Off the menu - being rude to service workers
December 2nd, 2013
03:30 PM ET
Share this on:

An old acquaintance of mine was fond of saying that after a person hits 30, the only one who has any business yelling at them is their romantic partner. I'm personally not a fan of marital histrionics, either, but I certainly appreciate the sentiment. Especially when the ire is directed toward people who are just trying to do their jobs.

But is loudly shaming those shamers the optimal solution?

If you managed to crawl out of your tryptophan haze long enough to look at the internet this holiday weekend, you almost surely came across the Tweeted tale of Elan Gale and "Diane in 7A." Gale, a producer for ABC's The Bachelor, allegedly found himself on a Phoenix-bound flight with a medical mask-wearing woman who, by his account (which he later revealed on Twitter to be a hoax), was being rude to the airline staff. In the exchange, he decided to take a stand and call her out on her behavior.

On social media, Gale shared images of the duo's increasingly hostile exchange– via handwritten, passed notes - which, in Gale's tall tale, culminated in "Diane" slapping Gale in the face at their arrival gate. But if the tale had been true, would he really have struck a blow for civility toward service workers?

Gale took to his Tumblr to put the situation in context, saying he was advocating for workers who shouldn't have to weather the nastiness of the people they're doing their best to serve.

"I don’t care what’s going on with you: Don’t be rude to people who are doing their job," he wrote. "Don’t dismiss them. Don’t act like they are less than you. Don’t abuse them just because you’re the customer and 'The Customer Is Always Right.'"

Gale was hailed in some sectors of the internet and media as having "won" the holiday by having the guts to confront an impolite customer. Others weren't buying it, saying he'd negated any stated good intentions with his hostile and bullying language toward his fellow passenger, directing her in more than one note to...consume a body part belonging to him, using profanity and sending her drinks after she'd said she had found the first one offensive.

The internet, shockingly enough, failed to come to a consensus about who was the victor in the mile-high contretemps. However, one truth did soar to the fore: It is never, ever, ever cool to be rude to someone working in a service position.

But that happens all the time - often perpetrated by people whom we love, or at least share the bonds of employment, blood or law. How best do you deal, while still allowing everyone to keep their dignity (and not turn it in on you)? A few thoughts:

Distance yourself
A dear friend of mine has an exceptionally obnoxious family member who honestly just can't seem to help himself from being curt and taxing to busboys in particular. He makes excessive demands, orders them around, and perhaps worst of all - tips poorly. The family travels together so frequently, that my friend and her husband learned to express, "We are with him, but not of him," "I'm so sorry about him" and various other phrases in several of the world's more popular languages.

If possible, they'll find the berated worker, usually cowering in a corner, apologize and hand over a small amount of the local currency. It's not ideal, but they've avoided any major international far.

Opt out
Another pal's now-deceased father just wasn't satisfied at a restaurant until he'd made a meal of the server's self-esteem. He'd scold waitstaff for their perceived mistakes, rudely complain and send back food that was (by everyone else's reckoning) cooked just perfectly, snap his fingers and use sexist or racist language to summon them to the table.

As each of his children became old enough to take a stand, they opted out and refused to dine with the family. Eventually he got the message and toned it down enough for them to choke down a meal in his company - even if it meant a little heartburn later.

Say goodnight
Back in my single days, a gentleman who'd seemed perfectly delightful on a first date, revealed his true colors on our second. At the charming bar where I was a semi-regular, he thought it would be funny to try to embarrass our female server by making a string of gross and inappropriate jokes whenever she came by. The first time, I was taken aback and she seemed to blow it off. The second, I saw her wince, and I asked my date to knock it off. He amped it up, I left a hefty tip, found her to apologize and ended our date promptly.

When I saw our server a few weeks later, I apologized again. It turned out that she'd been on the verge of "accidentally" dropping a very cold beverage in his lap, but didn't want to get any on me.

But that's what happens; incivility splashes onto everyone who witnesses it. While the rest of us can flee the scene, service workers are forced to stand in place and do so with a smile, for fear of losing their job.

That's not ideal, though, and short of everyone in the restaurant-going world taking mandatory manners classes or made to wear a "Do not serve this person" medallion after one too many infractions, it's going to keep happening. You've heard my potential solutions above, and I'd love to hear yours. Let us all know in the comments below how you choose to deal with restaurant rudeness by both strangers and friends, and we'll serve up the best ones in a future Eatocracy post.

Meanwhile, Elans and "Diane from 7As" of the world, how about taking a deep breath and keeping the skies friendly for the rest of us? Drinks are on me - or possibly you if you don't keep it civil.

Rules for eating on a first date
Breaking up at a restaurant
'We are servers not servants!'
How waitstaff handles a stood-up customer
Eat This List: 5 reasons you shouldn't blame the waiter

soundoff (368 Responses)
  1. Fisch in Sconsin

    Going up to a complete stranger and telling them how to act is a sticky situation. I work in a fine dining restaurant, back of the house, and we get our fair share of rude people. The only way I think I'd say anything to someone I didn't know being overly rude was if I saw the whole situation. If somebody want to be a dick, that may just be who they are, and people in the service industry should be prepared to run into a few individuals with such wonderful qualities. With out these people half of the movie "Waiting" wouldn't have hit home to so many people.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  2. Religious Guy

    I say that we should first try to understand the situation without taking sides and try to diffuse it. Once diffused, if it was the server's fault, let his manager know. If it was the other person's fault then let the server's manager know so that the server would not be in trouble for something he was not a cause of.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:37 am |
    • Matt Z

      The moment you tell a manager anything other than a direct compliment, it is the servers fault, and odds are, that server just got fired. Trust me, I know. I've been in the industry for seven years.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:52 am |
      • David

        I worked in the food industry for 15 years and I saw 1 person get fired and it was not
        over an altercation with a customer exactly. The employee spit in the food of a cranky
        customer and they got caught. And out the door they went. I think your statement is
        a bit of an exaggeration. Not defending rudeness.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:16 am |
  3. Ron

    Fundamental rule of etiquette. Rudeness does NOT beget rudeness. A rude response is just rude. It's not polite to take anybody to task for etiquette violations except for small children. Adults aren't going to learn anyhow.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:35 am |
    • Aeroman08

      No one said taking the rude person to task was being polite. Sometimes it takes war to end war.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:01 am |
    • lagunalad

      I respectfully disagree.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:15 am |
  4. Truth

    I love the assumption that the Attendant wasn't rude. In all the flights I've been on in the last 5 years, not one was without an extremely rude Flight Attendant, and while I wouldn't confront the attendant about it (Who wants to go to jail because your attendant was rude) I've very little sympathy for them now.

    While I agree that you should never be rude to people serving you, the real rule is you should never be rude. There's just no excuse for it. And frankly the service industry needs to remember this as well. I've hard far too many rude wait staff I've felt obligated to tip because I know they make nothing without the tips, but they didn't deserve it. All it has done is increasingly narrowed the places I'm willing to spend my money.

    And also, you really don't have an excuse to scream at your romantic partners either. That is all childish behavior you need to leave behind when you become an adult. Shame on you, CNN.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:34 am |
    • Maggies Mom

      I agree – too many flights with rude attendants. I try to ignore them, but they still get under your skin. On a connection after a 14 hour flight (we were both on the same flights) a guy next to me ordered an alcholic beverage. Yes, it was morning in that attendant's time zone, but not in his, and she had the audacity to broadcast his order and ask "Really??? At this time of morning?" Very, very inappropriate and impolite. I would not have been at all surprised if he reacted, but the didn't....

      December 3, 2013 at 10:53 am |
    • doughnuts

      In the Elan vs. Diane story, Diane was berating the flight attendant because the plane was delayed in the tarmac.
      Was that rudeness on the part of the attendant?

      December 3, 2013 at 10:57 am |
      • David

        No but the airline industry as a whole have so long ago lost and sense of civility
        that they should not be surprised when they encounter such levels of rudeness.
        They are as a industry terse, UN-comprimising and rude to their customers. So while
        there is no excuse for being impolite there is a level of reaping and sowing that occurs.
        Sometimes you should be prepared to get what you give.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:20 am |
    • Pamela

      I agree completely. I flew recently and an attendant dropped a full drink on me, said "Sorry" and kept walking to the next row like nothing had happened. Didn't offer me a napkin or anything. I had to ask another one to provide a towel and get new clothes as it was a long flight and a full drink. The service has become deplorable. Unfortunately, like you said, I'm afraid to complain due to the fact you can get arrested or kicked of a flight so easily now.

      So really, we just should, as the human race, stop being so rude to each other. We all have a story and if common courtesy existed in all of us, servers And customers would both be treated better.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:58 am |
  5. Everett Knight

    For those who chose to make a sport of ridiculing courteous and hard working servers.. . . REMEMBER, you have no idea what happens to your food or drink before it is delivered to your table!!!

    December 3, 2013 at 10:22 am |
    • world observer

      My exact thoughts! However I want to make a point here that should take that "thought" to one more (higher) level! Stewardesses/stewards are NOT "servers"! Their first and most important job, the one they are most trained for is to SAVE you and yours if and when the worst happens. I guarantee that very few hours in their initial training have a dern thing to do with "which side the napkin goes"! If along their way they can bring you things to make your time more comfortable, pleasant so be it but as with the food servers......If and when the need should arise for their first duty to you kick in, do you really want them to be MAD at you?????

      December 3, 2013 at 10:44 am |
      • Jimbo

        No, their job covers assisting passengers getting in/out, helping in an emergency situation (hopefully never) AND serving the passengers. I would guess the "saving passengers" part is well under one percent of their actual work experience, so naturally any feedback goes to the passenger experience. However, I can see your other point now... "Mary, don't give a life preserver to 13-A, he's a real jerk!"

        December 3, 2013 at 12:49 pm |
  6. cheeseroll

    Let's thank them for their service too.

    Like how Americans like to thank all the troops for their service despite it being another form of employment where they're paid to fight and die rather than sit behind a desk.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:20 am |
    • Joel

      Nice troll.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Lucifer's Evil Twin

      Spoken like a true self-centered American...

      December 3, 2013 at 10:46 am |
      • you!bright

        suck it, hater

        December 3, 2013 at 11:04 am |
    • you!bright

      you're fXcking serious?

      December 3, 2013 at 11:03 am |
    • David

      I'm sure there is a correlation to carrying a hamburger to a table and getting shot at but I'm not
      seeing. There still isn't any reason to be rude the person carrying your hamburger but to compare
      the two services is a bit much.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:24 am |
  7. lauradet

    Some servers are a-holes and deserve to be treated just like they dish it out.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:19 am |
  8. NorCalMojo

    The jerks are telling you what 90% of your customers are too polite to say.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:17 am |
    • Doug

      No they're not, they're just being jerks.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • plastik892

      A jerk (a proper one, not just someone having a bad day) is just another word for someone who has a personality like a slice of Swiss cheese. They're to be pitied but their entirely selfish actions should not be tolerated. As a manager, I'd rather boot you from your chair mid-meal and lose future business than have you climb the back of a good server to satisfy that bottomless pit of unhappiness.

      December 3, 2013 at 11:38 am |
  9. sanjosemike

    For some reason when I was working as a doctor, I had a large number of service employees in my practice. (OK, they had good insurance). But they were to a person very decent, friendly and nice people who worked very hard.

    I always did what I could to make their work life more comfortable. (My specialty allowed me to contribute to their ability to stand and work).

    But I also learned to become a "chronic over-tipper." I have tipped at 20% for years. Now I know you will say I can "afford" to do this and most people can't. OK, I get it.

    But another thing you can do that's free to you is call their manager to your table and report excellent service. That costs you nothing and may mean a huge amount to a service person who worked really hard to make your time with them turn out well.

    I've "reported" airline employees to their managers as excellent. I've written letters, actually searched for a manager and spent a half hour once locating one to report excellent service.

    I always tell the manager to put "my report" into their file and give them my name and phone number.

    I only do this for service people who work hard for me. But when they do, they will end up with a real surprise when we're done. And yes, they get a great tip. I'm sure I brighten their day (as they did mine).


    December 3, 2013 at 10:03 am |
    • Bob Hope

      God Mike,
      I'd love to live in your bubble. Twenty percent for a tip and you think servers sing Zip-da-de-do-da? Your tip helps balance out the others who don't tip well. It's not a big moment of joy they receive from that whole extra five percent you just gave them, its a lessening of dispair from the last jerk that tipped poorly. And to be such a successful doctor and all. You must be so proud of yourself!

      December 3, 2013 at 10:26 am |
      • Shawn

        Careful Bob, your jealousy is showing. Well, that and your education level...your class..your breeding...etc. You know what...why don't you just think a little longer before speaking. I know thinking is rough...try it...please.

        December 3, 2013 at 10:39 am |
      • Joe

        Don't be a tool. This guy is doing something kind and generous. So what if he's a doctor? How do you treat service workers? I'm sure it's a mystery.

        December 3, 2013 at 10:45 am |
      • Matt Z

        Bob thats not an extra five percent!!!!! Maybe it was in the 1990's. But here, in 2013, 20 percent is expected. NEVER tip less than 20 percent!!!!! If you can not afford that, then go to McDonalds.

        December 3, 2013 at 10:55 am |
        • Jeff

          15% is standard, not 20%, no matter how much you may want to push that. You do good, you'll get more, do bad, I have no problem leaving less along with a talk to the manager or a comment card left. And no, I am not leaving more if I use a CC, because you have to claim that as income. I have to claim 100% of my check as income, I'm not helping your tax evading.

          December 3, 2013 at 11:10 am |
        • Brian

          While I have a great deal of respect for people who make the money in the food industry (I couldn't) and nearly always tip 20% or more, any server who has the audacity to express that they *expect* to get any particular tip can expect to kiss my a-s.

          December 3, 2013 at 11:11 am |
        • Matt Z

          just watch the 1 minute video attached to this article. The "experts" even say 20 percent is standard. I understand tipping less for bad service. However, if I give you good service, and you give me less than the standard tip, don't come back. If you do come back, I promise, that steak of yours is going to get seasoned with a little bit of "floor salt" before you get it.

          December 3, 2013 at 11:17 am |
        • Matt Z

          And Jeff, don't give me that self righteous talk of tax evasion!!!! Serves make 2.33 and hour, all of which goes into paying taxes. My paycheck, as a bartender, says "not valid" at the end of every 2 weeks. I get 0 dollar checks. I make about 35k a year. Not bad, but definitely not great. If I make 70k, I can file for a bunch of deductions. Its the same as a tax deduction. Not tax evasion. I pay taxes. I, however, am also smart enough to write off my cab fare at 4 am, on my way home from work, as a business expense. WE generally don't evade taxes. WE are just as smart as the "rich guys" but make less money.

          December 3, 2013 at 11:23 am |
        • Jeff

          Then tell servers to stop giving me crap about needing to pay more if I use a CC, like most servers like to do. No, 20% is not standard, 15% is standard. There are no "experts" on tipping, just what has always existed. Any "expert" I ever run into on tipping is almost inevitably a member of the service industry, which is kind of a conflict of interest.

          If you are going to toss my food on the floor because I go off the ages-old standard 15%, you are truly a psychotic person who should be nowhere near the service industry, and kind of prove my point that self-centered rude folk exist everywhere, and servers are hardly an exception.

          As far as your $2.33 an hour, you are guaranteed minimum wage, just like every other person out there. Whether it be from tips, or employers making up the difference, you get the money.

          December 3, 2013 at 12:20 pm |
        • AndyM

          "Experts" say you shouldn't include the sales tax portion of your bill when calculating the tip, but most people do. 20% is not any kind of a minimum for "meh" service.

          December 3, 2013 at 3:26 pm |
      • Randall Quaid

        Increasing a tip from 15% of the total to 20% of the total is not an increase in tip of 5%...its adding an additional 33% to the tip. Something I was quite proud to have received when I waited tables.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:07 am |
      • David

        While I typically tip 20% due to working in the industry in the past. This is NOT a given that you will get 20%, 18%, 15% or anything. A tip is extra money that you get for doing a good job not because you schleped yourself into work that day and managed to get food on the table. Patrons can do that for themselves at home. My wife and I give a 100 dollar tip to our favorite waitress every Christmas, and always tip her 20%+. We do that because she is an exceptional server and makes our dining experience an experience. Not because she bothered to bathe before coming to work. She is a delightful person even when you can tell she is having a bad day as we all do.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:37 am |
      • time for new work....

        If the server is continually getting poor tips and is counting on the one 20% tip to balance out the bad ones; they should probably look for a new job because they might not be great at serving.

        December 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm |
    • MrHappy

      I'm a pilot and get paid well enoug-but I wasn't always. I waited tables going through college and have been on the other side. I also insisted my kids work in the service industry growing up so they would always have an appreciation for those who do hard work. In our society we are always ready to call out someone who does a bad job, but rarely take the time or trouble to give someone a positive critique. You set a great example, doctor!

      December 3, 2013 at 10:57 am |
  10. Tara

    I said "Other" because not only would I say something positive to the server and leave a larger tip, I would go find the manager and tell him or her what was happening in case the person being a jerk complained to the manager about the server.

    December 3, 2013 at 10:01 am |
  11. Ajax

    I wrote other because it depends. If the "rudeness" is actually part of my group I tell them to knock it off and believe me, they do. If the "rudeness" is not but it disturbs my companions I tell them if they don't knock it off their night will end badly. The only time this didn't work was in a movie where staff couldn't make a bunch of loud boys quiet down. I actually had to tap the leader in the on the head with a snub nose and tell them they were going to jail if they made one more peep. They stopped peeping.

    December 3, 2013 at 9:44 am |
    • sanjosemike

      While I agree and appreciate your defending service workers and trying to stop public rudeness against them, your tactics could lead to other problems. Years ago, in Michigan on a beach a family man with his wife and children politely asked some fellow beach goers to "turn down their boom boxes."

      One of those people shot him dead in front of his family. Ok, I guess he was not armed to defend himself. But it happened so quickly that he probably wouldn't have had the time to try. Worse, I don't think they were ever caught.

      His family were then immediately without a father. A snub nose revolver may end up doing the same thing. Just sayin...


      December 3, 2013 at 9:54 am |
    • Mike

      With such a tough guy in their midst, people must just bow down to you. You're really impressive (in your own mind).

      December 3, 2013 at 10:00 am |
      • Hamburger Jones

        Like he pulled out a gun in a crowded theater and didn't end up in the drunk tank . . . no, if you pull a gun on someone you do not intend to actually kill, they will take your gun and say "thanks."

        December 3, 2013 at 11:51 am |
    • sure ya did...

      Obvious troll is obvious.

      December 3, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
  12. olde dragon

    There's an old saying about taking the true measure of a man by how he treats his so-called "inferiors". I can understand having a bad day (I used to wait tables, and it's amazing what a simple act of kindness can do to help someone who *is* having a bad day), but when a person makes it his/her life mission to treat others badly – especially people who are in no position to argue – it speaks volumes about their character. And I prefer my family, friends and employers to be people of good character. There's no reason to ever be rude to a service person; if he's the one behaving badly, speak to the manager.

    December 3, 2013 at 9:42 am |
  13. Mr. T

    "I pity the fool that's rude to my waiter!"

    December 3, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • Stephanie in VA

      Me too ... you might get a little extra in your meal. Never be rude to people who handle your food ...duh!

      December 3, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  14. Jeff

    How about just don't be rude, period? I can't stand rude people on either side.

    For the record, I've come across plenty of rude waitstaff, they're hardly angels themselves. I've had one tell my friends when I went to the restroom, after leaving a 25% tip, that it was half off appetizer night, not half off tip night, after I waited 25 minutes for my bill. She never got over 15% again. I've seen another off shift, but still in uniform, sitting at their employer's bar (Applebee's style place) and loudly complaining that if you aren't tipping 30%, you are every four letter word imaginable. I've been chewed out by one server when I bought a beer at the bar and brought it back to the table my friends were at, because that was "HER" zone and I should be buying from her.

    And yes, most of us are quite capable when service is a bit slow of distinguishing between you genuinely being busy, and you sitting at the end of the bar chatting with friends or facebooking ignoring customers.

    December 3, 2013 at 9:05 am |
  15. David Aeronsen

    Been in the service industry for 30 yrs. You wont change the character of a customer, they are what they are. What you can change is your own perception of the the situation. Remind yourself that In spite of what they say, it's not personal. Your obligation to them doesn't change based on their attitude. You are a professional, and they will be judged by the way they treat those that cannot fight back.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:31 am |
  16. Sapphire

    If I saw a stranger being rude to a server, I would bring it up to the restaurant manager asap. It's the manager's job to settle – not another customer's. Just like rude phone users at the movies. Managers prefer that you complain to management and don't confront the offender yourself. However carrying your laser pointer doesn't hurt. >:->

    The rude person at a restaurant HAS been in my party, in the form of my mother and one particular friend. The friend I blow off because she doesn't have the cojones to be rude to the server's face. It's always behind their back. (insert eye roll)

    Mommie Dearest is another story. To her, children & wait staff should be seen and not heard ... and she is not shy about voicing her opinion to the people to whom she is being rude. What do I do? After years of trying to explain to her that they're people just like she is and getting nowhere, I now make a joke of it to the server as if MD isn't there. It shuts her up sufficiently.

    Now if I could just get her to stop talking with her mouth full ....

    December 3, 2013 at 8:29 am |
  17. Mike

    Anyone who abuses a service worker is a jerk....and anyone who makes excuses for these abusers is a jerk too.
    A word of advise.....If your significant other is abusive to service workers and wait staff...RUN don't walk away from them...
    they have a deep character flaw and you need to get away from them ASAP.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:26 am |
  18. MyAimIsTrue

    While visiting my mother recently we went out for lunch and had a lovely server who went above and beyond not just for us but for the table next to us. I thanked her a number of times and left an extra tip and after we exited the restaurant my mother chastised me for being "too nice." I kid you not. She felt my constaint praise was immature and condescending. I sometimes wonder how we're related.

    December 3, 2013 at 8:07 am |
    • Slumlord

      My mother and I were out at a restaurant and she asked a passing by busboy a question....and quickly followed it up with "but you probably don't speak English". He was Hispanic. I turned fire red and hissed "Why would you SAY THAT to someone"?! What's even more ironic is she married a Cuban...

      December 3, 2013 at 8:28 am |
  19. humtake

    I love how in polls, people will say anything. people would have a say right then and there. In reality, barely anyone would speak up immediately. People act big when it's anonymous.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:40 am |
    • Anonymous

      Some would! Can't we say that you're doing the same thing right now… anonymously sitting behind a screen acting big accusing people of being weak …Not everyone is weak and what benefit would people get by lying over the internet where they are anonymous? Do they get a prize? It's futile.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • saltgrain

      Well, I guess it would have to depend on the person. If it were a family member or a friend.. yeah.. I think a lot of people would say something then. If it were a work situation.. I think it gets more difficult to speak up.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:57 am |
  20. Gerry Ellenson

    I would add not to be rude to public service employees. When I was a supervisor in a social service agency, every day my social work staff ... and I ... were subjected to nasty phone calls. Being public employees, we'd have to take it as one wouldn't dare respond or even comment on the tone and content of the callers' diatribes at the risk of being called on the carpet by management.. It made the job of trying to maintain a social work attitude and help people very difficult to say the least. Be at least civil, people.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:38 am |
  21. karrie_pgh

    If someone in a restaurant or store is loudly disrupting the atmosphere, I have gone to them and told them if they don't calm down, I'll ask to have the manager ask them to leave the store. In these times though, not as safe as it used to be. In the case of children, a short period of observation to make sure there isn't some autism spectrum thing or something to try to tolerate. Then I use a gentle teacher voice and ask the parent if there is something I can do to help.

    December 3, 2013 at 7:33 am |
  22. ConsiderThis

    Don't be rude to nurses either. Catheters and needles come in variable sizes!!!

    December 3, 2013 at 7:09 am |
    • Ed

      LOL. Wonder if nurses or phlebotomists have a "hard time" finding a vein on a rude person.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
  23. Larry

    In my life ive only had blatantly rude and nasty service twice. I understand a lot of these jobs can suck for various reasons, ive done some of these jobs and all I expect is the people waiting on us to at least be civil. They dont have to smile and joke and laugh just dont scowl dont be nasty and well get along just fine.

    December 3, 2013 at 5:32 am |
  24. john

    The service industry does seem to attract the rudest of people, and by that I mean both the servers and the customers. Serving is often an "entry-level" job, just like working the register at a gas station or stocking shelves at WalMart, but for many it is what they enjoy doing. I know many professionals who have retained part-time serving jobs because they enjoy it, and it can be good money if you're in the right place.

    There is just really no reason to be rude, and that goes for servers and customers.

    Servers: don't take a request to send back food personally, don't be snotty with an impatient customer, when you see a customer seated by the host you should at least say "we're really busy, I promise I'll be with you in a moment", don't slack around on the floor, if you need to gossip or take a phone call, do it in the back where the customers can't see it.

    Customers: incorrectly prepared or sub-standard food is not the waitstaff's fault (normally), complain to the manager about that, not the server. there is no need for finger-snapping or "hey you's", raise your hand or say "excuse me, waiter". If the food is really bad, I have often had the manager take it off the bill, and I sometimes get a $15 meal for only the price of the appropriate $3 tip to the waitress that was doing her job.

    December 3, 2013 at 4:41 am |
    • springs1

      "Customers: incorrectly prepared or sub-standard food is not the waitstaff's fault (normally),"

      Actually you are very wrong. Normally it *IS* your server's fault for incorrectly prepared food.

      Putting in the order wrong, bringing you the completely wrong item, forgetting an item, bring out obvious incorrectly prepared food such as sauce ribs when ordered none, etc.

      December 3, 2013 at 9:24 pm |
  25. Sparrows345

    Most learn from role models. Even the govt. can be this, people figure well, they don't have any fiscal restraint so why should I? They insult each other constantly, so why shouldn't I ? Anyways, consider yourself lucky in this day and age if you disparage or cause emotional harm to a service worker. They can easily file a lawsuit against you, or their establishment can, happens more than you think.

    December 3, 2013 at 4:28 am |
    • kellyplozai

      Yes, of course! It's the government's fault! Why didn't we sum that up sooner, we could have skipped this whole topic...

      December 3, 2013 at 1:40 pm |
  26. Forget the Viagra...Pass me a Carrot!

    I worked in hospitality and retail for about 10 years – that was 30 years ago and really very little has changed. Countries are different however, and cultures vary with their attitude to those serving them. Because I have been on the other side I appreciate that serving tables can be a thankless task on occasion and that if I want to completely enjoy my dining experience that I am paying for that includes building rapport with my server. This results in little extras often and recognition when you return.

    December 3, 2013 at 3:25 am |
  27. Rod

    I find it hilarious when one of my friends messes with, yells, or talks down to restaurant staff... i mean that's what they're for... to serve us. And when they forget part of our order, we dump all our pennies on the table and leave them a tip like "thanks for the bread". Hilarious.

    December 3, 2013 at 1:25 am |
    • Rick Carlisle

      Ever watched the movie Waiting (2005)? My friend says it happens all the time. I dont wanna take chances on tasting somebody's bodily fluid even if its without me knowing, but there are people who knows this and simply dont care n become rude to restaurant people.

      December 3, 2013 at 2:07 am |
    • Employee

      On behalf of the entire hospitality industry, Please dont reproduce.

      December 3, 2013 at 5:36 am |
    • Wcatholic

      Sad. Pathetic. Little man.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:04 am |
    • HB

      Please don't feed the troll people.

      December 3, 2013 at 6:48 am |
      • Jerv

        LM AO! I know, right? Obviously a troll. A lousy troll but a troll non the less.

        December 3, 2013 at 7:24 am |
  28. jamesnyc

    sometimes in the course of doing my job someone will call me an A$$ Hole. It's not pleasant but then I say to myself, "I just earned my pay check this week" or sometimes to them I say "thank you. It's good to know I am doing my job".

    December 2, 2013 at 11:53 pm |
  29. LFLT

    I'm a chef and have been in the industry for about a decade. Anyone who works in hospitality will tell you that the majority of people are kind, accommodating and generally good customers, but the people who do feel it necessary to demean or otherwise talk down to hospitality staff are horrible, horrible excuses for human beings. I've been yelled at, spit at, threatened with bodily harm, you name it (and I'm BOH). When it comes down to it, some people simply have no social graces or have some innate need to make everyone they encounter as miserable as they are.

    December 2, 2013 at 11:42 pm |
    • Circle R

      BOH? Please explain.

      December 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
      • kellyplozai

        Service lingo for "back of the house", meaning the kitchen and prep areas, as opposed to the dining area, referred to as the "front of the house".

        December 3, 2013 at 1:46 pm |
  30. Josie Behnke

    This happens in fast food restaurants as well. Come on people, we make your food, we try our best to make you happy (at least in the place I work out), we are fast, efficient, and typically are willing to listen to a customers complaint and fix teh situation. BUT cussing us out, throwing trash in our parking lot, and many other things I have seen...within the last two days or so at stressful for us. We keep the place clean and kept, you destroy it, we serve fresh food and sometimes we do make mistakes but calling us every name in the book is not going to make sure you get better service. You are paying for the service, but it does not make you better then us...p.s. I know I go to places and eat and being in the town I live in we DO know where you work, what your job is and if we can and be one of your "customers" for your own shift.

    December 2, 2013 at 11:23 pm |
  31. NorCalMojo

    If rude customers are really a problem for a waiter or waitress, they should probably rethink the way they present themselves.

    It's pretty hard to be rude to someone who's giving you good service.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • akak907

      Spoken like someone who has never spent any time working in the service industry. I spent several years waiting and bartending during college and let me tell you, some people are just pricks. They will be rude because they find it funny, get off on putting people down, or have figured out that if they complain, they get free stuff, so why not? Its a small minority, but they are out there. Suggesting that the server should look at themselves if they are being treated poorly is ignorant at best.

      December 2, 2013 at 10:26 pm |
      • NorCalMojo

        Everyone deals with jerks from time to time.

        Professionals blow it off and deal with it.

        December 3, 2013 at 10:06 am |
        • shadowdancer

          Let me've never worked in the service industry?

          December 3, 2013 at 4:27 pm |
    • Raggedyann123

      You obviously have not been in the company of an obnoxious jerk. My friend had a friend that I finally refused to go out to eat with. He would send milk back ... not cold enough or too cold .. his food was never right .. he'd send it back more than once and it was fine the first time. He thought he was funny. He was rude and obnoxious .. it was not the server's fault .. ever. There are some people that just like to jerk a server's chain.

      December 2, 2013 at 11:47 pm |
    • shellycollins

      Really? Have you ever worked in customer service? Are you a hermit that doesn't mingle with a variety of ppl? I have worked in the culinary world for 20 yrs, making a good living because I enjoy serving good food to folks. I have also learned to take ppls attitudes with a grain of salt. They were prob having a bad day (or life) before they even walked in my establishment. Only once or twice have I ever had to dish it back to them.

      December 3, 2013 at 12:13 am |
      • Randall Quaid

        You've never HAD to dish it back to them. You chose to.

        December 3, 2013 at 11:18 am |
    • VladT

      How come these types of responses are always greeted with "I can tell you have never blah blah blah..."

      That is a cop out argument to the main post on this thread. Some people in the customer service positions are rude....I have worked with waiters who were rude to me because I was the "lowly host" who was angry that I didn't sit a customer in their section (not my fault you're not covering the window views, and customer specifically asked). So believe it or not, waiters can be rude and sometimes deserve to metaphorically be smacked upside the head

      December 3, 2013 at 3:14 am |
    • Kristin

      You'd be surprised, my friend, at how people like to boost their self-esteem by treating someone they find inferior like complete garbage.

      December 3, 2013 at 9:55 am |
  32. Cezar

    In my point of view the person who insulted or was rude to a servce worker is the only one that needs help. Unfortunately, when a situaiton comes up to you, it's quite importat to hadle it ... However nowadays we need more forgiveness... we are not in the point of let those thngs go....... we must teach our chlidren correctly...we must give them a better example... and by some kind of punshment..we have to help the rude guy.making him a better person...and eventually take hm off from our society while he stlil behaviournig as an anmal.

    December 2, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
  33. sybaris

    The thing is in the U.S. more often than not the person serving you is there just waiting on the next big thing. The job they're in is a stepping stone or temporary until they finish whatever school; they could care less about you and it shows in their atti.tude. I have experienced consistently better behavior from waiters and other service people in other countries.

    December 2, 2013 at 8:52 pm |
    • simmy calhoun

      NOPE.....still not an excuse to be rude just because its a stepping stone to another job....maybe all the unhappy faces and not so friendly attitude is because they are just burned out by all the ASSHOLES they have to wait on!

      December 2, 2013 at 9:16 pm |
    • Richard

      You sound like you are a DB and just dont realise. The vast majority of waitstaff are friendly and good at their job. Just like every profession there are bad apples but to label the whole profession is wrong.

      December 3, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  34. Silentrunning

    Advise the management or owner of the issue, and see if it is act upon.
    If not take it a step further and confront the person.

    December 2, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
  35. Dean B

    I'd tell my friend/dinner partner to shut up. If they didn't I'd request a different table, praise the person being abused for their professionalism in face of unwarranted attack, and leave the x-friend/dinner partner to stew.

    If you don't like the service, food, etc. you can get up and leave. On the way out complain to the manager about the problem, and never return. Both of you will be happier.

    December 2, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
  36. Katie

    No sympathy for whiners. You don't like being a server? FIND A DIFFERENT JOB! My first job was bussing tables and dishwashing. The waitresses stood around in little clumps and made fun of the patrons all the time and pre-judged who would stiff them a tip and would do as little as possible for those customers. They were supposed to share tips with us – who often helped serve during rush hours – but they somehow didn't seem to make a lot of tips when it came time to divvy up. They moaned and complained about their low wages and their need to make tips but very seldom would one of them do more than take and order, drop a plate of food in front of someone, and then hand over the check. The real work – cooking, cleaning, even the math of tallying up the meal – was done by other people.

    December 2, 2013 at 8:34 pm |
  37. DJ

    Most of the time when I see any public display of rudeness, I susept the rude person is really acting out an infantile need for attention. They frequently target service personnel who have no choice but to endure it, unable to ignore the abuse. Pretty pathetic behavior really.

    December 2, 2013 at 7:23 pm |
  38. karen14217

    How about just don't be rude, period?

    December 2, 2013 at 6:42 pm |
  39. Meh...

    Meh...some people deserve rudeness, as it is the only thing they will respond to. Consider it their tuition in the school of finding a real job...

    December 2, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
    • Ed

      Are you Diane?

      December 2, 2013 at 7:05 pm |
    • Silentrunning

      You are a low life person, have you ever worked as a server? You must have been born with a silver spoon up
      your ass?

      December 2, 2013 at 8:45 pm |
      • VladT

        Occupy Eatocracy!

        December 3, 2013 at 3:11 am |
    • Peter

      You're right, some people need rudeness, and you're one of them. Interesting that you consider yourself the arbiter of "real jobs" or not. I'm sure I could make a similar comparison between what I do and what you do, were I such an asshat that I found worth of someone's life and whether they deserved respect based on what they do. I instead find that people deserve respect, or not, based on how they treat other people. You've clearly failed this test, and I hope you get some of the rudeness you've prescribed to others.

      December 3, 2013 at 2:53 am |
  40. Dan

    I don't understand why people are stupid enough to be rude to their servers in the modern age, especially if they are making you food. I use to be a server and I've seen my fair share of rude people, and every time one acted out I was always confused by this behavior because they had to know what we did to their food after their rudeness. Lets just say that a lot of people out there who end up with mouth herpes and don't know where they got it from were most likely rude to the wrong server at some point. Karma is a bitch and she fights dirty.

    December 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm |
    • Anonymous

      congratulations on being mature! No matter what you should never do that. Rude people are unfortunately everywhere, but that is no reason to that. People who do this should be fired. Easy to say that behind the screen; would love to see you and others like that say it to the restaurant owner or better yet the health department. I'm sorry but that is just as idiotic and immature as a bad client.

      December 3, 2013 at 8:56 am |
      • Dan

        It was the owners idea sweetheart. You can learn to be a good person in life by following one rule, don't be dick, or you should expect to get what you give. I am doing God's work.

        December 8, 2013 at 4:08 pm |
  41. m1

    In decades of eating out I have seen rude, poor tipping people many, many times.
    I have only encountered one truly rude wait person.
    I tip on service, so good service gets really good tip
    If the wait person is busy, but trying, still a nice tip.
    Totally incompetent (only one time in my life) NO TIP

    December 2, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
  42. adjkfjakldjf

    I called out a lady in Wendys once. She was screaming at a really young teen worker about her missing sandwich. I got up from my table and very calmly pointed out yelling at the poor girl was not going to fix anything and at the end of the day it's a $5 sandwich in a fast food joint, not exactly a life or death situation and they were doing their best to fix the situation. I explained screaming wasn't going to get the sandwich any faster. She then yelled at me and left. The people in the restaurant applauded. My husband was upset and said she could have really hurt me. I explained to him and my kids that you're supposed to stand up for those that cannot stand up for themselves and I would hope someone would stand up to someone treating my kids like that. I asked my husband how could I expect our kids to stand up for others if I didn't set the example?

    December 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Silentrunning

      I give you a standing ovation! :-)

      December 3, 2013 at 10:24 am |
    • no

      No, you didn't do this. And even if you did; the only thing that allowed you to do this was your husband being right there. You would never do something like that when alone. You cower behind someone else and shout threats, lol.

      December 3, 2013 at 12:14 pm |
      • David

        ... and some trolls hide behind the anonymity that the web provides. What does your husband do when you act up?

        December 3, 2013 at 3:45 pm |
  43. Andrew

    I find it's easier to call someone out when they are with your group, like a friend or family member. I work in the service industry and have had to have a few words with people I know at a few restaurants. However in the case of a stranger that is much harder. Usually either the manager needs to step in, or the server needs to be assertive, but not rude. Admittedly its not easy though, in the first few years of serving it was hard for me to be assertive to customers when they were rude to me.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  44. Marie

    If possible, I would hand a healthy tip to the waitperson in full view of the offending person with an appropriate remark. Something like, "Thank you for your patience." I tipped a maid recently in my hotel room after my 'roomie' was rude to her. Then I told my 'roomie' about it later. She looked shocked, had some lame excuse. She will never be my 'roomie' again. This 'roomie' is also rude to waitstaff which I will never witness again because I will never be with her again in a restaurant. A true kiss-up, kick-down asshole. Incredible.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
  45. history bear

    I am never rude to service people, spent time as one in several areas, BUT service people need to remember they took a job and need to do it correctly. They are not automatically entitled to a tip of 15% or more. service providers need to do just that-provide service and remember the tip is for doing a good job. Not breathing.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:13 pm |
  46. Ed

    I'll never understand how some people could be so rude and self-centered. Yet if someone gave them the slap they so rightly deserve, suddenly they're the victim.

    Seems like society protects and even encourages bullying behavior. Verbal abuse has zero consequences, and they're protected by the law against any form of retaliation.

    December 2, 2013 at 5:07 pm |
    • no

      Unfortunately for you; nobody "deserves" to be physically assaulted for no reason. With this train of thought, you will likely be in prison shortly.

      December 3, 2013 at 12:16 pm |
      • Ed

        obvious troll is obvious

        December 3, 2013 at 2:03 pm |
  47. Jim

    There is never call to be rude. Be polite and show your disapproval of service by not frequenting the establishment again. Once a business gets a reputation it's hard to live down .

    December 2, 2013 at 5:04 pm |
  48. Kathy Trueman

    I think everyone should spend a month being a service person. But then, I think parents should teach courtesy to their children, too. I'm naive. Sorta. But I am never rude to a service person.

    December 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm |
  49. Donnie the Lion

    I see customers being rude to service workers a few times a stupid, so petty, so boorish.

    December 2, 2013 at 4:09 pm |
1 2 3 4
| Part of