Waiting tables can be arduous work. It can also be rather rewarding, provided your customers tip decently (but that's another story we'll probably reserve for a different article).
One of the toughest parts about being a waiter: Customers who are so particular that taking their orders becomes an exercise in patience.
Today's burning question comes from Redditor Braumsisdabomb, who asked: "Waiters and waitresses of Reddit, what's the most convoluted order you've ever taken?"
Brace yourselves, people.
"Not necessarily a convoluted order..."
Not necessarily a convoluted order but I think this still fits here. I work at a from scratch Italian restaurant. Had a guy come in with his wife and sit at the bar on a busy Saturday night. He informed me he was following the "TB12 diet" from Tom Brady's new diet and exercise book and had very strict dietary restrictions because of this. He sent me back and forth to the kitchen no less than 7 times to verify with the chef that his dinner order would have no iodized salt,
sugar, olive oil, gluten, peppers, or tomatoes (he ended up with a plain piece of fish and some vegetables). We were getting slammed, but I still tried to keep my patience and accommodate the guy the best I could, even though doing so was putting me in the weeds. After dinner I ask if they would like anything else and don't you know this guy orders himself a bread pudding (VERY much filled with forbidden gluten and sugar) and eats the whole thing. He just goes "well, I mean, you have to allow yourself a treat now and then." I died a little more inside.
"I previously worked at a wing shop."
I previously worked at a wing shop. Guy calls and asks for 24 mild traditional wings. He then proceeds to ask for them to be fried twice (no big deal, that's pretty common). He also wants them covered in Mexican shredded cheese, put in the microwave for 30 seconds, drizzled with mayonnaise, and wants his side of fries placed on the wings rather than in a separate container. Finally, he requested to have pickle juice squeezed lightly across the top of everything. Obviously all the waiters, cooks, and waitresses thought this was disgusting...but we had never smelled something so amazing come from the kitchen in our lives. (Did not taste as pleasant as it smelled.)
"She once returned the drink..."
Coffee frappuccino, half&half instead of milk, coffee filled up to 2/5ths of the cup before blending, light ice, two shots espresso, shake ingredients then blend it three times, use half the bottle of caramel drizzle on the sides of the cup before pouring the drink in, extra extra whipped cream, then add more caramel drizzle to the top. This woman came in every day, watched you make her drink, and would force you to remake it over and over until she was satisfied.
She once returned the drink for not having enough caramel drizzle. As I was remaking it, the cap blew off of the drizzle bottle and nearly the entire contents oozed into the cup. It being frappuccino happy hour, I said "f*ck it" and gave it to her like that. She said it was the best she's ever tasted.
The entire store absolutely loathed frappuccinos.
"I'm still just blown away by this woman."
I serve food at a country club so I deal entirely with people that have more wealth than I'll probably ever had. A lot of these people are really nice and are actually friendly, however many are also very snobby, high maintenance, and just rude.
One night I had a table. It was two couples on a double date and both couple were less than friendly. One woman ordered a salmon (I can't remember the rest because this one woman was the bane of my existence).
I serve them entrees and let them eat for a while before I do the typical "how's everyone doing?" 9 times out of 10 everyone just says everything is fine and just want me to leave so they can eat. Not this lady. She calls me over and tells me she didn't think I gave her salmon. Looking at her plate I can see the fish is pink and is very very clearly salmon (I've served the salmon hundreds of times) she insists i Go ask the kitchen what fish it was. Of course it's salmon.
Which i return and tell her politely that it is indeed salmon. She gets angry and tells me how it doesn't taste like any salmon she ever had and that she had had salmon many times and that what I served her wasn't salmon. After getting more and more angry about not having salmon she looks me dead in the eyes and says "this tastes like turtle" I honestly didn't know how to react so I just asked if she was sure and she says "yes, I actually like it. But it isn't salmon"
I'm still just blown away by this woman. She got so angry with me about this "mix up". We don't serve turtle, I don't know anywhere that does. And she liked it? I don't understand these people's lives.
"Then he had the nerve to complain..."
A half rack of ribs, no sauce, well done, microwaved after taking it off the grill for 5 minutes, 8 sides of thousand island dressing to dip it in, broccoli, no butter, triple steamed, a sweet potato with 4 sides of sour cream, a water with no ice and then two cups of ice. Then 15 minutes later decided he wanted another half rack of ribs the same way. This was a year ago but I will never forget because he snapped at me a ton of times while I was talking to other customers. Then he had the nerve to complain to my manager because his rolls came late, but they had just been popped into the oven and were baking when he ordered them. F*ck that guy.
"Worked at a fancy country club."Giphy
Worked at a fancy country club. Some 14-year old kid always threw a fit about his food being seasoned so the parents let him order what he wanted. 12 oz filet mignon, no seasoning, no butter, no oil, cooked well done, served on a plate with two dinner rolls, also with no butter. The chefs were pissed at this kid for complaining about everything they made so they were happy to make his food the way he wanted. The kid ordered it every week they came in from then on. Yes, he still got charged for the salad, vegetables, and starch option that would have came with the meal. Also an older woman would come in on Sunday mornings and order burnt toast, heavily buttered, and one strip of bacon with a cup of burnt coffee. She had been coming there for years and we'd put on a pot of coffee before we opened so it would be old by 10am when she showed up. People are weird.
"We called it the Corey special..."
We called it the Corey special, because this guy would come in every week and get the same exact thing. Large yumm and greens vegan sub avocado, add cabbage and carrots 1/2 sauce sub nori, add tempeh, no chips sub crispy noodles, on a plate, half rice sub greens. He was a super nice guy though, so nobody really minded that he had the order from hell.
"One customer, two orders."
One customer, two orders.
The first would be paid by card - a cheese and ham toastie with a cup of tea. The ham had to be taken out of the toastie and put in a separate bag, and the toastie had to be cut into quarters and delivered to their table (we don't do that).
The second part was paid by cash and was a Tandoori Chicken Baguette cut in half, delivered in two separate bags and a long black with milk and water on the side - again, we don't do that.
Greggs is a tiresome job and customers like that only make it worse.
"We had this chicken ragout thing..."
We had this chicken ragout thing that was pretty good and spicy; well one day an older woman comes in and order it without the corn, tomato, onion, garlic, any other vegetables, no sauce, and chicken on the side with butter.
She got buttery rice and chicken. Like $13 bucks despite the fact I told her she could order a side of both of the same portion for like 8 bucks total. But by god she was dead set on that "ragout"
"Not a waiter but a cook..."
Not a waiter but a cook, just had this one a couple nights ago in the middle of the biggest rush of 2019 thus far. Guy comes in and orders 2 chicken breasts boiled from raw (we sell our chicken grilled or fried), six scrambled eggs but not made with our pre scrambled egg mix, but freshly hand scrambled eggs BUT of the 6 eggs he wanted all 6 whites but only two yolks, and three pancakes made with 33% buttermilk batter and 66% multigrain batter.... manager wouldnt let us refuse the check and then complained that it took more than our required 10 minute cook time to boil the chicken
"Twelve German guys..."
Twelve German guys spread out between 3 tables. Perfectly pleasant, though language a bit of a barrier. They all ordered gammon-and-chips, cod-and-chips, burger-and-chips, etc. And a low-alcohol lager each. (It was a roadside restaurant.) So far so good. Then for the next hour or so, they would call me over and order another lager here, another there, a third for this chap. Like, I think it had something like 0.4% alcohol, and they were trying to make it up to the level of a normal pint.
Then having eaten their meals they wanted the same again. Only this time one guy wanted the cod, and the other wanted the chips on a separate plate. Ditto the gammon. Then deserts. And about half of them had a second desert.
Then they wanted to pay separately. Not split the bill 12 ways. They wanted to pay for exactly what each of them had had.
I left the manager with them at the till. Luckily, she spoke German.
"We have this lady come in..."Giphy
We have this lady come in EVERY Tuesday and she sits at the bar. Wait, not sit. She stands the entire time. She wants an almost raw salmon slathered in this Cherry Chipotle glaze that we have with extra every thing that the bowl comes with (quinoa, mushrooms, seasoned tomatoes, among other veggies), an extra bowl of the glaze that has to be heated up, and sriracha. We don't offer sriracha as a condiment but we keep large bottles of it on the prep line to use as a mix for sauces. The bartenders just started keeping the sriracha behind the bar just for her lol. I dubbed her "Salmon Lady."
"Two women come in..."
Two women come in and both order mint mochas. I make them in the standard paper coffee cups with plastic lids. The woman then tell me they want them in mugs instead. The drinks have whipped cream and chocolate on top so I couldn't just pour them into the cups without ruining them, so I remake the drinks and bring them out. One woman is happy, while the other is not. She says it isn't minty enough. I take it back and put more mint in it. She's still not satisfied. I add more mint. Now it's too minty. I remake it for the third time and add the standard amount of mint. She's happy, despite the fact that she had wanted more mint originally?? The good thing was she was very kind and apologetic about it all, and tipped me well.
In High School, I waited tables at a local place. It was your typical small town restaurant, with burgers and steaks and pork chops kind of place. Anyway- this dude came in and ordered a burger, with lettuce, tomato, raw onion, and extra pickles. Cool so far. Now- hold the burger. Just the bun and toppings, please.
And some fries, but please chill them a little before serving. Not cold, but please get them just slightly warmer than room temperature.
Uh...alright, I guess.
And a steak. NY strip, cooked medium well, with no salt or butter. Put the steak on its own plate, please.
Sure thing, but I think they'll charge you for the burger and the steak. Cool? Cool.
So I put in the order, taking time to pass along the specifics to the cook. She looked at me like I was bullshitting her, but did it.
And sure enough, when the order came up, the dude put the steak on the bun. Complete with lettuce, tomato, extra pickles, AND room temperature fries. He put the chilled fries on the goddamned sandwich he made.
He ate every last bite, washed down with an iced beer. Not beer in a chilled cup, but bud light poured over ice.
He was a great tipper, but it was bizarre. He became a semi-regular after that, always with the same order.
"My time to shine."
My time to shine. I worked at a country club as a bartender, and had been there for years, so they would have me go "on the floor" to train new staff. I was training this girl that was all of eighteen, bright eyed and bushy tailed, her first serving job. She was shadowing me when a group of middle aged women that were known to be persnickety sat down. I walk over to them, greet Mrs. Murphy and company by name and warmly attempt to take a drink order. Per protocol I go clockwise around the table taking their "unsweetened ice teas, TWO lemons" and "diet cola, make SURE it's diet I'm fasting", all the while the last of their party keeps talking over them saying "bird on a plate, bird on a plate, bird on a plate". I genuinely was trying to show my trainee how we were strictly instructed to introduce service, and this woman was repeating her deluded mantra over all of her friends drink requests. When I arrive at her she just says "I want a BIRD. On a PLATE. BIRD ON A PLATE" - like I'm the dumbass. When I inform her we have turkey, duck, chicken, and other poultry that day she screamed "BIRD. ON A PLATE". I smiled, turned on my heel, and rang in a chicken sandwich, no bread, lettuce or tomato, and no side. I promptly called over my manager and gave my two weeks. F*ck you, Mrs. Ward.
"I had an old dude..."
I had an old dude that would come in about once a week who would order the following:
4 double cheeseburgers with extra toppings
3 4-egg omelets with 6 pieces of sausage each inside
4 grilled chicken breasts 'for his bird dogs' (they were poodles)
4 orders of fries
A bowl of chili with extra onions
20-30 pieces of bacon just in a container
We think he and his wife eat all this crap throughout the week so they didn't have to cook. He said he'd had 4 heart attacks and didn't give a shit anymore. They were both relatively thin somehow. Must store all that fat in their arteries.
"It was more an order that took a while..."
It was more an order that took a while to understand, and ended up making my self since it didn't take that long and to make sure it was made correctly.
So we had this salad called a Cobb Salad that had cooked chicken, bacon, and ham on it. It also had cheeses, chopped boiled eggs and green onions.
The customer wanted the meats on the side, but wanted the meat fats to be on the salad. The way she tried to explain it was hard to understand, but what I was able to come up with was to toss the lettuce with the meat and then pick the meat out and chop it on the side. Then put the rest of the stuff on top of the tossed salad.
She was satisfied with the food, got an ok tip from that table.
"There's a lady..."
There's a lady that always comes into the Japanese restaurant I work at and orders a chicken bento box, no chicken, only carrots and onions for the vegetables, carrots steamed, onions grilled, spicy steamed rice instead of fried rice, dumplings replaced with soup, California roll replaced with a salad with two small cups of dressing on the side and a bowl of lemons with her water no ice.
Also this man that orders a steak and chicken lunch, but instead of chicken he wants extra steak. All the servers have tried to explain that we have just a steak lunch.
"When I was a waitress..."
When I was a waitress at Olive Garden, a family of four gave me the menus and said, "surprise me" and literally wouldn't tell me what they wanted. They wanted me to choose for them.
I gave them the four most expensive entrees on the menu.
"And she was a slow talker..."
When I worked in Sainsbury's cafe (I know, hardly the most complicated place) we had a lady who came in regularly for breakfast with her 3 grandkids who'd simply list the items she wanted on each plate and, whenever she was told that we couldn't do that and she'd have to choose from the set breakfasts, she'd simply repeat the entire list louder. And she was a slow talker so it'd take her probably 90 seconds to read the whole list. Eventually we caved and just ended up doing it because it didn't look too great having someone stood at the till almost shouting "two sausages, two bits of bacon..." etc over and over again, but she stopped coming in after the main shop barred her daughter for shoplifting. That was the greatest news I ever got while I worked there.
The other annoying thing about her was somehow I was the only one working there (out of 20+ people) who was able to make her lattes the way she liked (steamed to nearly 200C because she was a fucking heathen) so whenever she came in she was insistent that I serve her, so I couldn't even avoid her by being in the kitchen.
What's on the menu? What are the specials? What's popular? What's your favorite item?Tell me everything.
Back when I was in hospitality, these are part of the litany of questions I would get from visitors to our country. It became a bit irritating. I should've made a sign with "Regular FAQs."
I didn't have a lot of answers, due to the fact that I find American food pretty run of the mill. I'm going have to be schooled on what is considered extra yummy only in the states.
Although I must admit, the shoe definitely swaps feet when I travel. Tell me everything. The rest of the world is far more compelling with their menus.
Redditor u/Well_shi__-_- wanted to discuss what menu items we all need to discuss by asking:
What common foods in your country are considered delicacies by foreigners?
The closest "delicacy" for America I can come up with is pizza. Right? But only in NYC. And bagels, but only in NYC. Maybe alligator in Florida? And oranges, but only in Florida. Were very centralized here aren't we?
Berry WayThanks Strawberry GIF by DriscollsBerryGiphy
"Goji berries. We put that stuff in our soups and many people pick that out when they drink the soup."
"(good) Olive oil."
"Kirkland California Extra Virgin Olive Oil is white label Cobram Estates, which is the California grown product of the Australian olive oil company, Boundary Bend. They have an unimpeachable reputation for quality and win many awards!"
"It was supposed to be caviar, but now it's also unaffordable for us. cries in Russian."
In the Forest
"Hmm, forest berries perhaps. I live in Finland. We have a lot of forests, so lot of berries such as blueberries and lingonberries. Everyman's Rights mean that you can just go and pick as much as you can find. It's kinda one of those things where if you live near any forested area, and are willing to spent time there come late summer, you'll probably have enough to last until next year in your freezer."
"We have so much berries that people from poorer countries (Thailand is a common one for some reason) are hired to pick them up, because doing berrypicking enough to actually profit monetarily is heavy work. And apparently the pay isn't worth it for most Finns. At the same time, forest berries are considered a superfood around the world, very healthy and trendy. Dunno about actual delicacy status, but definitely a difference in how we think about them."
The Little Lambbaby lamb GIF by The DodoGiphy
"I worked for a charity in Iraq for a year and we'd buy a dozen lamb chops for the equivalent of $5. That's like $60 to buy in the US and it's worse quality."
Ok, now that is what I call a menu. And I actually had a few of these items on my list when I heard the question. Only in Italy can you find true oil. And caviar? Guess I'm flying to Russia. Knock, knock Vlad. LOL
"Hawaii has somehow turned spam into a sought after food, especially by visitors from Japan."
"I would add mushrooms for Finland. Especially porcinis (herkkutatti), chanterelles (kantarelli) and C. tubaeformis (suppilovahvero) are incredible food mushrooms which are sought after e.g. in Italy. We can just go pick them in the forest thanks to our "jokamiehenoikeus", every man's right, which allows anyone to pick mushrooms and berries etc. on public land such as state-owned forests."
When in Mexico...
"Avocados here in Mexico, pretty common and cheap."
"Jamón Serrano, here in Spain is really common and you can find very good product for a very affordable price."
"We are going to Madrid this fall and my husband has already informed me that he plans to eat his weight in Jamón Iberico. We used to get slivers of it from a Spanish importer near our old house for crazy money."
Truth Hurtsbritish crown GIFGiphy
"Englishman here, been scrolling for sooooo long to find my country..."
"Maybe some stereotypes are true."
Spam? Just, no. And I will say, I think the English are in the same boat as the good ole US of A. Empty food treasures. I've been to London... the supermarket sandwiches were good and you can drink in the streets. I guess you make up where you can.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
Standards for dating people are definitely very varied, because we as people are varied, and we as people are flawed. Little things might get to us from the get go, causing us to be very very picky about who exactly we let through a couple rounds of dating.
Those things can be really small. Do they wear white after labor day? Are they one of those weirdos that refrigerates their red wine? Have they recently been spotted at a Yu-Gi-Oh! tournament?
"What's the pettiest reason you've rejected someone?"
The answers were as varied as the humans who gave them.
So She's Making Things Up Again
"We went bowling and she started saying the bowling ball was hurting her fingers."
"She was convinced that there were bugs inside the bowling ball biting her fingers and that was the reason for her pain."-Wacky_Sacky
Okay But Only Psychos Cut Their Spaghetti
"I have a friend who has a whole list of petty reasons she's rejected guys:"
"•He cut his spaghetti before eating it"
"•He wore brown shoes with black jeans"
"•He cut his hair too short"
"•He dropped something and said 'whoopsie'"
"•After watching her favorite movie, Ever After, for the first time he said it was 'just Okay.'"
"And then once a month she cries about how she's still single."-Johannes_Chimp
Avoidant Attachment Style
"She smelled funny. Not bad. It clearly wasn't a case of not washing or anything like that."
"She just smelled... Weird. Couldn't get over it."
"For clarification: I didn't know how to broach the whole 'I like you and you're funny and smart and sex is great but you smell weird,' so I just moved to a different country."-BeefPicklesCheddar
It really is pretty interesting to see how people deal with these petty reasons as well.
Hoppy Beer Made Him Hoppy On Out
"I was rejected because I didn't like the taste of his preferred beer."
"That was it, I wasn't asking him to stop drinking it - I just didn't personally want to drink it. We were about to order another round, he asked if I knew the one he had just had, and offered me a taste."
"I gladly accepted because I try to be open to tasting new things."
"I just said I found it a little too hoppy for my tastes and I was happy to stick with what I was drinking. I wasn't rude, I said it was nice, but a little hoppy for me."
"His face dropped, it was almost comical. He then said something along the lines that he had changed his mind and he had better get home."
"That was the end of that first date. As in he literally decided he no longer wanted another round. The date was over. He had blocked me on Facebook before I walked the 100m to the bus stop."
"Pretty sure I dodged a bullet there."-Sharkoslotho
"My ex's name was Simone. She was studying business administration and had a horse."
"We broke up after she f**ked another dude."
"I got over it, and met another girl. Her name was Simone. She was studying business administration and had a horse. Nope."-somniumx
A Taste Log Of The Day
"This dude was super sweet and had a lot of good qualities."
"He was a plumber and casually admitted to me that sometimes he will bite/clean his nails after work and taste the remnants of what he touched that day. I could not get over that and had to move on."
"Things were really going great, like he said all the right things and he was a genuinely good person with similar interests. Up until the point he said that, I was considering moving forward with the relationship."
"Also, I see nail biting as a habit that could be changed, and even practicing better hygiene (which he mostly did, except for those damn nails)."
"Once he said it, and he was serious, my views and feelings for him changed. It's just one thing that completely turned me off from him."-AdmiralPendeja
Half The Fun Of Having Cats Is Having Them Be Bratty
"My perpetually single friend has turned rejecting people into a bit of a sport."
"I'll Tinder for her, which is all sorts of amusing, but one day, I had actually met someone for lunch and thought 'here's someone that's kind of her type, I wonder if she'd be interested!'"
"I ended up pulling up his website and showing her some pictures of the guy. We get to about the sixth photo in, of two of his cats, in a treehouse. She explains 'his cats look bratty.'"
"Yeah, well, that's why you're single. Still. Six years later."-disillusioned
And the reasons people will find just to get away from people and keep themselves alone is also very interesting.
Was It Worth It?
"Went on a first date with someone that was out of my league. Couldn't believe my luck! On our way to dinner, everything was going fine and the conversation was flowing. She seemed really into me."
"Suddenly she screamed at me to stop the car. Not pull over, stop right here right now immediately in the suicide lane of a 4 lane major road."
"Just before I came to a complete stop in the middle of this busy road, she opened the passenger door and tried to jump out. If a cop saw all this it probably looked like she was escaping a kidnapping."
"She jumped out of the car and played Frogger across two lanes of traffic, and I sat there stunned with my passenger door hanging open into traffic. A few seconds later, she came running back with something under her arm."
"I couldn't see what it was in the mirror. She had a huge smile on her face and as she climbed back into the car she squealed with delight as she showed me what it was."
"A f**king hubcap. She said it was to commemorate our first date, and that we could share custody of it. I could have it first."
"That was our first and last date."-Uncle_Baconn
Elton John Would Probably Laugh At This Story
"We spent our first date browsing various record shops in Manhattan and Greenwich Village. I took him to my favorite ones. I told him what Elton John album I thought was best."
"He disagreed and was adamant I was dead wrong. He was going to a party at his brother's after and didn't believe in subways (as his dad had died in 9/11)."
"The party was 100 blocks away in Brooklyn. Decided to walk him to the party despite having mild asthma and severe post nasal drip. Once there at the door he decided it wouldn't work out because he couldn't put our differences aside."
"His last words were, 'Do you really believe Honky Chateau is his best work?' Of course I do. He had this horrified disgusted face on and said, 'Yeah, no. That's just wrong. Not gonna work out since you have poor taste.'"
"Literally got rejected over Honky Chateau, but it's okay. My FIL thinks that album is the hottest sh*t."-intothethickofitoh
Tiny Teeth Committee
"I broke things off once because of the size of her teeth."
"They were tiny compared to the size of her mouth. It shouldn't have been an issue, but it creeped me out. I don't know why, but it was one of those things that I couldn't ignore and gradually became the only thing I could see."
"Grown woman with a mouth full of baby teeth... just weird."-CarrollGrey
It is really a wonder how humans are so easily poked, prodded, and annoyed. But it is part of what makes us who we are.
We wouldn't have fun, funny, interesting stories to tell each other otherwise. We simply have to honor these little, "petty" reasons for not getting with others.
There's nothing funny about having an employee show their true colors after you've already hired them. Upon hiring, they seemed completely normal, pleasant, like they would be a good worker. Then as they get the lay of the land, they show that they actually have a different personality when the manager isn't around to see.
A Redditor wanted to know:
"Employers, what's the most insane complaint you've had about an employee that turned out to be completely true?"
These stories will shock you. The things that these people did were deceitful and, quite frankly, illegal in some cases. How the managers didn't catch them sooner is what makes it so unbelievable.
The hotel party.
"I was the head night auditor at an upscale airport property. Had a youngish night auditor who put a room into out of order status and let his friends in to party and have an orgy that he joined during his lunch break. He got caught because of a noise complaint. Police called, he was fired and blacklisted from being hired back."
"I hope he had a 1hr lunchbreak. If he joined the orgy for 15mins that's kinda disappointing for everyone."
"That is hilarious, I had almost the exact same thing happen at a property I worked at, except:"
"a) It was a tiny 30 room historical property, so it wasn't going to go unnoticed."
"b) He threw his drug fueled party in the "Queen Anne Suite," our most expensive room."
"c) He didn't even have the sense to put the room out of order or even kiiinda clean up afterward, assuming the hotel staff would just not notice or care that a room we didn't rent that night was ABSOLUTELY THRASHED."
"d) He just made keys for his friends that he handed out, and came in through the back or something, rather than just renting the room at a discount or something so it would all be kosher on the books (if you don't have 50 bucks to rent a room at the employee rate then you don't have the money for a party bud)."
"e) He did all this on MY shift rather than his own, thinking I wouldn't catch on that something was fishy on one of our TWENTY FOUR SECURITY CAMERAS."
"f) He really thought he could prevent us from catching him by coming in on my shift, acting like he left something behind on his last shift, then while I wasn't looking, STEALING THE CORDLESS MOUSE TO THE CAMERA MONITOR. IN PLAIN VIEW OF THE FRONT DESK CAMERA. He just. Palms it. Then shifts a guilty lil glance at the camera."
"Surprise surprise, we were able to roll back the security footage and catch all this on tape when we pulled the high tech maneuver of 'Plugging In A Different Mouse.' He was fired so fast. I've never worked with such a dumba** in my life. He really thought he pulled the heist of the year."
"For context, this was not a teenager. He was obviously in his 40's, receding hairline, lanky and always a lil sweaty and dodgy and socially awkward. Not 'quiet and timid' socially awkward, more like... this guy gives me bad vibes, makes inappropriate uncomfortable jokes and laughs too hard, doesn't really get professional workplace boundaries, seems like the sort who would try too hard to impress teenagers because he has a car and can buy them liquor but can't hang onto a friend his own age to save his life. My hiring manager really knew how to pick 'em."
At the bank.
"Working in a bank. Had a teller (about 19 year-old) get pissed about the way a customer (retail store owner) would send in her deposits at the drive up window. The teller complained about the customer on Facebook! Tagged the lady personally, as well as the store! Customer called the bank and told me, furious of course."
"I told the customer we would investigate, I asked the teller. She straight up admitted it, and says "What's the customer or Branch Manager going to do about it? My Grandfather is friends with the bank President." I called HR and Bank President on conference. Girl lost her job in under 15 minutes of me receiving the call from the customer. Breach of customer confidentiality in banking is a MAJOR law violation."
"I love the fact that she thought her grandfather being 'friends' with the bank President was going to do jack for herself. Even if it had been her father being friends with the president she would still be fired. Even if she had been friends with the president she would still be fired. If she was the bank president she would still be fired. The only scenario where she gets out of this untouched is if she had a time machine to slap herself before she tagged the customer."
"This is why it is important to distinguish between nepotism and networking. Networking can look like nepotism but you are actually taking advantage of the fact that you know competent people and thus don't have to play roulette with new hires. The catch is that if you give a bad recommendation it reflects poorly on you and you lose status in the network, and the new hire is not protected at all."
"Though if you break the law even nepotism won't save you most of the time."
Should have run a background check.
"Hired a guy on a trial basis. He was super polite and careful when speaking to me, but several of my female employees told me when I wasn't around he was creepy. After about 5 days, one came to me and said almost verbatim: 'I think he's a rapist.' She just a had a gut feeling about him. So I ran a background check on him... yep, he was a convicted rapist."
"For those of you saying 'This is why you run background checks BEFORE you hire...' this was almost 20 years ago when it was not standard procedure, and I was not in charge of that regardless. HR would make the decision. In this case I requested it specifically because the safety of my employees appeared to be at stake, but not one other time in my career did I feel the need to ask for one."
Subway stamp cards scheme.
"I knew a guy who worked at subway back when they gave out stamps. Basically for every six inches of sub you bought you earned a stamp and once you filled a card with 8 stamps you could get a free six inch sub."
"So this guy started only giving stamps to customers who asked for them. If they didn't ask he pocketed their stamps and grew a sizeable stack of complete stamp cards."
"Then over time he started cashing them in. When a customer paid with cash he would ring it in as a freebie, place his own completed stamp card in the till, and pocket the cash. Customer got their sub, subway's till was balanced, and he had an extra five to ten bucks in his pocket - everybody was happy."
"He worked there for a few years and word was he racked up a few thousand dollars running this scheme. No idea if anybody complained, or if he was ever caught, but he did buy a motorbike."
Innocent retail worker gone wrong.
"So I worked retail and we got this guy named something like Gus."
"My boss tells me, 'Hey this guy's got anxiety, go easy on him OK?' And so I was like, okay that's cool I get it I can relate. I do everything I can to help him make sense of the infernal godforsaken hellscape that is retail."
"It starts off with little forgivable things -- forgetting a task here, forgetting things there, accidentally giving the wrong info and things like that. You know, newbie retail stuff like that."
"He quickly devolved in popularity as his complacency grew over time and his helpful attitude shrank. My guy started messing around during his shift, getting caught on his phone while ignoring backup cashier calls and things like that. He would make stabbing motions behind the manager's back to other employees, tell off new employees, and play it all off like he was some innocent dope who didn't know any better."
"None of this got him fired. Day after day was a new complaint from an employee about responsibilities he shirked or a customer about blatantly wrong info like, 'Oh yeah we have another location up on the hill,' and we didn't. No idea whose son he was, because that was apparently all kosher."
"What ACTUALLY got him fired is the one day he brought a dog and a super expensive dog collar into work. He claimed he almost hit the dog on the way to work and it was running around wild, etc. He tried to sell the dog collar to a customer, then tried to 'adopt out' the dog to a coworker."
"This coworker was competent enough to take the dog to a vet whereupon they found a microchip and contacted the actual owners. THAT'S where the fun started."
"It came out that Gus never found the dog at all. He straight up KIDNAPPED this dog from his neighbor and tried to pawn it off, knowing full well what he was doing. The guy lawyered up immediately, tried to sue Gus and threatened to sue the store and the store manager if Gus wasn't fired."
"Suffice to say, Gus was gone the very same evening. Nothing else came of it, but we talked about him for years and years."
These stories are unbelievable but true. How some of these people didn't get arrested is beyond us!
Thank goodness there were employees who caught these people in the act.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.
The magical, curated experience for paying guests is only the tip of an iceberg of hard work, dicey ethics, and a robust corporation with all the policies and economic motivations that you'd expect.
Lucky for us, some Redditors were there to see all that goes on behind the curtain.
And my goodness do they have some stories.
Redditor memezdankton asked:
"Former Disney theme park employees of Reddit, what are some dirty secrets or stories you can tell us about your time there?"
Many people were cast members: princes, princesses, people in giant, fuzzy costumes. Those smiles, plastered there for hours at a time, aren't always legitimate.
"My SIL got a the role of Cinderealla at Disneyland Paris."
"She had to practice Cinderella's autograph over and over because although different actresses play her all over the world, the signature of the character has to be identical anywhere it's signed for consistency."
"You have to be in specific height ranges to play the different characters. Because Mickey's height range is so short he's usually played by a woman. Likewise for Donald, although the most successful and best known Donald that I knew while I worked there was a little person."
"When the princess face characters come backstage they have to take off their dresses so they don't get dirty while they're on break so the princesses are usually walking around in a smock and bloomers if you see them back there. There is some serious cognitive dissonance when you walk back and see Snow White in her bloomers on her phone cursing up a storm."
"People sexually harass the characters super frequently. I was working with Ariel and cast members will always count down before they take a photo so people have time to get into position. I counted down and this teen boy decided to try to rip off one of Ariel's shells."
"I had to open his camera and expose his film so the photo didn't get developed and passed around. I found out later that I was supposed to take it to the Kodak shop to have the film developed and that one removed - but I'd always heard the rumors about ruining the film and nobody really trains you on that so I just went with it. The little a**holes deserved it."
The Show Must Go On
"Worked at Disneyland for almost 5 years. I personally haven't gone to see the 'Disney' doctor for cast members but I know friends who have an heard the doctor doesn't give a sh** about the CM's coming in for injuries."
"The time I was there, photographers and other departments weren't allowed to drink water from the water fountains because we are 'on stage.' It was a big issue the last year I worked there and some of the leads were fighting for umbrellas for photographers. It gets really brutal in Carsland where it's 5x hotter. Almost past out from the heat and dehydration."
A Very Hostile Work Environment
"I had a friend who was a gorgeous red head in her early twenties. She got cast to play Ariel at Disney World. She returned home after a few months saying that they were pressuring her into getting breast implants.
"To quote her (quoting her manager), 'There is no way Ariel has such small boobs.' "
Others discussed the employment policies that are sure to leave you scratching your head. Or calling your union rep.
What Can and Can't Be Shown
"Disneyland first interview papers include a blank outline of a person to indicate where you have tattoos."
"It's referenced if you want to change positions internally, to indicate how said tattoos could be revealed, based on what your new uniform would be."
Playing the Part
"I worked in reservations. They give you a name, that is not your own and you better use it. My name is not Robyn Leigh, but in Disney reservations, it was."
Never a Good Sign
"Disney Employees started referring to Disneyland as Mousechwitz due to working conditions."
"Management told them to stop, so they used Duckau instead"
And others shared the obscure and strange stories that only a Disney employee, with a front row seat to a massive institution, could ever know about.
A Big Loss
"During the construction of Pandora at Animal Kingdom, a very beloved superintendent passed away on the project of an immediate heart attack. Mid-sentence and while opening the door to the construction trailer, George Burke just…died."
"The project was very affected by this. His knowledge of the work that needed to be done was deep and irreplaceable. His laughter and personality was loved by all 1400 workers that were there. A couple years after he passed, we were finishing the project and found the perfect way to pay homage to George. They invited his family to the middle of an active construction site to let them view it."
"George's red hard hat, with the black Nordic Cross on top was attached to the rockwork, in the middle of the flowing river, to the left of the entrance to Flight of Passage, and plastered over. The family, friends, and a few Imagineers, were the only people there. Only we can point out where the hardhat is underneath the plaster, theming, and plants. I revisit the spot everytime I go back to Pandora. :-) Peace!"
Truckin' It Out
"Former cast member from the early 90s. There was a central 'bank' near the Magic Kingdom tunnel entrance where all the park gift shops, restaurants etc would deposit the day's cash. Each day an armored truck would drive into the tunnel to haul away the loot. i can only imagine how much cash they took outta there!"
"I worked there for 3 months 2 years ago with my gf at the time and anything news worthy that happens there (usually negative) immediately gets shot down by the official page of Disney (Twitter, insta, Facebook etc) they keep everything hush hush."
"Lighting struck a bathroom building and there was a small fire and my gf and I weren't working that day but we were there enjoying the park for free bc we're cast members and she records it and posted it on her Twitter. News media pages were commenting and asking her questions like when, how, what's being done and before she could reply the Disney page said to disregard the video bc it wasn't true and the video is edited and the media pages stopped asking after that."
"She gets called into the office the next day and was super close to losing her job. The reason she didn't was bc of how much seniority she had but she was basically on probation after that."
It's a list that'll leave your mind wandering a whole lot more if you ever do go to Disney again.
Want to "know" more? Never miss another big, odd, funny, or heartbreaking moment again. Sign up for the Knowable newsletter here.