January 24, 2023 | Eul Basa

Truly Terrible Customer Service

Sure, there are some bad customers out there—Kens and Karens who turn retail therapy into a living nightmare. But unfortunately, there’s just as bad customer service on the other side of the counter. Here, these Redditors reveal their horrible brushes with awful customer service.

1. A Hands-On Approach

I was 11 or 12, eating lunch at the Egg Platter with my grandpa. Our waitress was really old but seemed friendly and was quick about getting us refills and putting in our order. I ordered a double-decker club sandwich and we had our food within 15 minutes of walking in.

So far so good. When she brought my sandwich out, I could see her carrying it over from across the room and my chubby little eyes lit up. But when she got to our table, she did the unthinkable.

She explained to me that it was a very large sandwich and that I needed to grip it firmly so that it didn't fall apart. She then demonstrated this by picking up my sandwich with her bare hands and taking a bite, then putting it back on my plate.

We ended up eating at the IHOP a few blocks away.

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2. Lost In Translation

My friends were visiting me in Europe, and I wanted to make a good impression, so I took them to a beautiful lakefront grill. I was the only one who spoke the language (French), so I made an effort to be jovial and witty with the waitress in order to show off as much as possible.

From the get-go, the waitress was super combative...There was no way she was going to be ok with our presence. We ordered simply, I translated...and she refused to understand. I'm talking "I'll have the number 2" level French.

There's no way she didn't understand, she was just making trouble. My friends don't understand and so aren't getting why the waitress is upset. Two or three minutes of the waitress wailing on about how we aren't making sense and I finally growl, "It's not that difficult", and I smacked the table. This ended up being a horrific mistake.

Unfortunately, the table was a light metal and the mighty clang that rang out was not in any way representative of the force I put into it. But that's exactly what the waitress wanted. She cries, "I won't put up with this", and runs off to her manager. I can see her waving her arms and screaming about us.

I tell my friends, red-faced, that we may have to go elsewhere. I then calmly get up and approach the manager and waitress and say (in French) that I'm sorry, but I've never been treated so badly by a waitress, who clearly just wants to fight, and that we'll be going.

The manager looks at me and says, "You speak English?" Already nerves rattled, I respond, "I can speak French". He says, "But you speak English".

I cannot tell what he's getting at, but I'm thinking it's leading to a French anglophone insult. I couldn’t have imagined what came next. He says (now in English): "I'm going to speak to you in English". The waitress is still standing next to us, and I'm really ready for it now.

"She's crazy", the manager says, "I'm not joking. Like, really crazy". The waitress doesn't blink and I realize he switched to English because she doesn't understand a word! "But I can't fire her because she's family, so please let me serve you personally and I'll make sure everything goes better".

Immensely relieved, I sit back down and relate the story to my friends, while out of the corner of my eye I can see the manager yelling at the waitress. The meal goes amazingly. The manager comes by every few minutes and apologizes superfluously (too much, even).

He ends by saying, "She's really a...How do you say in English? Jerk? Jerk!? Can you call a woman this?" I didn't impress my friends, but my faith in often dodgy European restaurant service was somewhat restored.

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3. It’s Going To Be A Long Wait

When I was a teenager, I used to hang out at a café with an amazing heated patio that seated probably 30-50 people. I went in one day and asked if I could order food inside and bring it out. The patio wasn't always full service, so I always checked before sitting down.

"No", they said, "go outside, seat yourself, and order from someone there". I sat down and tried to flag down a server; nothing after ten minutes. I went back inside and tried to order, explaining the situation.

"No", they said, "go outside and sit back down, it's just busy, someone will serve you in a moment". I sat down and waited some more. Servers walked past me with abandon, with relish, with mustard and ketchup.

A few of them told me someone else would look after me. Finally, because I just wanted a place to chill and read my book anyway, I gave up and started reading. Forty-five minutes later, one of the other patrons who had managed to get service asked for a manager, and pointed out how long I had been sitting there.

By now, I’d even made a little sign that I'd propped up on my table that said "I AM WAITING TO BE SERVED". Dinner was on the house, eventually.

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4. Disappearing Act

My waiter just quit right after taking our drink orders. Like walked out, and didn't tell anyone. It was only noticed when we had to ask where our waiter was after we'd been ready to order for 30 minutes. I guess it's not really bad service if there's no server though.

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5. Going Out In A Blaze Of Glory

After a concert, me and my friends went to steak and shake. Now, it’s like 2:30 am and there are a total of like three places open this late at night in this town. Well, let’s just say a lot of other people at the concert had the same idea.

So, there we are in an absolutely standing-room-only steak and shake. On shift that night were only one waitress and a cook. We were not expecting fast service at all, which was fine, whatever, we were still having a good time. But right off the bat, it didn’t look good.

The waitress was just sitting on her cell phone (and we had no idea why) instead of serving the customers. Then the waitress all of a sudden runs out the door, jumps in a car, and leaves. Turns out that she had just told the cook she quit.

So there he was, the only one with about 100 people in the restaurant cooking and serving all of the food. We gave that man a darn good tip for a 10-dollar meal. Also, some other people stepped up and helped refill drinks and stuff. Really it was just that waitress who was terrible.

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6. You Get What You Pay For

This was a handful of years ago, after my best friend got back from Iraq. We were about 19-20 at the time. So he gets back from overseas, and to celebrate we decided to go out to a local restaurant that just opened.

We were broke and heard this place was affordable so we gave it a shot. I arrived early, ordered my own drink and his. He shows up right as the waitress comes back with our drink order. Disaster struck at the worst moment possible. As he sits down, she spills the entire tray on him.

Being good natured, he laughs, gets up, goes to his car, and changes into some of his army gear that he had in his bags. He returns, sits down…and the waitress comes back and spills the drinks on him AGAIN. This time, frustrated as heck because he has nothing left to change into, he goes and tries to dry off in the bathroom.

He comes back a second time, sits down, we order our food. An hour goes by before we get fed up. I call the manager over and ask where our food could possibly be, and our server. Turns out the waitress forgot to put our food order in and left work unannounced.

To top it all off? Even after the horrid service, the manager wouldn't comp us anything and made us pay for our drinks. -2/10, would never consider it again in my life.

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7. You Go There? On Purpose?

There are two restaurants in Chicago that give insulting service as a gimmick. It's very amusing to take people there who are unaware of this gimmick. The best was when the four of us were seated, the unsuspecting person did not receive a fork in his roll of silverware.

When he politely asked the server for a fork, he got a "Yeah, I'll get you a fork, pshh", along with a stink eye. He was mid-conversation with us about why he got that vicious stare-down when the server came back and dumped an entire bucket of forks all over the table and into his lap.

"Here’s your fork, jerk!" I guess you can say it was good service—he wouldn't, though.

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8. Skimming It Off The Bottom

I went to Applebee’s with my ex-boyfriend to use a $50 gift card I got for Christmas. The total of our meal ended up being $25, so I left a $5 tip and we left. A week later, we decide to go to Applebee’s again and use the rest of the gift card, which should have had $20 left on it.

After that, we came to a disturbing realization. Turns out that the waitress we had the first time changed the receipt and gave herself a $25 tip, draining the rest of the money on my gift card.

I complained (and I honestly never complain at restaurants) and the manager gave me a $20 gift certificate, but didn't do anything about the waitress.

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9. How Can One Woman Cause So Much Havoc

My girlfriend and I went to a restaurant we used to frequent and were told it was a 30-minute wait because we hadn't made a reservation. Not a big deal at all, it's in an area with tons of foot traffic so this was to be expected.

A couple minutes after we were seated, a family with several strollers was seated next to us. There wasn't room for the strollers and there was plenty of room on the other side, so we offered to move our table over a few feet, to the genuine appreciation of both the family and the restaurant management.

But then we ordered our food. The appetizer was very good, but spicy. On a normal day, I drink an enormous amount of water. But with the spicy appetizer, my glass was empty within minutes. It took our server about 20 minutes to refill it the first time.

I ordered a pizza, and my girlfriend ordered pasta. Hers came out first, with the promise that mine would be out shortly. Apparently, they had burned it the first time around, so they were going to remake it. Again, not a huge deal, although I'm starting to get thirsty again.

About 10 minutes later, I see what looks to be my pizza coming out, only to have the runner walk right by my table and bring it to another group that had been seated about 30 minutes after us. I was just hoping that this meant that their order had been put in before mine was sent to be remade, and that mine would be next.

Another 15 or 20 minutes pass, and we were starting to get worried. I'd tried to get our server's attention multiple times, both for my pizza and my glass of water that has been empty for 30 minutes, but she kept blowing right by us (we were right near the kitchen, so she had to pass us) to flirt with the guys a few tables down. The insult went into the injury.

When I looked closely, it seemed like these guys had received what appeared to be my re-made pizza. Finally, a manager came by to ask how our meal was going. I explained the situation, and he immediately called her over.

She argued with me and claimed that the pizza was sent out 30 minutes ago, and I pointed to the table where she's been flirting for the last 20 minutes to point out that she sent it over there. She got rude and defensive, and the manager sided with us.

He had her make a new one ASAP and also had her leave a pitcher of water at our table since he saw she could not be trusted to serve us. He apologized profusely and had her send us a free dessert once our meal was finally finished. But it wasn’t over.

Unfortunately, the dessert she brought was one of the most disgusting things we've ever tasted. It was apparently supposed to be some Italian take on a White Russian, but it just tasted (and looked) awful.

At the end of the meal, the manager had our server come over to us and give us her name and a comments form in order to give her boss a list of everything she screwed up, as well as to personally tell us that we were not to tip her a dime.

Half our meal was comped and we also received a voucher for a future visit, but we still haven't been back since.

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10. Desperate Meals Call For Desperate Measures

This happened when my social group was 16-17, and I'm 37 now. To celebrate our freedom and ability to drive, we liked to drive outside the city to see the hill country and dine at the small town local places. We heard of a little French-type bistro an hour away, and made the trip.

Turned out there was only a dozen and a half tables, and although we had no reservation, we got seated since only three or four other tables were occupied. Our waitress came out and got the drink orders. She returned with the drinks and took our meal order.

We got our breadsticks, then another batch 15 minutes later. That was when I started to realize something was wrong. Then, the waitress came out to pick up all the baskets and cleaned up the little plates, then returned with the bill. We laughed a bit, said a mistake was made—we hadn't even eaten yet.

She argued that we did, that she even just cleaned up our plates and silverware. We argued about it some more, and she went and got the manager, who came out to confront us about trying to get out of paying our bill. Nobody was really sitting near us and when asked, they said they really weren't paying attention to us.

Even so, we started getting ugly looks like we did eat and refuse to pay. The manager gave us the ultimatum to pay up now or authorities would be involved. We said we're not paying for food we haven't received. An officer arrived and heard both sides of the story.

The manager and waitress were going off how we were lying—while my friend then stood up and said he's got this handled. His plan was brilliant…but bizarre. He asked the waitress what he ordered. She picked up the bill, flipped it, and told him.

It was a baked pasta dish with sausage. He confirmed that's what he ordered. He asked the manager if the chef wanted to come out and confirm he cooked it—turns out the manager was also the cook, and said he cooked it. He asked her if she really did bring it out and serve it, she said yes.

He asked if she threw away food away from the plates she picked up—she said no, they were all cleaned up, as we ate all the food. He asked the officer if he would please step outside with him for a minute and he'd prove they were lying.

Less than five minutes later, the officer walked back in, said to rest of us at the table we were free to go, and told the manager/waitress they made a mistake. They tried to object, and the officer bluntly told them that the only thing the kid threw up was breadsticks, and if they want to go out by the bushes and check for themselves, they were welcome to it.

Everyone in our group had our eyes wide open, and the manager and waitress were equally too stunned to reply. We didn't argue, we got the heck up and left. We hit the first drive-thru on the way home as Craig was twice as hungry as the rest of us since he didn't get to digest his breadsticks.

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11. You’re Own Your Own, Kid

I was at a fairly fancy restaurant. A waitress carrying a tray of drinks walked behind me, sloshing the drinks down my back. She paused, looked at what happened for about a second, then kept walking and never came back to get me a towel or anything.

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12. Not My Bread, Not My Problem

Once at a Cheesecake Factory, I ate a piece of bread and it tasted like it was soaked in some sort of chemical. I had to put it into my napkin. I informed the waitress that, "This bread tastes like Windex or something". She responded, "We don't use Windex here", and walked away.

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13. Now You See Me…

My parents stopped to get some fast food on a long car trip down to the beach. I ordered a hamburger and as always at these places, given my hatred of American cheese, requested it be cheese-less.

Also as is usual, they managed to screw this part up. No big deal. My mom politely handed the burger back. But I couldn’t believe what I witnessed. The cashier turned around, trying to conceal her actions with her body, and took the burger out of the wrapper then scraped the patty against the edge of the counter to remove the cheese.

She then tried to hand it back to my mom like nothing happened.

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14. Upselling To The Extreme

I was at a restaurant well known in the Baltimore area for their crabcakes. There were quite a few incidents during this meal. Our party of four arrived on a Tuesday evening around 8:30pm. We actually called ahead and only had to wait a few minutes for a table.

My wife and I were treating some friends who had arrived from the Philippines to the best crabcake in town. Unfortunately, we got caught up in Atilla the Socially Inept Server's tractor beam. First, we sit down and know we are getting crab cakes.

Our friends, who are not used to US portion sizes, are discussing splitting a two-crabcake platter as our waitress arrives at the table. She immediately makes a comment to them about how you can split it, but it is better for everyone to get their own and not split the sides.

She’s obviously fishing for a higher check...not a big deal, so we move on. But this was the first warning—it was going to get worse. Next, she comes back to take our dinner and drinks order. Our friends order the double crabcake to split, which is met with a slight eye roll.

My first friend orders a Chianti because she's never had it and wants to try it. I explain to her what type of wine it is prior to her ordering. Attila asks if she knows what a Chianti is and tells her that she should get a good bottle, not the Chianti.

My fiend orders it anyway, partly out of spite and partly because she still wants to try it. Attila gets to me and I ask what the Chef's Dressing is like. She responds with, "How do I explain a dressing?!" I don't know lady, you work here and see and, presumably, taste it!

I try to give her the benefit of the doubt, saying to myself that she was rough around the edges but trying to be helpful. Later, out come the salads. Since our friends are splitting a double crabcake platter, they only get one salad. Attila tries to put it in the middle of the two of them (they are sitting on one side of the table) and in the process, rocks and spills some of the wonderful Chianti.

Her response? "Oops...I was trying to put it in between and your fork was in the way!" No apology or acknowledgement that it was her fault. Luckily, the Chianti only spilled on the table and Attila's sleeve.

Dinner comes around and amazingly goes off without a hitch. Crabcakes were fabulous, sides were tasty, and portions were satisfying. Attila even brings out another plate and splits the crabcake platter up for us. After dinner was when it took another turn for the worse.

Once my plate was picked up, Attila seemed anxious to clear the rest of our table and hovered around. One of our friends was done eating but had some left on her plate. The other was picking at the plate.

Without asking, Attila proceeds to pick up the plate and empty the contents onto the plate of the one that was picking. Who does that?! My wife had some leftovers and asked for a box. Instead of asking for my wife's plate to pack the box, she brings a box to the table, wedges uncomfortably between my wife and I so that we are about a 25-degree angle as she starts filling the box...and clears the plate of course.

The dealbreaker was when she brought out the check. Four people but she tacked on an 18% gratuity. She also was once again hovering. We begin discussing splitting the bill while she stands there and she snatches the bill out of our friend's hand.

She says, "I will split it up for you". Our friend snatches it back and says that she is just going to put it all on one card. Attila hurriedly runs back to run the card. While she's gone, I tell my friend not to tip additionally since it was already added.

Attila brings back the credit card slips, without the itemized receipt showing the pre-added tip coincidentally. She once again hovers as our friend signs, without additional tip. Attila rolls her eyes once again as we give her the signed receipt and request another copy of the itemized one.

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15. Slow And Steady

There's a restaurant I love for brunch that has the best French toast in the entire world. I'll never go back though, due to the awful service. On three separate occasions, we waited 15+ minutes for menus and water, and the one time I complained to the owner about the slow service, her response was, I kid you not, "Perfection takes time".

My ice water does not require 30 minutes to perfect, ma’am. And brunch should not take three hours.

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16. A Dine And Disaster

Blue Moon Diner, Charlottesville, VA. A group of four of us went in, and the waitress took our orders. 30 minutes go by...no food, no visit from the waitress. 15 more minutes go by and the waitress comes back to tell me that they have run out of the dish that I ordered, so if I wouldn't mind looking at the menu again, they could make me a substitute.

I really wanted to ask why it took 45 minutes for them to figure out that they didn't have the dish that I ordered, but having been sitting for 45 minutes at that point, I already had plenty of time to mull over the menu, so I gave her a substitute order right away.

After an additional half an hour with no food and no further visits from the waitress, we just said screw it, told the staff that we had waited long enough, and went to Taco Bell. But it didn't end there...we found out later that the wait staff were telling people that we skipped out on our bill...which was impossible as we never had a single bit of food put in front of us.

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17. Is It Just Me?

I went with a group of friends to Friendly's, which is a mostly Northeastern US diner/burger/ice cream joint. Our local Friendly's employed mostly retirees, so it required a bit of extra patience.

We sat down, ordered our food, and weren't the absolute worst teenagers in the whole world. Everyone got their food but me. I thought mine was just taking a bit longer, but then our waitress handed me the check instead.

Well, okay, maybe she forgot that I ordered food, no biggie. The reason why this was so memorable was because, on a completely separate trip to Friendly's, the same exact thing happened—everyone got their food, I was denied food, and was given the bill. What the heck, Friendly's?

I've had a few other occasions at different restaurants where I wasn't even served. No one even came by with some waters. That kind of sucked.

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18. Patience Is A Lucrative Virtue

This really upset me. I was with two friends at a restaurant in Rutland, VT. We had a decent meal, and when the check came, they paid me their share in cash, and I put the total (a bit over $100) on my card.

There was about $10 on the table while we were figuring out who was owed what, when the server came over, picked it up, and said, "Uhh guys, tipping starts at 15% and goes up from there, did you not know that?"

I took the money out of his hands and explained I was putting his tip on the card. It didn't upset me at first, but it grated on me over the next few minutes. In the end, he cost himself a generous tip for his jerkish behavior.

He got his few bucks, but would have gotten considerably more had he not done that.

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19. Barking Up The Wrong Tree

I once got a piece of tree bark in a salad. Strange, but then it got more bizarre. The server argued with me for 10 minutes that it was crouton and refused to get a manager. When the manager eventually came over, he took one look at it, looked at the server, and comped my entire meal.

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20. Table For Two

Me and my girlfriend at the time were the only two people in a Denny’s one night. The cook made the completely wrong thing for my order. We knew this before we even got our food, because I could overhear the waitress tell the cook he made the wrong thing.

The cook mumbles something, then the waitress brings it over anyway and pretends like she didn't realize it wasn't what I ordered, even though I clearly heard her say that she was aware of this fact seconds ago.

I say, "I'm sorry...but this isn't what I ordered and I overheard you say you knew as much over there". The waitress gives me a very dirty look and puts in what I originally wanted. For the rest of the night, she was very scarce on coming around to our table.

It took forever to get drink refills, our check, etc. And like I said, we were the only two there. So it's not like she got too busy.

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21. Service Served Cold

For Valentine’s Day, my former partner and I went out to a restaurant called Armand's. We were the only people there, which should have been my first red flag. Our waitress sat us down and took our order, then went back to the bar where she was chatting with the bartender.

In the 50+ minutes it magically took to make a Caesar salad and a grilled chicken Alfredo, our waitress got smashed. It went downhill very quickly. She brought out the food, and lo and behold I had no chicken in my dish.

I called the waitress over and she was angry that I interrupted her flirting with the bartender. I explained there was no chicken in my dish. She grabbed the plate and walked it to the kitchen, then returned 30 seconds later…with my same dish of pasta and chicken on the side.

The chicken looked like it had sat in the corner of the grill all day with how charred it was. Needless to say, we left without touching either of our dishes.

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22. Clock’s Ticking

I went to Denny's. Got seated. Chatted it up with my tablemates for about 45 minutes when a waitress finally comes over to serve us. She says snappily, "If you guys aren't ordering anything then you need to leave". Ummmm, give me a menu, we've been waiting.

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23. Can We Get A Redo?

Back when I was six or seven, my extended family and I went out for brunch. This was a huge deal for us because my immediate family had moved away a year ago and this was our first time being back with the rest of the family.

We went to some place like Denny's or something like that and were seated and ordered. TWO HOURS GO BY. The manager, noticing that the brunch rush is over, notices us sitting there. "Have you all been helped?"

"Yes, so-and-so is our waitress and we've been waiting for two hours for our food".

"Oh, well, I’m sorry, but so-and-so quit. I think we'll be able to comp the meal for you. Can I take your orders again?"

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24. Zero Service, Zero Tip

This happened at the restaurant Texas de Brazil in Chicago. Wonderful meal, no problems with service—until we asked for the bill. It took the waiter 45 minutes to return with our bill, which also had several mistakes.

I called the manager over and explained it was completely unacceptable. Her next actions enraged me. She apologized and simply walked away from our table without doing anything. It was the first time I didn't tip at all.


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25. What’s Better Than Nothing?

I was out camping with friends, and we wanted some late-night grub. We drove to the nearest town (Blue Ridge, GA, in the mountains near the TN or NC border). We saw a place called Waffle King.

We thought, "Waffle King, Waffle House, what's the difference, let's eat". That was a horrible mistake. The waitress was rude and never refilled our drinks. The coffee was awful. There were four of us—two of us got our food, then five minutes later another person got their food, then 15 minutes later the last person got their food.

I got something other than what I ordered. I mentioned this to her, assuming she just mixed up tables. Nope, she argued with me about what I ordered, despite the rest of the table agreeing that what she brought was not what I ordered.

One person got a waffle. Being the Waffle King, it should have been good, right? Nope, they somehow managed to burn one side (like, charcoal) while keeping the other side raw (like, could-make-designs-in-the-batter raw).

And to top it all off, there was hair in the food. It was the WORST experience I have ever had. It is also the one and only time I have left a one penny tip: to let them know that I didn't forget—they were just awful.

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26. A Game Of Chicken

About two years ago, I went to a chicken place in Pittsburgh, Kansas. The joint was on the Travel Channel as one of the best chicken places in the United States. My friends and I sat down at the table where the hostess put us, and after 10 minutes, some random waitress, who said she wasn't ours, got our drinks for us.

Our waitress finally came back with our four drinks and told us that we must try the onion rings. She brought us onion rings as an appetizer, but we really just wanted some chicken. She never came back.

After another 15 minutes of sitting there, we left.


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27. Take It Where You Can Get It

About 20 years ago, I met some friends at King’s Cross train station (London, UK) after they had journeyed down the country from the cold, dark reaches of the North of England.

They were hungry, so we decided to hit the nearest restaurant we could find. We weren't expecting great things, the area was pretty rough at the time, but food was required and fast food like McDonald's and Burger King had already been ruled out.

The nearest place we found from the station was an Indian curry house across the road from the station. It seemed pleasant enough, a little ratty but not too bad. We had no idea what we’d walked into. We were shown to our table, and we ordered some Cobra beers (practically a requirement in the UK when sitting down to a curry) and a bunch of starters and main courses.

Then we waited...

And waited...

And waited...

After about 20 minutes, I called the waiter over to ask where our beers were. Oops, he had forgotten our order. Meh, mistakes happen, not the end of the world.

Then we waited...

And waited...

10 minutes later, I called the same guy over again. He promised to be right back with the beers and the starters. Claimed to be swamped (the place was not full, nor was there a lack of wait staff to cover the tables that were occupied).

Five minutes later, he turned up with the beers, and we asked how long for the starters. He went off to check, came back—it’ll be 20 more minutes. What the heck?

This could go on to be an essay of some length, the whole episode is firmly stuck in my noggin. Suffice it to say, the service was awful, and the food sub-par, while the manager was utterly disinterested in fixing the problems.

On the whole then, pretty awful. In the style of eBay feedback: "0/10 would not go again". But this is not the end of the story. For, dear reader, I had paid with a credit card, and this was back in the days before chip and pin...so the imprinter machine was dug out to make my payment.

My bill came through a week or two later, and they had added a tip to the bill. I had originally, for reasons the above makes clear, given no tip. They added a 200 DOLLAR tip to a 60-dollar meal. Now, I'm all for the comedy of opportunism but really? $200? Is anyone that stupid, or that careless with money? Of course I was going to notice that.

If they had stuck a 1 instead of a 2 in front of the total, well a bill for $160 would have been big, but there is a possibility that a meal for four may have come to that, and I wouldn’t have thought much of it.

But, awful service and awful food, the two things the customer cares most about in a restaurant, and they expect me to forget the whole episode, all while they tip themselves $200 for my bad experience with them?

The credit card company were not too thrilled with the tip either and reversed the whole transaction. To this day, I am no longer a quiet Englishman who does not complain at bad service.

I stick up for myself, and if there is no improvement, well then I get up and walk out.

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28. The Meat Of The Matter

There's a local steakhouse in my hometown. They serve great food…on most occasions. I ordered an 8 oz Porterhouse steak with steamed veggies and a baked potato, one of the specials on their daily list.

I had to send my meal back the first time because it was wrong. Why was it wrong? The server obviously couldn't understand the English that was spouting from my verbal hole of wisdom. I was served scallops.

She returned next with an 8 oz sirloin steak with rice and steamed veggies. This was closer, but not what I want. I told her clearly, "Miss, could I PLEASE have the porterhouse instead of this? I didn't ask for sirloin".

The server said, "I'm sorry, you said a porterhouse? We don't have that here".

I ate at Wendy's that night. She was easily the dumbest waitress I've ever encountered.

I've been a waiter for five years, and if I had to train someone so stupid, I'd quit before I let that girl on the floor.

Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

29. When The Service Is Too Attentive

This isn't the creepiest encounter I can remember. I was at a Waffle House near my apartment for breakfast on a Sunday morning with my girlfriend. We order our food and our drinks are on the table and all is well.

Eight minutes after ordering our food, it began to get horribly strange. The waitress comes over and just stands at the end of the table. She doesn't say a word. Thirty seconds go by without a word and just awkward glares from my girlfriend and I to each other.

The waitress finally says something about the grill area smelling bad because the cook burnt something and she’d rather stand near us. Uhhhh...no. She does some more random weird things where she just hovers or, after hearing me say I would like a refill, just stares blankly at me.

It gave me the creeps, man. At the end, I go to pay and another lady does the actual cashiering while our waitress stands behind her, peeking over her shoulder. I had left an adequate tip on the table and disregarded the creepiness.

The cashier asks if I want to leave my server a tip. I say I already did. She replies with a look of desperation, "You should probably leave more. She's an awful good waitress!" All while our waitress stares blankly at me.

I gave her another dollar and never returned. The waitress had nothing obviously wrong with her and looked otherwise normal. Just weird.

Terrible Customer ServicePexels

30. To The Moon And Back

My mom told me that when she was working at a restaurant, none other than astronaut Buzz Aldrin came in. He was also kind of a total meanie, and when she brought his food, he said "it took longer to get my food than it did to go to the moon!" He must've had that one planned.

Rude WaiterFlickr, yooperann

31. Something’s Fishy

My boyfriend and I went to this Asian fusion restaurant in our neighborhood on a whim one day after work. The 15 minutes it took us to get seated (when the restaurant wasn't even half full) should have been the first indicator.

But we were finally seated on the outside patio and proceeded to order a couple of sushi rolls and a noodle dish. We had to request water, listen to loud waitresses gossip, and watch as they wandered around from table to table, hollering to everyone "WHO ORDERED THIS?" all while waiting for our three measly dishes.

The noodle dish finally comes out 45 minutes later and is lukewarm and tastes awful. So we cancel our sushi rolls and peace out. How that restaurant is still in business, I'll never know.

Terrible Customer ServicePexels

32. Left To Their Own Devices

I took my wife and her brothers to Red Robin to get some burgers. Our waitress took our order and she was fine. A few minutes later, we saw her sit down at a booth with some friends of hers. I guess her shift was over?

Someone else brought our food out. I was still okay with this, as this is pretty normal at some restaurants. I didn’t know how bad it would get. See, we weren't assigned another waiter.

After we ate, I had to walk to up to the hostess to ask for our check and paid there. My wife pressured me into leaving a tip, but I'm really not sure who got it seeing as we essentially did not have a waiter.

Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

33. Not His Day

I went to Olive Garden and they were giving out samples of wine. I took a sample of the white they were offering and went to my table. When the waiter came, he didn't see the little bit of white still in the glass and picked it up to take it away.

In the process of picking up the glass, he spilled the remainder of it all over my brand-new leather jacket. He got totally flustered, grabbed a towel and tried to clean it up, but in his hurry, he dropped the glass and it shattered on our table, sending bits of glass into my lap.

After cleaning that whole mess up, we ordered. A little while later, he brought our meals to the table. I’ve never seen a worse disaster occur. I had ordered some kind of Italian dish (cause it's Olive Garden) and as he was placing the plate in front of me, his thumb slipped on a drop of olive oil on the side of the plate, and the entire plate landed face down on the table, half of the food going into my lap.

He was so embarrassed at this point that he just ran out of the room and a different server came over to clean up his mess. I was annoyed with his mistakes, but I honestly felt so bad for the guy that I still left a pretty decent tip.

Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

34. Not So Easy As Pie

I went to Denny's at 3am with friends to get a night cap in the form of apple pie with vanilla ice cream, intending to pour some of our rum on it. Om nom. We waited for 90 minutes for this pie to come. It never did.

Don't tell me you had Betty Crocker back there whipping one up from scratch. I know you get that stuff from a box. When we harassed our waiter the last time, he said, "Oh, bro, don't worry, it's almost out!"...It never came.

At the 90-minute mark, we left and he yelled at us as we were walking out the door: "Bros! It's ready now!" We were sobering up at this point, and the night had deteriorated. I just wanted this one beautiful dish. How dare you, Denny’s? How dare you?

Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

35. A Little Kindness Would Go A Long Way

We had this lovely tapas place, really upscale, in my university town. I love tapas, the food and the atmosphere were great, but I'll never be back because of one snooty maitre'd.

The first time was just me and my then-boyfriend. We had decided to splurge a little, so I had chosen a nice Italian red on their list. But when I tried to order it I was met with this exact line: "What, you're ordering an Italian vintage in a Spanish restaurant?"

No humor there whatsoever. Yeah...if it offends you so deeply, why is it on the menu? The second time, we were a group of six, and it was quite obvious that working out the tab would be a bit of a hassle.

Some people shared a bottle, some wanted to pay cash and others with cards, and of course the added complexity of plenty of tiny dishes instead of just one each. But it can usually be sorted with some cooperation.

Well, our maitre'd (same guy) was having none of it. We had just barely signalled that we would like our tab, when he disappeared faster than roadrunner, giving us no chance to detail how each of us would like to pay.

Then he materialized with a tab for the whole table and disappeared just as quickly again. In the end, we couldn't work it out between us. Most of us didn't have cash, so I paid for the whole tab with my card.

I asked my friends to help me sort it later and pay me back their respective share. I thought it was fine, but I was about to see red. I hadn't so much as put my Visa in the little leather envelope thing when he materialized again and with a smirk and exclaimed, "That wasn't very easy, now was it!"

So, he's given us terrible service and is now gloating about it? Screw that, no tip for you. And no return visits. Too bad for you, I spend a lot of money on tapas about once a month. And I make sure to tell everyone, including Satan and his grandmother, this very story.

Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

36. Petty And Satisfying

Long ago, a friend and I went into a Friendly's that happened to be in the mall. This was back when these places were starting to offer free soda refills instead of gouging for a new soda. Well, my friend had a thing about ordering his drinks with no ice, since he didn't like when they got watered down.

The waitress told him that without ice, he would only get a half glass since it is "set to only fill it so much and the ice is the rest of the space". When we asked if she could just set it to fill twice, she stood there and argued with us.

So when she came back with his half glass of Coke, he knew just what to do. He drank it down immediately and asked for another as she was walking away. She came back, obviously annoyed, with another and slammed it on the table.

Well, he did the same thing again. Sure enough, after the fourth refill she brought a full glass. After we were finally done, we wrote up a note on the napkin that said something like, "don't argue over stupid stuff like a half glass of Coke when the refills are free" with arrows pointing to the two pennies we left as a tip.

Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

37. Eating In The Rain

While waiting for our food to arrive, water started pouring through the ceiling on top of our table. A waiter slammed a bucket on the table to catch the water, and then walked away without saying anything.

A few minutes later, when the water stopped, they wiped the table down with a cloth and laid our food down without any cutlery. No one apologized for the water that had been gushing down on top of us. But when we found out the whole story, I was disgusted.

Apparently, someone had plugged up a toilet in the men's washroom on the floor above us. It overflowed and sank through the floor and through the ceiling of the floor below. We'd been rained on by poopy toilet water.

They tried to charge us full price for the food and argued when we said we wanted a discount. The manager was extremely rude, grudgingly gave us free coupons for our next visit, and told us we were lucky to get those. I gave them to a cashier at Wal-Mart.

Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

38. Let’s Play Telephone

I called a local pizza joint to order two pepperoni pizzas for takeout. That's all. I spoke to the dumbest person I've ever encountered in my life. That order...it took me 10 minutes to convey, along with my phone number...which she could not for the LIFE of her understand.

I said each number deliberately and slowly, no fewer than three times. She repeated the wrong numbers back each time. Then she asked for my address. I said, "Why do you need my address for takeout?" She said "Oh, this is takeout? I have to start over".

I nearly screamed. We went over the phone number at least two more times. Then I repeated my order over and over. "TWO MEDIUM PEPPERONI PIZZAS, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD". It was painful. The most agonizing phone call ever.

And this was to a pizza joint I call on almost a weekly basis, every time it's a 30-second conversation. Too easy. Whatever, I go to pick it up, visibly irritated, but that service was fine. I thought, "I should check these pizzas, there is no way that rocket surgeon got this right".

I didn't, though...I was irritated and hungry and not thinking straight. I got home and opened up one pepperoni...and one cheese. I lost it, called up the place demanding a manager, and relayed to him about how he has in his employ someone with a mental capacity smaller than the pizza she had screwed up.

He gave me two more pepperoni pizzas for free in the end, and promised me that that employee would never answer a phone again. If this doesn't sound as bad as it should, it's because it is very difficult to convey how stupid this person was when it came to taking an order.

She might not be overall an idiot, but holy, I think I could train my two-year-old to do a better job than that.

Rude Customer RevengePexels

39. A Nasty Loophole

My mother used to work at a restaurant in Georgia when segregation ended. She had the honor of serving the first Black customer to ever walk through the door. It was breakfast time and she walked over to his table and took his order.

He asked for two eggs, bacon, grits, and orange juice. What ensued was pure evil. Her manager sent her back out with two raw eggs, three raw strips of bacon, a cup of dry grits, an orange, and an empty glass.

He said, "Law says we gotta serve 'em, it don't say we gotta cook for 'em".

Life-Changing Encounters FactsShutterstock

40. The Invisible Woman

My mom never eats out at restaurants. She decided to for the first time in years, and went to a Chili's. She, being a lone woman in her later years, wasn't as high a priority as a group.

She sat in her booth, alone, reading her newspaper while she waited on the server. He never came. He sat tables around her, came to them with food and drinks, but never her.

She tried to get his attention, even holding out her arm as he passed by, but he would stop to ask what she wanted and never return. She ended up having to go across the restaurant to the bar to order a drink and food.

As she was eating, the server came to her and sat down and apologized. Dude lost out on a good tip; my mom taught us to always tip well.

Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

41. An Ex From Another Life?

I was at a bar with my co-workers after our shift. They were regulars and I'd only been there a couple of times. The bartender was super friendly with all of them, but not me. She gave me nasty looks all night. Everyone thought I was just being paranoid.

We were playing pool and one of my friends went to the bar with me for a refill. He got his with a smile. I asked for another drink, too. She glared at me and literally slammed the bottle onto the counter and walked away.

At that point, everyone in my group was like "what'd you do to her?" I still don't know what the heck her deal was.

Customers Get KarmaShutterstock

42. A Bad Experience All Around

It was my Just Eat order. I like to try new restaurants and this one…I wish I hadn't. The loaded fries smelled like raw fish. The pizza tasted way off. Then when I asked for a refund, the guy on the phone got frisky.


Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

43. Food For Thought

I was in Long Island, NY, on vacation over the summer like we do every year, as my grandparents live there. I was 11 or 12, maybe younger, and we had just finished a day at the beach. We find this one place to eat at that we have never seen before.

We go a bit early, around 5-ish, and there are barely any people there. We sit down, led by a waitress. She comes back in 10 minutes to drop off menus and ask for drinks. 10 minutes pass. 30 minutes pass.

We get some water, with 90% melted ice, and no drinks that were ordered. She leaves without taking an order. 10 minutes pass, 30 minutes pass, 60 minutes pass. We get the heck out of there and go to a crab shack type place.

Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

44. Oops, My Bad

One of my friends told me that she used to work at Applebee’s, but was fired after a week because she threw up on a customer...

Karens Behaving Badly FactsShutterstock

45. No Show, No Pay

A friend and I went out for a late lunch and thought we’d try a restaurant we had never been to before. There was no one around when we walked in the door, so we just stood there a couple of minutes before someone happened to walk out of the kitchen.

We sat down and got menus, but the guy never came back. After 15 minutes of waiting for someone to take our order, we walked out.

Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

46. It Takes A Village

This happened at a Red Robin. A girl took our drinks and let us know that "Brian" would be our server. Great! Brian came, took our orders, and that was the last we saw of him. Other people had to bring out our food, fill our drinks, and get us silverware. Then, I finally had to get up to ask for the check.

After the check was being processed by the manager, Brian showed up and let me know that he'd "be right with me". That was the only time I have tipped nothing.


Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

47. A Problem From The Starter

There was a Chinese restaurant that refused to serve us at all. We were all vegetarians, and they had no main dishes that were vegetarian, but we wanted to order some starters, etc. We explained this and made it clear we'd be spending the same kind of money altogether, but they just refused.

We left the place as empty as when we'd gone in. Seriously, there were maybe two other tables occupied, so we weren't stopping them from serving other, main-course-eating customers. But there was more to the story.

That was the day we'd scattered my Grandma's ashes, and we'd gone in there to get out of the pouring rain, so it made more of an impact than it might have done on other days.

Why Would You Say ThatWikimedia Commons

48. No Anything For You

I was on a cross-country band trip on a bus, and we stopped at this rest station with a diner. Our waitress's name was Lady, and she actually lied to us about what was available on the menu. I asked, "Can I have chicken strips?"

"No!" was her response. She was actually angry that I would have the audacity to ask such a thing. "We're out", she continued to say. After that, pretty much everything my friends and I asked for ended with a very wholehearted "No!"

Hamburger? No! Salad? No! Just a plate of fries? No! How about three bowls of chili? A pause, and then, "fine". As we waited for our food, we watched as other tables received the food we asked for previously.

They were, in fact, not "out" of all the things we asked for, she just lied to us. I kid you not, she just flat-out lied for no conceivable reason. Then there was the cherry on top. We never got the chili.

We waited for an hour, and it turns out she never gave the cooks our order. We weren't rude to her or anything, so the whole experience was very strange and unexpected. We didn't tip.

Adult Temper TantrumsShutterstock

49. Not Cooking With Gas

I took a date to Ruby Tuesdays in Holyoke, MA. We were told it was a 15-minute wait, but we were finally seated after waiting close to 30 minutes. Our drink order took another 20 minutes to arrive and wasn't what we ordered, so it was sent back.

I asked my date if she wished to go elsewhere and she replied that she'd rather just stay there instead of having to wait in line elsewhere. Our waiter finally appeared and took our orders—and then the real fun started.

My date’s pasta and chicken dish came out with undercooked chicken on it and my burger came out raw (I ordered it well done). Back to the kitchen went our meals. On the second try, my date’s pasta was cold and the chicken was burnt to a crisp; my burger was still raw.

Third try of getting the meal right, her pasta dish finally showed up cooked correctly but my darned burger was still raw. I sent it back again, the waiter showed back up with a FROZEN burger on a bun.

I asked for a manager and explained to him what I had ordered and he told the now crying waiter to take it back to the kitchen, yet again. By now my date had finished her meal, so I canceled my order, we paid for hers, and left. I've never gone back.

Terrible Customer ServiceShutterstock

50. Looney Spoons

I went to Steak 'n Shake, waited an hour and a half for food, never got spoons. I asked for spoons, he threw 20 on our table (for our four-person party) and left. We complained to the manager, but he did nothing except ask for our payment.


Sources: Reddit, ,



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