Are You a Waiter's Worst Nightmare?

by Laurie Ulster
Originally Published: 

Now I’m a restaurant customer, with kids, so I do my best to be considerate of waiters and kitchen staff, and to tip well. I remember one time during my waitressing career when I headed over to a table to clear it and the group had already stacked up all the plates and cutlery for me. “We’re waiters too!” they said cheerfully, then tipped me heavily despite having done most of the clean-up themselves. The kindness of strangers goes a long way.

So does the unkindness, which is why this group of waiters and waitresses, rounded up on Reddit and then featured in Foodbeast, felt compelled to reveal the worst things their customers had ever done. Unsurprisingly, a lot of them have something to do with kids. I hope you don’t recognize yourself in these.

1. Leaving chewing gum on the plate.

I don’t let my kids chew gum around me anyway, because the chewing sound makes me spin instantly from 0 to 11 on the rage meter, but I for SURE wouldn’t let them leave chewed gum on a dinner plate at a restaurant. I’m guessing adults do this too. Gross.

2. Asking waiters to parent their kids.

One waiter recalled, “I once had a mother ask me, ‘You see my kids running up and down the stairs and the aisle? Can you tell them to stop?'”

Are people asking waiters to discipline their children? Yes! There are multiple stories just like this one out there. Another waiter told a story of a kid who kept running into the kitchen, unsupervised, playing with bleach and rustling through the silverware. When the waiter carried the kid back to his table, the parents didn’t realize he had been gone, and laughed.

3. Changing a diaper on the table.

Ewww! Do you think those parents also poop on the table themselves?

One person reported receiving, instead of a tip, a dirty open diaper on the tip tray, which is just as revolting, but also insulting. Who are these people? There seem to be an awful lot of them, based on the comments on Reddit.

And you don’t have to be a waiter to complain about it:

My sister-in-law once changed her baby’s smelly, poopy diaper TWICE at the table (though not on, thankfully) of a high-end restaurant. Reason? She didn’t ‘feel like going all the way to the bathroom’ every time the kid’s diaper needed changing. When it was pointed out to her that the other people in the restaurant probably didn’t want to be treated to her child’s messy diaper, her response was ‘Well, she’s a baby. What do they want? If they have a problem, they can leave.'”

Maybe she thinks there are people who don’t have a problem with poop at the table, but I haven’t met any.

4. People who can’t decide.

I remember this one well, and I try never to do it. Don’t tell the waiter you’re ready and then spend another five minutes deciding what you want. It’s the same thing as your kid interrupting you when you’re right in the middle of something, so you stop, and then they hem and haw instead of telling you what’s so urgent. Makes me feel like a hostage. And it’s worse for a waiter, who has other tables clamoring for his or her attention, all just as needy as you are.

5. People who walk in at closing time.

I know, people, I know. Sometimes you’re grateful to find somewhere that’s still open, and you’re tired and hungry. I get it. But if it’s five minutes to closing and you show up, you’re holding up the cooks, the bus staff, the waiters, and the managers. They might have families too, you know.

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