Weird Shit People Ask Me at This Dumb Restaurant Job

1. Is this a restaurant?

2. What do you have here that’s free?

3. Does the vegan quesadilla have meat?

4. Can I get a cocktail…but with the alcohol on the side?

5. Can I get an extra side of Guacamala?

6. So, the bacon/cheddar burger…cheddar, like, cheese?

7. Is the basil tofu free range?

8. How is your chicken poonani?

9. What is your favorite hot poonani?

10. So the side of fries, can we get that, but instead of fries, can we get cottage cheese?

11. Can you tell me who this gentleman is? [pointing to picture of Gandhi on our menu]

12. Shut up, Vanessa, I don’t need your help anymore.

13. Why are you crying?

14. Where am I supposed to put my baby?

15. Will you hold our table while we go smoke a blunt?

16. DOES LANGSTON HUGHES STILL WORK HERE?

nope

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Katrina is a 23-year-old grrrl splitting her time between her great homeland of New York City and Washington DC. She loves activism and hates sleep, which is convenient because neither of those things really allows for the other anyway. She thinks that slang is rad. As a math equation (with words, because she is bad at math), Katrina would go as such: writer + riot grrrl = wrioter grrrl. When not manifesting itself as a mathematical equation, Katrina’s life usually reads out like a lesbian coming-of-age novel, though sometimes she wishes it were more like a bad 1950s lesbian pulp fiction story. Also, she really, really, truly believes that the revolution is upon us. Come read her rantings about it on her twitter and blog!

Contact: katrina[at]autostraddle.com

katrina has written 64 articles for us.

108 Comments

  1. Thumb up 0

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    I work as a cashier at a grocery store, and one question that drives me crazy is:

    “Are you open?”

    when I am standing at the cash register looking right at the customer. It’s bad enough when it’s because I’m looking away for a moment – like, if I’m thinking about something else other than them for a split second I must not be doing my job – but when I’m staring right at them, clearly looking for customers to come to my line?

    And you would not believe how often this happens.

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      THIS. grocery. store. cashier. also.

      my favorite is, “is this (competing chain)?”
      no. no it most certainly is not. is our branding too subtle for you? you have been in the wrong store this entire time? really papi? EVERY PIECE OF CLOTHING I AM WEARING HAS THE STORE NAME EMBROIDERED ON IT. look at this lovely plastic bag imma kill you with. this store’s name is the last thing you will ever see.

      also, something doesn’t scan? “HURRHURR IT MUST BE FREE”
      no you ignorant fuck it isn’t free get the fuck out do you know how many people say that to me in a day shut the fuck up

      /rant

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        I can not even tell you how much it pisses me off when some dumb fu(k tells me the item that didn’t scan must be free. I now stare at them blankly and give them this speech about how, way back in the dark ages of technology, perhaps in the 1980′s, that when electronic registers and scanners were new, that sometimes the customer would be fortunate and get an item free, and how way back then, it might have been funny to say that the non scanning item is free. It has been over 10 years, if not longer, since saying it must be free was funny, and it no longer is. I then explain how the customer is both a jerk and an idiot. I feel marginally better afterwards.

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          Where I work, sometimes when you are doing a return the register gets ahead of itself and tries to list the sku number as the price. You are not funny if you are like “oh, well I’ll take $482726394032729405 back!”

          HAHAHAHAHAno. Like I haven’t heard that one before.

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          I worked at Borders while I was in college. Can’t tell you how many times I was handed a Barnes & Noble gift card or a Starbucks gift card in the Seattle’s Best cafe. RED VS GREEN, PEOPLE…EVEN IF YOU CAN’T READ *which first of all this is a fucking BOOKSTORE, basic literacy is assumed* ARE YOU COLOR BLIND?! Nothing in here is forest green.

          Another bookstore customer pet peeve: “do you have the book that was right here :points to center table with rotating selection of books that changes almost daily: last month? you know, the blue one? it has some guy on the cover. no? what the hell kind of place is this!??”

          Really.

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          customer: Do you have that book by that guy about a horse? I mean I dunno there’s a horse on the cover. I read it when I was young.

          me: *blank stare*

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          THIS. I work at Barnes & Noble and customers can be a nightmare.

          I love the ‘do you know that one book I’m looking for? I think it was [insert color here].’ REALLY HELPFUL.

          Also, when Borders was closing I can’t tell you the number of people who lectured me about how terrible it was that our entire chain was closing. When you correct them and say actually it’s our competitor who is going out of business THEY ARGUE. Seriously!

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        Oh, I know! I hate that “lol then it must be free” thing.

        Another failed attempt at humor which never ceases to irritate me is when I say “Credit or debit?” – which I do on autopilot whenever the customer is hovering by the card swipe machine – and they say “Cash – I bet you don’t get that much anymore! I’m so old-fashioned! Hurr durr!”

        Actually, I have people pay in cash all the time. They just usually don’t hover by the card swipe machine like they’re about to swipe a card.

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          Or people who tell me they won’t apply for a store credit card because they only use cash. Because cash is the only reasonable way to pay, they’re old fashioned, trying to improve their credit, don’t have a job, etc….Alright, calm down buddy. I have to ask everyone.

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      I WAS JUST GOING TO SAY THIS. xD Also I work at Target and people try to use Wal-Mart gift cards all the time. That happened today.

      Me: “Sorry, this is for Wal-Mart. We don’t accept Wal-Mart gift cards.”

      The lady: “Oh.” *looks around* “I’m not in Wal-Mart?”

      o_o

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    these are awesome!
    my restaurant days were spent at places with patios, my favorite was when asked if they wanted to sit outside

    Is it nice out?
    … you just came from outside. i’m in here. you tell me

    when clearing tables i always liked asking with a completely straight face
    “Can i toss your salad?”

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    when taking a couple’s order,
    “could we get chicken wings, without the wings?”

    after 5 minutes of taking their order, the guy:
    “how long would the chicken, without their wings, take to fly over?”

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    From my own job at the “Target Cafe” (Lol, Target, this is not a cafe, it’s a snack bar, and you know it):

    “I’ll take a soda combo.” (….What.)

    “How much is the 3.79 pizza?” (It’s probably 3.79.)

    “What’s good here?” (Nothing. GTFO.)

    “Do you have any REAL food?” (No ma’am, all of our food is imaginary.)

    “Why does the Icee cost more than the soda?” (…because it costs more.)

    “Give me a number 2.” (Our menu is not numbered. You are looking at the price, which is incidentally $2.49, the price of 75% of the items on the menu. Could you please tell me which item you mean?) -points behind me- “….that one.” (I hate you.)

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    My favourite question: ‘Is the lentil burger (or whatever) good?’ WHAT DO THEY EXPECT ME TO SAY? ‘Nah, it’s shit, don’t get it.’? I work here, dumbass. According to me, everything is good, otherwise I get fired. Do you like lentils? Then it’s probably good.

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      true life i give so few fucks about my job that my favorite answer to the is ____ good has become:

      ‘honestly, i’ve been working here for a year. i eat the food every day, it all tastes the same to me. but, it’s a good taste. and people like (item). so yeah, i’d say i recommend it!’

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      I’m a tour guide at a museum and you have no idea how often people come in and ask me if I think the tour is “worth it”.

      No, it’s not. I already hate you.

      And no matter how many times a 40 year old man tells me he’s under 5 (kids under 5 are free), it will never be funny.

  6. Thumb up 0

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    omg this post has so many of my feelings.

    people at my restaurant are ridiculous. like when the cook calls out their name for them to come pick up their food and they pretend not to hear because she has an accent. LOOK, THERE’S NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SOMEONE WHO IS FROM BELIZE SAYING “JOHN, YOUR FOOD’S READY” AND SOMEONE FROM THE STATES SAYING “JOHN, YOUR FOOD’S READY.” NO. NONE. and you have no idea how many times a customer has referred to the other cook as “oriental.” ugh.

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    OMG. I work at a McDonald’s and the shit that some people come out with. unf’ingbelievable!!! i kid you not, a man asked for a medium fanta, with exactly four blocks of ice stirred anti-clockwise for thrity seconds. i didn’t get him is drink and since there is no way to put that through on the till..the drink person simply gave him a fanta. he then proceeded to throw the fanta all over me and screamed that i did his order wrong deliberately. this was at 2am and i’d had enough. i gave him another fanta not stirred, with lots of ice and told him to get out. he was about to start but then security was behind him and threatened him. fun times at mcdonalds people!

    i also had someone ask if the chicken nuggets contained chicken. wtf!? also get asked for hash browns at 9pm at night and fries at 6am. can people not understand the menu ffs.

    drive thru is even better with people sometimes hurling drinks through the window. or better still. 50cent soft serve cones :/ whenever i serve a cone i duck expecting it to be thrown at me.

    but theres always the nice customers who make your day :) a lady the other night drove past my window and then slammed the brakes and reversed back but reversed to far, slammed the brakes again and stopped at my window hysterically laughing. we laughed for a good 30 seconds. she was friendly about it and it made my night a little bit lol

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    I worked at a diner in my small town for a while. The manager was super creepy and hired only semi-decent-looking girls to waitress. We often heard questions from old men like, “So… when are you going to bring back the cute little skirts and low-cut tops?” or “My experience would be much more enjoyable if you were wearing roller skates.” Sir, I can assure you, your food will never make it to your table if I am expected to be in roller skates and whatever else your fantasy waitress (is that a thing? a fantasy waitress?) wears.

    Also, we had a few crazy regulars. One women asked for 7 napkins (she counted and if there happened to be one more or one less, she would make us throw them away and get her 7 new napkins), two plates of ketchup, and a bacon burger without the bacon. We also had a regular who would ask for the olive burger minus the olive sauce–when my friend pointed out that it was just a burger, he told her that the olive burger tastes better but he didn’t like olives.

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      That comment looks so weird and awkward by itself. It’s just literally all I had to add to this thread. I have always wanted to work as a waitress/hostess/busgirl/anything just so I could have insane stories about the “food industry” but restaurants never hire me. Clearly I’ve never had any experience, but I’ve never had any experience because no one has ever hired me, so I can’t get experience until someone hires me, but no one does, so I still have no experience, etc etc etc. I sit on babies to make my monies and that yields ridiculous encounters too but anyway not the point. The point is I got excited when I saw my name in the post even though it’s in a negative sentence, so I just had to let you all know that.

      Not sure if this is less/more weird/awkward than the original comment.

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    Awkward conversation with my g-pa about how nice those lesbians he plays golf with are.

    Was told about 20 times in a five hour span how much prettier I look when I wear a skirt and don’t do my hair “like that” (i.e., faux hawked up.)

    Ate lots of pie.

    I declare this thanksgiving a success! (Pie makes everything better.)

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    My favourite is when you ask someone if they want a bag for their items and they look at you then say “if you have one?” Why the hell would I offer you a bag if I didn’t!?? Also they are on the wall behind me! There is no way that many people are blind AND don’t understand the implication that I have bags available if I’m offering them one!!

    You know what, you guys have inspired me. Next time someone does that I’m going to tell them “sorry I’m actually out” then use my eyes to dare them to point to the hook full of bags

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    To all of you that have worked retail/service jobs, please go to http://www.retailhellunderground.com. It’s a fantastic reminder that we are not alone!

    Also, I work at a grocery store, I am a cheese monger (I sell cheese) I stand in the middle of an island surrounded by cheese and people constantly ask if they can check out with me. There isn’t a cash register within 50 feet of me!!!! Do you not see the mounds of cheese around me?!?

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      YESSSSS #cheesesolidarity

      I was also a cheesemonger — even competed in the cheesemonger invitational ;) LOVE CHEESE

      ‘do you have swiss?’
      ‘why is this so expensive? it’s just cheese.’
      ‘i want a really stinky cheese like roquefort’
      ‘do you have [obscure cheese name]?’ no, whats it like? ‘i don’t know i just know i like it. you don’t know it? what kind of cheese place is this?’

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        my brother works at a specialty cheese store and he always comes home with hilarious/awful stories.
        most often its along the lines of a customer saying “so i ate this cheese at a friends house and it was really good….do you have it?”

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    Would it make me a bad retail-employee to admit that if shit didnt scan first time, I’d give it to them free? Coz I was way too lazy watching the Shania Twain concert across the mall to care about ‘ringing for a price-check or whatever’.

    Shockingly enough, that job didn’t last long….

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    I worked at a Persian restaurant for a while, and so of course many people weren’t necessarily aware of the distinctions between different kinds of Middle Eastern food, but one of the weirdest experiences I had was when a couple of women — white, American, early 30s — came in late at night (like, good-god-I’m-trying-to-close-up-here late) and decided, without a glance at the menu, that they were ready to order.

    “Okay, I’ll have the shawarma platter.”
    “I’m sorry, but we don’t have shawarma here.”
    “All right . . . how about gyros, then?”
    “. . . No, we don’t serve gyros, I’m afraid.”
    “Okay, I’ll just have a caesar salad, then.”
    ” . . . Do you need another few minutes to look at the menu??”

    And then they didn’t tip me. Not one red cent.

    Overall, though, I probably got the better end of the bargain than my customers did when I was waiting tables, though. Once I dropped an entire glass of red wine on a guy (who was a total saint about it). Another time I was carrying a huge, heavy platter with two heavy dishes of lamb, slipped on a wet spot on the floor and crashed to the ground . . . and then did the exact same thing with the replacement order when it came out of the kitchen fifteen minutes later. I was definitely not made for that line of work.

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    im a barista.
    every single day this is what happens to me.
    me: here is your decaf half sweet non fat with whip blah blah blah latte sir
    customer: um, i actually had 3 drinks…….
    me: yep. i will make them next, since i just finished making this one.

    DO YOU THINK I MAKE ALL YOUR DRINKS AT ONCE WITH MY 8 ARMS WHAT THE FUCK.

    also if one more male customer says “you” when i ask them what they would like, i might throw up.

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    I worked in the kitchen at a bar once.

    My personal favorites:

    1. “Do the wings come with bones, or do you put the bones in yourself?”
    2. “What does ranch dressing taste like?”
    3. “This salad tastes thrown together.”

    I’ve had a plethora of part time jobs. The worst is the funny-dad types who want to address you by name just because you have a name tag.

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    You wouldn’t believe the number of people who can’t figure out how to open a door. (I’m not kidding)

    Other questions that make me worry about the future of our society:

    “What’s a burrito?”

    “Can I have some of that sweet potato shuffle?”

    “What kind of animal is tofu?”

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      My ex and I used to get the sister thing ALL the time, and we look nothing alike! She’s adopted so we are gonna guess super white irish background, she’s shorter than I, quite, and big boobed curvy lady. I am of mixed mexican, lebanese, spanish french background, tall, no boobs …

      I finally answered one dude like “yeah we’re fucking twins!”

      He pauses …. stares back and forth for a minute
      “But you don’t even LOOK alike?!!!”

      #facepalm

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        i had an old man at a music festival ask me if my gf and i “were family?” once
        i didn’t know how to respond. did he mean related? did he mean ‘family’ like fellow homos? was he a fellow homo?
        all of these thoughts ran through my brain and i just stared at him making that fish motion trying to say words
        my gf stepped in and answered no, the guy stared at me like i was a weirdo

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      Augh, yeah, haha, my girlfriend and I get the “sisters” thing every so often too, which is pretty weird. I mean, we are both white girls with brown hair, but that is where the resemblance ends. My theory is that strangers just sort of pick up on a closeness that’s there, and slot it into the “sisters” category because nothing else makes sense to them? One time a waitress said that, then when we said we weren’t, replied, “Oh, well, it’s a compliment.”

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    What I get everyday:
    “Bitter please.”
    “Here you go”
    “*ANGRY FACE*…this is a pint. I wanted a half.”

    Sorry customers, I know I SEEM like I’m so passionate about my job that I can just sync up with everyone who drinks here and automatically know what’s on your mind, but if you want a double, you will have to say double, sorry I didn’t assume you meant diet coke, here are your PLAIN crisps I hope you choke on them and for a half pint say HALF. PINT.
    Also while we’re clearing things up stop grabbing my tits. I let it happen the first few times but this is getting out of hand.

    Also also, free range tofu is no laughing matter. don’t be tofucruel.

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    Mexican restaurant work was the worst. It was so bad I literally can’t figure out how to type out how these geniuses said some of the menu items. Fajitas, queso, quesadillas, guacamole. Those were the biggest offenders. Anytime anyone ordered fajitas and it sounded like they were talking about gentalia, I vowed to myself to study for an extra hour so I could get the fuck out of dodge and into a job where people weren’t so ignorant.

    (I work in a busy downtown hospital now. Hmm. That was clearly piss poor planning. Ignorant tends to be an understatement in our ER half the time.)

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