Hospitality workers share their cringeworthy customer encounters


The hospitality industry is one of the most vital industries in society. It goes beyond eatery, it counts for bars, clubs, entertainment venues and hotels. The backbone of all these services are the attendants. Attendants enjoy being able to serve the customers and intend on giving them a delightful experience. Every now and then, things can go wrong and mistakes can happen. Customers may be allocated a different room or seat, their order may come out wrong or it may just be so busy that the waiting time is longer than expected. Most customers handle the dilemma well and are patient and trusting enough in the attendant to resolve the matter however others use this opportunity to exploit and humiliate the attendant.

I asked several different people who worked in various hospitality roles on social media to share their stories. The experiences will definitely surprise you.

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I’ve been spat on for being unable to seat a family on a busy Saturday night, sworn at several times and even threatened to get smashed in the car park when my shift finishes” -Angelo Perperadis

I work at a corporate hotel and that basically sums up what I have to deal with. I got yelled at by a grown man because someone cleared his table, they thought he had left. It’s an easy mistake to make, only the host sat another person there. This customer goes mental at me. Picks up a place card and throws it at me, starts yelling and swearing, storms off to get a newspaper and returns, slamming the paper on the table. This sends cutlery flying off the tables and he’s still yelling at me.” -Zoe Burdock

Not really much of a story but I was late to a house (I’m a delivery driver) and the customer was super rude, tried to shut the door on me when I was giving him his food, the proceeded to shout through a closed wooden door to leave him alone and F*** off. They called the store and demanded a refund, his food was hot and the way he ordered it, just 10 max 15min late.” -Izabella Kendall

“I was blamed by a customer for a mistake on the menu. I was just a waitress working casually. The salad came out with quinoa instead of couscous. My boss at the time didn’t update the menu, the couple were very displeased and so I copped the abuse all while she was listening from the kitchen. She didn’t even come out and support me. I’ll never forget it. Hospitality is shit.” -Estelle Carmen



Fast food is perhaps one of the hardest industries to work for. Their is an unrealistic expectation on the timing and accuracy of the order, especially for the price a customer pays. I received an overwhelming response from fast food workers. Here are just some of their horrid stories.

I did full time overnights for 2 years, my god do I have some stories! a drunk girl cutting off her thumb and suing us, multiple arrests, multiple doors smashed in, multiple food/drink items thrown at me.. I could go on but we’d be here forever”-Kaye James

“Someone threw their drink at me through the drive thru window, someone squashed a soft serve cone into my face and hair at the front counter. Customer would ridicule my name, asking if my parents were on drugs when they named me. Each day you would come across someone abusive or small minded who treated you like a servant.” -Kichelle McFarlane

“When I was working at KFC years ago. A lady threw a twister at us through the drive thru window cause she had to wait for a long time” -Mel Hoang

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Sexual abuse from customers also appeared a theme with a lot of the women who shared their stories. Ironically in a #metoo society, attendants were still having to deal with sexual intimidation in the workplace.

“This man came into our very small cafe, ordered a coffee, then started talking about women outside, saying wow what a hot piece of ass she was, then I looked at him, and he yelled at me over the counter you’ve got to watch out, you’re just so sexy, I’m going to get you. At that point I removed myself from the situation. I didn’t want to engage with such poor behavior. My co-worker was too scared to say anything so just hurriedly made his coffee, whilst he continued to carry on sexualising women. Later that month during our staff meeting we discussed the actions we can take as staff members to ensure our health and safety at work.” -Genevieve*

“[I was] working at a nightclub, on the floor clearing glasses, the dance floor was overfilled with people. Squeezing past people and a patron got his penis out and rubbed it on my butt/back. Patron throw out and banned for life, however still disgusting.” -Jess*

There is a certain expectation that lies with all employers to take care of their employees so that they always feel safe at work and if they are being abused or threatened to step in and take necessary action. There is also an onus on customers to behave in a civil manner. Customers must remember that simple dilemmas always have a resolution. If as a customer you’re feeling increasingly frustrated at the service, you can always spend your money elsewhere.


*Surnames have not been added for sensitivity and privacy reasons.




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