Food Service workers get asked a lot of questions every day. So, for something to really stand out it has to be pretty out there. Whether it's just plain rude or totally stupid sometimes they get asked questions that really leave them questioning everything. The best solution is just to put on a good face, nod, and smile. But, they definitely won't forget these insane questions.
Here are the best Reddit stories about insane questions food service workers have been asked. Content has been edited for clarity.
"I worked in produce at a grocery store. On a very hot summer day, a rather obese woman walked in the store and sat down on the refrigerated case where we stock the bagged salads and lettuce. I immediately walked over to her and told her something like, 'Ma'am you can't sit there. If you really need to sit for a minute you can use the patio chairs we have on display over there.'
Her response: 'Oh no, I'm fine right here honey. In fact, can you go and get me a fan and plug it in for me?' At that point, I asked if she needed medical attention and when she said, 'No,' I gave her the death stare until she got up and left."
"At my first job, I was naive and nervous about being fired for saying no.
An elderly lady walked in with a broken arm. She told me she had to go to the bathroom and asked that I help her pull her pants down, and then up again.
I remember being shocked, but I always respected the elderly and felt I was obligated to help her. We walked into the bathroom. I helped her pull her pants down, all the while as she grunted and wiggled. She sat and did her business. I waited by the door, my heart beating like a deer in headlights must feel. I was trapped.
For a terrifying moment, I thought she might ask me to wipe her, but she never did. She called me back into the bathroom to pull her pants up. I remember doing it quickly, trying desperately not to touch her skin as I thought she might be angry at me. I was trying to set polite boundaries, I guess.
As she went to wash her hands, I ran out. My coworkers were angry at me, as I was a hostess and it was busy. I explained to them what happened and they looked at me like I was nuts. They told me I was allowed to refuse a request like that.
I felt really stupid and weirdly violated. I don't like touching others and I only hug very close friends.
When the lady walked out of the bathroom, she patted my arm and thanked me. Wasn't worth it."
"I worked at Mcdonalds. Some of the dumbest people came to my store. One guy asked me, 'What's the difference between the four-piece nugget meal and a six-piece nugget meal, besides the price of course?'
I just looked at him and said, '...Two nuggets.' He was actually surprised. I think he was hoping something else would come with the meal, but I don't know why."
"I used to deliver pizzas. There was a guy who would occasionally call and order 'a large pizza. Surprise me.' After the first time, we found that he would tip better the stranger the pizza.
While I was there, I made him: a Taco Salad Pizza, a Denver Omelet Pizza, a Marshmellow and Chocolate Chip Pizza, and more.
Other people made stranger stuff, but mine were always the best. All three of those tasted good and I never got less than a $20 tip from him."
"I used to work as a host at a steakhouse in high school. One day a man who claimed he was from Texas walked in and told me he would give me $10 if I beat him in a paper airplane contest. I said I had to tell my boss first. My boss gave me the green light, so I folded an airplane and went outside to the parking lot. We threw our airplanes. He destroyed me. His airplane went about 100 feet farther than mine.
When he asked me for the $10, I told him I wasn't going to pay it because I was a 17-year-old cleaning tables at a steakhouse 10 hours a week and he was a man from Texas and drove a Hummer H2. He said, 'Fair enough', shook my hand, and left.
In all seriousness, I didn't even have $10 to give him."
"When I was waiting tables, I had a regular who used to come in all the time. He was an all-around decent guy. He'd get a cup of decaf and sit at the bar up front chatting with the waitresses. He knew all of us pretty well and I thought of him as a friend.
One day as I was chatting with him - very friendly up to that point - this guy just looks at me while I'm rinsing off a stack of dirty dishes, and he says totally deadpan in a tone of near-disgust, 'What the heck are you doing here, anyway?'
He wasn't trying to be cruel: we had been discussing something intellectual, I don't remember what. His tone said I should have done something better with myself. At the time, I was supporting my three-year-old and saving to go back to school, which I eventually did. I couldn't even answer him. It was a long story, too long to use in self-defense.
It was the end of a long day and I've always been a little too proud though. After this exchange, I went into the back room and just cried for twenty minutes. I don't know why people feel it necessary to share commentary on the lives of strangers or point out people who have to work as some kind of scare story. That's life, if you're honest."
"When I worked for McDonald's as a cashier I got this question at least 5 times a week: 'How much are your 3-for-a-dollar cookies?'
Well, I believe that 3 cookies cost you one dollar. As in 3-for-a-dollar cookies. To make matters even stupider, on a regular basis when asked this question, I had people start fights with me on 'how on earth they were supposed to know that?!' or 'Shouldn't that be on a sign? People are missing out on this deal!' or my favorite, 'Somebody should've let me know, you could at least put that on the sign somewhere.'
It's in the name people. Don't ever work for a McDonalds that's part of a truck stop. You deal with the worst kinds of people."
"I worked eleven years at a grocery store. I still have visible scars. Here are a few instances few that stood out:
A customer argued with me that she should be allowed to purchase Tide laundry detergent with food stamps. After explaining repeatedly that food stamps can only be used to purchase food, I may have snapped and offered to allow the purchase if she'd eat some in front of me.
Every Thanksgiving morning, without fail, someone would ask for an unfrozen turkey.
I had the unique pleasure of getting both the customer angry that the Passover/Hanukkah/etc display existed AND the customer who was angry because it was too small
The former mayor asked us to allow his wife to shoplift and to bill him for whatever she stole. Another privately owned store had allowed it but since we were a chain, he was told no.
My personal favorite was the regular shopper that refused to allow us to scan her groceries. She believed the laser would radiate her food and therefore give her the SuperCancer. Her words, not mine. She would come in, load up her cart and come to the service desk when she was done. She would have the produce guys weigh & price anything she had picked up in their department. She'd hand us the stuff, we'd key in the UPC and slide it back over to her. At least she would bag her groceries herself. Thankfully she only shopped twice a month and would come in when it was slow."
"I work for a restaurant delivery company based in the Tampa, Florida area. We had an order come in from a customer ordering a second time wanting us to deliver Indian food to them. They informed me that their address had changed, not unusual, but when I entered in the new address I noticed that the zip code wasn't one I was familiar with. When I looked it up, I realized they were ordering from a zipcode in New York!
I asked the lady on the other end if she was aware that we are based in Florida. She said yes and that she enjoyed the food we delivered for her so much while she was down here on vacation, she was hoping we could deliver some more to her. So, of course, I told her that there was no way we could take this order and she flipped out. She ranted and ranted and eventually, I simply hung up the phone.
She tried calling back about 20 times that night and about a dozen times the next day. We didn't answer it, obviously, and we didn't answer any of the other numbers she tried to use with NY Area codes. Finally, she sent a massive ranty email to my boss complaining about me and our service. My boss laughed it off with the rest of us."
"I used to work at a store in a small midwestern town that sold, among other things, jumbo jelly beans. One day, I received the following phone call:
Customer: 'Hi, I was just in there the other day. I bought a pound of the black licorice jelly beans and I think there's something wrong with them.'
Me: 'Why do you think that?'
Customer: 'I put it in my mouth and it just... It just sat there.'
Me: 'What do you mean sir?'
Customer: 'Well, I just put it in my mouth and I had it in my mouth and it just STAYED there. It used to be I'd pop one in my mouth and after a few minutes, it would go away.'
Me: 'Do you mean it would disappear?'
Customer: 'No, I mean it would just... It would melt away in my spittle.'
Me: 'Sir, it sounds more like you were eating a hard candy to me. Jelly beans are kind of chewy and they'd probably take a good long while to dissolve in your mouth.'
Customer: 'Well, I guess I don't know what to do. I got a pound of these jelly beans and I don't know what to do with them.'
Me: 'I would suggest chewing them, sir.'
Customer: 'Oh, okay! I'll try that! Thanks!!!'"
"Interestingly enough, the dumbest/strangest thing a customer has ever asked me for is coffee. Allow me to explain.
Last summer, I worked in a butcher shop for about three months. Half of the store sold cheese and fresh meat, and the other half was a sandwich shop/deli. I worked in the deli. I live in a small yet very touristy town, so sometimes the lunch rushes can go for a few hundred customers at a time. One day, the last customer of the rush came in around quarter to two. This man was soaking wet, literally dripping on the floor. He had fresh cuts all up his left arm and leg, and a big open wound on his head.
He said, 'I'd like a small black coffee please.'
I told the man I refused to give him coffee until he explained himself. He very nonchalantly recalled the tale to me, of how he was weed whacking next to his pond, slipped, got weed whacked across the left side of his body, fell into the pond, got his foot caught in the mud, conked his head on a rock, and almost drowned. He said he wanted to go to town to get some coffee while his niece was fetching medical supplies for him. I guess he couldn't afford insurance and refused to call the hospital. I gave him the coffee for free."
"I work at a grocery store. One night, this crazy looking lady who was wearing a very age-inappropriate outfit STORMED into the back room, which was clearly marked employees only. She demanded to know where the bathroom was. A coworker told her that we have two public restrooms at the front of the store and that she was definitely not allowed to be in the back if she wasn't an employee. She replied saying that all the other restrooms were occupied and demanded that we show her where the 'employee bathroom' was because apparently, she used to work at the store and 'knew we had one around here somewhere.'
She was absolutely LIVID that we only told her to leave and wait in the public bathrooms like a normal customer. She marched off through the warehouse-like back room to find the employee bathroom before we could stop her. She then left through the dairy cooler, which is also employees-only. I assume she walked out of the store with a self-satisfied smirk on her face."
"I was making a McFlurry. You guessed it, I worked at McDonald's. The thing that spins the ice cream is like a blade that spins so fast you could lose a finger in it. Well, while making one, I heard this lady scream out my name. I flinched and my hand got SHREDDED. There was blood EVERYWHERE. It shredded my fingers, a piece of my thumb off, and my knuckles. It turns out she was mad because the line was too long and she didn't want to wait.
She had no sympathy for me. I was crying pretty bad and covered in blood. The person who I was making the McFlurry for actually asked me, 'Can you make me another one? I saw you got blood in that one. And can you hurry up? I do have places to be, ma'am.' I wasn't sent home. I was given a box of those teeny-tiny band-aids for little bruises, and written up for 'not dealing correctly with a difficult customer' and 'contaminating someone's meal.'"
"I used to work at a grocery store. A family came through the line. With the rest of their groceries, they had a single stick of butter that they had taken out of its package and left the rest on the shelf. They were extremely confused as to why they couldn't buy a single stick of butter. They had a lot of other groceries, so it's not like buying the rest would break the bank. Even if they almost never used butter and just needed a single stick, butter literally lasts forever in the freezer.
The cashier told them that if we did sell them a single stick then the other three would have to be thrown out and that would be a waste. They ended up not buying any butter."
"When I worked at an ice cream store, people constantly asked, 'What flavors do you have?'
I would turn around 180 degrees and stare at the huge 'FLAVORS' sign directly behind me, that the customer had no choice but to look at while asking me that question. I then look down at the rows of ice cream in front of me, each labeled and identified.
I'd turn back around and shrug, 'Dunno.'"
"I work at Walmart stocking shelves in the grocery department. During one busy day, a woman came up to me with a crying kid, probably about 5 years old. The mom said, 'My kid is ticking me off, watch him for me while I go get some things.'
I told her that it wasn't my job to watch her kid and that I had to go in back and do things and he couldn't come with me anyway. She told me she was going to walk away and leave her kid there and if anything happened to him, it would be my fault. So I told her if she did that, I was going to take her kid to customer service and tell them he was lost and have them page her until she came back.
She started to walk away anyway so I took her kid's hand and started to bring him to customer service. All of a sudden, she yelled, 'WHERE ARE YOU GOING WITH MY SON?' I froze, but fortunately, a bunch of customers had overheard the whole conversation and explained what had happened to my manager, who kicked her out of the store."
"This guy came in talking about how he got a food processor and doesn't need this canned food he bought. Apparently, he just pulled a bunch of random cans out of his cupboard and brought them in for cash. He got mad when I asked for a receipt. Unfortunately, my boss said I had to process his return. I would have asked the guy to leave.
Anyway, a couple of the cans were expired. The worst part, however, was that the guy was trying to return one of Wal-Mart's generics... at a Kroger. One part moron, one part complete punk, especially since my store is literally a block away from the food bank."
"I used to work at a really big fish and lobster market called S.S. Lobster. We sold everything you could think of. The day before Labor Day one year, one of our busiest times of the year, I was working retail and this lady came up to me and said, 'Do you guys sell lobsters?'
Maybe it wouldn't be so bad, except that you have to pass a display case on the way to retail with 20lb lobsters in it. So I just gave my best poker face and said yes."