Serious diners may revile the open restaurant kitchen as noisy and passé, but the worst behaved among them should thank their lucky stars for the unfortified layout. After all, it's much harder for a server to spit in their food with everyone in the room watching.
But no amount of interior decorating can stop servers from taking revenge on their most miserable customers. Cads who pat their servers' behinds and cheapskates who order water, sugar and lemon instead of paying for lemonade should know their hijinks don't go unnoticed: Even the sweetest-seeming server will punish offenses at the table -- usually smiling all the while.
Spitting gets all the press, but few servers at sit-down restaurants like to mess with bodily fluids: Spitting's considered a rather déclassé and uninspired way of getting back at customers. Savvy restaurant workers aim for pocketbooks, not their guests' immune systems.
No matter what prices are listed on a menu, your server has a say in how much meal you get for your money. It's often the server's job to mete out side dishes, prepare salads and ladle soup -- and nasty customers will get shorted every time. And while free refills may be the stated policy at many franchised restaurants, wronged servers at less-generous eateries will happily charge their nightmare customers for every soda they slurp.
I once worked at a fine-dining restaurant that offered a house-brand wine -- a sappy fruit bomb that invariably distracted customers from the better wines on the list. My fellow servers discovered the most satisfying way to deal with boorish guests who ordered a $9 glass of the stuff was to serve them instead an ad hoc soda-machine concoction of Diet Coke and Mello Yello and then nod politely when they praised its nose.
I'm confident server revenge is far more widespread than many customers suspect, and that there are methods I still haven't encountered.
Tell us about how you've gotten even with a customer -- or caught a server trying to get back at you.