Do not anger the people who are in charge of your food. Let’s repeat that so even those in the back hear it: do not anger the people who are in charge of your food. Food service employees are human beings and deserve the respect of their customers. Unfortunately, some customers are so rude that they end up practically begging to be given a taste of their medicine.
The restaurant workers of Reddit opened up about the very worst things that they’ve seen done to a customer’s order in a surprisingly honest thread. From waiters and cooks doing horrible things to the food to get their revenge to tales of awful fails on the employee’s part. There’s also a story about pickles being added to random burgers.
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Read on for some saucy restaurant gossip and don’t forget to upvote the stories that left the biggest impression on you, dear Pandas. Oh, and if you’ve ever worked in the food service industry, we’d love to hear about the best and worst things you’ve witnessed. Tell us all about it in the comments.
At my last restaurant job, my coworker would make very ugly sundaes for customers who were rude. For particularly nice customers, she would painstakingly recreate the sundaes in the menu pictures and give them extra cream and sprinkles.
Image credits: Disobedient_Bathing
Redditor u/RegulatoryCapturedMe’s thread on r/AskReddit drew in a large crowd and ended up getting over 33.5k upvotes. The stories were as insightful as they were entertaining, and odds are that they’re bound to make some customers reconsider how they treat waiters and cooks from now on. On the flip side, it’s also a wake-up call for anyone who messes with customers’ food for no good reason.
Before you start putting random things into the meal to mess with a rude customer, remember that this might end up hurting more than just their pride. Food allergies are a very real, very dangerous thing. And they’re becoming more frequent. Restaurant staff need to be aware of any potential allergies that customers might have, as well as understand that sticking a dirty finger into someone’s dinner can cause anaphylactic shock if the person is allergic to nuts. They also need to reduce the possibility of cross-contamination between ingredients.
Bored Panda reached out to food expert, pie artist, and author Jessica Leigh Clark-Bojin for her take on how to best deal with this danger as a customer and what to do to protect your health when dining out.
It’s not really bad but still makes me chuckle thinking back. My first job in highschool was at a fast food franchise in a very small town where you would know many of the people that came through.
Whenever a girl came through that this particular female coworker didn’t like she would do whatever she could to increase the caloric count of the order. If the item had mayo she’d say put extra mayo. If the order had fries, put extra fries, larger soda/ice cream, extra cheese, etc in an attempt to make them just as little bit fatter out of spite – it was hilarious to witness this ritual.
Cindy, if you’re out there I hope you’re doing well.
Image credits: flexibledoor64
Worked in restaurants for over 10 years. It’s pretty rare that you see people mess with someone’a food but it does happen occasionally. The most memorable was once when a customer made a waitress cry complaining about their food and sent it back. The chef farted on the remake. It got a lot of laughs.
More common is if a customer is an a**hole, when they order dessert, you find the smallest slice of cheesecake you can.
Image credits: TannedCroissant
Food expert Jessica stressed that there’s never a 0% risk when dining out if you have life-threatening allergies to certain foods. She stressed that the burden of responsibility can’t fall just on the restaurant if something happens, even if the customer is very transparent in communicating with the staff about their allergies. There are simply too many moving parts to control everything, and cross-contamination is a real possibility even if everyone’s a professional.
“Most restaurants will do their best to accommodate guests with specific dietary requests, but for certain life-threatening allergies, it’s not always possible due to the possibility of cross-contamination,” Jessica told Bored Panda.
There are vast differences in food allergies. While some might make you feel uncomfortable for a time, others are a very real danger to your life.
This isn’t really bad, but a lot of the times when people send food back and there’s clearly nothing wrong with it, the chefs will just rearrange the food on the plate, wait a minute or two and then send it out to the table.
The funniest part is when the customer says that its better.
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I had a buddy at mcdonalds, a real chaotic type, who every once and a while would say “oh hey, guess what time it is… PICKLE SURPRISE!” and put a whole handful of pickles on a random cheeseburger.
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I didn’t tamper with food but if you were an a$$hole I would spill water on you. Had a couple of people who came in 3-4 days a week, were nasty mean and never tipped. Every single server they had spilled a pitcher of water on them over a two week period every time they came in. They finally got the hint. Don’t be mean to people trying to do their (stressful )job. Don’t want to tip? At least be kind.
“If you are lactose-intolerant and would like the restaurant to hold the cream sauce on your pasta, that’s likely no problem. If on the other hand, you have a deadly peanut allergy and would like the restaurant to hold the peanut sauce on your chicken satay, well, that’s another story,” the food expert told us.
“The kitchen can’t guarantee that trace amounts of the allergen will not make its way to your plate, and they (understandably) don’t want to be responsible for your anaphylaxis!” she said.
“If your allergies are so severe that they will cause you to have a spectacularly bad time should you come in contact with your triggers, it’s best if you stick to restaurants that have kitchens and menus which already exclude those items,” she explained to Bored Panda that customers with serious allergies need to do thorough research about the restaurant before eating there. If there’s not enough information on the menu, giving the restaurant a call or heading there in person to have an open and honest chat might help.
The worst thing i did was to this one guy that I already didn’t like and he was being kind of an a**hole, I overcooked his eggs.
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One time I ordered a liter of cola and the kid working the register secretly poked a hole in the cup.
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Many many years ago when I was barista if someone was exceptionally rude I’d make their drink with decaf.
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Meanwhile, the very best thing that customers can do to prevent restaurant staff from sticking fingers in their food or (God forbid!) overcooking their eggs is to be nice. Be polite. Be gentle. Be witty. You’re dealing with human beings after all. Everyone makes mistakes, and some staff are trainees. And you can’t expect to be treated with a smile like a king if you act like an angry troll living under a bridge.
Bored Panda previously spoke to a server working at a fancy restaurant about her work. She explained to us what leaves a good impression on the staff.
“That huge musician Seal was in our restaurant once and he could not have been nicer. Tipped well, made friendly, genuine, conversation with the staff, just radiated kindness. It was really an encounter I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” she said.
Wanted extra mayo so I maliciously complied by drenching it. Lady thought I would forget her fake $10 prayer tip the last time she was there.
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I’ve never f**ked with anyone’s food because thats gross
I did however throw someone’s credit card away after she mistakenly left it behind. Maybe she shouldn’t have stiffed me and been a b***h the whole evening
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Some Indian guys came in one time and asked for us to make thier food as spicy as possible. I told them that’s going to be extremely spicy and wanted to make sure they knew what they were asking for. They went on a long rant about how Indian restaurants are the only places that actual know what spicy is and anything we bring out isn’t going to be close to how spicy they like their food. So I had the owner come over to tell them that we’ll try our best but there won’t be any refund on this food if it’s too spicy. So we made them chicken fried rice with Trinidad scorpion peppers. After 2 bites and about 10 glasses of soy milk later, they ordered something else.
Image credits: MrCanno
Not all customers are as nice, however. Some have physically threatened and even attacked staff members. “Not just over masks and other safety requirements, either. It’s as though the stress of the last year has amped societal entitlement up to a new degree. I spend more time now soothing tantruming adults than I do running food,” she told Bored Panda.
“Just last night a customer followed me out to the parking lot and tried to take down my license plate because I charged him for extra ketchup, (as per our business policy, written on the menu,” the server told us.
“So, the biggest problem with being a server right now is, in short, that many people treat us as sub-human trash. Say hello, look us in the eye when you order, leave a tip, and don’t call us names or threaten us. Is it so much to ask?”
Tampering with food is not that common. I’ve been in the business a long time and only worked with one girl who spat in someone’s food. Another server saw her and she got reported and fired immediately.
The only other thing that sometimes happens is when people get cocky and ask for extremely spicy food the kitchen staff turns into evil geniuses. A guy once asked me for wings so spicy that they would give a woman a miscarriage. I relayed those lovely instructions to the kitchen and I don’t know what they did but the sauce was burning my nose and making my eyes water as I carried it out. He was not able to finish his wings.
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Worked at a high end steak house. The dirty secret is many of their streaks were frozen and thawed out at the restaurant. Honestly, this didn’t bother me. Anyway, that’s not the story.
So it was the last hour or so of the night. The cooks were getting steaks out for the next day to be thawed. One of the steaks fell on the ground. Of course this can’t be saved, but since it’s frozen and not hurting anything it’s just left to the can get to it. So for most of that last hour this filet mignon was being kicked around like a hockey puck. It was defrosting and starting to stick and honestly was gross, but shit had to get done and it would be cleaned up when then mopped the floor me
5 minutes before close this absolute a**hole of a woman comes in and demands she be seated and wants a filet. So of course she gets that filet. It’s picked up, washed off, and put in the rapid defroster (microwave) and then thrown on the grill till “done”.
Everyone just watched and tried to keep a straight face.
She left after drinking a bunch of wine and taking her own sweat time to finish, about 1.5 hours after close. She didn’t leave a tip. Paid cash, and literally paid with exact change.
Anyway, yeah, don’t piss off the cooks.
When I was a pizza delivery driver, when habitual non-tippers ordered I wouldn’t cut their pizza all the way through.
Image credits: Diet_Coke
At the core of being a good server, according to the professional, is making sure that everyone leaves the meal having had a nice and memorable time.
“I’m always on the lookout for anything extra I can do to make the night special for our guests. If I overhear a birthday mentioned, we bring out a piece of cake. If someone comes in wearing a Dolphins jersey, we’ll turn on that game if they’re playing. We take pride in our work,” she told us.
She also urged customers that see servers being mistreated at other tables to consider stepping in or saying something. Especially if the servers being mistreated are young.
We would call that the “B***h Tax”.
You’re a b***h? You receive a 3/4 portion
You’re a b***h? Have fun with your practically virgin drink
We would never mess with their food, but if you were over-the-top rude then you get less food.
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Friend used to work at a small local grocery store, and apparently the owner would open a bag of chips, eat a handful, use a coffee hot plate to reseal the bag, and put it back on the shelf.
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Guy was being an a**hole at the drive thru, so I gave him no onions instead of extra onions
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“The server may look unbothered, but that’s because it’s their job. ‘The customer is always right,’ is one of the only pieces of training many of us get. It is literally our job to be sure tables leave happy. We cannot argue with you. So, just because they’re smiling on the outside doesn’t mean they’re not offended, or even feeling unsafe, on the inside,” she said.
“If you’re not comfortable saying something to the abusive customer directly, just find a manager and quietly inform them of what’s going on, they’ll take it from there. A lot of servers are students who are too nervous about losing the job or looking unprofessional to ask for help. And, as someone eating in the restaurant rather than working there, your words will carry far more weight with the harasser than ours would anyways.”
I worked at a popular fast food chain in my younger years, it was my first time with closing shift and we were all doing our part to clean and prep the store.
I see this lady with a mop and bucket come out of the back, slop it on to the griddle and START MOPPING IT. I was appalled. I went and told the manager and she tells me well that’s the quickest way to clean it then scolded me for worrying about things that didn’t concern me.
I quit that job next day and then called the district office and told them what happened. That location closed down not long after. But the franchise still exists.
Saw a coworker throw a hot dog onto a greasy floor, step on it, throw it back on the grill and then serve it.
The customer was treating one of our waitresses like total garbage (continually hitting on and demeaning her.)
He did clean the grill and utensils after.
I was 14/15 and didn’t really see a problem at the time.
Image credits: Impster5453
One table were extremely racist to my colleague so I was given their table and they were so nice to me. So I overcooked their free brownie so it was burnt in some spots, put too much chocolate topping on their brownie so it was sickly sweet and very hard to eat
If they had complained I wouldn’t pleaded ignorant about burning it and would’ve said I was being nice with the extra topping
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If you are a b***h to baristas at Starbucks, you will get decaf espresso shots in your latte/cap/frap what ever. If you ordered tea, they will not shake it.
This is the way.
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I used to work in fast food … if you were a douche bag and you didn’t specify a meal or anything just ordering bits and pieces you bet I’m not going to offer cheaper packs with the same stuff! They got each and every individual item. Some guy once order some nuggets and chips and I gave him just that (approx $20) too bad if he was nice I would have offered a drink and saved him like $5 .
And vice versa some guy was having a party and ordering a whole heap of stuff but was such a nice dude I chucked it all into ‘meal deals’ and instead of it being $80-90 it was $50 (he gave me a good lil tip for that!)
Was over 10 years ago, I worked at a golf course restaurant, one of my female co-workers had some crude shit said to her by one of the old golfers. Something along the lines of “with an a** like that you shouldn’t be in the kitchen, you should be on the course serving us beers!” Then he ordered a ham sandwich on the turn to the back 9. She licked the f**k out of that ham before putting it on the sandwich, then wrapped it in saran wrap, punched it, and went out and handed it to him herself.
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I worked in a very well known fast food chain for a while. My favourite example of this actually involved nothing. The person who bought food had been rude to staff on multiple occasions. The person serving went to get their food, popped round the corner in a noticeable way, then returned having done nothing. He gave the food to him with a huge grin on his face and said “enjoy”. He then watched the person throw it in the bin when he went outside.
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One lady was complaining her soup was too cold. The cook gives it back so hot it actually burned her tongue
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I worked at a local italian ices shop with an outdoor serving window as a teen (waaay too many years ago) and naturally there were a ton of bees attracted to the sugar. Every window had a fly swatter and you would kill bees all day long. (This is gross). We used to keep the bee piles and it would be a competition to see who would have the biggest pile by the end of the day. One time one of the girls at the other window had someone order a milkshake that she apparently hated. She picked up a bunch of bees… off the floor pile….and mixed it into the shake. Looking back thats horrifying on so many levels.
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I worked for Applebee’s for 7 years, and not until my last year did I witness this act. One of the cooks would drop down to one pair of tongs for the grill station for closing. He used the same tongs for raw chicken, beef, seafood, and cooked food. He would swish the tongs in his sanitizing solution, that looked like soup since he never changed it, claiming that it was “good” after that. I called him out on it and he told me that he never told me how to cook, so I should let him be. I told management too and it was swept under the rug like everything else. I quit shortly after, but that was the only time I witnessed something f**king disgusting like that.
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I used to work at a local pizza restaurant in a town known for its pizza. The cook always carried around a dirty, stained brown rag he would use to wipe his hands and sweat off his face/ blow his nose into. On multiple occasions I’ve seen him let the rag touch the pizza while he was preparing it.
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Not not necessarily messing with food, but definitely with a drink. I watched a customer order a Diet Coke and my friend, a server, brought it out to him immediately. The customer then complained loudly that it was not Diet Coke (it was) and proceeded to make a scene that the server was lying to him. My friend went to the dish pit and scooped up some of the dirtiest water I’ve ever seen (used to soak dirty utensils before going in dishwasher), emptied the glass without washing, and refilled with Diet Coke again. Dude was probably drinking the germs of about 60+ people
I saw a waiter pour an orange juice, take a big swig with his lips on the rim, top it up then take it to the table.
Image credits: RegulatoryCapturedMe
Worked at a movie theatre for a while. Our pizzas came frozen in a large bag of many pizzas, so the contents sometimes got shifted around during shipping.
One dude was acting like it was the end of the world because he got there late, hungry, AND had to wait in line. He ordered a pepperoni pizza, so my coworker went to the freezer, pulled out a pizza with ONE slice of pepperoni on it, and tossed that sucker into the oven.
The guy eventually got a refund, but that must have felt good to see the reaction from him.
Image credits: ogonga
Not a restaurant but sometimes if a customer at my grocery store is being an a**hole I’ll put their bananas or bread on the bottom of the cart so they get squished
I know a guy that pissed in a bucket of pickles. He would have never been caught if he didn’t talk about it.
Edit: There were other things going on at that McDonald’s that helped ruin the reputation. It was also competing with another well managed restaurant in a town that never really had room for both of them. The guy I’m talking about was just one of the most immature teenagers I’ve known. The funny thing is that he’s married to my sister now and has a much better job than me. He slowly transformed into a responsible adult after having a child.
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Pour the whole tray of drinks over a guest – twice. International trade fair with students as waiters. First time was an accident, second time she was so nervous she was practically shaking and spilled the drinks again on the same guy.
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I worked at sonic. A lady complained and there was a wire bread tie in her burger. That still bugs me.
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Worked at Papa J’s. Had a customer complain about an “ice cold” pizza that was delivered, and she wanted another hot pizza AND her money back. The manager begrudgingly did what she asked. He even made her remake pizza himself. He also threw the dough on the ground and stomped it flat with his shoes then finished making it. That manager is no longer in the food biz, thankfully.
Served a smaller than usual bowl of soup is the best I can do.