Your alarm goes off at 7am, rudely tugging you out of your slumber. For a moment, you forget who and where you are, allowing yourself to believe that last nights dreams of tropical beaches and summer romances (cue Grease’s “Summer Nights”), is your reality. But, within seconds you pry your eyes open and peel your head off the pillow, only to catch a glimpse of your crumpled up uniform on the floor, and you painfully remember – you have work today. 


Summer jobs. You know, those things that make you wake up prematurely, force you to stick around during the Christmas/ New Years period, and crush your dreams of a carefree and endless summer? Yeah, we’ve all had them. 

For some of us that means working in an orchard, or a vineyard. For some, it means putting on a suit and tie for a boring and underpaying internship. For some of us it means bending into a figure eight to please rude customers who’s world will end if their ideal Christmas present is out of stock. Or, for those like me, it means chucking on your comfiest pair of shoes, tying up your apron and painting on a smile (for at least three hours of service), because we, my friends, work in hospo.

I’ve been lucky enough to have landed the best hopso jobs ever. Over the past three years I’ve worked with different combinations of my best mates in wineries that serve great wine, delicious foods, and cool customers. Rocking up to work often doesn’t feel like work because it’s that much fun. But then I start polishing cutlery or mopping the floors and I swiftly remember – oh yeah, this is actually a job.

And just as any of you who’ve worked hospo know, the customer is always right. And even when you have NO spare tables, and are obviously rushed off your feet, they are still right.They will keep insisting that you simply must find them a place to sit because they simply musthave lunch with you, and they are right. You must have missed that invisible empty table with it’s invisible empty chairs that those lovely customers are referring to. Whoops, your bad.

And serving people is a fucking awkward job too. You’re dealing with customers all day, everyday, and often you’ll be fine. You’ll greet them, take them their food, and clear their tables without any mishaps. But, when you’re serving people 24/7, I’ve worked out (using my very basic probability skills) (and from experience), that at least some of these interactions are going to be awkward and kinda make you wanna die.  

So in a celebration of all of you enjoying your summer jobs, I’ve put together an extensive list of some of the cringest things we find ourselves saying as a waitresses/waiters, and some of the best and boldest customer requests that both you, and we, have experienced (and catered to with a toothy grin, and a passive aggressive “of course you can.”) So take your unpaid half hour lunch break, chow down on your staff lunch of whatever didn’t sell in the cafe today, and enjoy. 


Imagine all of these in your voice, but a few octaves higher. That’s your customer voice.

  • Righty-O!”

  • “Easy peasy!”

  • “Not a problem at all!”

  • “Of course you can! (x10000000)”

  • “Wow – those plates are so clean I won’t even have to put them through the dishwasher!”

  • “A half portion of that dish? Absolutely.”

  • *Someone who’s ordered the fish:* “Yes, I’m the fish:” *You* “Well you’re doing quite well for being on land aren’t you!”

  • *Someone who’s really enjoyed their meal:* “That was the BEST meal I’ve had in a long time!” *You (or your boss in this case):* “Oh, so do you not get out much, or…?”

  • Yes I’ll stand here during the busiest point of service and take a photo of you! Oh on this phone too? Of course! And she wants one on her phone too? Not a problem at all. (Have you not heard of Airdrop?)


  • “Could I please have the steak sandwich, just without the steak?”

  • “I’m allergic to vitamin K, which means no greens whatsoever. Not even herbs.”

  • “Could I please have some ice in my red wine?”

  • “Could I have a wine shandy?”


“A customer ordered a chicken sandwich, ate the whole thing, and then complained because she was a vegetarian”

“ I don’t want my pizza cut into slices, I just want it whole please”

“I once got asked to change the name of something on the menu because they didn’t like the name of it”

“Customer asked if I’d seen a white scarf. She was wearing the white scarf.”

“A customer wanted a fluffy tea: a cup of tea with cappucinno milk on top”

“One time a lady asked for a raw beef patty in her burger”

“A customer ordered a whiskey shot in her chamomile tea”

*Working in a cherry orchard* “Can you show me to the first grade cherry trees?”

“One lady wanted to know where the milk was from… as in, what farm”

“Can YOU be in our family photo”

“Customers always order huge meals of burgers and deep fried food, but then ask for a diet coke”

“A family came to pick their own cherries in matching white tops asking to “dye” their tops with the rotten cherries”

“What time do the Marlborough Sounds close?”

“A guy drunk from the finger bowl because he thought it was a complimentary soup”

“A cheeseburger without the pattie, cheese or ketchup”

“A customer asked if I could re-make her coffee because her finger wouldn’t fit through the handle of the cup”

“A customer said I cut his lemon wrong, and proceeded to pull out his own knife and stab it”

“Someone asked if there were eggs in the omelette”

“A guy asked where the beach was. I work at a beach front cafe”

“1/2 shot Americano please….” (Do you want a cup of dishwater instead?)

“1/4 shot mocha please…” (Why not just order a bloody hot choc?)

“This one guy asked if we buy cucumbers to use personally…”

“One customer asked me what we put in our blueberry pies”

“I was working at pita pit and a customer asked if they could just come in and make their own”

“While I was making a coffee a lady asked me if we made coffee here…”

“I was working at Subway and a man asked if I could toast his sub until it was burnt”

“I was helping a lady find an outfit and she took that as a doorway to hook me up with her son. She kept on ringing my work asking why I hadn’t contacted him on Facebook, she then found ME on facebook to tell me she was bringing her son into my work! I freak out, and was hiding all day, she came in TWICE and my manager had to tell her to leave me alone.”

Thank you to everyone who sent in their customer experiences – some of them were definitely marginal!

But, I’ve got good news. Summer is nearly over! And it’s not like we have to work for the rest of our lives…