The food industry is an unforgiving place to work. Customers get impatient. Managers get snobby. Chefs lose their minds. At some point, the stress becomes too much to bear and people snap in the most dramatic ways. These workers share the worst and the weirdest ways their coworkers gave up on the job and the incidents that pushed them to the breaking point.
"I worked at a fast food chain, and they recently brought in a mega pain in the butt as an assistant manager. Her reputation preceded her - three people requested transfers before she got there.
One day my buddy (also works there) comes in early, walks into the back of the kitchen, and starts putting some stuff up. She comes over and just starts chewing him out for not being back there before his shift starts, going absolutely crazy. Before I could say or do anything, he takes off his shirt and drops it, then takes off his pants and shoes (the entire time she's still running her mouth... until the pants came off). He gave the 1 finger salute and strolled off 'haters going to hate' style in his boxers.
She was left speechless, I ducked out the back because I nearly peed myself laughing. I caught up to him later, and he was planning on quitting soon anyway, that was just all he could take. It was glorious. To this point it was the best way I've ever seen someone quit."
"I used to work at McDonald's, and the worst part of that job was working in 'back booth' - it was where you took the money, and occasionally had to take orders at the same time. It was lonely, miserable, and you had to deal with every single customer. Not to mention, if it was hot, or cold, you had to lean out of the window every five seconds to take money.
Anyway, my one friend had a vendetta with one of the managers, and she always stuck him in back booth. After a while, he got a new job at Walmart, and decided he was going to quit. Now, the way McDonald's drink machine works is that once the order is punched in the register, the drink is automatically made...there is no stopping it. I'm not sure if it's the same in every state, but, in Pennsylvania, water is absolutely free.
So, the last time that my friend (his name is Mike) worked with his least favorite manager, he decided he was going to go out with a bang.
Being in back booth (of course), he stumbled upon a nice, young couple while taking orders - right in the middle of dinner rush - and said, 'I'm going to ring you up for 100 waters. It won't charge you for anything, it's just going to be funny.'
And, so, he did. He removed his headset, untucked his shirt, and walked up front, as the 100 waters were being made, with no stopping them. Needless to say, the manager put two and two together, discovered it was him, and before she could yell at him, he walked out. I couldn't believe it. Such an enormous amount of swag."
"The general manager of the restaurant I worked at was fired for being a scumbag pervy moron.
He was married and had young kids. When he needed a babysitter, he would drop his children off at employees' houses unannounced. If they refused, he would cut their hours or give them only terrible sections.
At the Christmas party, he got wasted and openly went home with the karaoke lady he had hired. He later told the staff about nailing her. His wife was friendly with several of the people who witnessed this (and then he hired the karaoke lady to be a server, giving her preferential treatment even though she had never done the job before).
He left the office safe open one morning, and then left the office door propped open. When money came up missing that night, he blamed the manager who had worked the night before. When confronted about the illogic, he claimed he had a headache and went home for the day.
He started a side-business on his own, providing food for weddings and other parties. He used the restaurant's food, equipment, and staff to put these things on, but refused to pay for any of it. He would then complain about our food cost being high. When the staff would ask him about getting paid what he promised for the wedding they worked for him, he would say, 'I do a lot for you when it comes to your schedule, don't I?'
My wife had a late-term miscarriage. I had to change my days off to comfort her. He was so rude about it, so I had to tell him exactly why I needed the change. While I was gone, he spoke about the miscarriage at shift meetings with the staff, making jokes about my manhood and our dead baby.
Once I found out about that last one, I confronted him. He denied it. I called the district manager and let him know I was quitting.
That got the ball rolling on all this other stuff coming out, and he was fired.
After he was forcibly led to his car, he drove to the front of the restaurant, got out, ran to the grassy area, and started pulling up hand fulls of grass and throwing them at the windows while screaming like a child."
"I waited tables at this upscale, trendy restaurant. One of the waitresses was a pretty serious feminist: active volunteer for planned parenthood, equal pay, etc. She was really cool, and feminism was her thing.
Anyways, our executive chef was a total meanie. Really demeaning, terrible guy with a bit of a coke habit. He would throw plates of food around, break glasses, fire people on the spot, all these terrible things. One day, as he was walking us through the specials, he informed us that a good friend of his was coming in for dinner, and he was to be considered a VIP.
The dude came in that night with a bunch of people...like six more than the reservation had indicated. All as jersey-ed out as it gets. He got seated in the waitresses section. Within five minutes, she put it together that he runs a chain of clubs and adult bookstores in the area, and angrily relayed this information to me. After appetizers and a few drinks, this guy started saying demeaning stuff to the waitress about how her uniform hides her rack and how she should take a fifteen-minute smoke break with him in his car. In between apps and entrées, the chef had the waitress bring out two comped bottles of Cabernet, which she dutifully did.
Upon uncorking them, she poured them both on this guy, spat in his face, and walked out of the restaurant. The entire place was dead silent. She texted me later that night, we celebrated and ended up dating for three years. Broke up on positive terms and remain friends to this day. Good times."
"I worked at a cheese factory throughout most of college. It was some pretty demanding labor. Lots of repetitive lifting, stacking, moving heavy stuff. Like fight club, when you started, you realized how out of shape you were, but after a month or two, you were pretty ripped.
We had a dude that couldn't handle the work. Slightly overweight, whined constantly. He decided he wanted to collect some worker's comp so he dipped his hand in the hot wax tank and burned himself.
Some of you may think, 'Well, it was an accident.' No. He stood in front of the tank. He was not carrying anything, he didn't slip, just dipped his hand in, held it, then started screaming. They couldn't fire him though, so he got put on light duty for a month, then quit."
"I had a buddy go nuts before he left his job at a local theater. Instead of giving 2 weeks notice or simply leaving, he burned every bridge imaginable.
He loaded up the popcorn maker with way too much corn, unhooked all the fountain drink hoses, filled the pizza oven conveyor belt with a bunch of pies and racked as many hot dogs on the rollers as possible. He also left all the freezers/fridges wide open and all the water faucets turned on. I worked at another location and heard from some folks that it wasn't discovered until after he left for maybe 30 minutes. That was bold. I'm actually surprised they didn't try to prosecute him."
"I worked a VERY fancy French restaurant. The chef was a 'Master Chef' and thus he had the biggest ego of anyone I had ever met.
The chef was in the piano bar talking and having a drink with some horse racing big wigs (Rancho Santa Fe during track season).
The hardworking, mild mannered busser is changing table cloths. Chef just starts belittling him in front of everyone for a laugh.
'What the heck, man? I just saw a bit of the table when you switched cloths!' (You're not supposed to see the actual table).
'If you grabbed the wrong size table cloth, fold it back up! Man, you're so LAZY' (There are many different sizes so you grab a variety and use it on the next table if it was wrong).
Chef said something else and laughs with a jockey, some hot women, and some guys with back pockets thicker than George Costanza.
But this 20-year-old behemoth of a busser takes his apron off and throws it at chef. Chef stands up from the booth like he's peeved and is yelling about how he will lose his job.
Busser goes, 'Eff this job and eff you, you prick!' and decks the chef right in the chops in the middle of the busy piano bar, then walks to the back exit, grabs a tray full of buffed Riedel stemware and chucks it into the wall and leaves.
It was pretty rad."
"I used to work in a kitchen at a locally owned restaurant, and one of the chefs got so fed up with the amount of Eggs Benedict he had to make. What did this guy do? He grabbed a big steak knife and cut the palm of his hand and swiped it all along all the walls while screaming at the top of his lungs, then just walked out. Never saw the dude again."
"My first job after high school was at an Albertsons. I was hired on as a bagger, and I was the best bagger they had. I closed five nights a week because I was the only person they had of age and who had a reliable ride to work. This went on for a year and a half, I was never promoted. People hired after me, who called in sick five minutes before shift and lazed in the break room, were.
So when my friend's small business needed a freelance web designer and was willing to hire me with no experience for what I'm sure a professional would call peanuts, I was all in. I gave my two weeks and suddenly I was no longer working nights, but mornings - done intentionally, so I couldn't work my new job at the same time. Needless to say I was unhappy. I turned the rest of that week into Revenge Week.
Firstly, I stopped covering for everyone.
Then I did every dumb thing I'd ever wanted to do in the store: bowled with coconuts, tried to slice apples in half in midair with my pocket knife, used the chicken fryers to deep-fry all sorts of stuff, threw eggs at the skateboarders that used our loading ramps as a skate park. And every thing I did I set up to be blamed on one of the many worthless high-schoolers who 'worked' a four-hour shift by spending three of it in the break room. Five firings later, they begged me to stay and shore up the store until new hires could be found, offered me any department I wanted.
I left them to drown."
"I worked at a grocery store for my first job as a cashier. One of the fellow employees hired with me was pretty cool and we got along. Let's call him Tom. After a month of working there, he would always say he is going to quit. It became an everyday thing, so I just took it as that is how he coped with working there.
So one busy Saturday morning he is at the register behind me. We bag the groceries ourselves as well. This guy enters Tom's line on with a full cart and two kids. The only reason I looked back is because they were being obnoxious and the guy was talking loudly on the phone. Tom tries to be friendly and greet the customer, but the customer just ignored him.
He had scanned most of the items and one of the last items was a jug of milk. We are supposed to offer bags for milk jugs even though they have handles on them.
Tom asks the customer, 'Would you like your milk in a bag sir? Sir?'
Customer: (Still on the phone) 'What?! Yes of course, you idiot. Can't you see I am on the phone?!?!' So rude.
I look back from overhearing that and I can see Tom trying not to seem angry, but I was helping my own customer.
Tom says 'ok' with a forced smile, takes the milk jug, opens it, pours it all into a bag, and presents it to the customer. The customer is startled and says, 'What the f is this?'
Tom: 'Your milk. You said you wanted it in bag.'
The customer looked dumbfounded and started yelling. Tom just dropped the bag spilling milk all over the counter, floor, and customer. Tom just turned and walked out never to be seen again at the store.
It was a pretty awesome way to quit if you asked me. The bad thing is is that I had to clean up the milk and deal with the rest of the angry customer's items. My manager didn't believe the story and we had a nice laugh about it once the guy left."
"When I was 16 I worked at a grocery store, and had been there for about 9 months, and being at a grocery store that's a decent amount of time. Another girl started after me, she was either 19 or 20 I can't quite remember, but they quickly promoted her to customer service, which is basically doing lottery and getting cigs. I was kind of annoyed because I had been there longer and was a better worker. She didn't really work she mostly talked to the other cashiers and wasn't really nice to customers, she didn't greet them with a smile or anything.
One day my managers, for some reason, decided she could set up which person was on what register. Her and I discussed what register we all would be on, and she put me on, I think four or six, I said I don't care what register I am as long as it's not two (express). Two is the register they put new people on and I had done my time at two - it's the worst register. Customers are very rude and people with more than 15 items would come in all the time, not that I had a problem with that but when you have a cart full and I have no bagger, I'm not ringing you out.
Anyway, I walked to work the next day, it's about an hour and a half walk, I'm used to it, so I get there and double check my register and I see she has me on two.
I went over and said, 'Nicole, did you put me on two?'
She said, 'Yeah but-' I
cut her off and threw my name tag at her, 'I don't care I quit.'
She looked at me shocked and asked if I was serious. I walked to the door looking super cool, and walked into it."
"I worked at a Bowling Alley and another guy and I did all the leg work for the bar. Bringing out the food, collecting empty cups, delivering the drinks, etc.
The old lady bartender never split a dime with us. She hoarded all the tips despite only filling the cups. We didn't like it, so we mentioned it to the manager girl on duty. She wasn't a very good manager, and could not handle situations. Her big solution was, 'If you don't like it take off your shirt.'
So, without really batting an eye, I took off my shirt. Put it on the table. And walked out.
A few days later the person above her called me in to apologize, give me my last paycheck, offered to let me stick around (I didn't), but as a nice consolation I learned they started paying the other guy doing the same work a little extra and he started to make a portion of the tips.
That lady was a greedy old banshee though."
"My boss used to work at a VERY busy downtown restaurant/brunch spot and the line would be FLOODED with tickets for hours on end. One day, one of the line cooks just stopped amidst all the commotion, stood up straight, paused, and grabbed ALL of the tickets off of the line, scrunched them into a ball, and put them in his pants. He then put his middle fingers up and rotated facing everyone who was watching in horror, and walked out.
This has since become one of my favorite stories."
"I once worked as a fry cook at the only 24-hour diner in Boston. All the other fry cooks were Brazilians who worked ridiculous hours to send money back home. By that I mean, after working the overnight shift on a weekend when every single wasted guy is two feet behind you telling you to hurry up and make him some 'burgahs', these guys would then leave that job at 6am and go straight to the cleaning offices across town.
Anyway, one night Marco is on the phone to his wife in Brazil, and they're arguing about something in the most rapid-fire Portuguese I've ever heard. He puts down the phone, slowly looks up, pauses, and screams, 'I think my wife is cheating on me!' Then he pommel-horses over the counter, bolts out the door and is never heard from again."
"I worked in a supermarket as a cashier when I was in high school. A few of my good chums also worked there as well.
Cue up the crazy lady who goes to my friend, who is having a rough day to begin with, at the register behind me. She puts all her groceries up and he rings her up. She notices a lobster she had gotten was somehow missing and accuses my friend of stealing it. He then says, 'Lady are you kidding me, why would take your lobster?"
She then proceeds to yell at him and demands compensation in some form. He's had enough and yells, 'This is so stupid, I'm out and lady eff you and your lobster!"
He proceeds to walk out of store and punches a wall, putting a hole in it and knocking a display shelf over as he exits with her wide-eyed and the store is silent.
It turns out her lobster was left at the seafood counter."
"I waited tables at a sports bar. One of the other waiters was an addict and general meanie. He once hi-jacked most of my tip from a party of about 50 he and I were handling and then didn't want to tip the bar for the day. He never helped anyone out if they were in the weeds, wouldn't help bus. He was generally rude, everyone hated him. When the manager would try to talk to him about it, the guy would just give him attitude or tell him to back off.
One day the manager told the hostess to fill his section and keep it full. He said it didn't matter if the other sections didn't get any tables he would make it up to the other servers. Since he didn't help anyone out, nobody felt bad about not running drinks for him or starting tables off to help the guy.
By the second time that his section had filled up the guy went to the hostess and said, 'What do you think you're doing??!?!?'
She said the manager told him to do it, so he asked the manager the same, he replied it was how the restaurant was filling up and he couldn't do anything about it. The guy says, 'I know exactly what you are trying to do.'
So, he calls another restaurant in town and asks if they are hiring, right in the middle of his shift, and gets a job at that restaurant right then and there and asks if they can come pick him up from our restaurant, which someone from the other restaurant did.
He never said he was quitting, he was just gone. One of the other waiters had to tell the manager that the guy left, it was actually pretty awesome. The manager moved his current tables to the other servers and we all got free food/drinks that night. It was a pretty surreal day."
"A ex-coworker of mine decided to go for a nature walk, for three hours, during the busiest hours of the morning at a university coffee shop I used to work at.
It was hectic; the line was out the door. He came in for his shift and started taking orders for 5 minutes. After that he said was going for a walk and never came back. Later we found out that he was tripping on a buffet of hallucinogens. When he did come back, he showed up in his boxers and muddy socks.
Turns out he went for a dip in a turtle pond to make friendly conversations with his shelled friends about how he was going to quit his job."
"I used to work at a fast food place in a small town. We had the run of the mill 'so-and-so was arrested. Guess he's not working here anymore' happen more times than I could count. But the best was when someone didn't show up for his shift. The manager calls his phone and he doesn't answer. It goes to voicemail. He changed his greeting to the following:
'Eff you, I quit.'"
"Everyone in the deli at this store I worked at talked about the way one guy quit. He was always a weird guy, just kind of odd and would say weird things. Not like he's-going-to-stab-me weird, but enough that you just had to laugh at him rather than attempt to understand what he was getting at.
One day, he comes down the stairs from the breakroom/office area holding this pair of massive work boots. He holds them up, grinning, and says, 'Them's my walkin' shoes.'
He left and never came back."