"Dressing on the side, no tomatoes, only romaine." "Well-done, but not too well-done." "Let me speak to the manager, right now." These are all common questions and concerns that waitstaff have to deal with on a daily basis.
If it's not one problem, it's another. Waiter's and waitresses are in the "service" industry, not the "abide by every single demand" industry. Problems arise and mistakes are made, but the customers that these waiters' and waitresses have dealt with are way over the top, and likely won't be welcome back at various dining establishments.
Here are some the most annoying customers waiters and waitresses have been forced to deal with over the years. All posts have been edited for clarity.
"I had a guy put a $20 on the table when I came to greet him and his wife and say 'This is your tip. However, every time you do something wrong, I will remove a dollar.'
I thought he was joking, so I chuckled and asked 'like what?'
He takes the 20 off the table and replaces it with exactly $19 and says 'like that.'
Who carries enough bills to do that?"
"I was working Christmas Day at my mediocre restaurant. Towards the end of the night, I grabbed a paid bill from a table. It's an older man paying for his grown-up family. He hands me the bill-fold, smiling, and there's a ten on top. He says 'I won't be needing any change.' I'm thinking $10 isn't the best tip on a $170 bill, but I work the buffet and not everyone thinks we do anything at all so whatever, I don't really mind. I get up to the cash and start counting all the money when I realize that the conniving prick gave me perfect change, including the ten on top! He just wanted look generous in front of his family, the crafty old man. Well played, but I was so annoyed at the time."
"I worked at a local mid-range restaurant for about two years, starting when I was 14. I started washing pans and moved onto waiting shortly afterwards, when the owner realized I could string a sentence together and wouldn't drop too much. Nice family-owned place, friendly staff, owner was a nightmare, the usual.
We had a table of four one night, I didn't serve them but the head waitress, Lynne, did. Through the meal they were being rude, dismissive and demanding. I can't give any specifics because as I say, I wasn't serving them. Anyway, come the end of the night they are not at all happy, ask to see the owner, and leave shortly afterwards having paid less than half their bill. Both the owner and Lynne were spitting mad, maintaining that the food was fine and the table were being intentionally difficult. Personally I'm not convinced, I've seen questionable food served there before.
So, just about a year later I'm manning the front restaurant and I'm having some trouble with a table. They're being very rude, very demanding, and finishing perhaps half of their starters, most of them had complaints for me to send back to the kitchen. Fine by me, I didn't cook the food. But the chef tastes all of it, declares it fine, and calls them a bunch of pricks (from the kitchen). Then Lynne checks out the table and clocks them as the same four people she served the previous year. Knowing what's about to happen, I serve the mains, and again they polish off half their plates and rattle off a list of complaints about the standard of the food. They order desserts, and again they're just no good. I think the only thing that was up to their standards were the complimentary bread rolls.
Come bill-paying time I know what's up, and get the owner to speak to the table himself. They chew him out for the quality of food and the poor service, he listens and knowingly points out that he's surprised they returned, seeing as they were so unhappy last time. They argue back and forth for a little, and ultimately settle on a half price meal. He takes a debit card, smiles politely, takes it to the bar, charges the full amount plus a small tip to the card, hands it back and tells them to get out.
The job was awful but goodness, I could have kissed my boss for that one. It turns out we were not the only restaurant in the area they had done this to, so the owner did a bit of networking and made sure they wouldn't be pulling this stunt anywhere within a 10-mile radius."
"Not a waitress anymore, but my favorite was a woman who frantically waved me over one lunch service. It was a fairly hot summer's day, the conversation went like this:
Me: Hi, can I help you?
Her: Yes, we need some coolth.
Me: I'm sorry?
Her: WE NEED SOME COOLTH IN HERE.
Me: I'm sorry, I don't know what you're talking about.
Her: COOLTH. COOLTH. THE OPPOSITE OF WARMTH. DO YOU EVEN SPEAK ENGLISH?
Insert rant about 'Why can't they hire proper staff who speak the language etc, etc.' This was in Australia. I'm Australian. Blasted 18* air-con directly on her the rest of her meal.
Also, when I worked at a resort-hotel where you saw the same guests every day for a week or so, the woman who said to me at dinner 'Didn't I see you in the resort earlier today?'
Me: Oh, yeah, all the staff live on-site, I was going to the gym.
Her: Is it doing anything?"
"My first job was at Waffle House. My parents came in during breakfast one day to give me some support and see how I was doing; it was their first time coming to visit. They picked probably the busiest time of the morning, every table in my section was full and I had only been on the job a few weeks, so I was still a little daunted. My mother stiffed me on a tip because I didn't refill her coffee fast enough for her liking. She thought it was hilarious.
I didn't speak to her for a week, she hasn't stiffed a server since."
"I've been working at a new place recently, and they have this huge crop of regulars. My boss just bends over backwards for them. Each person has their own little needs, and they feel so entitled. It's insanity. I wouldn't be able to handle it but most are good people, nice to talk to and tip well. However, the other day a regular flipped out on me because I didn't give her some discount she expects to get because my boss discounted her one time. Turns out she always tips on 15% on the value after discount as well. Horrible witch of a lady.
The other day these two older couples came in. My coworker goes and waits on them, we're getting slammed. She takes the order, food is delivered. Oh no! The guy wanted fries not mashed potatoes. She brings out the food, apologizes and says the fries will be out in just a few minutes. The guy goes full maniac, waving his hands and just flipping out. To the level of people staring at him. He says he doesn't need the fries and that his meal is ruined. The owner goes over, apologizes, and gives them all a drink on the house and takes the meal off the check. So they finally leave, and they complain to the owner again saying this ruined their experience, and they may never come back again (they come a few times a month.) They say the waitress never discounted the check and my owner just calls them out on it and says 'I did it myself, I punched in the discount' so they leave in a huff. I check the table, they left $0 tip and a note saying yadda yadda dumb stuff about fries, 'the waitress laughed at me and it was mean.' So yeah they were just senile or something."
"When I was in college, I worked at a well-known Italian chain restaurant to help pay my living expenses. There were plenty of pros and cons to that 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'd been running around for hours, fetching drinks for snobby twits AFTER having worked until 2 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 by 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 our fairly large restaurant.
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, six strands of spaghetti) for him. He gives me the most evil 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 that size. The shift-lead 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. Not even 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 thought of him. I give them a good 10 minutes, meaning I am five minutes past when I should've left, before going over to check out my tip and cash out for the evening.
He tipped me 81 cents in pocket change."
"I worked at a fast, casual seafood restaurant and was waiting on a couple. At the end of the meal, I gave them their bill ($69.74). A little later, I passed by their table to pick up the money and they'd put out a total of $70.74. Wow, great, a whole $1 tip. I pocket it, thinking about how cheapskates should rot in the underworld because I have to tip out 3% to the hostess and bar, so I ended up losing money, having served those scum of the Earth.
So I went about my business, taking care of my other tables, and I noticed the couple was still hanging around their table, unnecessarily, I might add, as I'd already cleared their table, taken care of their bill, and gotten them their doggie bags. I stopped by their table and asked them if there was anything else I could do for them.
'Yeah, can I get my change?'"
"A family walked in, two twenty something daughters and their parents. I greeted them and sat them at a booth near the front of the restaurant. I handed them their menus, and it was only AFTER I filled up their water that they ask me to move them to the other side of the restaurant. I smiled and told them it wouldn't be a problem. Without grabbing any menus or glasses I'd just given them, they walked over to the new table and sat down. I then tried to maneuver around them to get the tables together, they made no effort to move. I then had to make two trips to grab the four menus and four glasses of water and clear the dirty glasses off the table they chose to sit at.
The father asked me about vino, so I asked him what kind he would like. 'Red,' he replies.
'Okay, sir, this whole side of the menu here is reds, which would you like?'
'I understand, but can you tell me what you would like.'
'Something dry.' At this point, I realized the guy was a moron and asked the manager to recommend one, which the father rejected. I bring a second one, which he does like. The eldest daughter asked for a half glass, which we don't have, so I gave her a full glass. The daughter looked at it and asked me if it's a half glass. 'No, it's not, it's a standard glass.' She demanded that I take it back and she not be charged because it looked like a half glass. WHAT KIND OF MORON THINKS A GLASS SHOULD BE FILLED TO THE TOP!?
They then kept me from my other tables by asking me pointless questions, ordering and then canceling orders and ordering again. To give an example, the eldest daughter asked for something with chicken. I worked at this restaurant for years and knew the menu very well. I told her that you can get chicken with any dish, and asked her to be more specific. She just said, 'Nothing to dry.' I had to repeat myself at least three times, telling her chicken was available with any dish. Then they argued with me about the price of peanut sauce, which was a dollar, seriously. And the fact that they were demanding was just part of it. They would not look at me when they spoke, they were condescending, so much so that the owner of the restaurant deliberately made the food so spicy that they would never want to come back. After years of waiting tables, those were the only customers that I genuinely disliked."
"At a restaurant I used to work at, the kitchen would try and close at 10 pm. We kept on two servers and a bartender till the last customer left the restaurant. It was 9:45 pm and I'm one of the last two servers working the outside tables. We still had a bus/runner working as his mom was the bartender and was the one give him a ride home at the end of the shift.
A couple came in and sat in my section. No worries, I only had two other tables and this wasn't unusual. They each order a drink and I let them know the kitchen is closing shortly. I got the response, 'The kitchen will close when I get my food.' I knew from that statement this couple was going to be trouble. I brought them their drinks, and the wife immediately declared it tasted like garbage and ordered a different one. In order to take anything off their bill, I needed a manager's approval. I let the manager know and expressed my concern about the table's behavior.
I brought the wife her second drink and once again, asked for their order. They ordered an appetizer. I let them know, once again, that the kitchen was closing, so it's better if I could get their full order now so the cook could do what he needs to. They refused to give me their order until their appetizer came. I went into the kitchen and let the cook know what was going on. He wasn't happy, but agreed to stay until the meal was cooked.
Once they finally ordered and received their food, they declared that it was disgusting and the worst thing they had ever eaten and immediately asked for the bill. There was nothing wrong with it and even if there was, you would ask for a manager, not the bill. I found my manager and let her know of the couple's comments. Being an awesome manager, she told me to hold off on the bill and went to speak to the couple. She spoke to them for a while. She came back in and agreed, they were awful. I looked at her and told her they weren't going to tip me. She thought I was right and printed the bill off, with adjustments to appease them. Their bill was $150 after adjustment and I was right, they didn't tip."
"The worst family I served, ever, EVER, was when I work at a Michelin-star restaurant; it's quite fancy.
Mum, dad, oldest sister (around twenty) and her boyfriend, and youngest sister (about eight) come in. I could tell from the first second as they stand at the door that they were going to be awful. The mother's jaw was clenched, her eyebrows were already knitted, and she looked on the edge of tears.
I seated them, gave them their menus, and before I could say anything else, the boyfriend said, 'Get me some bread.' I meekly replied that actually, I was just about to get them some, since that was the policy, I just had to get their water first. Inside, I thought he could wait for his bread now that he's been rude. Anyway, I headed on over to the waiter's station for water, and the mother got up, chased me across the restaurant, slapped a hand on my shoulder, and spun me around.
'What on the menu can we have very quickly? Straight away? My youngest is starving!' I was fairly stunned, so I told her that I'd put an order for an instantly assembled appetizer in and it would be a couple of minutes. Mother sprinted back to the table and I could now collect and serve the water, and the bread.
I poured water for the mother first. She picked it up and slammed it down in front of the youngest sister, who immediately grabbed it with both hands, downed it, held the glass out to me and panted, 'Another.'
Apparently, I didn't react fast enough, because mother spat out, 'Come on!' This process repeated until I had to get another pitcher of water and just left it at the table. Meanwhile, the dad was perusing the menu, the older sister and boyfriend were playing with phones, but for some reason, the mother seemed like she was having an aneurysm. Dad stopped me for a lengthy explanation of every dish each time I walked past. By this stage, I had to ask other runners to look after my section because these guys were taking up all my time. Finally, they put their order in. It was a few big dishes that they planned on sharing, so at least that part was easy.
However, now that they've had their apps, they wanted new plates. That's fine, but as I was circling the table, methodically stacking everything, the youngest sister snapped her fingers at me and said, 'Clean it now,' pointing at a mess she'd made.
I just splutter out, 'Now, I've only two hands, bear with me,' and scuttled away to drop the plates. After that, the youngest sister just resorted to holding her glass in the air when she wanted water. The pitcher was right in front of her. Her parents palpably didn't care that they were raising the worst person to ever have lived.
I ended up changing the plates between every dish that they shared. I had to tell the dish washer that the little cream plates needed prioritizing because we couldn't keep up with this family.
And then it happened.
The last, biggest dish hadn't come yet. Rightly so, because I quoted them forty minutes and it had only been thirty. But the older sister, who'd been silent this entire time, finally put down her rhinestone-encrusted phone and just burst into tears spontaneously, wailing, drawing a great deal of attention.
Now, I was trying to relay this table for the seventh time, but I was quite literally pushed out of the way as mother threw herself out of her chair. I fell to the ground, along with all the knives and forks I dropped. This is a loud restaurant, but people were turning around and looking, expecting a fight. The mother ran around to the oldest daughter, cradled her head and stroked her hair, crooning, 'There, there, don't worry, the food will be here soon.'
I was just flabbergasted by this. The older sister is an adult. Dad and boyfriend continue to not care. They ate their meal when it came (the tears turned off the second the food arrived), they paid, but continued to sit there in silence for a good half an hour or so more. I was asked for a pillow so the youngest sister could go to sleep under the table. We asked them to leave."