The customer isn't always right, but they invariably think they are, even while they're punching a barista in the face.
So with a goal of equal parts catharsis, shaming, and old-fashioned hater-tainment, we asked service industry veterans across the country to share with us tales of the customers they can't forget -- no matter how hard they try. Thank your lucky stars you've never dealt with anyone like this, and if you see yourself in any of these customers, may your shrimp servings forever be skimpy.
"I used to have a regular that made me keep a glass of ice on ice for her wine so it wouldn't melt. Best part? It was red wine. Just when you thought you've seen it all..."
"Once, I misheard a customer and thought she ordered crab cakes, but she actually ordered the rabbit crepes. When I brought the crab cakes, she insisted that they looked great and wanted to eat them and wouldn't let me exchange them for the crepes.
"After the dinner, her friend pulled me and my boss aside and told me she couldn't believe my mistake and that this was her friend's first night out since her husband died, and I had ruined a young widow's evening with my incompetence. I cried.
"The widow later apologized for her bitch friend and said she really did want crab cakes."
Coffee shop smackdown
"This huge dude (cop said 6'7") came into the coffee shop with his girlfriend and is giving all the baristas a hard time. He asked for a Lone Star and complained that it was flat. Then he pours a little on the counter, to you know, show its flatness. We let it slide, and I walked into the back. Then I heard him yell out 'great job'.
"I come out and tell him he's not welcome at the coffee shop. He comes at me, gets in my face. I walk away but he follows, and grabs me by the collar, so I throw my dirty cleanup towel in his face. He proceeds to punch me hard in the side of my face, I return with a blow to the side of his head, and he goes down like a pile of bricks.
"I then grab a milk pitcher and throw it at his head, creamer goes everywhere, and I pounce on him. Trying to pin him down, he flails around and breaks the door glass. We're separated now, and he's pissed that he got embarrassed. I head back behind the register and then he picks up the computer and two cash drawers and chunks them at me. His girlfriend is yelling at him to leave, so he does.
"This is all going on while the shop is full of students studying for finals and the patio is packed with people watching a screening of Twin Peaks. So we have a nice David Lynch light show going on as our backdrop, with all the hard-working college kids inside, mouths agape."
Around her ankles
"A female customer had a few drinks and fell asleep on the toilet. Since our stalls go all the way to the ground, I had to get on a coworker's shoulders, then dangle upside down over the top of the stall to unlock it. Then I'm blinded by her private parts, have to pull up her underwear from around her ankles, and wake her up. When she stumbled out of the restroom, her boyfriend asked her what took her so long and laughed at her."
"One time when I was 20 and working at a coffee house, this woman who was out on bail for dismembering a body threatened to kill me and my friend, then the manager kicked her out. True story, she is still in jail."
"Here's one from England -- a guy claimed I damaged his coat, demanded $1,000, and, when I refused, he hounded me with death threats for two years. The police said, 'He's not a very nice guy, you should probably take him seriously.' We're pretty civilized across the pond."
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