Customer service is a rough gig.

Add together food and tips for pay, and you’ve got a recipe for 17 horror stories:

Photo Credit: Pixabay/CC0

#1. The Switch-Up

“A couple orders food together. Man gets a plain hamburger and the female gets a hamburger ketchup only.

They come back up together, and the man says he ordered it plain but got ketchup, and the girl says she wanted ketchup but got a hamburger plain.

I still don’t know if they were trolling, but all I could do was gesture for them to switch hamburgers, as I was dumbfounded.”

#2. The Racism Interpreter

“We had a waitress run into the kitchen BAWLING her eyes out.

It took us a few minutes to find out what had happened, but apparently, a customer kept telling his son what he wanted, and the son would tell this waitress.

When pressed by the waitress why he would not speak to her directly, he told his son to tell her…

‘I don’t talk to N____'”

#3. Not the ENTIRE theatre community!…

“I served a lady who ordered a French onion soup. I returned a minute after delivery and asked how everything was. She made it CLEAR that she did not like the soup.

I took it away, gave her the menu, and she ordered a bruschetta with feta cheese (If you had it with feta cheese, there was a 75-cent extra charge). It arrived in timely fashion.

She seemed pleased.

Until, the bill arrived…

Now, I didn’t charge her for the French onion soup (she ate half of the thing), but she had a MELTDOWN because I charged her the measly 75 cents for the feta!

She started screaming in front of everybody that I was being rude, and that she was going to tell everyone, EVERYONE not to come to our restaurant.



She ripped up her bill and crumpled it up in front of me.

The whole thing was quite surreal.

I was stoic. I never had anything like that happen before, so I didn’t know how to react.


#4. What’s worse than no tip?

“I had a table of 5 that consisted of middle-aged people of mixed-gender leave a used maxi-pad on the table.”

#5. Creepy and Mean

“7 top.

Table gets excellent service. $140 bill or so.

Person paying check is friendly and all smiles…

Tips $0.

He waits at the door to see the sad dejected look on the waitress’s face as she looks at the receipt and gives a Hannibal Lecter smile.

You could just tell he derived pleasure from her pain.”

Photo Credit: Moebius Arts/Flickr

#6. Hey! I just met you, and this is creeeeepy…

“This happened when I was ~16 or 17. A guy came in to eat with his family (a little girl and his pregnant wife). They were really really friendly and at first I thought it was a great table.

The wife went to the bathroom, and the guy asked for the check, and on the check he wrote his phone number in the tip area along with, “Call me, baby.”

I ran his card, waited until his wife came back, and brought over the guy’s card and his receipt. I handed the receipt to the pregnant woman and told her something was wrong with the tip.

She got SUPER upset, and I got in a lot of trouble with my managers for stirring shit.

[Editor’s note: WORTH IT!]

In retrospect, I probably didn’t handle that the best way, but at the same time I was fucking furious that some guy would come to eat with HIS PREGNANT WIFE, (they were both wearing wedding bands, acting couple-y, 99% positive they were married, pretty much 100% confirmed when I gave the wife the receipt with the guy’s “tip” on it), and try to hit on a girl half his age.

wtf. wtf.

If he’s pulling that shit so brazenly, god knows what else he’s doing behind his wife’s back.”

#7. Father of the Year

“I used to work at a creamery, and a family of four come in and the kids immediately started screaming at the top of their lungs about which ice cream they want, and what they want mixed in it, but the father turns around and tells them to sit down and be quiet.

Well they sit down, but are far from quiet. Then his wife starts telling him how they have coupons and how if he gets a certain thing, they can get something else free, well the man says, “No, I want what I want”

Then the wife starts to complain to him while the kids are screaming.

Then, the man just looses it, and yells to his kids “YOU’LL EAT WHATEVER I BUY YOU!!”

The kids start crying, and the wife has this scared look on her face.

She takes the kids back to the car, and says ‘Well, we don’t want ice cream.’

The man just stands there, turns to my co-worker and says, ‘DON’T EVER GET FUCKING MARRIED! THESE PEOPLE DRIVE ME INSANE'”

#8. Demon Spawn

“Loud, screaming child hurls their meal at the server’s feet.

The mother looks up at the server and rudely tells her “I guess you’re gonna need to get her something else and clean that up.”

The kid spent the entire meal screaming and jumping all over the booth. At the end, kid wants dessert, and the parents say no, since she hadn’t eaten her dinner.

Mother of the year decides that she’s going to eat the kid’s dessert right in front of her.

The kid then began screaming things such as, ‘I’m going to fucking kill you!’ and, ‘I fucking hate you, you asshole!'”

#9. The Bad Reuben

“My girlfriend and I worked at the same restaurant in Savannah, GA while in college. St. Patrick’s day is huge here, about 750,000 people come every year and get very, very drunk.

One year an intoxicated customer, “didn’t like his Reuben,” and proceeded to grab my girlfriend (his waitress) and literally rub it in her face.

Myself, a bartender and a bouncer, literally tossed him out the front door.”

#10. “He threw it on the ground”

“We had one lone man come in in the afternoon who was particularly difficult. He complained that there was nothing on the menu that he wanted to eat and our prices were too expensive.

After patiently trying to give him suggestions of popular dishes or specials, he tried to negotiate the prices on things – offering to pay half of the price listed on the menu.

I told him that I wasn’t authorized to make changes to the prices on the menu, but that I would get my manager to come over and speak with him.

After trying to dicker with my manager (who is also extremely patient), he was told simply that the prices listed were the prices that they charge for the food, and if he wasn’t happy with the selection or pricing, there were plenty of other restaurants in town he could eat at.

He ended up ordering something off the menu. I served him (pleasantly and promptly) and brought him his bill.

When I came back to get payment from him, he left the exact change for his bill on the table.

He then took a nickel, spit on it, told me that was my tip, and threw it on the ground under the table.

I told my manager, and she escorted him out of the restaurant while telling him he wasn’t welcome at her restaurant anymore.”

#11. The Monte Cristo

“Family of 6 plus grandma and grampa. They had clearly scoured the city for every coupon they could find.

Right away, the mother tells the kids they can’t have soda unless grandma and grampa pay for it. Super classy.

Everything is going well, and I have gotten at least 3 other large tables since bringing their entrees out. When I check back, the mom bitchily asks why her son didn’t get any powdered sugar with his Monte Cristo. I reply that we don’t serve it with powdered sugar, just strawberry cream cheese.

Lady flips out and says that it isn’t a Monte without powdered sugar. I reply that I don’t think we even have powdered sugar in house, but I would be happy to double check.

Her response: ‘Well, powdered sugar is just ground sugar, so you can just make some.’

I stood there flabbergasted for a good 30 seconds before her husband finally piped up and said, ‘You can’t really be serious, he’s not going to go grind sugar for you.'”

#12. What an Asshole

“A customer continuously asked me for my phone number.

After refusing multiple times, he then told me ‘You’re not hot anyway.'”

#13. “16 kids, all over 21…”

“A friend worked at a fancy pizza shop and brewery in west Philly.

I was there one night while he was working, table of 16 kids, all over 21, racks up a tab of $175.

He’s the only server on their table, gets the food out on time and is a really nice guy.

Kids leave cash on the table along with a ton of trash and a total mess. Ketchup in their drinks and everything.

They only tipped $1.50.”

#14. Holy crap…

“A party of 4 came in last night. They were super needy for the entire 2 hours they sat there. The wait for desserts and drinks was pretty bad: we had a new bartender and a new dessert cook.

My guests weren’t too rude about it or anything, but they seemed strange.

At the end of the meal, one of them stopped me to tell me he was a pastor. He said that they didn’t have much money because of the government shutdown.

He said that servers were the only people making money during it, and that we’re all rich because we lie about how much we make so we don’t pay taxes.

His bill was $157.

He wrote a big “0” in the tip line.”

#15. R, R, and arrgh!

“Cheap-ass owner had us recycle salsa.”

#16. Just a little hyperbolic

“While working at Subway I had two older ladies come in and tell me how much of a nice young man I was, and how it was so refreshing to have a fast food employee be so sociable.

This ultimately led to the conversation “This must be a summer job while you’re in college, right?”

I answered yes and told them that I had just finished my sophomore year as an engineering major at Penn State.

This led to a ten-minute session of them screaming at me, claiming that I was a terrible person who supports child molestation. They literally told me I was no better than Jerry Sandusky himself, and said they didn’t know how I could live with myself.

They told my manager they couldn’t believe that she could work with someone like me (wasn’t I just the exceedingly nice young man?).

My manager told them in the nicest way possible that they could go fuck themselves, and I never saw them again.”

#17. The Special Request

“I work at a sushi restaurant.

I’ve actually had customers ask me to lay naked on the table so they could eat sushi off of me.”


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