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?



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phoenix has written 64 articles for us.


  1. Most frequent question I get asked at my job:
    Do you work here?

    No, I’m just sitting behind this computer in a windowless room for the fun of it

  2. 17 followed by 18 makes me think that it was me that went to your restaurant and asked those questions, even though I have no recollection of saying that/meeting KC Danger/eating at this restaurant.

  3. 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.

    • 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


      • “. look at this lovely plastic bag imma kill you with. this store’s name is the last thing you will ever see.”


      • 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.

        • 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.

        • 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!??”


          • 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*

          • 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!

      • 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.

        • 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.

    • My favourite question ever asked when I was working at a grocery store “excuse me I have diabetes does sugar crisp have a lot of sugar in it?” it really made me wounder how this person was still alive.

    • 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?”


  4. Do you get asked so much about the poonani that it was necessary to repeat both questions on the list?
    I feel ripped off :(

    • obvs that was a mistake, but actually, yes. questions like that do come up with shocking frequency.

      also, this has been a reminder that i should not publish articles when thanksgiving drunk.

  5. I like this even more than ‘weird things people say in bookshops’.
    and I had to google ‘poonani’.I barely know english let alone weird english slang:)

    also #16 … when crying.not in a fucking restaurant!

  6. 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?”

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


  7. 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?”

  8. 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.)

    • I get those questions all the time at Target Cafe.

      Do you ever get asked if you can “expedite the oven process” for pizzas? It slays me.

      • Yes! People are so dumb. And then they say all huffy that they’ll just go somewhere else. It’s like, dude by the time you get food from somewhere else, you could already be eating the pizza you didn’t want to wait for.

      • yes! i used to work at a pizzeria, and that shit happened all the time.

        also, once our oven broke

        and we stayed open.

  9. I once had a customer order a cheese omelet with no eggs. I am not kidding when I say I stood there trying to figure out wtf she really wanted for a solid 20 minutes (a slice of cheese on a plate???)

    • this reminds me of ‘a chai latte, but no milk’

      also, wait, was that really what she wanted? a slice of cheese on a plate?

      • Apparently she wanted a plain cheese omelet. With the eggs included. She didn’t realize that omelets are, in fact, made of eggs. (That’s what the yellow fluffy part is!) I resisted the urge to headbutt her, in the interests of keeping my job…

  10. 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.

    • 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!’

    • 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.

  11. AHhhhhh I know where you work!! Scary! Don’t live in the area anymore, but maybe this visit or the next I’ll swing by and see if I can spy an Autostraddle celebrity! ;)


      seriously. the last time an AS reader came in, i was having an AWFUL night/on the verge of inexplicable restaurant tears, and she high fived me and told me to do me and then i gave her a sticker and hugged everyone i work with. i am very emotional.

  12. 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.

  13. This post is the reason why I tip those in the food service industry well. The crap you put up with is insane. Although the poonani question(s) probably would have made my day.

    • the poonani questions at this point have become wonderful opportunities to smile genuinely and say, ‘yes. yes. the poonani is great.’

  14. 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

    • I bet she was high

      Also, I love autostraddle, but I REALLY love the commenters, you guys this whole thread is hilarious! I wanna hang out with all of you and laugh at our misery and the ridiculous things people say.

  15. At my pizza place job, people ask if sauce and/or cheese cost extra way more often than they should.

    I always wonder what they would do if I said yes. Order just the dough?

  16. 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.

    • 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.

  17. 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.)

    • Awwwwwww shit, this was supposed to go in the open thread. I have that page open in another freaking tag.

      I was so pleased with my ability to drunk type. ~le sigh~

  18. 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

    • What about the people who ask you for a bigger bag? What? You want that one little bracelet in a bag that’s 3 feet wide? No, I’m not giving that to you because you are going to use it to shoplift.

  19. To all of you that have worked retail/service jobs, please go to 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?!?

    • 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?’

      • 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?”

  20. 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….

  21. 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.

  22. Forget the Asians, teenagers, black people… I’ve gotten great tips from all groups of supposed “terrible tippers.” Except the fucking Ladies Who Lunch. 15%. Every. God. Damn. Time.

  23. 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.


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

    • (also)
      customer: i will have that (points at menu)
      me: sorry, what would you like?
      customer: that drink (points again)
      me: i cant see the menu, i am behind it
      customer: (stunned into silence)



        one of my friends apparently had this one woman who went through like the whole (extensive) menu pointing at things being like “THIS, (pause) i do not want!”

        • sometimes i dont understand how people manage to even put on their pants in the morning, let alone operate a toaster or coffee machine.

          • Non-Starbucks barista stupid-customer-stories FTW.

            The number of times I’ve had to patiently explain what a macchiato actually is, I swear….

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

      OMG! Ew! Do people really do this?!

    • Being a barista has made me lose ALL patience with stupidity/people. I just don’t have the energy to deal with it anymore. My favorite is when I’ve completed several drinks in a row, with several more still on the bar and a person waiting at the hand off counter will come over and ask if I have their drink coming…and it’s literally the one I am just starting or about to hand to them……LIKE. Do you not see the line out the door and the ten other people waiting around you!?! FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU!!!!

  24. 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.

    • Funny-dad types are the worst and should be sent to their own private corner of hell for at least a year for their every offense.

  25. red marketing all over the store that says “40% off everything”….

    “so everything is 40% off, then? even sale things? what about this watch? what about this t-shirt? what do you mean i have to wait in line!?”

    • so you want some lime, cilantro, onion, tomato just, serrano pepper chopped up and minced together? You want some pico de gallo?

      yes ok, but with out the chicken

  26. 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?”

  27. “Do you have a rubber for a flipper crotch?”

    Translation: Do you have a rubber band for a slingshot?

    Since I work with my wife we repeatedly get asked if we’re sisters. Which is really starting to piss me off.

    • 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?!!!”


      • 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

    • 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.”

  28. 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.

    • ‘Also while we’re clearing things up stop grabbing my tits.’

      I can’t believe this still happens. :(

      • wait, what? STILL? How could this have happened even ONCE … I’d keep a switch blade handy and pull it out the first time it happens, hopefully guaranteeing that it will not happen ever again (or that I lose my job)

  29. My great-grandmother had guacamole/Guatemala confusion and used to ask the waitstaff to cut the Guatemala all the time.

  30. 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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