Hello, and welcome back to Off The Menu, where we explore the craziest stories about food from my email inbox. This week, we’ve got a classic: dumb restaurant customers. As always, these are real stories from real readers.
I worked at an affordable Greek restaurant, and one customer won the Dumbass Of The Century Award. When I came to get her order, she pointed at the sea bass on orzo and steamed greens. When I delivered the plate, she immediately went Hulk on me.
“What the hell is that?!” she screamed.
“That’s our sea bass on orzo and steamed greens. Is there a problem?”
“Why is there fish?!”
“…because it’s the sea bass?” I was genuinely confused.
“I do not want fish. I do not eat fish! Why is there fish on my plate?!”
“…because that’s what you asked for?”
“It was NOT in the description.” Well yeah, it was not. Mainly because it was the freaking title.
I decided to change tack. “Would you prefer something else?”
“Yes, I want my orzo and my steamed greens, no fish.Is that clear enough for you?” She said in an offensive, condescending way that implied I was a moron.
“Yes ma’am.” Breathe in, breathe out.
When I turned to leave, she added: “Can it have the salmon on top?”
Apparently, salmon is a fruit.
I have been living for a few years in a small beach town in Thailand. The Thai owner of my favorite local restaurant will no longer take my money so I help out when it gets busy as a sort of hostess/English speaker. There is a special type of highly entitled, my western way is always right and you local people must be dumb tourist. They make our day pretty special when they show up.
This one day, two guys show up and order a Thai red curry soup. When it arrives, they insist that we’ve brought them the wrong dish, even though we have pictures in our menu to avoid confusion. I insist that yes, this is correct, and they continue to argue saying “well that’s not how they make it in Los Angeles.” Keep in mind we are actually in a Thai restaurant in Thailand. I have a pretty bad poker face, and the look I was wearing must have upset them, because one of them storms into the kitchen to proceed to yell at the chef.
The only saving grace was that the owner/chef didn’t understand enough English to be properly offended. She was mostly just confused.
I worked in a Supermarket Deli department back in 2000. Since we sold party trays, we’d get the occasional special request; swap turkey for roast beef, that sort of thing. But this one customer still leaves me scratching my head all these years later.
The customer in question was ordering trays for a youth activity outing. She asked for several trays, with nothing unusual about them, until she asked, “I want the Kosher Boar’s Head deli meat for the trays.”
I replied, “Ma’am, Boar’s Head doesn’t have Kosher deli meat.”
“Well, Publix sells Kosher Boar’s Head meat. They told me it was Kosher,” she said, obviously frustrated.
“Well, I can tell you that they lied to you, because there’s no such thing.” Because why would a company with a PIG’S HEAD for a logo sell a kosher product?!
Before hanging up on me, she said, “You obviously don’t know what you’re talking about!”
I work in a hotel bar in Ireland. One night about 10:30 PM, three ladies came over from the restaurant for drinks. Their order was easy enough. Two amarettos no ice, two black coffees and one Bailey’s coffee. I gave them the two amarettos, two coffees and I told them I’d drop the Bailey’s coffee to the table because it takes a couple minutes to make.
A Bailey’s coffee is just like an Irish coffee but with Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur instead of whiskey. The method of making it is the same; heat the glass with hot water, one teaspoon of brown sugar, coffee, Baileys and top it off with lightly whipped cream. The cream is lightly whipped so it won’t separate when it sits on top of the coffee/alcohol mix. The difference is in colour. An Irish coffee looks a bit like a Guinness (black with a white head), and a Bailey’s coffee is creamy looking with a white head.
I dropped the coffee to the table and went back behind the bar. No sooner was I behind, one of the ladies came up with the coffee telling me that she didn’t want milk in it and could I make her another one without milk. I explained to her that I didn’t put milk in it and offered to make one without cream.
I went through all the steps above again, this time not putting cream on top and brought it to the table. Again she asked for it to be made without milk. I explained again, it was just Bailey’s, the coffee, and sugar in, no cream, and that there is no milk. She informed me that she can’t drink milk, and I explained that Baileys is made with cream, hence the colour and maybe she’d like an Irish coffee instead.
Eventually, she asked for the coffee by itself and the Bailey’s by itself, and I obliged.
The bar I work at has an option on the food menu to just order a bag of chips — you get to choose between “Frito’s Corn Chips” or “Tim’s Potato Chips.”
A few weeks ago, these two women in their mid-30s sit at one of my tables. I say hello, give them the beer-list-and-special spiel, then walk away to give them time to read the menus. A few minutes later I return to ask what they’d like to order, and one of the women asks me (in the most this-is-a-totally-normal-thing-to-ask voice), “What’s the difference between a corn chip and a potato chip?”
Time stood still for a moment. My smile froze on my face. I glanced at her friend to see if this was a funny joke or if I was being Punk’d. Her friend was also just staring at me expectantly, as if that wasn’t a painfully obvious question. Trying to answer her kindly was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done in my life.
“Well… the corn chips are corn-based, and the potato chips are just thinly sliced potatoes.”
She nods and looks back at the menu, contemplating this new information.
“Okay then. I’ll have the Fritos.”
Do you have any food-related stories you’d like to see included in Off The Menu?Feel free to submit them to WilyUbertrout@gmail.com. New submissions are always welcome! (Seriously, you don’t need to ask if I want you to send them in, the answer is always yes). If you’d like to stay up to date with OTM news, my Twitter handle is @EyePatchGuy.