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 tales of people who quit terrible jobs in the funniest and most vengeful way possible. As always, these are real stories from real readers.
"One Friday night during my years waiting tables, I picked up a shift for a co-worker. I usually didn't work Fridays because they were amateur nights — lots and lots of White Zinfandel and people who only go out once or twice a year. I was about 30 minutes into my shift when I was triple sat with two 4-tops and a 6-top. I got the drink orders from one of the 4s and the 6 and told the other 4 that I would be right back to get theirs. As I was coming back from the bar with a tray full of drinks, this lady sitting in another section grabbed me by my sleeve and pulled me back to her table, almost spilling all the drinks in the process. I don't know about the rest of you, but my pet peeve is "YOU DON'T TOUCH ME," so I'm already starting to see red. I ask the lady "Yes ma'am, what can I do for you?" and she says, in a very loud voice, "MY CHICKEN IS BAD!"
I calmly looked at her, looked down at her chicken, looked back at her, set the tray of drinks on a table next to them, reached onto her plate, picked up the chicken, spanked it twice, and yelled "BAD CHICKEN!" Then I put the chicken back on her plate, walked through the wait station, threw my ticket book against the register and walked out the back door, never to wait tables again."
"I was working at a beach bar in NYC in the summer of 2006. The job was hell — we would work 12-14 hour shifts because the place would open at 11am or noon and turn into a semi rave at the end of the night. We wouldn't get paid for weeks at a time, and the pay itself was terrible.
The Fourth of July was the day that we were supposed to make mad cash because the beach bar was always packed, the fireworks display was on the East River, and the view from our place really was amazing. HOWEVER, we get to work that morning and the owner had hired more people off of craigslist and told the regular waitstaff that we would be working the overflow parking lot where there were less options to make tips (mostly just beer tents and not a lot of food).
After a few hours of this, I decided to rally the troops, Norma Rae-style. I got up on a picnic table, put my fist in the air, yelled 'This is Our Independence Day!' and we all walked out. The look on my boss's face was priceless, but what was even better was going back at the end of the night and sitting with them until we all got checks written out to us for all our overdue back pay."
"About ten years ago, I worked the breakfast shift at a resto-bar named Cafeteria. It wished it was a Supper Club, and was situated on lower St. Laurent Street, which is a strip in Montreal that was notorious for hiring hot young women who were eager to make a lot of money (ostensibly for school, as McGill was quite close by). It was relatively easy to leave there with $400 a night (or $200 for the breakfast shift), which meant people were willing to put up with more bullshit than if they were making less.
I was spared much of the drama that happened at night, by virtue of having an awesome manager working during the day, but the night managers were all skeezy turds who power-tripped over anything, sexually harassed the waitresses, did coke off the back of the toilets, and were just general dicks. There were a lot of rumors of managers demanding blowjobs to get the better Thurs-Sat shifts, though I can't confirm them. I can, however, confirm that the owner of the place was the worst of them all. He thought he owned the planet because he had a semi-successful restaurant, and made sure everyone knew it.
One night when I was working Grand Prix weekend (during which I opened the restaurant at 7 AM, and wouldn't leave until 4 AM the next day, coming back the next morning to do it all again — $2000 in three days made it worthwhile to me), a newer girl I had been chatting with earlier in the night came up, shaken about something that had just happened. Apparently, she had been counting out her cash for the night in the back of the kitchen, and someone she thought was a random guy, as she had never seen him before, came up and swiped several bills from her. Shocked, she chased after him, yelling "Sir! Sir!" until he turned around and screamed "I'm your fucking boss." Stunned, she went back to the kitchen to finish closing her cash. Afterwards, she went to talk to one of the managers, to tell him what happened, and also to make sure she wouldn't get in trouble (the place was notoriously fickle with its staff). As she was telling the manager her story, the owner came up to her from behind, put her in an headlock/chokehold with his left arm, and wrapped his right arm around her and stuck his thumb in her mouth. He leaned in and said "That's right, I'm your fucking boss." She was understandably incredibly upset. I will forever think of her fondly, because she took the entirety of her cash (as in, the whole amount, from all her sales) that night and left, never to be heard from again. My hero!"
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. Submissions are always welcome! In particular, we're currently soliciting crazy religion-adjacent stories; religious customers, managers, co-workers, whatever. If it involves someone doing something absurd based on the perceived will of Jesus (or Vishnu, or Allah, or L. Ron Hubbard, or whatever), we could definitely use it.
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