A server who inadvertently gave a customer a cocktail rather than a mocktail questioned the restaurant patron’s loud and outraged reaction to the mix-up, calling her entitled for her response to the mistake. However, a number of TikTokers are defending the diner, stating that the food service worker was entirely in the wrong.
Deborah Mugherini (@deborahmugherini) detailed her experience in a trending TikTok clip. She narrates her video as she records herself going about her day as a server: prepping herself for the night’s service, wiping down booth seats, walking food out to customers, cleaning and setting tables, and enjoying a drink with another staff member in the kitchen.
@deborahmugherini It’s been a long standing issue in this industry of customers mistreating servers. Over time it leads to burnout. It’s called EMOTIONAL LABOR and it requires restaurant workers to have to really manage their emotions. I’ll admit, both the bartender and I are at fault. And we talked about it. We both felt HORRIBLE and since it happened at the beginning of our shift, it ruined the rest of our night. Here’s the thing tho …. Say she was a recovering alcoholic or is super sensitive to alcohol and was legit sick. Why then eat all your food? Why wouldn’t your husband be more outraged and stand up for you or say anything to help bring clarity to why you are behaving this way? Why would he leave me a tip? Instead, two people made a genuine mistake and she felt entitled to treating us and the restaurant disrespectfully. Tag a restaurant friend and share a story of an entitled customer experience. 👇🏽 💕Deborah #healthyhospitality #hospitalityhealth #restaurantworkersbelike #waitressesbelike #serverliferesturantlife #hospitalityhustle #restaurantworkerpower #waitressingjob #waitressing #hospitalityindustrylife #waitressingmoney #emotionallaborisstilllabor ♬ original sound – deborahmugherini
“This past weekend, I had a customer order a mocktail, and I served her a cocktail,” Mugherini narrates. “It was a complete accident. It was our drink special, just mocktail version. So when I entered it into our [point of sale] system, I selected ‘drink special’ and added a special request that gave the name of the mocktail.”
Mugherini explains that the way she placed the order caused confusion, and she should’ve picked up on the potential error before serving the customer the drink.
“The bartender saw a drink special and thought I messaged in the name of the cocktail, so she made me a cocktail,” the TikToker says. “I should have trusted my instinct because we serve mocktails in a different glass, but I’m still new at this place and figure she read my ticket correctly.”
The server says that upon taking a couple of sips of the drink, the patron was incensed: “The woman took two sips and became outraged; said she felt the alcohol and it was causing her distress. She was loud about it, too. She berated me and shifted into entitlement mode. Meanwhile, her husband was so embarrassed. He kept saying, ‘It was an accident, honey. It’s OK.'”
When the couple’s food was ready just a few minutes later, Mugherini asked her manager to take it to the table and extend her apologies. She says she also did her best to make up for the error: “I served her and her husband coffee; had the bartender make them both actual mocktails; the manager took her food and both drinks off the bill; I didn’t charge her for the coffees. You know what she did? When I went to drop the bill for her husband’s food, they had left.”
Mugherini continues to say that the couple ultimately didn’t pay for anything on the tab, even though the restaurant hadn’t comped the husband’s meal. However, the man seemingly left her a tip underneath a coffee mug, which the TikToker found odd.
“But here’s the kicker: there was $13 cash left for me under the husband’s coffee mug,” she says. “So you’re telling me you’re so angry at me, enough to berate me and cause a scene, yet you stiff the restaurant and not me?”
The TikToker concludes with an observation about her occupation, saying, “It’s often the emotional labor that leads to burnout in this industry.”
In a caption for the video, the server explained that “emotional labor” is the work service industry workers have to do to “really manage their emotions” in the face of customer mistreatment. While she acknowledged that she and the bartender were at fault for the incident, she still felt that the customer was “entitled.” She questioned the woman’s behavior, suggesting that her response was excessive since she didn’t seem to be a “recovering alcoholic” or “legit sick” due to alcohol sensitivity.
A number of commenters, however, seemed to side with the customer. One TikTok user wrote: “If I got an alcoholic drink at this point it might be life changing. I always request to talk to the bartender to avoid these things.”
Another penned, “My husband can’t drink and if you served him a cocktail I would’ve been the same way. It’s not acceptable and it’s not a small error.”
To which Mugherini replied: “The caption says more. Also, the husband wasn’t defending her at all.”
One viewer told her that she was “100% in the wrong,” but Mugherini also urged them to read the caption she wrote in the post.
“This is your fault,” another echoed, while someone else also said: “If I did that to someone I would HOPE they treated me like garbage after.”
Mugherini replied, as she did to several other users, asking if they read her caption delineating further details into her thoughts on the exchange she had with the customer.
“This matters tho,” another viewer commented. “what if u give a diabetic a non-diet drink, or someone allergic to nuts almond milk. what if this woman was pregnant or sober??”
The Daily Dot contacted Mugherini via TikTok comment for further information.