Nobody's perfect, right? Well some parents think that waiters, waitresses, and kitchen staff are supposed to be. In all fairness, if someone the paying customer, they should be served accordingly, but mistakes are bound to happen when demands are set at unobtainable standards. These stories about people dining out with their parents will make people never want to go out to eat with elders ever again. Their lack of shame knows no bounds, and they couldn't care less if someone felt an ounce of embarrassment.
Ma! I’m Workin’ Here!
“When I was in high school, I worked at McDonald’s. One year I skipped sports day and decided to work instead (because money). I was working in the kitchen when one of the Cafe staff came out saying some crazy lady wanted to speak to the manager. I had to witness none other than my own mother call my manager a baby faced pansy and go off about the Cafe staff. I had to hide in the dry stock until she left, I was so embarrassed.”
Burger King Kicked This Man Out Of The Castle
“Ugh, my dad can be such a prick if you get his order wrong, it could be fast food or a nice sit down restaurant. He often yells at waitstaff if they ‘undercook’ his steak. It has to be well done, or he claims to have lost his appetite.
One time we went to Burger King when I was younger and we sat down to eat. He took one bite of his burger, spit it out and immediately started complaining about it being under cooked. He cut in front of everyone in line to yell at the cashier, then he asked who was the cook. When the cook appeared, he launched his burger at him, hitting the poor kid directly in the face with a lidless burger. He’s now banned for life from Burger King.”
“It’s Just Napkins, Nanny.”
“Not my parent but grandparent. When I was around 10 years old my grandmother went out and got us (her, my brother, and me) McDonald’s. We got home and we didn’t have napkins in the bags. No big deal, right? We have paper towels and napkins in the house, also me and my brother are pretty good with not making any messes while we eat.
Nope. Grandmother got us in the car, drove back to McDonald’s, demanded a manager, and screeched about how upset she was that we didn’t get any napkins. I wanted to just melt into the floor and disappear. It was horrible. I pleaded for her not to go, and especially not to make US go with her, but she wasn’t having it. It was so embarrassing! Not to mention that we had left our food at home and it was cold by the time we got back. McDonald’s fries just aren’t the same cold…It’s just napkins, Nanny.”
More Salad More Problems
“I grew up in a smaller town right on the cusp of its big growth boom. We knew our town had finally made it when we got an Olive Garden. We used to eat there 2-3 times a month. My mom and I would always split an entree and my dad would get his own. We knew the rule, if you’re splitting an entree and you get more than one of the family style bowls of salad, then you’ll get charged an extra $4 for the extra person. Which is fair, 2 entrees come with 2 unlimited salads.
One day my dad decided he wanted more salad. Only he wanted the additional salad, but the waitress said if she refills the bowl that we will be charged the extra $4. Well, low and behold my parents threw the biggest tantrum because only HE wanted the additional salad. He demanded to speak to a manager and the manager explained the rule (which we knew) but offered to comp the extra salad just to get my parents to stop yelling, which they did. When our bill came, the manager comped my dad’s entree and the additional salad fee.
Well, my mom got up, interrupted the manager while he was talking to other guests and threw the check in his face and asked, ‘What’s this?!?!’ She was furious that he comped my dad’s meal. He ate the meal therefore he would like to pay for it. She wouldn’t stop raising her voice until she was allowed to pay for the meal (but not the salad). The manager was confused but obliged. When they brought the change, the manager slipped in a few free appetizer coupons. My mom ripped them up and threw them on the ground as she left. Safe to say I didn’t eat out with them for at least a month and I still refuse to go to Olive Garden with them.”
If The Reservation Trick Doesn’t Work, Try Yelling!
“My poor sister-in-law. Her step dad and mom took the family out to eat at Red Lobster. They get there and it is super busy. So the step dad walks up to the host and said that we had a reservation.
The problem is, Red Lobster (or at least that one) doesn’t take reservations. The host explains this and says it is going to be a 20-minute wait for a table. Her step dad FLIPPED out and started screaming that he had called 3 hours beforehand and made a reservation. The host politely told him this was not possible as they do not take reservations (again).
He continues to scream at the guy and says he wants to talk to a manager. So the manager comes out, and she tells him the same thing. They don’t take reservations, so it’s not possible that he had made one. He continues to cause a scene and people started leaving just to get away from this toxic guy. Finally, the manager says, ‘Fine, we will put you ahead of everyone else that has been patiently waiting their turn.’ He thanks him and we are seated promptly.
Once they get to the table and the waitress walks away, he slyly winks and says to my brother and the rest of the family, ‘THAT is how you get things done. I wasn’t going to wait 20 minutes.’
My brother refused to eat or even order anything from fear of getting food that had been spit on.”
2 Minutes Too Long For This Mother
“My mother-in-law is truly a Karen. Going out to eat with her is always a nightmare. Her orders have 14 special requests, but she’s not at all kind about it, she is defensive from the get go like you’re an idiot who’s already messed the order up. ‘No dressing. Not on the side. Nothing. Completely dry. Do you understand? I will send it back!’
The one I will never forget though was dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack. In case you’ve never been, it’s one of those places that every so often plays a song that the entire staff is required to drop everything and do a little synchronized dance to. It’s quick, everyone gets a little kick out of it, it’s part of the fun. Now my MIL Karen knew this, it’s not like she’d never been here. But apparently she was not willing to wait 2 extra minutes for her dry salad, so she starts going off as soon as the dancing starts. She gets a manager, who clearly knows Karen well and offers a quick apology (for doing their job), a discount and her dry salad. But Karen’s not completely satisfied. She tells us that even though dinner for our party of 8 is on her, she’s not tipping the waitress 1 penny. She proceeds to complain, loudly, the rest of the meal and antagonize our waitress over petty little stuff.
I’ve worked too many years in customer service I’m a decent human being, so I made sure to get my bill separate, so I could tip for the entire table. I wrote a quick note on the receipt, something along the lines of ‘Way to stay positive even when the customer’s a prick.’ I was a little afraid of the wrath of Karen, it was one of my first interactions with her too, but when the waitress came and hugged me, Karen and I locked eyes. She knew what I had done. I didn’t care. Don’t be a Karen.”
“When I was 6, my mom took my brothers and I out to Golden Corral for dinner. She went up to the buffet, got a steak, and came back to the table. She’s an avid A1 steak sauce fan and cannot, I repeat, CANNOT eat steak without it.
She poured out the A1 onto her plate, tasted it, and was instantly horrified. She proceeded to pour out the Golden Corral Steak Sauce right next to the A1 and it matched perfectly.
Outraged, she called over a waitress and eventually the manager showing them her little experiment and how she exposed the Great Steak Sauce Fraud of 2006.
My brothers and I were scarred for the rest of our lives. I still have nightmares about it.”
This McDonald’s Is Closed Because We Said So
“I was young and my mom and step dad took us to McDonald’s. Somehow a nail or something got stuck in our tire which caused a flat. I’m not sure if it happened in the lot or not, but they were convinced it happened there. They went to talk to the manager. I don’t remember exactly what their demands were, but they didn’t get them. They literally went into the street waving people away saying that they were closed because they were mad. It just seemed like a ridiculously excessive thing to do.”
“I Was Taught To Treat People Nicely, A Lesson That Seems To Be Forgotten.”
“My mom used to run restaurants. My step father used to be a chef in high end restaurants and is the kind of guy who expects to be treated better than he is currently being treated, regardless of whatever that treatment is. They are not fun to go out to eat with.
My most embarrassing experience with them actually turned out to be their most embarrassing experience as well.
My wife and I pride ourselves on being a ‘relief’ table when we go out to eat. Both of us have been servers, and there’s always the counterpoint to the difficult table, that’s us. Barring horrible service or bad food, we are super easy customers, tip well, and try to have a good time with our server. Furthermore, we just treat people nicely. So you can imagine our disdain when my parents act like they’re royalty at dinner.
My wife and I went out to dinner with them. They were being particularly tough. My mom was acting like she was Gordon Ramsey analyzing the business, critiquing everything down to the amount of bubbles in her seltzer (‘looks like it’s time to change the CO2’). My step dad was getting more and more heated over stupid things like the amount of ice in his drink and how the waitress didn’t top off his water, that he was barely sipping on, fast enough.
It came to a head when my step father ordered a steak medium well, it came back medium well, and for some reason he changed his mind that he wanted it medium rare while it was cooking, and they didn’t read his mind, so he gave attitude, as did my mom. They jumped really quickly to demanding free stuff.
I’m an adult and this may be the first time they realized this. I interrupted them in front of the server and said something like, ‘Really? This is what you’re doing? That’s what you ordered.’ I turned to the server and said, ‘We do not need anything comped.’ I then pulled out my wallet and handed her my card and said, ‘This is for the bill. We’ll happily wrap up with what we have here. I’m very sorry for their behavior, you’re doing great.’ Then the line that stung them so deep, they still bring it up years later: ‘I was taught to treat people nicely, a lesson that seems to be forgotten. Thank you.’
They turned red, the server walked away, I looked down and cut my steak, and didn’t say a word. They were so flabbergasted that the meal was virtually silent except me asking my step father how his steak was a few minutes later. I signed the check, gave a big tip, and we walked out and said our goodbyes.
They’ve been nicer to servers each time that we’ve gone out since.”
How Many Hoops Can One Waiter Jump Through?
“My father-in-law and step mother-in-law are the culprits in my case. They are absolute monsters at restaurants towards the wait staff. They seem to enjoy the game of how many annoying little hoops they can make servers jump through. It’s too cold in here. It’s too hot in here. The music is too loud. The salsa is too hot. They’ve made them do three or four things by the time we even order our food. Then my mother-in-law loves to order something spicy off the menu, but then tell them to make it not spicy. And these are not four-star restaurants, just simple diners and so forth. One time my father-in-law was particularly rude over a Coke machine being out of order. He complained to the manager, and stiffed the waitress. When I realized that he didn’t tip, I called back to the restaurant, let them know some of us at the table were happy with the service, and asked them to run my credit card for her tip. And that was the last time I let him pay for our meal.”
“It’s LA! It’s Like A Nightclub”
“This is my favorite example of my mom being an absolute wacko. We are from NY and I met her in LA where she was vacationing for a few days. There is a restaurant we had been to before and really wanted to visit again, I guess you could say it’s a ‘hot spot.’ This is lunchtime, no reservation.
We arrive at the restaurant and there are a bunch of open tables, it’s early, probably before noon. My mom asks for a table, and they say ‘we’re so sorry but if you don’t have a reservation, we unfortunately do not have any tables for you. If you’d like, you can leave your phone number, and we can call you if we have any cancellations.’ My mom starts huffing and puffing, pointing at all the tables, which are of course reserved for 12:00 and 12:30 reservations but are currently empty. She’s making a whole scene and just storms out of the restaurant.
I try to explain to her the way restaurants work, that there are empty tables because other people are going to be coming in later with reservations. She is storming down the block just ranting, ‘NO! You don’t get it! I’ve worked in restaurants my whole life. This is what they do. It’s LA. It’s like a nightclub. They don’t like the way we look. This is ridiculous.’ While she’s ranting, the hostess comes running down the block. They had a cancellation and they could seat us immediately. I was humiliated, I didn’t even want to eat there anymore.
Long story short, I never take my mom to any restaurant I like.”
Mexican Restaurant Standoff
“My mom constantly does this, but one time really sticks out.
We went to a local Mexican restaurant and as we were paying for the food she tried to use a coupon. The cashier said they wouldn’t accept the coupon for some reason and my mom was furious. She demanded that the manager come out and accept the coupon. She caused a massive scene in the restaurant and it lasted at least five minutes. As the cashier was getting the manager, I decided to look at the coupon. It was for a totally different Mexican restaurant in the area and my mom wasn’t wearing her glasses. The cashier and manager both came back, my mom apologized, and they ended up accepting the coupon.”
Protecting This Town One Crying Waitress At A Time
“This is a weird story that had a huge impact on me, and about a parent talking to the manager, but it’s a little different from your average ‘Karen’ story.
Growing up, my dad was the sheriff of a small town. I must have been around 8-9. He was brought in after the previous sheriff was booted out for political reasons/stealing city funds. That was a really unpopular move, since he was super popular and spread his money all over town and let people get away with murder.
That sheriff was out and my dad was brought in. Everybody hated him, in part because they loved the old sheriff and also because my dad was an ‘outsider’ even though he came from about two towns over. He wasn’t of their world, so he could never be fit to see over the village. It didn’t help that my dad was a raging prick and a stickler for the rules.
One day, my dad was dressed in his full uniform and took me alone to the local corner diner. Like, one of those places straight out of Roadhouse. We sat down and ate the full dinner and my dad lectured me something about ‘respect’ and ‘the rules are all we have.’
Then the waitress came in and dropped the check. My dad looked at it and it said the meal was free. My dad then excused himself and went up to the waitress. I kept to myself, and doodled on the napkin and the next time I looked up, my dad was full on SCREAMING at the woman. He was straight-up shaking.
She tried to explain that free meals is how all cops are treated in this town, and my dad was FURIOUS that he would get special treatment, that police are put above the normal laws. That the police have rules they must follow, and not accepting kickbacks is one of those rules. And that it especially happened in front of his kid, who he’s trying to teach right.
Everyone in the diner was quiet and just staring at him.
It was a weird situation because it was a moment where my dad showed a lot of integrity, but also a story of a 6’7″ man with a weapon on his belt screaming at a tiny little waitress. It stuck in my head as a clear picture of the contradictions that our parents are. Like, a lot of the good comes from them but at the same time a lot of the bad.”
But Mom, I Don’t Want My Food To Be Spat In
“Not long ago, my mom asked to treat my wife and I to lunch at Outback Steakhouse. We get there and order. My mom orders iced tea with extra lemon. Tea shows up with one lemon. Usually no big deal, right? Just ask for more. Well, instead of doing that, my mom turns to the waiter and says, ‘What? No extra lemon? You fail as a waiter. No brownie points for you.’
The dude sits there for a moment and then says rather flatly, ‘I’ll be right back with more lemon.’
I turn to my mom and am like, ‘That’s how you get your food spit in. You’ve just sent the message that this will be a poorly tipping table, and he’s going to totally focus elsewhere.’
She argues, ‘Well it should have inspired him to work harder to impress us!’ I think from that point I just mentioned that from his end, his odds of making money are now higher at some other table. It’s just how people work. Well, she goes to the bathroom and cries. She comes back and makes some super complicated order. I texted my wife who was sitting right next to me and say, ‘This dude is going to butcher that order on purpose.’ Food comes out. Ours is correct. Hers is ALL messed up. Basically a totally wrong order. She asks for it to be fixed – a bit more subdued this time. It comes out technically correct but obviously carelessly prepared/cooked. I chuckle inside.
Here’s the insane part: after all of this she turns to us and says, ‘I was right about that waiter! He sucks at his job!’
It’s like no, dude – your behavior made him not give a care about you.
After being a total prick and paying the price, she walked away feeling validated and haughty. I slipped in a nice tip with a ‘Sorry for my mom’ note.”
The Waiter Was Great, It Was The Manager Who Was The Problem
“It was at a TGI Fridays in Katy, TX. This waiter was amazing. He was working 8 tables that I could count and was managing all of them flawlessly. Drinks never got below 1/3rd full at any table, he was always attentive and prompt, friendly, just a textbook example of the perfect waiter. He impressed my dad so much that my dad asked if he could speak to a manager. Of course, the waiter immediately asked if anything was wrong, since that’s the only time someone asks. My dad tells him no, it’s to make sure that management knows what excellent service he’s providing. The waiter thanks us and says he’ll get a manager over as quickly as he can.
We wait for about 10 minutes before this middle-aged grease ball of a manager saunters over and starts asking my dad how the waiter messed up. My dad is not the most patient of people, and we were kinda in a hurry to get home, so the 10-minute wait was rubbing him wrong. But when the manager immediately acted like the guy had done something wrong, my dad lost it. He told the manager that the waiter had done everything perfectly, and that’s why he tipped the guy $15 on a $35 ticket. He also went on to say that the manager needed to be more respectful of his staff and chewed the guy out for presuming that the employee had messed up. Before that moment, I thought that my sister and I were the only ones he would scream at when he was upset. It was somewhat embarrassing to see my dad yell at this guy, but he did it for a good reason.”