1. Mother forces kids to drink Diet Coke instead of water.
You hear a lot of things and I try not to judge but the two that just stick out in my mind the most are:
1. The first (please note that’s the first) time a mother handed me her child’s bottle and asked me to fill it with Coke.
2. A table of three, mom and her two kids, about maybe 7 and 5. She’s ignoring me on her phone not paying attention to anything. Kids are super polite and I ask what they’d like to drink and the little girl says “can we have some water please in the fun cups!” and the mother puts her phone down snaps at that child and I swear almost grabs her and says ‘No, you’ll have a diet coke, get them a diet coke”. “But mom we’re thirsty” “Shut it”. Kids just wanted some water. I don’t understand people.
Mostly overseen rather than overheard, but this is one of my favorites from the bar I work at.
So I work at a neighborhood bar in a nice area of a big city. Sports bar, lots of regulars, mostly successful people in their late-twenties to mid-thirties. There is one couple that comes in about three times a week. They were planning their wedding at the time and it was about six months before the big day when they came in for a drink. About two hours after they left, the guy comes back in completely hammered. With another guy.
They are talking very close to one another, and we can kind of hear him telling the other guy that he was going to leave his fiancée for him, but it was all slurred together so I don’t know exactly what was said. Then they start making out. At the bar. On a slow Tuesday. He came in two days later with his fiancée like nothing happened, so I’m assuming he doesn’t remember. I hadn’t seen them in a while but they turned up a few months ago for bingo night and to celebrate their one-month wedding anniversary.
Once I was stood right behind a table of three ladies, just about to collect some glasses, when one said to the other two…
‘So both of you have tasted his cum?’
They then noticed me, all went bright red and apologised with heads down.
I hurried away and told the rest of the staff immediately….
4. “Um, can you turn down the music so we can watch a movie on my laptop?”
So the wine bar is attached to the sports bar; same kitchen and chef but a separate space. Usually there is only one person working in the wine bar side so I tend to eavesdrop when I’m bored. One night a couple came in and headed towards the most romantic spot in the place: the couch next to the fireplace. I hear them talk about the usual stuff, like what they do for a living, do they have siblings, blah blah blah.
After the usual first date stuff, the guy busts out a laptop and asks me to turn the music down so him and his date can watch a movie. In a bar. In public. Whatever, it was a slow night and I wanted to see where this went. They get super close and cuddly and eventually start making out. The movie ends, the girls goes to the bathroom and the guy makes a phone call. I hear him telling the person on the line that “he’s still stuck at work” and “tell the kids goodnight for me” and “I love you too sweetie”.
A group of four very elderly women used to come into my restaurant. Must have been early 70s, late 60s at least. They would come in and sit around for a couple hours, chatting and drinking tea. They were always super nice, and left a big tip for me each time.
One day I was cleaning a table near them and I overheard them talking about me. I swear, the filth that was coming out of one of their mouths was incredible. I was shocked. This sweet old lady, who was so polite, talking about me bending her over the table right there and reminding her what it was to be a woman. How she could teach he things I’d never imagined. I was shocked. Such sweet, innocent seeming ladies, with their minds only on one thing. Explains why the tips were always so good. Couldn’t look at any of them the same again.
I know women get it tough from guys in these situations, but I never imagined it happening in reverse, at least not with old ladies.
Two guys sitting at my bar top, looking shady as fuck, decided they were going to scout for the ladies. Now if you’ve worked in a continuously loud environment, you know that people will say anything when they think you can’t hear them. Man, that was fucking stupid. “What about the blonde with the blue dress?” “Nah, I was thinking of that one.” He pointed to a smaller, more fragile looking brunette sitting by herself. They get quiet for a bit before the first guy asks “Are you sure you wanna do this?” The second guy, “That’s what she gets for dressing like a whore. Let’s hope she parked in the back.”
I said “fuck that” and called the police. They were asked to leave and one of the officers offered to follow the girl home.
7. Nice mustache!
A waitress at our restaurant, a wealthy but crazy 45 year old divorcee, was written up four times for saying obscene things to guests. The last straw: she gave a plate of food to a man at the bar with a huge mustache and said, “Nice mustache, I’d like to sit on your face!” and carried on back to kitchen as if she’d said nothing at all.
8. “They all died.”
There was this group of four elderly women who would come into my family’s restaurant once a month. One month, one of them came by herself. I asked “Hi Edith! Where are all of your friends?”
“They all died.” And she broke into tears.
I felt like shit the rest of the night.
I had a table of middle aged women sitting outside with a small Yorkie dog. To be nice, I filled a small bowl of water and brought it to the dog. As I was walking away the ladies start giggling, the owner of the dog dumped the bowl into the bushes and re filled it with bottled water. “She Can only drink Aquafina”, she explained to her friends.
10. Overheard at Waffle House…
Waffle House waitress for four years in high school… I saw and heard so much shit. I honestly got used to old truckers asking me if I wanted to make an “extra tip” in the parking lot at the grand ol’ age of 16. But the one time I literally had to say “what the fuck” I didn’t even understand the conversation. Two Latino couples were sharing a booth and seemed to be having a good time. I don’t speak Spanish but nothing in their tone made it seem unusual. Out of nowhere one of the husbands grabs his wife by the back of her hair, slams her face into the table, and just goes about his conversation. He didn’t even look at her. She wiped her face off and just went back to talking and listening. No one batted an eye at the table. I delivered their food a few minutes later and all four of them seemed like nothing out of the ordinary had happened. I’ve called out dozens of customers in my day (you can say whatever the hell you want as a WF waitress, not exactly a classy joint) but I had NO idea how to respond that scenario.
11. A guy’s wife and mistress set him up
I waited tables/tended bar in the late ’80s (The Village Inn, Coconut Grove FL), after college. Two ladies sat down at a table in my section, I greeted them and got them water. A man showed up and instantly turned pale. Turns out it was his wife and his girlfriend and they had found about each other and set him up. He had his head in his hands the whole time. I didn’t hear a lot of what they were saying, but the pieces I did hear were unpleasant.
12. “Can you split the check, please?”
I once waited on a couple that broke up while I was waiting on them. They came separately. The wife showed up first. She was very chipper and friendly and I grabbed her a water while she was waiting on her husband. The husband showed up like ten minutes later.
When I went to the table to grab his drink I could hear her saying “What’s wrong? What’s your deal? Just talk to me.” While I was waiting at the bar for his drink one of the hosts ran up to me and said “hey I think your table is breaking up” I look up to the corner where they are sitting and the wife is sobbing.
Now what do I do? I have to bring him his drink even though surely they aren’t going to stay and eat now right? Wrong! I brought him his drink, when I set it down in front of him, expecting him to tell me thanks but no thank we are leaving, he says “Do you know what you want?” through her tears she says “Yes” and orders. WTF I have to wait on these people now.
I then have one of the most awkward tables of my life. Having to keep up my peppy attitude and fake smiles while this poor woman’s life is crashing down. When it was all over and I set the bill down in front of the husband. I figure he would at least be kind enough to pay the bill. Alas, he pushed it back to me and said “Can you separate this, please?”
It was the last table of my last shift of my last day at this place. Two-top, man and a woman, both pretty attractive and looking extremely happy to be out on a date together.
The meal goes smoothly. They ask for the check. I bring it. Upon returning to grab their credit card, I ask if they’d like me to box up their leftovers. He says sure. And just as I’m leaning in to grab her plate of pasta she looks him dead in the eye while holding his hand and says “I’m pregnant.”
I freeze a bit, then silently carry their plates back to the kitchen. I was so shocked that I went on auto-pilot mode and threw their leftovers away. The guy was NOT very hungry after that, though.
14. “Tell her what you are.”
I was serving a mid 60s man who kind of looked like Mr. Monopoly and two matriarchal looking ladies of the same age bracket. They were very friendly and asked me some questions about school, where I was from originally, etc. Later I am passing by their table and I hear the gentlemen turn to one of the ladies and say “Tell her what you are. You’re a cock tease.” She then informed the other lady she was indeed a cock tease.
15. “I come here so I don’t commit suicide.”
I don’t really wait tables, but I do scoop ice cream and bring it out to customers. Anyway, we have a regular who we all assume fought in Vietnam. He looks as if he fits in the age group and is always wearing camo pants and jacket. Not to mention he’s referenced “the war” a few times. The whole point is, we can tell he’s not quite right in the head and we assume it’s because if his participation in Vietnam. One day as I go to bring him his ice cream (this was his second time that day) I jokingly tell him “Twice in one day? I know our ice creams good but it can’t be that good right?” And just out if no where, he replies. “Well it helps keep the suicidal thoughts away”. I then refunded his money and told him how much life was worth living.
After that, whenever I see him, I make sure to talk to him for longer than a normal conversation would go. I know this may sound really really cheesy, but I hope he knows he’s got at least one friend.
16. “Well maybe if you hadn’t boned our sons girlfriend and gotten her pregnant…
I waited tables at the Olive Garden 10 years ago. Not really fucked up as much as it was funny. A guy and his wife sat down at a table and immediately started arguing. Something about his affair and how a baby from it was costing them money. Finally it culminated as I was bringing out their salad. As I walked away I heard the wife say
“Well maybe if you hadn’t boned our sons girlfriend and gotten her pregnant, we could afford to eat somewhere nicer than the fucking Olive Garden. Oh look, the highlight of my meals, unlimited.fucking.bagged salad. Maybe you could save up and we could go to Joe’s Crab Shack for our anniversary. Asshole.”
17. “Oh god here we go.”
Oh god I forgot this one:
I was waiting on a table of a big family. 7 of them, three kids, mom and dad, and grandma and grandpa. Grandma was your typical OLD OLD OLD grandma. In a wheelchair with a blanket over her legs, looked like one of those apple dolls, spoke in a whisper.
She sees my tattoos, grabs me with her bony hand, and says “you know dear….. I have a tattoo too……” and her husband says “Grace, leave her alone, she’s working” I’m curious, I’m nosy, so I say “Oh really, of what?” Grandpa rolls his eyes and goes “here we go…”.
Grandma says “It’s … a tiny … little … mouse” using the best of her ancient breath to get the words out. “would you like to see it?”. Um hell yeah I wanna see a 90 year old’s tattoo! She goes “it’s on my hip, hold on” and pulls her blanket off and then starts trying to pull her skirt down. Her old lady flesh is totally exposed to the sun (we were on a patio) and I’m using menus to try to shield her, I was that worried it would just burst to flames or something. She keeps pulling at her clothes going “hmmm now where is it, where is it…” getting dangerously close to seeing old lady pubes now.
Finally she looks up at me and say “Well, you know what… It’s gone! I bet my pussy ate it.”
18. Extremely rude customers.
This is my boss’s story when she used to work at a fast food joint. The cashier was a girl and had a short pixie hair cut. There was a group of jehovah’s witnesses that came in and insisted to my manager that they get a different cashier because they dont want any “dykes” serving them. The girl was recovering from cancer and has been regrowing her hair. They were immediately kicked out. Thats one of the rudest things I’ve heard.
I didn’t “overhear” it per se, but there was a big family dinner, maybe like 10 or 15 people at a restaurant I worked at, and a father (50s, 60s?) and his daughter (definitely early 20s) were passing dirty notes to each other the whole night. I noticed the discreet note passing, but didn’t know what they said until everyone had left and the father had definitely left some of them behind under his chair.
CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: Send your WORST customer service story to firstname.lastname@example.org.