February 8, 2023
Annapolis, US 62 F

Ooops, Did I Just Talk Back?

Every now and then a customer can irk a server so badly that we have to refrain from making inappropriate comments and risk losing our jobs. There are times, however, that our inner monologue somehow seems to rear its ugly head before we have time to register the course of events that has just transpired. So, I have to ask, have you ever sassed a customer?

I worked at Phillips down in OC, hon, for two summers and you really had to bite your tongue sometimes. I’ll never forget when a head server, having a bad day, received a thirty-five cent tip. She followed the customers outside, handed them their thirty-five cents back and said “Here, take this. Apparently you need this more than I do.” She was suspended for a few days, but I’m sure it felt so good.

I used to manage a snowball stand in Baltimore County when I was in high school and I think it was then that I realized that it doesn’t matter where you are or what you do, some people just like to complain. There was a woman who would come to the stand several times a week with her daughter and there was always something wrong with her snowball. One day I snapped. She ordered a rainbow snowball, being very artistic, it’s one of my favorites to make, and as I handed it to her she says “There’s not enough flavor on it. It’s all dry at the bottom.” I told her I could add more syrup but it would only make it over-saturated. She said “I don’t want your opinion, I want more flavor.” So I add more flavor until she tells me to stop. She hands off the snowball to her daughter and they have a seat at one of the picnic tables. Not even five minutes later, the woman approaches the stand with the snowball and starts bitching about how it’s all syrup and she wants a new one. I respond with “Um, yeah. I told you it was fine the first time but you insisted on adding more flavor. I have been working here for four years, I think I know the correct proportions at this point.” She demands to speak to my manager. “I am the manager!” I knew I should’ve just held my tongue and given her a new one, but it was so rewarding to see her face when I said that to her.

I know there are some great stories out there… anyone ever get fired for telling someone off? What’s the most impulsive thing you’ve ever said to a table? Have you ever had a server sass you or say anything inappropriate?

And speaking of potentially inappropriate, during my stint at Phillips, I decided to try a new approach to see if I could increase my tip percentage. Two gentlemen were seated in my section, they’re laughing, having a good time. They ask “Do you have crabs?” My response, very straight-faced, “That seems like a very personal question.” I suddenly realized my attempt at humor was lost on them. It was the longest ten seconds of my life…until they burst out laughing. Close one.

Finally, Springs thought of the day: (this one on MySpace)

Chit-Chatting With Server: Most people want to order their food and receive it in a TIMELY MANNER, NOT to make a friend. I don’t like it when a server starts a conversation with me INSTEAD of just taking my order. I came there to EAT AND DRINK and socialize with the person or people that I am with, NOT the wait staff.

Some customers are actually decent human beings and treat others with respect. I doubt your server will pull up a chair and have an hour long conversation with you about religion or politics, so try to be polite. It will make your dining experience much more enjoyable.

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  1. Years ago I used to work at the Sheraton Annapolis (although at the time it was a Wyndham). I was a front desk employee, and I guess I should also preface this story with the fact that I am a female. My name usually causes some confusion if people don’t see me in person, but my parents were hippies, what can I say?

    Anyway, It had been an extremely long day of tourists and being yelled at and I had a group of guests who checked in paying cash. Now this is unusual, most people use credit cards because when you pay cash at check in you have to leave a deposit towards any charges you might incur on your room during your stay and then the difference is refunded at check out. This is always a sticky situation b/c usually people who pay cash are not frequent travelers and don’t really have a full understanding of this policy and don’t like being confronted with paying for things they haven’t bought yet. So these guests were REALLY unhappy about having to cough up extra cash for the deposit and gave me major attitude about it, including insinuating that I might pocket the cash. They yelled at me about how unfair and ridiculous, etc. etc. our policy is for a good 15 minutes. I stayed patient and explained at least three or four times why they had to do this and they just didn’t care.

    Eventually I got them to do it anyway, but as they did the woman with the group looks at my name tag and says “Evan? Is that your name?” So I reply, yes it is. And she says “What did your parents want a boy?” I don’t know it just was the last straw. I turned very calmly, looked her right in the face and said “No. Did your parents want an a**hole? Because they got one.” I turned around and walked out. Thank goodness my supervisor was really cool and let me off with just a reprimand, but man did it feel good. Lol.

  2. A close friend of mine was the Township Manager for a large township outside of Philly. I happened to be at a meeting for some reason or another and he was explaining something.

    This really irritating woman kept interrupting. Del told her to please hold her questions till the end of the presentation since he felt her questions might be answered. She interrupted a few more times only to be told the same thing.

    Finally, she starts again and when he begins to ask her, she comes forward with the ” I pay your salary, you HAVE to listen to me” line. Del calmly reached into his pocket, pulled out his loose change, tossed it from the podium at the woman and said, “here’s your money back, now sit the hell down and shut up!” THere was applause and gasps from the audience.

    After the meeting I went up to him and said “so, I guess that job in Lancaster City panned out?” I knew he was looking to make a move, and he had just been given an offer and was terminated the following morning–but man what a way to go!

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