He’ll Be Waiter-ing A Long Time

, , , | Right | September 3, 2018

(I am working with my mom one Sunday morning in the coffee shop she owns. It’s kind of old school as you order your food and then go sit down at your table, and when your food is done we call out your number and you come pick it up. There are signs spelling this out when you place your order. My mom and I are cooking and there are no other customers except the one table with a man having coffee. It’s only just after six a.m. and we’ve just recently opened for the day. A man and an older woman come in. He orders and I hear my mom tell him that he is to grab his drinks, sit, and when his order is done we will call his number, and where he can pick up his food. A few minutes later he comes up and complains that it’s too cold. My mom assures him that it will get warmer as we recently opened and the heat hasn’t been on for long. A few minutes later he comes back up and interrupts her taking another couple’s order because he poured cold water into his tea-pot instead of hot and cannot find the hot water spout. My mom takes a second to show him where the hot water spout is; it’s right beside the cold water one. A few minutes later he comes up and loudly complains that his silverware is dirty. The knife has water spots on it and he wants all new cutlery. My mom gets him new cutlery and he goes back to his table grumbling. We are getting busier by this time and the line up is getting longer.)

Me: “Order number 000.”

(The customer looks around at the other people in the restaurant and shrugs.)

Me: “Order number 000.”

(The customer again looks around, says something to the lady with him but ignores me.)

Me: *catching his eye* “Sir, your order is ready.”

Customer: “Okay.”

(He still doesn’t make an effort to get up. We have 40 seats and are 3/4 full by this time. My mom’s still on the till, and I’m cooking and putting the orders up. My dad is in the back kitchen doing dishes and doing the daily baking.)

Me: *waving at the customer, I catch his eye* “Sir! Order number 000 is ready.”

(He just shrugs at me and shakes his head. I see a regular customer lean over and it looks like he’s explaining the way it works. My mom says to me that she will just have to bring his order to him as soon as she is done with the customers at the till. I have to turn back to the grill so I don’t notice that the man has come up and is standing looking over his food.)

Customer: “Is this my order?”

Me: “Yes, sir.”

Customer: “You could have f****** told me I had to be my own f****** waiter!”

Me: “Sorry, you must be a new customer. We try to let everyone know if they aren’t used to the way it goes around here.”

Customer: “No one told me s***! You should have a sign!”

(I point over to the sign that clearly states how to order. He grumbles something and I smile and then turn around as I have eggs on the grill I need to take off. I plate the eggs and turn back around and the guy is still there and looks thoroughly pissed at me.)

Me: “Sir?”

Customer: “I see how it is. You and that old f****** lady over there think you can just get your customers to do your work for you! Well, you know what? I’ve worked at a greasy spoon like this before! I know how it works!”

(He stomps away, leaving his food on the pass through. I’m dumbfounded. I’ve worked in my parent’s diner for seven years and we’ve never encountered any customer like this. We have a line up at the till; I’m swamped with orders and can’t leave to take his order to him. I call out his number again and turn back around to plate and get the other orders ready. I call out the next two orders and the people come up for them. Finally my mom gets a break in people ordering so she comes out to the pass through and grabs the man’s order and takes it to him. I can hear him yelling at her a few seconds later.)

Customer: “That’s right! You have to serve me! I’ve paid good money for this s***! It better not be f****** cold! If it’s cold I’m going to get you both fired! You dumb c***!”

(My mom, who has worked with the public for years, simply smiles at the man and comes back to help me on the grill. A minute later I see the man stomping up to the pass through with his plates in his hands.)

Customer: “This s*** is f****** cold! I want your manager now! You are both going to be f****** fired!”

(He’s pounding his fist on the counter, making the plates jump and the food spill all over. By this time my dad is out of the back and two of our regulars, who are rather large truck drivers, are making their way to where the man is going crazy.)

Dad: “Can I help you?”

Customer: “Are you the manager?”

Dad: “I am one of the owners, yes.”

Customer: “Good! I want to put in official complaint! These two are being f****** lazy! They are making everyone here come and get their food! My food was cold!”

(While he’s complaining to my dad, my mom and I are still cooking and calling out orders. Everyone coming up is chuckling at the guy because he clearly is seeing them come get their food, and no one else is complaining. I can see the woman that he is with grab her coat and purse and wait by the door. She clearly is embarrassed by him.)

Dad: “Sir, I’m going to give you back your money because you clearly aren’t happy with the service you got here.”

Customer: “I got no service! That’s the problem! If they just did their job I’d have no complaints!”

(This is completely untrue since all he’s been doing since he got there was complain about everything! He continues yelling as my dad goes behind the counter and stands at the till. My dad gives him back his money and loudly asks him to leave. Finally he stops yelling and looks around at the other customers.)

Customer: “Why are you all still coming up to get your food? Why are you letting them be so lazy! It’s bull-s***! I’m rich! I’m going to buy this place and turn it into a proper restaurant! Mark my words!”

(He threw up his hands and stomped out of the restaurant.)

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