Servers really do it all. They must be quick on their feet, good at multi-tasking, incredibly patient, and overly polite. On top of this they must also deal with some of the dumbest customers. And with dumb customers come even dumber questions. Whoever said there are no stupid questions certainly did not work in the service industry. These stories tell it all.
"I was 16 during this.
I worked at Chick-Fil-A and I’m taking orders as you do, guy walks up and asks 'Aren’t you supposed to be in school?' I look down at the clock and see it’s 6 pm. I look at him confused and say 'No it’s 6 pm.'
He asks again, I say the same thing again.
Then he yells 'Alright, LOSER' and leaves."
"Reminds me of a lady who assumed everything on the menu was some kind of omelet.
'I'll take the skirt steak omelet.'
'That's actually just a skirt steak. Perhaps I could substitute the french fries for eggs for you?'
'Oh it's not an omelet? How about this greek salad omelet?'
'Ma'am that's just a greek salad. The egg dishes are on this side of the menu, and the ones that are omelets say omelet in the description.'
Eventually she picked an omelet that she ended up really liking, but another guy at her table sent back his croque monsiuer BECAUSE HE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE AN OMELET. I don't know what made them think we were an omelet restaurant or something."
"Maybe not the worst, but definitely one of the weird ones:
Working at a Greek bar, serving as a barback, cook, busser, and occasionally serving drinks. This couple walked in who seemed too well-off to be in our establishment, but they were nice.
The bartender walks back to the kitchen and tells me that they want to split a gyro. No problem, I'll just make it like normal then put in a toothpick on each side after cutting, right? Then he tells me, they want it cut lengthwise.
After giving him what I'm sure was a very confused look, I said that I don't know how to do that. It's like cutting a taco in half lengthwise, it just doesn't make sense. After a quick back and forth, I say I'll do my best.
So I cook their ridiculous food, do my best to make it presentable on the plate, and bring it out to them. They ended up complimenting me after they finished, then left a nice tip.
I still have no idea what to make of that situation."
"I worked at a Mongolian restaurant that served white rice. A guest honestly did not know what rice was when I offered him some. I thought he was just joking so I went along with it until I actually had to explain it to him as 'those little white, grainy things.' After 10 seconds of me trying to figure out if he was just messing with me, he looked at me still confused and I just said never mind."
"I used to work at a deli. My coworker for some reason got more stupid questions than anyone else (we'd swap stories every shift), but one went a little like this:
'Hi, what can I get you?'
'The eight piece chicken... how many pieces are in it?'
'How...how many pieces are in the 8 piece chicken? Um. There are eight pieces in the 8 piece chicken...'
'Ok, I'll have that, please!'
To be fair, the lady was awfully polite but 'How many pieces are in the eight piece chicken' is still a stupid question.
'Maybe she meant how many of each piece?' Nope, she meant how many pieces are in the eight piece chicken. I said eight, packaged it up, and she went away happy."
"Quite a few years ago I was working at a pizza chain and I had someone call in and ask an employee if we would honor a coupon that was over a week expired. My employee told her that we couldn't honor it but he would ask me. Before he got the chance to ask me she decided to make a big fuss/was fairly disrespectful to my employee and wanted to speak to me about it directly. She complained saying it was only expired by 'a few days.' I backed what my employee had told her, we wouldn't be honoring it.
About 20 minutes later we got a call from her again and this time I had answered. She didn't make it the whole way through asking if we would honor before I told her the answer was still no. We had caller ID so I knew it was her again.
About an hour after the second call the employee who took the first call comes back to me saying there is a woman at the front of the store who wanted to speak to me about him not honoring a coupon. It was the same expired coupon. She told me that she would be going elsewhere for pizza from that point on because our service was terrible, specifically that not honoring an expired coupon for a loyal customer (I had never seen her before and we had no records of orders from her) was 'bad business.' I told her she was welcome to go elsewhere.
The ultimate kicker is that the coupon was for 50 cents off any order. It wasn't a big deal and I would have absolutely honored it had she not treated my employee like trash on the phone."
"I had this insane woman flag me down at a Chinese restaurant I used to manage.
She very loudly told me she found a hair in her Mongolian lamb, and showed me a long sauce covered blonde hair. For reference, I had short black hair at the time and the entire kitchen and wait staff on that night had relatively short black hair. The woman had long blonde hair.
Instead of letting her cause more of a scene, I apologized and got the kitchen to make her a new serving to replace the meal (even though she and her kids had essentially eaten the entire serving already.)
The part where things started to really go downhill was when she came up with her family to pay. She refused to pay her ENTIRE bill due to the 'HUGE THICK HAIR I FOUND IN MY FOOD' which she loudly announced to the room.
'Why should I pay for this lousy meal?' she screamed.
At this point, the restaurant owner came out and started having a screaming match with the woman for trying to rip us off. Her kids appeared to cry on cue.
I sent my boss back to the kitchen and said I would figure it out. I turned to the woman and explained calmly that I would be happy to take the Mongolian Lamb off of her tally (despite the replacement serving) so long as she paid the other $90+ for the rest of the bill.
She refused and called the cops because my boss had yelled at her. No joke.
Best bit was the cops ended up telling the woman she needs to pay her full bill and that emergency services shouldn't be called for such petty reasons.
Happy I'm not in that industry anymore."
"I'm working at Taco Bell during the Sunday after church rush, and we have a line so long people are waiting outside the store. A family of three make it to the counter.
Despite the fact that they had plenty of time to look at the menu board, the parents didn't know what kids meal to get their three-year-old. Their options were a hard shell, soft shell or bean burrito. They kept changing their mind, after I rang it up.
I can tell my manager is getting annoyed as she is working the hot table and knows we have a mass of people waiting. I tell the family, 'If you don't know what to order please step to the side and let me know when you have decided. I can't have you holding up the line.'
That set off a storm. Father, dressed in his Sunday best started tearing me a new one in front of the entire crowd. He started calling me a low life degenerate, a college drop out who probably can't make change etc. etc. etc. And he wasn't saying this quietly. I proceeded to wipe his order and start helping the next customer, because forget this dude.
Once his order was wiped, he knocked over our cup display and shouted 'Now listen here you piece of trash!'
My manager walked from the line at that point and told him to get out of the store or she was calling the cops. He said 'Oh yeah, what are the cops going to do?'
The best moment of working fast food was my manager turning to the corral and saying 'Show of hands, who here just witnessed this guy verbally assaulting my employee.' Every single customer raised their hand. My manager then told him to get out and not to come back.
He tried to come through the drive through about thirty minutes later. He ordered the same combos and a kids meal. He got to the window and there stood my manager. 'Not going to happen, keep driving moron.'
My manager was awesome."
"I worked at Wendy's through high school and part of college. One day, a man in his 50s wearing a bright magenta suit walked in and ordered a burger. I asked him 'Do you want a combo, or just the sandwich?' and he asked 'What is a combo?' I explained to him that it was a sandwich with fries and a drink, but somehow he didn't understand. He looked at me blankly and asked 'I want fries and a drink, but what is the combo?' We went back and forth on this for like FIVE MINUTES. I don't even remember if he ever understood what a combo was, or if he ordered it. I do remember, however, that I saw him two weeks later in a different city at my other job training political canvassers. He was wearing the same magenta suit. I was in such shock that I just stared at him, saying nothing, thinking, 'It's the combo guy.'"
"In high school a while back I worked at a Tim Hortons and we were advertising that we had just put in free Wi-Fi. Old guy at the drive thru asked for a free 'weefee.' We asked him again and he repeated himself. It wasn't for a few seconds we realized he didn't know what Wi-Fi was and thought it was some sort of free promotional item. Maybe not necessarily dumb on his part but it was really funny and turned into an inside joke at the store."
"I’ve worked in bars for about ten years since I was a teen and right through college. This happened when I was a supervisor not a manager.
Real quiet night, we have a horseshoe shaped bar so we like to have one staff member on either end of the bar and one in the middle so all sides are covered and customers are served as quick as possible. The regular customers know how this system works.
The girl who was covering the middle of the bar had gone to the bathroom. One of the regulars walks up and I head over to serve him, he refuses my service for no apparent reason. As soon as the girl who was originally there comes back the regular gets angry. 'Where the heck have you been? I’ve been waiting ages!' She explains whatever the reason was and he’s still shouting, I head over and ask him politely to stop shouting and ask him what he’d like to drink (again).
He kept on and on and on, swearing at us both until I told him I wasn’t getting a drink for the rest of the evening and to go home or go somewhere else. The guy gets even angrier, and lunges towards me over the bar with a clenched fist. What he obviously didn’t pay attention to was the shelves above the bar for storing glasses, THWACK. Guy smashes his forehead straight into the shelf, all the other regulars laugh.
He loses his mind, and asks to speak to my manager(who was in sight of the whole ordeal and keeping a close eye on things), and tries to get him to punish me for causing him a 'serious injury.' We all laughed in his face and he sure as heck isn’t a regular in this pub anymore!"
"A full grown woman asked me how big our pizzas were. I stick out my fingers and about a foot long and say, 'A foot, so this big.'
She pauses for a moment and finally says, 'Ohhhh length wise?'
Our pizzas are circular. So any point across is 'length wise.' Maybe she didn’t know our pizzas were circular, but it was pretty dumb.
So I go back to tell the other coworker what I just experienced. Right after I tell her the punchline, ‘..any point across is length-wise...’, She stares at me with this confused look on her face. She smiles and finally says, 'Okay buddy, not all of us are Mr. Engineer Student over here!'
I just walked away. I didn’t know how to handle it. I’m not a genius for knowing about the geometry of a circle."
"Used to work at Starbucks. A lady ordered a mocha and I forgot to add the mocha syrup. Dumb mistake so I fixed it of course. She put it back on the bar a couple minutes later and said, 'It doesn't taste right, I want a new one.' Okay, I thought, don't know what else I can do, but sure I'll make a new one. I get started on it and she goes to the restroom. She gets back from the restroom before I'm done making it but sees her old drink on the bar that I hadn't taken back yet and thinks it's her new one. She looks at and says 'ah, it looks better already!' takes a big drink and says 'Now see, that's perfect' then leaves before I can tell her I didn't do a darn thing."
"Worked at a coffee shop where we sell two sizes: small and large. I was working the register, ringing up a girl. I asked her what kind of coffee she got, which went fine, but when I asked 'Small or large?' She responded with a suspicious 'Why do you need to know?'
Are you kidding me? Because one is a larger quantity than the other and you pay for that extra amount. When I told her as much she scoffed and grudgingly told me. Like do you think I’m tricking you?
I had another lady at a different coffee shop who was very upset that her Starbucks gift card was not valid, despite the fact that we were very much not a Starbucks.
There are more. Working in customer service for 10 years will do that."
"So I was working for a major chain and our regional VP is supposed to make an appearance at the store on this one day, so everyone was nervous.
Now, this one customer comes in and tells me he insists on getting a mimosa. It's 8:30 in the morning and we're not supposed to serve drinks until 10:30.
So I go get my manager and tell him and he told me to say no drinks, which I tell the customer. The customer got upset and asked to speak to the manager. At that point, the manager gave in and made a mimosa. He needed to get fresh bubbly and orange juice out of the freezer because we didn't have it because we didn't serve mimosas.
This customer wasn't even my customer, so I stopped dealing with him for a while until I noticed that he was done with his plate, so I went up and asked if I could clear his plate for him.
He leaned forward across the table and said 'If you take this plate, I will track you down when you go home and take off your arms with this steak knife.'
I smiled, thinking he was joking. He frowned and asked me what I thought was funny.
So I went back to the server station and hid. I found out about an hour later that that was our VP."
"I used to work on a restaurant that was quite popular with the organic/healthy lifestyle crowd. This particular lady asked me if we tested our water for ionizing radiation, and made it clear that if we didn't she would leave. Out of sinister curiosity, I told her 'Of course we do! In fact I'll test it right in front of you, just let me get my geiger counter from the back.' I downloaded a mock geiger counter app and tested a glass of tap water in front of her, she completely bought it and proceeded to order a fruit salad and a water bottle; to be fair my phone case at the time made it look a bit blocky, so there's that.
I told the manager, and we had a good laugh. I still can't believe I got away with it."
"I worked at Burger King in high school. I will never forget this. I was on drive-thru one night, and this lady orders a 'large vanilla shake, in a medium cup.' I ask if she meant a 'medium shake, in a large cup,' seeing as how physically, I cannot put more liquid in a container than it will hold. She gets INFURIATED and drives up to the window. Screaming at me for not listening to her. In a loud, slow tone, like she's talking to a deaf person, I. WANT. A. LARGE. VANILLA. SHAKE. IN. A. MEDIUM. CUP. I almost got fired that night."
"I once worked at a grocery store, and oftentimes at the customer service counter, which typically handles refunds, exchanges, complaints, and other odds and ends (like smokes and lottery tickets).
This man comes up with a block of cheese still in its package. I ask how can I help him. Then, our conversation goes something like this:
Customer: This is the wrong cheese.
Me: All right. Would you like to exchange it for another kind of cheese or would you prefer a refund?
Customer: I don't want it.
Me: Ok, I'll put through the refund for you. [I proceed to take the cheese, enter the refund into the computer, and hold out the money we owe him]
Customer: What? Where's my cheese? I don't want a refund.
Me: So, you want your cheese back?
[I proceed to ring the cheese back into the computer, put the money back in the till, and give him his cheese back]
Customer: Where's my money?
Me: You said you wanted your cheese instead of a refund, so I rang it through again.
Customer: But it's the wrong kind of cheese.
Me: So, you want to exchange it?
Customer: No. I don't want to bother with it. I'm just telling you it's the wrong kind.
Me: So...what do you want me to do?
This still perplexes me, but he ended up throwing a little hissy fit and took his wrong cheese home again."
"I was working in a restaurant a few years ago. It was pretty late after closing, and I was waiting for the last table to finish eating so I could clean up (not my table). In the meantime I was doing some other closing work on the other side of the restaurant, talking to a co-worker, and glancing occasionally over my shoulder to see if they had left yet.
The lady at the table comes up to me, demanding to see the manager. I say OK, not really grasping how angry she is, and go get him. She begins to rant about how my co-worker and I were laughing about how she and her friends were 'dogs'. In actual fact my co-worker and I were talking about how he was looking after another co-worker's pets while they were out of town.
In the empty restaurant, they had overheard a few random words, and pieced together their own little puzzle that my co-worker and I had nothing better to do than talk smack about them (says volumes about their self image I suppose). She unloads on our manager, who doesn't believe for a second that my co-worker and I would even think, much less say anything like that about these women. Knowing there has obviously been some misunderstanding, he calls us over, and I proceed to explain how we were having a conversation about a co-worker's pets.
I swear I saw a look of embarrassment flash over her eyes, but she just continued flipping out. My co-worker and I left the scene so the manager could cool her down, but after calling us rude names for the better part of 5 minutes she eventually just walked out without paying. Her friends followed her out a minute or two later, saying they aren't paying for her meal, but that we would 'probably just force it through' on one of their credit cards anyways.
They don't pay you enough to haggle with these idiots."
"Restaurant manager here.
We provide complimentary bread baskets on our dinner tables. One lady clicked me over (because who doesn't love that?) to tell me I was running the most unhygienic establishment that she had ever eaten in, and that, with her food hygiene level three certificate, she could and should have me shut down.
Why the fuss?
There was some 'jam' on the bread, and I had clearly taken used breakfast stock and tried to cost cut by serving contaminated bread at dinner. I'd cut the bread not 10 minutes before, burning my hands on it as it was fresh out of the oven, definitely not leftovers.
I apologized profusely yet non committal, removing the offending bread amid increasingly patronizing comments about how I really ought to know how to run a restaurant and that being so thick as to do this blah blah blah...
On inspection, the red blobs of jam were drips of red vino from the bottle next to the bread basket, that the lady had poured herself.
Needless to say, I wasn't shut down."