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Service Workers Share 50 Strange Stories About Guests Sending Food Back

MonicaMay 6, 2022

Service workers have one of the toughest jobs out there. Not only do they deal with angry customers every single day, but they’re usually the ones to take the blame when their food isn’t right. It doesn’t make any sense, because they’re not the ones who cooked it. Sometimes, service workers get an unsatisfied customer who sends their food back into the kitchen. Usually, it’s a pretty obvious error, but sometimes, it’s for a ridiculous reason.

We’ve compiled a list of the strangest stories about guests sending food back, like vegetarians ordering a meat dish, a guest returning week-old nachos, and fishy mango sorbet. Maybe these guests should be banned from the restaurant for life. Next time you’re at a restaurant and your server is trying their best, you might want to give them the benefit of the doubt and an extra tip. You never really know whom or what they’ve dealt with.

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50. Counting Fries

Have you ever counted the fries on your plate? Neither have we. Honestly, who has the patience for that? Once those fries are in front of us, we eat them. These customers seem downright rude, and when service workers have to deal with these kinds of customers, we feel sorry for them. It turns out the server made the customer two extra mussels and six extra fries. It seems like a lot of work for a few extra bites of food (via spookyhooch). 

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49. Too Hot

If your food is too hot, wouldn’t you just leave it on your table until it cools down? This woman sent her food back into the kitchen because it was too hot. Let’s pause for a moment and think about that logic. There is none. Sometimes, service workers have to deal with customers who don’t have any common sense, like this lady. It’s funny the restaurant went along with it anyway and cooled her food down in the window (via The Neighbourist). 

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48. Not Hot Enough

We’d lose faith in humanity too if we we dealt with these kinds of customers. Service workers deal with people who have outlandish demands, such as this woman. The boiling hot water wasn’t hot enough for her tea. Apparently, she drinks her tea at a temperature beyond the boiling point, which is virtually impossible to surpass. Maybe she sources her water from the boiling hot geysers in Iceland (via Several_Fennel_7878). 

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47. Brown Coffee

If they’re thinking about vanilla ice cream, then technically, yes, vanilla is white. But vanilla extract is brown, so you will not have white coffee. This person was under the impression their coffee would be white if there was vanilla inside of it and sent it back because it wasn’t the right color. Even if they put vanilla ice cream inside, it still wouldn’t turn white. It would just be a lighter shade of brown. Service workers who have to deal with customers who lack common sense must have a lot of patience (via grannybubbles). 

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46. Meaty Meat

What did this customer expect? Tofu? They sent back a New York strip because it was too meaty. Once again, service workers deal with some strange requests. We still don’t understand how a piece of meat could be too meaty, and what the customer was expecting instead. Maybe they should become a vegetarian or vegan (via Cyborg_Huey). 

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45. Black-Haired Pancakes

We’ve all found hair in our food at least once. Usually, we pluck it out and keep on eating, especially if we think it’s our hair. This woman clearly doesn’t know what’s sitting on top of her head and sent her food back because she found a long, black hair in it. Her own hair. It turns out the server had short, blonde hair, and the cook was bald. Sometimes, all service workers can do is sigh and accept the customer’s request, no matter how strange (via lostinlovelostinlife). 

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44. Corn Silk

We feel sorry for service workers who have to deal with customers who have anger issues, like this Reddit user. Their customer got into a screaming match with every staff member and the head chef because she found a “hair” in her food. In reality, it was corn silk. She refused to accept she was wrong, and instead projected her anger onto everyone else. Her date left halfway through, which was probably a good thing. Maybe the entire experience helped prevent him from getting into a toxic relationship in the end (via ladyzephri). 

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43. Too Flavorful

We can understand sending back food because it’s too bland. Or too spicy. But too flavorful? Does this person want something tasteless? Why would you go out to eat in the first place? Service workers who receive these kinds of requests must chuckle because we certainly are (via Germanmicrowave). 

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42. Vegetarian

Since when does sausage not have meat in it? This customer not only asked if the sausage had meat in it but then proceeded to order the sausage and then, after receiving their food, sent it back because they’re vegetarian. Service workers already have to deal with all different types of dietary requests. But when the customer doesn’t understand that sausage has meat in it, that would be frustrating (via fevlo). 

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41. Fish Reuben

People’s eyes seem to skip over words, like this woman who missed the words “grilled salmon.” We’ll never really know, but it seems like her eyes went straight to the word Reuben. It seems like service workers have to deal with customers’ mistakes most of the time. Guests should be more aware of what they’re reading on the menu, otherwise, they end up wasting food, their time, the server’s time, the chef’s time, and money (via Soupmate1980). 

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40. Refund For A Bad Face?

This customer said they “didn’t like my face” to this Reddit user. We’ve heard of service workers dealing with some rude customers, but we’re sure this one makes the top of the list. This customer dared to ask for a refund because they didn’t like the server’s face. That’s a first (via PrateTrain). 

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39. Loss Of Taste 

One of the major symptoms of COVID is losing your sense of taste or smell. This person was walking around without their sense of taste, and blaming the restaurant for “bland food.” Not only are they putting the service workers in danger, but they’re putting all of the other customers at the restaurant in danger. Hopefully, they’re more aware of their lack of taste for next time (via MagicPants710). 

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38. Gumbo

This customer mistook okra for jalapenos and proceeded to remove them all from the dish. Service workers have to deal with some interesting interactions, and this is just one of them. We’re really surprised that people commonly order food and completely misunderstand what they’re ordering (via Troygar85). 

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37. Tasted Too Much ‘Like Meat’

We’re just as confused as you are. This woman ordered a vegetarian burger but sent it back to the kitchen because it tasted “too much like meat.” But then, she proceeded to order hot dogs. Wouldn’t hot dogs taste too much like meat, too? This woman’s definition of meat is different than everyone else’s. We feel sorry for these service workers who deal with these customers. They’re trying their best (via hufflepuff-princess). 

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36. Ugly Turkey

Loophole! This Reddit user admits she was one of the customers who once sent their food back. It’s pretty comical, considering they’re still ashamed they sent their turkey sandwich back because the turkey was ugly. And she even admits she’s a service worker, so she understands how annoying it is. They have a pretty good excuse though, she was pregnant. When you’re pregnant, you can get away with a lot of things, like thinking your turkey sandwich is ugly because it’s not deli turkey. Hopefully, the service workers reading this post feel some compassion for this woman, who seems pretty embarrassed. Now, it’s something to laugh about (via BurgherInTheWild). 

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35. French Onion Soup

French onion soup is supposed to be salty and with too many onions. Why would you order it in the first place? The name says it all. The service workers dealing with these kinds of customers probably feel frustrated, since it’s extra, unnecessary work for everyone involved (via SilamDance). 

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34. Dark Meat

Service workers deal with some clueless people. People send back chicken thighs and meat with veins and bones in it. Do people not realize that meat has veins and bones in it? It came from a living animal, after all. We’ll never truly understand some people’s logic (via dzmccoy). 

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33. Old Nachos

This is one of the most ridiculous ones on this list. A woman sent back her nachos… from a week ago. They were in her fridge for an entire week. You wouldn’t keep any food for that long, let alone send it back to the restaurant. The service workers at this restaurant were probably pretty shocked and confused that this woman sent back her food. Of course, there wouldn’t be enough cheese on it now, it was from a week ago. It probably melted off or was eaten. Some people try anything nowadays (via aser2323). 

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32. Scotched Egg

This Reddit user said it all: “Every day we stray further from our path.” This couldn’t be more true. Service workers deal with people saying their chicken sandwich has too much chicken, and their mac and cheese has too much cheese. Recently, this Reddit user experienced a customer that said their scotched egg was too runny (via hardleyharley). 

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31. Well Done Toast

This is a first. We understand toast that’s nearly black, so much so that it crumbles as you bite into it. But this sets the record. This customer sent his toast back several times until the chef decided to pour vodka on it and set it on fire. How is that even edible? Better yet, the customer was rude to the server and wanted to know what would happen if he sent the toast back enough times. Sometimes, these service workers have to deal with the rudest people (via tartc). 

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30. Wrong Clam Chowder

This customer ordered clam chowder from another restaurant, brought it into this restaurant, and then complained it was cold and tried to send it back. How does that even happen? We’ve heard of service workers dealing with customers who send back food in their restaurant, but from a different restaurant? That’s a first (via arai34). 

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29. Fresh Oil

This person has very sensitive taste buds. They sent back their fries because they tasted too fishy. This happened on the morning of an oil change, too. Sometimes you just can’t win (via jimpurcellbbne). 

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28. Not Enough Shrimp

Technically, they’re not wrong. There’s no shrimp in a Tuna Crudo. But they meant something else and were looking for a shrimp dish. Why did they order the tuna dish, then? It seems like customers don’t know how to read a menu. Or know the difference between shrimp and tuna (via justxkyle). 

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27. Loud Croutons

This customer said, “these croutons are too loud. I can’t hear my husband!” Well, maybe you shouldn’t chew while you’re having a conversation. That’s something you learn in elementary school. This person sent back their dish because the croutons were too loud. Croutons are supposed to be crunchy, otherwise, it’d be soggy bread. Service workers who deal with these kinds of comments must feel frustrated (via E_Plumbus_Unum). 

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26. Full Price

Fish is not cheap. That is well known. When you go out to eat and order fish, it’s usually at least a moderately pricey night out. Pair that with some wine, and you’ll spend a bit of cash. Sometimes, service workers have customers who send back expensive dishes like fish, because they misunderstood the menu, as this Reddit user experienced (via Both-Seaweed-5375). 

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25. Too Much Food

This customer sent back his food because he thought it was too much food. This is ironic because this is the complete opposite reason we’d think someone would send their food back. He complained that his portion was bigger than the persons next to him. Then, he complained to the manager and made him return the plate with fewer potatoes. Maybe he’s a hero and is worried about the food shortage around the world. These service workers have to deal with a lot (via Stracharys). 

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24. Pink Salmon

Cooked salmon is pink. We wonder if she expected a brown piece of meat. In that case, she should’ve ordered a steak. Service workers who have to return expensive dishes, like fish and meat, must have a lot of patience. Several chefs checked the temperature of the salmon, which was perfect. It turns out it wasn’t the chef’s fault at all, but the woman’s confusion (via StickieMango35). 

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23. Tuna Every Day

Why would you order tuna if you don’t want a dish that tastes like tuna? You might as well order a dish of roasted vegetables. Maybe she wanted her tuna to taste more like… chicken? It’s also funny that she orders the same dish every day, and yet she still complained that the tuna tasted too much like tuna (via Lunadhd26). 

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22. Too Much Food?

This sounds similar to the customer who returned his food because his portion was too big. This customer’s dish was too delicious, so certainly, it couldn’t be vegan. Who said vegan food couldn’t taste good? These service workers certainly put up with a lot! This customer sounds like she’s having a pretty bad day, considering she was pouting at the table while everyone else was enjoying their meal (via –LowBattery–). 

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21. Too Much Tomato?

If a dish has the word “tomato” in it, wouldn’t you expect it to have a lot of tomatoes? If this customer thought there were too many tomatoes in their Heirloom Tomato Salad, they should probably order something else. These poor service workers and the complaints they have to deal with (via NaterTater502). 

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20. Hearts Of Romaine

Again, a dish that has the name of the ingredients in it. “Hearts of Romaine” salad has the word romaine in it, which is a type of lettuce. Maybe this customer was looking for something with darker green leaves like spinach. These guests need to start paying more attention to the menu, to make these service workers’ lives a little bit easier (via michaelfkenedy). 

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19. Fish

This customer received special treatment. When someone asks for a dish without meat, your first assumption would be to serve them vegetables. That makes a lot of sense. This customer assumed “no meat” meant fish. What do they think fish is? It’s a type of meat! The service workers at this event were pretty accommodating and made her a fish even though they weren’t serving fish (via LittleOrangeCat). 

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18. Chicken Wings

Ordering chicken wings and then complaining they tasted like chicken is one of the most confusing stories on this list. Again, a customer expected an item of food to taste different. What else would chicken taste like? Service workers have to deal with customers that have some pretty odd expectations (via PazzMan88). 

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17. Visual Learner

Visual learners need to eat open-faced sandwiches. We don’t understand it at all, and it looks like this server didn’t, either. We’ve seen some pretty strange requests from guests sending food back with service workers, but this has to be the oddest one (via blazinrainbo). 

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16. Warm Salad?

Most salads aren’t supposed to be warm. They’re supposed to be cold. This person should’ve ordered a different dish if they wanted something warm. It’s pretty funny that the service workers put it in the microwave and gave it back. At least the customer was happy (via escargeaux). 

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15. Quick Service

People look for reasons to complain. Usually, they complain about slow service, but quick service? Just because it came out quickly, doesn’t mean it’s lacking in quality, especially if a restaurant is known for it. We bet that if those wings took too long to arrive, the customers would complain, too (via frogfluff90). 

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14. Ice Cream Too Cold

Ice cream is supposed to be cold. Not lukewarm, or hot. We can understand complaining if the ice cream was freezer-burned or melted, but too cold that it hurt her teeth? We can’t wrap our heads around it. These service workers are trying their best, and hearing a customer complain about these types of things must be stressful, especially when they have to calmly spell out the obvious (via casperangelo25). 

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13. Tuna Salad Sandwich

This conversation is hilarious, and the way this server spins the ridiculous request is great. A woman complained her tuna salad sandwich tasted too much like tuna. We’re wondering what she usually puts in her tuna salad sandwich because it’s supposed to taste like tuna. This Reddit user said, “of course Ma’m. I will take your Tuna sandwich back to the kitchen and ask them to make the Tuna taste less like Tuna?” Apparently, this satisfied the customer (via Alwin_). 

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12. Vegetarian Salad

Vegetarian people should mention this when ordering their food. It’s on them to make sure the service workers know their dietary requests, otherwise, it adds unnecessary stress. This customer forgot to mention they’re a vegetarian and sent their salad with bacon back to the kitchen. This server felt pretty overwhelmed and we can understand why (via BugsyMcNug). 

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11. Well, Yes

That’s one way to explain a rare steak. This customer said, “it looks cold inside,” and sent their steak back. At least these service workers can enjoy a laugh sometimes because that’s pretty funny (via Xallchi). 

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10. Chewy Mozzarella

Mozzarella is supposed to be chewy, especially good mozzarella. This customer clearly didn’t understand what mozzarella is, and sent back their pizza for being “too chewy.” Let’s hope that pizza didn’t go to waste (via ditchgordon). 

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9. Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi is a fun dish to order, which is why this woman probably ordered it. Unbeknownst to her, it was a fish dish, which she’s allergic to. Once again, service workers have to deal with customers who don’t understand what dish they’re ordering (via drgoatlord). 

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8. Crispy No Chicken

The name literally says “no chicken,” which means no chicken. Better yet, it’s listed under the “green” family burgers on the menu away from the meat section. Since when can’t a vegan dish have the word chicken in it? Just because it has a meat word in it, doesn’t mean it has meat, especially because the word “no” comes before it. This conversation between the customer and service worker is hilarious. All of the service workers at the restaurant even had to check the patty to make sure it was, indeed, vegan (via Zombieyvalia). 

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7. Food Came Too Fast

We understand wanting to have a glass of wine before your meal. But complaining that the food came out too fast and sending it back? Another customer on this list had the same complaint. These service workers just can’t win (via qbently). 

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6. Mango Sorbet

We smell something fishy! And it’s not the mango sorbet, which this customer claimed tasted like fish. This server claims it didn’t, which we can agree with (via mrpanuz). 

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5. Cheesy Tortilla

Once again, the name of the dish says it all. A quesadilla has cheese. That’s the main ingredient. This customer sent back theirs because it was “too cheesy.” Probably shouldn’t order a quesadilla then. Customers like these probably make service workers want to quit their jobs (via own_it20). 

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4. Fresh Bread

This is one of the strangest ones on this list. Did the customer think they bake the bread over an open fire? We’re shocked, and wonder how else you’re supposed to make bread. Service workers just have to take these complaints and please the customer with a huge smile on their face (via elurei). 

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3. Cilantro

To some people, cilantro tastes like soap. At least this Reddit user wasn’t lying, their dish did taste like soap. They admit they did it out of ignorance. At least it only has to happen once before you learn (via LeoMarius). 

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2. Salmon Been Microwaved

Sometimes, someone can say something that just hits us the wrong way, which happened to this chef. Working a 94-hour workweek is horrible, and we can sympathize with them. We would probably explode, too. This woman sent her food back because it tasted like it was microwaved. The chef screamed at her, rightfully so, and asked her to find a microwave. Obviously, she didn’t (via grantthejester). 

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1. It’s Perfect Now

All it takes is a little redecoration! This customer clearly didn’t know what they were tasting, since they received the same dish in a new bowl, and said it tasted perfect. Service workers that play tricks like this deserve a gold medal (via sacmayor). 

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