are you going?’ he questioned
I finished clocking out, and said, ‘Going home. See ya tomorrow.’
And he stopped me and said, ‘What about this?’
He opened the pie oven, and it was disgusting. One of the waitresses skipped it on her side work.
‘Tracey messed up. She’s off the next few days, so you’ll have to ask her about it Thursday,’ I said as I started to leave.
‘Get over here… NOW.’ He says in his most authoritative voice.
I turned around and he pointed at the oven. Why do people think, just because you raise your tone, that people are automatically going to listen to them? I don’t think it’s effective and people are going to lose more respect for them.
‘You’re going to clean this oven from top to bottom. Then, you’re going to go clean the desert cabinet. After that, you can go ahead and clean out the ice cream freezer. I want them spotless,’ he said.
I stared at him for several seconds before flicking my name tag off and throwing him the bird.
‘Forget this, and forget you,’ I said.
The look on his face made it so worth it. It was clear he wasn’t used to being talked to that way. At that moment, I wasn’t worried about my Denny’s career. It felt so good. It’s one of my fondest memories.”
Ten Years Of Working There And For What?
“I had a job in a salad plant (those bags of salad mix a lot of restaurants use.) I was there for two weeks coring lettuce in front of a conveyor belt, eight hours a day. I picked up a head, slammed it, pulled the core, put it down, and next. You talked to your co-workers or you plot the downfall of Western civilization. One really sweet lady had been there for 10 years. 10 years on the lettuce line. She got called into the office and was gone for about half an hour.
She said, ‘I won’t be here tomorrow. I got promoted!’
I asked what she’d be doing.
She said, ‘Cabbage!’
I wished her well, dropped my gear right then and there, and walked out. I feel bad about not telling anyone I was quitting, but I was young and, well, 10 years for cabbage.
Yeah, maybe if it was a better vegetable, it would be worth it, but cabbage, no way! He needed to go.
That was 29 years ago. Had I stayed, I might be up to carrots by now. I sometimes wonder how my life might be different had I stayed, and in those moments I celebrate every decision I’ve ever made”