1. Sitting at a uncleared table - An absolute classic. "Good evening. Table for 2? Take a seat anywhere. There are plenty to choose from, most of them clean apart from that one which we haven't had time to wipe yet... OK, you'll sit there will you... on the dirty one?.. so now I'll need to wipe it whilst you're reading the menus..." I'll never understand the reason for sitting at the only dirty table. I'm sure no one would do that at home. Occasionally the customer will sit at the table, and then immediately ask why you haven't wiped it yet.
2. Sugar bowls - A minefield of trouble in any eating establishment. Kids will eat, scatter and use as much of the sugar as possible, and often fill up the sugar bowl with their drink, which the staff have lovingly prepared just moments earlier. Then the mature adults, who probably have jobs and life experience, will use the sugar and carefully place the empty packets back into the bowl, where no one can see them... I once watched a customer accidentally knock a glass salt shaker onto the floor, where it broke, (no big drama, could happen to anyone), but instead of calling a smiling and willing member of staff over to apologise and explain the carnage of broken glass and salt all over the lovely wooden floor, she decided to hide the broken pieces in the sugar bowl and then paid and left, leaving a potentially lethal surprise behind!
3. Ordering made up dishes - When you got to eat at any eating establishment, be it McDonald's or The Ritz, there is always a menu. The menu is a selection of dishes which have been carefully chosen taking into account many factors. These include cost, preparation, the size of the kitchen, flavours which compliment each other.... I could go on, but the point is, the menu has been thought through, it's not just appeared from thin air. The majority of customers will read the menu, realise there is a fantastic selection of dishes available, and will pick one which they will then eat, say thank-you, pay and leave. Others will ask if it would be at all possible to have an extra item, or leave something out of the meal. Often it's not a problem, so the staff will always try to accommodate small changes. Sometimes though, a customer will read the menu, realise that there is a fantastic selection of dishes available, and then out of those fantastic dishes, ask if they can pick out individual ingredients from each dish, and like at a wedding buffet, fashion their own special meal. The answer to these customers is always a polite "I'm afraid we can't do that for you, would you like to pick an actual dish from the menu, you idiot."
Working in a restaurant is an enjoyable experience, right up until the doors are unlocked, and the customers arrive.