So this is part venting, part asking your advice.
Tonight I had an older gentleman come in by himself. He was very polite and we spent some time joking around. He ordered a bottle of Kirin.. I heard carrot. I looked confused for a few seconds before realizing what he had actually said, and then I laughed at my mistake. Then he told me he was easily confused, so he'd like help with my menu. I responded with "as you can tell by my carrot/Kirin mixup, I'm easily confused too." He told me I was sweet and charming and cute and that he could tell he liked me already.
He proceeds to order 3 sushi rolls, 2 of which were my recommendation. I promptly bring out his food, ask if he needs anything else, and then leave him to eat. He tells me I'm great and that he's really enjoyed talking to me. A few minutes later I go to check up on him. He's eaten at least half of all 3 rolls, but says he has a question. He then proceeds to go OFF about our tuna and how terrible it is. Here's the interaction: (G for guy, Me for me)
G: Tell me, is it normal for you to serve just mush inside of your rolls? Have you ever seen a sushi roll that looks like this?
Me: I'm sorry, sir. I'm not sure what you mean. This is your basic spicy tuna roll, and every one I've encountered looks like this. What do you mean by mush? Did it taste bad? I can talk to a chef who is more knowledgeable about fish than me to see if he notices anything out of the ordinary so we can fix this problem.
G: You're supposed to SLICE the fish. Do you not know how to slice fish?
Me: Our chefs slice fish every day. Some rolls have fish "pieces" versus "slices" in order to roll better. Once they're rolled they tend to take on this sort of look and texture. But if you're not a fan, we can get you something else. (Side note: the particular chef that made his rolls was classically trained in Japan and is by far the most knowledgeable person about sushi in our restaurant. The roll was exactly how it should be.)
G: [starts ripping apart roll] THIS isn't sliced. This is garbage.
Me: I'm very sorry, sir. Honestly I'm not sure what to say. How would you like me to fix this for you?
G: I don't want you to fix it for me. I want my bill. This is inedible. You're an embarrassment to sushi.
I proceed to bring his bill. I didn't discount it. He said he didn't want it fixed, so I didn't fix it for him. Besides, he ate the majority of the food. My manager wasn't around to deal with it for me (he was on break so he was physically not in the building) and I made a judgement call. That call was to not coddle an asshole.
I let the host cash him out and he freaked out about how terrible his service was. He said he was going to call corporate and ruin me. On the tip line he left "poor service."
Honestly, I'm not well versed in dealing with customer problems. All of my previous jobs had a rule that only managers could deal with unhappy customers, so this is somewhat new to me. My manager relies on us to do mostly everything. Is there something I should've done differently? My manager said later that he was probably mad that I didn't discount his bill... but it's because he was a jerk. If he was nice I would've gladly comped it. I just have a hard time feeding into this "customer throws a tantrum to get free food" nonsense.
I did tell the manager what happened immediately when he walked in the door, though. I also had a couple coworkers who overheard the interaction back me up.
Unfortunately, while I love my manager as a person, his attitude is that WE should deal with upset customers. It makes me wildly uncomfortable and I really never know how to handle it.