It’s a beautiful study of human behaviour where you get to see the very worst of society in all its glory.
If you’ve never been blessed with the gift that is working in hospitality, you may have committed one of these sins, in which case, I’m here to educate.
For all who have lived through these painful experiences, take solace in the fact that you’re not alone. I’ll be your shoulder to cry on.
As the old saying goes, hell hath no fury like a customer scorned.
1. The no-foam latte
IT’S CALLED A FLAT WHITE.
This goes hand-in-hand with every other ridiculous coffee order ever mentioned under the sun. The strong, decaf, extra hot short blacks with goat’s milk and a side of gypsy tears. Also, the classic comment that soon follows: “if it’s not extra hot, I’ll send it back.”
2. The table of 12 that wants to split the bill
If you want to split the bill more than four times, I’m sorry but you are a categorically bad person.
3. “Hi, I’m here with the booking”
Oh are you? You must be here with the 50 other bookings we have for this evening. These people are the worst, they don’t know if they booked, who booked, or how many people are coming, but expect you to know exactly who they are.
4. The person that calls mid-service to ask if you can find the Lost City of Atlantis
Or whatever obscure item they think they lost when they came in for dinner seven years ago. This phone call only ever comes during your busiest service period.
5. The parents that let their kids run wild
And think it’s OK for little Ziggy to run around your legs and use the restaurant as a gymnasium, while you’re carrying three searing hot plates and/or multiple coffees.
6. The table that never leaves and makes the “are we the last ones?” joke as they leave
There’s a special place in hell for these people. The lights are all turned off, the tables and chairs are stacked up and we’re all standing around for you to leave but no! you aren’t the last! *laughs*
7. The group that uses the table as a bin and then laughs about how messy they are when they leave
As a waitress, naturally I love to clean up baby food wrappers, wet wipes and dirty tissues after a table leaves. LET’S BE REAL people, acknowledging how messy you are doesn’t make it any better.
8. The customer that swears they’re allergic to dairy, then shares their partner’s cheesecake for dessert
After you’ve tripled checked every meal the customer has eaten that evening for any traces of dairy, you see them pick up a fork and dive head first into the creamiest, most decadent dessert on the menu. At this point you’re debating whether to risk your job and spike them or pretend like you didn’t see it and move on.
9. The kid that vomits in the toilet
Sometimes you’ll be so lucky and the mum will feel guilty enough to try and clean it up herself. Other times… you’re not.
10. The customer that orders the well-done steak and asks why their meal hasn’t arrived yet
Pro tip: well-done steaks take time to cook and if you ordered one in a rush, you should probably stay home and never dine out again.
Illustration by Twylamae, who also makes tees and tote bags.