If you've never worked in the food service industry, it can be hard to understand exactly how much of a nightmare some days can be. Mother's Day is bad, but Valentine's Day... that's like Black Friday and the DMV and getting your teeth pulled and stepping on a lego all at the same time without any good drugs.
The up side to that, though, is that if you're a people-watcher then this is more like the Superbowl.
Reddit user kingandy2007 asked:
Food industry staff of reddit. What are some horrors you saw yesterday on Valentines Day?
So... we need to amend our previous simile. This isn't like the Superbowl. You know how when people watch the Superbowl in every paper towel commercial they're all sitting on the edges of their seats? Then someone cheers and somehow manages to flip a tray of guacamole, chili and fruit punch onto a blindingly white carpet? (Like any rational human being would have a Superbowl party on white carpet.) And the fruit punch always spills in slow-mo and the juice just sort of flails about dramatically in the air before splatting onto the floor in a disastrous puddle?
This is that fruit punch.
That Escalated QuicklyGiphy
One of our favorite regular customers brought in her boyfriend for the first time and in her excitement she bumped into a table and knocked someone's cup off, which isn't bad but in her haste to pick up the cup she hit her head on the corner of the metal table and cut her forehead open. Blood everywhere. It looked like a mini crime scene.
She was totally fine! Just embarrassed. We cleaned her up and gave them a stack of free food cards because she's awesome and we love her.
Food court at the mall, just a lot of dudes standing or sitting at a table for hours with flowers, gifts, etc. Some of their dates showed up, some left alone.
Last year I worked at a high-end sweets shop. Everything is top-notch as advertised, it was what people were willing to DO for it that scared me.
Chocolate covered strawberries? $50 per box of 4. We couldn't keep them in stock, and more than a few sweaty husbands begged us to make more and throw them in any container we had. One guy walking in on Valentine's morning offered to pay us double, even without the fancy romantic packaging (we didn't take it).
We had also sold a big embroidered heart-shaped box for nearly $100. One guy asked us how much it cost, left, and came back later with his friend. He'd asked him for a loan. To buy V-Day chocolates.
Relationships are wild.
That Sudden Realization
Just a bystander here, but I walked into a grocery store yesterday evening, which was pretty packed with last minute frantic looking Valentine's Day shoppers. I walked in at the same time as another man with a confused look on his face and I hear him say out loud to himself "Man, the store is pretty packed for a Friday evening...".
Then, we both turn the corner and are met with all of the last minute flower arrangements and Valentine's cards lay out and I see the man completely freeze and again out loud, he says "oh.. no... no no no! Today is Valentine's Day?! I'm so f*cked!" as he quickly runs to the chocolate section, joining the rest of the panic stricken dudes with the same looks on their faces.
Hope those dudes are all still alive this morning.
Not A Steak Fan
Bartender here, Not my guest but a guest in the restaurant threw up on his steak not even a minute after it was placed in front of him. His date kept surprisingly calm for that scenario.
Not a staff, but a bystander. My wife and I went to Cheesecake Factory for lunch, in a bid to avoid the crowds. Next to us, a dude got down on one knee and proposed (yes, in a Cheesecake Factory). The waitress was filming it, people were watching, she saw the ring and started crying, he smiled, and all looked good...
... Except when my wife and I left 20 minutes later, she was still crying, covering her face, and he wasn't smiling anymore. I couldn't hear well enough to know what they were talking about, but they kept speaking in low voices. Didn't look good.
I had a man verbally abusing his wife at my table, and I don't mean talking over her and being rude. I mean saying things like "what the fck do you think you're doing you f***ing b****" and "I'll give you $36,000 to get the f*** out of here right now you piece of s***"
I had 4 different tables complain about them and we eventually asked them to leave. I've never seen anything like it before. At one point the guy went to the restroom and I went up to the wife and asked if I could help in any way and if she was alright. She was very stoic during the entire thing and half the time wasn't even looking at him.
I was just shocked that they somehow managed to sit through an entire dinner (app, entree and dessert). I just can't even imagine being that miserable of a person that you can constantly berate someone not really fighting back and manage to sit through an entire meal with that person.
When we eventually asked him to leave he asked who complained. We obviously didn't give him specifics just said "a few different tables" his response to that was "well f*** them then."
I've never wanted to assault someone in my life more than that piece of s***.
My own personal horror story:
GM at my restaurant told me I had quickly become his best server (Been here since December). Been raking it in (for this restaurant at least) and have regulars ask for me close to every shift. I was pumped for Valentine's.
But no, I fainted in the middle of dinner service and got sent home. So here I am today, feeling like s***, and with a fraction of what I planned to make, and ruined four tables' Valentine's dinners.
Sex Worker ShenanigansGiphy
When I was a server/bartender:
We had a frequent escort come to our restaurant. It was pretty obvious she was a escort as this restaurant was in a wealthy neighborhood and she would be with a different man every time. Once when I served her she said to me I'd make good money if I joined her company....
So on Valentine's Day, she came in... big, gold hoop earrings, boobs hanging out of a floral dress & fake designer bag... she sat down with an elderly man who I figured was married bc he was wearing a wedding band. Anyway, long story short she "helped" this guy off under the table. Manager kicked her out & she never came back.
I bartend. I'm assuming this couple was on a date. They just ordered their food. In less than 10 minutes of their date, I saw the girl take a drink (and I mean a full 20 ounce beer) and throw it on the guy. It hit the people behind him, the walls, and it soaked the floor too. She immediately walked out almost in tears. The guy's face as he just sat there soaked in beer was indescribable. It was the most movie like break up I've ever seen happen in real life.
I bartend in the lobby of a fancy hotel in Wisconsin. A woman put a cigarette in her mouth and asked what I would do if she lit it. I told her security would probably escort her out. She then proceeded to try and light it, calling me names, while her friends forced the lighter away from her.
Also, a couple Japanese dudes from San Fransisco were at the bar and this racist dude at the end of the bar kept demanding that I "check them for coronavirus" and he wouldn't shut up about how scared he was that they were there. I ended up cutting him off, asking him to leave. So many trash people last night.
My father manages a restaurant and he had a little argument with an IT guy a few weeks prior. The dude made a fake website for the restaurant and accepted over 200 reservations which led to the restaurant be very packed, lots of angry people and a few shattered glasses lol
This Cruising Couple
Work on a cruise, so I had a dinner last night and a lunch and dinner today.
Last night, there was this 1 lady who was obviously upset with her SO. I'm a photographer so they stepped to take a photo and he didn't want to but she had already paid for it so they had to. She was annoyed with him but she put on a smile.
Then when I went to show her the photo, she was so done with everything. She never got up to dance or anything. I wonder if he did something wrong or if she was sick but she didn't look like she was having fun.
One of my tables, which seemed like a really sweet group of friends, turned out to be part of a protest. In the middle of trying to talk to them, they started holding up signs and screaming, while dozens more entered the restaurant along with news cameras.
They were protesting a raise in their rent, the people who own their building own the restaurant I work in.
What was frustrating is that while I understand the importance of fighting for fair housing and whatnot, it seems a little counterintuitive. They were protesting that they couldn't afford housing while also blocking me and my co workers from making the money necessary to pay for ours.
We ended up comping so much for the other patrons too.
Guy and girl come in. they order food, seems all good - then the girl leaves her phone and goes to the bathroom. The guy picks up her phone and starts snooping. The girl comes back and catches him and is understandably pissed. She asks for their food to go. The guy looked guilty and the girl looked like she wanted to leave asap.
When she got the food she sort of shoved him in the chest and left. He paid for everything and quietly left immediately after.
Even though I had to work my ass out to make a bunch of cute stuff in the pastry of the hotel (mostly cause we were "clean" in the middle of the evening), I saw something...
It's not an horror, but it's sad.
When I went to the restaurant to ask the clients if they were enjoying the evening, I saw a boy, in his 20s, ALONE, eating a whole lot of desserts.
10 minutes later I went to him to ask if everything was fine. He just asked who made the deserts, right after I say it was me and my team. He said with a sad expression in his face that they were delicious.
I appreciated the comment, but I didn't know what to say anymore...
Has a Male pastry chef, I never seen a situation like that, and I can't even imagine what that guy felt.
A single man came to the bar in our busy restaurant. He just wanted to sit and have some drinks and eat. This middle aged couple came to the bar cause they didn't want to wait, but there was only one seat. She sat down and we didn't have more chairs so he stood; he stood over the single man, loudly complaining, until the poor guy felt bad and got his check and left.
Didn't even get a chance to eat. F*ck those people. All the other servers were giving them stink eye and slower service.
Girl showed up and waited for an hour before her date came in. Her date came in looked at her and said, "Sorry. I might be a lesbian but I still have standards"
The girl was honestly pretty so I don't know why she didn't meet her date's 'standards.'
The Texas Roadhouse in my town caught on fire and everyone had to evacuate in like 10 degree weather soaking wet.
One of the worst I've ever seen wasn't this year but a while back I'm in a big section of deuces (I guess we all are on VD) running my ass off non stop and I must have checked on this married couple ten times. They didn't order drinks or food yet and it's annoying because you sort of have a timeline for the flow of each table and they're just holding you up because you can't bring them what they need and then do other things for a while. You're kind of on edge until they're good if that makes sense to those who haven't waited tables.
Anyway, after about a half hour of this I walk slowly up to ask for the millionth time if I could help them pick out a glass of wine or cocktail or if they have any questions. They've been arguing the whole time but quietly so I don't think it's that serious. The second I pause to say my line she looks at him really calmly and just blurts out "I want a divorce."
He got really red and said "I need a f*cking drink". I didn't think he was serious but she let out a huge sigh and agreed and they literally ordered drinks and then proceeded to talk it out and drink together.
Honestly the whole night was better after she said it but still one of the most shocking things I've heard.
Not staff, but as I was taking my wife into Texas Roadhouse, this redneck looking dude came busting out of the place screaming insults at his date who was not far behind him. As soon as he crossed the curb, without looking, he got hit by a car exiting the lot.
Paramedics splinted his arm and patched him up, and his date didn't wait for him.