Why people who order water with lemon are the worst and other minor (major) server inconveniences

I recently exited the service industry (hopefully for forever), which I have been employed in since I was 18 years old. I like to think that before all of my awful customers made me hate everyone that I was a moderately amicable person. Now, I am good at faking it when I have to and prefer the presence of animals to humans.

Anyway, servers live for complaining about their customers/jobs/coworkers/etc. Like if I can find someone who actually likes listening to all of the crap I have to say when I finish a serving shift (bonus if they agree with what I’m saying and will sit at some townie bar until close with me), I want them to be my new BFF. This blog is aimed specifically at complaining about customers because they are the worst.

Here is a list of annoying things customers do:

1. Get a table when their party is incomplete
When you say the entire party is present and they don’t arrive for 40 minutes, that delays your order for 40 minutes. The server whose time you just squandered could have had an entire table in and out in that amount of time. This means you cost them money. We come to work for the tips, not to wait for your rude family to arrive very late to a pre-arranged dinner that they definitely knew the time of beforehand.

2. Interrupting the server greeting
Me: “Hi, my name is-
Customer who clearly hasn’t been taught manners yet: “Diet coke light ice two limes”
Me: *obnoxiously fake smiles* “Absolutely! Be right back!”
HONESTLY WHO RAISED YOU?! In what realm of the universe did someone teach you that your time is so valued that you cannot muster the patience to allow someone to tell you hello, their name, that they will be your server for the evening, and maybe throw out some specials the restaurant is having for the day? Ugh.

3. Not acknowledging the server when they greet you/drop things off/ask questions/etc.
Eye contact goes a long way. So does the phrase “thank you”. I’m your server, not your servant. Pay attention to me.

4. Ordering “a water AND…”
I really don’t have an explanation for why this bothers me so much other than I don’t understand why you can’t just drink a single beverage. I guess if you drink the water, fine okay I’ll bring you several. I would honestly rather bring this person 17 refills than bring one water to a person that literally does not touch it (which tends to be the more common scenario). Also, this request is a million times worse with a large party. Please just don’t.

5. Ordering a water with lemon
Okay now I really don’t know why this one annoys me. It really doesn’t take much effort on my part to do this for you but I (and all servers everywhere) just hate it. Maybe it’s because I’m a judgmental little B when I’m serving (and most other times) but every time someone orders water with lemon, I want to squirt the lemon juice on their paper cut.

6. Forcing their children to order when they are terrified to talk to me
This makes both me and your child uncomfortable. I understand that you might be trying to teach your kid independence or whatever, but I don’t have time to try to coax them to utter the phrase “mac and cheese with applesauce” for five minutes. The lady at 211 needs her large side of ranch, extra butter, and diet coke no ice and she is staring through me right now.

7. Finishing 4 diet cokes before your salad even arrives
I’m sorry to break the news, but at a certain point your soda is no longer “diet”. This is one scenario where ordering a water AND a diet coke would be appropriate.

8. Getting mad at me for not IDing you when you are clearly old enough to consume alcohol
You and I both know you hit age 21 a decade ago. If it bothers you that much, try botox or something, idk.

9. Asking, “What’s the WiFi?”
There is no WiFi because we don’t want you to sit in the restaurant any longer than it takes you to eat your food/drink your drinks. This is a business, not a library. Talk to your friends while you’re out. Entertain your children. Watch the freakin’ TVs if you must. Just be present.

10. Not bothering to look at a menu/not being able to decide after 15 minutes of being seated
Didn’t you come here because you are hungry? It’s incredibly awkward for me to keep coming back to ask if you’re ready. Also, I assure you that if you accidentally (heaven forbid) choose the thing that you like second best, life will go on and you will be okay. If the hardest decision you make today is mashed potatoes or fries, your life is blissful.

11. Asking what the salad dressings are so I list off all 12 for you, then proceeding to ask me if we have balsamic vinaigrette and ending the conversation by ordering ranch.
If you were looking for something specific, just ask if we have it. Or you could consult the menu because that includes all of the available varieties of dressings as well and it is currently open in front of you.

12. Complaining to me about the menu prices
I am wearing a t-shirt that is full of grease/butter/ranch. Does it really look like I have any influence over the menu prices? Also thank you for warning me prior to even ordering that you will be leaving a maximum 12% tip. I hope you enjoy your mediocre service while I charm the table next to you because the children in the family are all wearing Apple watches.

13. Asking, “Does that cost extra?”
Yes, yes it does. You’re out. Everything costs extra. If $0.99 breaks the bank, McDonalds is right across the street. I suggest you go there next time.

14. Ordering something not on the menu
This covers two separate things:
A. Asking for a side that is clearly not on the list of sides.
If there are 14 sides listed and coleslaw isn’t one of them, guess what, we don’t have coleslaw. We also cannot whip some up quick for you. I know, I know I can’t believe we don’t have it either, it’s a disgrace.
B. Modifying an entree so much that is it no longer a recognizable menu item
If you are that picky or are allergic to butter/gluten/everything else that is good in the world, why are you out? When I put this order in I am going to have to sprint back to the kitchen to apologize for your obnoxious behavior and we literally just met. You’re welcome.

15. Asking me to turn the AC down because you’re cold
Again, I’m a server. I don’t get to make the decisions about the temperature of the restaurant. Sure, I can go ask my manager if he can do that for you, but I can assure you that he will say, “Tell them to f*** off,” or something of that variety, after which I will come back to your table to lie to you. “I let a manager know! He’s looking into it for you; the problem should be resolved shortly.”

16. Shaking your drink at me for a refill
I saw your drink was getting low, sir. Had you waited 90 seconds, I could have wowed you with my prompt delivery of a freshly poured iced tea with sugar on the side (because sweet tea is just too sweet for you), you could have praised me, and I would have pretended to be flattered by your compliment. But now you ruined our sweet exchange and I loathe you.

17. Snapping your fingers, pointing a single finger toward the ceiling and waving it, or grabbing any part of my body to catch my attention
This is just very rude. If you don’t understand why it’s rude, you probably partake in at least one of these actions. Stop it. Also, if you would have allowed me to introduce myself at the beginning of your dining experience or glanced up at me and away from your phone for six seconds, you could have heard me say my name or noticed my name tag. Both of these would give you something to call me (my name…) when you desperately need to flag me down.

18. Telling me everything is great when I check back on you and then complaining about the food to the manager
Please just tell me if there’s something wrong. That (surprisingly) doesn’t bother me at all. I actually want you to like your food and I can fix most of the issues.

19. Asking for one thing at a time so I have to run back and forth to your table nine times in a row
This one really grinds my gears. I have to get table 112 four sides of ranch, my managers are on my butt about not running enough food tonight, and table 131 just paid me with six, twenty dollar bills for six separate checks all totaling $10.64 and I somehow have to find change for all of them. I am always busy. Your table is not my only priority.

20. Letting your children run through the restaurant unattended
There are working people everywhere in a restaurant moving at top speed all of the time. If I trip over your child and spill coffee/drop a plate on his head, I really don’t think that’s my fault considering you decided to disregard the fact that this establishment isn’t a daycare.

21. Licking your plate clean (figuratively, people) and telling me, “Oh it was terrible.”
AWESOME JOKE I’VE NEVER HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE.

22. When I ask if you would like a box/dessert, telling me you’d like to take me to go/have me for dessert
My response: “No I’m sorry I’m not on the menu, would you like any dessert or a box?”
Seriously, isn’t this borderline sexual harassment? Do I look especially easy/desperate/pathetic today? I do not get paid enough to have to deal with comments like that and if it was meant as a joke, I prefer you telling me the meal was terrible. BYE.

23. Fighting over the bill in front of me
I’m way too awk to deal with this. If I don’t choose Carol, she will mean mug me until she leaves, but Carol also complained that her margarita was “too tequila-ey” and has the “may I speak to a manager” haircut. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. Please work this out outside of my presence.

24. Splitting the bill 47 different ways
Ever heard of VENMO? No? Search on app store, download, pay your friends that way. Thx.

25. Making the joke that I can pay the bill when I drop it off
About 4 years ago, I began telling customers that if I could afford to pay for their meal, I wouldn’t be working this job. Your joke is not original nor is it funny. I’m here to make money to save until the end of my shift when I have to spend my money on alcoholic beverages for myself because I deal with people like you all night long.

26. Tipping on the total AFTER the use of a coupon/gift card/manager discount
We provided service for all of the items you ordered. Unless the manager gave you a discount for “poor service”, a¬†discounted check does not excuse you from tipping on the original bill, ever.

27. Tipping poorly
I’m not even going to bother going into this one because the people who disagree with tipping or feel entitled to not tip because I “chose this job” are ignorant and not worth the precious finger movements I would have to make to type a rebuttal to their (crappy/irrelevant) argument. Tip 20%.

28. Sitting in a restaurant that is clearly on a long wait any longer than 15 minutes after paying your bill.
You are legitimately taking money from a server by doing this unless you tip them for (taking up precious space) staying in their section. A server’s section does not get modified for campers who can’t take a hint. Please just move to the bar to continue your conversation.

29. Leaving their child’s mac and cheese/corn/applesauce ALL OVER THE TABLE
I don’t have kids for several reasons. One of those reasons is because they are disgusting and dirty. At least wipe it up with a napkin and place said napkin somewhere that I will not have to make physical contact with it.

30. Staying in a restaurant past close/coming in right before close
At the very least, order your food to go. We have lives/families/friends/second jobs too.

Thank you for reading. Now apply some of your new knowledge and be better customers please.

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