Welcome back to Behind Closed Ovens, where we take a look at the best and strangest stories from inside the food industry. Today we bring you yet more stories of really, really dumb restaurant customers. As always, these are real e-mails from real readers.
"I worked at a small pizzeria for almost seven years, so I have heard quite a bit of ridiculousness from customers and co-workers alike. Some of my favorites include:
- The customer that asked me if our medium sized pizza boxes were the same size as our large sized pizza boxes.
- The customer that called and asked if we had mozzarella sticks, to which I replied, "I'm sorry, no we don't." He then asked if we had onion rings, at which point I informed him that we didn't have a deep-fryer. "Oh," he said, then paused before asking, "do you have deep-fried wings?"
- My co-worker who spelled tossed (as in tossed salad) "tost" and also spelled cucumber "Qcumber" in total seriousness.
- The customer who walked in with three kids, sat at a table and asked one of my servers, "Do you guys have nachos?" (I'd like to point out that he would have walked directly by the sign on the front of the building that read "authentic Italian thin-crust pizza") The server informed him that we did not, but we did have a taco pizza (that is insanely good). The customer told him, "Oh, well we really wanted nachos," got up and left.
- The guy that called and argued with me for five minutes that we were, in fact, a doctor's office and not a pizzeria."
"I worked at a steakhouse in the Midwest, and in our lobby during the holidays we had a display table with bottles of wine filled with red vinegar. One night a kid grabbed one and walked out with it. Our hostesses were all high school girls, so of course we told them to not take any sort of risk.
A few days later, a lady called to talk to our GM. She said her son got her a bottle of wine from our place and that it was bad and tasted like vinegar. Our manager just started laughing and said, "Your kid stole the display bottle from our store. It WAS vinegar, and did you not think it was odd that your underaged kid gave you alcohol for a gift?" He then hung up on her, and she never called back."
"I'm a server in an upscale restaurant in New Jersey. One night I'm waiting on a family of four, and everything from the beginning led me to believe they were all fairly knowledgeable about good food. Wine, not so much. The mother asked me if we serve blush wine, to which I replied that we offered a few white zinfandels and roses by the glass. "No, no, no, I mean BLUSH WINE." "Ma'am, I'm sorry but could you clarify for me what a blush wine is to you, as opposed to white zinfandel or rose?" "You have red wines and white wines, right? Then just take some red and white wine and mix them together!"
I took a moment to try and not laugh at the idea. I had to tell her that I'm sorry, but the manager and staff take great pride in our wine list and that's really not something we could do. She went from that to a "mo-GEE-TWO" (mojito). I don't drink, but that almost drove me to do so."
OK, while I've had a customer ask for and then gleefully drink multiple rounds of a Yuengling with grenadine and a straw in it (I can't even), I've never seen someone ask for the black-and-tan of wines. That's...that's new.
"I worked in an upscale Mediterranean place in Baltimore. One night I got a two-top with a woman in her 40's and her younger son. I started talking her through the menu and describing options (standard server script) and finally started talking about our artisan pizzas. She immediately interjected with "NO I can't do pizza! I have an allergy." I obviously inquired as to the type of allergy and how serious it was, to which she responded, "I have a crunchy allergy."
Now, I don't usually lose face, but I'm almost certain I looked, at the very least, deeply perplexed, so she tried to clarify: "Anything crunchy I am allergic to." I assumed she meant she has sensitive teeth or something, but this was a nice place, so I was required to make allergies known on every ticket, which resulted in our executive chef screaming to see me every time I rang some plate of crunchless whatever.
At the end of the meal they order dessert which was a custard, but it had a crispy "tuille" or cracker in it so I warned her, to which she responded: "Crispy is fine, it's crunchy I'm allergic to.""
"Once, as a teenager, I was in line at a fast food restaurant behind a woman in her late teens. I heard her ask the lady behind the counter to clarify the meaning of "fat-free" in the name of a menu item: "Does it mean there is no fat, or does it mean I don't have to pay for the fat?"
The cashier stared at the customer with a look of subtle bewilderment and mild contempt for what seemed like 6 or 7 seconds of silence. Finally, she slowly muttered: "fat-free means no fat." The young teenager ordered a burger and fries."
Do you have a crazy restaurant story you'd like to see appear in Behind Closed Ovens? Please e-mail WilyUbertrout@gmail.com with "Behind Closed Ovens" in the subject line (or you can find me on Twitter @EyePatchGuy). Submissions are always welcome!
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