smallapronMiscellaneous and Numerous Stories


Southern Hospitality

I work at a popular Cape Cod restaurant.  In the fall, we see many people from the "deep south."   As I'm sure you are all aware, their tips are worse than any of our friends from foreign countries. 

I waited on a "lovely couple" from down south at lunch the other day.  Here's how it went.  The "husband" kept getting up looking for me - which I find offensive, since I consider myself to be a very attentive waitperson. "Could we have some dinner rolls, (southern drawl), etc. etc.  I found myself walking through the restaurant saying to myself and other wait people, "SIT DOWN, JUST SIT DOWN!!!"
 
They both order fried shrimp with french fries; I checked back to see that everything was O.K.: not much response, they just looked at me while chewing. Well, once again, a few minutes later, there he was walking around the restaurant (SIT DOWN!!!): "I'm not gonna eat those french fries; they're soggy, blah, blah, blah". I said, "Can I get you some more fries, or some rice or potatoes?"  "Yeah, we'll have the fries."  (SIT DOWN!!)   I brought the fries, then checked to see if they were o.k.  Again, not much of a response - whatever!! Then, he came looking for me for the check (SIT DOWN!!!!).   He handed me his credit card; I ran it through; he signed, NO TIP!!  I checked the table for cash (yeah right), nothing!! 

I went outside, approached them, and said, "Was there a problem with your service?" 
She (with her pincurled hair, who hadn't uttered a word through the whole thing) said, "The rolls were hard and the fries were..."  I said "I didn't bake the rolls, but frankly, I'm proud of the food I serve here."  She began yelling/screaming, and I said, "Never mind - I *know* what it is" (meaning, "You're from the 
south and you'd do anything not to tip") and I walked away.  She screamed. "You're a YANKEE!!!"  This struck me so funny, as if she knew exactly what I was thinking!!   I said "You're a SOUTHERNER!!!"  She responded, "You come back here and I'll show you what kind of Southerner I am!!!"  YIKES.

—Billy


On the Waterfront

I used to work for a fish and chips restaurant chain in the Pacific Northwest. This restaurant was a fast-food restaurant, but the way it was set up, employees always had to end up waiting on the customers, even though no one ever tipped. Customers would order their food at the front counter and be given a number to put on their table. Their orders would be brought out to them, and they could get condiments, napkins, and cutlery from a couple of stations in the restaurant. Despite this, people were constantly asking me to bring them tarter sauce, napkins, lemon wedges, etc. Since I didn't want a hassle and was also conscientious about giving good customer service, I would bring them the requested item unless I was too rushed, and then I would point out the condiment stations. When I would bring them the thing they wanted, I would bring WAY too much. If they asked for tarter sauce, I would bring a dozen containers full, hoping the implication was that they were such pigs I thought they needed it. I would bring a 4 inch stack of napkins or 10 straws for 2 people. I doubt this really bothered the customers, but it made me feel better. They would usually call after my retreating form, "oh, we don't need this much/many...", but I would pretend not to hear them.

After I had worked at this restaurant for awhile, the managers would put me on the register on a regular basis, which was better, but people were still rude. Many times there would be so much noise in the restaurant (especially on Friday nights and during Lent--always more customers then since Catholics aren't eating red meat at those times) that I couldn't hear people placing their orders. I would have to ask them to repeat themselves, and if they got angry (and surprisingly, many people did) I would tell them I was deaf in one ear and hadn't heard them. Almost everyone I said that to apologized and looked ashamed of themselves—I highly recommend that lie. People would also get angry that they couldn't pay with their credit cards (the restaurant wasn't equipped for that then-maybe it is now). They would sound aghast, and somehow offended; "You don't take credit cards?!" I would point out that McDonald's and Burger King didn't either (meaning of course, "you're in a fast-food restaurant, you dumbass"), but they would continue to harp.

There was a door directly behind the cash registers, and the door had a window in it. On slow nights, one of my coworkers and I would take turns chasing each other past the window with a knife. That coworker was really fun, and he and I would spend lots of time thinking up funny or insulting things to say to customers, though we never said them. One thing we always wanted to do but didn't was direct people to the men's bathroom for iced tea refills: "Just knock three times, ma'am, and someone will fill that right up for you."

The restaurant also had a mascot--a parrot--and on slow summer days they would force one of us into the parrot suit and send us out to hand out coupons (we were located on the water where people were hanging out). I didn't mind that too much, as it didn't require speaking to anyone, and generally children were frightened by the large parrot suit and would cry, thus providing me with much-needed entertainment.

I could go on and on, and I already have, but it was such a weird place to work, in a lot of ways. I'll close by saying the funniest thing I ever saw there was when one of my coworkers spilled a whole bowl of chowder into this mean guy's briefcase. Needless to say, he was incensed, but it was truly an accident on her part. We congratulated her repeatedly nonetheless.

—E.W.
Durham, NC

P.S.  My friend read the stories on your site, and she was struck by how many people were bothered by requests for extra lemon wedges in beverages. She said that when she worked as a server, she would cheerfully give extra lemon wedges, after first rolling them in her hands.


I was waiting on a table last night, and the fat bitch spilt her soda. That's okay I thought, I'll just clean it up with a rag. So while I'm on my hands and knees cleaning her mess, she begins to complain about how it wasn't her fault that she knocked over the soda. Apparently, it was the restaurant's fault because the tables and booths were too close together. Then I brought out their large sausage parm sandwich, only to find out that they asked for a large sausage "pizza". I know that they asked for a sub and not a pizza cuz I repeated large parm three times. And on top of it all, a $36.59 bill and I got a $2 tip. I love being a waitress!!!

—Anonymous


I have worked in a restaurant kitchen for about 5 years. I have seen a lot of disgusting things, such as spitting on food, food being dropped on the floor and being served, but one instance really threw me for a loop. One time our kitchen manager was working in the kitchen, when orders were coming in. Just a few seconds earlier, our broiler cook threw a hamburger in the trash because it was burnt. A order came in for a burger well done, and the customer said they wanted it burnt. I saw my manager dig into the trash, pull out the burger and continue to cook it on the grill. He noticed that I saw him, and said "that the customer will never know the difference, and besides, it saves food cost!" I was totally shocked, but continued to work.

—Ron, TGI FRIDAY'S


While working a seafood restaurant, we often had a crowd that would come in just to eat blue claw crabs. One such group of Albanians would come in every Sunday and eat more than $100 worth of crabs and drink up another $50. These bastards never tipped! So one Sunday they came in drunk off their asses, ate crabs, then caused a disturbance. They shorted on paying the bill by more than 20 bucks! The manager ran out after them; he got the money and told them not to come back ever again. The next night they showed up and claimed that is was not them who caused the trouble, just some other guys that looked like them! So now both groups can't eat there anymore.

—Andy, PA


Aging Well

The well-dressed, attractive, elderly woman I was waiting on told me it was her eightieth birthday. Shocked, I told her she absolutely looked at least twenty years younger--she did. Then she leaned close and, in a loud stage whisper, confided to me that she had just been to the gynecologist the previous week. As her husband beamed proudly, she asked, "And do you know what my doctor said to me?" I couldn't imagine what was coming: "He told me I looked just like a young woman--you know--DOWN THERE." She grinned joyously.


Stan

Stan had worked at our well-known, huge, overpriced seafood chain store for years and his quality of attitude was plummeting. One night, Stan was suspended for explaining the general tipping procedure to a table. Stan was told that the management would make a decision on whether to fire him or not by that weekend. Friday came, and he was instructed to come in to work in his uniform. After walking in the door, he was taken into the office and told goodbye, permanently Stan had to think quickly. On his way out the front door, Stan grabbed the microphone (the one that announces to every last nook and cranny in the store) from the hostess. Into it, in his most professional imitation of a manager, he declared: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. The management would like to thank you for choosing us for your dining experience tonight. We'd also like to remind you to please remember to TIP YOUR WAITERS AND BARTENDERS AT LEAST 20%. Thank you. YUP, THAT'S 20%. Have a good evening." Stan then ran out of the restaurant, with two managers at his heels. The guests stared, befuddled.


Near the end of one busy Saturday night, Terrie and I noticed that all the managers were in the front office. This meant that no one was in the back office (off limits to us), but we hoped we could sneak back and find the new schedule. No schedule was there, but we decided to rummage through the office anyway.

Terrie stood watch, and I began leafing through the items on the messy desk and bulletin boards. Sometimes, write-ups for co-workers were present, always a good laugh for the many misspellings and general illiteracy demonstrations of our managers. I was lucky enough to find a guest complaint letter tacked to the wall. Guests often wrote these hilarious masterpieces, loaded with errors and incoherent rantings, in hopes of getting a free meal. I scanned through the letter--as usual, the writer was sub literate, and the handwritten scrawl was barely legible.

I came to the part where the guest described the appearance of his server whose name he didn't know but who obviously had offended him with rude, terrible service. It was unmistakably Terrie! She grabbed it and stuffed it into her pocket. We were at once horrified and gleeful that we had found the letter before she had gotten nailed--we ran.

A week or two later, Terrie had a conversation with the general manager, who was discussing guest complaints. He mentioned that a negative letter about Terrie had come in but had mysteriously disappeared. A good liar, as all we servers are, Terrie skeptically joked, "Yeah, sure, a likely story..."


Amanda

Amanda had a very disgusting habit of eating leftovers from guest's plates. We constantly nagged her to stop it, but she insisted that it was a compulsion left over from childhood.

One night, a child left a whole large lobster tail, chopped up, on her plate. When Amanda took the plate away, she ran in the back and gobbled down her prize. When she returned to the table, Amanda asked the child's mother, "Didn't she like her lobster?"

The mother wearily said, "No, she wouldn't eat it. I would have eaten it myself if she hadn't chewed on every piece and spit it back out on her plate."


Rob

Rob was an aggressive, efficient, somewhat obnoxious waiter who was very into bodybuilding. Lifting, though, didn't do enough to tame Rob's aggressive spirit. He just couldn't handle it when guests left him crappy tips, so he had several techniques to educate his customers.

If he thought the table was the kind who wouldn't run crying to a manager, he would actually say, "You may not know that most people tip at least 15% if they are satisfied with the service" in which case the losers would occasionally fork over a few more dollars. Remember, Rob had biceps that regularly split the sleeves of his starched white oxford shirts.

Rob also photocopied those little tip cards they sell at card shops--the ones that list a 15% and a 20% tip for amounts up to $100. (I feel all guests should carry these handy helpers, and I am moved and impressed when I see little old ladies whip them out of their pocketbooks.) Rob brought a pile of these photocopies into work each night and stapled them to his guest checks with the correct tip amount highlighted in yellow. Soon enough, mgmt caught wind of this, and Rob was told to stop it.

A few weeks ago, Rob received a tip of $2 on an $85 check. As the guest handed this prize over to him, Rob let a depressed sigh slip out. "What's wrong?" the guest asked. Rob asked if the guests had been satisfied with his service, and they said that they were. He explained to them that servers must claim 8% of their tips (at least here in PA) and that when we make below an 8% tip, we actually lose money by being taxed on money we didn't make. He again gave his line about an appropriate tip being in the 15% range.

"Well, that just goes to show how little I know!" the woman said, claiming she didn't go out to eat very often. She relinquished another dollar. Then she and her friends went straight to a manager to tell on Rob, who was suspended and who later resigned before he could be fired. I last saw him that night, telling his story in the kitchen, teary-eyed.


Flagged

Dave noticed that the 350-pound, sweating loudmouth in his station was acting a little tipsy. After the man tried to order another 16 ounce beer with a shot of Crown Royal in it and a side of Grand Marnier, Dave found out he had already finished several of these at the bar. The manager's advice: flag him.

As soon as Sweaty got the news, he began to make a scene in the full dining room during Saturday night volume. He cursed and screamed, shouting that he had never received such bad service and that he would not be tipping Dave. He dumped his coffee and his remaining liquor onto the carpet repeatedly. The other guests in the room shifted uncomfortably. He demanded that Dave stay away from the table, and a manager was called over. Sweaty threatened to cancel his credit card and bellowed that he would never eat "at this pathetic fucking place again!!!" At least the manager had the balls to say, "We really don't want you back."

After he left, several nearby guests came over and offered Dave $5 bills. Dave took them!

—Jon, New Haven


Steak  Special

I was working in a large French bistro style restaurant when there was a rather large influx of way-lower-than-average servers for the summer.
Of particular notice was this one girl, let's call her Sally. Sally was not the brightest person as the following story will illustrate.

As it happens, Sally was at one of her lunch tables when a customer asked her what type of steak we served. Going on her ignorant whim, Sally replied "black anus" (as opposed to black angus). Surely the customer was shocked, responding by asking her to repeat what she just said. Sally, not fully aware of the implications of such terminology, continued to explain to him that it was indeed black anus. In addition to this, she decided to elaborate on the name by explaining that "It's real good meat back there" and that "We do marinate it." Suffice it to say, the customer did not order any steak.

We learnt about this the following day in the pre-meal meeting we held with the chef and manager before every shift. It was in this meeting that Sally raised her hand when the chef asked "any questions" and went ahead and asked him what type of steak we served "because I told this table yesterday that we served black anus, and he was rather shocked." The entire room, of around 30 waiters, broke out into a roar of laughter, many falling to the ground in tears, as Sally continued in her attempt to explain her way out of the mess (no pun intended) she created!!

—Natalie, New York


Special Dessert

Last summer I was a waiter in an upscale restaurant in Atlanta. Our pastry chef was crazy and always flirted with the women who worked there. One night after work, he and some of us guys were out drinking and cutting up and he joked about making a "special dessert" for some of the sexy women customers we had. He said that he would jack off, and then put his semen into the custard or sauce or whatever, slip it off to the customer and they would never know. He was just drunk and joking around and we laughed. But then, the next week, this one waitress he always flirted with, really bitched him out about his flirting. She was a bitch to everybody really. Well, she always loved trying out the pastry chef's new desserts, so the next day, this guy brought into the kitchen one of his "special" homemade desserts for her to try. He told us guys what he was going to do and we all went along. He hid the dessert in a special place in the walk-in frig just waiting for her. Well, she wound up switching schedules with somebody and did not work that night. So this "special" sperm dessert was gonna' go to waste. Well, at the end of the night, one of our managers, this married 40ish guy who was always a dick, was cussing us out about something. He later was in the frig and found that dessert. He came out saying "um this looks good" and "is this a new creation?" to the pastry chef. The pastry chef says "sure man, just made it today, you can have it, let me know whatcha' think". So this eats it! He's like licking his lips and going "um, yum". All of us who knew the secret just burst out of the kitchen to keep from laughing. It was disgusting. He ate the whole thing and the pastry chef kept a straight face. It was unbelievable. To this day, I'm afraid to eat desserts in a restaurant! You just never know if there's any "special" ingredients.


Big Spender

I worked for an exclusive private club in Montreal in the 1980's. This club always had the air conditioners on summers & winters so the clients would never feel overly warm or be in a stuffy room. Unfortunately, the waitresses had to wear high heels and a 1920's style gowns made of satin (the cheap dress lining satin, not the heavy grade outerwear type) so we were usually cold and cranky till clients' bodies heated up the club.

In December, we always have to work outside our usual hours for office Christmas parties so our workdays sometimes extended to 14 hour days. After a few of these, I was feeling tired and punchy when I had to work a double booking...two parties at the same time in the same club, same room. One of the parties, one of the three bosses did all the ordering ...he asked which was the cheapest champagne and ordered it one bottle at a time, signaling like he was at a cheap French sidewalk bistro ...{WAITRESS...another bottle! and snapping his fingers}. After the third time he did this...I flipped...just a little...I with learned French aplomb and slightly raised voice and glare told him: Please stop snapping your fingers; I am busy so you can just hold your horses until I can take your order. He got mildly snippy but cooled down. After about 12 bottles of champagne, he asked for the bill and with the arrogance of a client spending much money, laughingly joked about how much the total was...that it must be $800.00; I said no, it was not, but I could make it that...he said...hahaha...sure and handed me his corporate visa card.

I ran an imprint on a visa slip and one on an AMEX slip. I put the correct amount on the visa and the correct amount of $420 on the AMEX slip but put $380 in the tip section of said same slip totaling $800. I put the false slip on the signing tray and held the real one against the bottom of the tray and presented the tray to the client. Well, eyes bulged and much whining occurred and that his partners would never accept that...I with much crankiness, informed him that I had served his party well and he himself had indicated that I should make the bill $800. I then said he was a Scrooge and tore the slip up into confetti and step back and tossed the paper bits into the air...while his jaw dropped....the jaw hit the floor when I lifted the tray and sweetly asked if he'd care to sign this one...

By the way, the client gave me $100 as a tip.

—Raiko of Montreal, Canada


Marmaduke

Here's one for the idiot file... we have a huge patio at our restaurant and it's pretty casual; a lot of people walk their 
dogs through the neighborhood and stop for a cocktail. This rocket-scientist of a lady comes in with a huge dog, a mix-breed that must have weighed a hundred and ten pounds. Now, our smart dog-walking guests tie the dogs to the fence, which is securely anchored in concrete, but Ms. Nobel Lauriat ties Marmaduke to the table. All is well for about fifteen minutes - then a guy drove by on a motorcycle. Dogs love to chase motorcycles, and this dog was no exception. The dog goes running down the street, table in tow, and there are broken plates and spilled food everywhere...so we clean it all up, and bring her a fresh glass of wine, and later she gets the check. This silly bitch does not think she has to pay for the second glass of wine because it was not "her fault" she could not drink the other one! She changed her mind, though, after I reminded her that my broken plates were $12 each, and we were nice enough not to reflect that on the bill!

—Pattichef, Washington, DC


Caber-Nut

I am currently completing my sommelier certificate and sometimes I get asked questions by the other servers about wine. Fair enough - that's what I'm hoping to do! One night, I got called over to the hotel restaurant to help out a guest who wanted a particular wine. I got over there and find out that this man wants the server to open a $300 bottle of Burgundy so he can have two glasses and pay for them only. We rarely say "no" to our guests but this was one occasion! He didn't seem to like any of the half bottles of Burgundies that we offered. Another tactic: I asked him to tell me what he had ordered so that I could make some suggestions re: wines offered by the glass (we offer quite a lot). He didn't want to tell me his food order! Attempt number 3: I offered him a Canadian Pinot Noir to try. (For those who don't know, Pinot Noir is the grape that is used in Burgundies.) Same style of wine..... I ended up having to bring a sample of that and a sample of Wolf Blass Shiraz-Cabernet. I kid you not - he wouldn't try them until I had told him which was which and then he chose the Wolf Blass! (Pinot Noir is a pale red color and a Shiraz-Cab is much, much darker. If this man had known enough to warrant his snottiness, he would have known that right off the bat.) People like that can't believe that I could be a young woman and know more about wine than they do. Hey buddy! I have STUDIED, TASTED, READ, and TESTED in school for a year and a bit, straight through. I would hope to know more about wine than the average person - that's why I study!

—Cat, Ontario, Canada


It's a Wonderful Life

Several decades ago my wife and I were dirt-poor newlyweds traveling from coast-to-coast in a rattle-trap car
with about $300 to our name. One night near Jackson, Mississippi, we started looking for a place to eat. In those days it was rare to find fast-food places except in larger cities and every small-town eatery we passed had already closed for the night. Finally, about 8:45 pm we saw a steak house (seemingly in the middle of nowhere) that still had its lights on, though the only cars we saw we're parked off to the side and probably belonged to the staff. Normally, with our limited resources, this kind of place would have been too expensive—but we thought maybe we could at least get a chef salad or something.

Being too young and stupid to know, we didn't think much about the fact that we were the only customers in the restaurant and that they were scheduled to close at 9 o'clock. We asked the waitress if we could get a salad and maybe some vegetables because we didn't have much money and hadn't been able to find any other place to eat. She kindly let us look at a menu and took our orders for two dinner salads. After a few minutes, a man came out from the kitchen (probably the owner) and asked us if we wanted baked potatoes and steamed vegetables to go with the salads. We told him we didn't have enough money, but he insisted that wasn't the issue since the food would just go to waste anyway since they were closing. A few minutes later we were served an entire meal with everything but the steak—salad, vegetables, bread and butter, potatoes, iced tea, the works. Oblivious to the restaurant staff waiting to close up, we ate the best meal we'd had for days. 

As we finished eating and got ready to leave, our waitress came over and told us the meal was on the house. My wife started to cry and several employees came over to assure both of us that it was just something they had all decided to do. The kindness of these strangers toward a couple of poor teenagers who were just 'passing through' still ranks in my memory as one of the most significant events in my life. I want to personally thank every waiter and waitress for their hard work and professionalism even when faced with low pay and difficult customers.

—Steven W., Lincolnton, NC


The Reformed Speak Out

Hello, or maybe I should say g'day.  I just wanted to write to you to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed your site.

As you may have guessed I am Australian.  It is interesting; tipping is not a big thing in my country—waitpersons are paid a a good wage, and so are not underpaid and reliant on tips as it appears your American waitpersons are.

I think what you have in your country is criminal. I saw in one of the stories that people are paid $2.95 an hour!  Is it any reason that most of your stories center around poor tippers?

Oooops I am rambling...the point of my writing is that I was in America while ago, and I am ashamed to say that I did not tip anything like 15%, call it ignorance.

My husband and I are again visiting your lovely country soon...and I can assure you that having read all the stories on your page we will be making sure that we tip properly ~chuckles~ not just the because of the terrible things that could happen to us...but also because I have now been educated to know what is fair and correct.

Thank you again for a fun and interestingly educative site.

—Sam Archer, Victoria, Australia

 


Go Back to the VFW...PLEASE!

I have seen many, many assholes come and go in my time, but there was this one that really took the cake.  I worked at a small sports bar/steak house at the time, and one night this old guy comes in alone.  He proceeded to inquire as to the cost of each and every scotch we had (which was not many.)  Now get this—as we live in a relatively small town and this was a small place, our premium liquors were $4 for an ounce and a half. Not bad, right?  Well, this guy was absolutely flabbergasted at paying four bucks for a shot of Chevas!  I believe his reply was "Well, down at the VFW it's only a buck! You guys are just hicks and have no idea what the value of liquor is!"  Hello, the owner BUYS the bottles; I believe he knows what he pays for them. As I tried to inform him that I was not the owner, did not set the prices, etc., he just seemed to get madder.  At that point I lost it.  I told him if he didn't like it, to get the hell out and go back to the VFW!  

I've made many friends in the biz from all around the country, and I know for fact that $4 for a shot of Chevas is a bargain.  Good grief, I didn't present him with a bill after he drank a bottle—he was just inquiring about the prices at this point.  I also pointed out that the VFW is a not for-profit organization, and we were in fact a business.  We operate for profits, duh!  I would have normally been fired for screaming at a customer, but since I was defending my boss and his business, he let it slide. 

—Annabanana, Parkersburg, WV


Who Ate the Gratuity?

I put myself through undergraduate and graduate school by waiting tables, and it was challenging to do school and work at the same time.  The only thing that kept me sane was the wonderful people I met.  As a sideline, here is one my most memorable stories from working at the Rusty Scupper in Baltimore's Inner Harbor:

My friend Brigette was waiting on a table of 12 ladies (think big hats). T he restaurant had a policy (thankfully) of adding the gratuity to parties of six or more. After she had dropped the check, we were standing at the waiters' station watching the commotion ensue. We thought that they were arguing over who had what and how much each person owed.  I edged a little closer to listen, and I heard one of the women say "Who had that gratuity.....was it you, Shirley?"  They waived Brigette over and loudly declared, "We didn't order no gratuity, we didn't eat no gratuity, and we ain't paying for no gratuity"  Brigette explained gingerly that this was the tip, and the woman said, "Well why didn't you say so?"

These are the memories I cherish! Good luck in all your future endeavors!!

—Tom H.


The Ramekin

In an up-scale waterfront restaurant, my friend Lisa tested the distance a ramekin can project its contents in a way that still makes me giggle. 

While serving the last dish to table 1, Lisa tilted the plate a little too much.  The ramekin of cocktail sauce crashed to the table and sent flying a perfectly straight line of bright red sauce about six feet from the point of impact.  The people seated at table 1 escaped unsoiled. Unfortunately, the patrons at table 2 were not so lucky.  The very distinguished, elderly man who had his back to the whole incident could not see but felt the cool stripe of red goo that now perfectly bisected his shiny, bald head. His wife, with whom he was dining, had the benefit of seeing what had happened and sat frozen, fork still poised in mid bite. Horrified, Lisa reacted in a way I couldn't imagine. She scooped up her bar towel and, to everyone's amazement, proceeded to quickly and thoroughly wipe the man's head in a circular, clockwise direction. The man, seemingly unaffected, resumed eating while Lisa frantically scrubbed. His only remark came when she had finished and stood waiting for reprimand. He looked up cheerily and said, "I've tried everything else. Maybe that'll make some hair grow up there." 

—David, Bellingham, WA


Whenever I think I've screwed up an order royally, I remind myself of a blunder a friend of mine made last year, one I don't think I've seen topped since. 

Chris is a great waitress, and I never thought I'd see her flub up this bad, but one afternoon she was bringing a large tray of glasses to an 8 top; Tea, lemonade, soda, etc. As she approached the table, she lost her footing and the tray went flying. It landed right in the lap of an elderly woman, and she was soaked completely. 

This in itself was bad enough, but add to it that this lady was seated in a wheelchair and could not stand up to get out of the wet chair and drip dry. She was also the honoree, the 85 year old grandmother the entire family was all taking out for a wonderful brunch. 

But the icing on the cake was that it was Mother's Day. And I'm sure it will be a Mother's day she won't forget soon!

—Frau Celt


A Warning

How would you like to be a student with a job that pays about three dollars per hour, and have to rely on, for the bulk of your income, the chance that the person for whom you are dodging other servers, running up/down stairs, and across wet, slimy kitchen floors just to bring your sorry ass another glass of lemon water will notice how much you are going through just so you can suck it down in two seconds flat, along with about 20 other people, only to find out that this incomparable prick who had you make an extra trip to the kitchen for 1/2 oz. of fucking barbecue sauce... (where you slipped on the wet kitchen floor probably knocking over a tray of food for which you have to now pay, on top of getting verbally reamed by the cooks who have to remake the shit for the other server who will now blame you for ruining his tip....which is not something that coworkers just forget about in five minutes time) ...rewards your efforts with a fucking penny. Well if that is the way you are, and you frequent any establishment more than twice, you have probably imbibed the saliva, or if the dish is the right color, and the server has the time, his ejaculate on more than one occasion. These web pages are here so that we servers can post stories like that about people like you. I would rather tip a waiter/waitress ten bucks every time I eat out than ingest even the smallest amount of their urine. You think about that the next time the waitress you stiffed just two days ago now approaches you with a big smile and warm glass of lemonade. Fact is, we need people like you. Every job has some degree of stress, and we get to exact revenge on our stressors instantly...we don't have to wait a month to hire a kid to slash your tires or some shit like that....you piss us off, and five minutes later, you're eating a hamburger that one of us placed on a plate with our bare hands...right after we stuck it in our filthy, sweaty ass crack. So, partner, keep on stiffing your servers, and now you know who to blame when you end up in the hospital with botulism or dysentery or some such shit. 
FUCK YOU, PAL WE'LL GET YA EVERY TIME!!! 

—Spooky


Application

I'm a sixteen-year veteran of restaurant hell and have seen it all... but there are some things you don't see every day, and I saw one of them last night: 

I was working in the kitchen and we were very, very busy. one of the waitresses had a very picky customer who sent his salad back because the alfalfa sprouts were scaring him. Then the sent it back again because he forgot he was allergic to tomatoes (and obviously allergic to READING because both of these items are printed right on the freakin' menu). Well, the rest of his meal was like this, too; after the second time he sent the entree back (for his own stupid mistakes again) he got really steamed. He began to yell at the waitress "well, isn't there something you can DO about this? None of the food is the way I want it!" 

So his waitress fetched him a blank job application, gave it to him, and told him "fill this out. If you get hired, you can go back there and cook it yourself!"

—Biker Chick, Washington D.C.


Busted

The Chef has finished up a hard day's work, ready to head home. Coat on, gloves on and still wearing his stove pipe Chef's hat, giving the night crew a few last min. instructions. The owner stops by and chats with the Chef for a couple of minutes and notices a small stream of butter coming out from his Chef's hat. Ooops a pound of butter.

Snarly, Kirkland, WA


Class Dismissed

Geez, I so understand what you people are going through. Even though here in Australia our wages are a bit higher and tipping isn't compulsory, I definitely love being tipped. It is the greatest show of gratitude, to me its like them saying "you went to the effort of being nice, I'll go to the effort of tipping you". Believe me a two dollar tip is literally the highlight of my shift!

I really don't understand people who treat they're waitresses like shit. I always think to myself "geez asshole, I'm about to go prepare your drinks and handle your food, and you're being a prick?!? You are one brave bastard". And I just love it when people click at my staff or whistle for attention... I always say to their waitress within earshot of the customer "don't serve him till your ready, you're not a dog, we don't tolerate being whistled at." This has ended in many a customer apologizing, if at least a sheepish smile...

The funniest thing I ever saw was while sitting in another restaurant eating dinner... I watched a customer quite rudely put his hand in the air and wave it around like his table was on fire or something and was just thinking of telling him how much I hated that as a waitress, when his waiter walked up to him and said "Are we in school??? Do you see a teacher?? NO??? didn't think so. Put your hand down I'll be with you in a minute." I started wetting myself laughing and ended up leaving him a tip as well as my own waitress...

Notice the people who tip best are the ones who work in hospitality themselves?!?!

Anyways, great site, I love it, I visit every month!!

—Mona Lisa, Melbourne, Australia


Good Tip

In the late 1960s I arrived in Perth Western Australia. With $39.00 to my name getting a job, or two, was a priority, hence I landed a job as a waiter in working class pub. Not being familiar with the lingo I thought that a glass of beer was what it said it was not so there is a glass and a midi and all those other Australianisms. But I digress. 

In the midst of learning this new language I accidentally overcharged a customer about 5 cents and confessed my error. He didn't seem too bothered, but on the way out slipped a note into my hand. Overnight my net worth increased by 50%! I still don't know whether it was an accident or not - he had placed a $20.00 bill into my hand and left without saying word and no he wasn't waiting outside. (At the time $20would have been about half a month's rent.) I don't know who this guy was but it was the most memorable and appreciated $20 I ever got.

A Kiwi Bird, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


New Math

I recently witnessed the most education starved customers to ever exist in the human form.

Approximately 10 minutes before closing, a 10-top walks in to be seated. It's 8 adults and 2 babies. Well, in a nutshell, they were rude, petty, complained about everything no matter how hard their server tried to please them and to top it all off, the adults made almost as big of a mess as the two babies did!

Ok, so here's where the RAGING stupidity comes in:

They ask to split the bill into 2 checks (as if they hadn't been a big enough pain in the ass!). <Keep in mind, we add 15% gratuity to parties of 8 or more.> After paying the bill in cash and studying the checks, they started complaining under their breaths to each other. When asked if there was a problem, the two "mathematical mental giants" for mothers wanted to know why they were getting charged DOUBLE GRATUITY because the tip was added to both checks!

The server AND the General Manager tried for 45 minutes to school them on how gratuity is added, but to no avail. Their math was as bad as their grammar. The manager ended up giving them $7.50 each out of the cashier's drawer (which, by the way, had already been counted!) and reimbursing the women their "DOUBLE GRATUITY!" All I really want to say about that is...

I bet that bitch can do some math when HER paycheck gets cut short!

Anti Ignorant-People-With-Attitudes, Birmingham, AL


Sex on the Beach

Not so long ago, I waited on a family celebrating Grandma’s eightieth birthday. It was a large family lunch (around 20) and it was clear from the start that Grams, albeit eighty, was feisty, and loud and definitely leading the show (and the whole family). Although she was a bit abrupt, a touch pushy, and maybe a tad obnoxious, I couldn’t help liking her--she cracked me up. 

The story unfolds when she is asked by her daughters if she’ll be wanting a cocktail, and she barks “Hell yes! Get over here kid”. (talking to me) She picks up the table tent, points and says “Young man, see if you can’t manage bringing me one of these”. She directs my attention to the drink listed as Sex on the Beach. Now I can’t think for the life of me why this ‘particular’ woman is being shy about ordering that drink. She’s been semi-offensive the entire twelve minutes she’s been there! Why play coy now? So I try to have some fun with the old gal--to no avail. I tell her I don’t have in my contacts and won’t she please just tell me the drink. “You see damn well enough to know what I want!”. I act uncertain as to which drink she’s pointing at. “Don’t try and play me, boy! Just get me my drink!!!” And with that, she shoots me a look that says business and I humbly retreat to the bar having been rightfully bested my someone playing the game a whole lot longer than I have. 

But...then I have an idea. I ask the bartender if Sex on the Beach ever has a garnish. She tells me it’s my call but generally not. So I pick up a Maraschino cherry, rip off the fruit and toss the stem in the glass. When I return to the table, I make a point of serving Grams last. Then I turn and walk towards the doors. In no time flat my idea worked just fine. Noticing the barren stem in her glass, Grams belts out “Hey kid!!! Thanks for the drink but where the hell’s my...” and then she freezes. I smile at her, raise my finger and wave it as though reprimanding a small child. She blushes a crimson red in about two seconds. Her daughters, having heard what she (almost) said, start hilariously roaring causing the whole table to chime in. “Maybe it’s on the beach somewhere” I respond. The old lady just about died laughing.

David M., Bellingham, WA


Transfusion

I was waitressing on a not so busy Sunday night. Well, the day before I got a belly-button ring. I must have bumped up against something because it started bleeding profusely. It was bleeding so bad it got all over the top of my apron and my white shirt, and I am not talking about little tiny spots either. I told my manager that I needed to go home and clean up considering my uniform was a mess. She's just like oh...then continues to seat me like it isn't a big deal. Worrying about customers seeing blood all over my shirt, I was not giving good service by trying to clean it up every chance I got, and it ruined my tips. Shouldn't cleanliness be a top priority in a business serving food?

Blondie, Des Moines


Bible-Beating Psycho

Recently I had a customer and her three small children sit down next to a table with a young couple at it. The couple had finished their meal and were just sipping some beers. I came out of the kitchen to bring the woman her appetizers and I notice her yelling at the couple. I simply ask if their is a problem. She replies "yes but it's not your fault." Then she notices they have their bill and informs me "Well they will be leaving and so will I". So I ask her if she plans to wait for her food. The woman yells at me, "Well I'm not paying for it if I don't get it". I try to tell her I'm just trying to understand what she wants me to do. She tells me to stay out of it, and I better not start with her next.

So her meal continues and the couple doesn't ever leave, if I'd known they were sticking around I would have moved her. Since there is nothing I can do now to make this woman feel better and I don't have a clue as to why she is angry, I finally box up a bunch of her food and wait at the front for her to leave. I try a last cheery goodbye and apologize for her unhappiness, she just glares and me and says "whatever". So I go ask the couple why she was so upset. They are really cool and they tell me it was because they were having a private conversation about abortion. I guess she leaned over and said, "don't say that word, it is murder and you're upsetting my kids". The poor couple didn't even know what to say.

So now I'm feeling angry, mostly because even though entitled to her opinion, she shouldn't of butted-in on their conversation. Secondly they were not talking loudly or anything, she was just one of those bible beating psychos feeling the need to tell everyone how she felt. So finally I turn around and pick up my tip, a whole two dollars, and I say to the couple, "wow she even left me a tip". Out of nowhere she appears and demands I give it back to her for that comment. I simply started to laugh which pissed her off more, so she calls over my poor manager-in-training and bitches to her for like ten minutes. The moral of the story is you may believe in certain things but don't go out in public and preach to innocent people who are minding their own business.

—Suzanne, Fargo, ND


Shot Glass

While I was working at an extremely popular restaurant for locals . One night a guest asked the bartender for a shot of anything . Well the bartender , being the wise guy that he was then proceeded to lift the mat from under his feet and poured the dripping's from it into a shot glass which he served the guest . Sure enough he laughed as he stood back and watched this patron swig it down. How messed up is that ? Needless to say that bartender no longer works there and I'll bet that guy will never ask another bartender for a shot of just anything.

As a lesson to my fellow friends in the business . Know what's in your glass before you lift it to your lips .


—Jeff, Orlando, FL


The Complainer

I was working in the back dining room and this new kid was having a hell of a time with a table up front. Because of the way the restaurant is set up I have to go through his section every time I go to the kitchen, bar, etc. and every single time I go past, this one guy at a four top is complaining about something else. I asked the new waiter if there was anything I could help with and he said no, there wasn't really any problem--just that this guy was determined not to be happy with anything. I listened for a while and he's right. What's more, I peg this complainer as one of those people who have been taught by unwise restaurant workers that if you complain enough, you get to eat for free! You could even tell this guy's dinner companions were uncomfortable.

I stayed out of the way, but when it came time for the check a REAL fight started. Seems the steak was medium-medium well instead of just medium-well done, or some such thing, so even though he ate it all, he wanted the check comped. Yes, the whole check. For four people. So this overwhelmed new kid calls for our manager and I decide to stick around because I figure this is gonna be good.

Complainer and Bill (the Manager) go at it. Complainer is getting more and more belligerent. Bill is faultlessly correct. Complainer is getting louder. Bill maintains an even, level tone. Complainer points his finger in Bill's face and says, "You're an asshole!"

Pause.

Bill says, "I know." Smiles graciously, places the check on the table, and walks away.

I had to CRAWL into the back station, I was laughing so hard. The guy just folded up completely, paid his check and slunk out. I mean, what could he say? The man agreed with him! Talk about a soft answer turning away wrath...

Hope this isn't too long for your site! One of these days I'll write you the story of Bill and the drunken Brazilian woman with no underwear on New Years' Eve...

Lisa, New York


Server Error

I was working at an upscale seafood restaurant in Northern California, small family owned place, five servers and a host during the busiest days of the year. On weeknights we were always slow, so the head waiter would always close the store. The owner or a manager would go home after the rush. This particular night I was to close the store and around six in the evening a sleazy leather coated fellow and an over done hooker grace my presence and ask for my most valuable table by a window with a really nice view of the ocean. Being an exceptionally slow night I obliged.

After shooing me away when I first approached them he instructed me to bring them a bottle of our "house" wine. When I returned and fielded a barrage of questions regarding our entrees ($15-$30 ) they decided on our fondue appetizer (bout $8). As the evening wore on it was becoming clear that they had no other engagements to attend later and were going to camp out. After several attempts to collect the check, stacking the chairs, changing the table cloths and killing most of the lights, they decide that they were ready to pay. I brought them their change (the bill was like $20) and headed to the back to speed up their departure. I returned to the front to see what this stylish gentleman thought nearly four hours in an upscale restaurant was worth to find a carefully arranged pile of nickels resting comfortably beside an exhausted candle.

I had always wanted to chase down a customer and fling their money at them while making some type of self liberating statement but never had, and being the only one there besides the busser, decided that these nickels really belonged to our leather coated hero now idling in the parking lot under a full moon, full of cheese and cheap wine.

I burst into the parking lot armed with the better part of a dollar and my dignity. As he backed up the car and started to drive past me I drew my arm back and pelted his Champaign colored Nissan with pride and shouted a piece of my mind! The expressions on their faces were priceless! He floored the car and hopped a curb as he was turning onto the main street! I never felt so good about a crappy tip in my life, that moment made every cheap SOB I've run into in this business, every slighted insult and all the worthless pricks I've served worth it! I strolled inside to share my victory with my busser.

When I got inside Alex the busser on his way to the back handed me a five and a ten and told me the last table had handed it to him as he left and said to tell me thanks for the service.... Alex headed to the back none the wiser, while I locked the front door and crawled into a little ittie bittie hole. Sorry fella' if your reading this.

—Stu P., San Francisco


Privacy?

It was towards the end of a dreary Saturday afternoon. I had been drinking hot tea all morning and my bladder was beginning to feel quite full. I had three tables in my section; two were still eating and the other, two older ladies, were drinking coffee and "catching up." I decided to take the coffee pots past my tables, get them anything they would need, and then quickly disappear to the bathroom before any of them would need anything. I walked by my two older ladies and asked them if they wanted any coffee refills. "No, no we're almost done here." I checked on my other two tables, then dropped the coffee pots off and ran to the bathroom where I, coincidentally, ran into one of the older ladies with coffee. She was just coming out of a stall as I was entering one. I smiled to her and then shut and locked the door. I was in mid-stream when I get a knock on my stall. Startled, I stop peeing (not an easy thing to do when waiting all morning) and say Yes??

The older lady on the other side replied with a "We'll take more coffee when you get a chance." First off, I was just at her table 30 seconds before where she rejected a warm refill and now she's bothering me AS I'm peeing to ask for more coffee? I replied with a polite OK and then resumed peeing.

Kelsie, Bellingham, WA


Scrapple

I'd like to say that this is the most fantastic web site I have ever seen. Many thanks for all the hard work that goes in to this outlet for desperate foodservice professionals. 

Anyway, I'm 22 and I've been in this business for 6 years. I love it, and I've SEEN A LOT. But thank the Lord, I haven't seen it all. My suex chef (who is 40, and has owned two of his own restaurants) was running out scrapple to our brunch buffet, one fine Sunday morning. He had just replaced an empty pan of scrapple with a full one, when (a MINISTER no less!!!) snapped his fingers and said, "boy........ I want crisp scrapple, I don't want this soggy crap....... get it for me NOW" My boss, being very good at this game by this point in his career, politely said, "yes sir, sure thing" He put 7 pieces of scrapple on a plate. He stormed in to the kitchen and slammed the plate on the prep table. Between obscenities, he transferred the meat to a metal pan and threw it under a broiler. Then I watched him snap. My suex chef (who has terrible allergies) brought up some lovely drainage, and spit twice on the scrapple. You could hear the sizzling increase. We let the pan sit there for quite a while 'till we thought it still looked enough like scrapple to pass. My boss met this customer in the buffet line and with the most sincere smile I have ever seen, offered him FRESH CRISP scrapple. The minister did comment on how good the scrapple was, after running his waiter into the ground and complaining to the G.M. about the lack of professionalism of our staff. Good for him.

Milkman, Pennsylvania


Who are you waiting on?

The Thirsty Jerk—As much as you don’t want to deal with this customer you are continually forced into multiple visits back to the table to refill their glass. Often identified as you greet the table by asking the eternal question: “Are there free refills?” This coupled with a bad attitude results in one thirsty jerk.

The Struggling Comedian—A particularly annoying chap who truly believes they are always on stage. They are tired of being shunned by friends and family at home and feel they’ve saved their best material for you. Are mainly driven by the possibility of a talent scout in the restaurant that might be interested in some dumb jokes that aren’t funny.

The Quick Orderer—Frequently heard saying: “I knew what I wanted before I got here.” Or “That was easy, are you ready?” This beauty generally orders as they are sitting down or shortly after thereby forcing the other diners into a hurried ordering frenzy which often leads to something they don’t like. Their only chance is for you to rescue them with long drink times.

The Low Talker/Mumbler—Appear to be comfortable going through life with nobody being able to hear a single word they are saying. If, by chance, you happen to get the rare low talker/mumbler combo I suggest nodding politely and ringing in a penne with pink vodka sauce since that is what they probably ordered anyway.

The Modifier—No doubt enjoyed games such as Rubik’s Cube and jigsaw puzzles when a child, this person gets a kick out of mixing and matching entrees, side orders, and sauces. Other than occasional harassment from the kitchen, they are generally not a real threat to your good mood. However, they often wonder why their “flounder marsala over lentils hold the garlic” doesn’t taste good. The all time best modification three years running: “house salad hold the lettuce”.

The Name Dropper—Although many of these customers believe they have a resemblance to real movie stars, they’re about as famous as the 11-year-old who played the lead in my 6th grade rendition of Oliver. These faux stars and starlets will usually feel they are entitled to special privileges like preferred seating or VIP treatment from food servers. Yet, ultimately their true identity comes forth and we discover they are really the boss's second cousin, twice removed, hairdresser’s neighbor.

The Lying Dieter—Regardless of the chair screaming “help me!” when they sit down, this customer’s typical meal will include: fried calamari for starters, with fettuccini alfredo for the main course and carrot cake as a light dessert and invariably a Diet Coke to drink. Somehow in between scoffing the fresh mozzarella and ganosh cake they manage to ask for Sweet and Low, truly a sight to behold.

The Intolerable Intolerants—These customers have decided to look death in the face and leave it up to their server to keep out any ingredients that may result in their demise. Food allergies ranging from dairy to shellfish to anything with seeds keep you guessing and usually lead to you not even ringing in the see server. The fun only really begins when 6 different people run your food to the table only to have the Intolerable Intolerant’s special dish get lost in the auction.

The Straggler—Timing is everything with this punctual customer. What is first dismissed as a strange coincidence of a customer coming into the restaurant as you are about to eat your lunch, quickly becomes a regular nuisance that NASA can set their clocks by. Many believe they wait outside until 2:00p.m. exactly before coming through the door. Others feel they have people working on the inside to tell them precisely when the employees put their lunch orders in so as to have their opening of the door correspond exactly with my ass hitting the chair. Note: If they can’t make it in person, they will usually call around the same time.

The Campers—Also known as the marathon munchers or squatters they love living up to their stereotype by taking no less than three hours to eat a Caesar salad and a bowl of pasta. Have no qualms about reminding the food server that they are in no rush tonight or that they’ll wait before giving you their entrée to insure plenty of time. Short of sweeping under their table while they’re still there, there is not much that can be done about these all too powerful diners. The worst of the breed are just under the wire campers who feel that once they are seated they have us where they want us, keeping the restaurant open later than usual. Dropping a check with the meal may counteract this or may not.

JVG, New York City


Frog Legs

Funny and true story:

A huge bull frog somehow got inside our 4-star French restaurant. One of the servers was taking an order from a customer who was actually asking if frog legs if they were fresh. At the same time another woman customer saw the frog and screamed. The server turned around to see what it was all about and saw the frog and replyed to his customer, "Will this one be fresh enough?"

Denis, Palm Beach Gardens, FL


Drive Thru

The following is an actual order I took today. I work drive thru:

Me: Welcome to... may I take your order?

Customer: No, I'll just have a fish sandwich.

Me: I'm sorry we don't serve fish.

Customer: OK, I'll have a chicken sandwich.

Me: Which chicken sandwich?

Customer: The one with chicken on it.

Me: Sir we have eight chicken sandwiches which one do you want?

Customer: The one with chicken on it.

Me: One chicken breast fillet. Would you like fries or a drink with that today?

Customer: No and that's to go.

Me: Pull around to the window for your total sir.

The guy wasn't joking he really was that stupid! It took another five minutes at the window for him to realize that he was driving around without his wallet and couldn't pay for his order!


—Ni, N.L.R.


Violent

I found your site by sheer luck, and I have a story many won't believe but it is true. Before moving in the UK and starting work as server I used to be in my country army special forces. Then a bullet in Africa ended my time there. I used to work in this very busy conference center in London, UK. The place has a restaurant were delegates go for lunch. Usually a conference would last a few days, so one ends up getting the same animals all the time (wiz kids and relative slappers).

For two days i had been serving the same party, Britsh animals and i.t. slappers. They were assholes all the time and did not miss a chance to humiliate me. On the last day the party drank a lot and they were all pretty rude. The largest male started making remarks about my accent and me being fat (i can't really work out anymore) to the point of upsetting me. The management would not do anything, so I thought of asking for apologies (folly, but i had been in the industry only a few months). I don't really believe in spitting or worse, after all the customer never really realizes what it just ate/drank.

So when i went to serve the coffee I was really upset, the animal kept on insulting me, I told him to stop but he just didn't. I put my coffee pot on the table and asked him to apologize, or else. At this point the guy gets up and starts to shout at me that he is going to beat me up. All i did was to ask him AGAIN to be polite and apologize, the answer was him trying to push me away.

I reacted without thinking, but i 'm happy I did. I punched him in the face and then used the bottle of water that was on the table to finish the job.

I finished serving a ten (reduced to five) year sentence for GBH last December.

But it was worth it.

—Anonymous, Barletta


New Math

CASH OUT WARNING!!

I've worked in the food service industry for relatively a short time, only about four months. There are many things that I have had to learn. One of which is NEVER EVER TRUST YOUR MANAGERS!

I worked a busy Saturday night. I did a kick ass job and was tipped well. At cash out time I thought I had everything in order. I separated my checks, cash, credit card receipts and cash receipts. What more did I have to do. My manager would do the calculations on her computer and would, of course, give me the tips I had earned. WRONG!

After all was said and done I walked away from that busy night with about twenty-one dollars. I told my manager "This can't possibly be right." "No, everything adds up just fine, perhaps you gave someone the wrong change." I walked out convinced that I must have screwed myself over by handing someone back and extra twenty or two.

The next night I was paranoid. I kept meticulous records of everything all through out the night. And I did all my calculations myself BEFORE cash out time. I had a different manager this night but the scenario was the same. "You owe me twelve dollars and seventy-four cents." he said. "No, try again!" I said indignantly. He just stared at me. He redid all his calculations. "No, you owe me twelve-dollars and seventy-fours cents!" At that point I showed him my numbers, "You owe me twelve dollars and seventy-four cents!"

He reluctantly gives me ten dollars in ones and fifty cents in nickels. Maybe he thought I wouldn't count them!

"Thanks see you tomorrow!" I stand there and he looks at me like I am a retard. "You shorted me." "No, I didn't " he responds. " I need another two dollars and twenty-four cents." Again with the calculations. "Well, I guess your right." and he hands me the rest of my money.

What I am wondering is....Are these managers really that stupid that they can't do simple math or do they purposefully screw over the servers so they can pocket a little extra money? At any rate, I have decided that I will never trust any of these bastards. It's my damn income they're screwing with.


—Anne, Salt Lake City


Picture This

In the early eighties I worked at Red Lobster. Back in the days where working in the non-smoking section sucked. Non smoking = Non tipping! 

One day our lovely hostess proceeded to seat a 50-year-old lady at my six top. I greeted her and asked if she was waiting on others to join her? She said no, she was by herself. Of course I was pissed that a hostess sat my six top with a single lady. I went up front to the hostess stand to complain. She told me the lady requested she sit at that table. Of course the dining room manager just told me to go away and wait on her. Well, when I returned to the table which was only about two minutes later, this lady had snapshots of people at each place setting and she was talking to them! I stood there in disbelieve for about 20 seconds. Of course I alerted every person who worked there so they could experience it for themselves. We all stood peering around the corner listening in on her talking with uncle Ralph and others. Truly one of the most bizarre people I have ever waited on.

Jack, Falls Church


Typical

One night I was closing. I had gotten a table on my rotation. It was a small family, Dad, Mom and Son. When I approached the table to ask for drinks, they had a whole bunch of quarters sitting out. The Mom thought that she would be funny by saying that was how they were going to pay the bill. After that I was kind of sketchy about the table. 

I was standing at the window when their food came out. I was just getting ready to walk away, the mom informed me that the food was cold. So I took the food back and had the cooks make new ones. I waited there while the food was cooking which took a a minute or so. I took the food out as soon as it was done. I stood there while they tasted the food. The Mom told me that her food was cold again. The father and son didn't even take a bite but they swore that their food was cold too. Once again I took the food to the cooks to have them microwave the food. I asked the other waitress at the time to take the food out for me. At this time I was getting very upset. When she took the food out the dad asked for some more coffee. She explained that she would have to brew some coffee. The other waitress came right over and had me brew some coffee. Shortly after pouring the water, I saw the dad walking into the wait station with his arms flying in the air. He was ever so rudely asking "Where's my fucking coffee?" I walked right over to the table and tried to nicely explain that I had brew it for him. He also wanted to know why I didn't get him coffee when I was waiting for the food. I tried to explain that I was waiting for the food to come out because I didn't want their food to get cold. So then he asked me if I had to make the food myself. Thinking that they were trying to get free food, I just kept arguing with a tone in my voice. The guy was ranting and raving, using a lot of cuss words. All of the tables could hear him. The mom asked me my name, so I told her. I finally gave him their check. Not much to my surprise they had stiffed me. 

The next day I told the owner about what happened and he sided with me. An hour or so later the lady from the night before came in to complain about me. The other waitresses and I just laughed inside. We knew what she was trying to do. After a 15min bitch session the owner gave her some gift certificates so they would come back. Since that day I haven't seen that family! Thank God!


—Anonymous, Colorado


Lemonade

I had this woman come in and as soon as I approached the table she belted out, "Gimmie a lemonade without sugar!" At my restaurant they make fresh squeezed lemonade, but I'd never heard of anyone getting one without sugar. 

A little stunned I repeated her request, "A lemonade...without sugar?" "Yeah, I've had it here before," she reassured me." Ok," I said, after all she's the customer. I give her a glass of lemon pulp and water and took her order. 

The next time I pass by I hear the dreaded, "Excuse me! Excuse me!" "Yes?" I say to her. "I can't drink this nasty-ass lemonade!!" "Is there a problem?" "Yes, it's too tart!! This is nasty!"

It's a freakin' glass of water and lemon pulp, of course it's tart!! "Would you like something else?" "Gimmie a coke! "Ok, if you were worried about sugar, why the hell are you ordering a coke????? People never cease to amaze me with their stupidity.

—Wrath, Washington


Heads or Tails?

As a bar manager, I have done some unusual requests for guests, normally anything slightly out of the ordinary is a welcome change from the monotonous martini making. So, a quiet afternoon, this guy walks into our bar in Chester (UK), to scope the place out. Remember this, the bar I was running was built inside a 14th Century cellar, so it has its unusual quirks. He walks in, all polite and impressed as to how nice the place looks, has a pleasant conversation to pass the time of day, bolts his espresso and cognac and is on his way. Nicest guy in the world, lousy tipper, but hey this is England remember.

Anyway, happy hour approaches, and the regulars start trolling their way into the bar. This is one of those fancy places in England commonly referred to as a cocktail bar, so we get our fair share of people trying to act the part of the high roller. The same guy walks in , he is about 50, the entertainment that is on his arm is about 18 years old. His first words, as he walks up to the bar, " look after my Armani suit " and throws this garment bag across the bar - listen buddy if I wanted to be a coat check attendant I would be sat here reading a book in the closet! So, strike one to the customer. Our happy hour deal - buy one get one free. Buy one get one free is a pretty good option, or am I being unreasonable? So, he starts pulling out half the national debt of a small country from his tight arsed pants, and slams it down on the bar top next to his all so obviously placed Porsche keys. Arse wipe!

Strike two just for being obnoxious and I still haven't got around to serving him. After trying to ignore the idiot for as long as is humanely possible, I decide that he has suffered long enough, and his granddaughter looks thirsty. Two cocktails, both the same, for the price of one. Two martinis, simple easy, buy one, get one free. NO. He proceeds to start the game of Heads or tails. Heads I pay for two drinks, tails I get them free. NO. you are getting your date trashed at happy hour you cheap wanker, at least have the decency to pay for your drinks. He persists, heads or tails. The answer is still no. Third time, I still refuse to budge. His last effort, so I offer him this proposal:

"Heads, you both get drinks for free, Tails, I fuck your girlfriend here on the bar top."

Maybe I said it too loud, maybe I should have been more tolerant - fuck it.

Silence descends instantly across the bar (one of those moments), his girl blushes up to her roots and looks at me to say, "I'm up for it, what about you dear?" The guy picks up his wallet, pays for his drink, and goes to hide in the corner, leaving the biggest tip he ever dropped in his whole life, a paltry $3.

The moral of the story?

YOUR TAB IS A BARTENDERS PREROGATIVE, BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU GET!


—Drink Nazi, Washington, D.C.


Hellbound

I've been serving now for almost a year and just recently I was left a note on my table and what it said was unreal. The note said the following:

"Normally we tip 20% however because of the gross lack of service we decided not to tip at all. It is not wise to ever mistreat or over look customers. You never know who they are. We are Christians and by mistreating us you have mistreated Christ and you will be accountable at judgment."

They left the note and the money and ran not giving me time to get the note and respond. Now granted there service wasn't totally perfect but nothing had happen that was unbelievably bad. There salads where late but I had gotten really busy and got behind. Anyway I took the note and showed ever one I worked with and they were all shocked and laughed. They all made note that I was the first person they had known to be damn to hell for giving poor service. I thought it was a bit uncalled for and didn't think the service was that bad. I keep the note in my book and laugh ever time I look at it.

Sean, King of Prussia, PA


Dunce Cap

I had a table one night, greeted them, got them something to drink, and came back to take their order. I work at a steakhouse, so we only have a few seafood selections on the menu.

The lady asked what kind of seafood we had, I told her Salmon and Halibut, as well as a few different shrimp appetizers. She hemmed and hawed, couldn't make up her mind, so I took the man's order, and she finally decided on the prime rib.

Okay, so I deliver their food, go back to check on them and I could see she wasn't really eating much. I asked if everything was OK, and she said yes.

When I went back about 10 minutes later, I could tell she hadn't eaten any of her prime rib, so I asked her if she'd like me to wrap it up for her. She looked at me, then at the food, then back at me, and said "no, I forgot, I'm a vegetarian!"

Hello??? How can you forget something like that? (And no, she wasn't blonde either!)

Kim, Seattle


Truckers

I am 17, still in high school and am just earning some extra cash for the weekends. This is my first job and i love it despite the usual rude customer. I work at a nice restaurant in a small town. Our restaurant is right by a major highway so we always get the travelers. Truckers...Oh My God! Don't EVEN get me started on what inconsiderate dickheads they can be. They have to be the worst. Do they not realize that the reason we wear name tags is so you can call us by our name and not Doll, Cutie, Sexy and other shit like that. And i am glad you know how to use your hands but snapping your fingers or waving at us to get our attention is just a death wish waiting to happen. And have you ever heard of a bath? It wouldn't hurt any. Don't get me wrong *since i know the morons are gonna have something to say about this* I have met a few that were very very nice But 99.5% are just pure sex deprived fucks. To respond to the cooks, I would like to say that I have never had a problem with the cooks. I have always been nice and last night i was talking to one of them *Who has a really nasty temper* And he was telling me how he was thankful i respected them. Well DUH of course i am gonna respect them They are one of the main reasons i get my tips. If the food is good and how they like it It looks better for me. So i want to thank all the cooks out there because i know y'all don't get the full respect y'all deserve.

—Teenserver, Illinois


Cup o' Joe

I work at an upscale restaurant on the North Shore of Chicago; a very ritzy area. I usually serve, but happened to be hostessing one morning. I had this single come in and demand to sit in one of our large booths that we always reserve for parties of three or more. So I'm in no mood to argue so I seat him there and in literally 15 minutes he's up at the register ready to pay his check. He proceeds to tell me that he wants his coffee taken off the check because he "only had time to drink one cup and I'm not going to pay $1.49 for a cup of coffee." I looked at him like he was crazy and told him that coffee is $1.49 whether you drink one cup or ten cups. He actually had the audacity to stand up there and argue with me for ten minutes about a fucking dollar fifty cup of coffee! He eventually paid, stiffed his server, and stormed out saying he was never coming back. I'm usually pretty reserved but this guy sent me over the edge. I ran out the front door in my heels and everything and yelled, "Good you cheap bastard! I never liked you anyways!" He gave me the finger (whoa!) and I haven't seen him since.

—Annoyed, Chicago Suburbs


Dumpster Diving

Our computer system has the servers with their own banks. During training I stress to each server to not put their money in their books because if they leave the book lying around it could be stolen and they would owe the restaurant money for their cash out and lose all their tips. If we find a book left on the bar the other servers and I will pick it up and hide it. We will not return it until the person just looks pathetic and starts to cry. Well, it couldn't have happened to a better server than Brad. 

Brad was the cockiest server we ever had. I swear I fired him every day but he just kept showing up for work. One day Brad made the fatal mistake of leaving his book on the bar with his cash, credit cards and checks in it. He noticed it missing within the minute but it was too late. It was gone. He asked the servers, and the manager if they had seen it, he retraced every step he took, he asked the kitchen (they told him to shut up and get the Hell out ). After 15 minutes we were getting tired of hearing Brad bitch about losing his money so we thought of giving it back when the kitchen staff came out front with tears of laughter in their eyes. In the kitchen we find Brad sitting on the floor between the two kitchen trashcans and all four front of house trashcans going through them piece by piece. What makes it better is the kitchen had just de-veined and shelled 15 pounds of shrimp, cut fish and the steaks and he was in the middle of what smelled like... well you've smelled shrimp. We let him suffer through every single piece before we casually laid it back by the computer so he could find it. He smelled so bad we had to send him home for the night. A day server worked his night shift and said it was well worth her double to see Brad dig through the trash.


—Jennifer M., Atlanta


Fur Coat

Not too long ago, I was living in L.A. and waiting tables at a very well-known restaurant. This place was stereotypes ringing true! There were actually people who would use the old cliché, "Do you know who I am?"

One night we had a group of four come in. Their leader was a very flamboyant fella who felt the need to be the center of attention for the whole restaurant, not just the group he came in with. Soon after his group sat down, a deuce was sat right next to their table. The woman who was being seated at this deuce was wearing a floor-length mink coat.

Mr. flamboyant didn't like this at all, and made public how he felt about the wearing of furs.

In the loudest stage whisper that I've ever heard, he went on and on about how "she's wearing a dead animal on her back, I think I am losing my appetite!" etc. etc. Then he made a great show of moving his chair and putting his back to this woman, so he could regain his appetite.

It must have worked, because he called me over to order soon after.

"I'll have the lamb, and I want it rare...not medium rare...rare...there should still be blood showing."

Being an agreeable waiter, I chose the only response that I felt appropriate..."No problem, sir, would you like your bloody lamb with or without the fur? I'm guessing without."

KG, Chicago


Case Closed

I wait tables in a fairly nice restaurant in a VERY small Rocky Mountain tourist town. Dining there is slow-paced (the food is good and it takes time to prepare). A few weeks ago on a Saturday night the kitchen (only 3 cooks for a 30 table restaurant) got progressively buried. We servers did our best to stall appetizers and salads to space out the slow food times, but towards 9pm things started to crawl. Pans were being thrown in the kitchen and guests would stare wantonly at me everytime I re-entered the dining room.

Anyway, most of my tables were just fine, not in a hurry, and happy to relax and enjoy their wine and the atmosphere. About this time I was seated a four-top booth that had moved from another section into mine because of someone else's unruly kids. This four-top didn't appear to be the big tipping sort, but since they'd already polished off a liter of wine they were quite congenial. A bit too much in fact, but that's better than being ignored or treated like a servant. Anyway, they ordered expensive steaks, appetizers, more wine, etc. I even took their photo with their fancy little digital camera.

Well, after the salads were cleared, there was a fairly long wait for the entrees. Too long really, but it was one of the busiest nights of the summer and everyone else was waiting for their food too. Also, because of all the laughter and inebriation I figured this table was O.K. with the added wait. So instead of apologizing for their entrees not being there yet I just kept bread on their table, and impatiently kept checking the progress in the kitchen.

And then, just as two of their four entrees were being put in the window, I noticed the entire four-top get up and walk out the door. Being a bit slammed at the time, I told our hostess to see what was going on. We were a non-smoking restaurant and I was hoping they were just going outside for a smoke, and not walking on their bill. Wrong. "I think they're leaving," she says to me as I'm carrying someone else's food out. But, immediately after she says this, one of the guys from that table comes back down the stairs and heads over to the booth. Apparently someone forgot their sunglasses or something. Here was my chance. "Excuse me sir," I say politely, "What is the problem here?" To which he answers, "We're leaving! We've been waiting two fucking hours for our food. We're leaving." I apologize for the wait and tell him that their food is just now being put in the window. But he won't even talk to me. He is glassy-eyed and drunk and brushes me off on his way up the stairs. I tell our hostess to call the police and I follow him and his party out to the sidewalk.

"They're calling the police?" his wife says. "Oh c'mon, were going," he says to her, not seeming to give a damn that the cops are on the way. I try to explain to him that they at least have to pay for the wine and appetizers that they consumed but this guy won't listen. He keeps repeating to me how they waited "too fucking long: two-hours." (Bear in mind, it was a long time, but this is also a fine dining restaurant). He is in my face saying this, and then they all just walk away from me. At this point there's not much I can do. I watch them, even follow them for a half a block hoping they'll get into a car and I can write down the license number. But, they don't.

Coincidentally, at this point one of my bosses who was at another restaurant across the street, comes over to me, no doubt thinking "What the hell is my employee doing chasing them down the street?" I explain the situation to him and we both watch as the angered four-top walks down the street and turns a corner, out of our sight.

Now, remember, this is a VERY small town. I told the hostess which direction the party turned off main street. There are only 3 hotels in that direction. Since this party obviously wasn't from around here, she called each of those hotels, asking if anyone with "######" name was staying there. You see, we had their name for the reservation...

So, the sheriff arrives. He waits patiently while our hostess, "Nancy Drew", makes some calls. After about 10 minutes she scores. We have two room numbers at a nearby motel. We give this and a copy of the bill to the cop. "Well, I'll go have a little talk with them," he says.

And wouldn't you know it, but about 10 minutes later he's back with a nice little check from our drunken friends. He said they were pretty surprised to see him, and to see him so quickly.

I wish I could have been there.

Sometimes living in a small town can be pretty good.

I wonder if they erased that photo I took of them.

Mark B., Colorado


The Outside World

After slaving in the service industry for eight and a half years, I decided to take a short break. And I am here to tell you retail sucks too! Surprise, surprise. I have two idiot stories that will give you an idea of how you can enjoy the same shit even when you do not work in a restaurant. I work at Best Buy right now and this guy came in yesterday to tell me that he wanted to return his TV. He hands me the paperwork, but lo and behold, I see no TV. He says it is in the car and needs someone to get it for him (weakling). So I hand beck the papers and tell him that I can not process it without the TV and I call someone up to help him bring it in. So he has the guy bring in the TV and then he leaves. The moron never got his money, he just left....hmmm....dumbass! Next this woman comes in. After dealing with her rude attitude and intruding questions see pays with a credit card that is not signed. So I ask for ID and she makes a production of pulling out her purse, blah, blah, blah. SO I take her ID and ask her to please sign. She begins screaming at me about how she is going to call the police because I am trying to steal her card and ID and because I am "obviously" discriminating against her because she is fat. This snatch went on for twenty minutes because I did my job and verified her signature. God I miss restaurants. At least you can have revenge:) So to everyone who reads this, the next time you deal with an idiot, please exact revenge for me! Drink and be merry and have great sex...

—Stephanie, Texas


Dennis

We had a server named Dennis at our corporate Italian restaurant who'd been there for almost 10 years. He was very bitter and just plain crass. All of the employees have their favorite Dennis story. (While reading the stories, picture a guy who looks and sounds just like Jack Nicholson.) Here are my two favorites:

1) He was busy one time and some lady yells out, "Hey, we need more salad!" Our host, Mike, who was black (with a good sense of humor) was standing near him and Dennis said, "Sure, I'll have my Negro get that for you." Mike enthusiastically replied with, "Yes, massa, yes suh!" The customers later complained to corporate. They both thought it was a riot and the whole staff was laughing for weeks.

2) Another salad story: Once again he was busy and somebody rudely asked for salad while he was at another table (we give out free refills on salad). He stopped what he was saying, leaned over to the customer, and calmly said, "What do you want me to do, blow it out my ass for you? Can't you see I'm with another table?" The customer took the hint and shockingly didn't complain.

Kelly, Saint Paul


Grand Poobah

I work in a rather nice Chinese food restaurant, with very nice customers. You know, "please" and "thank you" and some such other stuff that makes a server feel good about her job and more than happy to get you that extra bit of lemon for your iced tea. Every now and then, there's that one jerk who stands out from the crowd and totally ruins your good memories of waiting tables. My bad memory, all bad smelling, foul talking, rude piece of redneck rubbish from the trailer park that he is, is my personal reminder that waiting can suck. Let's call him the Grand High Poobah of Upper Ass Crack.

The Poobah comes in, and immediately the restaurant smells of the cheap beer he'd been drinking previously and had thrown into our bushes (mind you, they had just been nicely trimmed). I seat him, and as I go to get his water, I hear, "UNNNH! WHAT AN ASS!" As I turn around with a face of shock and disbelief, I see the mud he had just tracked across my freshly cleaned floor. I ignore his comment and the mud and go to get them his water. As much as I wanted to, I didn't spit in his drink. I get him his water, and go to get his drink order. Okay, iced tea...and a smile? Okay...Um, no sir, you cannot see my butt. And you most certainly cannot see that either!!

I stalk off quickly in order to give him as little time as possible to get up to fuckery, clearly annoyed, to go and complain to my manager. Greedy bastard says I have to keep waiting on him. Oh joy. 

I bring out his food and everything, ignoring comments ranging from "How many boyfriends?" to "Are you a virgin?" Time comes for the bill, I give it to him and go! I want him out of my restaurant, and he can take that god-awful stink with him. He's paying with credit card, so I take that, along with his ID (In VA if the card isn't signed, we have to take the license too and write down the information on him). I swipe the card, everything goes down cleanly, until I decide that I can take out some late night frustrations by calling this bastard up and annoying the mess out of him at two in the morning. I break out the phone book, get his phone number and make a note of it. I bring back his card and ID, ignore another comment about my breasts, and leave. Upon coming back to the table to clean it, I see he left me a whole $1.23 on a $25.00 tab. I ignore it and breeze through the night, impatient to get to a phone.

The first couple of times a woman answered. Then I'd get him on the line and say "FUCK YOU ASSHOLE!!!!!TREAT WOMEN WITH SOME RESPECT!!!" and do this really evil laugh. Now only he answers the phone (I think she thought I was another woman). 

I think the whole experience has changed him. He came into the restaurant and was very polite to me, with no comments other than "Thank you." Tipped me 30% that time too.

Even the Grand High Poobahs of the world can learn something.


—Waitress in Hell, Virginia Beach VA


BINGO!

I used to work at a chain restaurant, the one where the servers wear red and white shirts, suspenders and lots of buttons. The cool thing about it is that the managers encourage the servers to act crazy and like themselves, so we usually had a good time at work, despite the customers.

Every once in a while, the managers would make up a bingo-like game, with the server who sold the most of the specified items n the squares winning a prize of some sort.

When we were feeling really evil, we'd make up our own bingo game and put the following things in the squares:

Nasty ho
Person with a gold tooth
Leopard skin attire
Ugly kids
Missing teeth
Person with no personality
Tons of gold chains
Hair extensions
Person on cell phone the entire meal
Tons of boobs showing
Fat chick in too tight clothes
Toes hanging out of shoes
Ugly guy with a babe
Bad toupee
Someone who mangles the menu
Guy who looks pregnant

The funny thing about playing the game is that when a server had a win in a square, we'd all go by the booth or table to check out the person. They must've thought they were loooooking gooood!!

Playing this game always left us in a good mood, able to deal with any crappy customers, no tips, nasty kids, etc. It was fun!!


—Kat, Atlanta


Separate Checks

I work in a reasonably high end British pub in a Southern tourist town (I'm sorry sir, we DO NOT have bud light on tap, would you care for an import?). For some ill-thought-out reason, a local pest control company decided to have their Christmas party in our pub. Understand that at night, our menu prices are significantly higher and there is very little in the way of "pub grub." 25 to 30 of these rednecks and their women began piling in, all the while complaining about the menu prices, drink prices, our "limited beer selection," (12 draft, 30 bottle, few domestics, no Busch or Old Mil.) AND we don't have Daiquiris. Now for dinner, a woman sent back her blackened chicken because it was burnt, one woman skipped dinner in favor of 6 Long Island Tea's ("but no tequila, I get crazy when I drink Tequila."). It cost me a small fortune in Jaeger shots for the kitchen because of all of the special orders. The kicker of the night? Of course I exercised the 15% button (on each and every separate check- all 17)but a few people left a couple of extra bucks on the table, surprisingly enough. The last woman out of the dining room went behind and collected the tip money and shoved it into her purse. 

Merry Fucking Christmas, I need tables like that to remind me why I'm in school.

—Liz, Savannah


Jerk-in-the-Booth

So I am a waitress-turned-manager at a local restaurant chain in the Northeast. One night, about 1/2 an hour before closing, two ladies came in and were waiting to be seated. I sat them in a booth, and when I told the waitress from that station that she had a down, she said "oh no, there was already someone in that booth, he just went to the bathroom". well how was I supposed to know that? There was no jacket there, no drink, nothing - she had JUST taken his order. Not a biggie, there were plenty of other booths in the restaurant. When he came back, I apologized and put him in the booth right next to the ladies. He said, "my meals on you now, right?" I thought it was a joke, and laughed. Then I told the server that he was okay with it. well, she went over to him and came right back to me - apparently he seriously thought that I was going to comp his whole meal because the seat he sat in for about two seconds was not the seat he was sitting in now. Great! so I went over to him, and he proceeded to tell me that I had to comp his meal. and I told him that there was no reason for me to, that he had a perfectly good seat and I couldn't understand what the problem was. I asked him if he had any particular attachment to the other seat and he said no, he just wanted to sit there. I told him I would not comp his meal, end of story. he told me "either move those two out of my seat or buy my meal. It's my seat and I want it damn it!" I told him that I would do neither, and asked him if he wanted me to cancel his order. at that point the two nice ladies offered to move and as I re-sat the gentleman I said in my most sickeningly sweet voice "here you go sir, the ladies kept it nice and toasty for you. Enjoy your meal!" And guess which two nice ladies ate on us that night? It just shows, it pays to be nice.

I've got a million stories! Now that I've discovered this sight, expect to hear from me regularly

—Vanessa, Cranston, RI


Walk-outs

I was the GM at a large, upscale, resort restaurant with about 450 seats. We'd do anywhere from 1200 to 1500 dinners a night. On those nights we would have about 18 servers working. One night a party of 5 comes in and orders everything from soup to nuts and dessert. The server is running like crazy because she had other tables as well as these yahoos. One by one they start going to the bathroom. Pretty soon there's nobody at the table and the check hasn't been paid. 

Now walk-outs were rare and this was one of my best servers. I knew she had been scammed and wasn't going to make her pay the check. She was in tears and apologetic. I told her not to worry about it and go take care of her other tables. About an hour later a woman comes into the lobby and asks to see me. She tells me that she knows where the party of 5 is! I grab the waitress and we follow her about a block to an amusement park. The woman points them out and the waitress confirms that it's them. I confront one of the women from the party and she starts stuttering and stammering. The waitress sees the man of the group slinking off to one side of the arcade. I corner him. I ask him to pay his check and he refuses and says the food sucked, the service was lousy, etc. 

A small crowd has gathered by this time. When I tell the guy it's not right and it's illegal, he has to pay, he threatens me. At this point a man steps out of the crowd, flashes a badge and tells him to pay up or go to jail. The guy is flabbergasted and pays the $120.00 tab and the cop tells him not to forget a tip. He throws a 5 at the waitress and they wander off. Turns out that the cop was off-duty and was having dinner at the table next to these deadbeats and he figured out what was going on! He followed them and sent his wife back to get us. What a cool guy! Needless to say, he and his wife and two friends got dinner and drinks on us the next time they were in. My personal favorite story of karma in action!


—Daddy-O, Pittsburgh


To the Brig

When I was in the military, I worked as a waitress in the base NCO club to earn a little extra money. This was a European base, and one of the specialties they had was a meal called Chateau Briand (or at least it was pronounced that way, forgive the spelling).

A Chateau wasn't a mere meal, it was an expensive, celebratory, multi-course, three hour event. The customers were required to make reservations and arrive by a certain time so that the preparation and timing of the meal removes would coincide with our other dining room service. The grand finale was a wonderful Cherries Jubilee dessert prepared at their table with the flaming brandy and everything.

So, enter the Gang of Four. These folks had made their reservation, but decided to arrive 45 minutes late. The manager wanted to cancel their meal, but they insisted on being seated. So, during the busiest part of dinner service, the poor Cooks had to work on this meal also.

The Gang of Four complained about absolutely everything- including me. I actually asked them if they preferred a different waitress, because they were hassling me so much. That took them aback a little, but the complaints continued. I told my manager that I didn't like their looks or attitude, and felt that something else was up. She agreed, and mysteriously disappeared into her office.

Meanwhile, I prepared the dessert service. I was determined to do a good job, and if I didn't impress these dunderheads, I certainly would impress the other diners with the flaming cherries. Quite often, the dessert presentation would get other diners interested, and they would make reservations for Chateaus themselves.

So, I polished the ice cream dishes, got the brandy cup filled, opened a brand-new box of ice cream, and prepped the cherries. I wheeled the cart with the goodies out to the dining room, and the Gang of Four was actually impressed with the flaming show I put on. I served their dessert, and left them to enjoy it.

Moments later, I was summoned back to their table. A couple of them had found glass in their desserts, and were blaming me for it. Their dessert dishes were perfectly OK- the heat of the cherries did not crack or break them. They got really nasty with me, and I left their table in tears. The manager caught up with me and asked me what happened, and I told her. She became angry, and again vanished into her office. Then she went out to their table and was ranted and screamed at by these people. They wanted a free meal. Everything was crap, and they insisted that I had put glass in their ice cream. The manager told them to please wait, she would take care of their problem shortly.

Less than five minutes later, several Security Police came in, and arrested the whole lot of them, right in the middle of the dining room, with a roomful of people looking on. Apparently, these people had been going from base to base ordering Chateaus, finding fault with them in one way or another, and adulterating their desserts with glass in order to get their expensive meal for free. The manager had been to a multi-base meeting the week before, and had heard about these people. She'd disappeared into her office to get their descriptions and to call the cops.

The active duty members were given Article 15s (a non-judicial form of punishment), one was demoted, all were heavily fined, and banned from all NCO clubs worldwide.

My usual tips from a Chateau were around the $40+ range. I didn't get tipped, obviously, but the looks on their faces when they got busted were good enough for me.

—Satisfied ex-waitress, Somewhere in America


Customer Fun

I work in a great restaurant in Chicago. We are a restaurant in which people come in to be treated like "shit". On this particular Sunday brunch I had a reservation for 17 people. The people called to say that they were going to be 1/2 an hour late. When they arrived they did not know whether they had a reservation and ended up sitting in a different part of the restaurant and were served by a fellow waitron. As I was standing up at the cashiers stand, the "birthday girl" came up to me and said, "hey, you were the one who waited on us right before Christmas!, we loved you, you treated us like shit!, we were hoping you were going to wait on us!". I just smiled and said well, if you dumbasses just remembered you made a reservation you would've had me as your waitress!! We both laughed. Later, I went over to her table let out a big yelp and called her mom an old lady. They all laughed and three of them gave me a big hug when they were leaving.

Some customers are just sooooo cool!

Keeks, Chicago


This story is pretty quick, I had just started working in fine dining after 4 years in an Irish themed pub.  I was waiting on a wealthy blue haired couple when they asked me to suggest a decent white.  I went through my favorite whites depending on what they were looking for and the chose an Australian chard (which at the time was my favorite white by far).  The lady tasted the wine was not as pleased as I expected with the selection.  She then proceeded to give me a dressing down about my qualifications as a server, ending with the now classic "...and this wine is terrible, and trust me I know wines."  Then to her husband, "honey, what's that BOX we drink at the house?  Now that's a decent wine!"  I had to walk away.

Deezus, Dayton


Christians

One night I'm managing my little Mexican restaurant and it's super slow, maybe three deuces in the whole place. I'm talking to the hostess and for some reason she asks who the worst customers are. Without hesitation I say, "Christians." Being a gigantic Christian she is shocked and asks why. I tell her about another restaurant where I worked where on Saturday nights, after late night mass I would always get this table of Catholics that would run my ass of, want a dozen separate checks and would leave me this folded up piece of paper that looked like a twenty. On the inside of the paper it said "Why are you disappointed that this isn't money? All the riches of heaven await you if you take Jesus as your savior." As a lapsed Christian I have taken Jesus as my savior, but little pieces of paper that aren't actual money don't pay my fucking rent. I continue telling her similar stories about how stingy Christians are especially on Sundays. You couldn't pay me fifty dollars an hour to wait tables on Sunday morning right after church. Everyone is a complete asshole. All those little kids who aren't allowed to run around screaming in church have carte blanche in my restaurant. Then they argue about the service. Then they argue about the prices. Then they leave a quarter on the table because they just gave 10% to God, so why should they give even a dollar to some guy that just brought them coffee and pancakes. After an hour of berating Christian customers the hostess is in tears and asks to go home early. So, I send her home.

Next time I work with this hostess she apologizes to me. After I sent her home she called her Pastor, then went to his house and told him all the horrible things I said. The Pastor was disturbed and in Bible Study the next week he initiated a discussion about restaurant etiquette. He found that his whole flock were assholes in restaurants and bad tippers. He then quoted some scripture that went along the lines of "The law of the land is also my law and you shall obey it." Then said that tipping 10% or better was the law of the land. It's a small dent in the bad Christian customers, but hopefully it will spread.

—Jervis Tetch, Colorado High Country


Horseradish Man

I really think I might quit.  This could be it.  After 15 years of serving, which I have mostly liked, I think I might just go become a dive instructor, or maybe a yogi at an ashwan in the middle of a unfamiliar map, or sell t-shirts in the streets, or earrings made out of pasta.  Anything else, after Horseradish Man.  He broke me I think.  I'm done.  I've done diners, pizza places, night club cocktail waitress...all of it.  But for the last 8 years it's been fine dining.  Really high end fine dining.  Lovely food, lovely wine, gorgeous rooms, perfect service,  appreciative customers, ok money....not the 1000's of dollars a night non-waiters think you make of course...but ok.

But....Horseradish Man.   AAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH Came in to celebrate his girlfriends birthday.  She..lovely and smiley (but perhaps a Stepford wife, I could almost hear the cogs whirring under her astounding fake breasts).  He...nasty, grumpy, angry, determined to be a real bastard,  and a bit smelly too.  I...took down elaborate instructions to enable the bartender to prepare his favorite drink (a horrific concoction of cranberry juice, melon liquor and something blue).  Took a couple of these back because we failed to make them horrible enough...finally he accepted the drinks with much criticism of our bartenders ability to prepare said horrible blue crap.  Criticism continued throughout the meal.  The menu was crap, he didn't like anything on it.  The room was too cold ( I turned up the heat).  The room was too hot (I turned down the heat).  He didn't like this table (I moved them mid starters).  He didn't like this table either.  (Since at 8:00 on Sat. night I would have had to throw a perfectly nice couple into the street to move him again I just apologized profusely).  He wanted me to recommend a wine...I did...several options...several price points,  he chose one, he hated it.  He said it was "fucking gross".   

Deep breath.  

Deep breath.  

Count to ten.

I took the wine back.  I sent our wine director over.  He suggested a wine.  This wine also..."fucking gross are you trying to rip us off".   He decided to stick with blue cocktails.

The finale....he ordered a tenderloin.  The only beef on a "we're so fabulous  fish and rabbit and organ meat and froth and tower and quenelle and lung wonton and tiny bits of other weird things menu".   Yes, the food is fucked and shockingly expensive...but...the menu is posted on the door.  THE MENU AND PRICES ARE POSTED ON THE DOOR.  The sign does not say 'All you can eat Chicken and Ribs'.  If, perchance, you cannot read, then  the hostess/supermodel slinking towards you and taking your coat and asking if she could take your phone and answer your calls and pass on messages during the meal should have been your clue that you are not in Kansas.

The beef arrived.  He asked for horseradish.  I asked the chef.  No.  We have no horseradish.  I relayed the information.  He stared in what I hoped was disappointment, but what I  now believe was complete insanity.  His girlfriend smiled sweetly and admired her astounding breasts.

He freaked out.  His meal was ruined, his day was ruined, his girlfriend's birthday was ruined, his blue drink was ruined.  His entire life was possibly ruined.  The restaurant was gross, it was fucked, I was a moron, I was a fucking moron, I was a fucking gross moron.

Deep breath....deep breath.   

Could we bring him another condiment.  Mustard?  Hot pepper oil?  Deep fried dishwasher?  Could we prepare something else for him?  Anything?  at all?

No.

Stroke of inspiration.  I fled, across the street and down a block to the drugstore and its sad little grocery aisle.  Horseradish, there it was with the ketchup and hot dog relish.  Purchased with my own money while my other perfectly lovely tables languished under the watchful yet impotent eye of my non-English speaking busboy.  I tried to send him for the horseradish but after much explanation was afraid he'd come back with a jumbo box of cornflakes or a 24hr wear lipstick in deep rose.

Me...sweating, out of breath, triumphant, at the table with the horseradish decanted hastily into the nearest receptacle.  "Horseradish sir".   Pause for thanks and gratitude.

He...refused the horseradish.  It was too late.  His meal was ruined.  I was an idiot.  This place was a dump and etc

I...lost it...really lost it...really really lost it.  For years I have been calm under fire.  Deep breath....didn't work....felt like dry wood in a furnace.   Lost it, big time.  I apologized for ten full minutes.  I apologized for myself, for the restaurant, for the chef, for the owners.  I apologized for the tables and the table makers and the tile makers who make wobbly tables possible.  I apologized for the heating systems and the fans and the lights and the napkins and the glass makers and the linen makers and the silverware designers and my hairdresser who colored my hair.  I apologized for the length of time it took me to run to the store, and for my parents who didn't spawn a faster runner.  I apologized for the farmers who grew the vegetables and the geneticists who created the cow that gave birth to the calf that became his overcooked steak.  I apologized for western civilization and for bread and for chairs and for the class structure and for the demand for service jobs in the current economy and for......apologized....until I couldn't any more.  Until I couldn't think of anything else.  And then I left.  I left my other tables, I left my Lebanese busboy, I left and took off my apron and took off my trendy red tie and left.  And came home, and turned off my phone and got drunk on vodka from my freezer (nothing blue).

And I talked to my manager today (two days later) and he said come back, you are good, you are calm, we know something very very very bad made you do that.

And I think I'm going to be a dive instructor, or a yogi, or an earring maker or something.

Jude - Vancouver, B.C.


H2Phone

I've worked in the restaurant business for about 20 years and this is my favorite story ever.

Back in the Reagan 80's when people thought an Amex card took the place of manners, a friend of mine was working at a trendy bistro-cafe kinda place.  Lots of men with yellow polka-dotted power ties and all the women with blunt cuts and short, black dresses.

My friend, Mia, had an 8 top that was just running her to death believing, as all assholes do, that they were the only customers in the joint.  As Mia was walking to the kitchen for yet another "can I get a side of ..." one of the women asked her where the phone was.  Mia pointed to the bar and went into the kitchen.

When she came out a minute or so later she saw the woman standing at the service bar with quizzical look on her face and the fountain gun in her hand.  "Hey," she yelled to Mia, "how do you get an outside line on this thing?"

I still laugh when I think about that.  I just picture that women hitting "Q" and getting a stream of tonic in her ear.

—Ted, Lost in America


After I graduated from college, I got a job bartending in a local restaurant.  It was a small town in the rural south (30,000 people - 40,000 when school was in).  In this area were lots of, for lack of a better word, rednecks.  I would have to have a conversation with a professor and turn around and have a conversation with a guy with an seventh grade education.

Anyway, it was a quiet Sunday night and these three rednecks came into the bar (they were the only ones there--I knew I was going to make a mint).  There were a few people eating in the restaurant and the cook overcooked a steak, which he gave to me.  There was a table where employees could eat, but was still in sight of the bar.  I started eating the steak and one of the rednecks turned around and saw the dinner and proclaimed, "That looks good, get me one of them bud."  Just gotta love people who call you "bud".

So I went around to the other side of the bar, and even though I didn't need to, I asked, "how would you like that cooked?"  Of course it was "well-done, extra char".  So, I put the order in and brought out his utensils and condiments.  After I brought out his dinner I went about cleaning and doing some mindless stuff.  I went back to check if everything was ok, and I find him standing over the jukebox, HOLDING THE STEAK IN HIS HANDS WHILE CHOMPING AWAY!!!  My manager and I bust our guts laughing at him.

It gets better.  His buddy decided that the steak looked awesome and ordered the same.  I didn't even bother asking how he wanted it cooked.  I went to my manager and told him I wouldn't give him any utensils or napkins to see what he would do.  When I brought out his dinner, he never said a word.  They both ate their entire dinners with their hands!!!!  Needless to say, the gratuity matched their grace and style.  Man, am I glad I don't work there anymore.

—BeamMeUpScotty, Bethlehem PA (currently residing in Japan)


Happy Mothers Day

This happened to a coworker of mine.  Years ago he worked at a very high-end restaurant in a posh part of Boston.

One busy Mother's Day brunch, my friend had the misfortune of waiting on some miserable wealthy bitch who couldn't find anything suitable on the menu.  "I don't want duck in my risotto," she told him.  "See if the chef will make my risotto vegetarian."  My friend ran back to the kitchen to ask the chef (who was also the owner), and the chef refused.  

My friend returned to the table and told the woman that only duck risotto was available, and she indignantly insisted that he ask again.  "Maybe he'll do it for ME,"  she said.  My friend reluctantly returned to the kitchen to ask the chef, and the chef blew up, screaming "You tell that fucking cunt that she needs to leave.  I'm a millionaire several times over and don't need her goddamned money, and if she won't eat what's on the menu, she won't eat here at all."  
My friend returned to the table and the woman said, "I heard screaming...what did the chef say?"  My friend paraphrased (ha ha) and said, "Ma'am, he said that he doesn't think you're going to be happy dining with us, and that perhaps I should call a nearby restaurant to make you a reservation."  The woman replied, "No no, I heard him screaming.  What did he say?"  My friend tried to avoid telling her exactly what was said, but the woman persisted and he finally gave in.  Very calmly he said, "He said that you're a fucking cunt and that he doesn't need your money and that if you won't eat what's on the menu you need to go.  Now good day, Ma'am!"   

He then turned and walked into the service station, where two of his coworkers were howling with laughter.

Laura, Boston MA



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