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15 waiters and bartenders share their most insulting tip-related horror story.

15 waiters and bartenders share their most insulting tip-related horror story.


The debate about tipping culture is a never-ending vicious cycle, but until waiters are paid enough to put up with the revolving door of rude customers, 12-hour shifts without sitting down, and questioning your faith in humanity over sides Ranch should tip at least 20%...

So, when a Reddit user asked people in the service industry, 'what are your tipping horror stories?' waiters, bartenders, hosts, and managers everywhere were ready to vent about the customers who almost made them walk out mid-shift.


So I had a table of 6 young girls. They ask how much EVERYTHING is. Are bread sticks free? Is salad free? Is that refill free? 2 of them order a dish called Grilled Shrimp Caprese.. I bring it out and one girl says 'Oh, I don't like shrimp.' I stand there, scoff a bit, and repeat what she said. She says 'well I dont like it cooked like this.' 'What do you mean?' 'I don't like it grilled.' Dumb. dumb dumb dumb.

So she gets the meal taken off and free desert because my manager is an idiot. So does the other girl who decided she didnt like it half way through. Their bill was about 70 dollars, they gave me cash and I said 'I'll be back with your change.'

Which I say even when I'm pretty sure they just want me to keep the change. As I walk away I hear one of these little ghetto girls say 'yeah, you bring back all of our change, b*tch.' I bring it back and they hurry out. I go to the table where a bus boy is cleaning and ask if there is a tip and he says I don't see it...all I see is this quarter.

The table next to them told me that the girls were talking about doing it and how they thought it was so funny. All because some dumb girl ordered something she didn't like. Jerks. - passportVAMOS


I had a family come in, a couple and their three kids, to this beachy cafe I was working at. I worked as one of three waitresses (we served brunch, lunch and dinner) for the owner, who was the only cook except a sous chef who came in at 3pm (his son). The owner was an as*hole. A*shole. We had to moderate our own tickets (we couldn't let him have more than 4 tickets doing apps at a time, we had to hold them in our book until he worked through some of the existing tickets, and then hand them to him, because he got overwhelmed).

But he was a fantastic chef, and food was excellent, even though the wait was long, people generally left happy. Of course, every now and then you would get people who did NOT understand this bizarre 'Um, you have to wait for genius' concept at the restaurant and would stiff us on tips - - - which is why, contrary to the norm, we got paid $7 an hour. Because the owner/chef KNEW his ridiculous attitude would get us lower tips from some people. Anyway.

This family comes in at 1pm, and everyone wants burgers, all five of them. Now, the chef HATES doing burgers, because he has to prep the grill, and it makes the kitchen hot (why not just take them off the menu? it's not like there's a rule that every restaurant in the world has to have burgers.) ANYWAY, he'd been having a bad day, so he tells me, 'No, NO F*CKING WAY, NO F*CKING WAY, not until 3pm [when son comes home.'

So I go back to the table, apologize, tell them that the burgers won't be ready for two hours because the kitchen isn't cooking burgers right now, I'm sorry, I'm sorry, blah blah. They say 'We still want burgers, we'll wait.'

Okay. So I go back to the kitchen, which is semi-open and this is a pretty small restaurant so everyone can always hear this guy's profanity-laced tirades. I tell him 'They still want them, I'll hold the ticket until [your son] gets here.' 'WELL F*CK THEM IF THEY WANT BURGERS THEY SHOULD F*CKING GO TO MCDONALDS.' Obviously the table heard, but they still clung to their burger dream. (And their table in my zone...)

So hours pass, I keep giving them refills on soda, iced tea, all the bread in the world, FREE F*CKING ICE CREAM FROM THE ADJOINING ICE CREAM SHOP for the kids. And finally, son comes in, burgers are cooked, served, service with an apology and smile, blah blah blah.

So check is handed off, credit card is exchanged, I come back to the table and low and behold, the f*cking as*hole dad took the time out of his day to write 'ZERO' all in caps on the tip line. I still wish I would have remembered to jot down his name so I could give him a piece of my mind about how, with full and complete disclosure, they still chose something off the menu that, for whatever a ridiculous reason it might be, would take over 2 hours to get. And it's not my effing fault. - CarpeCarp


I am a waitress. One time I was having an awful shift (e.g, kept putting orders in wrong, made mistakes, gave the wrong food to the wrong table, etc.). I'm not a bad waitress, I was just having a sh*tty day. At the end of the night, two of our regular lovely male customers came in for coffees as they do every night at around 8pm.

They ordered the same drink but I mustn't have listened properly and put in the wrong drink(s). My colleague informed me that they said something when he took the drinks out. I flipped. How could I make such a simple mistake? How?!? I walked over and sat on the seat next to one of the men and apologised whole heartedly for my mistake, explaining I was having a terrible day. I also paid for their drinks.

They walked up to the counter later and not only paid for their drinks, but gave me a $15 tip. They said that the fact that I was so earnest about my apology that they thought I deserved it. Moral of the story; Accept responsibility always. Regardless of how much of a d*ck you might look like. - local_anecdote


I used to work as a waitress throughout high school. We had one lone man come in in the afternoon who was particularly difficult. He complained that there was nothing on the menu that he wanted to eat and our prices were too expensive. After patiently trying to give him suggestions of popular dishes or specials, he tried to tried to negotiate the prices on things - offering to pay half of the price listed on the menu.

I told him that I wasn't authorized to make changes to the prices on the menu, but that I would get my manager to come over and speak with him. After him trying to dicker with my manager (who is also extremely patient), she told him simply that the prices listed were the prices that they charge for the food and if he wasn't happy with the selection or pricing there were plenty of other restaurants in town he could eat at. He ended up ordering something off the menu, I served him (pleasantly and promptly) and brought him his bill.

When I came back to get payment from him he left the exact change for his bill on the table. He then took a nickel, spit on it, told me that was my tip and threw it on the ground under the table. I told my manager and she escorted him out of the restaurant told him he wasn't welcome at her restaurant anymore. - girl8741


I used to deliver pizzas and one time I brought this guy his order and it came to $9.95.. The guy gave me a $10. We already had a $10 minimum order that we waived for the guy and he knew this. When he gave me the $10 I repeated his total and he said that will do it. I reached in my pocket and gave him a nickel. When I got back I told the owner and we just stopped delivering there. He did it every week, and was a pain in the a*s. - danheinz


I am a server at Olive Garden. Once time I was working on a big party (about 20 ppl) with another server. We were running our asses off trying to make everything run smoothly. The only complaint we heard was that it took too long to get it started. Which was because a few people had gotten there early.

Anyways...since it's more than 8ppl gratuity was included, thank god. because in the place where you can put additional tip, one guest wrote 'HA!' It was the biggest insult ever. I felt like it was really uncalled for and like a slap in the face. - boobliss


I'd say my worst table ever was two middle aged women once. They sat down and asked for a kids menu immediately. We generally don't allow adults to order off of it but my manager let them this time. Grrrrrrrr. Anyways they wanted our Joey sirloin an it comes with one side. It is meant for children. It is a 5oz steak so the thing is small for adults.

They then say they want the 'kids steak upgraded.' I have no clue what that means or how to even respond. Ice never hears anyone say this before. Me being already a little upset they are ordering off the kids menu I just say something like 'yeah, sure...' I go and put in a regular kids steak with their side and bring it out to them. I lay the plates down and can immediately tell they are displeased. I ask whats wrong and they say this is way too small, we asked for the upgrade, go get a manager.

So I just walked away, explained the situation to my manger, and he went and worked it out with them. I wasn't in trouble or anything. They leave me no tip and write some stupid bullsh*t on the receipt. Man, that shit just made me about go insane. The total bill came out to like $19 for the both of them. What a joke.

I don't think people actually realize that when you don't tip the waiter actually loses money. To be honest I almost did go confront the women in the parking lot and give them a piece of my mind. I mean come on, a lot of you guys would too. They were just so snobby the entire waiting experience. F*ck that. - ace9213


As for my own horror story, this actually happened today so I'm all excited to tell it. This woman who was obviously strung out on something took the entire bill for her family of ten ($80) and proceeded to argue with me over whether or not she received a fountain drink, a kid's drink, and an egg (total $4.57).

I know that all of it was rang up correctly and she was not overcharged at all, and I told her that I distinctly remembered handing her that egg and then seeing her eat it. Probably not the best thing to say, but I was pissed and it infuriates me to see people trying to get a free meal. I took it all off anyway, and when I gave her the new check, I watched her take my $3 tip off the table. I was so mad I wanted to break a bunch of dishes. On her head. - rorysdead


I work at a Subway. Although it's not required to tip us, like any other place it is always appreciated. We had a man come in one night just before my help was about to leave (I was closing). He was incredibly satisfied with our banter and giggling (Two semi-decent looking women = Lots of late night tips. No, not just the tip) so he left us a generous 5 dollar tip.

He returned not even two minutes later after eating his sandwich and began to berate us and tell us we were terrible at our job (We're girls, how do we suck at making sandwiches?). Apparently my coworker put 5 large tomatoes instead of the six that are required on a footlong. He shoved his fist into the tip jar and left with not only his tip, but a few dollars as well. There's a lot of horror stories when it comes to people stealing tips and/or taking them back. It's very upsetting. - littleredpriest


My tipping horror story includes a group of young guys that came in at 10:45 (we close at 11), order drinks, big burgers, and will not leave until 11:30, long after finishing their burgers. They all ordered drinks, and one of them had an expired out of country ID that looked poorly laminated. I refused to serve him alcohol. He whined at me. They were very indifferent about my presence afterwards. Their bill came to $75 or so, they tipped nothing. Wanted to cry. Wasn't even supposed to close, got roped into it by lazy co-worker. - HypsterWolf


One of the worst I've ever had: I was working at Outback Steakhouse and had a mother/daughter pair (daughter was about 15/16)...they were OK during the meal, but after they paid and left, I noticed they'd stiffed me. Not a big deal, happens.

So not 5 minutes later they come back with a couple they'd ran into exiting the restaurant. They sat back down at the freshly bussed table to shoot the sh*t for an hour with only the mom having a single cup of coffee, than they got up and walked out again. I normally wouldn't give a rats a*s about a cup of coffee, but not tipping me kinda had me a bit riled up, so I followed her out and presented her with the tab for the coffee.

Damn if that woman didn't march my a*s back into the restaurant and get my manager and totally berate me for charging her for coffee and making her feel like a thief in front of her friends and after all that she TIPPED me. I said, ma'am, I received no tip from you (ok, this was a major faux pas on my part). Turns out the daughter thought the mom had left her change on the table and pocketed it.

I got written up for mentioning a tip in front of the customer and the manager bought the 4 of them dessert. And still got no tip out of it. It's so awesome that I had the privilege to PAY for that bitch to eat in my section. - asshatclowns


I used to work at a nice place where, if somebody stiffed a waiter, the maitre d' followed them out to their car and asked them with deliberate politeness if there was some problem with the service that they could address. Usually this would result in an embarrassed apology and claims of forgetfulness, as they reach for their wallet. Judging from the stories here, I have to ask, why don't more restaurants do this? - schnitzi


My first Saturday night shift ever and I was on the patio in the summer. Around 11PM, I had a group of 15 men drinking. They ran me back and forth all night. I would bring one of them a beer, ask if anyone else needed anything, another one would say they needed a beer, lather rise & repeat until 1AM. The whole time they kept sympathizing and saying 'don't you worry, we're going to take care of you when it comes time to pay.'

Now, we can add 18% gratuity to parties of 8 or more, but I was so naive and confident that they were going to take care of me that I didn't add the gratuity to their 400+ dollar check. They didn't leave me a cent more than what their bill was. After they left, my manager looked at me and said 'I hope you learned tonight that even if it is a table of 8 nuns, you add that gratuity.' - TaunxTaun


A girl I was working with was waiting on a table of gentlemen who racked up a pretty hefty bill. As most waiters do, she assumed the tip would be fat and was gloating about it the whole meal (printing out the ticket, bragging to other waiters about her upsells, etc etc).

So the men pay out, get up and leave. She walks over, grabs the book off the table, looks at it, and immediately slams it back on the table. She walks up to bar where I'm working and begins ranting about how these 'stupid mother f*ckers just stiffed me on $250.' She starts insulting their southern drawls calling them rednecks and accusing them of being poor.

The whole time, she was completely oblivious to the fact that the head of the party was at the bar asking me for change on a $100 bill. I give him his change (not knowing it was her guest) and he walks down to the end of the bar where she is still ranting about him, throws $80 in front of her and says 'I used to be a waiter and I hated having to break $100 bills for customers. I was trying to save you a step on a busy night.'

He then turns around and walks out, leaving this stupid little girl to cry and moan when she finally realized what an as*hole she was for using pre-concieved notions to judge this guy who was one of those rare people that every waiter loves to wait on.

The best part about getting out of the industry isn't the fact that I don't have to deal with customers anymore, it's that I don't have to listen to waiters b*tch every shift because they take everything so goddamn personally all the time. - [deleted]


My tipping horror story is the sweet elderly woman who left me a generous tip, but forgot to actually pay the bill. Thought that counts, right? By far my best tipping experience was an eleven man bachelor party. Filet mignon and scotch for those classy gentlemen, tipped about 40%. Though not expected, generosity is appreciated. - GingeraleNoodles

Sources: Reddit
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