There is nothing worse than being mistaken for someone else. It's always awkward and can often get out of hand, especially when the person in the wrong refuses to admit their mistake. This happens everywhere - with friends, classmates, coworkers, random people on the street - but the best (or worst depending on the situation) often involve people who mistake regular customers for employees at a restaurant. This is always a recipe for disaster.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share the most insane stories about being mistaken for a server, bartender, cashier, or any other job at a restaurant, and the results were something else. Take a look at some of the most awkward stories (which have been edited for clarity) about these very situations.
"I’m a waitress at a local restaurant. On my day off, I scheduled a lunch date with a guy from school.
Traffic was brutal so he was running late. I was sitting at my table, looking at the menu (this is not the restaurant where I work), when, all of a sudden, a woman came up and took my menu out of my hands.
'Why are you just sitting here? We’ve been waiting for service for 45 minutes.'
No they hadn’t. They came in the same time I did, 10 minutes earlier, and they had already gotten drinks.
'Ma’m, I don’t work here.'
I didn’t recognize her at this point.
'Don’t lie to me, you’re a waitress, you served me just last week don’t you remember?'
I vaguely remember her coming into my restaurant now because she complained her meal wasn’t served with hot sauce then sent it back because it was too spicy.
'I am a waitress at local Mexican restaurant but I am not a waitress at local burger bar.'
She said, 'Same difference. You’re a waitress. Get a pen and paper and take down our orders.'
'I am a waitress, but not here. I’m just trying to enjoy my lunch like you are. I am not employed here in any capacity.'
To which she replied, 'But you’re a trained waitress and this place is clearly running behind. Don’t you people take an oath or something?'
I went over to their table with a pen and paper from my backpack and wrote down all their orders. I said it would be 45 minutes and to just sit tight. I even brought over the ketchup they asked for (just grabbed off another table). Then I left and texted my date to meet me at a place a few blocks over."
"When I was in college, back around the turn of the century, I was meeting some friends at Chili’s. I was wearing jeans and a red polo shirt, which was apparently the brand new Chili’s uniform, and you can probably guess where this is going.
This was before smart phones so I was just kind of sitting there in the little waiting area, zoning out, staring off into the middle distance like we used to have to do a lot in those days - when suddenly I was being yelled at.
'GET UP! What do you think you’re doing!'
I instinctively stood up, had I sat on someone’s child or something?
'What makes you think you can just sit around!'
This was when I realized this was the manager of the Chili’s and he was very angry. It took him another 30 seconds of yelling before he realized that I don’t work there and I was in fact a customer - I didn’t stop him as I was kind of amused once the shock wore off. I could tell by the look on his face that he had suddenly realized that I wasn’t an employee. He was mortified and gave us a nice discount on our meal.
To this day I’m extremely cautious about wearing clothes that would make me look like I work somewhere though."
"When I was in college, I got a job working for my aunt. One day, I went out on break to eat, and I wanted to try something new, so I went to a Chinese restaurant that seemed pretty new, and said, 'Eh, what's the harm in trying someplace new?' Little did I know, it wouldn't be that way.
As I entered, the restaurant was empty, because it just opened, conveniently. As I sat down, an old man came up to me and spoke in a different language, which I realize he must've thought I was Chinese. I said, 'Oh no, sorry, I'm not Chinese, I'm Vietnamese.' The change of tone from him went from tired to gee, to then as translated, spoke in clear Vietnamese, 'You are? I am too, Chinese is second language.' I was surprised and we talked for a bit before I told my order and he went to the kitchen which turned out to be made up of mostly Vietnamese cooks as well.
As I sat down, I was waiting when I got a tap on my shoulder and stare from a lady and her two friends who seemed to want to sit down somewhere. Here's the cast:
ML: Mean Lady, F1: Friend 1, F2: Friend 2, Me: Me, OM: Old Man
ML: 'Excuse me, can we find a place to sit?'
Me: 'Uh, you can find a seat anywhere here I think? It's not busy yet.'
ML and her friends sat down as I was waiting for food to arrive, it had been four minutes, but my mind was all about food that day. Then a few seconds later, I got a tap on my shoulder again and ML was there again.
ML: 'Excuse me, aren't you supposed to take our order now?'
Me: Looking at her confused 'I'm sorry?'
ML: 'Aren't you the waiter or server here? You should consider getting off your phone and pay attention to your customer.'
Me: Realizing what she means 'Oh, no, I don't work here, I'm sitting down to wait for my food.'
ML: 'Yeah, consider your break over, you can get your food once you get our orders!'
Me: 'No, I am on break, but I work at the salon two blocks from here.'
ML: 'No, you work here, I saw you talking to your boss there!'
Turns out she saw me and OM talk to each other and thought we were working with each other.
Me: 'No, you see, we were talking about-'
ML: 'You think just because we can't understand you doesn't mean we don't have feelings? Chinese are all the same.'
Now at this point, I would be calm and correct her, but over time, I was called Chinese and was profiled too much and was made fun of way too often. Hearing that, and knowing that OM wasn't actually Chinese, I stood from my chair and yelled back.
Me: 'LISTEN! First off, I'm a paying customer as well, PAYING! Second, do you honestly see workers on their phone sitting down? OFTEN NOT! Third, it's none of your business if you can't understand me or OM, just because we met and talk a bit with the same language, and lastly, I AM NOT CHINESE FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, YOU OLD HAG! LEARN TO ASK!'
At that point, ML was silent and her friends came up and inserted themselves between us. At that point, OM was coming out with my food and he saw and heard what was happening, place the trays down and ran towards us.
OM: In broken English 'What happening?'
ML: Crying 'You're server yelled at me for no reason. Fire this man.'
OM: Looks at me and spoke in Vietnamese 'Is that true? I know you don't work here, but is the yelling true?'
Me: Vietnamese 'Yes I did yell, because she thought I work here and called me Chinese, I'm sensitive to being called that most of the time. I'm sorry if that made a commotion.'
OM: Vietnamese 'Ah, it's okay. I can understand that.'
ML getting irritated, stop her crying and said, 'OH MY GOODNESS! STOP CONSPIRING AGAINST ME YOU DIRTY COMMIES!'
OM: 'Excuse me? Did you call us what I think you called us?'
Me: 'Gracious woman, for the last time, I'm not Chinese! And that's just rude.'
OM: Vietnamese 'She has a twisted tongue she does.'
As soon as that happened, the friends gather their stuff and one of them pulling her back.
F1: 'This is literally the third time you pulled a stunt like this, next time, we're not inviting you again!'
F1 pulls her out as she still shouting profanity at us.
F2: Vietnamese surprisingly 'Sorry about my friend, she's... hard to deal with when it come to Asians in general. She thinks all of them are Chinese or Japanese.'
We talked for a bit and the OM asked if they wanted to come back, they were free to, just not with her again. After F2 left, OM asked if I wanted my food and for a discount, I said the discount wasn't necessary, but he said he insisted, saying it was a 'employee discount' and winked at me."
"My dad was at a restaurant waiting for the rest of his party to show up. He had a table but volunteered to wait by the - now very large - line to take his tardy party members to the table.
A man rudely grabbed my dad's arm and basically orders, 'Table for 4!' My father looked at the man with snooty judgement and said, 'I don't care for the look of you or anyone else in your party. I'm going to have to ask you to step aside. NEXT!'
The man looked like his head was going to explode until my father laughed and said, 'I'm just kidding; I don't work here.'
The now defused man laughed as well and was a really good sport about it.
"So this happened about 5 years ago when my grandfather passed. After the funeral, there was a buffet and reception at a local restaurant. I had finished my food, and was heading up to the window where the kitchen was as I saw some waiters bussing dirty dishes to the window. I figured it would be helpful if I just took my plate there. As I'm walking over a woman steps in front of me and blocks my path. She quickly dumps several plates on my pile and very confidently says 'Is it helpful if I just hand you all of our plates?' The woman was my uncle's latest GF. I calmly replied, 'Uhm, I don't work here but I can run these to the kitchen for you, I guess?' I was trying to be polite. She gave me a puzzled look and asked: 'Then what are you doing at this reception?' I paused for a moment baffled that she asked me why I was at my own grandpa's funeral. I didn't respond and just walked away. She sits back down next to my uncle and points to me and gives me a nasty look as she is talking to my uncle. Presumably asking him who I was. He came up to me a few minutes later and apologized that she had assumed I worked here and just threw a bunch of dishes at me. I saw her outside as we were leaving the restaurant, she came up to me again and said: 'That was very rude of you to walk away from someone whos talking to you young man!' (I was about 15-ish at the time) 'It's more rude to give someone else your dirty dishes, especially when that someone just lost their grandfather, but I guess no one ever taught you any manners,' I said as I was climbing into my mom's van. I never saw her again, my uncle dumped her basically right after that."
"I was sitting in a booth at a McDonald's waiting for my cousin and some friends. There wasn’t really much of a line and a woman came up to me. I wasn’t really paying attention at first because my boyfriend just told me that he was moving to Canada. I was asking him questions when this lady named Karen snapped in my face.
Karen: 'EXCUSE ME, IM READY TO ORDER!'
I wasn't really paying attention, which obviously ticked her off.
Karen: grabs my phone 'EXCUSE ME BUT I AM READY TO ORDER AND THESE PEOPLE WONT RING ME UP FIRST'
Me: 'Oh, sorry ma’am, I don’t work here.'
Karen: 'YOU'RE WEARING THE UNIFORM ( I was in my boyfriend's oversized hoodie and wearing Uggs and a pair of black leggings.
I called over to my friend Sydney to help me out and she ran towards me and grabbed me and my phone from the lady.
Karen: yells like a banshee 'THIS WORKER AND HER FRIEND STOLE MY PHONE (it’s easily recognized as mine because of my background). My boyfriend (Eli) came to the McDonald’s and unlocked my phone with his finger print after I told him what happened.
We all yelled at the lady, telling her that I did not work there. Karen eventually left me alone and told the employee about my behavior.
"I went out for lunch, and decided to have some McDonald's. The restaurant has two doors, out of which one was closed due to a remodeling project going on inside the mall.
I was sitting across from the closed door, just enjoying my meal, when an old couple tried and failed to open the locked door. They somehow managed to not see the sign indicating that the door was locked, while pressing their faces against the glass. The old guy spotted me, and signaled at the door. I ignored him and continued to eat.
I should mention that I was not dressed in any way as a McDonald's employee. I was wearing a copper red shirt, and blue jeans.
Eventually, they made it in, and he alone was over at my table.
Old guy: 'Lazy bag of rocks, ain't cha?'
Me: 'Only on Thursdays.'
Old guy: 'Why didn't you open the door?'
Me: 'Because I'm eating and I don't work here.'
Old guy: 'You are lying, get me your manager.'
Me: 'My manager is in New York on a business trip.'
He screamed 'Bull!' as he slapped my tray off my table, with my meal on it. So I got up, he squared up, and I walked past him. I made it to the register, with him right on my heels yelling stuff like 'Not so tough now, right? Gonna go cry to your manager now?'
I didn't need to ask for the manager, since the old guy was being so loud.
Manager: 'What's up?'
Old guy: 'This lazy, disrespectful fool wouldn't open the door for us because he was eating, so do something about it.'
Me: 'That's right, and he knocked my tray off the table.'
Old guy: 'You got that meal for free, you'll get another so quit your yapping.'
Manager: 'You're right, he is getting a meal for free. You need to leave, I can't have you assaulting my customers, so please leave or you will be removed.'
Old guy: 'But the customer is always right, and you shouldn't reward lazy employees for being lazy and talking back to a customer!'
Manager: 'He doesn't work here, he is a customer, and you are on your way out.'
By this point, it seemed to have clicked for the old guy. He stared at me, then back to the manager. He called his wife, and both walked out.
Got a free meal, and they gave me an oreo sundae.
Thanks old guy!"
"I'm a student that has a awful 'on-call' job with pretty low, but not minimum hourly pay. There is this one coffee shop around where I live that has just recently opened. It's a shop that focuses on freshly made coffee. I like coffee, like A LOT. But not like drinking it a lot, I like to study about coffee. (I have a huge collection with different beans and grinders) I find it interesting that different coffee mixed together can taste so good. I'm just a guy that's very interested in coffee, so I went to go check it out.
There was this guy (probably new) that was having a hard time grinding coffee beans. Grinding beans by hand is very delicate work and isn't easy by any means. He proceeded to try to find a co-worker to help him but couldn't. I asked him if he needed help. He asked "Do you know how to do this? Because I'm not very good at it." I just briefly said that I study coffee as a hobby.
He then opens the door (like those you see the cowboy movies at a bar) and I go in help him. Like the coffee maniac I am I start to help him with the other orders as well. Teaching him how to correctly grind and mix and before I knew it there are these two people standing behind us. One of them (an older woman) starts 'Oh there you are! What are you doing here? The dishes are in the back and I need you to clean it!' I don't know how to respond so the guy helped and said that I was just customer that offer help. 'Oh, he's just helping me and teaching me some neat tricks.' He said.
Then the women took a good look at me and was a bit surprised that I'm not the person she thought I was. She then tasted the coffee and surprised. 'Oh wow! This coffee is good! Are you a master barista?' I just laughed it off and said that I'm just a broke student that likes to study about coffee and wasn't a fancy mater barista. I then politely excused myself and was on my way out. Then I heard her saying to me 'Aren't you interested in working here?' She told me that she would be happy to have me working here and maybe even teach them how make coffee!
I was a bit shocked of course. But, I told her that I was interested. She then told me she was going to pay X amount as hourly pay, then I was hooked because it was double me existing job. I told her that I will be considering the job and will come again to see them, but in reality I went home and called my boss to tell him that I quit. Life is peculiar sometimes."
"My buddy was taking me out to a fancy French restaurant as a treat, and I was pretty gussied up. I really enjoy getting dolled up and wearing a beautiful dress to enjoy a wonderful meal. However, the city in which I live (Portland, Oregon) has a reputation for diners dressing down, even in fine dining restaurants.
This particular restaurant has a well-known (and frankly down-right foxy) chef who typically works at a station expo-ing and plating where everybody can see him. It’s also near the door to the only washroom and the server station. It’s a huge restaurant and with only the one washroom, there was a bit of a line. I waited and waited and at one point I think the chef and I exchanged a few pleasantries. When I was next in line a middle-aged man in a Portland-issue plaid button up and jeans got in line behind me. He had cranky energy and was shifting from foot-to-foot. It didn’t seem like he had to go badly, just that he was impatient. I had been waiting much, much longer than him and found his constant sighing and scoffing irritating.
When it was my turn I reached for the door only to have this awful man push in front of me and nearly knock me over shoving himself into the open door. I was so taken aback I just sort of froze and said, 'Excuse me I was next.' Which is when he wheeled around started YELLING about how he wasn’t about to wait while 'some waitress changed her tampon.' And then yelled at the chef that he should have a staff bathroom, because it’s 'disgusting' that the staff use the same bathroom as guests and implied he might not pay for his meal because of it.
I stood there in absolute shock (and a full bladder) while this man took care of his business. Clearly taking his sweet time out of spite.
I decided to do something about it. I DON’T work here, but even if I did there is no reason to be treated like I’m not a human. Seriously, dude. You’re wearing muddy Teva sandals and suddenly acting like we’re in Downtown Abbey. When he came out, I used my entire body to block his path out of the bathroom and gave him a stern, but quiet lecture about how I actually wasn’t an employee and there was nothing wrong with sharing the bathroom with the staff and told him that he had ruined what should have been a special night out.
This all happened in full view of the entire kitchen staff and several members of the wait staff. I hadn’t realized it at time, but this guy was actually seated directly next to my friend on the banquet. His female dining companion was sitting next to me. I had been gone easily 20 minutes and my friend was confused and annoyed. I figured at that point I had nothing to lose, so I loudly explained what happened while gesturing to the awful man and making pointed eye contact with the woman. The man looked furious and the woman just silently glared at him.
After a few minutes, the waiter wordlessly dropped their check. They were mid-meal and hadn’t been offered dessert. It was clearly a very pointed, but polite, 'Get bent, get out' from the staff after his rant. They paid without incident and as they got up to leave he tried to put his hand on her shoulder only to have her swiftly pull away and say, 'don’t touch me.'
We got a cheese plate and glasses of sparkling rose as a gift from the restaurant."
"Half of my co-workers got stuck at a conference because of the hurricane, so the rest of us have been working ridiculous shifts to cover. Don't mind the overtime and it couldn't be helped so it is what it is.
Yesterday I worked 12 hours, after having worked 12 hours the two days prior, and knowing I'd have another 12 today. I changed out of my work shirt before I even left the building, so I was wearing jeans and a t shirt when I wandered like a zombie into a fast food place to get something to eat.
I got my food and kind of tucked myself into a corner to eat. At one point, I heard a bit of commotion but ignore it. As I got up and throw out my trash, I heard an old man say, 'HER! SHE SHOULD BE FIRED!' Oooh man it is going down and I was nibby, so I looked over and the guy was pointing at me with this super angry look on his face.
I glanced behind me, no one, oh man, he was definitely pointing at me. He started yelling about when he was here yesterday and how rude the cashier was and how she (I?) messed his order up. I was half awake and just confused, looked at the manager like 'What?' and he gave me the scared/apologetic 'I have no idea' look. The old guy was still ranting when the manager said, 'Sir, I'd love to help you get this fixed but she doesn't work here. I can help you figure out who it was but it wasn't her.'
The old guy didn't listen. 'No, I know it was her! I wouldn't forget that nasty face!' Ok now I'm awake and increasingly getting angrier. 'Well, you apparently did because I seriously don't work here and never have.' I had enough and started to walk towards the door.
THIS DUDE THREW A CHAIR AT ME. A CHAIR! It didn't hit me but he sure did try. It got a bit fuzzy with everything going on at once but the manager grabbed him up so fast in a bear hug and walked towards the door saying, 'That's it, you're out of here, if you come back again I'm calling the cops. That is if this lady doesn't do so first for you trying to assault her with a chair.' The old guy said something about 'she turned her back to me now let me go! The manager responded something like 'That's not how this works.'
He pushed him out still screaming and held the door shut. Offered me all the free food in the world and told me he'd happily help me press charges. Had he left I honestly might not have, but he was still yelling and banging on the door so we basically had to just to get him to leave. So we call the cops to remove him, while were waiting manager mentions the cameras, sends back someone to pull it up so the cops can see it.
Cops got there, got the old guy in cuffs and started asking what happened. Old guy lied through his teeth, saying I threw the chair and the manager assaulted him and lied about being my boss. Easy to prove otherwise with the cameras. So he's in jail now for a list of charges. After one cop leaves with the old guy, another stays to get statements and all that.
For a giggle they also looked to try to figure out what cashier was apparently so horrible...there were only guys working the entire day. They couldn't even find the old guy, we're sure he never came in.
As I was finally leaving the cop looks at me and innocently asked, 'You suuuuure you don't work here?' I don't know why but I lost it and started laughing. I asked if he wanted me to show him how to teach a chair to fly and he lost it."
"I have been working as a driver for one of those food delivery apps called Waitr for a while now, and this happened to me just before I got off my shift today.
One of the places you can order food from with our app is a Subway inside the local Wal-Mart. It doesn't happen too often, but enough that people get warned about it during orientation. They don't want us driving up and down the street looking for a restaurant we won't be able to see.
I was picking up a sandwich and had to grab the drinks and bags of chips for the order while it was being made. The uniform I was wearing for work was a highlighter green t-shirt with the company logo on it and blue jeans. The Subway uniform was a dark green polo and black pants, so I saw no way for them to be mixed up, as even color blind people would be able to tell the difference between them.
When I got the chips and drinks and started heading for my bag, a woman sidesteps in front of me, making me stop short and almost drop everything. I'm a bigger guy, so sudden stops aren't that easy for me.
K: 'Finally, I've been waiting for half an hour! Give me that.' Then she tried to grab the stuff from me. I pulled back and turned to block her.
Me: 'Hold up, Ma'am. This isn't yours. I have to deliver this to someone at their house.'
K: 'Don't lie to me, Subway doesn't deliver. Now give me my food.'
Me: 'This ISN'T your food.'
K: 'You're a horrible waiter! I'm gonna get you fired. Where is your manager?'
Me: 'Ma'am, I'm not a waiter here, I work for-'
K: 'Quit lying, you little brat! Your uniform says you're a waiter, so give me my food!'
Now, I have had run into this sort of thing a few times, since the shirt has the logo and says Waiter on it, some people assume it's just a typo and that wherever they're eating has decided to label their waiter for some reason. I have gotten used to explaining it to people, but I was about 5 minutes from getting off the clock and my delivery would be about a 15-minute drive, so I was really wanting to get out of there.
So, I ended up doing something that I kinda regret since she has a legit reason to complain about me. I took a deep breath and yelled right in her face.
Me: 'I. DON'T. WORK. HERE. MOVE!'
She moved, looking like she had been smacked in the face with a wet fish. I dropped the chips in my bag, grabbed the sandwich and tossed it in too, grabbed the drink and walked out feeling like a boss.
I really hope she doesn't figure out where to call to complain, because I really like this job."
"I’m South Indian and currently live in a mid-sized German town.
I woke up a bit earlier than usual, so figured I’d stop at the McDonald’s for some breakfast. I get my food, and I’m sitting at one of the tables by the entrance, and it’s pretty early so I’m also the only customer in the restaurant. I also have my headphones in watching a YouTube video on my iPad.
Someone interrupted with a 'Good Morning.'
It was this older woman, perhaps about 50, with an open bottle in her hand (not that that’s too unusual over here, apart from maybe the time of day) and told me there was no one at the counter to serve her. When I informed her (in German) that I didn't work there, she refused to believe me.
'But you’re Indian.'
'Foreigners all have awful jobs.'
Then she started raising her voice, ranting that since I didn’t work at the McDonald’s I didn’t work anywhere, and that immigrants were ruining Germany and how the far right party had the right idea. She wasn’t done yet though - she saw fit to spit in my tray and told me to lick it.
By then, a manager had come over, so she’d heard the rant and witnessed the spitting. She asked my if I wanted to call the police - I did, but I also had a job to get to, so I declined. I’m a teacher, there were exams and I’d promised a revision class, so if I didn’t make it in or was delayed the students would have be left hanging."
"Last summer, my fiancée worked as a production assistant on a TV show. People in the industry typically wear 'set blacks,' black non-branded clothing for when working on set. Well, she was wearing her set blacks, black crew t-shirt, black shorts and black flats and had a surveillance walkie ear piece in.
She had been sent to go pickup the preordered crew lunch from a chain soup, salad and sandwich restaurant and had walked into the store, making her way to the online pickup area. As she was walking she heard a woman going 'excuse me' as if trying to flag someone's attention but my fiancee didn't think it was aimed at her and continued forward. She heard it again and still assumed that it wasn't aimed at her and wasn't her business so she didn't pay it much mind and stood at the pickup area waiting.
After a moment of waiting, she heard that same woman say something along the lines of 'This is the worst customer service ever' to her friend with her.
My fiancée still didn't think it had anything to do with her, why should it? But she heard what seemed like drama about to start so she started paying attention and became a bit invested in the commotion.
Finally, an employee made their way to the huffing customer we'll now refer to as HC to assist her and this is the exchange that went down.
E: 'How can I help you?'
HC is visibly upset and is making a scene, attracting the attention of many in the store.
HC: 'I want to file a complaint, your customer service here is horrible. She Points to fiancée Completely ignored us and now is just standing there doing nothing!
This was said very loudly and very inflammatory but my fiancee is not one to back down from a confrontation
F: (just as loud as HC) 'Excuse me, are you talking about me?'
HC: glaring at Fiancee 'Yes!'
F: 'Okay, well first I'm waiting for food just like you and second I ignored you because very obviously I. Don't. Work. Here.'
The store is suddenly quiet as everyone had been tuning into the drama that had unfolded.
HC paused, sputtered and visibly turned red in embarrassment while the employee stifled laughter and HC's friend who was quiet all the while looks embarrassed.
Moments later, the order was prepared and my fiancée grabbed it and while walking by the red faced HC held up the bags of food and said, 'Have a nice day!'"