People who work in the restaurant business have seen it all. But there's nothing like dealing with some memorable customers who tried their best to completely ruining the entire dining experience for everyone.
Not Everything In Life Is Free…
>>> “I work at Subway. People go through a lot to get free food. Such as one guy came in after eating his entire footlong and complained that there weren’t enough jalapeños and demanded a free sandwich. Or the guy that came in a few hours after purchasing his food with a small bit of sandwich and a huge moth in it saying it was in our spinach and just didn’t notice putting it in the sandwich. The best part was he showed all of us pictures of moths on his phone that he found in his house. He demanded 15 free footlongs and kept bragging about how great he was for not suing. A younger kid came in with a knife bigger than his sandwich, saying he took a bite and ‘found it in there.’ We also used to give out free cookies on Sundays, and it would always be two random less popular flavors. One day a lady calls the store three times within an hour to angrily tell me how much she did not like the flavor of free cookie she got. Ended up having to give her a free cookie of her choice.”
>>> “While I worked in an all you can eat restaurant, we frequently had customers who would eat three or four plates of food, then go and fill up another five, leave them all full on the table and claim the food was all disgusting and refuse to pay. There was one time in particular when a couple tried to do this, the managers got involved and were refusing to let the customers leave whilst they called the police. The woman in the couple tried to push past one of my managers and he took hold of her arm to stop her leaving. Cue shouts of assault and harassment and male partner suddenly going crazy, shouting, ‘Don’t you touch my woman.’ Luckily, there was a full restaurant of people who were watching the show, so they couldn’t get away with it. Idiots.”
>>> “I am a host. At the host stand, we have a bucket of crayons for little kids. On the way out, a woman stopped at the host stand and started shoveling crayons into her purse. I said: ‘Ma’am, those are for children; please stop stealing our crayons.’ She replied: ‘Listen here missy, don’t be telling me what to do! Besides, you can afford to let me steal crayons.’ Then she zipped up her giant purse and ran out of the restaurant. I was speechless.”
>>> “I hostess in a five-star restaurant in a well-known luxury hotel chain. Most people think such low budget behavior wouldn’t occur here, but it’s rampant. Managers comp items or entire meals for the most absurd of reasons. Example, as a manager was doing a quality check at a table soon after the couple sitting there had finished, they explained how annoyed they were by a fly throughout their meal. They threw a big enough stink that the manager comped their entire meal. These people chose to sit outdoors mid-summer in south Florida. Another example would be a particular woman who is a regular and has not once eaten something off the menu. She requests whatever she feels like eating to be made by the chef and because of the status and the expectation from a restaurant such as this, we bend over backward for her. No matter how precise to her description the food is made, she dislikes a majority of it and complains. The managers knock off large portions of her bill. I don’t plan on working in hospitality or food and beverage, and to watch these things go down makes me sick and gives me little hope for humanity at times. The types of people who frequent places such as these KNOW how to work the system and the management creates these monsters, letting the cycle continue.”
>>> “I work at Noodles and Company, have been for the last three years. We are trained to repeat the entire order back to the person before they pay just to make sure it’s correct. Four to five times a week, maybe even four to five times a shift, depending on the day (usually Fridays and Saturdays), I will take someone’s order, say a regular-sized mac n cheese, and repeat it back to them. When I would bring it out to them, they would instantly say: ‘Oh, I order chicken with this, I want it.’ Dang it, I know you didn’t order that. And my managers just always say give it to them. My friend, who is a manager at the same noodles I work at had some lady and her daughter come in during a Friday night rush. They ordered a Pesto Cavatappi. The lady ended up complaining to my manager friend saying that there were no veggies in it and wanted a brand new one with veggies. Got a new one made up and just before my coworker set it on the table, the daughter asks her mom ‘why did you make me eat the veggies out of the other one if we are getting a new one?’ The manager gave a ‘are you kidding me’ look to the lady and walked away with the freshly made food.”
>>> “I waited tables for five years in family-style neighborhood restaurants. It’s amazing how many people try to get free stuff. Once, a woman with long wiry black hair claimed that one of my hairs (short and red) was in her food. The hair was like a foot long and clearly came from her. She got her free food. Another one that stands out was a woman who flagged me down to complain about the price ($5) of her bowl of soup. It was a huge bowl, filled 3/4 of the way. I even remember the soup, it was a really hearty made-from-scratch clam chowder. After telling her that I don’t have the power to change the price of her food (I did have the power to promo it, but I didn’t want her to get her way), I told her I’d be happy to get my manager for her. She insisted that I didn’t get the manager, and instead ripped me apart because she felt like we were charging too much for soup. I have no idea why she didn’t want to speak to a manager. Maybe she thought her lies would be obvious to someone other than a server. For some reason, a lot of customers would order things that were not anywhere on the menu. For example, we did not have waffles. We had French toast, pancakes, a lot of bread and stuff but not waffles. This guy comes in, doesn’t look at the menu, and orders waffles. I tell him to take a look at the menu and I’d be back to help him. I guess that made him mad because after he ordered pancakes, he demanded that they are promoted because we didn’t have what he originally wanted. Luckily, my manager was near and heard the conversation, and he dealt with the idiot. He did not get his free pancakes. One more! Since we were a neighborhood restaurant, sometimes regulars would bring in their own mugs for coffee. I would just fill their mugs, which often times were larger than ours, and charge them the regular price. There was this one particular woman who I did not know that brought her own mug in. I filled it as normal and charged her the normal price ($2.50). She was LIVID when she got the bill and realized that she had been charged for coffee. For some reason, she thought she would get free coffee if she brought her own mug. I explained to her that this was not the case and she reluctantly paid the bill, leaving the tip field blank. Here’s the best part; she left the mug behind! I kept it and still have it. I call it the revenge mug.”
If You Can’t Afford It, Don’t Bother Ordering!
>>> “I work at a chain restaurant. A woman came in with her three small, unruly children. I greet the table with a smile, but before I am able to get anything out of my mouth she says: ‘I have $30. That’s all. You need to make sure that the bill isn’t over $30, and we all need to eat and have ice cream.’ Are you kidding me? How is that MY responsibility? Great, so I am clearly not getting a tip and now I have to do math on top of it. It ended up being one of the most difficult dinner/dessert service of my life (complete with MANY substitutions, send backs, and my manager having to comp due to her dissatisfaction) the bill came to $29.84…AND SHE HAD THE NERVE TO LEAVE THE CHANGE ON THE TABLE.”
>>> “I used to work for Bennigan’s, and it was fun at first, until I got stuck on the swing shift nearly every week. This lady and her husband would come in right after the lunch rush and sit at the same table everyday. She would order the seafood platter for the both of them even though he DIDN’T want it. She would eat most his plate leaving him with one piece and a hushpuppy and when it came time for the check, she would try to negotiate the bill and NEVER left a tip! Not only did they never tip, one day they stole my tip off another table! These teenagers only purchased fries and drinks and left a $20 for their tab that was only $7 at the most. I saw their generous tip sitting on the table and I was stoked! I looked away for a minute to greet another table and looked back and the money was gone and the ‘seafood’ couple had also left leaving only one dollar on the table! The only way I knew they stole the money off the other table is because there was no one else in that part of the dining area except the new table that just seated. The teens didn’t return and my manager was on one of his many coffee breaks! Lesson learned: grab your tickets as soon as they depart the table! Now when I go out, I personally hand my payment to the waitstaff because I don’t want the same happening to me!”
>>> “A large lady came in with three kids and was on her cell phone the entire time, not watching her kids. She then ordered a soda and three refills. When I told her that is not how it works, she got mad, yelled, demanded the manager. The manager talks to her, she yells at him, he comes back to me, demands I give her what she wants and get her out of there. I give her four sodas; one for her and three for her kids, who were not even at the table. She then orders her food, which was three enchiladas with rice and beans and three plates. Easy enough, I guess she wanted to share. I bring her food out, before even eating it, she claims it is not right, asks me to redo it! I reach to take the plate back, she says: ‘Nah uh! I’m hungry!’ and pulls the plate away from me. I go get the manager again, he doesn’t even want to talk to her. I just place the order again and bring it to her. When I bring her the second plate, she had already split the food among her three kids and just ate the new plate for herself. So she got two entrees and four drinks for the price of one entree and one drink just because she was rude.”
>>> “Big family table comes in. Everything goes fine. Bill was probably $150 or so. The dad pays. I see him drop a $20 on the table. The family all gets up to leave. Last to leave? Mom. She gets up, watches everybody start heading for the door, picks up the $20, leaves a $5 instead.”
>>> “The other day I had a woman seated by herself in my section on a Friday night. I asked her what she wanted to drink, and she said she didn’t want anything, just a glass of ice. She said her friend was at the antique store next door, she was waiting for him, and he MIGHT order something. She looked pretty trashy, but this restaurant’s customers are about 90 percent old people and 10 percent white trash, so it wasn’t surprising. I asked her if she’d like some bread while she was waiting for her friend, she said no. A few minutes later, I saw that her glass wasn’t on the table, she was holding it under the table. When she put it back on the table it had a brown liquid in it. Eventually, the manager kicked her out for bringing in her own drink and not buying anything. We found cans under the table while vacuuming that night. As a side note, we have $1 drafts.”
The Accomodation Some People Think They Deserve Is Astounding!
>>> “I had a woman come in with two of her friends. She had this attitude and aura that they all thought they were better than anyone else, despite the gross fake nails, crunchy hair, and few hundred extra pounds between the three of them. They order an appetizer and then each gets some of the more expensive options on the menu, one woman, in particular, getting the ‘Shellfish Trio’ which has a crab cake, shrimp skewer, and a lobster tail. I deliver their food, do my rounds and return to check on how they’re doing. Woman with the trio has woofed down her entire lobster tail and she says she ‘didn’t care’ for it. I apologize, ask her if I can bring her another, she obliges. I bring out the new tail, set it down, do my rounds, and then return to check on the new tail. The woman says: ‘To be honest, it wasn’t that great.’ Meanwhile, the things been practically ripped open so she could get every piece of meat in her mouth before I could get back. I knew off the bat they weren’t going to tip me no matter how great a job I did, so I had the charge for her trio and the extra lobster tail on the bill. You eat it, you pay for it.”
>>> “Both these stories happened when I was managing a high-end seafood restaurant. Story One: Long story short, a guy picked up the bill for his table of eight people which I believe amounted to close to $900, which also included a lot of adult beverages. 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, and 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 that of the amount they had to drink. 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 other drinks at dinner too. Add to that the mixed drinks he had at the bar. (I called, and asked the bartender about this party, and she remembered them). He was mad, 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. Story Two: 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, the works. As far as I know, they had a nice meal. We even included a candle on the dessert. The waiter drops the check and she is LIVID!!!! 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 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.’ 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 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. I hated when rich, entitled white women would come in and make a stink over the most minor, trivial stuff. I do not remember the comedian’s name, but he says this about rich white women: ‘I married someone who accomplished something! I demand respect!'”
>>> “I work at a family owned Japanese hibachi restaurant. The meals are a bit pricey, but they have a deal for your birthday to get a discount. This older couple comes in with their son and who I was assuming to be his girlfriend and her daughter. We had another ‘kids eat free’ promo that day. It was one of their birthdays, so I told them if they had separate checks I could do both promos, they were fine with that. The kid’s meal was covered all but $2 (there’s a limit to the free) and gratuity was added due to promos used (house policy, on coupon they brought in). When they get the bills, they were very confused. The kids meal wasn’t free, and why did it cost more than the other times they came in? They were mad. We comped the $2 for the kids meal and I went through and explained every single charge and how it added up – there was nothing wrong with it but they couldn’t accept that answer. They said they came in all the time and got the same thing and they pay less that. Every time they are given a valid answer they make up something else to be mad at until finally they tell me they want the gratuity taken off because ‘they already tipped the chef’ although, I still have to tip him out of that %, so I would be paying to have waited on them. I was more than nice to these people and so was my manager. They told me, ‘If you don’t remove the tip, we are never coming back again.’ I got my manager, assuming he would remove it, and he went out there and told them they had to pay it! I was so glad he stood up to them instead of giving in.”
>>> “My mother has owned a breakfast restaurant for eight years in Florida. Some of the stuff I’ve seen needs to be in a book. Somebody brought a dead cockroach in a small bag and decided to put it in their food and make a huge scene in the dining room. Threatening to sue saying she’ll never come back that sort of thing. I guess she didn’t read the signs that are posted all over that tell all of our customers that they are being recorded. We looked at the cameras and quickly told her to leave. Had a guy throw his plate down at a floor and scream: ‘This isn’t fit for pigs’ and told us to comp his meal for him and his friends. Apparently we were being ridiculous when we asked him to leave. Had a guy in a party of 8 complain that our eggs aren’t free range and that he never would’ve eaten here if he would have known and that we should comp the entire meal. -We’ve had to many attempted dine and dashes to count. We have a balloon artist on the weekends as it is a family place. We had one lady outright yell at this poor guy for trying to make a kid a sword at the table next to her. Then she yelled at me when I told her to please calm down. I’m going to let you guess what she asked me to do. COMP HER MEAL! Had a guy get mad at us for not having paper bags for his to go order and wanted us to discount it. You know since plastic bags just can’t do the job.”
The Constant Complaining Isn’t Helpful…
>>> “I used to work at a Chili’s. If you sat in the bar area you got ‘free’ chips and salsa. Technically, they weren’t free, you got one bowl with each entree purchased. But typically the bar had parties of two or four, and most people don’t out eat their entrees, so it was never an issue. This lady comes in one day with her four children. She had to have been 250 pounds. She orders water for everyone and chips. They devour the first plate, I bring a second, they devour that, I bring a third. I ask if I can take an order, and she tells me they’re waiting for some more people. At this point, I know something’s up, and while I’m in the back, I see her kids stuffing chips into Ziplock bags. I had to have brought out 10 refills on the chips before they tried to leave. My manager intercepted them before they got up and dropped a bill for $50 on their table. She starting complaining that chips and salsa were free. He called her out on the ziplock bags. Long story short, she had no money on her, cops got called, she got arrested (or at the very least, kicked out of the restaurant). Didn’t honor her lies, never saw her again.”
>>> “I went to Atlantic City with my parents a long time ago. Most of the restaurants at the casino were nice. But the buffet was, of course, the cheapest price for the most food. So it was filled with all types of people. I saw a woman sit down with multiple plates of food at a table that had a few empty plates and tip on the table. I had assumed she was already done eating. That’s when I saw her pull plastic bags out of her purse and begin to dump the three plates of food she had into the bag. A worker walked up to her and said she’s not allowed to take food home. I remember her vividly – In her 40s, rather large. She looked at him and just stared at him like he was talking a different language until he walked off. This was a normal guy, not a manager or anything and the place was busy. He took off and kept doing his job as she continued to place every bit of food into her plastic bag. Before she gets up, she grabs the tip and puts it in the bag and walks off.
I used to work at a theater and if you wanted a free movie, I may have just let you walk in. But I wouldn’t take any crap when people lied to me to get free movies. One time in particular one walked up, showed me a partial stub. The first thing I noticed is that it was ripped poorly with part of the other stub still attacked and I know I didn’t rip it. I’m too type-A about those kinds of things. His friend who walked up next to him showed me his ticket. And it was only a half of a stub, but with the piece missing. I start to let them in and CLICK. I turned around and said: ‘Please let me see your ticket again.’ I take the tickets and sure enough, they bought one ticket and ripped it. I took one half and gave the first kid the other half and said: ‘You may enter.’ I need a second ticket from you. Angrily, he ran and got my manager. All I had to do was show him the ticket. The manager told them to buy a second ticket. Another woman handed me a week old stub. I wouldn’t have let the witch get away with it if it wasn’t for the little girl who was there. Who knows what kind of scene that woman would have started. Maybe she would have got angry and that little girl would never have got to see a movie.
I used to work in a bar and people would complain about the drinks to get more of them. Those idiots would get a couple full shots in their drink for $2.50. I never gave less than a shot and a half. One woman complained so much, she wanted her soda in a separate glass and her drink in a different glass. She got what she wanted. I put a shot glass down and poured not a drop more than a single shot. She tried to complain that I didn’t give her a full shot. I told her: ‘Do you see that line on the shot glass? That’s a full shot. That’s all you ordered.’ Luckily it’s the people like that at the bar I worked at, that gave me the backbone I needed. I used to be a pretty meek individual. Dealing with idiots every day made me not give a care.”
>>> “This woman comes through the drive-thru, orders a meal and two sandwiches. Her total is $8.10. She pulls to the window and hands me $4 in dollar bills. Then she starts rooting through her purse for the rest. She apologizes and says she’s sorry; her wallet got stolen. I don’t say anything, but internally I sympathize. Why didn’t I let her have it? She said it was stolen from work, meaning she knew what she had before she pulled in my drive-thru. Then she says she hopes she isn’t holding up my line because she wasn’t going anywhere until she paid it all. She manages to scrape up another dollar bill. Oh, it’s going to be like that, eh? Challenge accepted. Three minutes have gone by at that point. A car comes up behind and orders a drink. No problem. But she’s waiting behind this one woman who can’t find her money. By this time, she has enough to pay for the meal. I tell her this. No, she insists, she has to have the entire thing. She finds $0.50 and another minute goes by. She asks if there’s anything I can do. I tell her no, I offered her a solution and she didn’t take it. A quarter, two dimes, and a nickel appear and another minute elapses. Since she won’t move and insists on paying for what she ordered, I can see where this is going. I tell my guy in front who hands out the food to go out the back door and give the second car her drink. he does that and gets her money. I ring that order out, the second car drives off. The lady at my window starts complaining that she spent her day wiping butts and how bad it was she couldn’t pay for her food. I say nothing. Seven minutes have elapsed. Now this lady is digging through her console for change and comes out with a dollar in coins. Then she starts asking me how much more she needs. So I tell her. Digging continues. Now she’s coming up with pennies. She’s coming to her endgame now: now she’s asking if I could comp the rest, ‘For all the times I ask for extra sauce and it isn’t there or when I ask for cheese on my chicken sandwich and it isn’t there?’ I tell her no. Even if we had that capability of comping for condiments, my drawer would still be short. Most places have a strict limit of how much more or little your drawer can be. This would have put me down a dollar. Also, employees are NOT supposed to put their own money to pay for customers orders. Some do it anyway. I don’t have that kind of walking around money, plus I could tell this woman was going to do everything she could to not pay. I hate people insulting my intelligence, and I was not going to help her monetarily in any way. She asks for the manager. I tell her I’m the manager. She wants my name. I give it to her. There’s nothing I can do? I tell her no. Resignedly, she sighs and reaches to grab an unwrinkled, in plain sight to her, dollar bill. I take the bill and hand her the extra unneeded change after she pulled to my window.”