Most people don’t need to be reminded to have good manners. Treating people with respect and kindness should be second nature, as we were all taught the “golden rule” at a young age. But even the most rude individuals usually know not to mess with people who are bringing them food, beverages or helping them make a purchase. Why even tempt someone to spit in your coffee or overcharge you for a flight? Yet somehow, there are still entitled people out there who play with fire and treat customer service employees poorly.
To bring to light all of these impolite customers and show how employees can retaliate against them, Darron Cardosa, or Officialtbw on TikTok, shared a video detailing one of his favorite ways to get back at rude customers and invited others to do the same. Below, you can read all of the best tactics workers have for dealing with disrespectful customers, as well as an interview we were lucky enough to receive from Marlon Joseph, host of The Modern Waiter podcast. Be sure to upvote your favorite revenge ideas, and then let us know in the comments if you have ever responded to a customer in a petty way. Then if you’re interested in learning even more ways employees retaliate against customers, you can check out Bored Panda‘s last piece on the same topic right here.
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So I don’t recall if it was 1998 or 1999, yes, it was a long time ago, but there was an Oscar De La Jolla fight and I was doing tech support at the Cox Communications, a local cable company. Someone called in really frantic saying, “Hey, I have a house full of people and all this food that I bought for the fight and it’s not working”. And I was like, “Sure, no problem. Let me go out and get it taken care of”. Did my little thing send a signal to the box. Everything came up. I hear a cheer in the background, “Oh, yeah, it’s on, it’s on its on”. So the guy on the phone was like, “Alright, man, it’s on, it’s on. What’s your name?”. When I say “Oh, my name is Javier”. He goes “Oh, thanks a lot, you f*****g spik”. So I immediately turned that fight off, refunded the money and put notes in the account so that nobody would turn the fight back on. I checked the next day and he called multiple times. Absolutely nobody turned that fight on. I win
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To get some insight from an expert on this topic, we reached out to Marlon Joseph, host of The Modern Waiter podcast. Marlon has been working as a server for 26 years and says he has loved it the whole time. He started this podcast to highlight that working in the service industry can certainly be a viable career and currently has recorded 196 episodes with his best friend and fellow industry veteran Danny Davila. “Rude guests unfortunately are a part of life when it comes down to it,” Marlon told Bored Panda. “As a server you must find ways to deal with it and even turn things around. Some days are easier than others.” Marlon says he even plans to record an episode on this same topic because there are so many ways to retaliate against customers.
“If a guest gets rude in a personal way I deal with it directly and tell them ‘I going to need you to be nice to me for me to continue’,” he says. “If they are being rude in an annoying way, I make them wait. They will wait for me to take their order. They will wait for their food. They will wait for their check. I may even tell them their credit card has declined if that person is paying. I may even tell them we ran out of an item even though we have it,” Marlon admitted.
So I used to work at a grocery store. And if you’ve ever worked at or been to a grocery store, you know that sometimes people pay with EBT. Snap, food stamps, because food costs money and people need help sometimes. Anyway, one such customer is in the store, and she’s paid for her food, she’s gonna go back and you have to bag it yourself. She’s bagging groceries over here. New customers in front of me. She’s paying for her stuff. She hands me her card as she does so she says loud enough for other people to hear her “I’ll be paying with my own money, because I have a job”. And I swipe her card. And in what I can only describe as an act of divine justice, the card gets declined. And normally I’m pretty delicate and quiet like, “Hey, your card got declined”, I don’t want to embarrass anybody. But this day, I was loud and proud, “Ma’am, your card has been declined”
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We asked Marlon if he thinks customers ever learn a lesson when they receive worse service due to their attitudes. “I do not think rude people are self-aware, especially if it is them being jerks. Most rude people in a restaurant are situationally on tilt. They may be hangry or had a bad day, so they use a measure of power to ease their aggravation. Unfortunately, a server may not want to give their best to a guest like that, and the result is bad service. Then the cycle of self-fulfilling prophecy begins.”
We also wanted to know what Marlon would like to say to any customers who feel entitled to be rude to wait staff. “My advice is the same advice I give to guests who do not tip: Do not go back to the same restaurant twice. Servers have bad days too.”
Lastly, Marlon added, “90 percent of the time a good server can recognize the attitude of an unsavory action of a guest and find a way to turn it. There is no excuse to be rude. I have had a guest tell me they wanted to punch me in the face. I leaned over the table and placed my fists down on the table and said, ‘I bet you wont’.” I bet they never came back to that restaurant!
If you’d like to hear more tales from Marlon’s experience as a waiter, be sure to check out his podcast right here.
Christmas Eve 2017 I am six months pregnant, waddling my fat a** around the store. And I’m trying to help this woman and it turns out we don’t have in stock what she wants and she just starts losing her f*****g s**t, because we’ve ruined her Christmas by not having the item in stock. We’d had it since September., she’d just waited till Christmas Eve to get it, but whatever. She even took digs at my unborn child, like what the f**k? After she left, we realized she’d left behind a bunch of shopping she’d done at other stores. And I could see her she was still just outside the store. I could have watered my fat pregnant a** that she just insulted out to go give her bags back. But I didn’t. Instead I took them to center management that were closing in five minutes time, which means whatever was in those bags, she didn’t get back until Boxing Day. You want to accuse me of ruining Christmas I’ll do it properly, b***h
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If you have ever worked a customer service job, you know that they are not easy. Customers come in every day with ridiculous demands or unreasonable expectations, and they are often under the impression that they are right solely because they are the customer. “Oh, you don’t have my size in stock? Let me speak to your manager!” Or, “This doesn’t taste right. I’m sending it back, and I’m not paying for it!” You know the type. And while most of us are well aware that this behavior is embarrassing and disrespectful, some entitled individuals never seem to learn. So there is nothing wrong with giving them cold, hard butter or an ugly burger if you, the employee, have had to deal with insults and sass for the duration of someone’s visit.
So what gives people the nerve to act this way when in a restaurant or retail store? Didn’t their parents ever teach them manners? Well, according to Melanie Morrison, a psychology professor at the University of Saskatchewan, there are three possible reasons behind an entitled customer’s rude behavior. The first being that they may want social dominance. These people usually work high up in an organization and have employees below them and continue to act like a superior everywhere they go. “There’s still that belief that they have a socially dominant position, they have more power over this individual and they’ll treat them in a demeaning way because of that,” Melanie told CBC Canada.
So I worked for Starbucks for about seven years before I finally left. And if someone was really, really rude to me, I would do a very minor thing to make their beverage so much better. Like with a frappuccino, I blend it with cold brew, or other little tips and tricks like to give them a better-tasting drink. Because the next time they go to order their beverage, they’re going to order it the exact same way and they will never get a drink as good as they did that one time. They will not know what was wrong with it. They will not know what the difference was, and they will never be able to have a drink that tastes that good ever again. And that makes me satisfied.
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The next reason an individual might be rude to wait staff is if they are part of a marginalized group and do not often have a dominant position in society. “When they go into a restaurant, they can exact power. They can become somebody who has been given a bit of power over a server in that moment,” Melanie explained. “They can treat them in a demeaning way and be powerful in that environment because the conditions allow them to be.” Lastly, Melanie notes that sometimes people are just plain rude. There might not be a great explanation for it, but not everyone can empathize with others or feel guilt for treating people poorly.
People who have worked in the service industry before and understand what it’s like to be a server or retail worker are much less likely to be rude, but it should not take having similar experiences to show someone respect. As Melanie notes, “There’s nothing wrong with having expectations. If it’s something surrounding the food or the environment or something, then you can ask for some changes. That would be okay, but look realistically,” she says. “Take a breath. Think about it. Look realistically at the server — is that the server’s fault?”
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Let me paint you a picture. It’s the opening day of “Avengers End Game” at my movie theater. You can imagine the chaos commencing throughout the entire theater. And people have been waiting there since 5am, which made zero f*****g sense to me because we had reserved seating. Whatever, I guess it was just the anticipation of everything, that’s fine, I can understand that. There had I guess, been some miscommunication between a guest and a co worker and his order was 100% wrong. And that order ended up thrown all over me because of how angry the customer was. Now it was towards the end of the day, so I was like, “Okay, I’m not gonna let this get me”, but then he called me an idiot and a fa**ot. I got f*****g angry, of course. So without even like, skipping the second beat I said, “Well, this fa**ot is still alive but Iron Man isn’t”. I didn’t get fired and the customer got kicked out. Ah
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A cop came into my store with no mask in his uniform. I didn’t notice until he was leaving, so I said, ‘Sir, next time you come in, I need you to put on a mask.’ He looks me dead in the eyes and said, ‘I have a medical condition. What are you gonna do about it?’ I was pissed, so I looked at his badge, and then I later called the police department and told them. Ever since then, every time he comes in, he’s wearing a mask. Every time.
While the way someone treats wait staff or customer service employees might not seem like a huge deal in the moment, it can actually say a lot about their personality. Have you ever been on a date with someone you really liked and then saw them speak down to a server or employee at a movie theatre? For most people, this would be a huge turn off. In fact “The Waiter Rule” has become a popular tactic employed by hiring managers and people in the dating pool to determine whether someone is a good person or not.
As Del Jones wrote for USA Today, “How others treat the CEO says nothing, they say. But how others treat the waiter is like a magical window into the soul.” And he’s right. It is important to observe how someone treats a person when they are not looking to gain anything from them and they are the one being served. Do they look down upon someone else because they are paying for a service from them, or do they view everyone as their equal because we’re all just human beings after all?
This might get me cancelled in the vegan community. But here we go. I was working at the movies. I was a cook there. This lady brought back her burger. She said it was cold. I never have a problem, I’ll remake the meal. It’s how she told me her food was cold. She said, “This is what happens when they employ Mexicans”. She proceeds to tell me she has been vegan for over 30 years, and to make sure that no animal product touches her food. Oh, I remade the burger. I grilled her black bean burger over some nice bacon grease. And I’ll do it again.
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Back in my server days: if a customer was TERRIBLE we’d say table so and so needs attention. All the servers would stop by that table and ask if they needed anything or randomly bring things by asking if they needed it…. THE WHOLE REST OF THEIR MEAL. Go ahead and complain that the staff was extra nice. P.S. there were up to 15 servers on shift.
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Leave a sensor at the very bottom of their bag so LP would have to search it for 5 minutes at the door.
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According to Dr. Fredric Neuman at Psychology Today, we actually should be considering how our partners treat servers. “I had a patient who broke up with her fiancé because he was rude to a waiter,” he wrote. “That made sense to me. Waiters cannot answer back. I think people who are rude to waiters are bullies. Someone rude to a waiter is likely, sooner or later, to be rude to a spouse.” And he’s absolutely right. A person who is capable of being disrespectful to complete strangers will eventually show that side to loved ones as well, it just might take a bit more time. Plus, if you stay with a partner who makes employees uncomfortable everywhere you go, that will affect the service you receive too. Don’t let yourself be lumped in with a bully.
40 years ago, I was putting myself through school working at the San Gabriel Country Club. One quiet lazy Saturday afternoon I was working in the bar area when a Party of five comes in and seats themselves. The party was hosted by former Los Angeles Rams legend and star of TV’s Father Murphy, Merlin Olsen, who was one of my heroes when I was a kid growing up. That particular day Merlin Olsen was a di**k. He gestured to me and says, “Hey, make yourself useful and take our drink orders”. He says “Start with me. I’ll have a vodka tonic”. So I listened to everyone else give their drink orders, but I’m not writing this down because I can remember this. Merlin’s watching me and he’s a little agitated. When I get done, he looks at me and says “How you going to remember all that? You didn’t write any of that down?”. I said, “Don’t worry about it. I got it”. He looks at me and says “Do you know who I am?”. I said, “Yeah, you’re the vodka tonic”
In the 60s my dad worked for Eastern Airlines at DCA. Rude customer story: Ticket sold to NYC. Baggage sent to Bombay, India.
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Sometimes when they asked for butter I give them cold butter even though I have room temperature butter because I know the cold butter will rip up their bread.
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Nick Darlington wrote about “The Waiter Rule” in a piece for Lifehack, and he noted how big of a red flag it is when someone has a situational value system. If someone knows how to be nice and charming but only makes the choice to turn on that side of their personality when interacting with people they “value”, they are not actually kind or charming. They are evaluating everyone they come in contact with, and there is always a chance they will change their mind and start valuing you less as well.
“On the other hand, those without a situational value system treat people well on every possible occasion,” Nick writes. “Their behavior is unconditional. Their behavior is not constantly changing. They accept that every person has a story. The waiter or waitress might be the sole breadwinner, or perhaps they are working two jobs. Maybe they are paying for their studies. Whatever the situation, this type of person remains cognizant of the fact that all humans are equal.”
Ex Dunkin employee here: decaf, no questions asked. But when the frosting in the donuts was melty, I would put it in the bag upside down
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As they are leaving, I always use the mag lock that I have control of behind the counter to lock the door and I just see them run into the door.
They are getting the hotel room right next to the elevator or the room with triplets.
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Nick goes on to explain that people who are rude to wait staff have a judging personality, rather than an understanding one. Rather than putting themselves in the shoes of the busy server who is likely juggling multiple tables at once, dealing with communication between the kitchen and their customers and has probably been on their feet the entire day, these customers can only see what they want. They are sitting, so they deserve their food now. Or if they are dealing with a retail employee, they deserve to be waited on hand and food, regardless of how many other customers are in the store. People with judging personalities make everyone’s lives harder by frustrating themselves with having unrealistic expectations and stressing out those around them who just want to do their jobs.
If they are on the phone while I’m checking them out at the register, I purposely make as much noise as possible. My fave: shaking the paper bags.
So my buddy worked for a pizza place. And he used to tell me that if customers were rude to them, they would do this thing called a “phantom cut”, where they would cut the pizza ever just so that if you try to rip a piece off, you tear the whole pizza to shreds. I’m like, “Oh, that sucks”. One time, my friend was ordering a pizza. And he was very rude to the pizza person. And I was like, “why?” And then when the pizza got to my f*****g house, they “phantom cut” the s**t out of that thing. I tried to take two pieces and I tore the whole f*****g pizza up. So I got a fork and a knife and I went to f*****g work and I was eating that pizza regardless. I looked at my friend and I said, if you were ever rude to another pizza person again, I’m gonna steal your f*****g turtle. I swear to god
A man came in, placed an order, and got snippy with a coworker who misheard him. I looked him in the eye and frowned at him and told him, softly, like I was talking to a child (and he was in his 60s) “I’d appreciate it if you would treat her kindly.” It caught him off guard He ended up fidgeting and shuffling and quietly apologized to both of us, and was nice the rest of the visit.
Blogger Brooke Burton-Luttmann addressed on her site Food Woolf why she believes “servers don’t get any respect”, detailing her own experiences working in restaurants. “The answer is simple: many customers don’t believe waiters to be professionals and therefore don’t merit their respect,” she writes. Brooke explains that she is expected to be courteous, skilled and work with a smile regardless of how customers treat her and that she must cater to their every whim because “the customer is always right”. But there are so many expectations that servers are required to uphold, so why aren’t guests held to the same standards?
So many people don’t realize how bad it is to be rude to a receptionist at a hair salon.. sorry Karen, we are booked for the holidays.
I put unsalted fries in their bag but put a few salted ones on top so they wouldn’t know until it was too late.
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I work at Walmart in the pickup department. Let’s just say never honk or yell at us or else your order will be the last order we take out.
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Brooke goes on to explain that most diners expect that their only task is paying for a meal at the end of the evening, assuming that nothing before that matters. But respecting a server, showing up for a reservation on time, abiding by restaurant policies and agreeing not to steal any property are just too much for some guests to handle. “Is offering basic human kindness really all that difficult? Is civility really too much to ask for?” Brooke begs. If someone came to your home and you served them a meal, wouldn’t you expect them to follow your house rules and respect you and your home? Why should dining in a restaurant be any different? Just because someone is a stranger who you may never see again does not mean they don’t deserve equal treatment.
Only fill their foundation samples up less than halfway but flip it upside down first to make it look full.
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I worked in a college bookstore and whenever someone was rude I would get them the used copies in the worst condition.
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I used to double charge them, so they had to go wait in the customer service line to get a refund.
“I’ve heard the argument before—most waiters don’t act like true professionals and therefore shouldn’t be treated with respect—but the truth is, professionalism isn’t the real issue here,” Brooke explains. “There are plenty of proficient and skilled wait staff in the world–I count myself as one of them—that are just as prone to being treated poorly by guests, simply because of our position. The world is filled with tons of angry and unhappy people that have no use for words like civil, kindness, and respect. They’re too busy perpetuating misery in their lives by spreading as much hate and anger as possible. Who am I to expect something more than payment (which is easily denied) in return for my services?”
When you hold your hand out for their money & they chuck it on the counter, you make sure to put their change right beside their hand on the counter.
If someone is rude to me I make sure to absolutely squish the hell out of whatever food they’re buying as I bag it up
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I worked at a discount grocery store. There were a bunch of rude customers — I had people even throw food at me and laugh about it. I had to ring up every single thing manually. Basically, if they were rude to me, if it was 99 cents, I’d ring it up as $2.99. The receipts were so long that they didn’t check. I wound up charging them $30-$40 more, just for how rude they were.
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Everyone deserves to be treated kindly, and even if these patrons are extremely selfish, they should understand that the nicer they are, the more they will benefit as well. Insulting a server will not make your meal come out faster or your soup taste better, but it might get you a spoonful of spit in your cocktail. I can’t say I condone throwing away a customer’s car keys or intentionally giving someone food poisoning, but if a petty reaction is harmless, I say, let the employees have their fun. Keep upvoting your favorite responses, and then let us know in the comments if you have ever dealt with a customer in a petty way. We would love to hear your most devious (yet harmless!) reactions to rude customers!
There was a guy who used to work for me who would write paragraphs of swearing at the person in white under the initial email.
Put them on hold for 15 minutes instead of 2.
I had a customer tell me I have an awful speaking voice and should not be allowed in public so I spoke louder and more nasally.
Worked for AppleCare and have flagged customers accts as “do not assist” so they could never get help from Apple again.
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I worked at little Ceasars and we were super busy and a woman had ordered a deep dish pizza and had been waiting on it. deep dishes have to go through the top and bottom oven to fully cook and I had just pulled her deep dish out of the bottom and was about to put it through the top when she said “that’s my pizza. I’m done waiting. give it to me” I tried to explain to her that it wasn’t done yet but she kept interrupting me with “give me my pizza” and so I dumped out the doughy mess cut it and gave it
I was filling a sample & she asked me “Do you even know what you’re doing?” So I left it half open in her bag so she could see I really didn’t know.
Gone to the back to look for the shoe size on the clearance shoe I knew we didn’t have for 10mins playing on my phone before my shift ended and then walked past her and leaving while she stood there waiting the whole time.
Shout out to all the servers. For rude customers, we crop dust — especially if it’s busy and loud and the music’s going and they definitely won’t hear you. We crop dust.
Grown rude men be getting a pink candle in their birthday dessert from me!
I was a greeter supervisor. So if someone was rude I would place them by the kitchen door. So they will be bothered by passing waiters.
If it’s in email I misspell their name on purpose.
I work at a dq, if a customer is rude to me I’ll blend their blizzard for too long so it’s soupy.
I’ll tell them we’re out of something even if we’re not. Or I’ve def given them only what they paid for even though I’ve been giving stuff away all night.
I worked for a car rental company. Moving is stressful, so people were always stressed out. Most of the time, people were fine. But sometimes, people would say, for example, ‘I’m moving from Sacramento, California, to El Paso, Texas.’ So, I’d say, ‘OK, that’s a five-day trip.’ Some people would say, ‘No, I can do that trip in three days, so only charge me for three days.’ These numbers are based on the safety driving eight hours a day — that’s how we want you to drive their equipment. If they kept going and were rude and insulting, I’d say, ‘OK, you’re right. Are you ready for your confirmation number?’ Then, I’d rattle off eight random numbers, and they wouldn’t have a moving truck that day.
Change their seat to non-reclining.
When people rudely ask for extra stuff in their sandwiches I give them WAY too much. I gave a customer SO much lettuce one time.
I worked at an ice cream shop and used to charge them for extra toppings that they didn’t order and then tell them the receipt paper wasn’t working.
I work in a hotel. Late arrival guests didn’t tip when I helped them with their luggage, so I phoned them in the middle of the night.
If someone asked me for directions in a rude way: I would give the long and complicated route to get there. If they were nice: I would give the easiest way, a short cut and have them arrive early time time to spare.
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If I ask someone at drive thru to please wait cause I helping someone, and they just give me their order, I make them wait longer.
Best part is when you say “You have a nice day” to the customer after they didn’t get their way.
I work at Olive Garden and sometimes when people are rude and ask for soup I only give them broth and if they got a salad they get very light dressing.
I work at Pizza Hut and the wait time for pizza was 10 mins but got told to “hurry up on the pizza” so we kept pulling at back towards the beginning of the oven line every time me or my manager passed by it until we got another order and finally let it run through the oven.
At Panda Express I didn’t give them a fortune cookie.
If someone throws their card/money payment at me I throw their card/change back at them when I’m done and throw the pen at them when they need to sign.
I put their eggs on the bottom of their bag.
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When I worked at Dunkin I would give people sugar free flavors or Splenda instead of regular sugar if they were rude haha and sometimes decaf
I figured out how to crash my register and would do it if someone wanted me to ring them up when I was about to go on break.
“Accidentally” disconnected their electricity.
Make all their drinks diet.
I would like to preface the story by saying that 17 year old Alex was with the s***s. like y’all think I’m buckwild now? 17 year old Alex had Nike knees and the attitude to match. Just do it, b***h. Anyway, Tangled came out around this time and what would be the first of many similar incidents, a parent got upset with me about the ticket pricing and threatened to come over the counter at me. Keep in mind that I reported to work straight from school, my shift didn’t end until 9PM (curfew) and this incident occurred at 7 or 8PM. So basically, I was hangry, I was tired, and I was not the one, the two or three. So what did my ain’t s***t 17 year old a** do? I took off my earrings, my hat and my apron and I said, “What’s poppin?”. I had a manager standing behind me and didn’t know until he picked me up and carried me into the scullery because apparently the appropriate response to being threatened is not “What’s poppin” it’s to call security. I still maintain that all I did was match the energy that was presented to me and that energy was:” Hey, batta, batta, swing”