Working in the food industry can be difficult. From stores to restaurants, the workers meet an interesting variety of people. Unfortunately, sometimes that's not a good thing. Just ask these people.
People in the food industry on Reddit share the time when sweet justice was served on a horrible customer. Content has been edited for clarity.
“I Have A Strong Feeling That’s What He Did”
“I was new to the whole ‘work for a paycheck’ thing when I worked at a grocery store. One day, I was stocking Instant Noodles on a big sale display. All I had was a cheap small step two step stool; you know the one with the bar that runs across the top step? It was a piece of trash, and not tall enough to really do the job.
Every time I climbed that thing, there was a high chance my standing on it would collapse it. It was wobbly as heck too. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration would have blown a gasket, but I was an ignorant newbie and intimidated by my boss.
This guy apparently heard that women should be treated as equal to men. However, he had re-interpreted it in his mind to mean that all women should be all stoic, hoorah, climb-that-shelf with one arm, with a bowie knife AND a lit smoke between your teeth, G.I. Jane poster girls. Like, okay, if a woman has the body type and mentality for that, they can join the Service. We’re in a grocery store and NOBODY was going to climb grocery store shelves for a box of cup-o-noodles. And yes, if the thing you’re climbing is wobbly as heck, yeah it’s normal human behavior to wave your arms in an attempt to stabilize yourself.
He watched me struggle for like, 30 seconds, made some disgusted grunting noise at me, then walked away to do something elsewhere for a few minutes.
One of the young male coworkers saw me doing this wobbly high wire act, and sprinted over to catch me around the waist and stabilize me. I ended up having to use his shoulder as a handrail to get the last of the stuff onto the display.
Me, sheepishly: ‘I’m sorry, I’m sure you have better things to do.’
Male coworker, cheerfully brushing it off: ‘Shush your apologies and just do what you have to. Besides, I’m a wuss when it comes to seeing women bleed.’
He then blushed and mumbled, ‘I mean when they’re hurt, not… Shutting up now…’
I managed to suppress my laughter down to a smile, ‘I got what you meant. It’s okay.’
His little faux pas did help me finish what I was doing though, since I was too amused to get the shakes on the step stool.
My boss soon came back along and saw me being supported by a big, strong guy and using his shoulder as a handrail. He sneered at me and made a not-so-quiet comment about me being a ‘princess,’ and how ‘delicate’ I was acting.
I was facing the opposite direction, but I THINK the coworker who was holding me up, flipped my boss the bird. He briefly took a hand off my waist and aimed it in the direction of my boss before taking hold of me again and helping me down to the ground. I can’t confirm, but I do have the strong feeling that’s exactly what he did.”
“Word Spread Quickly”
“Many years ago, at a bar near my school, the owner forced a bouncer to let one of his underage friends in. There was an undercover cop there that night, and the bouncer got a hefty fine and all the other fun consequences of that.
The owner wouldn’t help out at all, saying basically, ‘You let him in, it’s your problem.’
The bouncer was also a member of a fraternity. One that actually managed to get along with most of the other fraternities. A huge percentage of the bar’s business came from fraternities. Word spread quickly. Within a week, business was off by more than 50%. Within three months, business was so bad the bar had to close.
The owner kept the property and leased it to someone else for five years. Then he took it back over and reopened the bar (changing it back to the original name for some dumb reason), hoping that everyone involved had graduated. While most had, what had happened was still well known.
He got a little business back, but he finally had to sell the property a year or two later when he finally realized just how badly he had messed up.”
“She Looks Genuinely Shocked”
“So, there’s a pizza place close to where I live, and sometimes after a long day at work I’m not in the mood to cook, so I place an order on their app for takeout when I leave work and pick it up on my way home.
Normally it goes off without a hitch, sometimes I even get there right as they cut it and place it in their warming bags. Today however things just weren’t going my way. As I finally get there, the delivery guy was on his way out (important later), and when I was on my way back to my car, up comes the blind brat (‘BB’).
Apparently she thinks I’m a delivery driver, and that they all wear business casual. I’m opening my door, and had my pizza on the roof of my car as she stomps up to me and starts yelling. I don’t register what she’s saying at first (long day at the end of a long week with little sleep), but apparently she had ordered delivery and the guy hadn’t delivered it yet, and her little brats at home were hungry.
I manage to get a word in while she takes a breath, and try and explain that i’m not the delivery guy, but BB isn’t having any of it.
BB then stops yelling and grabs my pizza off of the roof of my car, thinking it’s hers. She takes one look at it, realizes it isn’t hers, and throws it on the ground. I’m standing there, still a bit shocked at her behavior, when she opens the passenger side door of my car and gets in, apparently looking for more. I finally snap into action and go around and drag her butt out of my car, and (knowing he had already left) tell her to go inside and yell at the delivery guy.
She apparently accepts now that i’m not the delivery guy, and without saying a word stomps inside, leaving me out there with a pizza with extra pavement for a topping. Not willing to give her the benefit of getting away with this behavior, I follow her inside. I’m curious as to how the staff will handle this, and to get another pizza.
BB is mid screech already as I walk in and stand by the door. Apparently she doesn’t believe that the delivery guy already left because ‘the idiot outside said he was.’
The guy at the counter, Bob, who’s worked there for a few years and is a nice guy, sees me by the door and asks if she’s telling the truth. I simply tell him the woman is crazy and owes me a pizza. Bob then assures BB that the delivery guy left five minutes ago, and apparently she accepts this, and starts to walk to the doors. Bob then chimes in and says that since she wouldn’t be able to get home before the delivery guy made it there, she could pay here and he’d tell him to just leave it and run. She agrees, mumbling something about them not being as stupid as she thought, though she apparently had a problem with the amount, which wasn’t what she was quoted on the phone.
Bob told her what was on the receipt, Her extra-large vegetarian pizza, a two liter of pepsi, my large pizza and one of those big cookies. BB goes ballistic at Bob, asking what the heck he was thinking trying to pull that.
Bob, somehow managing to keep a straight face, asks her if what I said was true, to which she replies ‘So what if it is?’
Bob just says ‘You break it, you bought it, simple as that’ and BB then in an huff turns to try and apparently run away and try and get home in time, but stops dead when she realizes I’m still standing there by the door. I just motion with my fingers for her to turn back around and pay, and Bob adds that he can always call the driver and have him lose the pizza.
She looks genuinely shocked, and said we were trying to blackmail her (over a pizza, really?). After a minute of pouting she caved and paid, swearing at us the whole time.
She then stomps out, gets back into her car, and peels out of the parking lot like she was being chased by the cops, and Bob tells me that my new pizza will be about 12 minutes. He then says he added the cookie as a way of apologizing for her, and was surprised that she didn’t notice it. He also said he’d go back and void my original order to give me a refund. We laugh and eventually I get a fresh, hot replacement pizza, and the cookie, and go on my way after thanking Bob again for dealing with her the way he did.”
“It Was Glorious”
“Worst was the best. Worked in a large supermarket chain about 20 years ago. A woman got over charged by about 50p for her groceries and created a huge uproar. Really nasty, shouting, berating us etc I had to call the deputy manager, John. He came down with the store wallet (a petty cash box basically) to placate her.
She gave him such trouble over this 20 cents, which had already been refunded, and was saying she was disgusted and would never shop there again.
John got out the wallet:
‘Madam, please accept my apologies. As a gesture of goodwill, here is $10. Here is another $10 for the inconvenience, and here is another $10 if you would honour us with your custom in the future,’ he said as he handed her the money.
She had $30 in her hand but she would not relent. She started giving off again, but this time cursing. She was saying the whole shop was a disgrace, we were a bunch of thieves and that she would never be back again.
John, immediately snatched the money he had given her from her hand.
‘Fine then, get bent, there’s the door. Call security if she refuses to leave,’ he said.
And with that he promptly walked off up the shop floor. The girl on customer service and I nearly peed ourselves laughing. Other customers also laughed and told her she deserved it. It was glorious. Poor John got a formal warning from the manager the next day though. But it was worth it.”
“I ‘Insulted and Humiliated’ That Customer”
“I very rarely get complaints on me, and it has been more than two years since someone was so unsatisfied with my help that they actually called corporate on me. But, that all changed last week.
I had been going around the dog food section of the store facing the cans and smaller bags when an older man, maybe in his 60’s, walked up and asked if he could get someone to help him get a 30lb bag of dog food up to the front. He did not have a cart with him, so I told him that I would be happy to help.
I grabbed his chosen bag and walked up to the front with him. Nothing really seemed amiss. I made small talk, asked about what kind of dog he had, chatted about the weather (because anything below 70 in Florida is worth talking about). I helped him out to his car, thanked him for his patronage to our store and went about my day. All seemed well.
Yesterday, however, I get called into the office where my general manager is waiting to speak to me. She tells me we have a huge complaint on mem and that it has gone up to our district manager and that I am to receive a write-up as per his orders.
Apparently, I was expected to have gone and gotten one of our male associates to help this guy. I ‘insulted and humiliated’ this customer by grabbing the bag myself. He said in his complaint that it was totally unacceptable for a ‘little girl’ to lift those bags, and that I was obviously trying to make him look like a weak old man in front of other customers.
I was so mad about this because I got the write up (which I refused to sign because all I was doing was my job) and had to have a ‘counseling session’ about how to properly respect our customers.
When I was hired, I had to prove that I could lift and carry 50 pounds if I wanted to work on the floor for this exact reason. Floor associates have to be able to help customers with bags and boxes that they would not be able to lift themselves.
I was never once rude to this man, never once mentioned anything about how he needed help with the bag. I did my utmost to provide the best customer service to him and followed the store’s stupid ‘Guest +’ model of customer service. I did everything right and I was still getting in trouble over it. My general manager never once said that it was a complaint. They just kept going over and over how I need to be more aware of customer sensitivities, and how it really is reasonable that an older man would not want lifting help from a five foot tall ‘little girl.’
So sorry, sir, that I did my job and even helped you out to your car.
I then made a call to my HR department. The moment the phrase ‘gender discrimination’ came into the conversation, I was transferred to a ‘supervisor.’ They seemed very sympathetic and more than a little bit worried about legal trouble over this. I have gotten a copy of the write up that I now have at home.
Today, ow, I got a call back into the office to speak with our DM on the phone.
What had apparently happened, and was misinterpreted by my general manager, was that the complaint was forwarded to him and he just forwarded it to our store. He had never actually read what the complaint was outside of ‘customer was humiliated and insulted’ so he wanted immediate action taken. Still really awful response, but it is what it is.
He apologized to me profusely for several minutes before telling me that the write-up was to be rescinded, and that no disciplinary action would be on my employment file for this. I have to say I am still feeling all warm and fuzzy several hours after listening to him eat crow over this. He is normally so mean. It was lovely.
I did make a point to tell the district manager that my managers shouldn’t be punished for following his direction. This was me unashamedly covering of my own butt. I needed this job, and I won’t have them thinking I was trying to get them in trouble despite the fact that if it hadn’t been handled the way it was, I would have done my best to crucify them. I will fully recognize and acknowledge that it was an act to mollify my managers.
My general manager apologized to me. Human Resources must have jumped right on this, because I really wasn’t expecting to hear anything about it for a few weeks yet. I did tell them that I understood their need to write me up after a direct e-mail from the district manager, but that I was hurt that I was chastised for going my job.
The assistant store manager told me that she understood how I felt, and that she would feel the same way, though the general manager didn’t seem to have much to say about it at all outside of being sorry that all this happened. I still think they should have told me it was a stupid complaint when they talked to me the first time, but it has happened so I’m letting it go.
I will give my own apology to those who likely wanted me to fight this harder than I did and for leaving it at this. I got the outcome I really wanted. An admission of wrongdoing and an apology. I have a two year old who is growing faster than I can keep clothes on her and I need to be able to support her. As much as I hate my company, I need this job and I really can’t afford to peeve off the people who make my schedule.
They have back tracked so quickly and I am feeling some serious righteous vindication. This had actually turned out so much better than I thought it would.”
“One of my coworkers was having difficulties with the shake machine, and I, being somewhat mechanically minded, agree to take a look at it while he takes over at the registers.
The lady who wanted the milkshake (aka the one my coworker was trying to fill when the machine went AWOL) is currently ‘in a hurry.’ Does it matter that I am visibly trying to figure out what’s going on with the doohickey’s thingamabob? Does it matter that my buddy is explaining the situation? Does it even matter that he has apologized and offered a refund and/or switch to a different beverage?
The answer to all of these questions is, of course, a resounding ‘NO!’
As I fiddle with the beast from a level of purgatory somewhere between crashed credit card systems and telemarketers, I hear a spluttering sound, and a gurgle. I get hit right in the face with a spray arc of strawberry-whatever-passes-for-shakes-in-this-place. I slap the power button to turn the internal mixers off, grab some towels and try to staunch the eruption.
For the record, it was like trying to staunch the blood spurt scene from the Addams Family movie; it’s going everywhere, onto everyone, and it’s not gonna stop.
My manager hauls it over, and tries to help me contain the overflowing dam of pink. It’s spewing and spluttering and making those gawd awful but somehow hysterical noises that make kids laugh at ketchup bottles. My manager and I are shoulder to shoulder with rags pressed against the machine, with pink milkshake gurgling over our hands and wrists.
My coworker, bless his soul, has not only managed to avoid laughing himself into unconsciousness at my pretty pink princess appearance, but is also calmly and coolly informing the now angry customer that we simply cannot get her the shake at this time, and he’ll be happy to process a full return.
Just as a note, I wear glasses. I kind of need them to see. And here I am, pink-shake-faced from eyebrows to chin, from sideburn to sideburn, up and down my torso and all over my hands and wrists. I sigh, take off my glasses (making me look like some sort of inverse raccoon no doubt) and set them on the counter next to the registers as the spurting pink flow finally runs out of steam.
Two more coworkers show up with mops and a bucket to help clean the tide of cold goo on the floor. I accept a towel from a sympathetic coworker and start to wipe my face off. The woman is screaming now, demanding to know how we’re going to make it right because she wants a shake and no, a refund is not enough! My manager tells her there is nothing else they can do about it, and a refund is all we can give her.
She slams her hands on the counter next to the registers a few times to emphasize her stereotypical rant of spending big bucks here and never coming back, blah blah blah, then spins violently away from the counter to stomp off. In between breaths of her tirade, I hear the distinct sound of a pair of glasses hitting the floor and sliding across the tiles.
Me: ‘Ma’am! Wait! Stop! My glasses!’
She’s blurry, but I can tell that she stops, looks at me, looks at the faint outline of glasses on the floor, grins widely and smashes her foot violently down upon them. There is a glasses-shattering crunching sound.
Now it is here that I later wondered what she thought was going to happen. Did she think I would not either vault over the counter and beat her face into the wall? Or sue her butt so hard that she would be tasting the ink of my court papers after I shoved them up her butt?
Regardless, I was about to vault the counter to do Scenario 1 when the coworker at the register grabs my arm, ‘Dude! Dude! It’s okay! They’re not your glasses! They’re not your glasses!’
His voice penetrates the fog of rage as he holds my very intact, and still very pink covered glasses in front of my face. Turns out when I put them down, my coworker at the registers gently and subtly slid my glasses a bit farther away from his reg, ensuring that they were later out of the hand-slamming-zone. When she spun around, the lady’s own glasses went flying out of her purse and hit the floor.
The lady’s scream of horror as she recognized the frames of her own glasses under her own foot was beautiful. My manager, having wiped his hands off somewhat, and stone faced, issued her a refund and told her to get out and NEVER set foot in our building again.
Woman: ‘My glasses!’
Manager: ‘You stepped on them yourself, and say hello to our security cameras before thinking you have any sort of case against us. Get. Out.’
It was SO worth hosing myself off by the dumpsters in the back of the building! And my coworker got free lunches from me for a while for moving my glasses to safety.”
“So Much Satisfaction”
“I worked at a local mid-range restaurant, for about two years, starting when I was 14. Started washing pans and moved onto waiting shortly afterwards, when the owner realised I could string a sentence together and wouldn’t drop too much. Nice family-owned place, friendly staff, owner was a nightmare, the usual.
We had a table of four one night, I didn’t serve them but the head waitress, called Lynne, did. Through the meal they are being rude, dismissive and demanding. Come the end of the night they are not at all happy, ask to see the owner, and leave shortly afterwards having paid less than half their bill, which would have been around $150. Both the owner and Lynne were spitting mad, maintaining that the food was fine and the table were being intentionally difficult. Personally I’m not convinced, I’ve seen questionable food served there before.
So, just about a year later, I’m manning the front restaurant and am having some trouble with a table. They’re being very rude, very demanding, and finishing perhaps half of their starters, most of them had complaints for me to send back to the kitchen. Fine by me, I didn’t cook the food. But the chef tastes all of it, declares it fine, and calls them a bunch of brats (from the kitchen). Then Lynne checks out the table and clocks them as the same four people she served the previous year. Knowing what’s about to happen, I serve the mains, and again they polish off half their plates and rattle off a list of complaints about the standard of the food. They order desserts, and again they’re just no good. I think the only thing that was up to their standards were the complimentary bread rolls.
Come bill-paying time, I know what’s up, and get the owner to speak to the table himself. They chew him out for the quality of food and the poor service, he listens and knowingly points out that he’s surprised they returned, seeing as they were so unhappy last time. They argue back and forth for a little bit, and ultimately settle on a half price meal. He takes a debit card, smiles politely, takes it to the bar, charges the full whack plus a small tip to the card, hands it back and tells them to get out.
The job was awful but dang, I could have kissed my boss for that one. So much satisfaction. It turns out we were not the only restaurant in the area they had done this to, so the owner did a bit of networking and made sure they wouldn’t be pulling it off anywhere within a 10 mile radius.”
“That Was A Good Day”
“I walked into McDonalds and ordered a McFlurry with M&M’s. Some guy was ahead of me with the same order and got his before mine, perfectly fine. But before the girl could start doing mine, the first guy came back, peeved off because he claimed that his ice cream didn’t have as much in it as it usually does. She tried explaining that this was due to the fact that the ice cream had been stirred, which makes it seem like it has less, but he wasn’t having it.
At this point, I jumped in and said ‘Hey, could you please just do my McFlurry before you deal with his greedy butt?’
She got a laugh out of that and he somehow got the impression that I was on his side. I clarified that I believed he was being ridiculous, and that it was just ice cream, so no need to get so worked up.
When she made my ice cream, he pointed out that my ice cream went nearly to the top of the lid, while his barely reached the lid in the first place. She slowly explained, as she did so, that the ice cream had yet to be stirred and that once either was, both ice creams would be roughly the same level. Lo and behold, it was. She gave me my ice cream, I thanked her, and told her that I was sorry she had to deal with people like him.
Next time I was in, the same girl gave me both Oreos and M&M’s in my Mcflurry. That was a good day.”
“I Laughed So Hard”
“I was dealing with a customer who is extremely finicky. She said we can’t have cooked meat and a ready meal in the same bag because ‘yeah they’re both cooked but this one you eat cold and this one you heat up’ so she sent the whole crate of shopping back (around 22 items).
Afterwards another customer came up to me and I apologised for the wait and he said, ‘Don’t worry. She looks like food is very important to her.’
I laughed so hard. She’d terrorised us for months and eventually our manager banned her for us.”
“I Was Fuming”
“I had a person angrily come up and say their order was wrong, so in response I offered to remake it for them. They then tried to give me back the food, and I politely told them it’s the store policy that we can’t take back food once it’s past the counter for health reasons.
The person told me that was ridiculous, and that it’s just going to go in the trash. I told them I understand but for the health of our customers, we ask customers to throw away the food themselves in the trash cans in the lobby. The customer threw the food at me. It got all over my face and clothes, I was fuming.
Fortunately I was the manager, I just kicked him out with no refund and no remake. Told my higher ups that if they got a complaint from my store to just look at what happened on the camera.”