People tend not to focus on wait staff in restaurants unless they're actively engaging with the customers.
The customer is there to enjoy their meal and spend time with their group, and it's not like restaurant workers try to intrude.
This cal lead to some highly interesting snippets of conversations being accidentally (or intentionally, no judgment) overheard while bussing tables.
Reddit user u/xXMrEmeraldXx asked:
Work as a bartender at a restaurant/bar with an outdoor area, part of closing every night is winding 6 umbrellas down (hand-cranked, each one takes about 2 minutes to fully wind up/wind down). I was winding them down one night, and I usually zone out to try and avoid eavesdropping, but these two guys very obviously were trying to be quiet and were waiting for me to go. Eventually they realised it was gonna take a while and kept talking. I'm almost done when I hear 'and that's when he paid me two thousand dollars to poop in his mouth'. Being 18 and at the end of a double, I couldn't help but laugh, and these guys both started laughing with me.
To this day, I'm not sure if he made it up to see if I was listening, or if it was a legit story, but it's certainly something I've never forgotten.
Years ago as a manager in LA - I took a ladder into a corner to change a track light. I man and women are sitting across from each other, her back is to me, and he is facing me but mostly blocked from view. I can slightly over hear them having a meeting. I can kind of make out what the guy is saying while I'm setting up the ladder quietly and quickly. man is doing most of the talking. He is explaining something about she falls in the hole, she sees, dream....I catch bits and pieces and think this guy must be talking about Alice in Wonderland. When I'm on the ladder I catch I look to catch a glimpse of the guy. He looks a bit disheveled, and I pass it off as some dude on a hopeless pitch or idea.
Think nothing more of it. 2 years later, friend posts on Facebook that he met Tim Burton. I look at the photo he posted. Surprised as hell...It was the guy at the table that morning when I was changing the light bulb.
I was working in a hotel breakfast room and I heard a wee boy asking his mum 'dad said if I eat all my cereal I'll grow up to be a big giant! Is that true...?'
His mother answered nonchalantly 'yes of course its true!''
The wee boy then started to go into a frightening panic screaming 'AAaaaaaaaarrrggghhh I DON'T WANT TO BE A BIG GIANT!?!?!?!!!!'
Haha her face was priceless (:
I work in the kitchen. But I work in a Bar and Grill in a rich college town. So naturally the town itself is lacking in the common sense department. But I went back behind the bar to refill my drink and head back into the kitchen when I had a woman ask me what was on her burger. I kept looking and looking, quite unsure what she was referring to. She said "these things" and traced the grill marks with her fingers. I told her "ma'am those would be the grill marks". This woman then turned to me and asked "can I get a new burger without them". I looked at her, dumbfounded, not quite sure how to respond. I tried my best to remain polite, saying "that's not possible ma'am." She didn't quite understand the fact that it wasn't possible. I promptly laughed and went back to the kitchen, I'm not the one being paid to be nice to customers.
I worked at a bagel store when I was 15, and a group of people come in and join the line they were a few years older than me out of high school because I didn't recognize them from around my semi small school. I was working as the cashier because I wasn't trained to use the ovens yet. My coworker went into the back to get a fresh thing of bagels for the display. The group of people on line are all whispering to each other and I'm not paying attention because I'm working with another women. After a second one of the guys go, "It's not cool that you did her man." I listen in because it sounded like good drama.
The second guy goes "She came onto me man" the rest of the group is uncomfortable and slowly dispersing. The first guy says, "It'd still not cool man what the hell!" It getting heated now and my co worker still isn't back with the bagels yet. Finally the second guy goes "It's not my fault, you're the one who left me alone with your mom"
The entire group disperses with angry muttering and half of them leave, I don't know how i got through the rest of my shift
A friend of mine worked for a while at a local Chinese restaurant. The wait staff were all Asian, most Chinese who spoke just enough English to get the message across. My friend, however, was American through and through, and only spoke a bit of Chinese because her grandmother spoke nothing else and her mother would swap between Chinese and English in the same sentence.
As she was cleaning a table, she overheard two "good ol' boys" behind her talking about breaking into a place. She slowed down what she was doing and listened a little closer, hoping they wouldn't realize she could understand them perfectly. After a few moments, she realized they were talking about breaking into the restaurant after it closed and robbing the place.
She remained calm (outwardly, anyway; she confided in me later that she was scared out of her gourd) and told the manager once she got to the back, who then had the cops ready. Both guys were arrested after they broke the lock on the back door.
I've been working for about 3 weeks (I'm 16), and I've already heard 6 girls telling all the latest info with people at their tables including but not limited to: cheating, what they want a guy to do to them (also, wtf?), and some older lady talking about her short encounter with a guy she met at the gym, and believe me, she didn't just talk about the gym.
Barbacked for summer at a "hard rock cafe" themed knock off in a nice neighborhood. Sunday's we had a killer brunch that people came and day drank and mimosas flowed for hours.
Well when people drink they become bold and honest. And I overheard two mid 40s white women discussing how they both cheated on their husbands and how easy it was as stay at home moms. I mean... it's 1130am and these two women are talking in broad daylight about how they "reconnected" with guys from their college days and slept with them in the beds their poor husbands paid for and sleep in.
Blows me away how scummy people are.
Wasn't working there , but was sitting next to a table of three guys making plans to rob a gold store less than a block away. I noticed at least two of them had guns. I went outside to call 911 and met two cops that arrived. One of them knew the guys, and they owned the store!
I waited tables in college in the 90s. I once overheard a two-hour long lunch between four guys talking about laundering money through foreign banks for a foreign country. It was pretty surreal with how nonchalant they were about everything.