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    Former Restaurant Workers Are Sharing Their “Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back” Quitting Moments

    "He grabbed me by the belt loop of my jeans and dragged me back..."

    We recently asked former restaurant employees of the BuzzFeed Community to share the moment they decided to quit the service industry all together. Here are some of the most poignant submissions:

    1. "I asked my boss for a day off every week so that I could pick my mom up from chemotherapy, and he called me selfish for not wanting to work that day, even though he knew it was for my mom who had cancer. I yelled at him in front of the entire restaurant, walked out in the middle of my shift, and never went back."

    Stressed female young adult waitress holding her head in stress as someone complains to her behind the bar of a restaurant. She is wearing a black button up.
    Littlecitylifestylephotography / Getty Images

    2. "The final straw that made me decide I was done was when I scheduled my engagement party for my day off, and also told everyone of this date well in advance. The owner booked up an event for that day, and tried harassing me into showing up late to my own engagement party at my own house so I could work this event. She then called me 'entitled' in my employee review."


    3. "For me as a host, it was infuriating to know how long it was taking to get a table. The managers told me to lie to people, saying it was 25 minutes instead of 45 because 'people leave if it’s 45.' But then I’m the one who gets yelled at when customers are waiting longer than 25 minutes. The managers just don’t care that the hosts are the punching bags of the restaurant, and I was over it really fast."


    4. "I recently quit my restaurant job of three years where I was mainly a waitress and server. Two girls my age (20) came in and left me a $0 and $0.67 tip. I complained on social media, but crossed out their names on the receipts. Somehow the picture got sent to them, and they called my manager and tried to get me fired. At that point I’d had it."


    5. "One day, a particularly rude and obnoxious regular asked me for a spoon to stir his iced tea. When I got him one and was walking away, he grabbed me by the belt loop of my jeans and dragged me back. Then he made me watch him put the spoon into his glass and, in a voice dripping with condescension, explained to me very slowly that the spoon was too short to sit in the glass without falling underneath the tea, and I must be a complete idiot to not have given him a longer spoon. I got him a bigger spoon and put in my two weeks notice."

    Portrait of upset waitress. She looking aside and sitting behind table while touching her head by palm of hand
    Ljubaphoto / Getty Images

    6. "I was closing at midnight, when one of the door’s locks broke. I was the only bartender, and only employee in the restaurant. The deadbolt got stuck, leaving the door open. Luckily my boyfriend was able to come down, so I wasn’t completely alone, but it was still not a safe situation. I couldn't get ahold of a manager or owner until around 4 a.m."


    7. "I was barely making any money without health insurance/401(k)/general benefits while working 40-plus hours a week. It was fun, but the drama was also too much."


    8. "My third (and last) serving job was at a chain restaurant a few summers back, and I was working an unpaid internship at the same time. Every month I got my schedule from the internship and gave it to my bosses, and they tried to fire me because I worked with the internship for 4th of July instead of them. They claimed I never told them I couldn't work that day."


    9. "I had already been exhausted by my work schedule, which barely gave me two days off per month. So when I ended up with an entire tray of drinks (red wine to be exact) spilled on me, I decided I had had enough."

    A broken red wine glass on the floor
    Sami Sert / Getty Images

    10. "I worked in the industry for 15-plus years ... The final straw, after feeling slighted by a newer server being promoted over me, was a manager telling me at the end of a hectic 6- to 7-hour shift that I wasn't allowed to bring snacks in anymore. I looked for and found an office job soon after and worked my way out of the industry entirely about three years later."


    11. "What made me quit the job after such a short period (two weeks) was a woman who freaked out on me (a server) because the pizza slices were not evenly cut. She was SO mad. I actually told her that there are people starving all over the world and she should be thankful she lives in a country where she can go out to eat at any time. I finished out that shift and just never went back."


    12. "The straw that broke my back was when I would come home covered in food every night because customers thought it was appropriate to throw food at me to either get my attention or to yell at me that their order was wrong or cold."


    13. "What broke me? It was a shift change, and the bartender (female) was leaving and I was coming on (male). I went to serve a gentleman at the bar who proceeded to say, 'Her tits are better than yours,' to which I replied, 'You’re a fucking asshole.' I am very well mannered at work and am not the type to explode and cause a scene when quitting. When I said those words out loud to a person's face, I knew it was time to get out."

    A bartender yelling at a customer
    Narvikk / Getty Images

    14. "I was about halfway into a Sunday afternoon shift, and I felt extremely nauseous — turns out I was coming down with the flu. I found someone who was willing to stay and finish out the rest of my shift, and then told my manager I was going to leave. She demanded that I have a doctor's note before my next shift, aka 6 a.m. that next day (Monday). I said there were no doctors available to see me. ... She was PISSED and said that if I showed up without a note, I was fired. I clocked out right after she said that and immediately sent notice of my resignation as soon as I got to my car."


    15. "I got sober. Not just dry January, but honest to god, I realized I was going to die if I didn't stop drinking. I realized in the quiet that working in restaurants was one of the most mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive situations I had been in. Granted, I had a lot of fucking fun, but when the booze wore off I had nothing left."


    16. "After graduating from culinary school, I got a job as a sous-chef at an Italian bistro. It was definitely a wake-up call because I wasn’t prepared for how challenging it was. The head chef and I barely got along. One night, he was so mad that he threw a pan at me when I was standing next to the dish pit. I didn’t last too long after that. I found a better paying job, thank goodness!


    17. "I called it quits when another server was vomiting in the bathroom and they wouldn’t let her go home. I told them to cash me out — I was done. I never went back!"

    A server looking stressed out in a kitchen while grabbing plates
    Kali9 / Getty Images

    18. "During college and the year after, I was a server. I had some times where I couldn't work due to injuries. During the times where I couldn't serve, I was much happier. I began hoping for injuries, which is messed up because injuries obviously suck. That's when I realized I needed to get out of the industry."


    19. And finally, "My mental health was destroyed from years of trying to be perfect under high levels of stress and pressure. I was tired of being called a 'bitch' or 'aggressive' just because I am female. The final straw was that the restaurant I was working at burned down during the pandemic. I took it as a sign from the universe."


    Note: Some submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

    Are you a former restaurant worker? If so, what made you finally decide to quit the industry? Tell us in the comments for a chance to be featured in a BuzzFeed Community post.