03 October 2010

The Worst Customers Ever

Today marked a first in my over two years of being a Hooters Girl.  Today was the first time I actually had a moment where I wanted to walk off the job and just say fuck it.  Now, this is a very big deal for me.  I have dealt with all sorts of shit at work.  I've dealt with creeps and assholes and total idiots.  I've dealt with things many servers would never deal with and I've put up with it and not let it get to me.  Today was different.  Today I had my worst customers ever; they embarrassed and disrespected me and treated me in a way I never even imagined one human being treating another.  It was awesome.

It's Sunday, Sunday means NFL and being that we have Sunday Ticket we get VERY busy.  Naturally this means people had to be just a little extra needy.  Because isn't the thing to do when it's glaringly obvious your Hooters Girl has at least eight tables?  Yup, it seems it is.  Luckily people were really chill and understanding and proceeded to make that known by leaving me nice little tips.  All was busy, but all was good.

Then at about 1:00 a family of five sat at one of my high tables.  Right off the bat they seemed like the type of people that wanted me to just serve them and not say anything else.  Like I was a slave or a lamp with the ability to put food on a table.  Generally, when people are like this I try to bring my signature cheer and loosen up the table.  I'm good at this.  I'm known for this.  It's what I do.  So I bring them some drinks and ring in some fried pickles and things seems to be going pretty well.  They order their meal and twenty wings.  Actually, they had pointed to ten bone-in wings and when they asked for two orders I nicely suggested a twenty piece ordered half and half, allowing them two types of wings for a little less money.  I helped them pick out their sauces.  Things still seemed to be going really well.  I'm feeling good.  Then the food comes out.

Girl 1:  "Oh, I wanted boneless wings."

Mom:  "Well we never asked for boneless wings.  She wouldn't have known that."

I then delivered a fairly standard line that I've used countless times since I've worked at Hooters with my usual "I'm clearly joking" smile.

Sauce:  "Yeah, sorry about that.  I'm not a mind reader yet, but I'm working on it!"

It became apparently immediately that this was the wrong thing to say and I was quickly scolded and scolded again for being "rude" by multiple people.  I was taken aback, I had clearly not meant it be rude by any stretch of the imagination.  I proceed to apologize profusely.

Sauce:  "I'm so sorry if you thought I was rude.  I didn't mean it to seem like that.  I was joking.  I think you might have taken what I said the wrong way."

Mom:  "Don't you dare tell me what to think, fucking bitch."

Hold the effing phone.  Did this lady just call me a fucking bitch?

Sauce:  "I'm sorry ma'am.  I wasn't trying to tell you how to feel.  I was simply trying to establish that I meant it a different way than you apparently understood it.  It's not important though, just a misunderstanding.  I am really, really sorry."

At this point I'm not really sure what to do.  Did my remark not make complete sense in the context of the situation?  Was I not just trying to make light of things?  I figured out rather quickly that I clearly couldn't win.  So I decided to walk away and continue doing my job.  Of course this now entailed being extra nice to this table.  It is important to note that most girls in this situation would have avoid the table like the plague.  Most girls would let cups go unfilled and plates go uncleared.  I didn't do that.  I kept doing my job and made every attempt to do my job even better than usual.  But of course they continued to be bitches and I found myself anxiously waiting for them to leave.

Finally, they were ready for the check and I nicely dropped it off once again apologizing for the misunderstanding and letting them know I would be their cashier whenever it was convenient for them.  Walking by the table on my way to help another customer, I noticed two bucks sitting on the table.  Sweet.  Their tab was $74.97.  But honestly I was just happy to see them leave, tip or no tip.  There I was selling a few t-shirts to another guest when Mom came up to the counter.  She waited rather impatiently the whole three seconds I spent counting change to the man in front of her.

As the man stepped away, I smiled and said I'd grab her change.  Giving that they had left money on the table, I proceed to give her three pennies, a five and a twenty for the hundred-dollar bill she threw on the counter.  As I started to give her a thank you and a smile I was interrupted.

Mom:  "Let me do you a favor and tell you all the things you did wrong."

I stared blankly in total and utter shock.

Mom:  "First off, ALWAYS give ones with change."

Sauce:  "I'll surely get you ones.  I just gave you the five given the tip already on the table.  I wanted to make it easier for you.  I'm sorry."

I gave her five ones.  She begins to talk again.  Loudly

Mom:  "You are the most offensive, rude waitress I seen."

I cringed at the grammar after cringing at the dig at me.  She gets even louder.

Mom:  "When you told me "I took it the wrong way" I wanted to throw my wings in your fucking face and tell you to shut up you stupid bitch.  Oh wait.  I did call you a stupid bitch.  I'm the customer here."

Actually, you called me a "fucking bitch" but whatever.

Sauce:  "Again I am sorry.  And you're misunderstanding what I meant when I said you took it the wrong way.  I was only meaning that the remark was made as a joke."

Did this lady just take me saying she took was I was saying the wrong way the wrong way?  Even thought I was upset I noted the irony of that confusing statement.  

She is now yelling loud enough to make people look.  I try to walk away and she traps me behind the counter.  She clearly had a point to make.

Mom:  "Well you're a fucking idiot and your sense of humor sucks, bitch.

Sauce:  "Have you been to Hooters before?"

Mom:  "No, I don't like Hooters."

Sauce:  "Well we have a little more of a conversational nature here than most restaurants and honestly I've said that many, many times in my two years of working here and I've never had anyone take it the way you did.  Again, I am sorry.  I'll be more careful next time."

Finally she started to leave and attempts to hand me another dollar.

Sauce:  "Please don't feel obligated to tip me anymore.  I offended you and I'm sorry.  Hope you have a better day."

Mom:  "Fuck you, bitch!"

I am in shock.  And as I backed into the restaurant I noticed all the people staring.  They all noticed what happened and I noted more than one look of curiosity.  There I was in front of full restaurant being called a bitch over and over and over again.  I had never been so embarrassed.  First I was red hot with shame.  Then I felt my eyes begin to well up.  I am not a crier, but the tears came and couldn't be stopped. 

After running to the back and composing myself, I went back to my tables.  I was immediately greeted by the most kind, understanding, offended guests.  I had three separate tables complement my service and say I did nothing wrong.  I had people I didn't even know stand up for me.  It meant a lot.  And then I found this receipt left on a table.  I mean if my other customers think they were awful it clearly must be true.

So today was awful.  I met some of the worst people I've ever met, but now I also realize I met some of the kindest.  Oh and for the record I am not a "fucking bitch."


  1. how awful! i've had people rip up coupons and throw them in my face (as i make the rules for them and it's my fault the redemption hasn't started yet) or yell at me for setting a coupon down instead of gallantly handing it back (even though their hands were full and i didn't want to rush them by holding in their face). but NEVER someone use such foul language for absolutely no reason! i can't think of anyone who wouldn't take your comment as a joke. i would chuckle at it!
    you sound like a great waitress with killer receipt art, really, don't let those assholes get you down! :)

  2. Seriously!? I understand not being happy with service, but cussing like that is just NOT okay!! I cant believe she did that. Especially publicly and making a scene like that, thats horrible, so sorry to hear that happened!

    Personally, mean people totally get to me and bring me down, sometimes its a hard, long process to get over certain things...Hope you can quickly forget about the worst customers ever! Just from reading your blog it seems like your a great waitress, I would lovee some art on my reciepts and I find the sarcastic humor mind reader comment funny.

  3. Wait, Saskia, the question I kept asking my husband-as I read this to him outloud-was, where the eff was your manager? Why did your manager not step in immediately? I just don't get it. You and I go way back to L&C days and I could never imagine you being taken so wrongly by someone. But, one thing I learned years ago, was to never be sarcastic to older women...
    especially if you're better-looking. That's what's always worked for me, but you clearly had a surreal moment. Don't you think there's a lesson to maybe not use sarcasm though, especially with the more quite ones? I'm just sayin'. You're such a sweet girl but, even sweet girls can be taken the wrong way sometimes. I'm sorry that happened to you :(

  4. First off, the manager was in the back cooking because we were absolutely slammed busy. And as far as the comment, as I mentioned I've literally used it countless times and never ever had an issue regardless of age or sex. Besides, even if it was taken the wrong way, I was so very apologetic afterwards and so nice to them making sure to not offend them again that it should have been let go.

    Even if they were offended I made it more than apparent that I had not meant the remark in offense. I'm not mad that she took what I said the wrong way, I'm mad that she felt the need to be so rude AFTER I gave a very, very sincere apology. That was hardly necessary.

  5. Sauce- this said nothing about you as a person, but all about the kind of person that specific customers were. They are clearly the Jerry Springer show type of people, only they can't see it through their own eyes. Some people clearly have a little money in the bank, and therefore think they are on a higher level than "a mere waitress." Meanwhile they don't have a clue who they are dealing with. I had the same kind of experience- I drove municipal busses while studying at university. Today I have a masters degree in my field, and I guess some of the rude customers I had to deal with, is sitting in exactly the same miserable life they did then. You are going somewhere in life, this miserable person is clearly stuck in her own personal situation. You can move on from this experience, I doubt if she will ever be truly happy if she treats other people like this. Again- it says all about her, nothing about you!

  6. Even if she was truly offended, calling you names made your accident seem teenie tiny compared to her behavior. It makes me wonder what (besides an apology, which didn't de-escalate the situation) would Hooters corporate want a HG to do? Can you refuse serving them? Get them someone else to serve them? Give them free desserts? If I recall from training, they leave these areas gray. But regaurdless of the situation, in NO way should someone have to be called a "bitch" multiple times at their own job, especially if you are waiting on them. I hate it when people 'don't like Hooters" but come in anyway just to complain, how sad. Anyway, keep up the god work. MISS YOU

  7. I've worked retail just about my entire working career, and I've had some doozies. But golly, I don't think there is Any way I could have taken that. Major kudos for keeping it together.

  8. You're absolutely right, Sauce! You're not at all what that woman called you. Grrr! My face got red-hot reading this, I was so angry at that rude woman. She was beyond rude! She was cruel. Extreme amounts of KUDOS to you for not stooping to her level! I recently left a customer service job in the food-service industry because I needed a break from dealing with rude people...I found it had become increasingly difficult to smile and apologize and keep a cheerful disposition and I didn't want to find myself one day behaving like so many customers.

    Anyway, I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to keep your composure on so many levels, especially since you clearly wanted them to have a great Hooters experience. Great job on making every attempt to make their experience great, and great job in not letting her aftermath of wrath keep you from giving your other customers stellar service! You should get an award!

    I love, love, LOVE the note you got from the sweet customers!

  9. I would have gone up and socked that bitch in the face for you! I can't stand it when peeps think they are entitled to treat another human being like they are shit on a shoe. Screw em.

  10. I'll tell you who's a fucking bitch, and it sure as hell isn't you!! What a hideous, hateful woman. Personally, i think you handled the situation incredibly professionally, good on you :)

  11. "Oh and for the record I am not a "fucking bitch.""

    Damn straight you're not!

    Massive kudos to you for not folding under the pressure of the situation. To get back on the floor and on with the job under the circumstances.......you deserve any and all of the positive feedback you got from the other customers and more!

  12. Wow! At least you were able to keep your composure! I sure as heck wouldn't have been able to. And I'm glad the rest of your tables brightened your spirits! A reaction like what she had is never appropriate.

  13. I worked in restaurants and customer service most of my life and I have to say I have never, ever witnessed or received anything like this - but reading the service blogs I do I am finding it is all the more common.

    If I am ever out and witness this kind of abuse you can bet your boots [or tennies as they were] that I would get right up in her face and ask, calmly "In what universe do you think this is acceptable behavior? To treat this woman this way? Please stop now and apologize." And I would say it loud - I am honestly surprised none of your other customers that heard it didn't come to your defense while she was doing this, they obviously heard her.

    I hope others will do the same when they see this happening.

    Good luck Sauce. You rock.

  14. Dear Sauce, just started reading your blog and love it. I worked at hooters a few years back in san diego and remember encountering something similar but you handled that woman like a lady. i dont think i would have been able to control myself and would have shown my teeth had she cussed me out. I thought it was so nice that after this incident your tables were very polite because it does show there are plenty of good customers to make up for beoches.
    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Wow! What a great example of "grace under pressure". You did an incredible job of controlling yourself and your emotions while taking the high road.

    Yours In Health!

    G.E. Moon II

  16. SHE is the one who should be embarrassed and I'm hoping when she reflects back on the incident,it will dawn on her that she was a complete asshole. As soon as someone becomes abusive like that the conversation is over! She was obviously looking for a fight and became enraged when you held your composure making her look even more ridiculous. I sense she was looking for a free meal too.
    I've noticed the more profane and verbally abusive someone gets with me, the calmer I become...that seems to drive them even MORE crazy! lol

  17. Can you imagine the kids growing up and thinking that her mom's behavior was acceptable? No manner of service on your part excused her vitriolic outbursts.
    That woman was trash and had no decent bones in her body.

    Remarkable restraint on your part.

    She'll never look back and regret a thing. She is a low life and shall forever remain as such.

  18. some folks belong at hooters like jews belong in natzi camps...

  19. I thought of this scene from the end of Army of Darkness:


  20. Great story!

    Thanks for putting it on your website.

    I've only been to Hooters once, when I was in the USA, and it is different. But then so is the USA. :)

    All the best :)


  21. This should not have happend to you. I just went to Hooters today. Girls were as nice as can be. As a regular customer I realize the place gets busy and delays and slow service sometimes happens. Hooters is a fun place.Knowing me I probably would have stepped in and said something. Told them to get out myself. Didn't the manager help you? It's his job.
    This was no way to treat a human being, especially a nice young lady like yourself. A majority of the customers I find are respectful. I enjoy the company of attractive young ladies.



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