A hangry customer who hasn't had their coffee yet may just be the worst kind of customer. Since, café workers have to face these kinds of people every single day, they can usually handle these rude customer with ease. Sometimes, a special kind of customer walks into their café and manages to really get underneath the workers' skin.
These café workers shared how they've delt with the most entitled customers they've ever came across. All posts have been edited it for clarity.
"A few years ago, I worked in a coffee shop as a barista. We opened at 6am to tackle the never ending London morning rush hour. I would start work at 5:15am preparing pastries and stocking the fridges and coffee machine. One morning I'm under the counter stocking up one of the milk fridges, it's about 5:25am, I stand up and there's a lady standing there. She must have pushed the automatic doors open in order to gain entry.
Lady - 'I've been standing here 5 minutes, you've been ignoring me.'
Me - 'Erm...we're not open for another half an hour, I wasn't expecting customers.'
Lady - 'This is ridiculous, how dare you ignore me, I'd like a croissant and a latte.'
Me - 'As I said we're not open, I was stocking a fridge under the counter so I didn't see you!'
Lady incredulously -'This is unacceptable, please get your manager!'
Cue our flamboyant Brazilian manager, who after hearing her horror story and giving her plenty of patronizing 'oohs' and 'aaahs,' thrusts a croissant into her hands and sends her on her way.
My only retribution was that if she ever came back into the store again, I refused to serve her."
"A lady walks in at a slow time for the store, so I'm as cheery as can be since I have nothing particularly stressful going on.
First thing Debbie Downer says to me is, 'Wipe that smile off your face and take my order.' Yes, really. So I immediately do as instructed since there's no way I can stay happy after such a mean-spirited comment. What's wrong with people?
Anyway, Debbie places a very complicated order. No problem. I make a lot of complicated drinks all day. The problem? She has the audacity to complain that I'm going too slow! What the heck, lady? So I go even faster for the witch just to get her nastiness out of my hair, hand the drink to her and she sits down. A couple minutes pass and she gets up, slams the empty cup on my counter and says, 'Since you're not doing anything useful right now, you can be a good girl and throw this away for me. Oh, and the coffee was terrible. I won't be coming back.'
She came back several times after that, always requesting someone else to serve her when I was working. Never did figure out why she hated me."
"I worked at a popular bakery place, they’re known for their broccoli cheddar soup and bread bowls. Anyway, I worked at this place for a total of 4 days.
My first day was the worst in which I sliced open my hand cleaning dishes and spilled ice tea in my eyes but that’s not what stands out.
On my 4th day of work, I got in a little early and I was trained to work the dining room, barista section and register. It was pretty slow, right before the lunch rush so there’s like maybe 4 customers right now. I’m making a watermelon lemonade for a customer when a lady wanders up to the counter.
Now my location does table service where you order and people will deliver the food to your table so when someone comes up to the counter, you know it’s not going to end well.
I’m making the drink and this lady starts banging on the counter. She’s old, like probably 60s. I tell her I’ll be with her in a moment and she just scoffs. I know if I put it off longer she’ll get angrier, so I finish the drink, grab it and wander up to the counter. I ask how I can help her.
She had half a grilled cheese clutched in her hand with one bite taken out of it and she looks livid.
'This grilled cheese is BURNT! How dare you serve this to me! I demand you make me a new one!' I nod and tell her I’ll remake it right away. She throws the grilled cheese at me but it misses. I ignore it, pick the sandwich off the floor and throw it away, I don’t want to get in it with her.
As I’m pulling out the bread and cheese, this lady reaches over the counter and grabs the drink I made.
'Ma’am, that’s not for you, please put it down.' I tell her. I'm getting fed up with this lady so I’m working fast to make her grilled cheese so she can just leave. She doesn’t listen and begins drinking it to which I say
'You didn’t pay for that, it’s not yours.' Annoyance is in my voice but she doesn’t care, she keeps drinking.
'You messed up my sandwich, I deserve it.' She tells me, a smug look on her face.
I smile and gesture over to the registers and say, 'If you want it I can ring you up for it.' Trying to get back at her for putting me through grief.
She glares at me and goes 'Fine! I don’t want it!' And throws it at me. I scream in shock, it’s cold and wet and sticky and this lady is just laughing. My manager comes from the back and asks what’s going on. I rip off my hat, throw it on the ground and scream 'I quit!!' I then stomp out of the store, angry as all get out. At this time I didn’t have a car to get home so I walked across 6 lanes of traffic to get to the shopping center near by to just get away from this store and this lady.
I cried in the mall bathroom and my boyfriend came to pick me up. That was my 4 day job at a bakery, I now work at a rich people preschool which has its own troubles but at least old ladies don’t throw watermelon lemonades at you."
"I work as a barista at a restaurant that has a constant flow of horrible customers, with the occasional gem that walks through the door. We even need to have a security guard on the premises almost every night because it gets BAD (I'm talking full on brawls that break out, with chairs and tables thrown, shoes-off-earrings-out kind of fights.) I've been threatened to be beat up, almost spat on, seen someone get maced in the face at my counter, my managers have been threatened to be shot in the head, etc. Not ideal but it makes for many a good story.
To preface, the restaurant closes at midnight, while last call is at 11:30. From 11:30-12:00, the barista is still taking carry-out orders while attempting to close. To lessen the burden, we stop call in orders at around 11:40, thus giving the customer a solid 20 minutes before to close to come pick up their order.
I am closing down my station around 11:50 pm when the phone rings. I pick it up and a man asks if we are still taking carry out orders, I let him know that I would be happy to take his order in person if he can make to the store before midnight, but we are unfortunately not taking any more phone orders for the night. He says that he will be right in, because he is just 20 minutes away! Now I have to tell him that I cannot take an order from him at all because no matter what he does, he will not arrive before close. This is apparently a huge no-no on my end, and he lets me know.
Guy: 'You're telling me that I can't even order a water and come pick it up?'
Me: 'No sir, I'm sorry but it is 11:50 right now and you just said you were 20 minutes away, so you'll get here around 12:10 and we will already be closed.'
Guy: 'You didn't let me finish, now do you want to let me finish or do you want a bad yelp review?'
Me: 'But you said you were 20 minutes away, it doesn't matter what you were going to say we will still be closed.'
I have no idea what set him off, but nonetheless it is at this point where he gets real angry and starts asking me over and over again what my name is. I just keep calmly telling him that I will not tell him my name. Finally he tells me that he is 2 minutes away will be right in to see 'exactly' who I am. Now I am confused because our entire conversation had lasted only about 5 minutes, so there is no way that he is as close as he says, so I just say 'ok' and hang up the phone.
About 5-10 minutes later I am still closing up when the phone rings, and of course its the same guy. He immediately tries to trick me into telling him my name.
Me: '[restaurant name] how can I help you?'
Guy: 'Who am I speaking with?'
Me: 'You are speaking with the barista.'
Guy: 'OH, so it's like that? You know I have something to tell you.'
At this point he starts to lecture me on how to do my job and how he knows the owners and that I don't know who I am talking to and that I will regret it. I half listen to all of it while trying to close when he starts asking me for my name AGAIN. At this point there is no way that I am telling him anything so our conversation is as follows.
Guy: 'So let me ask you again, what is your name?'
Me: 'I'm sorry sir but I am still not going to tell you my name.'
Guy: 'Girl, you're playing with fire, you know that? I can get you fired in a minute.'
Me: 'That's fine, sir.'
Guy: 'Alright then, consider yourself fired.'
Me: 'Okay have a good night.'
At this point I am uncomfortable at how angry he has gotten throughout the entire situation (which is crazy) so my manager and I get the security guard to come stand by the door to make sure he does not show up like he threatened to. I do not want to have to deal with this man in person.
I leave the store for a minute or two to go grab some stock for the next day, and as I am coming back he is across the street at his car and sees me go in. I have no idea how he knows that I am the barista, because at this point he has never seen me. He comes running across the street as I am picking up a few dirty dessert trays to bring into the dish room to be washed when he starts knocking on the window, pointing at me and yelling. The door is locked so he cannot come in, so I just ignore him and continue with what I was doing. As I am coming out of the dish room, I see him in the window with his camera out and is trying to take a picture of me when I get back to the front. Seeing this, I go back into the dish room to wait it out, because this crazy man having my picture is the last thing that I need.
My manager informs me that he is gone, and then proceeds to tell me that this was the second time that he had tried to come in. Apparently he had been there just a few minutes earlier while I was out and was denied entry because the door was locked as it was past closing time. I was told by the security guard that the man had tried to come in, got angry at the locked door, kept knocking, and started taking pictures of the guard, my manager, and the police car that just happened to be parked outside. He was so angry that he called AGAIN. This time he is demanding that my manager gives him my name, to which my manager responds, 'I'm sorry but you threatened my barista, so as far as I'm concerned this conversation is over.' He then tells me manager that he has no idea who he is talking to, and to remember his face because he is going to get both my manager and I fired because he knows the owner.
Well jokes on him because my manager is the owner's son."
"Okay, so I'm a student who works as a part-time barista at a coffee bar in the local mall's food court.
This happened last weekend. I was having a bad day. We were understaffed, I hadn't had a break in 5 hours, and had been hounded by people waiting for coffees (I literally couldn't make them any faster than I already was.) Anyway, to the stand-out customer...
On my inner left forearm, I have a long scar that I got from mountain biking. I suppose it COULD be mistaken for self-harm scars, but either way it shouldn't matter. As I delivered a coffee to a woman (50's, the classic snobby rich lady), she loudly said to her friend, 'She should have those hideous scars covered up.' Now, I'd have handled it better, but I was stressed to the limit. I dropped her coffee on the table, glared at her and stormed off and closed the coffee bar for 30 minutes.
Now, I do have a history of self harm, but not on my arms, hence my strong reaction. But my god, the audacity of that woman to say that baffles me. Regardless of how that scar came to be, how DARE she say something like that. Urgh."
"I work as a barista/server. We like doing latte art for our coffees. It takes almost no additional time, and when we're busy we immediately dispense with the fancy designs and just churn out delicious but unadorned coffee. Customers usually really appreciate our creativity, except for one customer this Saturday who I'll call The Grouch.
My coworker did a cute little teddy bear in The Grouch's cappuccino, and brought it to her table. The Grouch made a face and flagged her down.
The Grouch: 'What's this?'
Coworker: 'Your cappuccino.'
The Grouch: 'No, what's this?' indicating teddy bear 'I didn't order that. Can you take that off?'
Coworker: 'It's just a design we do with the micro foam that we would use for the cappuccino anyway.'
The Grouch: 'I didn't order it. I don't want that. Take it off.'
We both frowned and my coworker scraped her little guy's face out of the woman's cappuccino and gave it back to her mangled. The Grouch seemed happier.
"I'm working late one night and I tell everyone I'm about to close my register so if they want another drink, it's now or never. So I accept everyone's order and payment, and put all the money into the safe. I can't access it any longer from this point onwards.
At this point a man suddenly enters the pub and the conversation goes roughly like this:
Man: 'Hey, gimme a coffee!'
At this point, he is coming behind the counter for some weird reason.
I blink for a second as I realize what he's doing, but quickly regain my focus.
Me: 'Get away from behind the bar!'
He lifts his hands, turns around and walks back to the edge of the bar.
Man: 'Sorry, dude. Sorry.
Me: 'Hey all's well dude, people tend to be a little different when they've had some drinks, you weren't an issue so all's well.'
Man: 'Can I have that coffee though?'
Me: 'Sorry, mate. Can't give you any coffee anymore. My till is closed.'
Man: 'Come on man! You have to give a coffee to a guy who's been drinking!
Me: 'Sorry dude I don't. I can't sell you anything, but if you --- (I was going to suggest a glass of tap water, something that by law I'm obliged to have available either way)
Man: 'NO! YOU HAVE TO SELL ME A COFFEE! THE LAW SAYS YOU HAVE TO GIVE A MAN WHO'S BEEN DRINKING A COFFEE WHEN HE ASKS FOR ONE!'
At this point, I lost my cool. I'm a very patient guy, but if you can't be patient enough to let me finish, especially when I'm trying to be cordial, I'm not going to put up with your bull.
Me: 'Out! Right now! I am closed! I don't owe you anything!'
I slowly approach him trying to guide him out. Now I'm not a body builder, but I do have some clout on my body and a fluffy beard doesn't hurt either. It's not that hard for me to intimidate people if I seriously want to.
While he does back off a little, he seems adamant about his coffee.
Man: 'NO YOU HAVE TO SERVE ME A COFFEE BY LAW!!!'
Me: 'I don't owe you anything! Now out of the pub!'
Man: 'OR WHAT? YOU WANT TO FIGHT?'
Me: 'Just get out before I call the cops.'
I might be intimidating but violence isn't something I tend to. I might lose my cool, but I tend to shout. But those words sadly were his trigger words.
He stands his ground in front of the exit. Man: 'YOU'RE JUST BLUFFING! YOU AIN'T CALLING THE COPS!'
At this point he was literally holding a fire to my fuse. I don't go off, but when I do it's because I got pushed too hard. At this point I feel it's safest to just push him out. I grab him by the shirt and I firmly lead him out.
This works, but two of my remaining customers decide it's time to get between us. This prevented me from doing anything beyond the door, not that I really had any intention at that point to exit the bar and lose my authority position, but this also gave him a chance to turn around and do what I somewhat expected, but my other customers didn't. I couldn't hold any defense up, but before I knew it he had snuck a left hook around the other customer into my cheekbone. I was about to pop, but luckily my other customers stopped me from exiting.
Me: 'That's it I'm calling the cops!'
I get to the phone and start calling the cops. I explain the situation, no injuries besides a weak punch thrown, just a stupid guy refusing to exit the premise and is now roaming in front of the pub. Other customers calming him down etc etc.
I look up from the phone to notice one of the two customers who were calming him asking for a glass of water. I give him a glass of tap water. I finish my report with the dispatch and hang up waiting for the cops. Cops would be there in 10. I turn around, look outside, and another customer who was sitting inside explains how the guy also ruined someone's rear view mirror. I check to see whose car... And you guessed it... it's mine... UGH! At this point my anger has already subsided and reason has taken over, I'm staying inside until the cops are there. The man is calmed down it seems, but still pacing about. He threw bicycles about and other stuff too.
Now at this point the cops arrive, I walk out and explain the situation. One cop goes to the man and one cop talks to me and the two other customers. Now I explain basic stuff like what you have read up to this point.
But halfway through me explaining, the man starts shouting at me, 'YOU BETTER NOT BE LYING! I TOTALLY WANT TO SEE YOUR EXPLANATION OF THINGS! AND I WANT TO SIGN IT WHEN IT'S DONE!'
The cop talking to me and the other two customers tells me to walk inside and that he'll be back inside, he quickly grabs my number and basic info. After which I walk inside and wait for this to blow over.
But blow over it didn't. This guy was starting to get an attitude again. Started claiming left and right that I was in the wrong, getting angry at the cops, etc.
Cops are not having any of that bull! They walk him to the van to take a test. But he's struggling. And BAM! Down he goes to the floor, handcuffed and on his butt. Picked up, thrown into the van. Cop walks in quickly explains he'll be back after processing this guy for the written version of my story. I say okay.
The group of customers at this point start to leave, because now nothing is stopping them. I offer a free drink to the two young men who stopped me right before snapping. And to the girl who told me my mirror got knocked off.
They also stayed behind to confirm my story and as such now it's paperwork. I pressed charges. Still had to hand in a repair quote of rear view mirror and a doctors report.
All in all that was one hectic last day of volunteer work.
The guy is now banned from the pub. I was told I acted in the correct fashion and other than that people hoped I was still fine for going with my own pub. However, one bad apple doesn't spoil the bunch! And frankly it was the first one I had serious troubles with."
"This lady drives directly up to the drive thru window, skipping the speaker, so we don't even know she's there for a minute. When my barista notices her there, she apologizes for not seeing her, and without even acknowledging her, this woman jumps right into talking down to her:
Lady- 'Does a mint mocha have mint in it? Yeah? How about mocha, maybe?' She's talking to my barista like she's 5 and stupid.
My barista says, 'Oh that was supposed to be a mint mocha? I'm so sorry, hold on one second.'
We whip one up for her and I head to the window with it. 'I'm really sorry for the mix up! Here's a brand new mint--' She interrupts, absolutely screaming, 'I DON'T WANT THAT, I WANT A REFUND!'
She keeps screaming at me for several minutes, basically repeating herself ('This isn't a mint mocha, it's supposed to be a mint mocha, I want a refund, this isn't a mint mocha...') as I'm trying to gather the pertinent information to get her refund for her. If she had listened to me for one second, she would have also received the mint mocha, for free. I can't get her to slow down or listen to me for one second, so I can't even find her order to give her the refund (I kind of need more information than 'I wanted a mint mocha but didn't get it' - what did she pay with? What time of day did she come?). Plus there's a line of customers building up behind her.
So I asked her, 'I'm really sorry about this mix up, I am doing my best to fix it for you - would you please refrain from yelling at me and I can get this sorted as soon as I have all the information I need to void the order?'
She screams even more loudly, 'I'M NOT YELLING!' before yelling at me that she paid with a Discover card an hour ago.
This information lets me know that this woman in fact ordered a plain latte, I even double-checked to make sure she didn't want any flavor in it - she was the first Discover card I'd seen in weeks, so I happened to remember that transaction clearly. But for the sake of customer service, I keep pretending it was our mistake instead of escalating it by telling her she ordered wrong.
I thank her for the information, assure her I'd get that voided out as soon as possible, but would she please pull around to a parking space, so I can get the drinks out to the customers behind her? I'd be bringing her void receipt out in just one minute. She responds to that by scoffing, and yelling to see the manager. 'Oh, I'm the manager. Don't worry, it will just be a minute, I'm really sorry about all this.'
'YOU?? YOU'RE the manager?' She pauses, 'We'll see about that.'
Literally just a few seconds later, I get the order voided and run the receipt out to her while my baristas take care of the line behind her. She is on the phone. She sees me there but pointedly turns to face the other direction. I'm left standing there for almost 5 minutes before she rolls down her window and looks at me. 'Here's your void receipt, again I'm really sorry for the miscommunication. If there's anything else I can do to help you please let me know! Have a great day!' She doesn't even respond.
I get back into the shop only to be informed that while I was outside waiting for her to roll her window down, this woman had called the store twice, asking for the owner to complain about the manager. I later found out from the manager at our neighbor store that she had called there, too.
And now she's called several times a day for over a week, trying to reach the owner. Really?! Who has time for all that? Especially considering I was sweet, smiley, and apologetic the whole time; gave her exactly what she wanted; and was well within my rights to refuse her service because of her disrespect. Maybe that was my mistake, actually - being too nice when I should have been giving her a taste of her own medicine."
"Let me make one thing clear first: other than a few minor annoyances that occur, such as managerial drama or broken machines, I generally enjoy my café job and I like about 90% of my regulars.
This woman falls into that 10% of the I-want-to-remove-you-from-existence category.
Now I have a lot of groups that come into my café on a regular basis, some rowdier than others, but they all will quiet down if I ask them nicely and have actually apologized to me for being disruptive.
The ironically worst offender for sudden bouts of noise is my American Sign Language group. By that I mean it's lots of hand signs and then a huge sudden roar of laughter. I mean like 30-45 minutes of quiet and then someone signs a joke. Not bad at all, and they have gotten a lot better about it.
It was a Thursday night, they were in and it had been almost silent the entire night, no jokes today which was fine. I've nearly leaped out of my skin a time or two being caught off guard.
In comes the customer in question that needs a serious head check. I call her the Crazy Lady, and you need the capital letters for her. In my 2 and 1/2 years there, she has never once ever actually bought something. It's always a cup of hot water and a cup of ice water. No idea why she needs both but I always smile and give her what she wants if only to get her away from me.
About an hour later, she comes up to me and asks if she can speak to a manager. The conversation went something like this:
Me: 'Is there something I can help you with?'
CL: 'Yes, I need to talk to your manager please. It's about the group over there.' points to my ASL peeps
Me: 'All right, let me get her for you.' pages manager over headset
Manager Sandi: arrives 'What can I do for you?'
CL: 'Can you get them (points again) to be a little quieter? I'm trying to read and they are just being really disruptive. And I'm having a hard time right now, and that woman (the lady that runs the lessons) is talking about her ex-husband and how he would beat her and I just can't stand to listen to this.'
MS: 'Well really there is nothing I can do other than ask them to be quiet. This is not a library and this is a public place. I can't make them leave.'
CL: walks off muttering to herself
What the heck lady?! Why are you listen to the conversation in the first place if it makes you uncomfortable? Why not just, I dunno, SIT SOMEWHERE ELSE? I've got chairs all over this store and they are a way more comfortable than the ones in café! Just move!
Ugh, I'll never understand people."
"I work for a very well known coffee giant, and have done for almost three years. I guess you call me WeeBarista, since I'm someone lacking in the height department.
I've dealt with my fair share of difficult customers over the years, but the woman today really takes the cake. Side note - we've just had a complete transformation of our iced blended cold drinks and have a new recipe to follow, which has to be followed TO THE LETTER, or else I can get into real trouble. I had just started my shift, and had gone straight onto bar to make drinks. I had a few to catch up, and had just made a plain, coffee flavored blended iced drink for a customer, who took it and walked away. Two minutes later, she's back.
Customer: 'This doesn't taste sweet. This doesn't have any sugar in it...You NEED to make me one with sugar in it. It's supposed to have sugar in it!'
This is complete bull, it's a plain coffee flavor like she asked for, and they have NEVER been made with sugar in them.
WeeBarista: 'Oh, they actually don't come with sugar in them, but there is sugar over on the condiment bar that you could add to it.'
Customer blank stare: 'No, that won't taste right. I need YOU to make me a new one and put sugar in it.'
WeeBarista: 'Actually, I can't do it that way for you, as it would affect the texture and flavor of the drink, so it wouldn't come out right. Like I said, there's sugar on the condiment bar, which you could add to the drink. Or, I could add in a flavored syrup for you, such as caramel or vanilla.'
Customer blank stare: 'No, this needs to have SUGAR in it. Why didn't you make it that way? It's supposed to be like that!'
WeeBarista slowly losing the will to live, repeats all as said above.
Customer death stare now : 'I need YOU to help me here, I want my drink and I want it with sugar in it! Why can't you just do what I'm asking you too?'
WeeBarista: 'I'm sorry, but as I've already said I can't do that. Would you not like to try a syrup to make it sweeter?'
Customer: 'Yeah, you have that sugar-syrup, just add that.'
WeeBarista: 'Actually, we don't have that here, but we have plenty of sweet flavors, such as vanilla or caramel.' (I believe some stores have this syrup in the US - but I'm in the UK)
Customer, actually STOMPS HER FEET ON THE GROUND: 'Fine. I don't WANT this now. I'll have strawberry one, will that be sweet?'
WeeBarista: 'Yes, it will.'
Customer: 'OK, and can you put sugar in that for me?'
WeeBarista: melts into a puddle of disbelief and anger and practically dies on the spot : 'No. As I've already said, I can't do that for you. It should be sweet enough.'
Customer: 'FINE. You know, you've been really unhelpful to me.'
She's too dumb enough to understand that I can't make her drink with sugar in it for her. She thinks she knows better than me what should be in our drinks. She rejects the concept of adding sugar afterwards, and refuses to try a flavored syrup. Then complains that I haven't been helpful enough. I genuinely don't know what she wanted from me!
She came back in a few hours later - and when she saw I was still working, she was completely rude to me and gave me death stares the entire time. It's not my fault she's dumb!"