Waiters and waitresses already have to put up with enough. Between the hustle and bustle of the kitchen and serving, the last thing they need is unruly and shady customers. But that's sometimes what you get in the industry! These servers share the shadiest, rudest things they've seen customers pull while on the job.
Four Idiots Walk Into A Restaurant
“A group of four came into our restaurant.
They were seated promptly and at the start of my conversation with them, they said they would be paying separately.
As each individual ordered I had notepaper to track their exact drinks, appetizers, desserts- all written down by their description.
Man in blue shirt, the lady in an orange dress, etc. I also have a pretty good memory so even with writing it down along with the simple order they placed, it wouldn’t be difficult to split their checks.
After they finished eating and socializing, they asked for their separate bills. I handed each one their bill and, after a brief glance, they handed me their cards and bills back.
I had them in sequence and even identified the customer on the bill. None objected to the bills placed in front of them- it was accurate.
Upon handing it back, the boisterous loud lady says ‘This ain’t my bill.’
‘Okay, bet,’ I thought. I went over with her a couple of times what she’d ordered, but still, she nodded and said, I kid you not, ‘I know but this ain’t mine.’ So she agreed with all the food charges (and was the only woman at the table), yet kept repeating, ‘This ain’t mine, this ain’t mine.’
On cue, all the guys start repeating the same thing ‘Wait a minute, this ain’t mine either!’ everyone parroting the same pile of lies. It sounded like the seagulls in Finding Nemo saying ‘mine, mine, mine’— they just repeated everything over and over without listening to me. I was frustrated because speaking to them and getting any sense from them was nauseating.
I grabbed my manager.
She canceled the transactions and asked them what they’d ordered.
As she took down the orders, she realized the original transactions were correct. She again repeated the same bills and gave them to them.
They again say ‘This ain’t mine!’ annoyed that she’d done it a third time. By then, the superficially irate customers demanded free eclairs (our house specialty dessert ) and that their food be compensated 100%.
My manager was livid by this point. Luckily, this tough old lady held her ground and said ‘You all are playing games now, you won’t be compensated. Your server had the correct bills.’ Then they claimed they didn’t have a Coke, they’d had water, and so on. Now all of a sudden, the order my manager took down was wrong ‘They didn’t get dessert!’ they shrieked, ‘one appetizer!’ they chanted (while two were clearly made), and remnants of their dessert were off to the side (they wanted to keep their leftovers).
Needless to say- they paid (I was not tipped by the con artists, but I was over-compensated well by the other decent customers who watched all this go on. One even gestured to me that the group was overheard talking about planning this).
I’ve been a waitress/bartender for nearly 15 years; I deal with this nonsense all the time. I am very good at my job and wasn’t going to fall apart over a small table of four when I have dealt with parties of 30+ people on my own almost every weekend. I was grateful that my boss didn’t bend over to their whim.”
Crabs In The Bag
“I was not the waiter – it was my brother’s housemate, Billy. He worked at a very exclusive restaurant that served all-you-can-eat stone crabs. You can order a serving of stone crabs or the all you can eat. A woman came in and ordered all you can eat. Billy noticed there were no more crabs left and brought them another plateful and also bought a fresh plate for shells, as the other was overflowing. 15 minutes later he noticed the plate empty and a few shells in the plate. The lady wanted another refill. Billy checked back in 10 minutes and there no crabs but also no shells. The woman went to pay and he asked her to weigh her Louis Vuitton bag. Insulted she demanded to see the manager. When the manager came in Billy explained the missing crabs with no shells and he believed she was stuffing her bag with the crabs. The manager asked her to open her bags. Staring back at him…..crabs!”
Well That Wasn’t Very Christ-Like Of Him
“When I was in college, I worked at a well-known Italian chain restaurant to help pay my living expenses. There were upsides and downsides to the job.
It wasn’t super close to campus, so I didn’t often run into classmates or people I knew, but it WAS super close to a retirement community, so I DID run into a lot of seniors on fixed incomes who couldn’t afford to leave me a tip.
No server likes to be told ‘You’ve done a great job, honey, but I can’t afford to leave you a tip.’ seeing as how you’ve taken up a lot of my time, for which I am being paid a measly $2 an hour. But honestly, they weren’t so bad. Most of them were decent, polite people and I liked that they got out once in a while.
Across the street from this particular location was a large church. I don’t recall the denomination, but it was BIG and would often let out right before we started lunch service on Sundays. Some of those people still give me nightmares… But one incident in particular sticks out.
It was a very busy Sunday. I want to say it was the weekend before or after Easter. I’d been running around for hours, fetching mimosas for snobby twits AFTER having worked until 2:00 AM the previous night.
Our lovely hostess came over and told me I’d just been sat with a party of eight… that I’d be handling myself because we were short-handed and I was the most experienced waitress currently working BUT they weren’t seated in my section because they wanted sunlight, so they were all the way on the other side of a fairly large restaurant. Great.
The party consisted of some kind of church official. I don’t know what title he held, but he acted extremely entitled. He had with him six older women and one young man. Every single one of them ordered an appetizer. Every single one of them had at least two drinks. And every single one of them ordered the most expensive item on the menu. I couldn’t help but see dollar signs. The check was going to be HUGE. And since I wasn’t splitting with anyone, as was standard practice, the entire tip would be MINE.
The party took a very, very long time to finish their meal. I mean VERY long. My shift was nearing the end and they were STILL yakking over mostly empty plates. They’d been there a good 3 hours by that point.
I wasn’t going to be rude. I didn’t want to endanger my tip. After all, I had been racing back and forth across the restaurant for hours for these people, I darned well was going to get paid for it.
I casually walked over and asked if anyone would like anything else. Everyone declined. I then asked the head of the group if I could wrap his remaining food (All of like, 6 strands of spaghetti) for him. He gives me the evilest glare you can imagine, coming from a man who’s supposed to be religious.
‘Missy, are you trying to rush me? I don’t appreciate that. I’m paying good money to be here. You just march on back to the kitchen like a good girl. You come back here again before we’re ready to go and it’ll affect your tip.’
Oh, excellent. 20 minutes until my shift ends and I can’t go back over there until they’re ready to leave… which I’m supposed to know how exactly? I put on my best fake smile and marched off.
Now, management HAS been on me about that table for the past hour. It’s in one of the nicer locations and is one of only two tables we have that can accommodate parties of 6-8. The shifty is glaring and asking me how much longer they’re going to be. I snap that I only wish I knew and get into a verbal altercation that I will later be written up for.
15 minutes later, just five minutes before the end of my shift, I walk over with a pitcher of water. I’d been debating options on how to handle things, and this seemed like the best one. I even had to psych myself up on the way over.
When I get there, I find our dear friend FURIOUS that it had taken me so long. He raged at me that he’d been waiting 20 minutes for the check. Where had I been? Didn’t I know how to do my job?
I swallowed my anger and left to print up their bill… which came to an obscene amount… well over $200. I figured I’d be getting AT LEAST a $40 tip. I tried to ignore the fact that I’d been at that table 15 minutes earlier (and you’d better believe I was watching the clock like a hawk… who doesn’t when your shift is that close to the end?) and had been scolded for bothering them and trying to rush them. There had been no mention whatsoever of wanting the check.
I smile politely and hand them the check and not one, but TWO fancy mints per person, then I make my way to the back as to minimize the opportunity for telling Mr. Holier-than-thou what I really think of him.
I give them a good 10 minutes, meaning I am 5 minutes past when I should’ve left, before going over to check out my tip and cash for the evening…
He tipped me 81 cents in pocket change.
Sticking It To The Man
“My grandfather thought that he was the most brilliant person in the world.
He had a lot of money, but most people wouldn’t know that because he was extremely cheap and proud of it. He called it ‘sticking it to the man.’
One of his favorite pastimes was to steal condiments and saltine crackers from restaurants. He had a drawer full of them at his house, and would often make meals out of them.When he felt like he needed new silverware, he would steal forks, spoons, and knives. I once even spotted him stealing a small plate and a salt and pepper shaker.
However, the prettiest thing he ever did occurred at restaurant buffets. My grandfather was a veteran of the Navy and enjoyed going to a restaurant called The Old Country Buffet because they served American food and he got a military discount. He knew everyone there by name and had a favorite booth that was often reserved for him.
Not content to pay only for the food he ate at the buffet, he would also often steal small amounts of food in between plates. It was usually a meat product like roast beef or London broil, although he would also sometimes steal food that my brother and I liked, as a ‘gift.’
He had a whole routine for this. It usually started as a furtive glance at the wait staff. Then, he would become quiet.
When the coast was clear, he would place a cloth napkin over his plate, gather his food, fold it up neatly, and place it in his pocket. At other times, he would place them in my backpack, in order to avoid arousing suspicion and get more food. When we got home, he would take the contents of the napkins, put them in a Ziploc bag, and place them in the refrigerator or freezer.
I always thought that my grandfather was extremely crafty and had gotten away with the stealing. However, after he died, his girlfriend visited the restaurant and spoke to the management. She confessed his penchant for stealing food from there.
The manager laughed long and hard at this, then told her that everyone at the buffet had always known that he’d been stealing. They’d just let him because he was there so often and was so nice to everyone that they didn’t mind letting him do it.”
That’s Not How Any Of This Works Lady
“I worked at a soup and sandwich cafe for three years while I was in undergrad. Good job, easy money. Anyways, we offered quick breakfast options- bagels & cream cheese, breakfast sandwiches & burritos, and a quick two egg breakfast with toast, hashbrowns or grits, etc. We offered a $1 small cup of coffee because Starbucks was two blocks down and my manager was like that. We broke even on the coffee, not really hoping to profit. Just trying to get people in the door and serve quick, good food. That kind of place.
A super-yoga soccer mom started coming in every morning to buy a coffee. She would bring in her own bagel and her own cream cheese. She would purchase the coffee and then ask us to toast her bagel and put her cream cheese on it for her- and expect us to run the food out to her as we did for every other paying customer.
While she was purchasing her coffee, she would ask that we put on new gloves while preparing her food. Okay, fine. Not a big deal the first few times- because the owner (a working manager) was trying to keep his customers happy all of the time. However, this budding new cafe was starting to increase in business, exponentially. This Bagel lady started coming in every, single day. The boss grew a little tired of her request because after all, he isn’t seeing the benefit of selling her a $1 cup of coffee and having us prepare her food for her. She didn’t tip either however because my boss always lived by ‘The Customer is always right’ method, he did this.
She came in on a Saturday morning once- thinking she got special treatment because she was a regular customer, she decided she would skip the line and put her bagel on the counter near the register. She waited in line, purchased her $1 coffee, and noticed her bagel was right where she left it, untouched.
‘Excuse me, I expected this to be toasted and ready when I purchased my coffee. I come in all of the time, you should know me by now. I am one of your most frequent customers.’
‘Yes Ma’am. I apologize, I did not see it. Here is your coffee and I will bring it out to you in a moment.’
‘I just don’t understand you people sometimes- so incompetent and rude to your customers. This is the kind of behavior that leads to disease and sickness in restaurants.’
I didn’t realize my boss was standing over my shoulder during this encounter. He sort of pushes me out of the way grabs her bagel (ungloved hands) takes a bite, goes to hand it to her, drops it and asks her to leave with a mouthful of bagel. He goes to his office and closes his door still chewing the bagel. He comes out and says ‘Coffee is now $2.’
She Ate Them Obviously
“I have worked in a restaurant for almost two years now. Just recently after we opened up from the lockdown I got promoted to host. Now the hosts at our restaurant are in charge of getting and ordering to-go orders. On my first day doing this, I had one of my co-workers who has been doing this for years beside me if something needed to be corrected.
My first to-go order was a lady who wanted a burger and three eggs scrambled with cheese and HF’s with onions(cheese and onions cost like $1.50. She asked me if the eggs were powdered, like McDonalds, or fresh. I asked my co-worker and she said fresh. So I tell her when it will be ready and the cost, which is normally a warning sign.
I got everything ready, gave her a soda for free, and then we get a callback. She is asking for her whole meal to be refunded even though she ate it. She said her eggs were black, they weren’t and that they weren’t fluffy like she asked for them, she didn’t. She wouldn’t come back for a remake, only money. Obviously, she ate them.
Only second is when a lady claimed her chicken salad sandwich didn’t have chicken salad on it and wouldn’t let us see the original”
“The Worst Family I Served Ever.”
“Okay, the worst family I served, ever. Ever.
Mum, dad, oldest sister (around 20) and her boyfriend, and youngest sister, (about 8-years-old). I can tell from the first second they stand at the door that they’re going to be awful. The mother’s jaw is clenched and her eyebrows already knitted, and she looks on the edge of tears.
I seat them, give them their menus, and the boyfriend says first ‘get me some bread’. I reply meekly that actually, I was just about to, as was the policy here. I’ll get their water first. He can wait for his bread now that he’s been rude. Anyway, I head on over to the waiter’s station for water, and the mother gets up and chases me around the restaurant, slaps a hand on my shoulder, and spins me around.
‘What on the menu can we have very quickly? Straight away? My youngest is starving!’
I’m fairly stunned, so I tell her that I’ll put an order for the instantly assembled nibbles through, and it’ll be a couple of minutes. Mother sprints back to the table and I can now collect and serve the water. And the bread. What restaurant would anyone do this at? Especially a freaking Michelin-starred fancy place?
The first person to have a glass of water poured for them is the mother. She picks it up and slams it down in front of the youngest sister, who immediately grabs it with both hands, downs it, holds the glass out to me, and pants ‘another’. Apparently, I didn’t react fast enough because mother spits ‘come on!’ and this process repeats until I have to get another bottle of water. Meanwhile, dad is perusing the menu, older sister and boyfriend are playing with phones, but for some reason mother is having an aneurism. I realize that she is a mother that cannot allow her children to be put before her in any circumstance, and he has raised them wanting for nothing. The snacks come. Dad stops me for a lengthy explanation of every dish each time I walk past. By this stage, I have had to ask other runners to look after my section because these guys are taking up all my time. They put in order in, all sharing, as it comes. At least that part is easy.
However, now that they’ve had their snacks, they want new plates. That’s fine, but as I’m circling the table methodically stacking everything, my youngest sister clicks her filthy fingers at me and says ‘clean it now’, pointing at a mess she’s made. I just about splutter out ‘now, I’ve only two hands, bear with me’, and scuttle away to drop the plates. After that, the youngest sister just resorts to holding her glass in the air when she wants water. The bottle’s right in front of her. Her parents palpably don’t give a heck that they’re raising the worst person to ever have lived.
So, I end up changing the plates between every dish that they share. I’ve had to call the porter to let him know the little cream plates need prioritizing because we can’t keep up with this family. And then it happens – the last, biggest dish hasn’t come yet. Rightly so, because I quoted them forty minutes and it’s been thirty. But older sister, who’s been silent this entire time, puts down the rhinestone-encrusted phone and then just bursts into tears spontaneously. Wailing. Drawing a great deal of attention.
Now, I’m rushed off my feet trying to re-lay this table for the seventh time, but I am quite literally barged out of the way as mother throws herself out of her chair (falling to the ground along with all the knives and forks I drop – this is a loud restaurant, but people are turning around and looking, expecting a fight). She runs round to the oldest daughter, cradles her head and strokes her hair, crooning, ‘there, there. Don’t worry. The food will be here soon.’
I am just flabbergasted by this. The older sister is an adult. Dad and boyfriend continue to not give a care. They eat their meal when it comes (the tears turned off the second the pie arrives), they pay, but sit there in silence for a good half an hour or so more. I’m asked for a pillow so the youngest sister can go to sleep under the table. We ask them to leave.”
The Legend Of Mayo Lady
“I worked at a Beef O’ Brady’s while going to college. As a guy working in a family sports bar, tips weren’t the best but I’d occasionally get a few guys watching a game and would get to sit and shoot the breeze with them. We serve a chicken sandwich, which is really just one step above a McChicken. The lady and her family order and she request extra mayo, no big deal. Since it’s slow the order comes out fairly quickly and before I can put the rest of the baskets down she’s already complaining about not getting extra mayo.
There was already a side container of mayo on her basket, plus the mayo on her sandwich, but she wanted more. I apologized and grabbed another two plastic cups of mayo. Before I can even set the cups down she responds with, ‘Are you slow or just deaf?’ I’m a little taken back and frankly a bit ticked off since she now has three, 2 oz cups of mayo and what’s on her sandwich. All this time her family is eating their respective meals and has that all too familiar look of shame. They know this has happened before and the outcome.
She has me call my manager over and berates me as I tend other tables. It was slow so it was pretty quiet, except for a little background tv noise, which she easily shouted over. My manager has me grab one of the soup bowls and fills it with mayo. This is easily a cup of pure mayonnaise, plus what is already on the table. I drop it off at her table and ask if there is anything else I can get them.
Her response was, ‘Now you’re just being a prick!’ She wolfs down her sandwich and every drop of mayonnaise. I am not exaggerating when I say she consumed over a cup of mayonnaise for a chicken sandwich. They quickly pay and bolt before I could come back around the corner. Morons left me a .27 cent tip. The upside is a regular couple of mine saw what was going on and rightly assumed they would stiff me, so they made up for them. The greatest couple I ever served, but that’s a different story for a different time.”
Forget Sketchy Customers How About This Sketchy Bar Owner?
“As a bartender in college, the owner would give me $100 cash to come in late Sunday night and fill all the empty brand name bottles with knock-off spirits. I’d come in just after closing and the owner and I would smoke a big joint and spend three hours loading top-shelf bottles with cheap garbage.
Super illegal, but hugely profitable. In the early 1990’s we could get a bottle of Smirnoff for $4 and put it in a Stoli bottle and sell shots/drinks for $4 apiece. We did this with all major brands – Crown Royal, Jack Daniels, Malibu, etc. Ceb, the owner, literally had stacks of cash in the safe because he had to hide a lot of the profits so the books looked clean.
The bar was a college bar and the clientele couldn’t really tell the difference as most of them were too wasted anyway. If anyone said something didn’t taste right I’d just give them a free drink. Ceb didn’t care. He was absolutely raking in the cash.
I made sure to free-pour all the hot girls so they’d keep coming in because the guys – who were paying for knock-off spirits at a ridiculous markup – always went where the girls were. The bar was packed all the time. It was a lot of fun.
I’d routinely make $200 to $300 a weekend plus the $100 for switching bottles – in those days that was a lot of dough. It was great – I felt like a rock star running the bar, slinging spirits, flirting with chicks, and making cash.
All good things must end, though. Ceb got caught cheating on his wife and wound up getting divorced. He was forced to sell the bar, and the new owners were complete pricks. I quit shortly after they took over.
Those were the days, I tell you what.”