Customer Demands Free Food

June 10, 2016

in Diner Stories

I have worked as a server for almost 4 years now at various restaurants in various parts of Florida. I’m generally not surprised or fazed when people demand things for free when there’s no merit for it. You have to have thick skin in this business, especially on the front lines as a server.

So it’s getting to be around 9 pm and the hostess is trying to get her side work done so she doesn’t have to hang around till close. That’s fine, I get it. I don’t want to be here either. Anyway, I happen to be standing near the door when a middle-aged Caribbean woman comes in and says she needs a table for 3. I’m next cut but I take her to my section anyway. I get her a Coke while she waits for the rest of her party. Two more women show up and I go take their order. I’m being as pleasant as possible despite being at the tail end of my third double of the week with one more to go. I like to think I’m a trooper.

So they all order wings. I ask if they would like celery, carrots, and blue cheese for $0.49. The original lady says yes, but she demands it for free. I smile and apologize, and joke that I can’t do that, they don’t let me make the rules. She’s dead serious. I ask again if she wants it and she says, yes, for free.

At this point I’m over her obnoxious demands (she hasn’t smiled once through the entire interaction) and I ring her up for the upcharge. I decide that instead of bothering a manager over $0.49, I’ll just take the hit and offer to reimburse her out-of-pocket. It’s two quarters, FFS. So I go to the table and very politely say “Ma’am, I’m very sorry. I can’t take off the upcharge but I can reimburse you for it.” And I offer her the change. She scowls at me and tells me how offensive that is. Several times. Her friends nod in agreement. OK now I’m embarrassed. I probably blushed. I’m a little surprised that she didn’t thank me or smile or anything, but OK… she’s dead serious about this too.

I’ve never dealt with someone with such a black hole for a sense of humor or gratitude. Whatever. So at this point I don’t want to piss them off anymore so I send my friendliest coworker over to check on them. He agrees they’re all complete sourpusses and everyone agreed that she just wanted to be mad about something.

That’s the last time I offer to eat an upcharge for a demanding patron. BTW she left me $1.50 on $20.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Serenity June 11, 2016 at 7:32 pm

Never, ever reward the rude, demanding people. It generally backfires ( as you learned), and just adds to their sense of entitlement. I would have charged her double.


The Imitation Krab June 15, 2016 at 1:39 am

Boy did I learn my lesson! Never again.


theblonde June 25, 2016 at 11:24 pm

I've read this story multiple times, I think just because I can't believe it.
I'm trying to picture the scenario and can't imagine someone just saying, "yeah I want this but I'm not going to pay for it" with a completely straight face. That goes beyond the jokes of "oh we don't want that!" when you drop the check.

I think it was really sweet of you to offer the fifty cents. I feel like you're the type of person who if someone looked upset about the upcharge and opted out, you would have taken it from your pocket. She was just way too pessimistic and cynical to believe you were just honestly TRYING to give her something, not insulting her with a petty refund – even though she's the one who made a big deal about to 50 cents to start. Plus, what a pain in the neck it is to explain all that to a manager and get them to fix it in the computer?!

I definitely agree the customer is NOT always right and managers certainly appease the loudest just to get them happy; I don't think you did anything wrong here. Keep being a good person.


Ace November 27, 2016 at 11:31 pm

Wow, the greatest surprise in the story is that she actually left you a tip. The rest I can totally see happening, I feel that I've served that woman before. Kudos to the OP for being so nice and graceful though 🙂


alexsizemore1 March 22, 2017 at 6:16 pm

entitled ghetto trash


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