Waiter Games and Naked Patrons: Restaurant Horror Stories

Illustration for article titled Waiter Games and Naked Patrons: Restaurant Horror Stories

Welcome back to Behind Closed Ovens, the series where we recount some of the craziest restaurant stories people have actually agreed to tell in public. As always, these are real stories from Kinja users, along with one of my own:

While I question the veracity of the movie Waiting in many ways (I've never seen anyone mess with a customer's food — not once), one thing it absolutely did get right is that restaurant employees love to invent stupid games to pass the time. Nowhere was this more evident that at my first restaurant job, a serving gig at a diner in College Park, MD.

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It seemed like every week, we invented a new game. Toast Frisbee was always fun. The Chefs seemed to love randomly humping any other male employee who wandered into the kitchen, although that may not have been something they perceived as a game so much as a way of life. At one point the Breadbasket Game became popular, wherein we saw how many baskets we could fit on one table before a customer said something. The record was 7, at which point we stopped because we all agreed that it was like Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game — it was never being topped.

But the best game we ever invented was Dirty Whispers. To play Dirty Whispers, a server had to walk up to another server who was in the midst of taking an order at a table, lean in, and whisper something you wanted the server to do in the dirtest voice you could possibly come up with. The goal was to make them burst out laughing on the spot. The catch? The thing you whispered had to be bizarre, and it could not be in any way actually sexual. Some examples:

"I want to watch Conan O'Brien beg you to let him carve a pumpkin in the shape of a moose testicle."

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"I want to watch you judge a dance-off between Optimus Prime and Gandhi."

"I want to watch you play Skeeball with a bag of Nathan Lane's toenail clippings."

You had to opt into this game — we weren't doing it randomly to other servers; that would've been creepy as shit. We had a good few weeks of it before I threw down the one that finally cracked my co-worker J.T. in front of his table and ended the game:

"I want to watch you dance the lombada with Janet Reno while nearby Zombie John Candy eats a chili dog shaped like the Virgin Mary."

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From Kinja user GenghisKhan't:

"While working at a fast food pizza joint I had this one belligerent customer coming in, the type who wants to blame everything on you. He kept ragging on about the prices and I told him if he didn't like the prices he could leave, because I don't set the prices. He finally shuts up and buys his slice, still complaining about the prices. He goes to the spice shakers and proceeds to take the only almost empty shaker of chili flakes and try to shake them onto his slice. Lo and behold, nothing really comes out. I don't bother pointing out to him that there's another clearly marked full shaker right next to them, because I am paid far too little to give a shit about people like him. Then I watch in horror as the genius holds the shaker over his face to see if it's really empty, and the flakes go into his eyes. I ran to the bathroom to try and contain myself as he howled, and laughed so hard I cried while the chaps I worked with got him a wet towel for his eyes."

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From Minerva Ragnarsson:

"One of the strangest jobs I ever had was as the weekend graveyard at a 24-hour diner in a well-known party-college town that is also rife with Trustafarians. One night I got into work to see a young couple, looking a bit bedraggled, stalking out our door and yelling something about "fucking bullshit" behind them. I got inside and asked what happened.

Apparently, after being seated and ordering coffees, the guy started taking off his clothes. He didn't appear to be higher than normal for the area or anything, just that he wanted to take off most of his clothes. He stripped down to what my manager referred to as "like a fucking Tarzan loincloth thing with beads", and when he was politely asked to put his pants and shirt back on, he literally jumped up on his table and started bounding from table to table (luckily he was a pretty skinny dude) yelling something about "freedom of speech" while his girlfriend took off her shirt to reveal a "necklace...shirt...thing" and yelled her support. The manager told them to leave, or the police would be called, and they put some of their clothes back on and left, which was the point where I walked up. My manager could hardly breathe through the laughter, and said "good luck tonight - I have a feeling you'll need it"."

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Have a particularly funny or bizarre story you'd like to see appear on Behind Closed Ovens? E-mail it to WilyUbertrout@gmail.com. Submissions are always welcome, and can be credited to a Kinja username or a pseudonym, your choice.

Image via Two Cheeks Bakery, and also Kinja user intheweeds.

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DISCUSSION

preciouslittledong

I worked in restaurants for about 12 years and I never messed with food, first of all.

One restaurant: the bar was the real reason that people came. This older couple that seemed like the type to crash high society parties, maybe they were new money, maybe they were old money that had recently started to run out of money, they were entitled and constantly drunk and would stand way too close to people to talk. The bartender had bought a set of Global knives for doing his bar prep (can you imagine? who needs to slice citrus with a $70 knife? I digress) and would keep them out on the cutting board as he made drinks. One night the male of the drunken couple waited until the bartender's back was turned, stood suddenly on his stool, lunging across the bar and grabbed the entire set of knives without anybody seeing - except they were being taped. They came back the very next day! They gave back the knives upon threat of a police report and were promptly 86'd.

In general, this restaurant invited people to have a terribly entitled attitude in various ways, one of them being free appetizers from 4-5 pm. We'd set out a table with either a steam table or some cold apps, napkins, small forks and tiny plates. People seemed to make a point to haul over after work and cram their faces, which was fine, but the attitudes they had about the free food was astounding - people would come up to me and complain that the steam table was empty and that we needed to bring more stuff out with total impudence. Near the free app table was the server station (trust, there was no confusing the two) which had chargers covered with cloth napkins which we used in case we needed to bring someone more silverware or more butter, you know, something classier than a tray. One time I saw a woman grab a charger from the server station and throw the napkin off of it with the intention of loading it up with free food. I briskly walked over with more of the small app plates and offered them to her with one hand while trying to extricate the charger with the other hand. She wouldn't let go. I said, ma'am, these aren't plates, they're not intended for that use and she kept gripping tightly until I finally yanked it out of her hand.

She called the next day and complained about me yanking it out of her hand so she couldn't pile it high with all the free food she wanted.

The place folded three months after I quit.