The Milk Crisis of 2005

I haven't always been an unemployed pseudo-hobo.  When I was in college, I often worked during Christmas and summer breaks serving food and bussing tables in my hometown.   I have a lot of stories I could tell you from those times, but one in particular sticks out in my mind.

I was having a really bad day.  I had barely slept the night before because being scheduled for an early shift hadn't made me any less nocturnal.  I hadn't gotten anything to eat either.  I forgot to pack a lunch and I was stalwartly holding out on buying something because working for $3.25 an hour plus a paltry amount of tips kind of makes you reluctant to purchase a $10 hamburger if you don't absolutely have to.

My sleep-deprivation and hypoglycemia were only aggravated by a string of rude and demanding customers - one guy didn't like the shape of his burger patty, a kid threw a fish stick at my head, some snobby lady made fun of my gaudy, oversized work uniform and I was verbally molested more times than I could count.  In light of all of this, I was overjoyed to see a friendly-looking old man come in and seat himself in one of the booths.


The seniors who came into the restaurant were usually delightful to be around and I felt relieved that maybe I would get to experience a fulfilling and kind interaction for the first time that day.

I brought him a menu and cheerfully asked if there was anything he would like to drink.  He was like


I quickly went and got him a big glass of cold milk.  I handed it over to him with pride, feeling good about my prompt reaction-time and smiling service. 


He stared at the milk silently for a few moments before shouting


I was surprised by his reaction to the milk, but I obliged his request and went back to get him a smaller glass.  We only had two different glass sizes, so I chose one of the smaller ones and brought it back to the man's table, again feeling proud of my ability to provide quick, tailored service with a smile.


He looked at me.  He looked at the milk.  He looked back at me.  Then his wizened face contorted into a menacing scowl and he shrieked


I felt a little discouraged, but not yet defeated.  As I noted before, we didn't have any intermediate-sized glasses, but that wasn't going to stop me from getting this man the exact right amount of milk.  No, I needed to find a solution!   That solution ended up being filling one of the large glasses halfway.  It wasn't the prettiest way to present milk, but it got the job done.  

I trotted the half-full glass of milk over to the man, who was now scowling at me from across the room like he was expecting me to fail.  I cautiously held it out to him. .  


It became immediately apparent that my crafty solution was not satisfactory. 


I said, "Sir, we don't have any medium-sized glasses.  We only have large glasses and small glasses."

Man: "What the hell are you talking about?" 

Me:  "The restaurant only has two sizes, small and large.  We don't have any medium cups." 

Man: "Why don't you have any other cups?"

Me:  "I don't know.  It's stupid.  I'm sorry." 

Man:  "Do something about it."  

Me:  "I'll try." 

I scurried back to the kitchen to work on somehow hand-crafting a medium-sized glass.  I had very little to work with.   We had some styrofoam to-go cups that were the same size as the large in-restaurant cups.  I took one of the styrofoam cups and cut about three inches off of the top of it with a steak knife.  It was not pretty.  It looked like I had tried to gnaw the cup apart with my teeth.  But it would have to suffice.  I filled the monstrosity I had created with milk, took a deep breath and walked toward the man's table.  I could see him glaring at me, daring me to disappoint him one more time. 


My hands shook as I held out the cup to him, hoping, hoping, hoping - maybe he wouldn't notice the jagged edges, maybe he wouldn't care that there were little bits of styrofoam floating in his milk. Maybe.


Nope. 


He ended up ordering orange juice instead.  

88 comments:

GoingLikeSixty.com said...

He obviously had a foot deformity. Therefore this would make you
lack-toes intolerant.

Zaedah said...

More milk means bring the cow. Less milk means bring a lactating nipple. If he's still not satisfied (and I work with Medicare patients all day so I know how THAT goes) I'd suggest bringing a lactating goat as a happy medium.

Kalisa said...

People suck. Anyone who's ever had to work with the public knows that to be true.

Chuck said...

Way more tolerant than anybody I know. I would have brought him a pitcher and a cup and told him to have at it...and then thrown a fish stick at him for good measure!

http://apackalipsnow.blogspot.com

cometeoraine said...

lol I'm so sorry for your misery, but that is the most entertaining restaurant story I've ever heard of. Trumps all my terrible experiences of a hibachi steakhouse.

Amy said...

What a crazy man. Thank goodness he at least left you with a funny story.

How is half a big glass of milk not acceptable in this situation? People are weird.

Ellie said...

How did you refrain from giving him a milk bath?

Gigi said...

AND this is why I'm not allowed to deal with the public...

Johana Hill said...

Reminds me of when I was working for Micky D's briefly and that old lady who would order tea everyday. She was a real pain in the ass.

Some customers really make you wanna smash something on their head!

Tony said...

Working in restaurants is always a bad idea. That's where serial killers are created. People are all sorts of crazy!

SimplyComplicated said...

This is me literally rolling about on my bed laughing.

Miss Vintage Vixen said...

I would have killed him by then.
YOU GO GET YOUR OWN DAMN MILK FROM THE KITCHEN AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT YOURSELF!!!!!!!!

Sarah said...

But ... but, but ... didn't he want a different amount of orange juice?

birdykins said...

Oh god, this. THIS. is the exact reason why I love you.

Seriously.

Old people are fucking crazy.

You captured the craziness perfectly with the drawings. Those eyes. I'm going to have nightmares about those eyes.

Swistle said...

1. Waitressing sucks.

2. People suck.

3. I once totally accidentally spilled a large "LARGE, not one of those dinky cups, I want a LARGE!" glass of ice water on a patron wearing a white shirt.

Swistle said...

I would like to emphasize that it was TOTALLY BY ACCIDENT.

Rainey said...

I totally love this post.

As a waitress at a Friendly's for almost 7 years (ice cream and burgers, no booze) I dealt with my fair share of Goldilocks customers who wanted shit 'jussst right'. Well, fuck off cheapo patrons! You know what I could do to this milkshake with one flick of my lowly waitress finger?!?

Extra bonus math lesson: The more complaints, the lower the tip. Yelling or hissing equals creepy patron equals nonexistent tip.

Travis said...

This post would fit in great with my Memoir Monday!

I tell you what, I'm going to link you up.

If you want to, you can come grab my code and stick my button on the post! That'd be awesome!

HokieJayBee said...

Two things:

[1] I think it should be mandatory that everyone, at some point in their life, should be made to work in some sort of food service. I think everyone would be a whole lot different to their servers and such after living it for themselves.

[2] When I waited tables for cash on my college summers, I did learn that the Visine trick from Wedding Crashers *DOES WORK*. I'm just saying.

sanya said...

Oh, what a sad story! I'm sorry he yelled at you, Allie. This is why I took a vow of celibacy. Er... I mean, a vow to never work in the fast food business. I don't know how I got those mixed up. I'm sleepy.

J said...

so...you had to pour New Milk each time he freaked out on you?

what a #$%@*& waste of Milk!

Barbara said...

What the fuck is wrong with people! This reminds me of when I worked at Wendy's. So many stories...

Dyinetch said...

That old man must be on crack. Or something.

miss. chief said...

hahahaha amazing! I know this crazy customer all too well. I just don't get why people don't just take the two seconds to explain to you exactly what they want. Or why not just have an open mind and take the large glass of milk and maybe like, don't drink it all? Or save some for later?

This is why I'm SOOOOO over food service. It fucking blows.

elizawhat.com said...

What a weirdo, going from milk to orange juice!

I don't miss food service at all.

Christopher said...

That's why they invented the word crotchety.

WannabeVirginia W. said...

You are a better woman than I am, I would have slapped the shit out of him.

Sharon Needles said...

I'm with Virginia. I would have been tempted to give him such a cockpunch, his grandkids would have felt it.

People are douchebags, no doubt about it.

Remilda Graystone said...

Haha, this is hilarious and scares the crap out of me because I keep remembering when I had to deal with the public. *shivers* Yeah, some people are horrible and feel entitled. Makes me want to punch them in the throat--and I mean that in the nicest way possible. :)

Great post!

Pink Lemonade said...

Fucking old people, no kidding. My great aunt yells at wait staff if there's ice in her drink. I keep telling her there's no way people can read her mind, or that anyone in their right mind drinks warm soda without ice.

Ashton King said...

This makes me remember why I vowed to never ever work in food again. Once I had a guy tell me in great detail why he wasn't tipping me. Basically it was because I didn't refill his drink. We were a self-serve restaurant.

Harini said...

hahaha! I guess he was crazy or frustrated :P

Shauna (Fido & Wino) said...

I am laughing out loud- hilarious :)

Kelly Parkinson said...

The "NOOOOOOO!" drawing made me spit out my milk.

Michelle, A Self Proclaimed Geek said...

Hold on a minute... You left out the most important part of the story... Did you eat the fish stick?

Allie said...

Michelle - I didn't eat the fish stick, but I must admit to sneaking bites of people's food when they sent it back untouched. I was broke, they were wasting food, what am I supposed to do? I actually ate the other half of a burger with a few bites taken out of it one time. It wasn't my proudest moment, but when you're living off of $8,000 a year, you take what you can get.

Kaylin said...

This is eerily reminiscent of my summer waitressing at IHOP, and the lady that wouldn't accept the orange juice I got her due to cup size discrepancies. Well who's laughing maniacally now?!

Layla Winterborne said...

This has to be one of the best stories that I've ever read. =D

Nikoliosis said...

Was he cool with having a non-medium amount of orange juice?

Sam Liu said...

I don't know how you did it! If I'd have been in that situation and would just gave him the original milk and told him to be happy with what he had!...does that make me bad person? Probably. Oh well :)

Moooooog35 said...

This is why you only serve the elderly cans of whoop-ass.

Ungrateful pricks.

Mainland Streel said...

Bah ha ha! This had me in stitches. :)

I probably would have stuffed the glass down his throat! Though, his little bow-tie was a little too cute to really off him for good.

A Nerd Like Me said...

Wow. You've inspired me to possible tell my worst customer ever story as well...maybe I will even try to draw it. Maybe.
P.S. I love how child Allie and grown-up Allie look exactly the same!

Karla said...

Ahaha! I can't wait until I'm old... I'm gonna pull crap like that every chance I get. Nobody questions crazy old people.

www.latokarla.blogspot.com

The Chicken's Consigliere said...

You should have eaten the old man. That would have solved a couple problems. And created another, I suppose. Allie as a cannibal would make a good drawing.

Karen said...

Never trust a smiling old person, kick them and run Allie. Its the only way. (BTW, don't tell my boss I said that, I work at a nursing home, he may not see the obvious humor in it)

Erin said...

I was a server all through college and I know just what you mean. There is no other explanation than- hungry people are assholes.

Anonymous said...

Ha, you should have said, "Say when" and started drinking out of the big cup. Perfect.

Maureen said...

maybe he had to poop

Windsor Grace said...

You are nicer than I. I waited tables all through college and after the second glass I would've either thrown the milk in his face or gotten the manager to deal with him. Probably the latter because I needed money.

danielle8000 said...

What a jerk! In other news, I really love this blog. Your posts are often a bright spot in an otherwise boring day at work :)

Lucky Punk said...

Ha ha. Great story, and totally brings me back to the fast food and waitressing days (although I was probably worse at being a waitress than the customers were at being customers). And I have to fess up to eating a bite or two of someone's leftover food - one time a broke friend and I were waiting for someone in a diner in NY, only able to afford coffee, and the waiter took pity and actually brought us the leftover half of someone's club sandwich. It was delicious.
p.s. - I like the monster at the bottom of the page.

Ashley King said...

orange juice.... in what size glass?

zachary said...

I would've called him a fussy tit* sucka right away..

Ashley, The Accidental Olympian said...

Um, I just peed a little in my pants.

Cornelius Butterfield said...

"...and sir, what size do you want for your KNUCKLE SANDWICH!"

Lori said...

Wow. Thanks for reminded me how much I DON'T miss working in a restaurant. Living in a van with three smelly boys is WAY better.

Laura said...

My first week as a waitress I had a self-proclaimed wine connoisseur. Never having consumed wine, since it smells like nail polish remover, I knew jack shit about it. He demanded I get the head bartender to discuss his wine options with him.

It was a Friday night and the restaurant I was working at was a place with a bar attached and was 'famed' for 10oz burgers.

He made me drag the bartender out of the bar on a Friday night so that he could demand the vintage of all the wines on premises.

It's a fucking hick bar. They serve more Bud Light than anything else (I know this for a fact, having had to spend many Friday nights hunched over in the cellar sorting bottles from the chute) and the wine came out of a goddamned box.

Never again. Never again.

Poor Allie...

Anonymous said...

On a totally unrelated topic, my boyfriend was just listening to your favorite journey song and instead of thinking of glee, or even the time i saw journey at the walmart shareholders concert, i thought about you. Commence feeling weirdly special.

TheChauvinisticFeminist said...

Could have been my grandfather.

Tina said...

Working with mean people like this man made me who I am today. Someone who thinks about eating human flesh.

po said...

Oh my word. I will never go back to customer service again!

Greg said...

$3.25 an hour? Is that actually what you were paid? Wow, the minimum wage hasn't been that low here (in Canada) since the early 80's.

Lindsay said...

You're funny. So I joined your blog. Now I'm giving you this....
doo-doo-dooo...
THE BEAUTIFUL BLOGGER AWARD! (read my latest post for complete details but you've probably gotten this before)

Witless Exposition said...

The old guys are always the worst! I had one guy scream at me because our lima beans were too small. He didn't want baby lima beans God Dammit!

Living Shallow, Living Well said...

old people are weird.

jessie said...

i work in a bar and today a grandpa man ordered "diet water" i asked him twice and he said it like it was perfectly normal. thinking of this post, i was too scared to question him and brought him water with trepidation. i told him it was our lowest calorie water and ran away.

Benny Paul said...

I've never been a server (been a dishwasher, which is hell in different ways) but I worked at a support line... for a life insurance company. People think that the service industry can defy reality and they expect nothing less.
I would've probably drank the milk down and said, "That looks about right."

Jitika Jain said...

you evn had the patience to oblige to his needs????....i would hav jus askd him 2 fuck off!!!..hats off gal..:)

Jitika Jain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

Holy patience, batgirl.

Anonymous said...

So, the panel with "LESS MILK THAN THAT!"" caused me to choke on my chocolate covered raisins, I'll have you know. Thank you for that.

And I apparently failed to learn my lesson because I then repeated to choke on MORE chocolate covered raisins with the "NOOO!!" Lovely, sweet kind old man!

Am I going to hell because I want the next glass of milk he orders to be curdled, molded, rotten, and all-around funky chunky?

TB said...

I think this is one of the funniest things I have ever read in my entire life.

I resisted subscribing to your blog for a long time (You are very popular, and I don't much like popular people), but now you have gone and pushed me over the edge. I'm linking this post on facebook.

Ben said...

I can only assume this had something to do with a crippling breast milk experience.

B- said...

I actually think that might have been my mother. She's a little hairy.

Lanned said...

Sweetie, I think I might love you but that would be creepy and weird so forget I said that. But you are one of my fav bloggers like ever (after Jenny the bloggess...cause we all are lessened by her shadow) but yeah...love you...I even print out your amazing pics and post them on my inspiration board...cause you inspire me...love you...hiding now...

Lanned said...

I'm really drunk. Did I say that before? But I still love you.

Anonymous said...

These comments are entirely too many.
Mine had better be the last one, do you hear me?
Or else I'm taking it up with your manager.

Alte Kockeh

annmartina said...

Bring an empty big glass, and a pitcher of milk and in your best "mommy" voice tell him to "say when." And then cosh him over the head with the pitcher?

Jessica said...

I have waited on this man and his like many times. This blog is ahhhhhhhwesome. I just wasted like two hours- on the clock-- keep on keeping on. I love it!

Alison said...

Did you work at a Friendly's in Maryland? Because this exact same thing happened to me, except the older dude was with his wife, and his beef was with the spoon, not the milk glass. Maybe he's a traveling performance artist?

Eric said...

HAHAHAHAH, ROFL. *TEARING*

awesome blog

Ben said...

I just found yourblog today and realized just now that I've been totally creeping on, like, every post for way too long and it's now 1:20 in the morning so YOU ARE AWESOME but I must sleep now goodnight.

Anonymous said...

hahaha -- this is one of the stupidest slash funniest stories Ive heard in awhile. I am offically a fan of your site

Anonymous said...

hahaha -- this is one of the stupidest slash funniest stories Ive heard in awhile. I am offically a fan of your site

brina said...

When I saw the title of this post, I thought maybe it was going to be about the milk shortage of 2005. Although, come to think of it, that was actually 2004. I remember it well because (a) I stole a little sticker from the grocery store that explained how there was a milk shortage, and (b) I asked my editor at the time if I could write an article about the milk shortage. She said I had to make it local, so I went to some pizza parlor owners and asked them if cheese was more expensive or if they had to raise the prices on pizza. They said no. I didn't do an article.

Your story is definitely better than mine.

Allison said...

I had a customer scream at me over a cup of coffee yesterday and I thought about your blog after (weird, right?) and how I her eyes got all crazy like your drawing of that old man.

Pumpky said...

You know, I always Worked, since I'm 15, with people. I mean, doing services and dealing with crazy boss full of acne juice. And yet, From the time I learn that, what I'm doing is the same that other people do where ever I go that happen to be their work place. So I don't get mad at them, don't yeld, just... Let them do their job the best they can. I'm working now at a subways and at walt-mart in the parmacy... What I mean is:

Just what the hell is wrong with people? I so undrstand you. I got pretty much the same last week, with Chestnut collar T_T