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For anybody who's worked at least a few months in the food service industry, that adage that "the customer is always right" can be a total tease.


Yes, good customer service is important. We want people to enjoy their meal, tip well, and come back to pay more money in the future.

But sometimes a customer's entitled attitude can ruffle a waiter's feathers enough for them to take some *subtle* action.

Or, in many cases, a waiter may simply be careless enough to do something profoundly awful to a meal, whether there was some customer transgression or not.

Either way, it's best to have your head on a swivel and be as polite as possible whenever you find yourself giving your order to a hard-working server.

RegulatoryCapturedMe asked, "Restaurant workers of Reddit, what is the worst thing you have seen done to a customer's order?"

Some people chose to talk not about vindictive behavior, but mindless habits. These stories outlined all the gross things that happen behind the scenes because a cook just couldn't be bothered to keep things sanitary.

Floor + Griddle

"I worked at a popular fast food chain in my younger years, it was my first time with closing shift and we were all doing our part to clean and prep the store."

"I see this lady with a mop and bucket come out of the back, slop it on to the griddle and START MOPPING IT. I was appalled. I went and told the manager and she tells me well that's the quickest way to clean it then scolded me for worrying about things that didn't concern me."

"I quit that job next day and then called the district office and told them what happened. That location closed down not long after. But the franchise still exists."

-- StellaLuna914

5 Second Rule (x 50 = 250 Second Rule)

"Worked at a 50's style diner."

"Was prepping the chicken breasts for our burgers and dropped a tray of 50 and they slid right under the grill, easily the dirtiest place in the whole restaurant."

"My boss saw and had me pick them all up rinse them with water and re-season then and stick them back in the fridge..."

-- d0rf47

"No One Will Notice"

"I saw a waiter pour an orange juice, take a big swig with his lips on the rim, top it up then take it to the table." -- RegulatoryCapturedMe

"In college, I worked for a well known pizza place. One of our wait staff came to collect a pepperoni pizza, and nabbed a piece of pepperoni off the top before taking it out."

"He gets to the table, and everyone is staring at him in stunned silence. There's a very fine string of cheese going from the pizza to his mouth." -- DeeTee79

One, Two Punch

"Pour the whole tray of drinks over a guest - twice. International trade fair with students as waiters. First time was an accident, second time she was so nervous she was practically shaking and spilled the drinks again on the same guy."

-- skaffen37

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Others chose to highlight the times a co-worker was, indeed, straight up vindictive. These small acts of revenge were blatant, shameless, and often very gross.

A Symbolic Attack

"Worked in restaurants for over 10 years. It's pretty rare that you see people mess with someone's food but it does happen occasionally."

"The most memorable was once when a customer made a waitress cry complaining about their food and sent it back. The chef farted on the remake. It got a lot of laughs."

"More common is if a customer is an ahole, when they order dessert, you find the smallest slice of cheesecake you can."

-- TannedCroissant

The Brine Does Look Like Urine

"I know a guy that pissed in a bucket of pickles. He would have never been caught if he didn't talk about it." -- filthysquatch

"Welp. That's a felony." -- saltnskittles

"number 14 mcdonalds pi** pickles" -- LetsGeauxSaints

Some Burger With Your Pickles

"I had a buddy at mcdonalds, a real chaotic type, who every once and a while would say 'oh hey, guess what time it is... PICKLE SURPRISE!' and put a whole handful of pickles on a random cheeseburger." -- mattmoney31716

"Dude... I got like 9 fu**ing pickles on my regular tiny hamburger the other day.. I think he might still work there." -- vl8669

A Clear Policy

"At my last restaurant job, my coworker would make very ugly sundaes for customers who were rude."

"For particularly nice customers, she would painstakingly recreate the sundaes in the menu pictures and give them extra cream and sprinkles."

-- Disobedient_Bathing

Feels Good to be Bad

"The worst thing i did was to this one guy that I already didn't like and he was being kind of an a**hole, I overcooked his eggs." -- LoneRhino1019

"You are the devil" -- taladrow

"Note to self: to get my eggs the way I want them, be a huge a**hole to this guy." -- Warhawk137

All About Perception

"This isn't really bad, but a lot of the times when people send food back and there's clearly nothing wrong with it, the chefs will just rearrange the food on the plate, wait a minute or two and then send it out to the table."

"The funniest part is when the customer says that it's better."

-- Sophie-xoxo

"I haven't worked in a restaurant in over 15 years. I never messed with anyone's food because that is assault. What I used to do to snotty Karen types is give them a senior discount and announce to the table when I dropped the check that I remembered to add the senior discount."

-- Equal-Indpendence-1

Legal, But a Rough Sammy Nonetheless

"Worked in a deli for a few years, I never tampered with anyone's food but if you were a d!ck I guaranteed your bread was over toasted, the lettuce on your sandwich was wilted, the tomato was the butt end with the hole from us removing the core, your onions were little pieces, the meat was the smallest of the portions, and on and on."

"I wouldn't tamper with someone's food but I damn well wasn't making them a good sandwich. And all of that goes the exact opposite way with the customers I liked, always gave them the best product to the point they would wait for me to help them."

-- SnooChipmunks9932

Finally, others were just as revengeful, but they took out their rage in a more subtle way.

Rather than ruin a meal completely in a brash, obvious way, these cooks and waiters simply listened to customers' order and gave them exactly what they asked for.

These stories remind that we should be careful what we wish for, especially if we've upset the waiter.

A Crowded Pie

"I gave them what they ordered. We were a pizza/Italian/bar restaurant. Our menu was ludicrously large and essentially anything that was on the menu that could go on a pizza was listed as a topping, probably 40 to 50 topping choices.

"I would get asked pretty often for 'a pizza with everything on it!' I had a usual joke or two to find out what they really wanted. Typically a deluxe but then they'd want no black olives or whatever. No big deal."

"Until the a**hole came in that that ordered 'everything' and then proceeded to ask if I was ret##### when I questioned him. My sister has disabilities so I didn't appreciate his tact... told my boss about it and he smiled and said get him a pizza with everything."

"Brought it out and gave it to him. He flipped out and demanded the manager of course. My manager had my back and gave the guy his bill which at $2 a topping was well over a $100 pizza. Guy refused to pay, cops got called, Yada Yada Yada. I hope he enjoyed his pizza with clams, pineapple, Buffalo chicken, broccoli, anchovies, green olives, cream cheese, cauliflower, jalapeños, shrimp..."

-- anix421

Flying Too Close to the Sun

"Some Indian guys came in one time and asked for us to make their food as spicy as possible. I told them that's going to be extremely spicy and wanted to make sure they knew what they were asking for."

"They went on a long rant about how Indian restaurants are the only places that actual know what spicy is and anything we bring out isn't going to be close to how spicy they like their food."

"So I had the owner come over to tell them that we'll try our best but there won't be any refund on this food if it's too spicy. So we made them chicken fried rice with Trinidad scorpion peppers. After 2 bites and about 10 glasses of soy milk later, they ordered something else."

-- MrCanno

Extra Extra Extra

"Wanted extra mayo so I maliciously complied by drenching it. Lady thought I would forget her fake $10 prayer tip the last time she was there." -- Dumfk

"Just keep one on hand for when you see those people again, give it back as their change, or if you care about/need your job, dont listen to me about anything." -- harpo555


It's a list that might leave you feeling rather paranoid about going to fast food or sit down restaurants in the future. But at least one preventative maneuver emerged as a common theme: be polite.

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