Who isn’t interested in saving money? Every penny counts, right? True, but there are some folks that take it to the extreme, especially when it comes to eating. People share the pettiest thing they’ve seen a customer do in a restaurant. Content has been edited for clarity purposes.
Sixteen-Year-Old Clerk Vs Karen
“When I was 19, I went to Kailua’s famous Craig’s Bakery to get something. We were in line behind a lady who owned a very successful moving company and who was quite vocal about not helping anyone who was poor. Anyway, she had driven up in her very deluxe Mercedes convertible, with personalized license plates to pick up a cake, and she was browbeating the 16-year-old girl behind the counter to knock down the price. She claimed that the guy on the phone when she ordered the cake had said it would be 16 dollars but the girl was asking her for 17.40 dollars or something like that.
She kept repeating over and over, ‘But I was told sixteen. You should give it to me for sixteen. Sixteen is all I should pay.’
The girl was the only employee there, and she obviously had no power to knock anything off the price; her boss might have fired her if she tried. The girl said the manager would be in the next morning, and she could call and talk to him then. But no, the whining continued. To be fair, this lady didn’t threaten to get the girl fired, nor did she get vulgar or abusive, but she was nagging on and on. Finally, she paid for the cake in a very disgruntled manner and left in a huff.
My dad told the girl that she had handled the situation well and that it couldn’t have been easy. She gave us a wan smile. Then we ordered whatever we were getting.
As we left, my Dad said, ‘You know, that woman was trying to beat that girl out of one one-hundredth of what she gladly paid just to get her name on her license plate on her Mercedes convertible.’
I said, ‘Sometimes the cheapest people have plenty of money. Doesn’t make sense.'”
He Started Charging Her Service Fees
“I met a friend in college, I’ll call him ‘Jason’. We both had shown up for class that ended up being cancelled, and started talking and laughing. He asked for my social media and I gave it to him. I also mentioned that I was engaged (at the time), so he knew I only saw him as a friend.
He invited me out later and kept making a big show of it that he would pay. I genuinely thought he was just being a good friend so I said sure. I decided to not be a prick and just order a burger (one of the lesser-priced items.)
In front of the waiter, he said, ‘Order whatever you want. Money isn’t a big deal for me. I have these gift cards so you can get whatever.’
I just politely smiled and said, ‘No, thanks.’
Afterward, he decided to take me out for ice cream, and I felt weirded out because it seemed like a date. He insisted it wasn’t and that it was just the closest place. Whatever, fine ice cream then I would head straight home. He already knew my intentions so it shouldn’t be a big problem. Well at this ice cream place, he again made a big show that I could ‘order whatever’ because ‘money isn’t an issue.’ This time he had ‘tokens from my grandma.’
The place was empty and there was only the ice cream scooper, the cashier, and us. So everyone could hear him.
He continued, ‘Yeah, no way I’m gonna spend money. If this were an actual date, then I’d consider it but even then, I’d have to really like you.’
The ice cream scooper looked at me like, ‘what the heck?!’
She just nervously laughed and actually said, ‘Well it’s always good to save money.’
After our ‘hangout’, he told me about how he had fun but that if we dated he would be able to take me out to nicer places. He could take me out on a yacht with his rich friends but only if I was his girlfriend. I laughed that he was trying to bribe me to date him.
He got defensive and said, ‘No! No I don’t like you that way don’t even know where you got that from.’
Another time, we hung out and I had forgotten my wallet. I said if he paid, then I would Venmo him my share. He agreed but afterwards started adding on fees despite him inviting me. He charged me six bucks for a ‘service fee’ and made me pay a tip, even though it was a fast food place and he didn’t leave one.
I finally had to cut Jason’s cheap annoying self off.”
“I worked at Burger King for close to two years. During this time, I encountered many petty people who tried to cheat the system. There is one person that I will never forget. He would always come in with a friend and the friend would get the drinks and sauces while the other one ordered. We’ll call the one who ordered ‘George’ and the one who got the drinks, ‘Bob’.
George and Bob had many schemes they would use to get things for free or discounted prices. If a new person was working, they would purposefully order things incorrectly, a small drink instead of a senior drink, a crispy chicken sandwich instead of a chicken jr. to get more food for a cheaper price. After they would get their order, George would come back up to the counter and, in a very nasty and rude way, demand a refund because he was overcharged. Sometimes while George would be ordering, Bob would come over and ask for the cup so he could get the drink, then once George had finished ordering, he would ask one of the other employees for a cup and would claim that the cashier forgot to give it to him. They also would bring in an old Burger King cup to get soda in and would hide it whenever an employee would walk past them. At this time, senior drinks were only 53 cents.
The one thing that we were able to put a stop to was them stealing straws and napkins. They literally would take all the straws that were sitting out and would stuff handfuls of napkins in their pockets.”
Bitter Old People
“Once, back in my waitressing days, I had an older couple accuse me of stealing. They ordered and ate their food. Their behavior was a little rude, but nothing too far out of the ordinary. At the end of the meal, I gave them their bill, which came to something like 28 dollars. They left 30 dollars on the table. They both went to use the restroom, and then they left the restaurant.
I came by and found the 30 dollars sitting on the table. My thought was, ‘Only a two dollar tip? That’s less than 10 percent. Whatever…’
In the United States, a 10 percent tip is quite low, but they had already been rude, so I hadn’t been expecting much better. So I cashed them out and pocketed the two dollars. About thirty minutes later, the couple returned to the restaurant looking frantic. I wondered if they had forgotten something, and asked them if everything was okay?
It turned out, they had forgotten something… their two-dollar change.
They were furious. They said they had forgotten to grab their change on their way back from the restrooms. They were angry at me for not stopping them from leaving without reminding them that they had forgotten the two dollars. They seemed to think I was running some sort of scam where I tried to trick old people into forgetting their two-dollar change.
When I pulled the two dollars out of my pocket and handed it over, they immediately accused me of stealing their money.They were both definitely American, so they should have been aware of the concept of tipping. They tried to complain to my manager, but he had very little patience. He just told them there must have been a misunderstanding, but since they now had their two dollars, they should leave immediately. The other customers who could overhear them all looked appalled.
At the time, I was only 16 or 17, and I was very shaken by the experience. My manager felt bad that they had been so rude to me. He pulled two dollars out of his own wallet and handed it over. He told me not to let it bother me too much, since they were clearly just bitter people. Some people are just going to be cheapskates, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“He Would Pocket The Cash”
“Many years ago, I was involved with a social group that met once a week at a restaurant in Washington DC near Union Station. Usually, about 20 to 30 people showed up, and the staff was very happy to allow us to stay up to an hour after they typically closed (while they cleaned the rest of the restaurant) because we typically tipped very well. They would not do individual bills, for so large a group, but provided us with an itemized bill, that was very clearly divided by order. We all came prepared with cash for our meals.
At one point, one of the newer members started separating out the cash, making a point of counting it out, estimating how much was the bill, and how much was the tip (generally over 20 percent). Then he would pocket the cash and then pay for the dinner with his credit card.
After almost two months, service was getting less than stellar, and the manager approached the leader of our group to say they could not allow us to stay late like that any more, and that going forward there would be an 18 percent ‘tip’ added to the bill. We were shocked, but then someone got a bright idea. After dinner that night, when the credit card guy had pocketed the money and turned in the bill, a police officer would show up, and ‘audit’ the receipt.
That particular night, there were 27 people, with an average bill of 28 dollars, plus drinks. The total was around 900 dollars. Add in tips, and the total should have been over 1,100 dollars. The total he had charged to his card was 900 dollars without tips. The officer had him hand over the wad of cash he had stolen and discovered we had been very generous with the tips. He had collected 1,250 dollars. We all agreed to not press charges if the police would let us give the cash to the restaurant (they did) and that man was uninvited to our dinners from then on. Sadly for him, someone at his firm was also one of our members who were there that night, and word got out.
He was ‘let go’ from his firm for being a ‘bad fit.’Basically, he figured out how to steal tips, making all his friends look cheap, and lost his friends and ultimately his job.”
Where Did The Gum Come From?!
“My boyfriend and I were at a Chinese Buffet with some friends and their nephew. While we were there eating, a family came in. There were at least eight people in their party, three of them were young children. They walked past our table to be seated, but after that, we didn’t pay them any attention, as we were all focused on our own meal.
We were finishing up our food when we suddenly heard a woman screaming, ‘There’s gum on these plates! GUM ON MY PLATES! I’m not paying for any of this food! THAT IS DISGUSTING!’
Sure enough, it was coming from the large party to our right.
‘That’s not our gum. You pay for food, except for those two plates. Make you happy?’ The waiter said.
‘I REFUSE TO PAY FOR ANY OF THIS FOOD! THERE IS CHEWED GUM ON MY PLATE!’ The woman was screaming and waving her arms.
‘You pay or I call the police!’ The waiter got louder but was still trying to remain calm.
‘CALL THE DARN POLICE! I DON’T CARE! I WON’T PAY FOR IT!’ The woman screamed.
At this point a man that I could only assume was her husband also jumped into the argument, ‘You should be ashamed, obviously, this place is dirty, We aren’t paying for food that had chewed gum on the plates. Look at these blue spots, it’s gum.’
This time the waiter absolutely lost it and said, ‘THAT NOT OUR GUM! THAT YOUR GUM! CHINESE PEOPLE NOT CHEWING GUM AT WORK!’
The police were then called. We finished up our meal and were leaving as two squad cars pulled into the parking lot.
When we got into the car our friend’s nephew said, ‘Those little kids were chewing blue gum when they came into the restaurant. I was behind them in the buffet line when they got yelled at for blowing bubbles and playing with it.'”
The Couple Left A Tip, But Then It Was Gone
“Many years ago, I was a bar manager for one of Milwaukee’s most well-known Thai restaurants. I picked up a shift serving tables on my night off so the server could study for an exam. Less than 10 minutes before we closed, a young couple came tearing in, all excited that they ‘made it just in time.’ Anyway, since I was serving them, it wasn’t worth copping an attitude and jeopardizing my tip, so I made the best of it. We cracked jokes, had little fun and I even wrapped up some food so they could take it home with them (we would have only thrown it away anyway since it was the end of the night).
Well, cut to the end of the night. I closed their check and brought them their change. They got up and were walking out of the dining room and were almost through the bar area when the girl asked if she could quickly use the restroom. I walked with her back into the dining room and pointed her in the right direction. As I turned around, I was able to quickly tally the amount of the tip the guy left on the table, two five-dollar bills were definitely discernable with a couple of other indiscernible bills underneath. Great tip, especially considering their check was only 27 dollars and this was back in 1990 or so.
Well, I continued thru the door where the guy was waiting for his girlfriend, our hostess who was closing down her register, and the delivery driver who’d just finished for the night so he was keeping his wife (the hostess) company. About two minutes later, the girlfriend appeared, they thanked me again and headed out. I turned around and walked through the doorway back into the dining room only to find 1.35 dollars sitting on the table. Nobody else went to the dining room because everybody was out there with me so the only one who could have taken that money off the table was the girlfriend. I was ticked off that I was there an hour and a half after closing and, in my opinion, giving them great service. And let’s not even talk about all of the free food that I wrapped and bagged up for them. Only to find that she was nice to my face and robbed me behind my back.”
“I had been talking to someone online for several months and we decided on a meet and greet. When we went to an Asian restaurant he said he would order for us and ordered one meal to split between us. I thought it was unusual as Bob had ordered for us both, and thought this Asian restaurant had portions adequate for two. I had planned to pay for my own so I let it go. The food arrived and portion was small. We had interesting conversation and he excused himself to the restroom as the bill came.
I took the liberty of paying the bill. Bob didn’t say anything other than his dog wouldn’t have much to eat with the ‘doggie bag’ he had left. Then he asked if I would go to Kohls, a clothing store, for my opinion on picking out a tee shirt. I went and he chose a tee shirt. We went out once more and, again he left when the bill arrived. I also saw a much different side to him which I decided not to see him. But there was something uneasy about the whole thing.
It took me a few weeks to put it together. It was the online dating site. He would connect with women and then he would have the women genuinely pay for his meal as he had gone to the restroom when the bill arrived. When he purchased his new shirt, he was going for drinks with another woman.
He was using women to pay for his food and drinks. When I called him and told him I figured his ploy out, he rudely said, ‘What do you want?’
I said I didn’t want anything, but the realization of how unsavory people can use others and it was truly a sad world.”
“I worked at Saltgrass Steakhouse (a higher-end steakhouse, a little pricey, but reasonable). One night, it was a slow dinner service when a larger couple walked in. They were seated in my section so I greeted them and they immediately ordered two adult beverages and one of our most expensive appetizers (prices weren’t listed on the menus). At first, I was thinking, ‘Great! A two-person table with a tab, I’m easily getting to 100 dollars.’
The guy ordered our double-stacked pork chop dish and I think the lady ordered a chicken fried steak. Anyway, they were pretty quiet and only spoke when ordering.
When I checked on them to make sure their food and drinks were okay, they said, ‘It’s all good.’
When they looked about finished and their plates were completely empty, I went up to ask if they wanted dessert
The man all of the sudden snapped at me, ‘NO! This food was terrible and I want to see the manager!’
I was a little shocked at this because first, they had said nothing, and second, their plates were completely empty, so it couldn’t have been that bad, right? Well, my manager came up and they began their long complaint about the food (for once the customer didn’t bash the server). My manager apologized but pointed out that there was nothing she could do as they had cleaned their plates so no mistakes could be fixed. They yelled at her, yelling that the food should be free since it was so bad.
Just so you know, Saltgrass does not give free food. Never have we comped a meal, ever. We will do anything in our power to make you happy but you will be paying before you leave. She asked them that if the food was so terrible why they had eaten it and of course they had no answer for her. They said they weren’t going to pay so she should just give up.
My manager was a tough lady and simply looked at me and calmly stated, ‘Call the police, Jenny. We have a case of theft, and before you two think about trying to bail on us it takes them less than a minute to arrive.’
We were literally next door to the police station, it would take them a minute. They thought she was buffing and she stalled and prevented them from leaving until the cops showed. Of course, they whined and complained but the cop didn’t care and told them to pay up or he’d arrest them for theft. They eventually relented and paid (their bill was almost 150 dollars) and were asked to never come back.”
“I worked out of Amtrak’s Evil Crewbase. Toward the end of a trip, a rather sketchy-looking guy came to my counter and asked for a double brew on rocks. So I built him one, and he handed me a ten, and I gave him his dollar change.
Then he asked, ‘Is there a bathroom near?’
I told him it was down the stairs. He went down there and was in for a little while, then he came out and tromped up the steps. He stood there, and then looked down at his drink. I have seen some very bad acting in my time, but this was the worst.
He looked at his drink then looked shocked, ‘What is this… in my drink?’
He held it up. The drink, a double, was pretty much gone. Lying on top of his ice was a strand of short and curly hair.
He asked, ‘Is that… hair? My God! You put hair in my drink!’
I told him that I did not, and that he saw me make the drink, and that I thought the hair was floating, which meant he would have had to drink a double with the hair on the top.
He pointed to his shaved clean head and said, ‘You’re not saying it came from me?’
I replied that it didn’t look like it came from anybody’s head, no. He then started demanding a refund and I told him that there was no way a strand of hair could have been in the drink when I gave it to him and that he had been in the bathroom with the drink.
He asked, ‘Would I put hair in my own drink?’
I said, ‘No, but you might put it in your finished glass to try to weasel a refund or a free new drink.’
Then I told him if he didn’t leave I’d call the police, who probably knew him. He left and that quite speedily.”
“In my youth, I worked in a high-end hamburger restaurant. We had one family of four that would come in late almost every Sunday night. They would take all the ketchup bottles. These were the plastic squirt bottles that were refilled from large cans. Just how much ketchup can a family eat in a week?
After the loss of several dozen bottles, the boss ordered that we pick up the ketchup bottles after the evening rush and put out single-serving ketchup packages. The family would come in and demand more and more ketchup packages. The two boys would tear the corner off of the ketchup packages, place them on the table, and then slam their fists into it. This action sprayed ketchup over everything. It meant that we had to stay later to clean up the mess they made. We asked the parents to stop this activity, and they sniffed their disapproval of the request and did nothing. We dreaded seeing them come in.”