Embarrassment from one’s parents in public is supposed to be a part of growing up—it’s just unfortunate when it comes at the cost of customers’ mental health. Reddit convened to share these horrific stories about parents who pulled the dreaded “I want to speak to your manager.” Chill out to these 42 stories about the misbehaving customers we call Mom and Dad.
My mother ranting to all and sundry that she was going to get the brand-new Wal-Mart Supercenter in our town shut down because a cashier closed her register as we were walking up. Apparently, she could do this because she "knew people on the internet." It was 1998. 14-year-old-me was mortified.
At used clothing stores, my mother would cut tags to get discounts, since the cashiers would basically make up whatever price they thought it would be on the spot. If they high-balled it, she would get a manager involved, and I hated that.
Not my parent but grandparent. When I was around 10 years old, my grandmother went out and got us (her, my brother, and me) McDonald's. We got home and we didn't have napkins in the bags. No big deal, right? We have paper towels and napkins in the house. Also, me and my brother are pretty good with not making any messes while we eat.
Nope. Grandmother got us in the car, drove back to McDonald's, demanded a manager, and screeched about how upset she was that we didn't get any napkins. I wanted to just melt into the floor and disappear. It's just napkins, Nanny...
I was with my parents on vacation, and the hotel put charges on the bill by accident. My mom marched to the front desk and demanded to see the manager. There was a long line, but she cut right in front of it. The manager wasn't very helpful, probably because she was rude. So my mom went to all the other customers in line and told them that the hotel was a scam and they were ripping us off with fake charges.
She made a scene. The hotel called the police and we were escorted off the premises by actual cops. I died inside.
When I was a young child on a long-distance flight, my mother let me and my brother sleep on the floor. For safety reasons, the flight attendants told my mother that we were not allowed to sleep on the floor. She started to argue with the flight attendants, who then turned to the pilots. The pilots threatened to turn the plane around unless we got up from the floor.
It didn't even matter. My mother just continued to argue. The pilots then announced that they were about to turn around because of my mother, so all the passengers got pissed at her and basically had a mutiny. Eventually, she caved in when she had all passengers and flight crew on a Boeing 747 against her…
My mom came to my school because she thought I was lying about what I got on my SATs. She didn't think I was that smart. No one in my school would give her that information because they didn't have to. She got to my principal and said, "I want to speak to your manager" in front of me. He refused and they argued for a while.
The principal knew I was an okay guy and the score I told my mother was legitimate.. It was really embarrassing though.
Ugh, my dad. He can be such a prick if you get his order wrong. It could be fast food or a nice sit-down restaurant. He often yells at wait staff if they “undercook” his steak. It has to be well done, or he claims to have lost his appetite. One time, we went to Burger King when I was younger and we sat down to eat.
He took one bite of his burger, spit it out, and immediately started screaming about it being under-cooked. He cut in front of everyone in line to yell at the cashier, then he asked who the cook was. When the cook appeared, he launched his burger, hitting the poor kid directly in the face with a lidless burger. He’s now banned for life from Burger King.
My dad just loved to argue, and he loved a deal. We were shopping in a department store, and I found a pair of pants I was mildly interested in. The pants were tagged at (let's say) $40, and the sign on the rack was "All pants $25." I was mildly interested, I asked the sales clerk if they had them in my size, the clerk said, "Those aren't supposed to be on that rack."
My dad lost his mind and insisted on getting the pants for $25, and started asking for a courtesy discount on top of that. Escalated to the floor manager and then the store manager. Meanwhile, I didn't want the pants. They were ok pants I guess, nothing awesome, I just didn't care very much about them. I was more than happy to move on.
I told my dad I didn't want the pants, but by then he didn't care about what I wanted. He wanted the pants at the better price. Eventually after like an hour of arguing, the store manager said, "We're not giving you the pants at that price. Take them or leave them at $40." So we left them. Which suited me just fine, because I didn't want the pants.
The grocery store had this sign up that said if an item rang up higher than an advertised price, it was free. It was the 80s, and stores did stupid stuff like this that I never see in stores today. My mom was buying a box of Little Debbie cakes, and they rang up for $2.85 instead of the advertised $2.50. So now mom wants her free cakes.
The cashier doesn't know what to do, so she summons a manager. Manager tells her to ring up the sale otherwise, and he'll be right back. He comes back and hands my mother 35 cents cheerfully and says, "There you go!" My mother points out the sign behind him and he says, "Oh, the last manager put that up, it doesn't make any sense. I'm the new manager and I just haven't had the sign removed yet" (it was a printed plastic sign that was screwed into the wall).
Mom insists they honor their sign, he says nah. Now, up to this point, I, as an adult looking back, am totally on board with mom's actions. But that changed very quickly. My mom gathers her things, decides against taking the Little Debbies on principle, and we get in the car. She then wordlessly drives downtown to the main store of this 3-5 store chain, knowing the office is next door.
We walk into this perfectly 80s wood-paneled office where my mother asks the secretary to speak to the owner of the store, and is permitted to do so. This is a family-owned business, and their "corporate office" is smaller than the row of cubicles my staff now occupy at work. This was the beginning of the end.
Here, my mother unleashes a tirade about how she has lost faith in his brand and how his word is meaningless since they will not honor the sign, etc. This guy stands up, profusely apologizes, validates her anger, and then pulls out his wallet and hands her a $5 bill along with a promise that he will speak to the manager and the sign will either be honored or removed.
We get home and find that the ice cream we bought melted in the trunk.
Not me, but my sister-in-law. Her stepdad and mom took the family out to eat at a Red Lobster. They get there and it is super busy. So, the stepdad walks up to the host and says, "Yes, we have a reservation." The problem is Red Lobster (or at least that one) doesn't take reservations. The host explains this, and says it is going to be 20-minute wait for seating.
Her stepdad FLIPPED out and started screaming that he had called 3 hours beforehand and made a reservation. The host politely told him this was not possible, as they do not take reservations (again). He continues to scream at the guy, and says he wants to talk to a manager. So, the manager comes out and she tells him the same thing.
They don’t take reservations, so it’s not possible that he had made one. He continues to cause a scene, and people started leaving just to get away from this toxic guy. Finally, the manager says, "Fine, we will put you ahead of everyone else that has been patiently waiting their turn." He says, "Thank you." They get seated.
Once they get to the table and the waitress walks away, he slyly winks and says to my brother and the rest of the family, "THAT is how you get things done. I wasn’t going to wait 20 minutes." My brother refused to eat or order for fear of getting food that had been spit on.
We traveled a lot when we were younger, and would skip lines at the airport since we were kids. But now we were all in our early teens, and my mom faked having a heart condition to skip the long line to get on the airplane. The flight attendant would have none of it, and told us to go back to the end of the line. I still remember the smiles and looks of everyone there.
My MIL is truly a Karen. Going out to eat with her is always a nightmare. Her orders have 14 special requests, but she's not at all kind about it, she is defensive from the get-go, like you're an idiot who's already screwed the order up. "Nooo dressing. Not on the side. Nothing. Completely dry. Do you understand? I will send it back!"
The one I will never forget, though, was dinner at Joe's Crab Shack. In case you've never been, it's one of those places that every so often plays a song that the entire staff is required to drop everything and do a little synchronized dance to. It's quick, everyone gets a little kick out of it. It's part of the fun. Now my MIL Karen knew this, it's not like she'd never been here.
But apparently, she was not willing to wait two extra minutes for her dry salad, so she starts going off as soon as the dancing starts. She gets a manager, who clearly knows Karen well and offers a quick apology (for doing their job), a discount, and her dry salad. But Karen's not completely satisfied. She tells us that even though dinner for our party of 8 is on her, she's not tipping the waitress one penny.
She proceeds to whine...loudly...throughout the rest of the meal and antagonizes our waitress over petty stuff. I worked too many years in customer service, and you know, I'm a decent human being. I made sure to get my bill separate so I could tip for the entire table. I wrote a quick note on the receipt, something along the lines of "Way to stay positive even when the customer's a jerk." I was a little afraid of the wrath of Karen, it was one of my first interactions with her too, but when the waitress came and hugged me, Karen and I locked eyes. She knew. I didn't care. Don't be a jerk, Karen.
About once a month, my dad gets drunk and calls various customer service centers demanding stuff. Once he finally gets off the phone (frequently 45+ minutes later), he spends the next few days telling us all about how he slew the customer service dragon, and boy, people sure don't appreciate their customers nowadays blah blah blah.
No duh, dad, you're being a jerk. No one appreciates that. If you've worked for DirecTV customer service any time since 1996, I apologize on behalf of my dad.
One time, I was in a record store with my dad. He bought a record that was 19,99 euros. He paid using a 20-euro bill. The clerk took the money, put it in the register, and gave my dad the CD in a plastic bag. I started walking off when I noticed my dad wasn’t moving.
As I turn around, I hear him say to the record store clerk, “You still have to give me my cent back.” The clerk replies that they don’t return one or two cents because they don’t accept them and as such don’t have them in the store. My dad replies by saying that is “judicially impossible” and asks for the manager. To make a long story short: one of the clerks gave my dad a cent from his own wallet.
Not the child, but I think this fits. I had this awful, annoying, and terrible neighbor who, because I'm a giant sucker, I was kind to. She asked me to come with her to dinner because it was her birthday, and I knew I was the only person on the planet who would go with her and goshdarnit, it's her birthday. How could I say no?
So, she and I went and we brought our kids (all girls, one mine, two hers). She makes her oldest do her math homework right there at the table. When the child asks her for help (mind you this is like third-grade math), the mom says it's too hard. I end up helping.
The waiter is just fine. He comes by and takes our orders. She is already acting weird, but she always acted weird so I didn't think much of it. Waiter comes by again and asks if we need anything. She dismisses him, waves him off, and tells him no. Then like 30 seconds later, she turns to me and is like, "Can you believe how awful the waiter is? He won't even refill my drink!" and just goes on about all these "issues" that literally don't exist.
I'm like "He just asked if you needed anything..." she cuts me off "I'm going to talk to the manager." Oh God...She talks to the manager like this is the worst experience she's ever had in the history of her miserable existence. I'm in shock. Her kids have their heads down. Mine is oblivious. The manager gives her like half off the meal. Oh, and the kicker?
"That's my half so you only need to pay the rest!" OH, GEE THANKS!! I left a big tip and a note on my receipt telling them the waiter was great and apologizing for the complaints that were totally not warranted.
I don't like going to restaurants with my mom. She thinks that because she worked as a waitress for a year 35 years ago, it gives her the right to act like a complete jerk to them. She also thinks not tipping them will encourage them to "get their act together." Joke's on you mom, I always find our server after we are seated, give them a $20.00, and apologize in advance for your poor behavior.
She also knows what I think of it. She doesn't care. She believes she's sticking to her principles, and that tipping poor service (read: never had "good service,” as something will always be wrong), will encourage their laziness. It's not going to stop. If you wait on her, I am very sorry.
She waited tables at a Pizza Hut when she was 20. She looks back at her time through rose-colored glasses. "I worked hard, went above and beyond to get my tips," then she yells at the waitress for trying to refill her drinks: "Excuse me! Did I ask for a refill?" Obviously, logic and empathy are not her strong points.
My grandmother wasn't only a "let me talk to your manager" type, she was a racist, and advancing dementia completely turned off her filter for that. I've blocked out all the context behind it other than I took her to buy yarn and something went wrong. I think maybe they shorted her a couple bucks or wouldn't honor a coupon or something.
Whatever it was ended in a "let me talk to your manager" followed by a tirade to the manager about how they shouldn't be hiring Mexicans. I just remember having to talk over her and say, "Oh my god you can't talk to her like that. Nothing you just said is okay," followed by me trying to push her wheelchair out of the store as fast as possible with her digging her feet into the ground, trying to get me to stop so she could go back to trying to ruin someone's day.
I got her into the car and then went back in and apologized until I was blue in the face. I wish I could say it was an isolated incident, but it definitely wasn't. If by any cosmic chance any sales clerks or phone reps that had to deal with my grandmother read this, I am so incredibly sorry. I apologize on behalf of my whole family and I'd give you a hug if I could.
As an interesting side effect of caring for her, I have a tendency to wander off and pretend to look at things when we get to the register if I'm with someone and I'm not the one paying. I think she gave me an honest to God phobia.
I wasn’t there for this (THANK GOD) but my mom once had a LENGTHY email argument of complaints to a hotel’s restaurant because their smothered chicken wasn’t “smothered enough.” One such email included the dictionary definition of smothered.
One time, my Grandad got a sausage roll at a football match during half time. When he got back to his seat, he found it was overdone, and the pastry was quite burned. The man was irate. He didn't take it back straight away as the second half was about to start, but he spent much of the second half angrily lamenting his savory snack letdown.
So, he takes it home, calls the customer service number on the back (I assume he had a few choice words for the poor soul on the other end, but I wasn't present for this), and keeps the remainder of the sausage roll in the freezer for the next couple of weeks. Skip ahead to the next match day, my Grandad tells me we're heading out early so he can have his sausage roll replaced.
The customer service line told him to go to Kiosk 3 at the front of the grounds next to the ticket office. When we arrive, however, the shutters are down at the food place. The old man looks around, growling and turning red in the face, and stamps right over to window number 3 of the ticket office, slamming his frozen burned sausage roll down like a freaking flaky gauntlet.
At this point I'm trying to convince him the ticket office was a completely different department to the catering concession, but my Grandad was having none of it. The lady working the ticket window continually attempted in vain to convince him the same, that they sell match tickets and not hot snacks, but this just got him angrier and angrier.
Across comes a colleague behind the glass, now there are just two people to rage at. Then a head steward comes to attempt to defuse the situation, and my Grandad begins to wave the burnt sausage roll in this man's face. I was actually surprised he didn't whack him with it. At this point, I'm mortified by the whole affair and wishing I had stayed back at the house until nearer to kick off.
Eventually, after an hour or so, the shutters come up on the food concession. Fella at the counter goes "You must be Mr. Alaginge" and calmly resolves the situation, dispatching a freshly baked sausage roll with the steady hands of a surgeon. My Grandad is completely satisfied with the result of his hour of insolent rage. As we're walking away, he turns to me and says "that's how you get these things sorted."
About the only thing my dad and I have in common is we like to go thrifting. Garage sales, estate sales, antique stores, and charity thrift shops. Thing is, we do it for different reasons. I do it for the fun of finding something unusual and offbeat. My dad does it because he likes to find bargains, to be one-up on the suckers who didn't know what they had.
So I was mortified when dad went to the charity shop checkout and whined for 10 minutes about being overcharged 50 cents. Left him in the store alone. When he finally came out, I went in and dropped 5 bucks in the donation jar and apologized for my jerk father.
My mom needed to return some shirts at the mall because they didn't fit right. It was past the allotted time that she had to return them, so the employee said that there wasn't anything she could do. My mom started SCREAMING at this girl who was probably about 16 or 17. Calling her names and demanding to speak to the manager.
When the manager told my mom that they couldn't do anything and that the return policy was on the receipt, my mom threw a fit and knocked over a display that was next to the register, and then she stormed out of the store. I was probably 6 or 7 at the time, and I was mortified. I apologized for her behavior and picked up what I could before she started calling for me to follow her. The manager was super sweet to me, though, and told me that I was a good kid and to stick up to my mom while I could get away with it.
Not me, but one that I witnessed: I was at a cell phone store a few years ago. This was when phones first started to become water resistant. A kid had apparently gone swimming with his phone all day, and the phone had some discoloration to the screen and the touch screen wasn't working correctly.
The kid obviously knew he screwed up, and he kept asking the mom if they could just leave. He said that the phone still worked, and he would survive. The mom didn't even try to be civil. She came in, and immediately started to be an abusive customer. I remember she laughed as she said, "Oh, you're gonna hate me. You should just get your manager now."
I was young, and my mom and step-dad took us to McDonald's. Somehow, a nail or something got stuck in the tire and caused a flat. I'm not sure if it happened in the lot or not, but they were convinced it did. They went to talk to the manager. I don't remember exactly what their demands were, but they didn't get them. So they literally went into the street waving people away, saying that they were closed, all because they were mad. It just seemed like a ridiculously excessive thing to do.
My mom used to be really into couponing. Like, extreme couponing where the store would pay her after shopping visits. We used to have to wait around for like 20 minutes just to check out so the cashier could scan every coupon. Usually one or two wouldn’t work, so of course, this calls for a manager.
Another 10 minutes goes by, just waiting for the manager to come and fix it. At this point, the cashier starts telling people to get in another line because we’re taking too long (but not in a mean way). It used to take at least a solid half hour to check out at the store. 9-year-old me hated that. My mom isn’t nearly as extreme as before, though. Usually just a couple coupons, but occasionally there will be a problem and I’ll have flashbacks.
I once watched my father lose his lid over those liners for hanging baskets as a teenager. You know the ones that are made of coconut pulp? Anyway, we went to Home Depot and I went with him to buy herb plants. I check out, no big deal. He checks out, and they ring up more expensive than he thought, and he complains.
They were on sale, 30% off or something. She points out that that was just the smaller ones, not the big ones like he got. He immediately starts screaming about how freaking stupid the people that work there are for "mislabeling" something. Just chews this poor teenage girl out for 10 minutes and then storms off.
I'm standing there, she's standing there near tears, and her manager is standing there. I apologize to this girl profusely and call him a jerk. She says "Hey, at least I don't have to go home with him like you do." There's a reason I moved several thousand miles away from him.
Oh God, just the other day my dad got super snippy with the cashier at Trader Joe's because he thought she was going too slow and chatting too much with the customer ahead of us. This doesn't really sound like much of a horror story, except that he's in his 80s and I'm in my 50s, and you'd think by now I'd have gotten past the point where he could make me want the ground to open up and swallow me...but nope. It never ends.
We went through the drive-thru at Taco Bell. I asked for 3 soft tacos, no lettuce. When my mom saw my tacos with lettuce on them, she made a U-turn and went back. She walked inside and threw an unwrapped taco in the cashier's face. "These were supposed to be without lettuce. What does this look like to you!?" SMACK.
I remember we went out for dinner for my 14th birthday. My mom was not happy about the speed of the service (we did have to wait a long time for both our order to be taken and food to arrive). When the food came, there was some problem with one of the meals. I think it might’ve been mine, but I can’t remember exactly what it was—probably I’d asked for it without something and they’d forgotten, but it was the sort of thing that you could easily let slide.
Instead, my mom complained to the poor waitress and escalated it to the manager. She made quite a scene and dragged me in, as it was my birthday. I sat there in silence, looking at my feet, wishing the world would swallow me up.
Not my parents, but I remember going on vacation with a friend and only then realizing that her parents treated waitstaff like trash. In one dinner, the mother reamed the waiter out because there was a hair on her MENU, and later accused him of trying to kill her diabetic husband because their iced tea was pre-sweetened (even though the menu obviously listed that Lipton raspberry iced tea that comes from a soda fountain).
I have a grandmother like this. When me and my sister were younger, we got drive-thru from McDonald's and they screwed up our orders. So Granny spent two and a half hours on the phone, going up the chain of command and reading the riot act to whoever picked up. Something you ought to know about Granny is that she talks a lot, and she talks very slowly, to the point where it's frustrating even when she's not tearing you a new one. I can only imagine how unpleasant the experience was for those on the other end.
I’d just come out to my parents. They’d never shown an ounce of homophobia before in their lives. We go for dinner at a nice restaurant and the restaurant accidentally put two steaks on our bill instead of one. My dad pointed this out to the waiter (who I’d gone to school with), and the waiter immediately apologized and fixed it.
Well, this just wasn’t good enough for my dad. He started shouting at the poor waiter about how terrible it was and how the restaurant was deliberately trying to rip us off, and then he demanded a discount. When the waiter apologized again and said he couldn’t do a discount, my dad asked to speak to the manager.
The manager came out, was berated by my dad as he said how incompetent the waiter was and how terrible the service had been (it was fine), and how the waiter was trying to rip us off. The (gay) manager told him that the problem had been promptly fixed, the extra steak was purely an accident, and he didn’t feel we deserved a discount.
That set my dad off into nuclear mode. He started screaming obscenities and phobic slurs at the manager, threw the money down on the table without a tip, and stormed out. I was so embarrassed, I wished the ground would open up and swallow me whole. I quietly apologized as I left, but I couldn’t be too loud or long, because if my dad had heard me, he’d have turned his wrath on me.
My dad got escorted out of a mall by security and banned from the entire mall for making a sales assistant cry after shouting at her for about 30 minutes because they wouldn't fix my water-damaged phone. He's a jerk who thinks rules and policies don't apply to him, and that being aggressive and demanding will get him what he wants. I cut off contact with him a few years ago.
A couple of years ago my phone broke, and my dad was taking me to Walmart to get a new one. Got there, and it turns out their phone section had been bought out by a company or something, and that it wouldn't be reopened for another couple of months. Whatever, no big deal to me, we could just go to a phone store in the mall.
NOPE. My dad throws my broken phone on the floor and starts stomping on it, telling these people what a "crock of manure" their store is, and that they should have it very clearly advertised that their phone department was closed. He demanded to talk to a manager about it. As I was walking away in pure embarrassment, he yells. "OY, WHERE YOU GOING?" I died a little that day.
I was at an Applebee’s with my grandma on like my 12th birthday. She and my aunt were just non-stop complaining about how cold their salads were and how it was taking ridiculously long. She ended up pounding on the table, DEMANDING she speak to somebody like she was freaking two. This was in a busy, crowded restaurant, and some poor girl who was already busy had to stop all she was doing to speak with my grandma.
She then started saying how the salad was so crummy and made a big scene. She couldn’t get a new salad for some reason I can’t remember, so then she yanked my arm, and as everyone stared at us, she said, “Come with Grandma! We’re gonna go to a place that has better service.” I was ssoooooooo embarrassed.
My mom REFUSES to show people at Walmart her receipt when we are leaving. It is annoying that they ask, like all of our stuff is bagged, c’mon. But she will fight them over it. She says she hates being treated like a criminal when she has clearly paid, and I get that I guess. But come on, just show the darn thing and we can leave. But she’d rather stay and argue until they admit defeat.
My dad's always been a bad influence on well…everyone, but one day when I was 13 my Minecraft disc got scratched and was unreadable. So, we went to GameStop with the express purpose of just getting the copy returned, except we were over the warranty by 4 days. My dad threw the disc at the cashier and stormed out (without getting me a new copy, I may add). Yeah, there's a reason I've booked a one-way flight 6,600 miles away from that guy.
Oh god. This all reminds me of my attempt at seeing Shaun of the Dead with friends in theaters. I was over 18, but didn't have ID, my friends were 17 or so, also without ID. Theater policy was you need ID to both purchase and enter the theater for R-rated movies. My dad bought the tickets and left, but then we couldn't get in because we had no IDs.
When my dad got back to the theater, he went freaking BERSERK and ranted at a frankly astonishing, window-rattling max volume about how this isn't Nazi Germany, and we don't need to show our papers every ten feet. He bought the tickets, that should be enough rah rah rah. It's a bit of a nonsense policy, but it doesn't deserve that kind of reaction, you know?
It was the most horrifying and embarrassing thing ever. I was trying to get the indignant rage beast to leave the theater and stop making a scene. It's one of the many reasons I do not visit him.
I was 13 when this happened. My mom had made a reservation at a hotel for a trip, but when she got there the lady said there was some error with the reservation and that my mom’s payment didn’t go through, so the lady offered us a double bed room for a discount. Rather than just taking the room, thanking the lady, and leaving, my mom decided the best course of action would be to scream, in the middle of a hotel lobby, “NOBODY IS GOING ANYWHERE TIL I GET MY FREAKING ROOM!”
She then proceeded to pester the lady, who clearly couldn’t do anything about it, until eventually, she called the police on my mom for public disturbance. Mortifying.
I worked at Best Buy. I stopped in with my mom one day because she wanted to buy me the Star Wars DVD box set for my birthday. I had a huge, HUGE crush on the girl who was working the customer service counter. Well, the DVD set rang up $10 more than it was priced, and my mom deliberately didn't say anything until after the transaction.
Why? Well, so she could claim the freaking $5 Michigan Scan Law bounty. My crush didn't know how to process it and the manager was busy, so my mom tore into her about how it was her job and how she should understand how to do things. At my job. To a girl I liked. My life was misery for a while afterward.
I grew up in a smaller town right on the cusp of its big growth boom. We knew our town had finally made it when we got an Olive Garden. We used to eat there 2-3 times a month. My mom and I would always split an entree, and my dad would get his own. We knew the rule: if you’re splitting an entree and you get more than one of the family-style bowls of salad, you’ll get charged an extra $4 for the extra person.
Welllll one day, my dad decides he wanted more salad. Only he wants the additional salad, but the waitress said if she refills the bowl, we'll be charged the extra $4. Lo and behold, my parents' threw the biggest tantrum because only HE wanted the additional salad. They demanded to speak to a manager, and the manager explained the rule (which we knew), but offered to comp the extra salad just to get my parents to stop yelling...and they did.
When our bill came, the manager comped my dad’s entree and the additional salad fee. Well, my mom got up. Interrupted the manager while he was talking to other guests, threw the check in his face, and asked, “What’s this?!?!” She was furious that he comped my dad’s meal. He ate the meal, therefore we would like to pay for it.
She wouldn’t stop raising her voice until she was allowed to pay for the meal (but not the salad). The manager was confused but obliged...when they brought the change, the manager slipped a few free appetizer coupons. My mom ripped them up and threw them on the ground as she left. Safe to say, I didn’t eat out with them for at least a month and I still refuse to go to Olive Garden with them.
The number of cashiers who my father demanded the manager fire because they were too slow, rang us up wrong, etc., including one they actually did. I'll never forget that girl taking her Home Depot apron off and walking away sobbing. To his credit (I guess?), my dad seemed surprised that it actually worked. He must have felt at least some level of guilt, and never did it again.
My mom used to run restaurants. My stepfather used to be a chef in high-end restaurants, and is the kind of guy who expects to be treated better than he is currently being treated, regardless of whatever that treatment is. They are not fun to go out to eat with. The “most embarrassing experience” is actually their most embarrassing experience: one where I embarrassed them.
My wife and I pride ourselves on being a “relief” table when we go out to eat. Both of us have been servers, and there’s always the counterpoint to the difficult table. That’s us. Barring horrible service or bad food, we are super easy customers, tip well, and try to have a good time with our server. Furthermore, we just treat people nicely.
So, you can imagine our disdain when my parents act like they’re freaking royalty at a dinner service. One day, my wife and I went out to dinner with them. They were being particularly tough. My mom was acting like she was Gordon Ramsay, analyzing the business, critiquing everything down to the amount of bubbles in her seltzer (“looks like it’s time to change the CO2”).
My stepdad was getting more and more heated over stupid things like the amount of ice in his drink and how the waitress didn’t top off his water (that he was barely sipping on) fast enough. It came to a head when my stepfather ordered a steak medium well, it came back medium well, and for some reason, he changed his mind and said he wanted it medium rare while it was cooking. They jumped really quickly to demanding free stuff.
I’m an adult, and this may be the first time they realized this. I interrupted them in front of the server and said something like, “really? This is what you’re doing. That’s what you ordered...” I turned to the server and said, “We do not need anything comped.” I then pulled out my wallet and handed her my card and said, “This is for the bill. We’ll happily wrap up with what we have here. I’m very sorry for their behavior, you’re doing great.” Then came the line that stung them so deeply, they still bring it up years later.
“I was taught to treat people nicely, a lesson that seems to have been forgotten. Thank you.” They turned red, the server walked away, I looked down, cut my steak, and didn’t say a word. They were so flabbergasted that the meal was virtually silent except me asking my stepfather how his steak was a few minutes later. I signed the check, gave a big tip, and we walked out and said goodbyes. They’ve been nicer to servers each time that we’ve gone out since.
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