Ugh, I hate working in certain jobs. Any job where a person can potentially feel entitlement seems to bring out the worst. That said, I feel the response about the chops versus ribs was not handled as well as it could have been. It's something I may have laughed at loudly with coworkers after the customers left, but the question would have been answered politely. I also would not have left in the red peppers in the salad. If a request is too unreasonable, then I would politely say so up front. Something like, "I'm sorry, but we can not substitute peas for fries", or "we only allow one alteration per dish", or what have you, is a perfectly acceptable answer. If you remain polite, even if assertive, their bad behavior is on them. If you engage, you are playing a part in it.
That said, nor do I agree with some that a worker must always be perfectly gracious, and that any demand is to be met with someone spit shining their shoes. What happens when someone pays to go to the zoo, and then proceeds to pester the animals? They paid money, so they should be allowed to do what they want, right? Well, a good zoo keeper will kick you out and you may very well not be refunded. Paying money does not mean you get to do what you want (okay...it does tend to mean just that in this society, but it shouldn't and needn't). I'm perfectly cool with workers standing up for their personal rights (ie. a man coming into the kitchen and yelling at me is definitely not acceptable behavior, and I would flat out tell him that, and have done so in the past), and I'll side with a worker maintaining proper boundaries over any establishment that tells them they can not do so.
As for sharing stories about dealing with the public, I love those! X) Worked security for *a company* that built multi-million dollar gated-community homes. The *home owners* thought we worked for them. No, I mean they really thought we worked for them. One of my favorite calls was probably a coworker who was told he needed to shovel a driveway and look after their kids while they ran to the store, and who was told the cops would be sent after him when he (politely) refused. Seemed like every other week 911 was being called to unclog toilets.
Restaurant work can be enormously rewarding and fun, but it can at times be very difficult too. I've seen waiters burst into tears after dealing with obnoxious customers. It happened at the restaurant I work for.
I don't doubt that for a second. :/ It makes me incredibly glad when other customers stand up to people like that and tell said rude person to behave or leave. Probably seen it happen the most in Wal-mart check out lines when people just go off the deep end on a casheir.
Edited by punk-a-doodle - 2/22/12 at 1:21pm