There are a lot of cheap people out there, especially in the restaurants and bars of the world. It doesn't matter how little someone is willing to pay, they still expect the world and then some.
A Reddit thread recently asked people to share the cheapest things they have ever witnessed at a restaurant, and would you believe it, there are a lot of cheapskates out in the wild. Take a look at some of our favorite stories about people who wanted nice things but didn't want to pay for it. All posts have been edited for clarity.
"I went to a birthday dinner for my mother-in-law at a Filipino restaurant. Along with my wife and I, four of her friends were there. The friends ordered a MOUNTAIN of food for the table. There were seven of us there, but if there were a dozen, we still wouldn't have finished it all. This was a bit irritating right off the bat because while I was happy to pitch in for her birthday dinner, I didn't want to pay 20 percent of a feast from Westeros. It would up being over $200 worth of food.
So then the check came, and I pitched in my credit card, and three out of the four friends turned into statues, except the oldest gentleman, who offered something like $15. I grabbed the bill and divided it by five leaving out the dishes and drinks that my wife and I ordered for ourselves and tallied it up, saying what everyone owed. Crickets. I reminded everyone that they were the ones who ordered this giant mound of food in the first place, half of which was going to go to waste.
To prevent awkwardness, my mother-in-law grabbed the bill and ran off (leaving my credit card) to go pay it. My wife prevented me from stopping her and causing a scene. I quietly laid into the three deadbeats at the table, for letting an elderly woman on a fixed income pay a $200+ bill for her own birthday dinner. I lost it and called them moochers, and whoah, suddenly there was that scene everyone was working so hard to prevent, with them screaming at me and me screaming back. The restaurant owners understandably intervened and tossed all of us out.
I went back in and apologized and explained what happened. The restaurant, to their credit, knocked 40% off the bill out of nothing more than kindness and canceled the charge on my mother-in-law's card, and I picked up the rest."
"I was a waiter in college and worked a table of 20 from the same family. We had a server station right behind the table hidden from view.
After I dropped off the check, I went back to the server station to wait for someone to pay. There was a gentle argument between the two of the men at the table about who will pay the bill. The discussion ended in, 'I'll pay the tab if you leave the tip.'
Well, I ran the credit and brought back the receipt. The guy paying the tip took the check holder, pulled his wallet out and said, 'Is this hundred good?' as he placed a crisp $100 bill in the check holder. They all sat for a few more minutes and then broke to leave. The guy who put the $100 in for a tip waited until everyone headed out and I stood there ready to collect the check he took the $100 bill back out and put it back in his wallet, in front of me.
This jerk wanted everyone to know he was tipping $100 and then stole it from me before I could collect it leaving me nothing."
"When I was a little kid, I used to spend summers at my grandparents' house, and one of my chores was to set the table before dinner every night. Whenever we were having company over for dinner, I was instructed to use 'the good napkins.' That meant the napkins that didn't have restaurant logos printed on them.
We only went to restaurants when my grandmother felt she could come out ahead on the deal, and there were many ways to accomplish this. She clipped coupons, of course, but that was kids' stuff. Any time she did anything for someone, she'd get them to take her to dinner to 'return the favor.' She had an enormous purse, which generally came back stuffed with napkins and food from the buffet. She didn't see much point in going to any restaurant that didn't at least have a salad bar.
One year, when my mother and I offered to take her to dinner for her birthday, we ended up having to drive over an hour to get to a Sizzler she hadn't been banned from."
"My 13-year-old daughter was invited to a small birthday party at a mediocre chain restaurant for her best friend. The friend was over here quite often, and regularly ate dinner, breakfast, and lunch if she was here, and slept over about twice a week during the summertime.
She'd been included to trips to the amusement park and water park nearby, movies, and the occasional trip to Dairy Queen, and I've never asked to be paid or have her pay her own way. We treat her as one of our own. So imagine my disgust when my daughter called me from the restaurant bathroom, nearly in tears, telling me that they just told her she would have to pick up her own check - after dinner and desert had been served.
The guy actually said separate checks to the waitress, but my daughter didn't know what that meant. She had a few bucks on her but she was short about five bucks. The other girl's father told my daughter that she would 'have to stay and was dishes or something' and got real ugly with her, like she mislead them or something.
I called him and asked him real nice like if he could spot her ten bucks until he brought her home, and I would pay him back. He refused, and made it like somehow my daughter and I were scamming him. He suggested that I call the front desk and square it away because they were leaving, and were going to leave my daughter there if she couldn't pay so he wouldn't 'have the cops chasing him down on his daughter's birthday.'
I did call the front desk, gave them my credit card, included a healthy tip, and told my daughter I would be there to pick her up in ten minutes and not to go anywhere.
Needless to say, it got ugly.
As I pulled up to the restaurant, I saw my daughter inside the front door with clown pointing out in the general direction of the parking lot, as if telling her to get in the car. His wife, daughter, and their other kid were out on the sidewalk. I had about ten minutes or so between the phone call and the arrival, so I was able to clearly think about things before I got there. I opened the door and strode up behind him, and it took every fiber of my being not to slap him on the back of the head. The Ruby Tuesday hostess picked up the phone, probably dialing 9-1- like she was getting ready to try to prevent Armageddon or something. My daughter was looking down at the floor shamefully, embarrassed, not knowing what to do. She had been crying. I just said, 'Get. In. The. Car.' She looked up, then got that huge relieved/happy/DADDY! face on. She literally ran to my car.
Keep in mind, I did 22 years in the Army. I am 6'2" tall, and just a hair under 230 lbs. No, I am not in the same shape I was when I was in the Infantry, but still, I am not slouch. I am at least 6" taller and I outweighed the guy by 50 lbs. There was nothing to prove or be gained by stomping a mudhole in his chest and walking it dry. To be honest, I really really really wanted to.
I stood there for a moment, looking at the clown. I didn't want to move. I almost felt like if I did, the fragile calm I had imposed on myself would shatter and I would just go nuts on him. So I just stared. For a moment, I didn't realize I was completely blocking his path do the door. He started to say something, but it came out as more of a dry squeak, like he had just sucked the contents of a vacuum cleaner bag dry. In the clarity of the moment, this served to channel my rage into something like a deep contempt, and I relaxed a bit, still staying silent, and acting as if I was patiently waiting for him to say something. He just sort of croaked...and moved as if he was going to try and squeeze past me. All I did was take a sudden deep breath, and that froze him shaking in place.
'You made my daughter cry.' I said, very, very, quietly. 'For no reason. I would have paid you back...as I have paid for your daughter many times without reservation or expecting to be paid, even when she did have a few dollars on her.'
Then his wife burst in behind me, and summed it all up nicely in a shrill, almost screeching voice. 'You are lucky he isn't beating you like he owns you right now. Take us home. We aren't going anywhere with you.' She turns to me and said, 'I am SO sorry. I don't know what to say. Nonsense like this is why we are getting a divorce.'
I just turned and walked away, got in my car and left.
The very next day, my daughter's friend came over. She tried to apologize. I told her that it wasn't necessary. I took them out to lunch. My treat."
"I meet with three buddies at a very nice bar/restaurant: let's call them Bob, John, and Travis.
John has been going to this place for years and the owner is an extremely close friend of his. Because of this, we get comped drinks all night. Maybe a $100 worth of free drinks between us. Great times, right? No. Why?
Because Bob is a cheap, bloody, smelly little man.
As we're drinking our butts off free of charge, we're also ordering food to make up for it. Pasta. Chicken. Fish. The works. But Bob? Bob isn't happy because Bob doesn't want to pay for anything. So what does Bob do? He asks for the 'special appetizer' for $10, but asks the owner to make it 'dinner sized.'
The owner responds, 'Do you mean that you want the DINNER instead of the appetizer?'
All right. So we pig out. We wait, and wait, and wait for Bob to eat a table-sized platter all by himself. Then we get the bill. It's about a hundred dollars less than it should have been, and were all thrilled. Well, all of us except for Bob. Because Bob's meal is $19 instead of $10. As John reminds him that he drank his weight in free drinks and begs him not to make a scene, Bob proceeds to go up to the owner BEHIND THE BAR and throw a fit about the $9 he should have saved on his 'special dinner-sized appetizer.' The owner is stunned. John is furious. Travis hates confrontation, so Travis slinks out the door.
I'm just a wallflower.
Bob slams his fist on the counter. Bob points at the chalkboard. Bob whines, and whines, and whinesmthat he doesn't have the money to pay for the extra. He calls the owner names. He cries. He actually CRIES. Then he sits his bloated butt down, pitches in $10, and refuses to tip.
And he smiles. He is actually smiling.
And that sets John off. John flips his lid, calls Bob every name in the book, and makes a go at ME for trying to cover Bob just to get us out of this place. He gets up on his chair. He throws handfuls of money in Bob's face like the guy's some fat, hairy Russian dancer. Women are stunned. The owner is laughing. Travis is looking in the window. And I'm stuck with Bob as John finally pays the bill, tips his friend a $100, and stomps outside (sending Travis flailing down the street).
Bob looks at me. I look back at him. His only reaction? 'What a Jew, am I right?' I leave Bob at the table, alone.
We don't eat with Bob anymore."
"I used to live in a resort town on the Gulf Coast that is besieged by 'snowbirds' every winter, seasonal residents getting away from whatever frozen oblivion they came from in Minnesota or Illinois. As a group, they are some of the rudest, most disagreeable people I've ever met - I used to remark that it was as if their personalities never fully thawed out once they came south.
Being in the south, naturally iced tea is one of the most common beverages, and it's always served with lemon, or lemon wedges are available nearby. I had a friend who owned a restaurant, who had to finally remove lemon wedges from the beverage station at his place between the months of January and April. Why? He looked at his food cost and was shocked to discover that he was going through more lemons during those months - the slowest business months of the year - than he was even during the summer. He set out to find out why.
Those stingy snowbirds would get a glass of water, take it over to the beverage station, grab a dozen lemon wedges and some sugar packets, and make their own lemonade, in such numbers that he could no longer afford to provide lemon wedges on the honor system. He would put them back out just before spring break, and take them away again after Christmas.
Miraculously, his food costs plummeted."
"As a bartender, the worst tab I was ever stiffed on was $241. A big fat 0 with a line through it on the tip line. I was dumbfounded.
This group had me running my tail off all night and every time they needed something, I was right there. Checking on them, making sure they were OK. The whole deal. I should of known when he handed me the card at the beginning and said the dreaded, 'We'll get you at the end.'
What really made me more upset than the no tip was the fact that they took pictures of the receipt and passed it around. I was speechless. After I picked the receipt and processed the whole 'I seriously just got stiffed on $241?!' the guy asked had the nerve to ask me for something else. He started with 'Oh, hey, can I also get...' but I just cut him off with a 'Nope' and walked away. It was about 15 minutes from last call, so I just went in the back and waited until the lights came up and we were done. Much better than flipping my lid and losing my job.
I'm not one of those bartenders that feels everyone should tip at all times, every time. I understand not everyone is going to tip. It's unavoidable. For some people, it's not part of their custom to tip and I get that. But my thing is, if you're not going to tip, you can't, in my opinion, expect anything other than average service. We work off of tips, so if you aren't tipping, I'm going to do the bare minimum that's expected of me. If you see me skip over you and help someone else, it's probably because they're tipping me and you aren't.
You can't be high maintenance, expect to be 'hooked up,' and not provide something in return."
"I was a bartender at a country club. Employees were allowed to take home any food left over from weddings. After a wedding full of jerks throwing things, grabbing waitresses, and other crap, the mother of the bride marched into the kitchen demanding two things - that all leftovers be given to her right now, and that the 18% tip added on to the bill for us should be removed.
She did this after explaining that she had already paid enough for this wedding and didn't want us getting anything else from her. This was after she had made sure that no tip jars would be out for us because 'they would take care of us later.'"
"I went to dinner with some friends and their friends at a really nice Japanese place and we all had a fantastic meal. When it came to pay, we all threw in roughly what we owed with enough spare for a tip, except for one lad who was being tighter than a gnat's rear-end making sure he was only going to pay exactly what his meal was to the cent and nothing more. So the receipt came back and there was a good bit of change left over for a tip, but since the staff went above and beyond for us because some of us had special dietary requirements, needed to make sure things were gluten free and all kinds of picky or awkward things, we wanted to throw in a bit more on as well.
Well, this guy was shocked, he couldn't fathom us leaving a tip! According to him, we were throwing away our money, and the food was already overpriced. We didn't really think much of it, because this is Ireland, and tipping is generally not the done thing here.
Well, you know what this guy does? When we were all leaving and getting our coats, he went back to the table, and grabbed the big tip we had left for the staff! I guess we all thought he had forgotten something, or just didn't notice, but we didn't find out until later what he had done when we were having drinks in the pub. He said something along the lines of, 'I should go out for dinner with you lot more often, I came out with more money than I went in with!' What really ticked us off was that the way he said it, he was so proud of himself. We were all absolutely livid, but he said, 'Sure, you didn't want it anyway,' and was acting like we had just tossed our money in the bin. I haven't spoken to him since then, and I'm glad to see that he has never been invited out with this particular group again.
I saw him again in a different restaurant maybe a year ago, looked like he was out with a work event or something, all guys wearing suits. I nearly walked up to their table and announce to them that he's a thieving jerk who steals tips and they should all keep a close eye on him, and tell the staff the same thing. I really wish I had done it."
"This happened to me on the way home from work one day. This was probably one of the longest days of my life when I used to work retail and had literally spent the entire day dealing with some of the most moronic customers I had ever seen. Needless to say, I was not in a good mood.
I was so exhausted, I decided, 'I'm too tired to cook. I'll go get some delicious diabetes in a box and go to Burger King.' So I pulled into the drive-thru lane and approached the order box. To my astonishment, the usually busy Burger King had but one car in front of me. 'Oh good,' I thought, 'There's only one car! I'll place my order and be home in five minutes flat!' So I rolled down my window in preparation for shouting out my order, and I waited.
It was around this time I noticed the woman in front of me seemed to be arguing with the cashier. She was doing so in such a loud manner that I could hear every word. Apparently, she has ordered one Whopper Jr. and nothing else. Just the one hamburger. The problem, it seemed, was that she was requesting extra mayonnaise. The cashier was informing her that they were required to charge $0.25 extra for any additional toppings. The woman was angry beyond belief and demanded to speak to the manager. She was ranting and raving, saying things like 'I've been coming to Burger King for years and I've NEVER had to pay for extra mayonnaise!'
After talking to the manager and getting the same story, she then demanded to talk to the owner of the store. The manager informed her that the owner was not on the premises that day. The woman demanded the owner's home phone number to call and complain.
This went on for a good 10 minutes. By this time, three other cars had pulled up behind me.
Have you ever had a life-defining moment of clarity? One of those situations where you knew exactly what to do and you did it? I had such a moment. An epiphany, really. I calmly got out of my car, walked up to the window of the woman's vehicle and said, 'Hello.' Rather shocked, the woman looked at me with a dumbfound expression and said nothing. I casually reached into my pocket, and produced two quarters. I placed one in each hand and offered them to her. 'Here you are, madame. I would be more than happy to purchase you not only the extra mayonnaise you require today, but provide the extra mayonnaise you so crave on your next visit as well.'
Her face turned the brightest, purest shade of red, and with God as my witness, I tell you her tires screeched in rage as she peeled out of the parking lot and left (without her extra mayonnaise or a sandwich period).
I then got back into my vehicle, pulled up to the order box, ordered my medium #1 Whopper with cheese combo and Dr. Pepper to drink, and approached the pick-up window. Apparently, the employees had all been rather frazzled by the experience and had been watching the entire exchange on the camera they had set up at the drive-thru order box. They literally broke into applause when I pulled up to receive my order, and gave it to me at no charge. The manager said, 'I know I could have just given her the mayonnaise and saved us all the hassle. But your actions this day have made it all worth it. Thank you for choosing Burger King.'
And I drove off into the sunset."
"When I was a waiter, I had a person ask me for 'a cup of hot water and a glass of ice.' He then pulled out a tea packet, brewed some tea, used our sugar to sweeten it, then poured it onto the ice for iced tea. I just shook my head and thought, 'Congrats, man, you beat the system and saved $2.'
I had a table split a dinner, which isn't uncommon except they split a Pepsi, too. I told them I can't give them a refill if they're sharing and they said that's fine.
I had a woman throw a huge fit about wanting to order the kid's steak. I explained to her that the kid's menu was discounted heavily so we could appeal to families more (the kid's 6oz steak was $6 while an 8oz of the same cut was $12 on the adult menu.) She demanded to see the manager and said that it was a medical condition and she HAS to order off the kid's menu because she can't eat an adult portion. My manager said, 'Oh that's cool, we actually have a special on the 6oz cut right now for $10, it's the same size as the kid's steak.'"
"I went for a meal with a group of about six friends. When it came time to divvy up the bill, one friend said he didn't have any cash on him, but if we all chipped in the cash for our share, he would put it on his card. He was also very keen to ensure we all put in a decent tip.
Our friend went up to the bar to pay, but unfortunately for him, another member of our party went to the restroom at the same time, and was surprised to notice him paying in cash. We pulled him up on this, and it turned out the stingy jerk was using our tips to cover his part of the meal!
This chap has forevermore been ribbed as having short arms and deep pockets. He is trusted by no one!"
"My mom's cousin would invite us over for a barbecue, then go around to each person and ask if they want a hamburger or a hot dog. I got the stink-eye once for asking for one of each. When it got dark out, her husband would want to do a fireworks show, and asked everybody to chip in money for it. They were cheap fireworks too, or to be more accurate, some sparks danced on the ground for a few seconds.
One of their dogs was a massive jerk when it came to food. We had dessert pastries and right as I was bringing my éclair to my mouth, this dog jumps up onto me and snatches it out of my hand. Because of the whole 'one per person' ration, I had no dessert that day.
Another time, the dog attempted to eat their younger daughter's hot dog. He didn't actually get it, but several of us had witnessed that the hot dog had been licked. My cousin and her husband said that their daughter could still eat it, she was only three years old and wouldn't know the difference. My uncle eventually stepped up, taking the hot dog and throwing it in the trash can, leaving them the options of making one more hot dog (because we all knew there were more in the freezer), or letting their daughter starve because they were too cheap to make extra food. I think they've been less stingy since that incident, but none of us go to their barbecues anymore."
"At Pizza Hut where I work, customers will do just about anything to get free or very very cheap food (as if it isn't already cheap). Sometimes, we make a mistake, and they are absolutely entitled to compensation, but some of these people will complain about ANY little detail of their pizza to get it for free. 'The sauce is too close to the edge of the crust,' and, 'You said 30 minutes for delivery and it took 32,' are two examples that, believe it or not, I have heard multiple times.
Oh, but my favorite is a group of ladies who come in every Sunday morning after church. They all order on separate checks, and they all get water and one small item like a personal pan pizza, or a cup of soup. Their checks only turn out to be about 4 or 5 bucks apiece, but they still, every single weekend, feel the need to announce and remind me, 'We're seniors, so we need our senior citizen discount, too.' That makes their checks even cheaper, so they feel entitled to leave a few nickels and dimes on the table as a tip.
They are all in their late fifties at most, and only one of the ladies (someone's mother) appears to be over 75 or so. The rest of them are all well-dressed with nice jewelry and drive nice cars and not technically seniors, but we give them the discount anyway because my boss goes by the 'the customer is always right' motto.
These ladies are generally very cold towards me, not to mention they sit at their table for 2 hours talking after they finished eating, then when they go to cash out I ask them, "'How was everything?'
Often, one or more of them will reply, 'Disappointing,' or 'It was okay, I guess.' It just wears on you after a while. I wouldn't be as frustrated if they were at least nice to me. And I know I give them good service, so its not like I'm doing a poor job."