It isn't always the customers being entitled!
All posts have been edited for clarity.
“It happened at Philadelphia Airport. I lived then in Boston and flew down every week to Philadelphia as part of a management consulting team, Monday through Thursday, for client engagement.
I was returning back to Boston along with my manager at the end of the week’s work. We had a couple of hours before our flight arrived. So we popped to the pub right by the gate to grab a bite to eat.
We sat at the bar and weren’t given a menu for more than fifteen minutes. The bartender walked around and looked like she couldn’t care less. The place wasn’t crowded, there were no more than half a dozen people sitting at the bar. We had little choice of course since it was the only place to eat by the gate and it was nearly an hour before we even got our meal.
The bartender then walked up, started chatting with us, and told us that the rude service wason purpose but nothing personal, she was doing it to everyone. The reason was the owner was closing the place in two weeks. She would be out of a job along with the rest of the staff so they were being deliberately rude to rip off the owner by driving off any business.
My manager and I stared at each other as if to say, ‘Did she just say that?’
If she hadn’t been so rude, I would have tipped her well over the usual amount like thirty or forty percent even for just regular service because who doesn’t feel empathy for someone who is about to lose their job. Not this time, not a chance. It was totally ridiculous to have some temerity to tell a customer to their face you were being rude to them on purpose. Some nerve.
When the bill arrived, I wrote down, ‘Service so bad you should be paying us,’ and the tip section not as a number but in big fat letters, ‘Zero.’
My manager started laughing because he was as angry as I was and we walked out of there.
But that wasn’t the end of it.
A few minutes later as our flight arrived and we were standing in line to board the plane, the stupid woman came charging at us all red in the face, and yelled, ‘Which of you two wrote that down?’
I responded, ‘I did.’
She yelled, ‘You’re such a prick!’
I responded, ‘No, I’m not.’
She retorted, ‘Yes, you are.’
I gave in, ‘Okay, well, yes I am.’
She shouted, ‘Forget you!’
I responded, ‘Same to you.’
I was calm throughout that exchange with a deadpan expression which enraged her all the more.
My manager watched the whole exchange wide-eyed and while he understood my reaction was justified as a response to such impudent ‘service’, he couldn’t wait to tell the guys at the office the next day, ‘You’re not going to believe this.'”
“We went out to breakfast for Mother’s Day, and part of my mother’s order was hashbrowns. Neither of us like the mostly-raw barely-warm grated potatoes that comprise ‘hashbrowns’ in a lot of places, so we always request them extra, extra done.
I actually always put it to my server this way, ‘Listen, you or the cook or both are going to think I’m nuts. But I literally want them at the point where they’re so crispy, you think you have to throw them out. You can’t possibly burn my hashbrowns unless you turn them to actual charcoal.’
I used this at Denny’s, IHOP, and a dozen independent restaurants that make food in a similar vein, and at none of them have I had a problem. Occasionally they come out a little less crispy than I like, but at the point, I’m like, ‘You know what, I know the cook is probably erring on the side of caution, I’m not going to give them a problem about it,’ and I eat them.
But at this particular restaurant, the server rather nastily said, ‘Well, we’re busy. I’ll see what I can do.’
I’m not too happy about that. I’m pretty easygoing about my food. When I lived on the East Coast my regular restaurant would actually put trainees on my table on purpose because they knew I wasn’t a psychotic customer. But in this case, it’s Mother’s Day? Do you think we don’t know you’re busy? We can look around and see that you’re busy. We’re not asking anything more complicated than the hashbrown version of a well-done steak. Yes, it’s not everyone’s taste, but I’m clearly here with my mother, and it’s Mother’s Day. Be nice.
But I let it go until he brought out our food.
Our hashbrowns were stone-cold and limp. I turned mine over with a fork and actually found out the entire inside was raw. As in, if you picked up a potato and grated it directly onto the plate. There was still liquid starch in them, which even a quick flip in a pan would have evaporated. My mom’s eggs hadn’t been cooked right. She asked for over-medium and got scrambled. My French toast was rock hard. So I flagged him down.
I politely said, ‘I’m sorry, I know you’re busy, but we’ve got a couple of problems.’
This prick looked at me and in the same tone as a teenager going ‘whatever,‘ said, ‘I can’t help what your grandmother wants. That’s how they get cooked.’
My mom can be extremely histrionic and overdramatic, but at this moment, she was genuinely hurt. She looked like she had been slapped. She has had a lot of health issues in the last few years, and they aged her very badly but most people are at least tactful enough to not say so.
So I gave him a very gentle smile, and said, ‘I can’t help that you’re a prick, but my motheris not going to be treated this way on Mother’s Day, and I’d like to speak to your manager.’
He didn’t say a word, just walked off. I eventually had to go get the manager myself.
The manager, luckily for her business, was extremely good at her job because I was ready to walk. I told her I didn’t need a comped meal or anything extra, but I wanted a different server.
She served us our remade meal herself and insisted we take home a piece of pie, which genuinely was not necessary. I just didn’t want the prick anywhere near my mother’s food again.”
Peek Into The Kitchen
“I was out with a group of work colleagues, who wanted to celebrate the fact that a particularly hated team leader had been bought out of his contract.
So we went to a restaurant we would frequent at lunchtime. We got a table, menus and our drinks order in good time, a waiter came to take our food order, and we were just chilling and talking about work. Two of the women in the group and I happened to be sitting facing the doors to the kitchen, and every time they opened we looked up to see if it was our food. The food was not late, we were just hungry, but not so hungry that we would have stopped off at the golden arches for a piece of cardboard in a bun. So all three of us saw the sight that caused us a problem.
One of the waiters opened the door and started a conversation with the kitchen staff, and our waiter was sitting on a chair inside the doors to the kitchen corridor, with his shoes and socks off, scratching at his feet. Another waiter tried to dance around the waiter holding the conversation and dropped some meatballs from one of the plates he was carrying. Our waiter leaped up, picked up the meatballs with his bare hands, and puts them back on the plate. I guess the five-second rule applied in restaurants as well.
The two girls were a bit pale at seeing that, and we had a brief discussion around the table, explaining what we had seen and discussing if we should stay or leave. Everyone agreed to the leave option, and I called the head waiter over and told him to cancel our food order and send us the bill for the drinks, explaining what the three of us had seen.
He was quite apologetic, comped the drinks, and ran off to the kitchen. A minute later, our waiter came out and asked for a chance to explain what had happened. Apparently, his athlete’s foot had been acting up because he had forgotten to put powder on it before work. Apparently, this was supposed to make us feel better, or maybe sorry for him, and convince us to stay. It just made us really pleased this was the first time we had seen him working the lunch shift and we never went back there again.”
“Over forty years ago, my wife’s grandparents were celebrating their fiftieth anniversary. Her seven children, their spouses, and grandchildren decided to take them to their favorite restaurant. This was a Mexican restaurant that served a buffet and also served American cuisine off the menu. Her grandparents preferred the menu options.
There were approximately thirty adults and children. Other than Grandma and Grandpa, everyone else went through the buffet line. We had requested a separate dining room since the restaurant was quite popular and we would have been split up around the restaurant.
We made it clear when we called in advance that these were twelve separate parties who wanted to sit close.
Our server took our drink orders and we went about getting our food. The drinks were brought with the one food order. After that, our server disappeared.
Remember, this was a Mexican restaurant. It wasn’t long before we had finished our drinks and some were getting desperate to wet their whistles. I finally took it on myself to try to find our server. By then, we had been left alone for about twenty minutes.
Our dining room was separated from the main room by a hallway leading to the kitchen. Our server was still MIA. I found a cart with several pitchers of iced tea and took it back, where everyone served themselves.
The restaurant’s buffet included dessert, and suddenly here came our missing server, with another waitress, carrying trays of assorted half-melted sherbet of various flavors. Plopping one down in front of me without a word, the servers were leaving, when I stopped one to ask what flavor she had given me.
She said, ‘Vanilla,’ and left without another word.
Shortly afterward, the server returned and handed out the checks. Looking at mine, I noticed a twenty-five percent tip had been added.
This happened in the mid-70s when a ten percent tip was considered overly generous. All the family started comparing checks and determined the added tips would have added up to over fifty dollars for what amounted to about five minutes of the server’s time.
When we left and went to the register, I made sure I was the first one to check out. The manager happened to be running the register, and I was ready for him with the exact change for two buffet meals.
The manager looked at my check and made the worst statement he could have. He looked at me and said, ‘Sir, you’re short.’
I retorted, ‘Nope, I’m six-foot-one.’
He didn’t get it. He then told me that parties of eight or more were obligated to pay a minimum tip. My response was there were only two in my party.
It started to go downhill from this point. I was told that I was going to pay the tip or he would call the police. My mother had joined the police department when I was nine, and as a result, I had quite some knowledge of the law. I invited him to call them, and I would be glad to wait.
I told him I knew a tip was, in fact, a gratuity given for good service, which we had not gotten. I also advised him that if he insisted on making a scene with us, I had no problem suing for my troubles.
Needless to say, he caved. We each paid the exact charges and never went back.”
“My experience was fairly recent. It occurred last winter, while I was vacationing in Fort Lauderdale, FL. I travel with a small, well-mannered, clean, friendly Service Animal. He’s a toy poodle named ‘Buddy’ and he brings smiles wherever he goes, plus he tends to my health needs very well. One of the things he is tasked with is intervening in any PTSD episodes I might have. He senses it immediately and begins to nudge and lick my hands and face, which ‘grounds’ me. I pull out of my ‘fog’ and become aware of my surroundings, time, place, etc. I’m unable to take most psychological medicine, so Buddy is a real lifesaver.
Anyway, I got a gift card for Longhorn Steakhouse. I liked Longhorn Steakhouse and had eaten there many times at other locations, so I was expecting to be treated with respect and have a nice meal. Apparently, this was too much to ask. We were seated, brought menus, and ordered our food. We were waiting, drinking our beverages, and chatting when the manager appeared. He began to talk to me about Buddy and said I needed to put him on the floor. I explained that I need him within arm’s reach at all times, so he can perform his service task, should I need him. If I’m getting lost in a PTSD experience, I’m not going to have the presence of mind to think, ‘Where’s my dog?’
He decided this was less important than his ‘policy.’ We had a long conversation, which was seriously complicated by the fact he was so passive-aggressively polite it took me three tries before I finally got the message. The message was basically, ‘Don’t let the door hit you where the dog bit you.’
He made it plain they would not serve me until I put my much-needed Service Animal under the table. I attempted to explain why I needed the dog next to me, but he stood fast. I guess he thought my dog had cooties or something, which might jump off the bench and transform all the food on the table into deadly poison. To me, this is every bit as reasonable as the idea that a dog is ‘unhygienic.’
I’m a parent and a grandparent. I love children but let’s be real. If we want to talk unsanitary, how about a two-year-old in a soiled diaper? We’re talking a couple of pounds of human fecal matter, reeking, maybe leaking out wherever the child is sitting. Just a few germs going on there, most of them harmful to human beings. This happens wherever toddlers happen, but they don’t get asked to put their babies under the table.
I left, promising we weren’t done yet. I spent several hours over the next week on the phone with his corporate overlords. They promised to review the situation. After all this, they eventually said their legal department said they were within their rights to deny me service if I had my dog next to me at the table. Never mind that I carry a physician’s letter stating specifically that the dog must be next to me at all times. Never mind that. Just ‘take your dirty little dog and get out.’
I left a couple of scorchingly bad reviews on Google and a few other travel sites, but it still galls me. The confrontation was so stressful that I actually had a brief PTSD episode, triggered by the embarrassment and stress of being harassed by him. I always liked Longhorn’s meals. I wouldn’t walk across the street to urinate on their restaurant if it was on fire now.”
“I’m a vegetarian, and I specifically ordered a meal with no meat and the dish came with meat.
I calmly told her I can’t eat it and she said, ‘If you don’t like it, you should go elsewhere because that’s the way that it comes.’
I had eaten there many times and they made it as I ordered it with no issues, so I asked for her manager.
She said that he was not there.
I took down her name and asked the cashier, who couldn’t believe what had just happened, to take the dish off of my ticket and I was going to pay for the drink. The cashier comped it and gave me the name and number of the manager.
I called and got no response so I contacted corporate. A few weeks later, they sent me a letter with an apology saying that she no longer worked there and three hundred dollars in gift cards.”
“Did That Just Happen?”
“My wife has celiac disease and is allergic to dairy so it’s difficult enough going out to eat sometimes, although many places now offer food that she can eat. We were at a pretty fancy Italian place in Salt Lake City and didn’t have much money to spend, so we decided we were going to split a plate. Our waitress came over and we explained our situation and told her about the allergies. She looked at us disgusted, snatched up one of the menus she had just placed down, rolled her eyes, and walked off.
My wife and I just stared at each other in disbelief.
She asked me, ‘Did that just happen?’
We had never experienced something like it at a restaurant before.
After we picked up our jaws off the floor, we stood up and walked out. We were about fifteen feet out the door when we heard, ‘Wait!’
The manager on shift stopped us and asked what happened. So we told her the story.
She said, ‘I’m so sorry. Let me get you some food as a gift. That was completely unacceptable.’
We told her, ‘No thank you,’ two or three times before we gave in when she wouldn’t budge. We went inside and sat patiently for about ten minutes until the food came out. The manager once again apologized and sent us away with a full meal.
The bad service turned great in the end.”
“There was a nice but expensive restaurant that my parents liked to go to for special occasions. They had good food and a nice dining area and this particular occasion was for my mom’s birthday. My parents picked me up so we could go together since it was a bit of a drive.
We had made reservations in advance to ensure that we could get a table, since it was a smaller restaurant and sometimes in high demand.
After walking a few blocks, in heels for me, we made it to the restaurant and walked inside. The host was waiting and greeted us amicably enough. But he gave us some news we weren’t expecting to hear.
He said, ‘And are you aware that we have closed down the kitchen until dinner service?’
We responded, ‘Are you serious? But we booked reservations for this time. Is there anything you can do for us?’
He tried to tell us that it was not possible that someone would have booked a reservation for us. But we asked him politely to check for a reservation under our name.
He typed on his computer and read then froze. He glanced up at us, back to the screen, and then proceeded to straighten uncomfortably.
He asked, ‘Will you give me just a moment,’ before walking away.
He was in full view as he walked up to a man sitting with his back to us at the bar. He was in a suit and looked like he must be the owner or the manager.
We watched as the waiter said something to the manager. The manager glanced back at us briefly, said something, and waved his hand dismissively.
We then stood and watched, in a bit of disbelief, as the waiter nodded and then went about busying himself doing anything but looking at us.
There was only one other couple in the restaurant, who were at the bar and after asking if they were okay there wasn’t a whole lot for the poor man to do. There was another couple who were waiting in line behind us at the entrance, who were also just standing there and watching in confusion as the waiter and manager both steadily refused to acknowledge our presence.
He tried, I will give him credit.
He asked the couple at the bar if everything was okay. He got his rag out and wiped a few things. He picked up some menus and moved them from one surface to another. And all the while he kept trying to take sneaky glances in our direction to see if we had left yet, all while we just stood there staring at him.
Once it became clear that they were just going to ignore us until we left, we just walked out and went to go find another restaurant to eat at.
While I understand that the kitchen was closed, the mistake was on them. They gave us a reservation for the time. A simple apology, a free dessert coupon, anything would have sufficed.
Instead, they decided that simply ignoring us and refusing to acknowledge their error was appropriate. What great customer service.”
“Wow, You Are A Hottie!”
“It was right after my husband and I got married, and moved to a new area.
We went to a local restaurant we had a coupon for. It was a basic steak house, where you throw your peanut shells on the floor, and the ‘tablecloths’ were brown paper sheets.
The server, a very young cute girl, wrote her name upside down on the paper tablecloth, which was cute. Then she sat down beside my husband, invading his personal space, and said, ‘Wow, you are a hottie!’
Yes, my husband was a hottie, but I did not need our server to tell me that. He was so upset. He had already shared with her that we were just back in town from our honeymoon.
She called him ‘sweetie’ every time she came to the table and ignored me completely. He called the manager over to the table before our entrees arrived, explained the issue, paid for the drinks and appetizer and we left.
They were closed for business less than two years later. I do not know if more people felt offense at actions like this, or if it was just bad business management.”
“They Treated Us Like Criminals For Being Young”
“I was with two friends on a school trip, we were about sixteen years old. We had the afternoon off to do what we wanted in small groups, and we decided to get lunch at a real restaurant, not a fast food place.
It was midday on a workday so the place wasn’t too busy, but the waiters ignored us for about twenty minutes before deciding to come to speak to us, in a tone that made it very clear we weren’t welcome. It took another fifteen minutes to get us some menus, and then he told us he wouldn’t take our order if we didn’t pay in advance.
At this point, we decided to walk away and just go to McDonald’s after all.
It was in one of the touristy bits of Berlin, and I might have understood it if they had been polite about it, told us that they had had problems with people leaving without paying in the past, they were sorry and they didn’t mean it as an insult, just a necessary precaution.
Instead, they treated us like criminals for being young.”