Stories of Righteous Restaurant Revenge
Welcome back to Off The Menu, where we bring you the best and strangest food stories from my email inbox. This week, we've got everyone's favorite contentious topic: the just revenge of restaurant employees against the deserving. As always, these are real emails from real readers.
I work at a bank now in customer service, but I used to work in restaurants, and the friends I was out with this fateful night still were servers at the time.
We were customers at this pub/bar in southwestern Ontario, enjoying a girls night out. This drunken idiot guy came up to our booth and started hitting on all three of us in the skeeviest way possible. He bragged about how he's often here and that the servers just love him. We managed to be as uninterested looking as possible in this guy’s advances, so eventually he left our booth for a while to (probably) hit on other unsuspecting women.
Our server came up to check on us after he left and told us how he is always grabbing her or slapping her butt. She said he spent 4 hours there drinking with friends the weekend before and instead of tipping her, he left his phone number on the cheque. We were horrified that she had put up with so much crap from this guy and ended up chatting with her and becoming fast friends.
Later in the night, the idiot comes back to our booth, drunker still and gross as ever. He took out his phone to show us his background image, which was a blonde, naked porn star in a very exposed position. He said he'd like to see us all in this position at his place later that night. So as he was focusing in on my friend across the booth, I slyly took his phone and found the porn image in his photo roll. I proceeded to text that photo with no explanation to everyone on his recent contact list in his messages. He noticed I had his phone and asked me what I was doing. I just told him that I was giving him my friend’s number, so he could call her sometime.
After that he went back to his friends, satisfied he got a number, and we didn't see him for about 30 mins. All of a sudden he came running back, yelling "You texted that to my MOM?!?! My boss!?! My girlfriend?!?" At this time, his phone rang and he started talking in some other language--every few words being "I'm sorry, mommy." The rest of the night he sat quietly at a table alone with his head down furiously texting (probably apologies) to all his contacts. Justice served.
I worked my way through high school and college at Taco Bell, and was in management by the end of high school.
One night, a carload of rowdy Tennessee rednecks drove into our drive thru. Our lobby was closed since it was so late. For those of you who don’t know, Taco Bell wanted you on the window pad and off again in under 30 seconds. Really under 45, but my franchise thought we should be able to do it in under 30.
These rednecks order 2-12 packs of a mixture of crunchy and soft tacos and bean burritos for them and their drunk friends. They also added one order of pintos and cheese. The girl taking the order was a very petite, demure girl who got her feelings hurt very easily [Editor’s Note: Oh God, food service work must’ve been HORRIBLE for her]. Upon hearing the order being placed on my headset, I go over to the window to help this girl out. I knew what was coming just from the sound of this woman’s voice.
I take her money and proceed to ask if she needs sauce for her food. She yells at me saying that of course she needs sauce for that many fucking tacos. What am I, fucking stupid? I smile and keep on keeping on. I hand her the two boxes that the 12 packs come in and am holding the bag with the pintos and cheese. They have now been on my window pad for 25 seconds. I have 5 seconds to get her gone.
She screams at the top of her lungs, "Where’s my pintos and cheese?" I am holding it out to her the whole time. I say right here. She proceeds to cuss me out and swears she’s "gonna stomp my ass." I finally have had enough as the buzzer for my drive thru times has been going off for about 10 seconds. I knew this one was shot so who cares, right? I told her that if she could fit her fat ass through the window she could attempt to stomp my ass, but just knowing the dimensions of that window, it was never going to happen. I drop her pintos and cheese into her hand and close the window. She squalls tires around our store and almost hits one of the police officers that liked to hang out in the parking lot next door head-on.
We sit and watch her and her friends fail a sobriety test in that parking lot and get carted off to jail. I guess they didn’t get to eat those tacos and that order of pintos and cheese.
I worked at a pizza shop delivering food for a summer many moons ago, back when I was in a band, trying to be a rock star. As I expect it is in most places, you got an order on the phone and “paid” the cashier the total, then when you delivered the food, you kept the money the customer gave you, including the tip. And repeat.
Anyway, one night–last delivery of the night, as it was about 15 minutes til close, we got an order for a meatball parm sub and a soda to be delivered to a pool hall. I got the order, and headed out. I had another stop to make right next door, and the food was kept in a heating bag so it wouldn’t get cold. Plus, this was summer, not the dead of a NJ winter, so no big deal. Dropped off the first order, no problem, then headed to the pool hall. I got there and gave the guy his sub and soda. He told me it wasn’t what he ordered and it was cold anyway, so I needed to go back and fix it. I asked him again what he ordered, and he said “chicken parm.” I had taken the order on the phone, so I knew without a doubt he ordered a meatball parm and just changed his mind at the last minute. So I left and called the restaurant to have them make a chicken parm sub while I drove back.
I got back, picked up the new sandwich, and headed to the hall again. I gave the guy his sandwich and his total, and was standing there waiting for him to pay me. Bear in mind, we were closed then, and I already “paid” for this meal, so if he didn’t pay me, I’d be out $10, plus tip, plus the gas I wasted driving back and forth for this clown.
He refused to pay. “I’m not paying for this; you took too long to get it here, so you can either give it to me or take it back with you.” I sat there for a second and explained that I had nothing to do with the order being incorrect, and was just the driver. He shrugged and kept playing pool, expecting me to just walk away. Bear in mind, comp’d sub or not, he also didn’t give me a tip for my effort. Gritting my teeth and about to walk out, I turned back, shrugged at him, and grabbed the sandwich off the pool table’s edge where he had placed it during our standoff. I walked over to an empty table in the corner, facing the pool table he was playing at, and proceeded to consume the whole sandwich in front of him. He stared at me, now his turn to seethe in disbelief.
I say this without the slightest bit of doubt or hesitation: that was the best chick parm sub I ever ate in my life.
I was working in a gastropub in a very affluent area of South London. I can't stress how good the food was there; I still miss the lamb burgers. The Sunday roasts were really popular, we would be booked out for those way in advance. Sunday lunch times were incredibly busy shifts.
It all started normally: very busy, loads of food coming out of the kitchen, and everyone seemingly happy.
All of a sudden, a very disgruntled woman stands up with her roast beef in her hand and is waving it in my manager’s face whilst shouting it was outrageous to serve her this "disgusting excuse for beef." My manager, who would do anything to make people happy (infuriatingly so at times), is desperately trying to calm her down. He offers to replace and comp her lunch and drinks, but this isn’t good enough. The woman then marches through the restaurant, roast beef still in hand, and into the kitchen. I found out later that she was shouting at all the chefs about how fatty and gross the meat is and that they were terrible people and should be ashamed, etc.
That doesn't go very well -- the chefs could shout anyone down -- and she isn't in the kitchen very long. She isn't deterred, though: she only leaves after, no joke, an hour of parading round the restaurant telling other customers how gross the food is. This was after telling us she was a "well-known journalist" and that she was going to "ruin us." Finally, we clear the manhandled lunch away and laugh about it to each other.
Unlike lunch times, Sunday nights were dead. I'm stuck on the all day shift along with my manager, so we clear up and get ready for a slow night.
A few hours later, a table of six walk in, and there she is! She asks to see her piece of beef, as she was "going to send it to the environmental agency." This was hours later, so her lunch had long gone in the trash. We offered to give her the rest of the roast. Nope, we were obviously "trying to trick her” and she desperately needed her piece from lunch. She demands we go through the bins outside and find it -- massive industrial bins. Yeah, that’s a no. She demands that she be able to go through the bins outside. Yeah, that's a no, too.
We ultimately call the police, as she wouldn't leave yet again. When we told her the police were coming, she was very happy as she was "going to get this place shut down." The police came and asked her to come outside so she could tell them everything we had done wrong. After she was out the door, they told us to lock it. She started screaming, and that’s when they took her away.
Two complete Euroassholes came and sat in my section on a Saturday night and committed many of the cardinal sins of tourists -- they agonized over what was most "authentic" to order, demanded to know where my Boston accent was (we don't all have one), and worst of all, they camped for hours on a tiny tab and were the last ones in the restaurant at the end of a slamming busy night when all I wanted to do was take off my scrod suit and go to sleep. Worst of all, they were total creepers who were making not so subtle references to how close their hotel was and how much they needed someone to "show them around town" when not staring directly at my breasts. I had already taken the check away (shitty tip, but at that point I just wanted them to leave), but they were still sitting in an empty dining room demanding water refills.
They wave me over AGAIN (flailing like they are drowning in a pool of their own awfulness) and say "We want to go out. You coming?"
Smiling so sweetly, I say "I just can’t tonight, so much work left to do!" [gritting teeth]
They grumble and one says "Well, where’s good for a couple of guys like us? We want to listen to music."
They other pipes in "What about the Paradise? I heard the Paradise is good."
Those who know Boston know that the Paradise Rock Club is a very famous local music venue, and it wasn’t too far from the restaurant. But almost equidistant, just over the bridge into Cambridge, is Paradise -- a gay strip club so sleazy a friend of mine once saw a stripper dunk his balls into a patron’s whiskey. The windows are also completely blacked out, with nothing but a big black and white sign saying PARADISE. It really looks like a hipster dive from the outside.
With a big smile, I wrote down perfect directions to Paradise and told the guys to get over there quick -- the show was already going on. I still get happy thinking about the big eyeful they must have gotten when they walked in the door. I also loved that it was the perfect crime. If they called to complain, I could just play innocent - "I thought that was the rock club! I always hear lots of music when I walk by..."
Just out of high school, I worked as a driver at a pizza chain. One particular gem of a customer always ordered about two hours before we'd close on a Friday night. He was always completely blitzed, and would always order the same exact thing: two extra large Extravaganzza pizzas -- basically the largest garbage pizza.
What made this guy terrible, though, wasn’t the order. He would almost always be out back in his gazebo drinking. His house was situated with enough trees around it that you could not see his backyard or his gazebo at all, even from the road. He would leave all the lights off in his house. He couldn't hear his doorbell apparently from out back, either.
Every single driver knew exactly what was going to happen when they got this delivery. You would show up, ring the doorbell...and wait, forever, until you decided to leave. I should point out that a fellow driver was mugged on a previous occasion like this when he chose to actually go around to the back of a building to find the people who ordered, so it became store policy to only deliver to people's doors and not walk around their property at night.
After you did leave, without fail, drunky would call back 5 minutes before we closed (yes, it took him that long to realize he hadn't gotten his food) and we'd tell him we tried to deliver it but nobody answered. This would make him angry and he would demand we re-deliver it. I would then repeat the process. Sometimes he'd answer, sometimes not. If he was there, he refused to give you money or sign the credit slip until he looked into each pizza box and inspected them. He always said the exact same thing after doing this: "Looks good!" as if he expected anything different. He also never tipped.
After a few months of this, the owner of the store actually tried delivering to him and had the same experience. When the guy called back angry about his food, the owner actually told him that we were going to place him on a do not deliver list and he'd have to come get the food from the store. I was lucky enough to be working on the night he decided to do so. With sweet irony, this also happened to be the night that a city police officer was sitting at the end of our strip mall in a DUI trap. Needless to say, the guy drove in (swerving), walked in smelling of booze, got his pizza, got back into his car, and then almost backed into the police officer that had driven over.
I quit working there a few months later. In that time I never saw that guy's house come up as a delivery again.
I was on first a date at a sushi place with a guy who had just moved to TX from NY. On the way there, I'd gotten an earful about how he was automatically more enlightened about food, culture, and the world in general. At one point he said, "Living in New York makes you racism-proof. Like, I literally cannot BE racist, because I've been exposed to ALL different races on a daily basis. It's like being exposed to a ton of germs -- it makes you immune to racism." [Editor’s Note: OH BOY]
While the guy was insufferable, I was still excited about the date, because after he'd lamented that he couldn't find "good" sushi in our city, I'd happily recommended my favorite place. I was so excited for an excuse to splurge there, because it really is quite good. One of our city's most beloved chefs cut his teeth there before opening several restaurants of his own.
So we walked in and headed back to the sushi bar and sat down. I ordered salmon nigiri to start, and we watched the sushi chef get to work. At this point, my date was concerned. He pointed at the chef and, in a stage whisper, asked, "Is he MEXICAN?"
Him: "He looks MEXICAN, and it really makes me question the authenticity of this place. Like, I don't want to see a Mexican guy behind the counter of a sushi place. If this were a taco truck, though..."
[Editor’s Note: For some reason, people tend to think stupid shit like this about sushi WAY more than other cuisines. I’m not really sure why that is.]
Me: "Oh, well if he got hired at this place, he is legitimately good. Trust me."
Him (talking loudly while looking right at the chef): "It's all about the atmosphere, and this just makes it feel less authentic. The hostess and waiters are Asian, they should have them make the sushi."
Me: "Um...people aren't window-dressing, man, chill. Let the sushi speak for itself."
Him: [Awkward, seething silence]
By then, the salmon nigiri was done, huzzah! Date looked at it and then motioned the chef to come over. "Hey Compadre," he said. "There's nothing on this. I know I'm a Gringo, but don't worry. I can handle flavor. I can handle spice. Can you make me some kind of craaazy roll with a little more...flair?"
I tried to explain that nigiri was supposed to be a piece of fish on rice with a little wasabi in between, but my date was busy talking to the chef, saying things he thought sounded impressive but that made it blatantly obvious he knew fuck-all about sushi and was basically asking the guy to add ingredients like you would to a pizza: "OK, peppers, please! And now drizzle that spicy mayo on there. OK, now roll it up."
Chef placed the roll in front of my date, who proceeded to drown the whole thing in soy sauce. He took a sodden bite and went, "OK, now THIS is better. Not bad." Then, to me, he says, "You can keep your white-girl salmon pieces, but you're welcome to try some of mine."
Date then noticed the little green flower-shaped substance at the side of my plate. He asked the chef, "Yo compadre, que es esso?" Chef smiled and said, "That's dessert, man. Very sweet. I made it into a flower for the lady!" The chef had officially become my hero.
I said to my date, "You can have it. I don't have a sweet tooth." Date picked it up and popped the whole thing in his mouth. He then spat it out, coughing.
The chef asked, "Hey man, I thought you liked hot stuff. You need some water?"
Date ran to the bathroom and I asked for the check for both of us, because I had a suspicion my date wasn't going to tip well. The chef and I debated which was grosser -- a mouthful of wasabi or the soy soup my date had made out of his roll.
Never heard from the fellow again. But I check the restaurant's Yelp page every once in awhile, hoping to see a review about the "unauthentic" dessert.
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Do you have a restaurant, home-cooking, or any other food-adjacent story you’d like to see appear in Off the Menu (on ANY subject, not just this one)? Please e-mail WilyUbertrout@gmail.com with “Off the Menu” in the subject line (or you can find me on Twitter @EyePatchGuy). Submissions are always welcome!