Working in food service can be very physically and mentally taxing. Even though the work is tough, it is often very underappreciated. Though many customers are generous and kind, other can be nasty, demanding, and entitled.
1. "I worked at McDonald’s in college. We HAD to pick up part of Christmas Day, as no one was allowed to be off. A customer screamed at me and told me I was ruining her Christmas because we were out of peppermint mocha coffee. Her husband said they would take regular mochas instead, but when I handed it to her, she cried and poured it on my counter saying it wasn’t fair, then walked off."
2. "I worked in a busy café/lunch counter with no table service. You waited at the counter for your number to be called, then sat down wherever you wanted. We had two old biddies who came in every single day, placed their orders, then sat down immediately. Their food would be at the counter, ready and waiting, numbers called, and nothing. Every day these two would come up to the counter 20 minutes later and complain they never got their food. They would berate the staff and insult us, all while their food was just dying on the counter. We explained to them every day that we do not have table service. They complained to the managers and wrote shitty reviews, but they still came in and expected table service. Did I mention it was EVERY DAY??? I'm so glad I quit. Legend has it, they are still at it, LOL."
3. "I was a barista at a well-known coffee chain. I was working a closing shift and (as usual, due to our proximity to the local university) we had a line of regulars to the door around 9:00 p.m. We only had a few pastries left in our bakery case because it was the end of the day. One regular ordered the last almond croissant. As I was about to hand the plate to him, another regular yelled that HE should get the last croissant. When I apologized and let him know that unfortunately the other guy had ordered the last one, this man LUNGED across and over the counter to try to grab the plate out of my hand. He grabbed my arm and tried to pull the plate away from me. I stood my ground and gave it to the guy who ordered it."
"My manager made the angry man apologize for basically assaulting me over a pastry, but it was obviously insincere. The 'attacker' never stopped coming in to order his tea and croissant, but I refused to serve him after that."
4. "When I was a day manager at a bar, a group of people from one of the offices nearby would come in once a week or so for lunch, order off-menu, expect special treatment because they were 'regulars,' and tip no more than 10% every time. Once, I put a plate of nachos down on the table and one of the women looked at me and said, 'Oh no, you know better than that,' and handed it back to me. She wanted the nachos cooked more. I walked to the back with the nachos and told the other server I wouldn't be serving them ever again."
5. "I'm a manager at a popular 'breastaurant.' One night, we had a wait list of 12 separate parties when I had a party of four ladies come in and ask to be seated right away. My hostess offered to put their name on the list and said the wait time was around an hour. The party did not want to wait and started to curse the hostess out, calling her names and becoming increasingly hard to deal with. When I came to the host stand to see what the fuss was about, one woman proceeded to threaten my hostess for communicating the problem to me. Mind you, this conversation was taking place in a quiet corner. Once the guest continued to berate her, I asked them to leave."
"At this point, the guest and her other three friends started to surround me, and the whole thing ended with me being jumped by two of the women, while other guests stopped the remaining women from joining in. At least my company gave me four free therapy sessions to deal with the trauma. Sometimes I wonder if it's worth it, but yeah, I'm still here, lol."
6. "I had a woman ask for a vodka soda, salted rim, with a 'whole lemon squeezed.' I wasn't sure what that meant, so I asked, 'Do you want a lemon wedge with the drink, or a lemon wedge actually squeezed into the drink?' She said she wanted an entire lemon squeezed into her drink. I told her we had fresh-squeezed lemon juice, but that was unacceptable to her. So, I went to the walk-in, dug out a whole lemon, found a knife and cutting board (all of this during a Friday night rush while we were critically understaffed ), obtained the citrus juicer from the pantry chef, squeezed the juice into a strainer, poured it into her glass, etc. She had the nerve to order a second one!"
7. "I worked at a sports bar where we wore jean shorts and a tank top. Two older men sat at a booth, which was about hip height. When I greeted them and asked if I could get them anything, one grabbed my thigh with both hands and exuberantly asked, 'Are these on the menu?!' I walked away and made my manager (bless his soul) wait on them for the rest of their meal."
8. "I will never forget the guy who demanded I make him sweet tea. I know a lot of restaurants have sweet tea already brewed, but we weren't one of them. He told me he knew the bar had simple syrup, so I should take my ass back there, pour it in his tea, and mix it up. I actually did it for him, but it wasn't sweet enough. His daughter, maybe 10 or 11, said, 'Don't be mean, daddy. Some people are just slow. She can't help it.' I would love to say I got my revenge or had some great parting line, but I just dropped the syrup and their check off and didn't go back again."
9. "I worked at a movie theater concession stand. It was a big opening weekend for one of the Iron Man movies, and a lot of people showed up. Both of our Icee machines overheated pretty quickly, and no one could fix them with the crowds. An upset woman with four kids chanting, 'Icee! Icee!' got to the front of my line. When I informed her that our machines were both out, she replied, 'Well, just go down to the gas station and bring me back four Icees.' I thought she was joking. She was not. She literally wanted me to go to the gas station for her and buy Icees for her kids. I politely let her know that I couldn't possibly do that, so she had me call my manager over and complained that I 'wasn't going above and beyond.' My manager sent me on a break, comped something for the lady, and sent her on her merry way."
10. "I used to worked at a Leagues Club where the main clientele were elderly people. They were honestly some of the most difficult people I have ever had to serve. They were very picky with their food and short-tempered. One of the worst times was when another staff member accidentally spilt coffee near a table. I was walking over that way and saw it happen, so I offered to wipe it up for her while she remade the coffee. I bent down to wipe the floor, and the man sitting there stuck his shoes out for me to wipe clean."
11. "I was tending bar for a private event in our restaurant when a customer ordered prosecco. I informed her that prosecco wasn’t included in their drink package, but I’d be happen to provide it if they’d like to start a separate tab. Five minutes later, her daughter went to my boss and told him, 'My mother ordered prosecco and the bartender told her to go fuck herself.' Zero hesitation or shame in making up something like that just to get me fired."
12. "I was serving at a middle-class brewery in DC, and one time, a party of 12 with four kids (two sets of twins) came in without a reservation during our Saturday night rush and demanded to be seated immediately. After verbally harassing the hostess for 30 minutes and speaking to two managers — the general and the regional manager who just happened to be there that night — we got them seated. One of the alpha males of the group demanded that his twins would each get a filet steak from the kids menu. The only problem was that — our kids menu did not have steak. We (myself and both managers) all calmly explained this to the gentleman and suggested that he order the filet option off of the regular menu to split between the twins. He refused, claiming he shouldn't have to pay adult prices for his kids' food."
13. "I worked at a Vietnamese restaurant. A lady came in and asked for shrimp fried rice and General Tso's chicken. I told her we weren't a Chinese restaurant and asked her nicely to review the menu for our offerings. She went on a rant about how we should be able to accommodate, and 'all Asian food tasted the same.' She went on for a good five minutes. Unfortunately, the boss and manager were not in and I was manning the front by myself. The chef came out and yelled at her. She ended up throwing a bunch of bottles of Sriracha and other condiments on the floor before leaving."
14. "I worked at a Panera in an upper-middle class city, and almost every customer would walk in and start their order by saying, 'So I need blah blah blah,' and not even say hello or acknowledge my greeting. Also, some customers knew of our unofficial-official policy that if something was wrong with their order (missing ingredient, wrong size, etc.), they could tell an employee and get a replacement item for free, even after they started eating it. One lady literally yelled, 'SCORE! Another free meal!' as I was walking back to the kitchen."
15. "I used to work at a local breakfast diner. It was in a very wealthy, small, country town. I had a group of four people around 18 years olds come in. For the most part, three of them were very nice, but this one chick, obviously very rich and spoiled, complained about everything. She even made me turn up the heat three times, then yelled across the restaurant that I wasn't really turning it up, even though I clearly was. Even the table next to me could see I was doing it. When it came time to pay her bill, she refused. I worked in a privately owned restaurant — there was no manager and the owner hadn't gotten in yet. So, all of her friends paid their bills and she walked out."
"Well, seeing as it was a small town, a couple at another table happened to know her parents. One hour later, the owner called the cops and showed them everything that happened, as it was on the security camera. By the end of the day, they had contacted her parents and made her come back up to the restaurant and pay. She was not happy, but the joy I got from watching her walk back in and pay was priceless!"
16. "In college, I worked at a sit-down chain restaurant. There was a convention in town where the participants dressed in costumes and played D&D all day. I was waiting on a group of them, and one man in particular was going a little far with his character. He grabbed my arm and made chomping noises at me and said he wanted a side of me with his burger. He got closer and I ripped my arm away, convinced he would have actually bitten me if I hadn't. I told my manager I was done with their table, and he graciously took over waiting on them. When they asked what happened to their waitress, my manager replied that I was not going to wait on them anymore since someone tried to bite me and I was being grabbed. The man was upset and made a comment like, 'If she couldn't handle it, then you should have given us a male waiter,' which is exactly what happened when my manager took over for me."
17. "I got a table of 20, along with my usual tables. Everything was going fine; they weren’t engaging with me, which honestly made my life easier. At the end of the night, the 'Karen' couple of the party asked for a military discount. Since everyone in the party of 20 was paying separately, I ran the discount on just their tab alone. Turns out they wanted the military discount for every single check in their party. My manager, being desperately afraid of confrontation, did it for them, even though they absolutely don’t provide military discounts to anyone."
"Also, apparently they submitted a Yelp review and a complaint to the general manager, and called repeatedly to complain that I didn’t put this military discount on their friends' tabs. I’m from a military background, and this 'Karen Military Spouse' gives spouses of military members a bad name."
18. "I work at a restaurant that will bring you complimentary bread, but only upon request. Throughout the pandemic, we've had issues receiving certain items from our distributors, which ultimately led to us being out of free bread for a bit. A woman left us a glowing review on Yelp because of this, asking 'what we were going to do to compensate her.' She said, 'They didn't bring me a free appetizer or anything to apologize.'"
19. "I was waiting tables to get through college. I worked at a health food cafe with a lot of clientele who had severe food intolerances and allergies. They were VERY nervous (rightly so) and VERY fussy (less rightly so). One day, I brought a salad with a side of hummus to this old woman. She called me back and said that the hummus smelled weird and asked when it was made. I confirmed that it had been made that morning. She then insisted that I smell it, and shoved the cup of hummus up to my nose. I had hummus all over my face."
20. "We had a man who would come in multiple times every week. We were cafeteria-style (which he obviously knew), but he would stand wherever he liked — not in line — and just shout his order to my boss, regardless of how many people were currently in line and being served. This was usually after he had paced back and forth in front of the menu for at least 10 minutes, making everyone else uncomfortable. He ordered the same damn thing every time! He would always order items in a hyper-specific way (ways we didn’t offer on the menu), stay for HOURS (sometimes demanding more food from his seat), and would sometimes start conversations with families sitting near him. He wouldn’t let them stop talking to him once they started."
21. "Right after college, I worked as a line cook at a restaurant that was pretty well known in the area for our tacos and burritos. Every other week, we'd have a small group of businesswomen come in for lunch together. Three of them were always really nice, but one was not. She was one of the most difficult customers I've ever had. Our fish tacos could come fried or grilled, and every single time, she would order the fried fish tacos and then complain about how they were crispy, crunchy, and battered on the outside, and how she just wanted the fish. It said so on the menu, but we would always explain that the fried fish tacos were battered and fried, and therefore, crispy and crunchy. If she just wanted the fish, then we could make her grilled fish tacos. She would then berate whoever her server was and demand to speak to a manager or cook, because we had obviously made a mistake and she did not want grilled fish tacos."
"Inevitably I would have to come out from the kitchen and go through the whole process with her again, while having her yell in my face and scream things like, 'How hard is your job?!' I'd explain it to her again, apologize for 'our' mistake, and tell her I'd remake her order. Her three friends were always embarrassed and just tried to hide behind their menus or look away. Then I'd go back into the kitchen, make her grilled fish tacos, take them out to her, and she'd say something along the lines of, 'See?! Now how hard was that?' Damn, lady!"
22. Finally: "I had a middle-aged, very well-dressed woman get so upset that we were sold out of the salmon, she not only refused to eat anything while her party of six all had dinner, she also left me a super dramatic note on the back of her husband's receipt. We had a really great menu, including a few other seafood items, but she just sat there and pouted the entire evening. It was like she thought I was personally keeping the salmon from her. She even included in the note she left: 'I hope you're happy that I'm going home hungry tonight!' We hung the note on the bulletin board in the server station and laughed about it for months."
Oh my god, who are these people?!? Please, have some manners! No matter what your job is, have you ever had to deal with a rude or entitled customer before? Tell us about it in the comments so we can all commiserate together!
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.