Food & Drink

The Most Ridiculous Things Servers Have Overheard in Restaurants

Ted McGrath/Thrillist

A restaurant server's job involves more than simply bringing food to a table and clearing plates. As waiters and waitresses go from table to table, they're getting glimpses of other people's lives in miniature. Often, they're seeing customers letting loose and having fun. Others, they're glimpsing pure evil decide which appetizer sounds the best. Mostly, they're getting a glimpse of how absolutely ridiculous people are. With the latter in mind, we asked servers to tell us the most ridiculous things they've heard in restaurants. They didn't disappoint.

“At Red Robin, I sat one table over from a customer relentlessly try to talk his servers into allowing him to get his chicken burger RARE.”

Look, any of us without brain worms can agree there’s just no universe in which this is a good idea, because it’s a one-way ticket to Salmonella Town. But the part that really gets me is I can’t understand WHY this dude would want this? I won’t eat my steaks any more cooked than medium rare, but that’s steak -- partially cooked chicken would taste absolutely disgusting! I refuse to believe there’s a human being out there who prefers the taste of partially cooked chicken. I just refuse to believe that could possibly be a thing.

“A guy loudly proclaimed nearby: ‘This band is amazing. Their range is awesome. I just don’t know where they are.’ There was no band in the restaurant.”

As far as I can figure, this guy just didn’t seem to understand the concept of speakers and a jukebox -- which begs the question: How did someone make it to adulthood without understanding the concept of speakers?! Was he Amish and he JUST decided to join regular people society? Was he raised in a bunker, a la Brendan Fraser in Blast from the Past? What sequence of events had to happen to get us to the point where an adult human man didn’t understand the concept of sound-recording technology? Does he think every radio is actually powered by tiny singing guinea pigs? (Yes, of course this would be adorable, but that’s entirely beside the point.)

“‘These people just don't understand what it's like and how hard we have it here, like it's really hard to be me’ -- spoken by a 20-something girl in Los Angeles with Yeezys and $700 outfit.”

OK, we’ve all known some obnoxious white person like this who was born on third base and thinks the entire world is stacked against them. But it never, ever ceases to amaze me when I run into them. Bruh, you’re living your life on easy mode. Try being, I don’t know, a gay black woman and get back to me.

“In a traditional southern Italian restaurant, I heard a customer say, ‘I can't believe a pizza place doesn't have ranch.’”

There is a 100% chance this person was from the Midwest. Not even the good parts of the Midwest; say what you want about Chicago’s food ethos being “SMASH THE FOODS TOGETHER AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS” (the only possible explanation for both Chicago hot dogs and deep-dish pizza), but at least they wouldn’t pull this crap. No, this comes from the place where ranch abuse is the region’s most underreported crime and there are shrines to Goopius, Lord of the Hidden Valley, in every household. So, St. Louis, basically.

“One time I heard a customer argue with a server about how that server’s name was pronounced.”

I… I mean, I feel like maybe the server would know? Maybe you think my name should be pronounced “colon” because there’s only one “L” in it and Colin Powell ruined it for the rest of us (he’s the only person who has EVER pronounced it that way, don’t @ me), but I think I’d know better than you, as would this server -- and anyone over the age of two.

“I was at a sushi restaurant where I heard some derpy Martin Starr-looking goobus call over his server to say, ‘Excuse me miss, but I believe this sushi is ahhh ahhhhmmmm... cooolllddd.’”

Let’s now take time to reflect on the existence of someone who not only doesn’t understand what sushi is or how it works, but has the rock solid pillar-of-the-very-earth-itself confidence necessary to vocalize their belief that their sushi isn’t being served warm enough. Just absolutely astounding. There’s a 75% chance this guy then asked them to microwave it, and was incredulous when told that the restaurant had no microwave. (Fun fact: Only garbage restaurants have microwaves.)

“Customer, to a server with red hair: ‘You must be Irish. All Irish have red hair.’

Server: ‘No, I’m Norwegian. No Irish whatsoever.’

Customer: ‘No. Check your heritage. I know you are Irish. I know all Irish have red hair.’”

Similar to the name thing, but honestly, this might be even more unbelievable. I mean, this guy was definitely just being surly and stupid, but what if he asked this while sober? What if he honestly thought the only place red hair could possibly come from was an Irish background? There are no redheaded people of Swedish, or French, or German descent -- only the Irish. This man’s personal universe is deterministic to a degree I didn’t even know was possible and simultaneously based on pure fantasy -- if a person isn’t one-eighth Leprechaun, they can’t possibly have red hair. I’m Jewish and my younger brother is so redheaded he basically bursts into flames on contact with sunlight, and this guy would firmly believe we were lying about our background and that my brother’s real name was actually Paddy O'Shaughnessy or something.

“I watched a fellow customer march up to a fast food counter and complain that his French fries were ‘ice cold.’ The person behind the counter pointed out to him that he was holding a carrot stick.”

Of everything on here, this one leaves me with the most questions. Part of me thinks this must have been some sort of scam, but if so, it was the most ineptly conducted one I’ve ever heard of. But I prefer to believe it wasn’t a scam, because in that case, I’m deliriously curious as to what could possibly cause this to happen? Did a supernatural entity transmogrify his ice cold French fry into a carrot stick on his way up to the counter? Is he the legendary third Darren from Bewitched and his mother-in-law is just screwing with him? Or did he actually take a bite of a carrot stick and not even have the connection to reality necessary to go, “Man, this French fry tastes weird,” but instead simply process the unfolding events as, “This French fry is unusually cold!” I just… I have so many questions here.

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C.A. Pinkham is a guy who makes inappropriate jokes about Toblerones on the internet. Follow him on Twitter @EyePatchGuy.