Welcome back to Behind Closed Ovens, where we take a look at the best and strangest stories from inside the food industry. This week, we bring you stories of truly horrible customers who were served an extra helping of justice. As always, these are real e-mails from real readers.
"Way back in the late 80's, I was working at a small town restaurant in rural Alberta. It was a bit of an odd set up in that it had a coffee shop/diner in the front, a bus station/convenience store/coffee counter in the middle, and an actual dining room in the back. Sort of a one-stop-shop.
I had just started working there and had only done a week or two at this point. One of the other waitresses came into the back crying and shaking. The manager asked her what was wrong and she said "*SHE* is back and in my section again." Manager tells me to take care of her instead. Gee, thanks, Manager!
So I go out to the table, not in my section, and see that this woman in her late 30's or early 40's is sitting there grinning like she's just made the best joke ever, with her hands, arms, and clothes COVERED in fish guts and blood, her hand full of bait worms. I backed off and went back into the kitchen and the other waitress tells me that she has done this before, coming in having just butchered her catches, just to mess with the other waitress because the woman knows it'll make the waitress cry and freak out. This is the first time with actual worms, though, which apparently she pulled from her pocket and shoved in the waitress' face. Manager has by this point completely disappeared.
I, being the put-up-with-zero-bullshit type of person my mother taught me to be, went back out to the table and told the woman that she was going to get her ass out of my diner and don't come back unless she was fit to be seen in public again, and if she shoved those worms at me one more time she'd be pulling back a stump. She hollers for the manager, who is nowhere to be found, and finally stomps her way out of the restaurant, yelling and dripping fish guts the entire time.
How I didn't lose my job over this, I will never know. Eventually, the useless manager slunk his way back into the restaurant through the back door and acted like nothing ever happened."
"There was a great burger place in town where I worked from the ages of 22-23. They served a lot of craft beers and had a great wine selection.
One night, a table full of guys came in for some pre-bachelor party drinking. They were being loud and rowdy when they first came in, so I sat them upstairs in a more secluded area with a couple of tv's where no children could overhear their delightful conversations.
One of said conversations involved the bachelor's buddy attempting to get him to "just throw [me] on the table and shove it into something different one last time." I was pretty pissed, but kept my cool, took their drink orders, and headed back to the bar. I told my manager what was going on and he said he would keep an eye on them, but we were short-staffed, so if I could handle it, it would help out the restaurant — but to let him know if anything else happened.
I took care of my rounds and headed back to their table to drop off another pitcher when one of them reached out and got a handful of ass. I "stumbled" and dumped the beer on the guy, making sure to spill the whole chilled pitcher on his lap. Then I told my manager, then went back to the kitchen, and the real fun began.
By this point, the whole kitchen knew what was happening, so they prepared their burgers with a few extra special features (hot peppers cooked into the middle, various condiments including cake icing instead of ketchup, tartar sauce instead of mayo, etc). Someone else delivered their food, and when they complained, the manager made a whole big show about how the food looked fine to him, if they didn't like it they could pay for their beers (including the one I dumped on them) and leave. They made a scene but headed out and into the night to harass some other unsuspecting bartender."
"I worked in the food industry for 10 years. During that time, I was regularly subjected to large parties of employees from a very famous investment firm. They were terrible tippers, argued about the check EVERY TIME, got sloppy drunk, and were just generally awful humans.
The worst one was a very pretty and very awful woman I'll call Joan. I have met many awful human beings in my day, but this lady blew them all out of the water. She would order wings, then look at me while putting her disgusting pile of chewed-up bones on the table for me to clean up — shit like that.
One night, she drank more than even her prodigious tolerance could handle. I noticed that her table, which had about a dozen drunk wannabe bankers sitting at it five minutes earlier, was empty, and there were hoots and hollers coming from the ladies room.
When I went in, I found Joan making out with a female colleague while every boorish dude she worked with filmed it. I broke it up and told the guys not to be dicks, since every heinous bitches shouldn't be in that situation. I was not rewarded. Joan looked at me and said, "If you had just gone to college, this might not be your life."
I did go to college, bitch. And you did leave your wallet in the bathroom, post-makeout sesh. And it did have a baggie of blow in it. And I did turn it in to the cops."
Do you have a crazy restaurant story you'd like to see appear in Behind Closed Ovens? Please e-mail WilyUbertrout@gmail.com with "Behind Closed Ovens" in the subject line (or you can find me on Twitter @EyePatchGuy). Submissions are always welcome! In particular, if anyone has any colorful Chef stories, awesome (and interesting, obviously, not just "they were nice to me") customer stories, or ridiculous co-worker stories, I'm at 2/3 for all of those subjects.
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