Food & Drink

The 7 Restaurant Customers You Meet In Hell

sucky restaurant people
Jason Hoffman/Thrillist

There are a lot of terrible restaurant customers out there, and they can be terrible in a lot of different ways. But if you wind up being assigned to the Bad Place in the afterlife and sentenced to spend eternity as a restaurant server, which seven customer types would you most likely be tormented by in perpetuity? Read on and find out.

The professional douchebro

Wears a suit. Spends half the meal on his phone making a show of the deals he's negotiating/the Very Important People™ he’s discussing earth-shaking business ramifications with. Makes a point of repeatedly insinuating how much more he makes than you, even if he’s secretly a recent mail-room hire at the corporate offices of Larry’s Discount House O’ Spray Cheese. Might leave his phone number for women servers (or grope them, if he’s a particularly noxious variant of this archetype) while still tipping under 20%. Always, ALWAYS a dude (because of course he is).

The permanent frown

Runs you ragged from the moment they walk through the restaurant doors. Is never satisfied with ANYTHING, up to and including the quality of both the water (of which they’ll need FREQUENT refills) and the napkins (of which they’ll need a Colossus of Rhodes-sized stack of extras). Repeatedly makes sure you know about their constant state of dissatisfaction. Probably tries to get their meals comped on a bullshit complaint. Tips 5% (AFTER their entree has been taken off the bill) because “it’s not my problem you don’t get paid enough.” Just as likely to be a woman as a man.

The hipster foodie expert

Saw a video once about bartending/fine dining/navel-gazing and now believes they are the world’s foremost expert on every restaurant topic under the sun. If you’re a bartender, they’ll ask you if you’ve ever been to [insert pretentious bar name], where they know how to make a REAL [insert drink name]. If you’re a server, possibly claims they’re a professional chef (in which case every minute aspect of their dish will be verbally dissected and critiqued), but also might claim to be a server themselves (which means a guaranteed 10% tip). Usually a dude, always insufferable.

absentee parent
Jason Hoffman/thrillist

The absentee parent

Lets their child(ren) run wild amidst the Elysian Fields of the restaurant floor, shrieking and running into server legs to their heart’s content. Seems to regard servers as professional babysitters. Treasures the ketchup and mustard finger painting of their hellspawn like it was the world’s finest artistic creation and also refuses to do anything to clean it up. Also totally cool with their child dumping out all the sugar packets into a pile like they’re about to make a sculpture a la Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters. Frequently travels in mom pairs to maximize the horribleness, though solo travelers are just as likely to be dads.

The field marshal

By nature is part of a large party (at least six), and clearly self-identifies as Supreme Allied Commander of the group. Tries to order for everyone at the table -- “Oh, you don’t want [x], [y] is much better -- get them [y].” Believes they know exactly what every other member of their party needs at any time and will loudly bark at the server to get it even over that customer’s protestations. Will almost certainly complain about the automatic gratuity on large parties. Likely another member of the table will privately come up to you toward the end of the meal and apologize for them.

The bargain shoppers

Makes homemade (free) lemonade out of lemon slices, sugar packets, and water. Will attempt to make complimentary bread/nachos/rice serve as 90% of their meal. Will demand constant refills on all of the above, because clearly they’re more important than all of your actual paying customers. Will attempt to return any entree on made-up bullshit grounds just to get it taken off the check. Restaurant won’t throw them out because “the customer is always right,” and because these assholes would immediately complain to corporate and you know those idiot desk jockey chucklefucks would take THEIR side in a heartbeat. ALWAYS a group (usually a family) -- never, ever travels solo. Tip? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

My maternal grandmother

Is from the Old Country. Has 50 questions for the server about a dozen different menu items, none of which she will wind up ordering. Calls food by the wrong names (mixes up “meatloaf” and “burgers” as well as “roast beef” and “pot roast”) and then gets annoyed when the hapless server doesn’t know what she actually MEANT (also continues to call the food by the wrong names no matter how many times you point this out to her). No matter what she gets or how many Michelin stars the food deserves, insists “I make better,” despite the fact she very, VERY much does NOT make better and once served family guests a lime Jell-O mold with tuna fish floating in it because she’d heard of aspic but hadn’t fully understood the concept. Has very strong opinions about food like sushi because she “doesn’t believe in raw fish,” despite the fact you’ve regularly seen her eat lox, which is close enough that she doesn’t have a leg to stand on in this argument (don’t @ me). Possibly says something vaguely racist in a stage whisper during the meal. Has literally no concept of irony. Her family loves her but would rather have ocular surgery sans anesthetic than go out to eat with her if it can possibly be avoided.

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