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Working in the food service industry is one of the toughest places you can be. Not only can the pay be errr ‘challenging,’ but you also have to constantly deal with poor management and flak from your customers. Now, that’s not to say that every client is going to be a jerk. Far from it! But there are enough rude people to make servers reconsider their faith in humanity.

The popular r/Serverlife subreddit is an online community that invites servers, waiters, and waitresses from all around the net to get together and talk about work. We’ve collected some of the group’s top photos that show just how entitled some customers get. Scroll down and get ready to wonder how anyone could act so entitled. And remember—tip your servers!

Bored Panda reached out to workplace expert Lynn Taylor, the author of the book 'Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant' and a popular blog on Psychology Today, with some questions about what managers can do to support and empower their staff, and how employees can stay resilient when dealing with extremely critical customers. She told us about the importance of good training and empathy, and having everyone be on the same page about the rules. Read on for our interview with the expert.

#1

Was Told I Did An Excellent Job And Earned An "Early Christmas Gift" Came Back To A Fake $15 Tip

Was Told I Did An Excellent Job And Earned An "Early Christmas Gift" Came Back To A Fake $15 Tip

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"When employees must deal with rude customers, they need management’s support and training. Employees must feel assured that their company doesn’t tolerate abusive clientele, for example. In this situation, the more training the better. There are many varieties of challenging customers, and each one often requires a different response," workplace expert Taylor told Bored Panda via email.

"In today’s market, where there are labor shortages, it can be beneficial for a company to make sure their employees are the priority, not antagonistic patrons. Uber mastered this concept by providing a customer rating service to maintain a level playing field. That said, management must also be sure that the solution matches the misdeed, as supporting the employee can also be a fine line," she added. Clarity and communication are key. 

"With many customer conflicts going viral today, companies must do their utmost to define what is and isn’t acceptable… how to take the highroad, unless it’s abuse. One internal litmus test to live by is to consider how the scenario would be perceived by an objective person—or the outside world," the author of 'Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant' said.

#2

Sorry I Politely Asked Your Crotch Goblin To Not Throw Sugar At Other Guests. Lmao

Sorry I Politely Asked Your Crotch Goblin To Not Throw Sugar At Other Guests. Lmao

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️ ️lefty libra️
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1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

or you can teach your kids to properly behave in a resteraunt (i know i didnt spell that right)

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#3

💀💀💀

💀💀💀

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Angry Unicorn
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

It's not like they were flirting, when I was younger waitresses used to always say "Is that all for you, sweetie?" or "Can you speak just a teensy bit louder, sweetie?" or even "we have a lemonade meal deal! Do you want some lemonade with that, sweetie?" Not at all like "Heyyyyyy, sweetie sweetie"

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"The key in many training programs is for employees to understand where to draw the line. What are the boundaries? How do you provide a service in a friendly manner, but let the customers know there are limits? This is where role-playing is invaluable. Being in a customer-facing business does not mean being a punching bag; in this case, the customer is 'not always right.'"

According to workplace expert Taylor, one of the easiest ways to stay resilient at work is to put yourself in the overly critical customer's shoes. Of course, this is far from easy. "Oftentimes, clients want to be heard. They’re unhappy and are likely critical customers as a rule. Understanding that their complaints are not personal (and may be their issue) can help. At the same time, you can feel empowered knowing that there are limits—and management supports you when pushing back to untenable behavior," she told Bored Panda.

#4

If You're That Broke, Don't Order Tequila Shots For You And Your Friends At An Upscale Bar In The Middle Of Uptown

If You're That Broke, Don't Order Tequila Shots For You And Your Friends At An Upscale Bar In The Middle Of Uptown

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Jeremy James
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Your server doesn't set the prices nor do they get a portion of the profits. You must think you're addressing the owners. How about we raise the prices with an automatic gratuity that goes directly to your server, jack*ss?

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#5

It’s Always The Extra Nice Customer Who Asks For Extra Sides When You Check On Them

It’s Always The Extra Nice Customer Who Asks For Extra Sides When You Check On Them

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#6

This Was Given To Me As A Tip Yesterday

This Was Given To Me As A Tip Yesterday

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"Dealing with difficult people, whether customers, coworkers, or even tough managers, can often be like dealing with a terrible two toddler—who doesn’t know how to moderate their behavior when stressed or frustrated. So likewise, the antidote is to use some parental training techniques you’ve used or seen before," Taylor said, adding that she elaborates on this in her book, 'Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant.'

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"For example, after witnessing a meltdown, let the perpetrator know they’ve been heard, but set boundaries to bad behavior. Also:

  • Reiterate what their beef is, to offer some validation. 
  • Be the voice of reason in a way that they know benefits them.
  • You just can’t fight fire with fire whether it’s an irate customer or an out of control toddler who is running amok. 
  • Show patience and understanding, but also some solid boundary setting is in order.
  • Diplomacy is critical… as in many contentious situations, it’s how you package your information. Your delivery matters. 
  • You may need to repeat yourself in a polite way, using varying phrases to get your message across.
  • Use a little levity to defuse tension when you feel you are turning the situation around."
#7

Left By A Lady Who Didn't Look At Me And Didn't Speak To Me When I Asked Her How Everything Was

Left By A Lady Who Didn't Look At Me And Didn't Speak To Me When I Asked Her How Everything Was

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cj
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

why do people think that they have a right to comment on other people like that just because they are servers? it's a restaurant they work at, not an audition for Annie.

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#8

Me And Other Server Agreed To Split The Tip On A Party Of 15. They Tipped A Dollar…

Me And Other Server Agreed To Split The Tip On A Party Of 15. They Tipped A Dollar…

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ConstantlyJon
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

At my restaurant, any table with 10 or more guests we can ask a manager to auto-grat. It charges an automatic 18% tip for the bill, even if the split it, to prevent this from happening.

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#9

Democrates

Democrates

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DelvianBlue
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1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Well he's not wrong. Democrates, or Democritus as some believe him to be, was an ancient Greek philosopher so definitely not American or Christian. I can't say for his take on freedom, but he is thought to be one of the first philosophers to talk about the concept of democracy. It's possible he's the same Greek philosopher who first hypothesized about atoms too!

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The expert noted that employees can be effective in using tough love when dealing with critical customers, meaning that they remain assertive, consistent, and polite. "When times get testy, it can also mitigate tensions to be empathetic to their issue—but let them know how your company operates and its policies," she said.

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"As the provider of any service, you retain the right to deny customers the right to be in your establishment. Still, there are plenty of headlines today where situations get out of hand. Worker safety is therefore a key concern for both management and team members. And this is where company training is paramount."

#10

My Girlfriend Received This As A Tip On A $50 Bill. The Woman Stuffed It Behind The Plastic, So She Had To Pick Each One Out

My Girlfriend Received This As A Tip On A $50 Bill. The Woman Stuffed It Behind The Plastic, So She Had To Pick Each One Out

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#11

I Made The Total 129.99 And Really Hope It Bothered Them A Little

I Made The Total 129.99 And Really Hope It Bothered Them A Little

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#12

Jackass

Jackass

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The r/Serverlife subreddit is an old one, with roots all the way back in late May of 2014. Over the years, the online subreddit has grown by leaps and bounds and now boasts nearly 112k active members who are invited to take off their aprons, have a glass, and chat about work.

Among these numerous members are both servers who enjoy venting and discussing issues at their jobs, as well as random people from different industries who like taking a peek into the reality of waiting tables. This subreddit is a perfect place to remind you that, yes, servers are living, breathing human beings who deserve respect. 

According to the data collected by Indeed, the average salary for a food service worker in the United States is $14.88 per hour. Of course, this fluctuates quite a bit depending on what company you work for. For instance, Indeed notes that Chili’s pays its employees an average of $21.32 per hour. Meanwhile, Applebee’s compensates its staff around $21.19 per hour, and IHOP pays $20.27 per hour.

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#15

Some People Should Just Stay Home…

Some People Should Just Stay Home…

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Fuzzy bunny feet
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Tipping is optional. Restaurants should pay a living wage so servers don't have to count of tips and customers don't feel obligated tip.

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Red Lobster’s average food service worker’s wage is slightly lower, sitting at $17.82, just below the US Department of Veteran Affairs which offers $18.45 per hour, but slightly above IKEA’s average salary of $17.73. It’s important to keep these numbers in mind when doing background research for a raise or if you’re looking to jump ship and head toward greener pastures.

The city you live in will also have a massive impact on your salary. For example, if you’re living in Los Angeles, California, the average food service worker’s salary is going to be $17.42 per hour. Washington, DC offers something similar, with $17.30 per hour. If you happen to live in a nearby town, consider comparing your wage there with the salaries in LA and DC. A slightly longer commute to a different job might just work out.

#16

Last Table Of The Night

Last Table Of The Night

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#17

East Tn :(

East Tn :(

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Ron Baza
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I respect this. They customer has announced “Trump supporters don’t support working people. They are bad people. If you are a bad person, vote for Trump. I’m a bad person, and I vote for Trump.”

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#18

Guess I’ll Just Go Sell My Left Kidney 🙃

Guess I’ll Just Go Sell My Left Kidney 🙃

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Some other high-paying US cities also include Sacramento, California ($16.05 per hour), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania ($15.67 per hour), Las Vegas, Nevada ($14.76 per hour), and Atlanta, Georgia ($14.66). Among the runners up are Tampa, Florida ($14.45 per hour), Dallas, Texas ($14.41 per hour), and Jacksonville, Florida ($13.70).

A fancy restaurant server Bored Panda interviewed earlier shared a lot of great tips about her job. “The essence of being a good server is making sure everyone leaves the meal having had a nice time. The essence of being a great server is making sure everyone leaves the meal having had a memorable time,” she shared her perspective on being a professional server.

“I’m always on the lookout for anything extra I can do to make the night special for our guests. If I overhear a birthday mentioned, we bring out a piece of cake. If someone comes in wearing a Dolphins jersey, we’ll turn on that game if they’re playing. We take pride in our work,” the server said.

#19

“Serving Teenagers Isn’t That Bad”

“Serving Teenagers Isn’t That Bad”

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Oh Gosh
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1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I served teenagers once years ago. No tip. The next day one of the parents came back and gave me $10. And apologized because the kids didn't have enough money the night before. But man that night I was pretty ticked off. I ran my a$$ off for those kids.

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#20

"You Ruined My Mother's Birthday"

"You Ruined My Mother's Birthday"

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#21

Ridiculous How People Think This Is Even Remotely Acceptable. Service Was Great Too And Ran Me Around For Over An Hour. Help Me Feel Better, What’s Your Worst Tip?

Ridiculous How People Think This Is Even Remotely Acceptable. Service Was Great Too And Ran Me Around For Over An Hour. Help Me Feel Better, What’s Your Worst Tip?

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Phillip Moderow
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

I think that part of this tip rebellion has to do with "suggested gratuity" starting at 18%. I bristle every time I see it. Lately, the server brings a portable scanner to the table with that tipping demand before you ever see the bill, and then hovers over your shoulder while you're deciding what (if anything) to pay. After a waitress CHANGED my 10% tip (for poor service) to 18%, I only tip in cash now.

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Something that customers can do to help out the staff, especially trainees, is to step in if they see another client being rude to them. “The server may look unbothered, but that’s because it’s their job. ‘The customer is always right,’ is one of the only pieces of training many of us get. It is literally our job to be sure tables leave happy. We cannot argue with you. So, just because they’re smiling on the outside doesn’t mean they’re not offended, or even feeling unsafe, on the inside,” the professional revealed what the reality is like.

#22

Normalize Staying Home

Normalize Staying Home

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rob
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Even though i understand American tipping culture i also understand the huge amount of tips expected is not possible for everyone on top of the already pretty steep bills of eating out. The caption normalize staying home doesn't sound very fair to me either. Stay home if you are too poor to tip 18% or whatever.

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#23

Got This Today As A Tip, Would This Be Valid Anywhere? And Yes It’s Sticky

Got This Today As A Tip, Would This Be Valid Anywhere? And Yes It’s Sticky

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leendadll
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

There's enough left to be valid everywhere, though not everyone will take it. If a bank won't replace it, you can send it to the US Mint for replacement.

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#24

“I Even Named My Son Logan” Yes I Work Here God Help Me

“I Even Named My Son Logan” Yes I Work Here God Help Me

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“If you’re not comfortable saying something to the abusive customer directly, just find a manager and quietly inform them of what’s going on, they’ll take it from there. A lot of servers are students who are too nervous about losing the job or looking unprofessional to ask for help. And, as someone eating in the restaurant rather than working there, your words will carry far more weight with the harasser than ours would anyways,” she told us.

#25

I Hate People

I Hate People

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Tucker Cahooter
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

Why do these skinflints come out with this "I'm short of money" cr*p? If they can't afford a tip when eating out (and presumably everyone in America knows about tips) then should go to McDonalds or stay home

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#26

Fun Little Love Note! Also According To Her Restaurants Website They Actually Do 20% For Parties Of 8 Or More…

Fun Little Love Note! Also According To Her Restaurants Website They Actually Do 20% For Parties Of 8 Or More…

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Tucker Cahooter
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

So an 18% tip on a $49 bill at the other place gives a total of $57.82. This tightwad is whinging about less than a buck

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#27

Regular Who Has A Different Date Every Week

Regular Who Has A Different Date Every Week

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Other things that customers can do to make a server’s day are to be kind, be polite, tip well (depending on the country), and avoid venting their frustrations on the staff. All in all, how you treat food service industry workers says a lot about you as a person. If you’re rude to someone who you think has no power, it might be time to rethink how you treat people as a whole.

#28

Manager Got This Back From A Table (Adults) He Told Couldnt Order The Kids Meal

Manager Got This Back From A Table (Adults) He Told Couldnt Order The Kids Meal

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Fuzzy bunny feet
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1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

If it's on the menu you should be able to order anything you want. Some people may just want smaller portions. I agree with the customer on this one.

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#29

This Has Been Happening All The Time Lately, This Shift I Didn’t Get A Single Tip 20% Or More. Thinking Of Applying For Minimum Wage Job

This Has Been Happening All The Time Lately, This Shift I Didn’t Get A Single Tip 20% Or More. Thinking Of Applying For Minimum Wage Job

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Doris_Deborah_Diane
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1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

That math ain't mathin'......omg. it's late, without glasses, I thought it was 58.09. My apologies!!!!

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#30

When They Give You The Ol’ “We’ll Take Care Of You” Razzle Dazzle

When They Give You The Ol’ “We’ll Take Care Of You” Razzle Dazzle

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rob
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1 year ago (edited) DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

But i agree if I already spend 144 on food i dont want to spend a minimum of over 20 on a tip. I don't make 20 dollars an hour why would it be normal to tip it for some service?

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Note: this post originally had 32 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

For some more hellish posts from r/Serverlife, check out Bored Panda's previous feature right here. Meanwhile, if you've ever worked as a server, feel free to share your experiences with the best and worst customers ever in the comments. And if you have any tips to give servers who are completely fresh to the industry, we're sure they'd appreciate it, too, dear Pandas.