Customers Who Don't Know What Words Mean: Restaurant Horror Stories

Welcome back to Behind Closed Ovens, where Kitchenette relates the weirdest, grossest, or just plain funniest stories to come out of working in the food industry. Today, we bring you people who do not understand simple concepts like "gluten-free" and "veggie subs" and "smoked salmon," and who are angry about it. Enjoy.

Kinja user Delmar14:

"Customer: Are the Jalapeno Poppers spicy?

Me: I mean, they are made from jalapenos, so...

Customer: Oh, I don't like spicy. Can I get them without jalapenos?

Me: Well, they essentially are just fried, stuffed jalapenos, so not really. But the Mozzarella Sticks would be similar, if you don't like spicy food.

Customer: Oh, well I have a gluten allergy, so that won't work either. I'll just try the poppers.

Me: Well, those have gluten too, and like I said, they're spicy.

Customer: What about the breadsticks? Do those have gluten? Are they spicy, too?

Me: Well, basically everything with bread has gluten unless its specially—

Customer: Excuse me, I've been eating bread my whole life, and gluten will literally kill me. I think I'd know if there was gluten in bread. *harumph!*

Me: I generally suggest the salmon as our best gluten-free option.

Customer: Are you trying to kill me?! I just told you I was gluten-free!

At this point I went and got my manager who spoke with the woman for about 15 minutes before finally getting her to order a burger with no bun. When the burger came out, the customer was irate and demanded a pretzel bun be brought out at once."

A. Davis Miller:

"I worked at Subway in high-school and on a slow-day, a lady came in and asked for a 'tomato, lettuce, and cheese sub.'

Easy enough, so I set about making it for her. Mid-way through the process, she stopped me and asked, "I don't see a 'tomato, lettuce, and cheese sub' on the board. Where is it?!" I replied, "Oh, well, it's just a veggie sub…" She curtly responded, "No, I don't want a 'veggie sub', I want a sub with tomato, lettuce, and cheese. That's all. I told you!" I replied, "Yes, ma'am, that's what I'm making." Her: "But where is it on the board?" Me: "It's on the board. It's a veggie sub; that's what I have to charge you for." Her: "I'm not having a veggie sub!" Me: "Yes…you…are?" Her: "I'M NOT A VEGETARIAN!"

This went on until she became so irate that she told me to stop because she was going to a competing sub franchise "where they understood English" and didn't try to rip her off (at the time, a foot-long veggie sub was the cheapest item on the menu at $3.99). She then flipped me off and made a failed attempt at slamming the front door with a spring-loaded door closer that slowed down the process. Fun Fact: She was meaner and more disrespectful than the guy who robbed the place with a machete two weeks later."

Karen Ashland:

"I was waiting tables at a tourist trap in South Carolina. A family came in and immediately the father started trying to impress me by ordering our 'fanciest Chardonnay' (dude, it's $12 Kendall Jackson). The wife ordered the smoked salmon (lox) platter, which came with eggs, capers, toast, etc. When I served her, the husband FREAKED out and started yelling about how I was trying to poison his wife with raw fish. The manager ended up having to comp their meal because he made such a scene and no amount of explanation would placate his indignant rage."

Sam G. Levinson:

"Years ago, I worked in a deli in DC. One morning a customer sat in my section and asked for a cup of coffee and a bowl of milk. She had an absolutely enormous purse with her, so I noted that we couldn't serve cats. She then reached into the purse, whipped out a box of cereal and the Sunday Post, and told me that we didn't carry the cereal she liked.

I brought her the milk and the bowl, and she went about her merry way. Upon leaving, the customers sitting next to her (regulars of mine) asked me how I could have possibly filled the request with a straight face.

'That's nothing,' I said. 'Last week she gave me an egg and asked me to scramble it.'"

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!

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