In the last few years, it’s become common law that how someone chooses to treat service workers and retail employees says a lot about that person.
Many will base their judgment of that person’s character on how they treat people serving them.
Often that means significantly distancing themselves from that person or ending the relationship entirely, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor throwaway_peach_2396 had witnessed their husband’s best friend repeatedly be rude and condescending to restaurant servers whenever the three of them went out to eat together.
But when the Original Poster (OP) recently saw how severely he berated a restaurant server, they decided their era of dining out together needed to come to a close, despite their husband’s protests.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for refusing to dine out with my husband’s best friend?”
The OP and their husband’s best friend came from very different upbringings.
“My husband has a best friend named John whom he’s known since college.”
“I really like John, but it’s worth mentioning that John grew up very differently from both me and my DH (Dear Husband) in that he comes from a wealthy family who supported him financially until he graduated from college and got his first job working for a major bank.”
“He doesn’t know what it’s like to be poor or work a lower-paying service job and have to make ends meet because he never had to. I don’t think it makes him a bad person, just out of touch with reality.”
The OP didn’t enjoy dining out with their husband’s best friend because of this.
“One thing about John is that I absolutely hate going out to eat with him.”
“He is so rude to servers and will often find reasons not to tip them.”
“He has a habit of trying to order off the menu or adding so many modifications to a dish that it’s no longer recognizable and will get angry if it’s even a little bit wrong (he doesn’t have any allergies or intolerances).”
“Dining with him can be embarrassing and mentally exhausting.”
The most recent incident was the deal-breaker of deal-breakers for the OP.
“Last night was the last straw for me. The three of us and another couple decided to try a newer restaurant in our city.”
“After being seated, John seemed to be on his best behavior. No complicated cocktail or food order; in fact, he got a glass of wine and only made two modifications to his entree.”
“The only negative was that our server seemed to be in the weeds because of how busy the restaurant was, but she was pleasant, and you could tell she was trying her best to keep us happy, which is all that should matter.”
“But John got p**sed because she wasn’t refilling his water as soon as he finished it, his second glass of wine took a while to arrive, and our entrees took about a half hour to get out.”
“All the while, he was talking about how this was going to be reflected on his tip.”
“I was annoyed.”
“And then when our entrees did come out, one of his modifications didn’t come out right, and he went ballistic on the server, told her how dumb she was, etc.”
“I’ve never seen him get that angry with a server before. Usually, he’s just passive-aggressive.”
The OP had heard enough of John’s complaints.
“In response, I lost it at him and told him that he was overreacting to such a small slight and that it probably wasn’t her fault. If he had such an issue, then he needed to speak to a manager and not yell at her about it.”
“His meal was fixed soon after, and the rest of the night went on smoothly.”
“Of course, John left no tip, so I doubled mine to make up for it.”
“In the parking lot, I told him that I would never eat out with him ever again if he were going to continue to act entitled to restaurant workers.”
“I added that he needed to humble himself and not act like he’s above anyone who doesn’t work a white-collar job because not all of us were born into money. Then I left without saying goodbye.”
The OP’s husband did not agree with how they handled things, however.
“On the car ride home, my DH told me my comments to John were inappropriate and that I was an AH to him because he had every right to be mad.”
“I replied that I had the right not to want to eat with people who behave like he does because it’s exhausting.”
“Am I being too harsh? AITA?”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some were grateful the OP stood up for the restaurant server.
“I say, good for you! You stood up for the young woman John was victimizing when she likely would have lost a job she needed had she stood up for herself.”
“As for your husband, he thinks John had the right to treat the server like dirt and go ballistic on her? He’s wrong.”
“And please don’t blame John’s privilege for his terrible behavior. Blame John, pure and simple. The issue is John’s character, not his wealth. There are plenty of people from all walks of life who treat people in service jobs respectfully and, unfortunately, a few who don’t.”
“NTA.” – Nester1953
“I’ve been a server going on five years, and I have encountered people like John. Unfortunately, they stick with you; I still remember being 19 and having my first rude customer at a family-owned pancake house in rural Virginia. Luckily, the sons (three big, Greek men who protected their servers) never put up with that s**t.”
“The server will unfortunately remember John, but she’ll also remember his friend who stood up for her.” – Waste_Public9374
“NTA. What you said was entirely true and appropriate. He needs to sprout some compassion immediately. I wouldn’t eat with him again either.” – EtherealBlotzky
“1. Behavior like that SHOULD be called out. Maybe if more people spoke up, the Johns of the world would modify their behavior. The fact that your husband doesn’t have the stones to do it himself makes him an AH, too.”
“2. I’m a line cook. Making alterations to a dish for any reason other than food allergies is AH behavior to begin with. If you simply don’t like something that’s in a dish, order something else.”
“I know everything on the menu, and I can make it without really thinking about it. My work kitchen is set up to get food out as quickly and efficiently as possible. When a ticket comes back with alterations, it slows everything down because now I have to stop and think about it. That means my ticket times get longer, and all the customers after that one have to wait longer for their food.”
“3. The server has absolutely zero control over the food. If I mess something up, it’s on me and not them. Berating them does no good… Just send it back, and I’ll remake it.” – 4_string_toubadour
“You know what; YTA.”
“Not for this; this is perfectly reasonable, and I thank you as a service employee for finally nipping it in the bud even if he inevitably ignores you and continues being an a**hole.”
“The reason I’m calling you an a**hole (and really everyone else who tolerates this man) is that you have clearly never made a point of calling him out whenever he unduly stresses out staff just to prove his point.”
“You’ve tolerated it and let him think it’s okay to be an a**hole to someone barely being paid enough to live on. Assuming you’re in the US, this man is actually hurting these people’s ability to live because he’s such a whiny a**hole.”
“Judge a man on how he treats those he sees as beneath him; and ditch his a**, because this isn’t just, ‘I’m rich and out of touch.’ This is, ‘I own you, and you need to do whatever I tell you.'”
“Good for you for finally telling that a**hole the truth, never eat with him again.” – Catacman
Others agreed and reassured the OP that they had handled this perfectly.
“NTA. Quite the opposite! You are Anti-AH!”
“My father-in-law was like this John guy. He came from money but blew through it. It was always torture to go to dinner with him. I wasn’t in a place of strength at the time, so I didn’t know how to confront him. I tried to make it up by being extra kind.”
“After I had children, and they were around two or three years old, they would tell him he was being mean. Good god, I was so proud of them! I told him if he continued to act that way and upset my daughters, we wouldn’t go out to eat with them anymore.”
“He promised to do better. And he was better a couple of times. Then, it happened again. Both daughters, four and six at this point, told him he was mean and a bully and the older one started to cry. That set off my younger daughter, who started to cry, as well.”
“I took my girls, gave them each $10 to give the server, and walked out, followed by my husband. The server hugged them, by the way. It was a perfect life lesson.”
“We were stuck because we’d ridden with my in-laws, so we walked next door to McDonald’s to eat. [No cell phone, no ride service then.] When we finished, we went back and waited outside the restaurant. They took us back to their house in silence. We got in our car and left.”
“My MIL called crying and apologized over and over. We all explained that it certainly wasn’t her fault, and we were good with her. Never went out to eat with them again. We always ordered takeout. We did take my MIL to lunch several times. She was visually impaired and eventually blinded by glaucoma, so she was kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place.”
“You might feel like you’re between a rock and a hard place right now, too, OP, but trust me that you did the right thing.” – BlackLakeBlueFish
“To dine with John is to be part of his abusive behaviors, and OP is under absolutely no obligation to take part in that. John is allowed to berate servers? OP is allowed to disapprove of John for doing so.”
“Anything else would be subverting her own values, and there’s no reason for her to do that. NTA.” – SuperPookyPower
“This is a clear boundary for OP. ‘I don’t want to go out to eat with John ever again because he is a major a**hole,’ and nothing more needs to be said.”
“I don’t believe she told her husband that he couldn’t but instead is insistent that she won’t. There is nothing to be debated here.”
“But, to be very clear, John is a major a**hole, husband is an a**hole by complicity, and OP is NTA.” – pinkflyingmonkey
“NTA. But you gotta wonder about your hubby who thinks John’s behavior is okay.”
“If you do go out again, let your husband know that for every time John is rude to the wait staff, you expect hubby to pony up an additional percent or dollar amount to the tip. And keep a tally. Maybe then he will take notice.” – CrankyWife
“NTA. But John and your husband are. John is clearly an A-H and a snob, and your husband is enabling it. John enjoys belittling people in the service industry; it is what it is. It could definitely be a class thing or he could just be a d**k.”
“My old boss came from money, and while she didn’t understand some basic tenets of regular life, she was always nice to wait staff. There’s a difference between being discerning and being a pr**k, and John doesn’t know that difference.” – OIWantKenobi
We’ve all had that experience of receiving a dish that was not as we ordered it at the beginning of our dining experience, but most of us know better than to start berating the restaurant server. Rather, if it’s an issue, there’s nothing wrong with having a polite conversation.
It seemed to the subReddit that John had not learned that after likely having little to no experience in the service industry. What was especially concerning was how the OP’s husband and others around John chose to support him despite his behavior.
The subReddit argued that it surely would take more than correcting one person’s behavior, but calling someone like John out has to be a step in the right direction where respect for service workers is concerned.