She had been so unbelievably obnoxious, she can’t have been thinking clearly about what she was saying. But if that’s what she wanted, that’s exactly what she was going to get.
After serving her the check, she went into the back to watch her reaction on the security monitor. If only she had a bowl of popcorn.
Jennifer Green was having a bad day. Not because she’d had to come into work on a Sunday morning – one of the busiest shifts of the week at the Mexican grill where she worked. And not because two staff members had called in sick.
But because Jennifer was seven months pregnant and the baby was moving around a lot that morning. In short, this was the wrong day to mess with her.
When Jennifer arrived at work, her colleagues were already behind with the prep so she rolled up her sleeves and got stuck in. They worked double-time to get all the ingredients ready.
Incredibly, she and her team were on track to get everything ready by 11 am, despite not being fully staffed. Then “Karen” walked in.
“We were just wrapping up our prep when in comes ‘Karen’ through the employee side door – 10 minutes before opening,” recalled Jennifer. Something told her this was going to be a terrible morning when she saw the teenagers she came in with.
“Sorry, we don’t open until 11,” Jennifer told “Karen” as she marched up to the counter. But the woman didn’t even look up from her phone. She just thrust something at her and went to sit down outside.
“Let them get whatever they want,” the woman called through the window, referring to the credit card she’d just forced on Jennifer.
Although she’d never come across her personally, Jennifer knew exactly who this was. She’d heard reports of a woman that came in on a Sunday morning with a group of kids and was rude to the staff. But this really wasn’t the day for it.
“I need you to be at the register when I ring it up, ma’am. Company policy,” Jennifer called after the rude customer. But again, she didn’t take her eyes off her phone, let alone acknowledge her.
Jennifer was starting to feel the pressure from the baby moving around, but managed to walk outside to the woman’s table. What was waiting for her when she got there was really the last straw.
Walking from the counter to the outside table might not seem like an unreasonable thing for a waitress to have to do, but usually, customers cut her a little slack when they noticed the baby bump.
Jennifer would have given the woman the benefit of the doubt if she hadn’t looked her up and down before turning her nose up when she handed over the card. But “Karen” only had one thing to say about that.
“What part of ‘they can get whatever they want’ did you not understand?” the woman fired at Jennifer, along with a look of pure contempt. “I don’t care what you charge me as long as I get a receipt. Don’t interrupt me again or I’ll get you fired,” she added, before waving her off.
Jennifer had already had the morning from hell and to be treated like this before they’d even opened had her welling up. But she fought back the tears. If that’s what the customer wanted, that’s exactly what she was going to get.
Customers are required to be physically present when a credit card is charged because it’s safer for both the cardholder and the restaurant.
If something was to happen to their card while it was in the care of the server, the business might be liable and the cardholder would also have shown negligence, which may present an issue with an insurer. Or it’s simply just a good idea to avoid what was about to happen.
The kids were waiting patiently and Jennifer was desperate to take her break after all the effort she’d put in that morning. So she went ahead and did what she was told.
Jennifer served all the kids and brought the receipt over to the woman, being sure not to bother her again before heading off to take her break. “Please come and get me when she reacts,” she asked her colleague.
It was only a matter of time before “Karen” saw the check. People like this were generally unpredictable, but if there was one thing she’d learned in all her years in the hospitality industry, it was that you could guarantee a reaction from an outrageous check.
It was tempting for Jennifer to hang around in the restaurant until the fireworks started, but she’d been working her fingers to the bone all morning and she needed a break.
Jennifer sat down with a coffee and took a load off. She realized she could actually see “Karen’s” table on the CCTV monitor. She was picking up the bill to check it.
“Karen” hit the roof. Jennifer took a long sip of coffee as she watched the irate woman screaming at her colleague. “I want to speak to the manager!” she screeched.
Jennifer straightened her apron and calmly walked out into the restaurant. Despite the fact that she had watched her reaction on a black and white CCTV monitor, she could tell the mother’s face was turning an unflattering shade of crimson.
And she was certain the color wasn’t going to go back to normal any time soon, especially after what Jennifer said next.
“That’s me!” Jennifer calmly said to the woman. “I’m the manager.” “Karen” slammed the receipt down on the table. She still hadn’t finished her mouthful of burrito, so Jennifer could only make out the word “refund.”
Jennifer looked at the receipt and smiled. She didn’t even need to ask why she had a problem with it.
The receipt was probably the longest one Jennifer had seen since she started working at the restaurant. In fact, it looked more like one of those long receipts you get at a drugstore that’s filled with all kinds of special offers.
But this receipt didn’t feature any discounts whatsoever. It was jam-packed with all the expensive extras and sides the kids had ordered while “Karen” was on her phone. And the figure at the bottom was positively eye-watering.
In total, the bill for the group of teenagers came to a whopping $250 – and the furious woman wanted her money back.
Jennifer explained that she couldn’t refund that level of inventory and that she could lose her job by doing so, reminding her that she told her twice they could get what they wanted. Then the woman got right up in Jennifer’s face.
At this point, the restaurant had started to fill up with customers and the dispute was holding up the line. Several diners stared in disbelief and asked her to calm down, but “Karen” wasn’t having any of it.
Despite getting a kick out of the woman’s predicament, Jennifer took her responsibility as a manager seriously and tried to calm her down. It was then that “Karen” crossed the line.
The angry woman pushed Jennifer as hard as she could. Every diner in the restaurant gasped as the pregnant server toppled backward.
The woman’s expensive restaurant check was now ancient history as customers scrambled to help Jennifer before it was too late. “Karen’s” face said it all. She knew what she’d done and there was no coming back from it.
Fortunately, Jennifer’s colleague managed to catch her before she hit the ground, quickly reaching out her arms to cradle her and absorb the impact.
Jennifer was absolutely fine and the restaurant-goers all breathed a sigh of relief. But after what she had done, “Karen’s” problems had only just begun as two tall men approached her.
Two of the restaurant regulars were police officers, and they saw the whole thing. Jennifer said she didn’t want to press charges for the sake of the kids, but the officers said they had to arrest her for aggravated battery because she assaulted a pregnant woman right in front of them. Meanwhile, Jennifer was given the day off with full pay by the regional manager.
Can’t people just calmly enjoy a burrito these days?