Rude Customer Tales

“Can you turn the A/C down?”

I cannot tell you how many times I have actually heard a customer ask that in a restaurant.  The gall.  Seriously.

Have you ever heard anyone ask the manager at Walmart to change the store’s temperature?  How about a car dealership?

For the record it is never acceptable for a customer to ask the management to alter the temperature of an entire restaurant to suit an individual’s desires.  Not only is it remarkably narcissistic but it is amazingly rude. Would you belch out loud in a nice restaurant?  Would you change a baby’s diaper at the table?  There is no difference.  They are equally unacceptable.

The restaurant management has to strike a balance for the temperature of their dining rooms.  Their first duty is always to the owner; they don’t need to blow the budget on A/C.  Of course the owner wants the customer to be comfortable and enjoy their meal so the next duty is to the customer.    They also have a duty to their employees so they don’t need to keep the temperature too high creating an uncomfortable working environment.

That being said most restaurants I have worked in keep the temperature between 74 and 78 degrees.  Since room temperature is 72 degrees anything above 72 is by definition warm.  If you are the type person that feels cold at 76 you need to see a doctor.  Your body is malfunctioning.  All joking aside, if you do get cold in a room at 76 degrees that is a you problem; bring a jacket.  After all which would you rather have – a warmer room or a server sweating into your food?  Those are the options.

Another rude action showing up more and more is adults asking to order off the children’s menu.  How boorish.  This is as rude a behavior as you will ever see in public.  It is worse than belching.  It is on par with flatulence, racial slurs, or profanity.  The children’s menu has a stated age range.  If you don’t fit in it then don’t even ask.  That rudeness is compounded when people say, “It never hurts to ask.”  Yes, yes it does hurt to ask because you are a pain in the ass.  If that is all you have an appetite for you aren’t really hungry.  Smoke a joint and come back in 15 minutes, I bet that one pound hamburger will look perfect then.

Modern Medicine

There is no rationalization that can justify an adult ordering from the children’s menu.  Diet?  That’s your problem.  Budget?  You probably shouldn’t be dining out.  Gastric bypass?  Take the rest home with you.  Gastric bypass with a doctor’s note?  I don’t stop him from diagnosing normal kids with ADD just to get a kickback so he shouldn’t tell me how to run my business.

Beyond just being plain rude, asking for kid’s items for an adult is a money-losing deal for the restaurant.  Most children’s menus are set to break even or even lose a little money with the thought that you will make it up on the adult menu.  An adult who tries to order from the kid’s menu is ripping the eatery off.  Above all else a restaurant’s job is to make money.

Now, restaurants are a service-oriented industry so chances are if you are rude enough to violate these folkways they won’t saying anything.  It doesn’t mean that you aren’t a jackass just that they have better manners than you.

The most common response to changing the temperature is to say, “I’ll go tell someone.”  Then they tell another employee, “Can you believe table 34 wants us to turn the A/C off?”  They have fulfilled their responsibility to the customer.  They told someone.  You see, even if they did nudge the thermostat it won’t be noticeable until long after you have gone.

As far as ordering off the kid’s menu, a restaurant is completely within their rights to tell you, “No.”   But if they are smart they will tell, “yes and here’s how much it will cost.”  Charging the same amount as the least expensive adult entree is very reasonable.

In summary and in review: whining about the A/C and ordering off the kid’s menu is just as rude as dropping the F-bomb or launching a little must-turd gas.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less
Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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Stuart’s Honors & Awards
2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
2011, 12 Member: Council of Media Tastemakers
2011 Judge: 29th Chef's of the Coast Cook-off
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
2011 Cooking Channel Perfect 3 Recipe Finalist
2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Gumbo Cook-off
2011 Culinary Hall of Fame Member
2010 Tasty Awards Judge
2010 Judge: Bayou La Batre Gumbo Cook-off
2010 Gourmand World Cookbook Award Nominee
2010 Chef2Chef Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2010 Denay's Top 10 Best Food Blogs
2009 2nd Place Bay Area Food Bank Chef Challenge
2008 Tava: Discovery Contest Runner-up
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