They can sometimes be the most annoying people in the world, but sometimes they can be incredibly entertaining. These are the pettiest diners when it comes to saving money on food. Content has been edited for clarity.
“One evening, my roommate came home all exhausted after finished his part of the college task project and I happened to be cooking.
He moaned that he was starving but was not in the mood to go out to buy food nor to cook something.
In a move of sincerity, I offered to make him fried eggs, which would go well with warm rice, something always available any time in our small place.
Not so much problem for me at that time as I was cooking at the moment.
I couldn’t be more wrong.
The next day, he along with some other pals got home after playing football and saw me preparing dinner.
In a terrible move, he said to me, ‘Hey, cook me some fried eggs again like last night.’
Not even hesitating, not even in question form, not a word ‘please’ was used – not that those would change my mind though.
But before I could make a remark, one of the football pals immediately berated him, asking if he thought of me as his personal cook or servant, and told him to cook it himself.
He got slightly defensive, telling his pal to chill as he was only joking.
In my opinion, he was not. When he took a bath, all the other pals instantly asked me if I really cooked for him and told me I was being too nice to the point of being used.
I assured them I would’ve never let myself be taken advantage of.
I never offered him anything again and he never got the guts to ask for anything as well.”
“Well, when money was tight, my mom always made ‘bubble cheese,’ which looking back now is hilarious and sad.
Basically, she’d be like, ‘Who wants bubble cheese?’
And of course, I did.
What’s bubble cheese? Well, you take a piece of bread, butter the bottom of it, put it on a cookie sheet, put a piece of cheese on top, place it in the oven, and watch the cheese ‘bubble.’
I would have pickles and bubble cheese for lunch, so healthy.”
“A guy I used to work with was an evil genius. Every day for about a week, the sales guy would eat my boss’s soup (and whatever else his wife made him).
That is until one day, the sales guy left an apple on his desk, really conspicuously.
My boss thought this was his chance.
Over lunch, or when the sales guy went to the toilet, he took a massive bite out of this apple and put it back on his desk with a smile like a beaming toddler.
The sales guy came back and saw the apple with a big bite out of it but didn’t say anything.
Five minutes later, the sales guy’s desktop background was a photo of said apple placed firmly between his buttcheeks, which he’d taken a few hours earlier.
I should add that this was all in good humor.
These guys were always playing jokes on one another, and I guess this was the sales guy’s revenge for the boss installing a USB mouse into the back of his desktop and ever so slightly moving it at random times throughout the day for about a week (until the sales guy went crazy).
Was good times in that company.
Moral of the story – NEVER try and one-up whoever is stealing your food by eating theirs.”
That Good Ol’ Mountain Dew
“In University, I won a year’s supply of Mountain Dew.
I only got the Dew because the campus entered a deal with the devil and banned Coca-Cola products, and Pepsi and Dr.
Pepper were sold out of the machine I was at. Next one down the line was Mountain Dew.
I only ever rarely drank the stuff as a ‘change’ – so I wasn’t that keen on it, to begin with.
I hit the button, a bottle rolled out, and there was a sticker on it saying I had won.
I called the number on the sticker, arranged a pickup time and location, had a friend drive me to get it.
They wouldn’t let me pick up a little now, and more later on.
I had to take all of my winnings now.
What does PepsiCo think a year’s supply is?
A twelve pack every week. 12*52= 624.
We had to load 624 cans of green junk into the Jetta.
I used to tolerate it – no longer.
I drank as much as I could, got sick of it real quick.
I gave away most of it. It still took me almost six months to get rid of it.
It doesn’t mix with any hard stuff (I heard a rumor once it was developed to mix with Rye, but no, that’s terrible too).
I’d show up at parties with a case and the host would make me take it home with me at the end of the night.
I tried to give it away to homeless people, but even they don’t like it that much.
That was about 20 years ago.
Last year, I bought a bottle, wondering if I could drink it.
All Over $2
“Once, back in my waitressing days, I had an older couple accuse me of stealing!
They ordered and ate their food.
Their behavior was a little rude, but nothing too far out of the ordinary (in customer service, rude patrons are par for the course).
At the end of the meal, I gave them their bill, which came to something like $28.
They left $30 on the table. They both went to use the restroom, and then they left the restaurant.
I came by and found the $30 sitting on the table.
My thought was: ‘Only a $2 tip? That’s less than 10 percent.
Whatever…’ So I cashed them out, and pocketed the two dollars.
About thirty minutes later, the couple returned to the restaurant looking frantic.
I wondered if they had forgotten something, and asked them if everything was okay?
It turned out, they had forgotten something…their $2 change.
They were furious!
They said they had forgotten to grab their change on their way back from the restrooms.
They were angry at me for not stopping them from leaving without reminding them that they had forgotten the $2.
They seemed to think I was running some sort of scam where I tried to trick old people into forgetting their $2 change.
When I pulled the $2 out of my pocket and handed it over, they immediately accused me of stealing their money!
They were both definitely American, so they should have been aware of the concept of tipping.
They tried to complain to my manager, but he had very little patience.
He just told them there must have been a misunderstanding, but since they now had their $2, they should leave immediately.
The other customers who could overhear them all looked appalled.
At the time, I was only 16 or 17 and I was very shaken by the experience.
My manager felt bad that they had been so rude to me.
He pulled $2 out of his own wallet and handed it over.
He told me not to let it bother me too much, since they were clearly just bitter people.
Some people are just going to be scumbags and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
Smart, But Not Smart Enough
“I served a party of 15 the other day whose tab was over $350 easily.
They were drinking pretty much all night, buying bottles and such.
After a while another lady comes to join them and asks for an empty glass.
As there are multiple bottles open, this isn’t out of the ordinary.
After I hand the glass to her, I turn to talk to another table.
As I’m passing by again, I look over and see this woman bent over next to her purse, pouring something into her glass from a bottle apparently hidden in her purse.
She might’ve gotten away with it if she’d been smart enough to notice the rest of the bottles were exclusively red and hers was white.”
“My-13 year-old daughter was invited to a small birthday party at a mediocre chain restaurant (Ruby Tuesdays) for her best friend. This friend is over here quite often and regularly eats dinner, breakfast, lunch etc. if she is here, and sleeps over about twice a week during the summertime. She’s been included on trips to the amusement park and water park nearby (we have season tickets, but there is always something to eat, funnel cakes, etc.), movies, and the occasional trip to Dairy Queen and I’ve never asked to be paid or have her pay her own way. We treat her as one of our own. Imagine my disgust when my daughter calls me from the restaurant bathroom, nearly in tears, telling me that they just told her she will have to pick up her own check- after dinner and desert have been served (check was like, $13.00). The guy actually said separate checks to the waitress, but my daughter didn’t know what that meant. She had a few bucks on her but she was short about five bucks. The other girl’s father told my daughter that she would ‘have to stay and wash dishes or something’ and got real ugly with her like she misled them or something. I have the parent’s cell phone numbers, called him and asked him real nice like if he could spot her ten bucks until he brought her home, and I would pay him back. He refused and made it like somehow my daughter and I were scamming him. He suggested that I call the front desk and square it away, because they were leaving, and were going to leave my daughter there if she couldn’t pay so he wouldn’t, ‘have the cops chasing him down on his daughter’s birthday.’ I did call the front desk, gave them my credit card, included a healthy tip, and told my daughter I would be there to pick her up in ten minutes, don’t go anywhere. When I got there, he was trying to get my daughter to leave with his family, now that the bill was paid. His daughter was in tears. Needless to say, it got ugly.”
Measure Time With Pies
“When I started work at my new job, they e-mailed me a contract to sign. The employee would sign it and return it to your new boss, he would sign it, and then it got filed.
The contract was a PDF, but I converted it to Word so that I could modify one of the lines to ‘at the termination of employment, the employee must return all company property and be handed a lemon meringue pie for each month of employment.’ The new boss signed it without looking at it too closely and it has now been filed.
I have been working here for approximately 80 lemon meringue pies now, but it has been a while and I am starting to wonder if I really pulled it off or if I just thought about it without actually doing it. I can’t ask to see my employment contract without arousing suspicion.”
That Jello Is Old Enough To Drive
“My grandparents lived through the depression. They waste nothing. Their freezer is a menagerie of ancient treasures. Last year we ate Thanksgiving at their house. My mom did all the cooking, but my grandma contributed a couple of desserts. One was a marshmallowy jello sort of thing with pistachios. When we got done eating, she proudly declared that it had been sitting in the freezer since 1996 (this was 2001 by the way). She was afraid we’d find out and would waste it by not eating it. Weird thing is it was still tasty!
I thought it was hilarious at the time, but it is kind of surprising we didn’t get sick. My dad was actually annoyed that I found it at all odd, to give you an idea of what being raised in that house was like. This was when my grandparents were moving out of their house into a retirement home, too, so they were being forced to use up what they had saved for a long time. I think that probably played a part. They’re both still alive today – grandma’s 92, and grandpa’s 94, so they must be doing something right.”
Waste Not, Want Not
“My dad decided that he wanted to give his kids a good life, so he went to college when my brother and I were little. We were super poor.
My parents would buy 25-pound bags of rice, oats, and other grains to save money. One time in particular, we opened a bag of rice and some of it was wiggling. The bag was infested with maggots. And when you got rice from a co-op in the early 1990s, there was no such thing as a refund. Instead of throwing the bag away, we tossed all the rice in the freezer to kill the little guys, then put it all in water because the maggots float. We skimmed the floaters off the top and were good to go.
Even though we were poor, my brother and I never went hungry thanks to our mom and dad.”
Getting What He Deserves
“There was this cheap guy at work I didn’t like one bit. You know the type, one of those idiots who does the big innocent eyes every time he gets called out. ‘Whoa, I didn’t mean it like that!’ or whatever.
I had invited a few work friends to come by and have some drinks and appetizers on me when I bought a new house. They had been listening to me talk about it for months, it was the least I could do.
So about ten minutes in, who showed up? The cheap guy. He actually plopped down at the far end of the table. Not only that, but he starts ordering everything. Top shelf drinks, about four appetizers (which he didn’t eat, they were left on the table), just living it up.
I was watching out of the corner of my eye, my plan was already fully formed.
I saw him gathering up his stuff to slip away, so I called the waitress over. ‘Everything is on me, except that guy. He’s not my guest, I didn’t invite him.’
Everything just stopped. He was looking at me (mouth open) and everybody was looking at him.
The waitress brought the check, I paid and tipped generously. The cheap guy was trying to get someone to help him pay for his $60 worth of uneaten stuff because he didn’t have any money. No one liked him, so the response was a bunch of ‘Are you kidding me?’ looks. When I left, he was calling people to try to get them to come up and pay for him. (Note that he had a brand new Charger in the parking lot.)
That guy hated me so much after that. He didn’t have the stones to say anything to me, though. And the story became office lore.”
Not The Dumplings!
“Someone was eating my dumplings when I left them in the break room fridge. I knew because I counted how many I had before I left the house each time I brought them with me. It was happening for a few weeks on the days I brought dumplings, so I had a batch I cooked that I wasn’t planning on eating and injected it with some super hot chili peppers my aunt got while vacationing in Vietnam. These things burn and make you uncontrollably teary-eyed when you ingest a lot.
A few hours after I left the dumplings in the fridge, I saw my coworker sweating and coughing. Then I saw him run towards the exit where the bathrooms were located with tears running down his face. I couldn’t help but laugh and told my other coworker about it. He spent at least an hour in the bathroom before rushing home.
I eventually told him what I did, and he laughed it off, saying he deserved it. He apologized and then asked that the next time I brought some for lunch, to bring him some without the chili peppers.”
“I won a year’s supply of pies. Given I’m a chap from the north of England and consequently pretty fond of pies, I was massively excited about this, fully anticipating to receive 365 pies in one go, and quite fancied the idea of an epic, heroic even, race against time to eat 365 pies before they went out of date.
I eagerly awaited pies.
Days pass. A lifetime it felt like. No information on the number of pies. No signs of delivery. The anticipation is killing me. I’ve run out of conventional non-pie food, because I’m broke, and I’m getting hundreds of pies any day now.
The phone rings. I’m at work, but the delivery guy is coming to our area that day, so I give him my work address. More hours pass, then finally: Pie time.
The box is enormous. My fridge and freezer are going to be crammed with pie. I’m going to have to keep pie in my pockets. Pocket pie. Nice. Eyeballing the box, I reckon 30% of the pie therein is going to have to go before I can even fit the contents in the fridge and freezer. This is going to be heroic.
By now, the giant box has stirred up some interest in the office. Word of my auspicious acquisition has traveled fast. Colleagues are gathering like vultures loitering around the carcass of a dead animal.
I open the box. More boxes. What is this? There must only be… like… 52 pies in here. One pie a week? This isn’t the south of England, this is the pie eating north and you fob me off with 52 pies!? Fine, I suppose a case can be made that it would be unhealthy and irresponsible to give someone 365 pies. I eyeball the situation, this will easily fit in my fridge and freezer once I’ve decanted it out of the wildly unnecessary extra packaging. I feel something else. Dozens of hungry eyes on me. I look round the pie deprived faces of my terribly paid and terribly treated colleagues… and I can’t just walk out with my 52 pies. Just seeing the pies and my happiness has been the highlight of all of our miserable weeks. They’ve all suffered this horrendous job and tyrant manager with me and they’re all broke and they’ve all got the puppy dog eyes. I can’ t just take my pies and leave.
‘Would anyone like a couple of pies?’ I kindly and foolishly ask. Of course, they want some pie, you’re in the north.
Of 52 pies I was able to secure maybe a dozen – including a good peppered steak pie – in the ensuing carnage.”
They Thought They Could Get Away With It
“Years ago, I opened my first restaurant to the public. It was a massive effort of six months of putting everything together to operate the best fish restaurant in town. My team was awesome and everybody was happy to work there. From the beginning, I had the blessing of having the professional, demented, loyal and responsible staff members that any could dream of. We were a family.
After about three tough months of hard work, our business was growing steadily and we were correcting procedures and policies to make the experience of the customers the best possible. That’s when we had their first visit.
A group of four women that came late in the lunch service, all dressed in gym attire and a very loud and fun attitude. All my waiters, even female staff, eyes wide open to the very attractive patrons.
They order salads to begin, followed by risotto. All of them choose the exact same dishes, easy ticket to fire in the kitchen.
I am unaware of what is going on, away in my office at that hour of low traffic of customers.
One of the waiters comes to the office with a concerned look on her face and says that we have a problem. In the kitchen, our chef stares at the four half-eaten risotto. It is the first time since opening someone has returned their food, and it’s four dishes. The waitress explains that they sent the dishes back because there is something wrong with the seafood, that it doesn’t taste right.
Without hesitation the chef and I approach the table to apologize and ask if we can solve the inconvenience by making something else for them without any cost, but the offer is kindly turned away. They had enough. They even say ‘we understand you are a new restaurant, this kind of mistake happens.’ They even go as far as ‘we are sure it won’t happen again, you have learned something new today…’
They leave the restaurant and the check is on us. I am doing everything possible to make as many clients we can by offering a respectful good service. We need the word of mouth out.
A week goes by and the group shows up, again late lunch service. They order four salads, and this time they order pasta (no seafood); they all choose the same.
Not long after, four half-eaten plates of pasta sit on the kitchen’s pass. The chef, our kitchen staff and the waiters stand in silence– it is the second time plates have been returned since we opened and it’s the same people.
Without hearing what the waitress wants to say, I go alone to talk to the four gym ladies. They all greet me profusely and I joke about them wanting to see me every time they come to the restaurant. This time the pasta is too salty and they can’t eat so much sodium, ‘water retention’ one mentions. Again, I offer if something else would make things better, but they reject kindly.
This time they get a check for the salads and the drinks, which is not so happily welcomed by the group.
Two more weeks go by and the group returns, the same story repeats. This time it’s the half-eaten salmon they send back. I had enough of this charade, so I go to the table to offer half portions for future visits which they take as an offense. They claim the food is bad and every time they visit they have to send back food to the kitchen for poor quality. They refuse to pay a cent for what they’ve eaten this time and start making a big scene in front of my staff, the other customers and the curious passersby. Meanwhile, my manager calls the police. She wants them to pay the check and leave.
The police arrive and immediately recognize the group; this isn’t the first time these four have caused problems. Even worse, they have done the same thing in three other local restaurants.
The police made them pay the full check and they left never to come back again.
The strategy is simple: they would order whatever they really wanted to eat (salad, entrée, etc.) and then would order the same second dish that would be half-eaten and sent back to the kitchen with the excuse it was not properly cooked or the food was spoiled, not being charged for those dishes and repeat the process until the restaurant had enough of their garbage.”
Caught On Camera
“A guy picked up the bill for his table of 6-8 people which I believe amounted to close to $900, which also included a lot of drinks. He calls us the next morning in an angry fit claiming that his credit card was charged for two different amounts – the $900 and another $200. Add to that he and another guest of his got very sick last night and he demanded all his money back. I tell him that I need to look through the records, find the transactions, and go from there.
I find the two credit card slips, both with his signature. I call him back and ask if he remembers going to the bar in the restaurant after his dinner. He says, ‘No.’
I then offer to scan and email him said signed slips, I tell him that I am not refunding him and that perhaps the reason him and another guest were sick was because of the amount they drank. I told him that not only do I have him on video drinking at least a bottle and a half at his table, but best I could figure, he had three drinks at dinner too…add to that the captain and cokes he had at the bar. I called, and asked the bartender about this party, and she remembered them.
He was furious, he started yelling and cursing at me. I told him that perhaps when he goes out, he needs to control how much he consumes, and that his inability to control himself was not the restaurant’s problem. He tells me to go eff myself and hangs up.
A lady and her family sit down for dinner and tell us that it is her adult son’s birthday. They have a nice meal, dessert, drinks…the works. As far as I know, they had a nice meal. We even included a candle on the dessert. Waiter drops the check and she is FURIOUS!
I get called over and she starts shouting at me because we did not comp her son’s meal and dessert, nor did we sing ‘happy birthday’ to her son. I ask her why she was under the impression that her son’s meal was on the house, and she yelled – to the point that the restaurant went silent – ‘BECAUSE IT IS HIS EFFING BIRTHDAY, AND RESTAURANTS ARE SUPPOSED TO TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE ON THEIR BIRTHDAY!’
I just stood there in shock for a second and thought, ‘Well, this is a new one for me…’
Calmly, I attempted to explain that dozens and dozens of people who come into our restaurant do so to celebrate something, typically a birthday…we are kind of a destination for special events/occasions…and her son’s birthday is not unique, nor is it something worth us losing money over. While flattered, honored, and appreciative that they chose our restaurant for this special occasion, there was no need to comp or discount anything.
Her: ‘Well, this is unacceptable, I am just not going to pay.’
Me: ‘That’s fine,’ (Pulling out my cellphone) ‘I am going to call the police and you can sort this out with them when they arrive…’
(restaurant still silent, all eyes on this situation)
She hastily grabs her credit card from her purse, slams it on the table, and yells, ‘FINE! I WILL PAY, BUT I AM NEVER COMING BACK HERE AND I AM NOT LEAVING A TIP!’
She leaves no tip on a $300 bill. Obviously the waiter is upset. The other tables in his section super tip him and random guests not in his section stop him, hand him a $20 here and there. He made more money in ‘sympathy tips’ than he would have from a regular 20% off that $300 bill.”