Whether a customer deserved it or not, tampering with someone's food should always be a no-no. Unfortunately that is not always the case. Occurring even in some of the classiest of places, restaurant workers share the shocking, and definitely disgusting times they've seen customer's food tampered with.
"I worked at Subway as a teenager. I had a customer who insisted on placing his order while on a cellphone. He told me he wanted a roast beef sub with 'everything.' I tried to clarify- what cheeses, what sauces, that sort of thing. He loudly said, 'I WANT EVERYTHING,' and made a snide remark into his phone about how slow you must have to be to work in fast food. So, I put everything on his sub. Literally every single thing we had behind the counter. Every kind of sauce. Every kind of cheese. Every vegetable. At the time we had a sub that came with brown gravy on it. We had another with marinara sauce. He got both, along with ranch, mayo, mustard, and, I must emphasize this point, literally every single other topping we had behind the counter. It was a huge, sloppy mess of a sub. He didn't pay much attention as I was making it, engrossed as he was in his phone call. He did later call the store, asking to speak to the manager. I answered, then set the phone down briefly and picked it up again, deepening my voice and assuring the gentleman that the employee in question had been disciplined" (Source).
"I worked in food service for more than 10 years before I decided to go back to school and get training in a different career. I have never actually tampered with a customer's food, but I do have a story about food being tampered with. A while back I had a couple of roommates. The sister of one of them came to stay with us for a week. She decided to order a pizza from one of the local chains and have it delivered. When she bit into it she found small shards of glass mixed in with the toppings. They were small enough that they didn't just crunch when she bit into it, they cut her mouth pretty badly. She called the pizza place to complain. They offered to send another pizza, but she expressed concern as to the state the pizza would be in when she received it and was, understandably, upset about her mouth being cut and concerned at what could have happened if she had swallowed the pieces of glass. It turned out that one of the girls that had been cooking the pizzas that day had found out there was an order placed by a girl that she had some issues with. She had decided to place the glass in the pizza to get back at this girl. Unfortunately it turned out that both pizza orders were exactly the same and so the pizza with the glass had been switched with the other pizza and my roommate's sister had received the pizza intended for the other girl. In short the cook was relieved from her job, somebody else made the new pizza and my roommate's sister received a new pizza as well as a free pizza at a future time" (Source).
"As a 15-year-old in Detroit, Michigan, I wangled seaman's papers and got a job on a Great Lakes passenger ship called the Aquarama. I worked in the kitchen, and as the youngest crewman I was assigned the worst possible chores. Almost every day I peeled hundreds of potatoes, washed and cleaned hundreds of pounds of lettuce, cored and sliced endless tomatoes, peeled and cut 30 pounds of strong Bermuda onions, made the 1,500 salads in meter-wide stainless steel bowls, and scrubbed the stickiest burned pans and pots. One afternoon at about 3 o'clock the chef walked out of his galley and put the CLOSED UNTIL DINNER sign up on the restaurant door. He was a big, blond, muscular Navy-trained cook who carried a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes in his rolled-up white tee shirt sleeve. As he turned back to the galley, a group of six passengers began banging with their fists on the glass doors. 'Let us in for our lunch!' a very loud lady shouted. A black cloud crossed the chef's face, but he turned around and in a cordial way said, 'The kitchen is closed. Everyone is going off duty.' 'We don't care, we are hungry.' 'We are closed,' the chef smiled. 'Then we are going to report you to the Purser,' a man shouted. Five minutes later a call came to the kitchen from the Purser. The chef nodded his head up and down and smiled enigmatically and hung up gently. We all knew the party would be seated. 'Barney,' the chef said, 'You got any of the lunch salad left?' 'Yes. A big bowl. Enough for six.' 'Any poppy seeds in it?' 'Yes, sir.' 'Serve it up.' What a casual listener would need to know to understand that conversation is that my girlfriend, who worked in the purser's office, kept a small guinea pig in her cabin. After lunch each day, she would bring the little creature down to the galley to graze in the leftover salad bowl greens. The rodent left a thick trail of 'poppy seeds' in its wake. The entire kitchen staff watched as the chef cheerfully served the salads himself and the clueless diners gobbled them up and paid the chef their compliments. Moral of the story: Treat anyone who prepares your food with the uttermost respect" (Source).
"I was working at Carl's Jr. as a teenager. A customer complained at us that he never gets extra pickles when he asks for them. He went on and on about his pickle woes while in front of the menu board in our drive-through. His rant went on for what seemed like forever. This held up other customers and our order taker. He insisted that we put a lot of pickles on his burger. Not extra not double but a lot. In the kitchen we can hear everything said on the drive-through via our own speaker (this is true in most fast food places). So me and the other cook that night Eric looked at each other and the perfectly made Carl's Jr. Famous star with mayo, lettuce, tomato, onion, extra pickle, meat, special sauce and mayo. Traditionally, and according to the exact rules, a famous star gets two-three pickle slices and extra is five. I like pickles myself and when someone asks for extra I normally put like six+. But this guy was just rude and really abusive. I reached into the pickle container and grabbed a handful of pickles and Eric lifted the meat and bun. I then promptly added about 3 times more pickles than meat to the customer's burger. We wrapped it and told Drive-through to bag the order. We said, 'One pickle-burger with a side of meat is up.' That customer never complained again. Nor did he ask for a lot of extra pickles. He got what he asked for and the customer is always right..." (Source).
"'Have people ever tampered with a meal and then served it to a rude customer?' Yes, it happened to me; but it leaves a rude image, and I am not proud to have caused the tampering by my own rudeness. My wife and I had ordered fish and chips to go at a less than famous fast-food outlet in New England. The server seemed belligerent to me, so I chided her a bit about her service. I can't recall what I said; but I do recall what she did in response, right before my eyes. She took my food and put it in an open container and moved to the rear of the outlet; then she picked her butt and made sure that what was on her finger contaminated my food. Instead of reporting her, I simply dumped the food in the trash. I led my wife away, so that we could find a cleaner place to get take out. I was both stunned and amused. For some reason, it struck me so odd and so incredibly, amazingly horrible that it didn't registered I could have probable sued her and her employer" (Source).
"I worked morning shifts in a coffee house as a teenager. Every time we had a serious pain in the a-- customer, they received a wonderful cup of decaf. It was my silent revenge" (Source).
"I was a cook at a small diner, and one day one of the other cooks came in with a completely messed up face. Black eye, fat lip, cuts, scrapes, the works. He said some guy had beat the hell out of him at the bar. He was an alright guy sober, but once he got into the liquor, he turned into a different person. Honestly he probably instigated whatever happened as I had seen him do it in person on multiple occasions. We were all used to seeing him come in with the battle scars of the night before, but this particular occasion was pretty bad. Fast forward a week. He and I are both cooking one night, and I hear him hiss, 'There's the a--hole who beat me up.' I look out the kitchen window, and who do I see but the gentleman who had been stalking my girlfriend. It stopped not long after we started dating, but he had called her constantly, aggressively followed her when he saw her out in the local bars (pinned her up against the wall one time), and made her extremely uncomfortable. So, unbeknownst to this fellow, he was about to have his meal prepared by one person he had severely beaten and another whose girlfriend (now wife) he had stalked for several weeks. He got the executive treatment. We had no other orders for the next 20 minutes which allowed a level of creativity that I dare say has not been exceeded by an angry cook since. Normal Western Omelet: Peppers, tomatoes, onions, and sausage with shredded cheddar cheese, covered with chili and cheese and served with home fries. Executive Treatment Western Omelet: Take peppers, tomatoes, onions, and sausage and throw them in the trash. Take three eggs for omelet and add one liquid ounce lung butter from a heavy smoker (side note: it is very disconcerting to watch someone spit a black loogie when they haven't eaten anything black, they just smoke that much). Dig under stove and find home fries that fell on the floor 12 hours ago, and throw them in the trash. Stir peppers, tomatoes, onions, and sausage about in garbage, then remove and place in microwave. Stir 12 hour old floor home fries about in garbage, then remove and place briefly in microwave. Go outside and collect one liquid ounce stuff leaking from the dumpster, then scrape crow s--t off parking lot and mix with one liquid ounce dumpster juice. Return inside, place ingredients inside lung butter infused omelets (peppers, tomatoes, onion, and sausage from the trash, dumpster juice, crow s--t, and spit from a normal person for good measure) then take the whole thing and throw it in the bathroom trash can. Stir it about, laugh in anticipation. Take horrific partially mangled omelet out of trash can, pick out the bits of tissue paper that might have gotten stuck to it, add one light blue snot rocket (my coworker liked Xanax), then cover the whole thing with chili and some cheese we found on the floor which covered every single thing we did and made it look as pretty as its picture in the menu. Laugh as waitress witnessing the culinary process almost becomes physically ill. Place 12 hour old home fries from the floor with trashcan spice alongside omelet, set in window for server to give to stalker a--hole. Bon appetite. We stood in the kitchen and watched as he ate every single bite. He practically licked the plate clean. Moral of the story? If you're a terrible person, you should probably cook for yourself at home" (Source).
"I worked fast food back in the dark ages and the people cooking the food fit right in with that time period. I worked for a VERY popular burger chain where billions have been served. I'm from a small town in Canada and the majority of the 60+ staff were between the ages of 15 and 18. Needless to say, this place was a cesspool of teen relationships, angst, hormones and yes... many times anger. Complaining about your food to a teenager is the wrong thing to do. This restaurant has strict rules and probably has the most disciplined training system in the industry. To say that their standards are high, would be too low. But, you can never control the human element. I was there for over 3 years and I've seen (and tried to even stop to no avail) the following (stop reading if you have a weak stomach): 1) Daddy long legs spider seared into a burger. 2) Different types of body hair being purposely added. 3) Sneezing than wiping the nose with a bun (then calling it a Bacon Double Sneeze Burger). 4) Many different forms of spit, hock, phlegm being combined with the 'corrected' order. 5) Stuff recovered from being dropped on the floor. 6) Wiping butt and/or pitts with food items. 7) Worse - Part I - a new employee was asked to clean a mess in the bathroom. Someone had defecated next to the toilet and left a mess on the ground. When I approached the employee hours later, I asked how he cleaned up the mess - answer: The nugget scoop. 8) Worst - Part II - Working the all night shift, the other person and I decided to help each other do each other's jobs so that we could finish quicker. I was usually responsible for cleaning everything behind the counter (grills, vats, dishes and shake/soda machines) and he was usually responsible for cleaning the dining area, washrooms and parking lot. But when he was cleaning the milkshake machine, my friend came to a realization. The buckets that we were using to capture and transfer all the milk that was left in the machine, were the same buckets that he would use to clean urinals. That process stopped that night, but how long was this practice going on? I drank shakes every once in a while too, so I was not a very happy camper with this new-found knowledge. I've actually heard worse stories, but some are considered legend and are hard to believe... which probably makes them true... but I'll spare you those details. I want to be clear. I never tampered with any food item. These mostly happened in my low seniority period with the older kids that I was reporting to. Eating at home is not so bad after all!" (Source).
"I worked at a Jack In The Box when I was in high school. There were several times I had to 're-calibrate' rude customers. One time some jerk was being exceptionally rude to the girl at the drive-thru and as the shift manager, I could overhear the whole thing in my headset. I decided to make this guy's burger extra special as he wanted extra mayo. I pushed in the underside of the top bun to turn it into a bowl shape, and filled it full of delicious, tangy JBox mayo-onion sauce. The customer was pulling out, slammed on his brakes a minute later, came to the front door, and chucked the burger at the window as he was wearing that mayo on his shirt. Another customer came in around 5:30AM one time and asked for a chocolate shake. I advised him that I had just finished cleaning the machine and the ice cream wasn't frozen yet. He responded by telling me 'I don't care how, but you'd better get your low wage a-- back there and make me a f--king chocolate shake!' 'OK, pull up sir.' I filled a large cup with unfrozen ice cream, mixed the chocolate syrup in, and walked to the window. 'Sorry for that inconvenience sir, this one's on the house.' I dumped that whole shake into his lap and threw the cup at him. 'Sir, you need to get the f--k outta here before I call the police.' He was clearly inebriated and didn't say anything. I told him to have a great night as he drove off... Don't abuse people who make your food" (Source).
"I have seen food being tampered with twice. Once I reported. The second? I did not and for good reason. The first time a diner came in and was just plain rude from the start. We were busy and the wait staff were overwhelmed. It was Wednesday, a day when it is usually very slow, so we only had a normal crew, but we had a crowd that belonged on the 4th of July weekend at a public BBQ with a fireworks show. To put it into perspective, on a normal Wednesday we made between 800 and 1200 dollars for the whole day. On this day we made almost 10K. Why? Biker Against Abuse was in town. For those who don't BAA is a group that supports abuse victims, young and old, male and female, of all colors. This one customer was not with the Bikers. He was from out of state, you could tell because he didn't have that drawl you find in Tennessee. His first words when a waitress finally got to him were, 'Bout f--kin time, twat. Get me a Gold Royal, No foam.' We did not have Gold Royal beer (which none of us had even heard of!) and when he was told this he lit off in tirade of curses and insults directed at this poor 56 year old woman serving him. So we got him his second choice of beer, and a plate of home cut fries for free to try and sooth his temper, but he kept at it. As the waiter (who took over because Miss Gloria was so upset) was walking the man's Flat Steak to his table, one of the Bikers got up, leaned over the plate and spit right on it. Hank ignored what had happened and would later maintain he never saw it occur. The rude customer ate the steak without realizing what had been on it. No one. NOT EVEN THE OWNER, said anything about it. Ever. The second time... A customer who had obviously just come from a funeral was being a bit curt. The waiter (this was in Miami) put a dose of Sriracha in the man's tomato soup even though he had been told the man was allergic to Red Pepper. I stopped this. Told the manager, and the waiter was fired on the spot" (Source).
"This is really really disgusting but it was a very long time ago. I was 16 working at a local hamburger chain called Knowlwoods. The guys in the kitchen were friends and we all hung out after work and were very close. If the customers were mean to us at the counter we found out our friends back there cooking were doing horrible things. Like dropping huge amounts of spit from their chewing tobacco in their mouths, into the spinach salad. The brown Bacon dressing provided a very nice camouflage. And the customer could never place that strange spice that we added to the spinach salad. I also watched them do other things, but we'll leave it at the spit salads. Also, one time years later I was working at a 24 hour diner called Kenos. We worked graveyard shift and the uniforms were these little very short skirts with frilly panties that showed underneath. So it was a tacky dive place, so I don't feel so bad. Also, we did a huge business after bar closing time, so people came pretty hammered! Anyways it's 3:00 am, this was our huge rush time, we would have a wait to be seated an hour long. So I am running around with my head cut off, I have 5 huge plates in my hands when a bus boy stopped in my tracks. The quick pivot caused a New York steak to slide right off one of the plates. Just as it landed on the black rubber floor mat the bus boy turned and his foot fall landed smack dab on the steak. So I quickly grabbed it but there was a very obvious shoe tread mark on one side and the other side a greasy, syrupy, floor mat indent. I ran like hell to the manager! This was a catastrophe, these steaks took forever to cook! I was already snowed on all my tables, and the manager was all red faced, and sweaty and full of stress. This was not happening! So I told sweaty, red faced Larry the story while holding the steak out with a fork. Larry reacted by grabbing the steak with his bare sweaty hands, slapping it around a few times and jabbing it with the fork. He managed to puff it back up a little, slapped it down on the plate and said 'Serve the steak.' I was aghast. I repeated the chain of events; from fall, to the subsequent Doc Martin embossing on the greasy floor mat, and Larry now meant business as he again said 'Serve the steak, or clock out.' With trepidation, I served the steak. It was terrible watching that customer finish that steak..." (Source).
"I remember working at McDonalds when I was a teen. With the 24 hour drive up window, it was not uncommon to get drunks and teens. One night a group of teens were getting stupid and making a scene. The teen in the passenger seat commented, 'Stop, I don't want spit in my food.' We knew what he had ordered, and gave them his food right away. The others were told that their food was taking a little extra time to 'prepare.' Realistically, it was made and off to the side in the bag for them. But the mind f--k was worth it. Once we gave them the food we told them to enjoy the burgers we made specially for them. We never did spit in their food. But in their minds we did. Lesson learned" (Source).
"We had a guy that refused to accept his order because the drive through girl was black! I am serious. Blew my mind that this could happen in this day and age. So our shift manager (white) said to the guy politely and smiling through gritted teeth, 'okay sir.' He then went back into the kitchen, had me and the other cooks step back and watch as he proceeded to make a new burger without saying a word. I watched him, he did nothing to it. It was an absolutely perfect burger in every way. Right out of the book. He then came back to the window and told the guy. 'I am the manager. Here is a new burger I made myself and not a single black hand has touched it per your instructions. Oh and by the way I am gay.' He then gave the man whom had already paid his option of the burger made by a white gay man or the original burger not even made by the black woman but bagged by her. Instead he drove off" (Source).
"I squished a guy's hotdogs. And encouraged others to do the same. At this BBQ joint where I worked, we had a gorgeous waitress whom everyone loved. Let's call her Emily. She'd been dating this guy, let's call him Frank, for a couple of years. They'd gone back and forth, lived together, broke up, etc. So she comes to work one morning with bruises all around her neck. She'd tried to leave him and he choked her. She made it out and was staying with her parents, where he couldn't reach her. A few days go by, and the person working the drive thru yells, 'Three hotdogs, ketchup! It's Frank!' So I make the first dog to order, then squish and roll it along the make line. My cohorts watch and say, 'OMG! What are you doing?' I responded with something along the lines of him being an abuser and trying to stalk Emily. We mangled those hotdogs! And he never came back. BTW, she's happily married to a fantastic guy now and they have a four-year-old" (Source).
"I was a server in an Italian restaurant. The bartender was serving a table and this lady just COULD NOT BE PLEASED. Her first meal was cold, he warmed it up, then she said she didn't like it, she got something else, then she didn't like that, got a pizza, she said it was too doughy, so they re-fired it. And the whole time this lady was all out rude about it... she wasn't being nice about it at all, she was super stuck up and mean about it. So when the pizza came out the bartender was so pissed that he wiped a few boogers on the pizza. Hmmm... the lady thought it was tasty after that..." (Source).
"I worked at Chili's restaurants for many years between high school and college. About midway through my tenure we hired this one kid, Eric, who soon proved to be a loose cannon. He'd skip out on his work when he wasn't closing, but yell at everyone like a drill sergeant to do theirs when he was. He'd throw stuff away frequently rather than clean it (including glassware and salt and pepper shakers). He treated the cooks and hosts like people he scraped off the bottom of his shoe. He gave away desserts to convince patrons to increase his tip. On more than one occasion he nearly came to blows with other employees who got tired of his crap. One Sunday night, Eric was scheduled to close, which always put him in a foul mood. He complained all night but nearly lost it when, at 9:45, 15 minutes before closing, a large African American family was sat in his section. After taking quite awhile to order their drinks, which included a few milkshakes Eric had to make, he returned to the server's line furious. He threw around a few racial slurs and the tired, old gripe about black people tipping, which inspired some of the other male employees to tell him to calm down and to try to peel his crazy a-- off the ceiling. We all pitched in to help him make his drinks (only so the guests wouldn't wait forever because of him) and he started to look like he was going to calm down enough to make it through the night. But then, as he grabbed the last round of sodas to take them out, he cleared his throat and hocked a huge loogie into the soda of the family patriarch--right there in front of all of us. The response was immediate, several guys rushed toward him to stop him from carrying the drink out. They sort of tackled him and grabbed it. One of the other glasses dropped and broke. I ran immediately to get the GM to tell him what had been going on. Eric was fired on the spot. He was immediately cashed out and escorted off the premises. He was told his final check would be mailed to him and not to set foot back through the doors to get it. Or ever. My manager treated the entire (unsuspecting) family to dinner, drinks, and dessert that night. They were perplexed, but very grateful. They never had any idea that they almost became victims, of sorts, to a crazy, unhinged a--hole bigot. And all the rest of us were quite happy to make sure they never found out. The best part of the story is that for all his assumptions about their 'bad tipping' they actually left a huge one--now to me because I took over their table when whack-job Eric got his pink slip. So, for all that, he looked like an even bigger a--. We never saw him again--probably because he ended up in jail eventually. This wasn't a case where the guest was actually rude, but rather was one where a jerk server with a chip on his shoulder decided he thought they were--just for coming in. And this is the only time in all my years in food service I ever saw someone deliberately mess with a guest's food" (Source).
"I was working in the kitchen of an upscale country club. Our executive chef was a master at preparing steaks. It was a Friday evening, the dining room was full. Those of us on the line were taking a breather, having just plated the entrees for the first 'dinner rush' of the night. I'm standing in the kitchen, chatting with one of the cooks, when one of our waitresses came in carrying her tray, with a filet on a bread plate. The executive chef inquired what was the matter with the steak, and she proceeded to tell him how rude and ill-mannered a certain guest was acting towards her. She opened the swinging door, pointing out the middle-age offenders. It was a well-to-do businessman and his wife. The entire time she waited on them, she said, the man had been exceedingly short-tempered with her and had complained about nearly everything sent to their table. The steak had been the final straw for the chef. 'Says it's not cooked right, eh? Alright. Let me have it.' We all watched him take the impeccable filet off the bread plate, and place it on a metal broiler plate, which he then put in the 600 degree broiler. Within a very short time, the meat began to smoke. Someone noted that, and the chef just nodded and said, 'It's alright, we'll wait a little bit.' And he let that thing sit there and burn till it was curled up and smoking heavily, burnt to hell basically. 'OK. You give that to him! And I'll stand right there in the doorway while you do it, watching the whole thing. Don't worry about it. And you tell him it's compliments of the chef.' At that, the steak was re-plated, and we gathered around in back of the chef as he stood in the open doorway, watching the scene while the waitress walked over to the table and set the jet-black filet down in front of the man. Furious, the man threw his napkin down, stood up immediately and yelled at his wife that they were leaving this dump. The chef watched the whole thing, glass of Dewar's in his hand, smiling as grand as anything while the waitress walked back as if nothing had occurred at all. 'Well done,' he told her, clapping her on the back. We all had a good laugh over it. And my admiration of my chef rose another notch, seeing that he was willing to stand behind his staff, and did not hesitate to answer the bad behavior of a patron with both humor and authority" (Source).