Whether it's dealing with obnoxious, drunk and cheap customers or fulfilling random menu requests, if you're a server working in the restaurant industry, chances are not every day on the job is smooth sailing. And you probably already know this, given that more than half of all Canadians either worked in the restaurant industry or know someone in their immediate family who does, according to the Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association.
Last January, servers turned to Reddit to rant about their most annoying customers. After 700 comments, we read everything from racist customers who threatened to call immigration to servers who've had water and food thrown at them.
While some days servers can feel like they're being treated like servants, as this CNN blogger notes, a lot of people working in the industry love their jobs. Julia, a server from Ottawa, says most days people are generally a pleasure to serve.
"It's really refreshing when you have a table of courteous and friendly people and for the most part, people are good," she says. "But there are some people that are just awful and it's got nothing to do with the service, the food or anything you have control over."
Considering more than 60 per cent of Canadians go out to eat at least once a week, we're sure everyone's experienced some actual bad service at least once. But there are plenty of things servers see and don't usually open up about — at least, not before that sign gets switched to "closed" and the beers get cracked in the changeroom.
We asked servers what annoys them the most and the strangest things they've seen or heard during their shifts.
Do you have a horror story? What annoys you about serving? Send us your story at CanadaLiving@huffingtonpost.com and we will add it to our slideshow below:
What's really in your food?
<strong>Strangest things servers have heard:</strong> "Do your chicken fingers have beef in them?" — Joey, Toronto
Dealing with intoxicated people
<strong>Most annoying things servers have to deal with:</strong> "Drunk people during night shifts! They scream if they want service but ignore you when you try to take their order. And no, I do not want to give you a high-five. Don't touch me. Ever. Drunk people are also the worst for dining and dashing. Once I worked a night shift and this girl refused to pay and shoved me and screamed when I blocked the door. The cops came and ticketed her and then she busted into the kitchen and threw her ticket at me screaming that I owed her money." — Julia, Ottawa
Finding the right seat
<strong>Most annoying things servers have to deal with:</strong> "It frustrates me when guests refuse the table the hosts try to seat them at and request another table. I get that many guests are under the impression that they will have a better dining experience if they get a booth or a more "private" table, but 90 per cent of the time the hosts are seating based on server availability and on a rotation. So by requesting a random table, the guests may end up in a section where the server has not yet begun his or her shift, or with a server who is already stretched too thin for a new table, therefore receiving less than stellar service." — Kristin, Brantford, Ont.
People on a small budget
<strong>Strangest things servers have heard:</strong> "Do you have any drinks for free?" — Jesse, Toronto
Speaking of small budgets...
<strong>Strangest things servers have heard:</strong> "What's your cheapest shot? Answer: water." — Jesse, Toronto
<strong>Most annoying thing servers have to deal with:</strong> "When you deliver food and nobody moves their cell phones or personal items off the table so you have nowhere to put the food." — Kate, Toronto
No, we don't take reservations
<strong>Most annoying thing hosts have to deal with:</strong> "Once a man called in for a reservation (we didn't take them) telling me how it was his wife's birthday. I told him we didn't take reservations, but if he gave me a time he might arrive I could try to plan ahead for him so his wait wouldn't be as long (typically 1 to 1.5 hours at that time of the night). He arrived, they waited at the bar, within a half hour I found him a spot at the front of the restaurant. He was unhappy and demanded to be seated in another area of the restaurant. Well guess what, there were no other tables which is why I gave him that one. He was pissed, and started yelling at me, bearing down on me (he was quite tall), and standing far too close, speaking far too loud, and being entirely childish. He argued with me, yelled at me, verbally insulting me in front of at least 30 people who were working, waiting, etc. I was so shaken I had to walk out of the restaurant and go for a walk, I cried and felt emotionally abused. He called back later that evening to complain about his night. I unfortunately answered that call, and he proceeded to insult me on the phone. Seriously one of the worst interactions I've ever had in customer service. And I had tried to do him a favour." — Tala, Toronto
Taking dining and dashing to new heights
<strong>Strange stories working in the industry:</strong> "One Canada Day a girl dine and dashed by jumping out of a second story window in the bathroom." — Julia, Ottawa
Would you like some vomit with that?
<strong>Most annoying thing servers have to deal with:</strong> "Working strange and the most unexpected shifts. Also, working the midnight to 7 a.m. shifts where you deal with drunk girls who puke in their hot chocolate." — Kevin, Toronto
I only have two hands...
<strong>Most annoying thing servers have to deal with:</strong> "When you arrive at a table with full hands (three plates) and they rudely tell you that the fourth guest ordered food and demand to know where it is, to which your response is that it's right behind you and you only have two hands." — Matt, Toronto
Not sure how they want their steak
<strong>Strangest things servers have heard:</strong> "Can I get my steak well done, but with some pink in the middle?" — Jacinta, Toronto
You get what you pay for
<strong>Most annoying things servers have to deal with:</strong> "I had one woman order a quesadilla and asked for extra sour cream. I told her sour cream costs extra (obviously) and she was pissed. When I brought it out she freaked out at me for 'bringing too much' and when I said, 'well you're paying for it, so I want to get you your money's worth," she said I was giving her attitude. Really?" — Julia, Ottawa
What can I take to go?
<strong>Strangest things servers have heard:</strong> "Can I get my strawberry daiquiri to go?" — Matt, Toronto
Acting like you own the place
<strong>Most annoying things hosts have to deal with:</strong> "So many people think they are somehow entitled to the 'best' table. They think that by speaking to you in a certain way you will do whatever they request and forgo optimizing the restaurant operations so they can have their way. They do not think about the other people also wanting the best table, also wanting to eat, and that your job as a host is to accommodate everyone as efficiently and effectively as possible, with a smile." — Tala, Toronto
More and more alcohol
<strong>Strangest things servers have heard:</strong> "Can I get a shot? Make it a <em>gooood</em> strong shot. A heavy single" — Joey, Toronto
<strong>Most annoying thing servers have to deal with:</strong> "When a guest ask for something (like extra sour cream) and never touch it." — Kate, Toronto
Asking a server their life story
<strong>Most annoying thing servers have to deal with:</strong> "I hate when people ask me a million questions about my life. Are you a student? What are you taking? Do you like it? What do you want to do with that?" I honestly don't know what to do with my degree and it's painful to explain my major life challenges to complete strangers. The weather is a much safer topic, so let's talk about that instead of stirring up anxiety about life decisions." — Julia, Ottawa
I forgot to tip?
<strong>Most annoying thing servers have to deal with:</strong> "People who demand a lot and offer no tip. Chat you up and take your time but as a server you're actually taking your time and being genuine to talk to them. Then they don't tip. You often wonder if they just don't know how the industry works or just that they're plain old cheapskates." — Kevin, Toronto
When people complain about waiting
<strong>Most annoying thing hosts have to deal with:</strong> "People who give you shit because they have to wait 1 to 1.5 hours for a table. Go somewhere else. I can't make people chew their food faster." — Tala, Toronto
So you didn't want peanuts with that?
"I'm most annoyed with the lack of communication between the guest and our wait staff. For example, if you have any allergies or preferences, you should tell your waiter/waitress. Nothing throws off a well-oiled dinner rush like having to remake a dish because the customer suddenly realized the menu item had something they wouldn't eat." — Michael, Toronto
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