Lunchtime poll – dirty dining tricks
September 2nd, 2010
12:15 PM ET
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"Hey, watch this!" I looked up from my nachos, and my friend T. was pulling a long, black-rooted, bleach-lightened strand of hair from her head. My confusion grew as she stuffed it into the chili atop her half-gnawed burger.

"My Mom showed me how to do this." She summoned our server. "Ummm...this is really gross? But there's a hair in my food. I don't think I should have to pay."

The woman sighed. Though I'd never witnessed anything like this before, an eighteen-year-old girl running a scam was hardly a new menu item for her. She grabbed the plate and returned several minutes later, plunking it back on the table. "No one in the kitchen has hair that...blonde color," she huffed, staring pointedly into T.'s eyes - and then at her scalp.

T. shrugged. We paid the full bill. I never went to a restaurant with her again.

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  1. Dave

    I went to a local pizza joint – very good local chain, and had a nice pizza with my wife. We had some leftover slices (2) and I had them for lunch the next day. I was almost finished with the very last slice, just eating the last little bit of crust, when I bit into something strange. It turned out to be a twist-tie, like off a bread bag. I stopped at the place on the way home that night and (calmly) told the manager what happened and showed her the tie. She apologized and went into the kitchen to talk to the cooks. I thought we were done and walked out and got in my car, when she came out and knocked on my window. It turns out we weren't quite done – she wanted my information (name, etc) that she wrote in a book they kept at the counter. She gave me a free replacement large pizza, which we took advantage of later that week. I didn't scream or holler, and since I was literally down to the last bite of the entire thing, I really didn't expect a replacement. They went overboard to correct the situation, and we certainly continue to eat there. Polite works a lot better!

    May 13, 2013 at 6:09 pm |
  2. TaKiDo

    I went to a Rock Bottom Brewery in Tinley Park, Illinois and received a short black hair in my chicken, I just picked it off and kept eating, my meal was comped, but I didn't make too big of a fuss about it, I'm sure they didn't do it on purpose...

    January 8, 2013 at 10:09 am |
  3. Krys

    The worst thing that's ever happened like this is when they got a friend's order wrong, but another player in our drama club wanted the burger. So he asked for one that was right, and he gave the other burger to the girl, since they were going to throw it away anyway. Not a big deal. He asked if he could before he did it, even.

    September 9, 2010 at 6:48 pm |
  4. Ashley

    Springs1 – do you wear a sign when you walk in to a restaurant saying "I'm a jerk and I'll nitpick everything you do and probably try to get you fired?" Because that might be why you're receiving such poor service all the time.

    September 9, 2010 at 9:51 am |
  5. Springs1

    Deli Mama
    "i wouldn't be surprised if servers are putting things in your food and messing with your check on purpose."

    If they would, they could get FIRED, so I have had 3 servers *(*(I)))HELPED GET FIRED, HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT? So it's up to YOU to not do the wrong thing. If they do that, they are hurting themselves by having to PAY to serve us since they have to TIP OUT a percentage of SALES to the hostess, bussers, and bartenders.

    "i am never, ever, snippy with anyone who handles my food no matter what the problem is because i know what may or may not happen to my meal."

    I don't care, because I don’t' get sick, how does that sound to you? I 99.9% of the time don’t, but that doesn’t make my experience any better, it really doesn’t.

    It sounds like if it phased me, it would have by now, wouldn't have it considering the few times I have, that didn’t do anything either, it’s like being nice doesn’t and being mean doesn’t. Being mean though actually got 2 of the 3 servers fired, so I will say YES, it helped then.

    Also, WHY if they get snippy with me I can't do back? WHO CARES IF THEY DO IT BACK? They may get fired and as I said, I helped 3 servers get fired, so you are in MY MERCY, NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND!!!

    HOMEY DON'T PLAY THAT!! You servers at the customer’s mercy, not the other way around.

    "you seem like the type of customer i would hate to have, no matter how well you tip."

    WHY? Because I want perfect service? That's what EVERYONE WANTS, so WHY would you hate me?

    "i'm sure that 98% of the time there is a problem at a restaurant is just someone who is overworked and underpaid and probably dealing with poor management. you know,"

    NO, we have had times where we were one or 2 or 3 of the only tables(not any larger than 2 people at a table), that had problems. Sometimes we were the ONLY CUSTOMERS and had issues.

    Most servers are lazy, don't you get that? Most don't want to WRITE DOWN what you say even after asking even. That's how LAZY they are. Then, when they forget something and you tip poorly, they think you are cheap, well STUPID LOOK AT WHAT ***EFFORT**** YOU DECIDED TO PUT INTO OUR SERVICE!!! Some servers have no common sense to speak of.

    "you know, i had people actually take money out of my tip jar to pay their checks – like, dollars, not give-a-penny-take-a-penny."

    That's THEFT, do you realize that? I have had a customer once that had wanted a penny out of my tip jar at the donut shop when I worked there about 10yrs ago and I told them that is my money not "GIVE A PENNY, TAKE A PENNY." Even a DOCTOR wanted to do that. Do you realize how SELF-CENTERED that is? We WORK for a money, this isn’t feel sorry for the SPENDERS WEEK.

    If there's no charity jar or give a penny, take a penny like a gas station has, then people are making TIPS.

    So you let people take ADVANTAGE of you I see you STUPID IMBECILE?

    "why does it matter if they have to work a little harder to fix the check while you spend more time enjoying your evening?"

    HOW THE F @## are we "ENJOYING" HAVING TO ***************WAIT*********************** TO LEAVE and having to deal with a BILL ERROR? WHERE DO YOU GET THE (((JOY))) IN THAT, HUH?

    WHEN YOU WANT TO LEAVE, YOU WANT TO LEAVE, PERIOD, that's PUNISHING OUR TIME WE WANT TO GO!! WHY should the customer suffer in their time for that? WE SHOULDN'T AND DON'T HAVE TO BY LAW!! You want us to pay you a bigger tip; don't make us sit there longer to get it fixed if it's in your favor just as some other co-workers said that I have had TRUE stories about.

    Ask people, do you honestly think people want to wait longer to leave to get even a dollar overcharged fixed if they are in a hurry? I bet you, most won't. WTF would they do it in YOUR F'ING FAVOR YOU IDIOT?

    Because *** IT WAS ****US*** to have to DISCOVER A PROBLEM, which that's ***NOT OUR JOB****, because ****WE AREN'T GETTING *****************PAID********************** TO DO THIS YOU UNCARING ASSHOLE!!!

    "relax and give these poor people a break already."

    Give LAZY ASS UNCARING SOB'S A BREAK THAT DIDN'T ***TRY*** TO ***CATCH*** THE MISTAKE ***********WELL ******************** BEFORE CHECK TIME IS NOT MY PROBLEM AND NO I WON'T GIVE SELFISH, SELF-CENTERED ASSHOLES THAT ONLY CARE ABOUT ***********THEIR************** MONEY A BREAK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ANY CARING server would take 2 cents out of their own pocket if they didn’t even TRY to CATCH that mistake. Do you honestly think that the waitress compared the menu to the check? NO, SHE WAS A LAZY ASS, SELFISH BITCH. So WHY should she deserve 20% for that, HUH?

    2 cent isn’t a lot to ask from a server since **THEY*** messed up and want our money. For real, don’t make us do YOUR WORK and we will pay for doing yours that you were SUPPOSED to have done. When I represented this(the FIRST FREAKING TIME WE WERE THERE EVEN AND ONLY), she said she never noticed this. I felt if she would have compared the menu to the check, she would have not have said that. So you see how LAZY and UNCARING they are about the customer’s money, because honestly, if she would have just missed it, she would have immediately said she was sorry .

    So HER 2 CENTS ARE MORE IMPORTANT THAN THE CUSTOMER’S? That’s how you are portraying servers.

    WTF SHOULD I give them a break? THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT GIVING ME 2 CENTS OF THEIR OWN POCKET EVEN. You make it seem like that I care about 2 cents when in fact THEY DO that I don't see***********THEM******************* giving us their 2 cents.


    September 5, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
    • deli mama

      maybe you just need to **********CALM DOWN*********** and stop being so ***********VERBALLY ABUSIVE*********** so you can get some decent service in a restaurant, homey.

      September 7, 2010 at 12:11 pm |
  6. Springs1

    Deli Mama

    One more thing:

    ""why does it matter if they have to work a little harder to fix the check while you spend more time enjoying your evening?"

    It's not working harder, it's actually checking over the bill as most servers don't. Go on, ask servers if they compare each bill's prices to the to menu prices. They will all tell you NO, no matter if they are very slow having one party of 2 even and you know that is the GOD'S TRUTH!! Can't you just admit they are being lazy and self-centered as well as they aren't working **ANY HARDER THAN THEY ARE TRULY RESPONSIBLE FOR?**

    September 4, 2010 at 11:39 pm |
  7. Springs1


    I made a typo, I said from customers, I meant the computer, sorry.

    September 4, 2010 at 11:27 pm |
  8. Conqui

    @Springs1 If your time is so important, why don't you just stay home and fix your own food, or better yet, not bother eating at all? You certainly spent a lot of time blaming servers, managers, etc, to justify not paying for what you eat. I'm sure someone could give good reasons why it is YOUR fault they punched you in the face full-on with their fist, using the same self-centered & self-important kind of reasons you don't want to pay for what you order.

    September 4, 2010 at 12:25 pm |
    • Springs1

      "You certainly spent a lot of time blaming servers, managers, etc, to justify not paying for what you eat.""


      The answer is NO, THE CUSTOMER IS PAYING THE SERVER, therefore, it's not our issue, it's theirs.

      "'m sure someone could give good reasons why it is YOUR fault they punched you in the face full-on with their fist,"

      NO, getting physical is a CRIME that you CAN go to jail for, which what we have done isn't. The SERVER is UNDERINGING the items, NOT the customer. The customer has ZERO responsibility in this. They can easily say they didn't notice and that's it, there's no proof that the customer noticed it. Then, when it doesn't get noticed, if the manager makes the server pay for it, it comes out of the SERVER'S POCKET, NOT OURS. DO NOT PUNISH US OR YOU WILL BE PUNISHED IN THE TIP!!

      You obviously NEVER have been overcharged at restaurants to say this, have you? You are probably too lazy to check each and every price like we do, aren't you for you to even KNOW that you were over or undercharged.

      You probably don't even check your check for extra or wrong items, do you?

      "sing the same self-centered & self-important kind of reasons you don't want to pay for what you order."

      This is not about not wanting to pay for the food, don't you GET THIS?

      IT IS ALL ABOUT OUR **********TIME*********** being TAKEN AWAY FROM US THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE ******************************FUN************************, but NOW WE HAVE A HASSLE ON OUR HANDS THAT WE CAN'T LEAVE!!

      IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY, it's about not being able to leave the restaurant.

      They are self-centered if they don't take it out of THEIR OWN POCKETS instead of making us wait to get a manager to fix it, so if anything, THE SERVERS ARE THE ONES THAT ARE VERY SELF-CENTERED AND ACT LIKE THEIR MONEY IS SO IMPORTANT, BUT NO THE CUSTOMER'S MONEY, that doesn't matter to them.

      As I stated before, we have had 4 servers that had overcharges 10 cents and under that didn't want to take money out their own pocket. One was 2 CENTS LITERALLY on eggs. I ordered 2 eggs, which were on the menu $1.49 a piece. On our bill the 2 eggs were billed $3.00. The waitress didn't take 2 pennies out or a nickle or even a quarter out of her pocket to fix the mistake. You wouldn't even notice that mistake, would you, because you are too lazy to check each price, am I right?

      So you don't call those servers ** "SELF-CENTERED?"**

      They sure are not to take out 2 pennies out of their own pocket. If she would have done that, she would have gotten 19% instead of 15%. 2 pennies and you get around $1.50 more in tip. I know I would have done that for a customer not to have that hassle since it was MY FAULT I didn't notice it BEFORE I gave the customer their check. There is no tax that you can bill someone for only 2 cents, so it would literally be on 2 cents she would have owed us.


      It's all about the fact that NO ONE WANTS to have to get their check fixed. I hate when I get overcharged in stores. I hate the hassle of having to go to customer service. Who wants all of that? Some people wouldn't even get their money back. I do, because that is stealing, because that is false advertising.

      I bet if you asked 100 people if they would even bother getting even 30 cents back on their check, they wouldn't, so why would they do it for something in the restaurant's favor? It's all about the HASSLE, NOT that they got a free item.

      Think about it. If I would want to get something for free, I wouldn't tip HIGHER and base it on the amount BEFORE the discount(assuming of course that we have had good service). Even if we don't have the best service, they will get a higher tip than if we would have been billed correctly for something that was in our favor.

      It's about having *********FUN**********, NOT having to deal with check issues. WHO THE F** GOES OUT TO EAT WANTING THAT S@##? I would rather be honestly billed correctly ALL the time and not have none of that. We have plenty enough money to go out to eat. We aren't rich, but we certainly aren't poor either. IT IS ALL ABOUT THE HASSLE!! IT'S NOT ABOUT THE FREE ITEM!! I WOULD RATHER ANY DAY HAVE ZERO PROBLEMS THAN TO HAVE ANYTHING, ANYTHING, ANYTHING FOR FREE!! I HATE PROBLEMS IN MY SERVICE, DON'T YOU GET THAT OR WHAT?

      The best service is being billed correctly, getting your orders correctly, the server being attentive(but not too attentive), etc. NO ONE GOES OUT TO EAT TO GET THEIR CHECK FIXED!! You punish our time, your tip SHOULD get punished back. Even that co-worker wouldn't have made a deal with the waitress if he wanted to sit there and wait to get the check fixed, now would have he?

      The other co-worker that pays for the coke that isn't rung up in her tip does the same thing. EVERYONE IS OUT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME, NOT TO HAVE HASSLES IN THEIR SERVICE!! It's NOT ABOUT THE FREE ITEM, DON'T YOU GET THAT OR WHAT?

      "If your time is so important, why don't you just stay home and fix your own food, or better yet, not bother eating at all? "

      If the server's tip is so important to them, maybe they need to check the customer's check instead of just handing it over as most do, because mostly all servers don't compare the menu prices to the check, NO, they make US do it, because they only care about their own money, not ours. See WHO is self-centered? THE SERVERS!!!

      September 4, 2010 at 3:26 pm |
      • deli mama

        wow, springs1.
        i don't know where you are eating, but i'm there's a good chance that having that many problems with your service is not a coincidence. i personally have taken change out of my own tips to cover people when they couldn't find the nickel they thought they had – and that is when the check was right! two pennies? for real? you made a big deal out of two pennies? talk about hassle.
        if the way you act in a restaurant is anything like the way you typed your responses, i wouldn't want to help you out either. if somebody politely brought something like that to my attention, i would bend over backwards to make it right. being rude gets you nowhere fast. i wouldn't be surprised if servers are putting things in your food and messing with your check on purpose. i'm not trying to be mean; i'm speaking from experience. after working in the food industry, i wouldn't be surprised if items on your plate had been picked up off the kitchen floor. you seem like the type of customer i would hate to have, no matter how well you tip. i am never, ever, snippy with anyone who handles my food no matter what the problem is because i know what may or may not happen to my meal.
        i'm sure that 98% of the time there is a problem at a restaurant is just someone who is overworked and underpaid and probably dealing with poor management. you know, i had people actually take money out of my tip jar to pay their checks – like, dollars, not give-a-penny-take-a-penny. i have a million more experiences just like that when it comes to customers. the servers are the ones working and you're the ones out having a good time – why does it matter if they have to work a little harder to fix the check while you spend more time enjoying your evening? relax and give these poor people a break already.

        September 4, 2010 at 9:16 pm |
      • Springs1

        Deli Mama
        "i personally have taken change out of my own tips to cover people when they couldn't find the nickel they thought they had"

        WHY? Everyone is responsible for paying their OWN bills, just as you are. If you can't afford the expensive bar drink or that dessert or ribs instead of a burger that's at least around $8 or so cheaper, DON'T ORDER IT!! I don't feel sorry for the cheapskates.

        YOU as the customer decide to order that more expensive drink that for example has the grand marnier vs. the regular margarita.

        YOU decide on getting a $5.99 dessert at the restaurant, instead of going to a fast food place, getting a sundae or small frosty, even if it's around $3.50 at the most, it's certainly isn't around $6.


        PEOPLE DECIDE TO SPEND THE MONEY ON **WHAT** ************THEY******************** WANT TO SPEND IT ON WHY THEY ARE POOR 90% OF THE TIME. If they are smokers for example, they'd rather smoke than have FOOD. HOW IS THAT OUR ISSUE? FOR REAL, HOW IS IT? Another example, I waited until I was married to have intercourse, so if the waitress decided to have sex without any birth control, had a kid, HTF is that OUR ISSUE? BE **RESPONSIBLE*** for YOUR OWN ACTIONS!! ACT LIKE AN ADULT!!! Let’s say if she was a single parent because of a death, that person still decided to have a kid KNOWING a person can die. I have been on the pill since 2002 and when I took antibiotics, I didn’t have sex(I didn’t feel up to up) and if I did, it was with a condom(extra protection). I, so far, haven’t forgotten over 3 hours worth. My point is, even if it happens, you decide in life to take a chance, so if you don’t have the money for a baby, you should just do everything but intercourse. For real!! I did it since 17yrs old until 25 yrs old(not completely all those years since I didn’t have a boyfriend all of the those years) did everything except intercourse. It was the fact that I didn’t’ want to be a single parent is the most important reason. I was brought up to be RESPONSBILE for my actions, WHY shouldn’t severs be? I didn’t have the money to be on my own before I got married much raise a kid, so I chose not to even risk it.

        "you made a big deal out of two pennies? talk about hassle."





        YOU DON'T LOOK AT IT AT THAT ***THEY AREN'T TAKING ***THEIR*** 2 CENTS, so WHY THE HELL SHOULD I NOT VALUE *****MY FREAKIN OWN 2 CENTS****JUST AS ****************THEY************************ ARE?

        "if somebody politely brought something like that to my attention, i would bend over backwards to make it right."

        We have ALL of the times for the most part(once I lost my temper due to I thought the waiter did it on purpose, but that was ONCE when I had drank too much, so honestly that wasn't the REAL me, but I went off of a previous experience I had at the same restaurant where the waiter did overcharge us on purpose, which I know I shouldn't have, but I did mess up, but he messed up too by being mean back. He said basically when I asked him in a mean way “Is there some reason you charged me for an extra drink.” He was like “I TOOK THIS TABLE AS A FAVOR.” Does that really help anything? It doesn't help to be defensive back; it makes it 10 times worse.

        In mostly all of the overcharge situations, all I presented was the situation not in a yelling way 99.9% of the time. Usually I say "The price is $7.29, but the menu has $6.99", which this is a REAL EXAMPLE. The waitress didn't apologize and didn't ask to get something comped and didn't give money out of her own pocket. so you think ********I*************** am the SELFISH ONE, LOOK AT THOSE SELFISH SERVERS, THEN TELL ME**** WHO**** IS SELFISH?

        As far as the guy that overcharged us on a $6 drink I didn’t order, yes I handled it wrong, but do you honestly think being defensive back is the way to make a tip? A caring waiter would have no matter HOW the customer acted would have said “I’M SO SORRY” and would have asked the manager to comp at the very least a coke off the bill for the customer’s inconvenience, which if they wouldn’t, a caring server would pay for it THEMSELVES. By the way he reacted made him get an automatic stiff. If he would have tried to calm me down by being NICE and getting me something off the bill to PROVE his innocence by his manager, he would have gotten 13% at least of the amount BEFORE the discount instead of zero. It doesn’t help to be defensive back, don’t you get that or what? I had every right to think he overcharged us on purpose, because he wasn’t attentive and that we only ordered JUST DRINKS, so HTF can you MESS UP THAT? NO FOOD, just 2 people, then actually only billed us for one soft drink(on PURPOSE as I said before), so our actually overcharge with tax I figured out was $4.91, but it still was an overcharge.

        NO ONE bends over backwards. My husband once had a baked potato I mentioned in another post forgotten, the waitress didn't bend over backwards, if anything, he POLITELY just mentioned he ordered a loaded baked potato, but she didn't apologize. If anything, she took OUR TIME to look at the ticket AT OUR TABLE for about 10-15 seconds which is very UNCARING to do. A caring server wouldn't have EVER went by a ticket and would have (((VERIFIED))) the WRITTEN ORDER WELL BEFORE ************DELIVERING THE FOOD*********!!!
        Even when being nice just simply presenting the problem, MOST servers don’t apologize. I am VERY SERIOUS HERE. Especially with wrongly priced items. We had one at a fine dining restaurant that was $2 overcharged and he said it was a “MISPRINT.” WHAT BS, because we NEVER ORDER FROM COMPUTERS, LIKE DUH, customers order from a MENU. Any servers that have had been charged wrong prices would know this without being trained even. That’s not nice to say it’s a misprint. All I said was that the margarita was $10, not $12 in a NICE manner.
        SO NO, NO ONE BENDS OVER BACKWARDS, because a caring server would take THEIR OWN 2 CENTS EVEN out of their own pocket to fix a wrong price and they don’t. Then, since they don’t, WHY act like I am the cheapskate then if they are PROVING THEY ARE?

        Continued next post:

        September 5, 2010 at 11:59 am |
  9. Jdizzle McHammerpants

    Sounds like a lot of people eat at shitty places, or I don't pay attention to my food enough. I've never found anything in my food. Maybe a hair or eyelash once, but couldn't be sure it didn't come from me. An eyelash won't kill me. Apparently, we are all royalty. Finger? Complain. Eyelash? Get real.

    September 3, 2010 at 12:55 pm |
  10. Ashley

    I used to work in a breakfast restaurant during college and a bar after I graduated. I had two notable examples stick out:
    1) At the breakfast restaurant, an older lady came in a couple of times near closing time (we were only open 6-2). Every time she said she found a hair in her food and demanded it be comped. Near the 5th or 6th time of this, the manager quietly brought her to a unoccupied section and told her if she tried this little antic again, he would charge her for all of the meals he has already comped for this invisible hair. She sheepishly apologized and never came back.
    2) When I was working at the bar, a group of 40-somethings came in, drunk as skunks. They all ordered beers and entrees, but I told them that the keg for the beer was being switched over in an attempt to get them to drink some water and eat some food before consuming anymore alcohol. They all eat their meals, but one woman vomited all over the table, the floor, and herself. The rest of her party made a huge scene about how the food was ill prepared and it made her sick (mind you she ate her food and promptly vomited less than 5 minutes later AND the vomit reeked of vodka; the entire bar smelled like 'vomitka'). They demanded that all their meals be free AND they demanded to drink for free the rest of the night. The owner said they pay for all the meals and quietly leave or they pay for no meals and he calls the police – their choice. They chose to pay for their meals but made a big scene before leaving, calling the owner a Nazi and me the dumbest girl they'd ever met. What's funny is they tried coming in again the next night (raving about the food, no less) and couldn't understand why the owner refused them service.

    September 3, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  11. John B

    I have never had to "cheat on my bill". That being said...I have had MANY reasons to complain about what some restaurants call food. I have refused to pay for many meals based on many reasons. When I go to a restaurant I EXPECT food that isn't just "edible" but GOOD. I demand I get what I pay for. I wish EVERYONE would do the same. Stop paying for garbage served in the guise of food. You pay good should be getting good food. Don't reward bad restaurants with repeat business and refuse to eat/pay for bad food! (you need to refuse the food when you have just tasted it not when you are half way through or finished with it).

    September 3, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • Amber

      "good food" is a matter of taste...others might like what you don't so that doesn't mean you should get it for free. On the other hand you hit one nail on the head...when you return to a restaurant you didn't like the first time you have no one to blame but yourself. That is why restaurants should serve good win the right to your repeat business.

      September 3, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  12. Craig

    No, However, if it's not suppose to be in the food and it is, then it ends up in mine. I've gotten rocks, pennies, hair, etc... Usually I just pull it out, Its been cooked. I have gotten free meals from this and won prizes. I even cooked a cake and used a $1 spatula my wife just bought and part of the tip melted off into the chocolate, guess where it ended up. Yup, on my plate. I would never put something in my food to get out of a bill but when it is there the restaurant has always given me it free. Pizza Hut even gave me two extra orders of the same type.

    September 3, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  13. ThoughtsOfThePast

    After reading this story and the comments to follow, I was reminded of an article I read ages ago.

    It involved a family at a high-priced restaurant who ordered as if it were their last meals and AFTER finishing their food and cleaning their plates, claimed that the food was disgusting and they shouldn't have to pay.

    When one first reads into this, seeing how they finished their entire meals we want to call BS. However, the story does not end here. As someone commented earlier, how do restaurants prove when there is a scam or when a mistake on their part happens?

    This restaurant I was discussing actually did prove that the family enjoyed their meal. They had video and sound recordings stationed above most of their tables. This video showed the family enjoying their meal and had not one word of complaint from any of them, one family member actually mentioning how they enjoyed their food.

    It's great that this family got caught, but do restaurants have a right to record your conversations at dinner? Makes your skin crawl thinking about how as your eating, you may be watched.

    September 3, 2010 at 11:44 am |
    • Hmmm

      I wish that would work the other way. All too often I've had a bad meal, but been too chicken to send it back or ask for money off. I wish they'd record that and then just give me the discount. :)

      September 4, 2010 at 12:34 pm |
  14. mkjp

    Although I have never witnessed someone trying to get a free meal like this, I did have a highly unfortunate event at a Denny's of all places with someone I knew who was just sooo rude to the waitress. Very demanding about how her food was to be cooked and then insisted that she probably would get it wrong anyways. Apparently this person had been a waitress for one whole day before quitting that job, and felt that her miserable 5 hours made it OK to be a total B**** to every waitress or waiter she ever encountered. Whatever happened to common decency?

    September 3, 2010 at 11:14 am |
    • Gr8fuldude

      Your friend must have been a complete joy to be married to...

      September 3, 2010 at 11:22 am |
      • mkjp

        ummmm still single as far as I know...???

        September 3, 2010 at 11:36 am |
      • Gr8fuldude

        No surprise there...Life is WAY too short, you know?

        September 3, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  15. Gary White

    That costs someone money. Lower profit for the diner, lower wages for the employees, lower amount of food on the table for employees children, resulting in malnutrition, related illnesses and eventual starvation.
    How can you sit there eating a hamburger with someone who is in the act of murdering a helpless child ? You Murderer !

    September 3, 2010 at 10:54 am |
    • RichardHead

      Yes but he got his recommended daily requirement of iron and zinc!

      September 3, 2010 at 11:26 am |
  16. Yoda

    I used to work at a call center that took customer service calls for retail businesses. In one case a pizza shop customer found a bolt in his pizza and called the store to complain. The kid who answered said he remembered that a bolt fell into a pizza as it was being put in the conveyor belt oven... The manager said not to worry about it because the oven would melt the bolt! (as if the oven were anywhere near hot enough to melt steel, and as if it's safe to eat a bolt, as long as it's melted) We heard crazy stuff like this every day.

    September 3, 2010 at 8:56 am |
    • Observer

      Taught him, you should have to remove the bolt. Bolts are not conducive to channeling The Force. Strong in The Force, must you be.

      September 3, 2010 at 11:21 am |
  17. server

    I've served for awhile now. You learn quick who is legit and who isn't! If something is wrong with what you ordered say something RIGHT AWAY when I check back! I will happily fix whatever is wrong! Things happen and we are happy to fix them. BUT when I check on your table and you tell me everything is great when you've already cut into your steak, taken a few bites of your burger, whatever you may be eating THEN tell me that there was something wrong AFTER you've eaten everything you're getting nothing for free! There is a reason your server checks back with you. If you come across something halfway through that is understandable, but most of the time it is obvious right away when something isn't cooked the way you want it or there is something that you didn't want on your salad, ect.... And if you just walk out on your bill, remember... the server is usually the one who has to PAY for your meal! And if you complain EVERY time you come to a place the servers WILL remember you and you aren't getting a thing taken off your bill so save the complaints for when there really is something wrong! You'd be amazed at how happy we are to replace what you ordered with the correct item or if the rare case you don't want anything to replace it we will take it off your bill! To the servers/cooks who feel it's ok to do something to people's food if it's sent back, GROW UP! That's sick and wrong! Even if someone is rude that doesn't give you the right to do ANYTHING to their food or drinks! If you worked in my bar and did that I know the boss would send you packing right away!

    September 3, 2010 at 8:55 am |
    • mkjp

      I feel like if restaurants installed surveillance cameras in the dining areas then low lives who try to get away with not paying a bill could be arrested. Or at least recognized as someone the place would not want to allow in again should they show up the next time and be recognized from the footage.

      September 3, 2010 at 11:16 am |
  18. wailua chef

    Why is it that classless morons think that every restaurant issue should be rewarded with a freebie? If you wait in line at a grocery store, do you walk out without paying? How much of your life has been wasted at a doctor's office, reading a germ-riddled 2 year old copy of Sports Illustrated? I am so tired of the rude comments, the sense of entitlement, the double standard. The next person that answers my greeting of "How are you this evening?" with a brusk "Ketel One and tonic" is getting a faceful of fist.

    September 3, 2010 at 5:49 am |
  19. J Masden

    I've been out with people who habitually complain about food when eating out to the point that I wonder WHY they eat out. And to the point that I avoid eating out with them because I feel embarrassed.
    But an out and out scam like the piece of trash with her hair described in this article? Oh no. Nononono. Totally no class garbage. Not a person I'd want to be associated with REGARDLESS of their sex appeal. Total turn-off. Loser.
    And they'd know it too before they watch me and my sweet tushie walk out the door.

    September 3, 2010 at 12:57 am |
  20. EmmVee

    As a career server (sad as that sounds, at higher end restaurants you can make a nice living by any standard) I've seen more than my share of miscreants trying to pull cons. Usually restaurants roll over and comp their particular dish, meal, or buy dessert. I've had steaks sent back in similar fashion. Even had a lady once finish her entire lobster tail, complain it was tough after the fact, then get mad when she was told she wasn't getting anything free because she failed to mention it the two times the server and manager checked on their food.

    People are pathetic. Not all of them, but a lot of them. They are petty, shallow, stupid, cheap, rude, inconsiderate, snakey, mean, condescending and generally irritating to be around. The worst of this comes out when you give them a modicum of control over someone (IE their server in a restaurant, or their experience while dining out).

    This story is just another example of someone being pathetic.

    September 3, 2010 at 12:14 am |
  21. Josh all do realize that the author of this little "piece" didn't actually experience this, and didn't happen to them....right? This mope heard of this little scam that everyone is aware of...and tried to roll it up into a poinant little article. These little editorials suck.

    September 2, 2010 at 11:59 pm |
  22. Big B

    Move the ad, CNN!

    September 2, 2010 at 10:24 pm |
  23. Glum

    I think we should follow the lead of countries that have compulsory military service after high school, except it should be compulsory "service industry" work. Maybe some people would stop treating service industry workers like crap.

    September 2, 2010 at 10:22 pm |
    • Leah (TXanimal)

      Great idea! I never worked as a server, but I worked at a gym for a couple years after I got out of the military to supplement my income. For the most part, people were polite and friendly, but now and again, I'd run into a nasty customer. I have a college degree, was a military officer and compete at the national level in two sports, and some people treated me like I was a stupid meathead loser JUST because I worked at a gym. I'd get comments like "well, since you don't know what a 'real' job is...", and "you clearly don't have a clue about personal responsibility", and my favorite: "you should think about going to college or joining the military". People's assumptions just astound me.

      September 3, 2010 at 11:47 am |
  24. Sara

    I'm a bit picky, so I tend to order food without things. As tends to happen, sometimes "no green onions" or "no mushrooms" gets overlooked. Every now and then, the manager will come over and apologize profusely and comp my dinner. I appreciate it, but it's not really that big a deal to pick off some scallions!

    September 2, 2010 at 8:20 pm |
  25. Foodie..

    My dad ran a restaurant half way around the world and it happened there too. Most people are good but you will find scum bags everywhere. Another funny story...One time a guy brought along an "escort" , ate and drank nicely and slipped out with an excuse of going to the bathroom, leaving the "escort" to pay.

    September 2, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
  26. Issy

    I ate at a restaurant in town recently that typically has very good food. Ordered a Bloody Mary which was the worst thing I had ever tasted – the waitress replaced it free (I only took one sip). Then my dinner came and the chicken fried steak was absolutely raw in the middle. Rather than make another fuss, I just ate the edges and let it go at that. I did not want to be considered a pain the you know what or trying to scam the restaurant out of a meal. I also have not been back to the restaurant. I don't know if the waitress or cook/chef noticed that the uneater portion of the meat was raw.

    September 2, 2010 at 6:10 pm |
  27. Ajm365

    When I worked at a restaurant a few years ago, I had a table come in for lunch. 3 black women, all older, probably in their 40's-50's. Very well dressed and everything. I serve their sandwiches, and within about 5 minutes, one of the women (the only one at the table with very distinct, fire engine red hair weaves), complains that there's hair in her food. She, nor her friends would make eye contact with me, and they were "disgusted" and felt that they should ALL get a percentage knocked off the bill. So I took her plate to the hostess stand where there was better lighting, pulled out the hair and returned to the table. I had the hair in my hand and said, "If you'll just hang tight for one moment, I want you to personally meet the cook (the ONLY employees there were me, the bald cook, a curly grey haired manager, and a blond server). I got the cook to come out and we stood there and I told her, "As you can see, there CLEARLY isn't anyone in this restaurant except for you that has hair like this." They just looked surprised. So while they chewed on that, I printed their bill and inserted the "offending hair" in the pocket of the billfold that I put on the table. lol They paid, but obviously didn't leave a tip.

    September 2, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
    • chili

      hahahaha!!! Love it!! and hopefully you never saw their sorry butts again!!

      September 2, 2010 at 5:55 pm |
  28. bigyaz

    Does anyone else think this is a BS, made-up story?

    September 2, 2010 at 5:38 pm |
    • Kat Kinsman

      I promise you it's true. Seeing that happen has stayed with me for a long, long time.

      September 2, 2010 at 5:45 pm |
  29. Shaned

    The best way (I'd NEVER do it myself, having worked in several restaurants as a cook) Is to put a few of your short and curlys in it. They can't discern one person's from another

    September 2, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
  30. MullinsMom

    I have never done a "dine-n-dash" or anything of that nature but, after reading this article, I can see why restaraunt workers get so annoyed with those who have legitimate complaints. But then there is the other side too. I'd like to see a poll about how rudely others have been treated when a legit circumstance arises. Recently, my boss sent me to a local fast food joint to grab lunch for everyone. One particular employee reached into his fries several times before realizing that there was chewed, smushed gum on the napkin that had been placed on top. I went back to the joint with the half eaten food and they were so rude and stand offish. They even went so far as to say "that's not one of our napkins, ours aren't that big"...please. They were all the same lady...geez.

    September 2, 2010 at 5:31 pm |
  31. wanna2be

    Karma means you don't get away with anything. Living simply, taking care of yourself and others will reap positive rewards. Scam on others and there will be different rewards. Be happy boys and girls.

    September 2, 2010 at 5:27 pm |
    • Susan T

      Very well said!

      September 2, 2010 at 10:34 pm |
  32. someoneElse

    By the way, tipping is the most illogical, stupidest thing we North Americans do. Almost no one else in the world does it, and the only places that do are places frequented by North Americans. This includes every other English speaking country too.

    September 2, 2010 at 5:10 pm |
    • Charlotte

      Well, given that it IS the norm in our country, I hope you don't use this attitude as an excuse to not tip. Most wait staff have their wages pro-rated based on the expectation of a certain percentage of income from tips, so getting stiffed because of a customer's attitude (rather than actual poor service) does really hurt them. Undeservedly, whereas if they really are screwups, then withholding a tip might be well-deserved.

      September 2, 2010 at 5:28 pm |
      • Walter

        Q: What's the difference between a canoe and a Canadian?

        A: A canoe tips...

        September 3, 2010 at 10:25 am |
    • wanna2be

      Actually it's quite logical. Americans want cheap food. By providing cheap food the restaurants pay workers poorly and thus depend on tips so that the job sustains them. When I lived in Europe eating out costed 2 to 3 times more.

      September 2, 2010 at 5:29 pm |
    • Always Needing Some

      I can totally agree with you. I actually had a waitress approach my table before taking my order and asked for her tip.

      September 2, 2010 at 5:56 pm |
  33. someoneElse

    Oh come on, how often does this happen? I wouldn't doubt we have to be more worried about what goes on in the kitchen anyway. And what waitresses and bar tenders get paid (with tips) for the work they do, who cares?

    September 2, 2010 at 5:09 pm |
  34. Allan

    Just ask yourself, "Would I like to be cheated out of money I have earned?" Most independent restaurant profit is not great, and waitresses and service help depend on tips. If you want free food, raid your parent's refrigerator or go to jail.

    September 2, 2010 at 5:06 pm |
  35. dt

    I got another one:

    So one time while I was working as a server at a restaurant, a lady found a hair in her soup. Hmm. Oh well not mine obviously I have short hair. Something was nagging at me so out of curiosity I went to the kitchen.... back at the table I just asked her one question. "How many white women do you think we have working in the kitchen tonight". No free meal this time honey.

    September 2, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  36. nate

    Dude honestly who cares about finding ways to eat out. restaurants are disgusting the people that work in the back are unhygienic and careless, remember they're getting payed shit to serve you. don't expect much out of a waiter when their only getting paid $2.13 an hr plus tips. You can get fired for showing up without a name tag or your five minutes late, so you can't expect the employees to take the job serious. Honestly if u want good food, find a friend that's in culinary arts and have him cook dinner for you lol or learn to cook yourself

    September 2, 2010 at 5:01 pm |
  37. chili

    This happens at my husbands restaurant each and every weekend-all the staff in the kitchen have shaved heads. Someone will come in with a huge group (birthday party/reunion, etc) of people and order something not on the menu and of course, they make it for them. Then, right when everyone is either done, or close to being done with their dinner, someone will demand to see a manager and begin very loudly complaining about a hair in their food-and demanding the entire table's meals be comped. We went out to eat once and my husband found pieces of Brillo pad in his salad-and because he knows the business, he quietly called over the waitress and said "hey-i realize this is because you're really cleaning those colanders well before you throw the lettuce in to wash it...but you might wanna throw that batch away." He doesn't demand anything, yell, or become abusive. Of course, he's got class, and others..not so much.

    September 2, 2010 at 4:53 pm |
    • Amber

      Good for your husband.

      Really, that is the best way to handle a real situation. It's up to the restaurant to decide how to deal with it. It's up to you to decide if you want to go back.

      I've never worked at a restaurant, but I cook a lot of meals and I know that sometimes stuff happens.

      His response is perfect – it lets them know they have a problem and gives them a chance to both deal with it so as not to have the problem reoccur and also gives them the chance to deal with you as customers to make an impression one way or the other.

      September 3, 2010 at 12:26 pm |
      • RichardHead

        Excellant answer Amber and you shall receive an honorary "PHD" of Internet Intelligence! Wish more people would do this.

        September 3, 2010 at 12:36 pm |
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