“We once decided to make her a regular hamburger with real meat instead of the veggie patty.”
A basic “How To Deal With Aggression” course is an absolute necessity for anyone working in the hospitality business. It can save your sanity when you’re thrown into a cruel world of rude and ungrateful customers. Working as a server can be a lot of fun, but it only takes one mean-spirited customer to derail an otherwise perfectly smooth shift. A well-known method of coping goes something little like this: Fake a smile, run to the kitchen or storage room, curse to your heart’s content, bitch to your colleagues, and finally return to the floor as your charming self and deliver an Oscar-worthy performance.
But even the most amicable and even-tempered employees experience their moments of pure, unbridled rage from time to time, which sometimes result in merciless acts of revenge. I asked five people who work in the hospitality business about the worst—or best, depending on how you look at it—ways they took revenge on particularly wretched customers. The moral is, unless you want a beer glass cleaned with a toilet brush or spit in your cocktail, think twice before fucking with the person who’s handling your food and drinks
“I rubbed meat all over a vegetarian sandwich.”
Rick, restaurant server
We had a horrible returning customer at the restaurant—truly a pathetic woman. She would frequently complain about random things, but instead of saying it to our faces so we could fix it, she would take pictures of the food and send her “complaint” to the restaurant’s e-mail, which my boss checks. In turn, he would get angry at us.
She’d constantly complain about being gluten intolerant, but always ordered a veggie burger on a bun (of course, this lady was also a vegetarian). When we told her the bun wasn’t gluten free, she said she wouldn’t eat the bread. At the end of the night, without fail, the bun was gone.
Because she complained so incessantly, we once decided to make her a regular hamburger with real meat instead of the veggie patty. We waited until the meat juices had soaked into the bun, and right before we served her the sandwich, swapped out the meat patty for a veggie one. She didn’t notice. I definitely enjoyed that moment, but I also felt guilty because I knew it (wasn’t the right thing to do).
I’d usually just ignore awful customers. My coworker who managed the bar did not. If he didn’t like someone, he would ‘under pour’ them. For example, he’d only put ¾ of an ounce of vodka into a cocktail that called for 1¼ ounces.
But there is one thing I did on a daily basis. I’d take revenge on someone I loathed much more: The chef. The staff meals were disgusting—super spicy or very greasy, just to mess with us. On top of that, he was so arrogant—a stereotypical chef who couldn’t have a good time unless he had made fun of every staff member at least once. I didn’t stand for it, and things got out of hand twice. There was lots of yelling and we almost ended up in a fist fight. From that moment on, I refused to serve him drinks, but my managers didn’t like that.
I was tasked with bringing the kitchen staff a drink as soon as their shift was over. I really didn’t like that, but the final straw was when (the chef) put pork in my food, knowing full well that I don’t eat pork. From that moment on, all bets were off.
“I’d noticed the toilet brush in the bathroom, which was super dirty because nobody ever cleaned it.”
I’d noticed the toilet brush in the bathroom, which was super dirty because nobody ever cleaned it. I decided to rub that brush on the chef’s glass every night from that point forward. This was the glass used for his first beer of the evening. I’m surprised he never noticed anything. The beer would go flat instantly, but he wasn’t really the type of person who would taste something like that since he drank so quickly.
The only other person who knew was the barback. If I didn’t have time to go sneak off to the bathroom, he helped me. Looking back, I know I shouldn’t have done it, but this guy gave me shit to eat, so in turn I gave him shit to drink.
A coworker once got a pretty hefty traffic ticket from two cops. A few days later, the same officers came into the restaurant to buy a sandwich to go. He recognized them right away. To take revenge, he grilled the bread and then rubbed the head of his penis all over the sandwich before putting the toppings on. Another act of revenge that I’ve witnessed was someone kicking hamburger patties around on the kitchen floor before putting them on the bun. But I believe in karma, so I don’t do stuff like that.
Laila, former restaurant worker
When I was 18, I worked in a Dutch tearoom. One day, my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend sat down at one of the tables. I immediately knew who she was and remember feeling so small, because I had to go serve her. It was like she had even more power over me now. She had an annoyingly satisfied smile on her face as she ordered a bright green cocktail called Jungle Juice.
I told one of my coworkers at the bar that I really wanted to spit in her glass. Without much hesitation, she produced a good amount of phlegm and put it in the blender with all the other ingredients. The bar was tucked in the back, so customers couldn’t see what we were up to. She blended everything briefly and when she poured it out into the glass, a bit of white foam floated on the surface.
I remember stirring the cocktail like crazy with a straw to make it look less weird. Once the cocktail was on her table and I watched her drink it, I felt so good. We laughed about it for weeks afterwards. She and my ex broke up a few months later, by the way.