Server Gets Reprimanded By Boss After Customer Heard Her Complaining She Was Hungry & Couldn’t Afford Food

Their boss lectured them about being ready for work, but that wasn't the problem — poverty was.

Restaurant server Dusan Petkovic / Shutterstock

A restaurant server has left people on Reddit shocked with their story about getting in trouble at work for not being able to afford food.

Posting in the "r/antiwork" subreddit, a forum for people to vent their frustrations about their jobs, they detailed how the conflict with their boss arose.

In their post, they wrote that their boss reprimanded them for being hungry on the job, framing it as a lack of preparation for the workday.


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But as the server reiterated, that was not the issue — their inability to afford a meal was.

The story has shed light on the difficulties food service workers often face due to low pay and inadequate tips from customers.


The server was reprimanded by their boss after a customer complained about overhearing them talking to a coworker about how hungry she was.

She shared a copy of the text message conversation they had with their boss about the issue.

She received a text from their boss saying, "Afternoon, we received a customer complaint earlier today that you were heard complaining about stomach pain due to not eating, can you please explain??"

She then replied that her debit card had been declined while trying to buy food before work, "so I was running on fumes all through my shift.”

The manager seemed to either not understand or ignore what had happened, replying, "It is every employee’s responsibility to come fully ready and prepared to work in order for us to give 100% to our customers."


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"That means coming to work fully rested, fueled and dressed."

The manager finished with an infantilizing rebuke — "You’re an adult you should know this.”

She was quick to clarify that she, "didn’t forget to eat, I literally could not afford food and my card was declined."


Once again, the manager seemed not to care, replying that "personal issues" must not interfere with work.

The manager then threatened her job, writing that if they have this problem again, "we will have to escalate this."

As anyone who's ever worked in a restaurant will tell you, working on an empty stomach is an all too common occurrence.

And restaurant staff are often expected to not take breaks at all until the end of their shift, despite labor laws prohibiting such practices.

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Commenters were shocked by the manager's callous response, and many had similar horror stories of their own.

One Redditor wrote, "There is no worse feeling than starving at work and having no money to get anything…I experienced this a lot growing up working at sh--ty labor hauls."


Another commiserated by sharing what it's like to work a physical job on no food.

They wrote, "you still have a long shift ahead of you and your mind gets all fuzzy and dizziness starts to set in. It really sucks working with low blood sugar because you haven’t eaten."

Even people with medical conditions like type 1 diabetes, who must adhere to regular mealtimes, had stories of being denied the ability to eat on the job. 

One such person wrote that being forced to wait hours to eat while managers held a meeting left them with "blood low I couldn’t think straight or move properly or anything."

As many commenters pointed out, such practices are illegal — but all too common in many workplaces.


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Another diabetic Redditor wrote of passing out on the job due to being denied a snack.

"It took passing out at work once for my boss to go 'oh s--t' and actually believe me when I said I needed a break for a snack before I get sick. F--kin told you but ok."


Others told stories of being so hungry and so unable to afford food that they would eat scraps off customers' plates after clearing them.

Given how common this problem seems to be, one user's sarcastic summary of the Redditors' boss's response said it all.

"Stop being poor immediately or you will be written up!!"

Yeah, that pretty much sums it up.

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.