Eating out is supposed to be a fun, relaxing way to enjoy your meal. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.
At Least It Had A Good Ending
“Brought my girlfriend to a high end, classy restaurant for our one year anniversary. I didn’t have a job at this point, and planned to use a $100.00 gift card my sister gave me from booking their wedding reception there. Since she was under 21, and $100 was more than enough for two filets and dessert.
Well, the place had a mandatory valet check-in for your car. Being a book smart 21-year-old, rather than a street smart 21-year-old, I didn’t know that and NEVER carry cash on me. Happens that we arrived 20 minutes before our reservation, so we walked down the old town street looking at party goers and statues until we came across an ATM.
I withdrawal $20.00 for the valet. Sweet. Everything’s going according to plan. We walk back to the restaurant and boom, it hits me. Where is the gift card that I was too much of an idiot to remove from the envelope and stick in my wallet? Oh right, it’s on top of the ATM, where I left it. Oh wait, it’s not there anymore.
We ended up going to In-N-Out and I think a movie. I messed up badly that night. The restaurant was nice enough to inform us some couples hit up the bar with a $120.00 tab and tried to pay with the gift card, which was taken away from them. It was mailed back to me two weeks later. We went for our 13th month anniversary. I let her hold the gift card.”
“In the early 80s I quit one college and before I transferred to another I tended bar at a supper club in east central Wisconsin. Without bias I have to assert this place had phenomenal food, its fried chicken in particular. It was amazing, I can’t describe it other than to say it was unlike other fried chicken and it was delicious. The recipe was developed at the club and passed from owner to owner. There was a rule that the written recipe could not be duplicated; two cooks were found with photocopies and were fired on the spot.
Jump to one Sunday, we had the weekly buffet running from brunch through dinner and I was tending bar with the manager. Later in the afternoon we had a large family arrive. They appeared to be from the depths of the lower economic strata, but that didn’t bother me, so was I, and the buffet was very affordable for an all-you-can-eat affair.
All of the family, including the little ones, went through the line at least twice. Some of the larger ones (some quite large, actually) went through three and four times for plate fillers. During the meal one of the hostesses presented them with their bill according to the number of persons in their party. When they’d finished the matron of the group came to the cash register at the bar and declared that they were NOT going to pay their bill as the food was inedible. My manager told her that if they tried to leave we’d have the sheriff’s department on the phone before they hit the door.
She immediately ran to the kitchen and grabbed the owner, a Lithuanian immigrant who was a friend of our family. He was tall, thin and laconic, spoke slowly with a pronounced accent and had a blistering sense of humor. He heard the group clamoring how the food was terrible, that they were all feeling sick and were not going to pay. The hostess confirmed that they’d all been through the line multiple times. The owner just looked at the group and said normal people can tell the food is bad on the first plate, why did they have to go back to make sure? Then he told them to pay up.
I never saw that group come back in the time I worked there. There was no food flying or wasted per se; their dining area was a disaster with food scraps all over, a mess on the floor, that sort of thing, but the most disgusting part of this for me was their utter gall in assuming that we’d bow down to their complaint and allow them to defraud the restaurant. Sometimes people are the worst people.”
Caught With Your Pants Down
“This is my dad’s story but I think he would agree it is his worst. My mom decided to surprise him by coming to his work at the end of the day and taking him to a fancy steakhouse. She had brought an old suit of his that she found so that he would have something nice to wear but he hadn’t worn it in a long time and had gained a lot of weight since then. He changed and they went to the restaurant. After eating, his pants felt too tight and he discretely unbuttoned them just to be a bit more comfortable. A little while later someone at the restaurant started choking and my dad being an EMT at the time decided to get up and help. Unfortunately he had forgotten about his pants and they fell down. He saw that someone else was helping the choking man and realized it would probably be best to just sit down.”
“All-you-can eat buffets were my absolute favorite dinner outing when I was a child. I would pile my plate with fried crab rangoon, sugary roles and make frequent stops to sneak in a dessert each time I went back up. All the dinner rules went out the window when we got to the buffet.
As I’m digging into something most likely sugary, I hear a woman screaming across the table from my family. I looked over and her husband’s face was bright red as he was squealing for air.
He was choking.
His wife was screaming for help and shouting for someone to call 911. The man’s face was starting to take on a bluish color. Luckily there happened to be a nurse that was dining at the restaurant and quickly came over to assist. She swung her arms around his abdomen and performed the Heimlich maneuver. Within less than a minute, the man was able to cough up his food and was coming to.
His wife was weeping in relief as her husband’s face was regaining pigment. The restaurant patrons were clapping, celebrating the victory of each breath the man was able to take. The waitress also came over to check in as the nurse was asking the man some basic questions. The waitress sees that he was speaking and slipped the check on the table as she passed through.
It was only a few minutes after the man regained consciousness, but the check made its way to the table almost immediately.
My parents were appalled as we just had front row seats to a very traumatic scene of a man hanging on to his life. It was unbelievable that the staff was waiting for him to breathe so they could promptly deliver the check for their meals like it was the last box they needed to check for their service.
Another scene followed from the patrons. Everybody was disgusted at how swiftly the waitress brought the bill after the man suffered a near death experience. Needless to say, the bill ended up being comped by the restaurant.
I don’t mean to say that the man that choked should not have paid for his meal. What appalled the patrons of this restaurant was the blatant disregard and acknowledgement from the waitress that the event even happened and went on her business with out even checking on the customer’s well being.”
This Isn’t Chuck E Cheese
“I went to Fuddruckers with my family and we had just sat down when my little sister screamed, ‘It’s a freaking rat!’ Everyone turned around and there was a HUGE rat and he waddled from the back of the restaurant toward the kitchen.
People were yelling and jumping on chairs and tables. The manager came out and the first thing he announced was that they were not doing any refunds to anyone who had taken so much as a bite out of the food.
One of the patrons yelled ‘Did you see how big that rat was!?!’ And the manager said, ‘Of course it was big, he’s eating at Fuddruckers.’ My parents asked for the bill and then we left and have never gone back.”
Tom Is A Bit Delusional
“My girlfriend and I went to The Melting Pot for a dress-up, two hour, four course anniversary dinner. While there, we found ourselves engrossed in the conversation of the couple in the booth in front of us. Our date was amazing. Theirs… this may have been their worst going-out-to-dinner disaster.
Tom, 39, middle class and rapidly aging fellow, had taken Michelle, 30’s, sophisticated and sweet, here for a date. Michelle is also his sister’s best friend. For a half hour, Tom talks about himself and how great his life is. He worked on film sets and was not shy about name dropping the celebrities he’s met. Michelle seems unimpressed and barely speaks two words this whole time. Even as Tom asked her questions, he only allows himself to reply. My girlfriend and I couldn’t believe Tom was so inattentive and clueless!
As he’s talking with her, he mentions this brief car ride they shared once. ‘Do you remember when I drove you and my sister up to college that one time and we kind of talked alone for a bit in the car?’ Michelle finally speaks. ‘Uh, yeah, I guess so.’ It takes a while for Tom to get her to remember. Tom then reveals about how he couldn’t get that moment out of his mind and how he’d been thinking of her. For the next five minutes, he fumbles over words, rambling around the idea that he has feelings for her. Tom had built this moment up in his head for years, and this is the moment of truth and victory! He is here to profess his love for the woman of his dreams and she will hopefully fall head over heels for him!
Michelle is stunned. She had no clue that this was even a date! She thought they were sort-of friends catching up! Nope. This is a TWO HOUR DATE! And TOM DROVE! And, this is in Los Angeles at night. No affordable escape. That cab ride home is way too expensive. She’s stuck!
The conversation falls silent. ‘Tom, I don’t want to lead you on in any way, but…’ Tom interrupts her, backtracking for about ten minutes while we enjoy our third course. The plum sauce was excellent. The waiter, who looks like a tall Seth Green, asks if we are enjoying our food. ‘Okay, cut the good waiter routine for just a few minutes. You’re getting a good tip, don’t worry. You just have to sit down right now and listen to what’s going on in the booth next to us.’ All three of us listen in as Michelle, with all the sincerity and kindness in her, politely breaks his heart.
The coup de gras of the evening comes when Tom realizes that he has no shot in this lifetime of ever being with her. In his last ditch effort, he asks if he can at least sing the song he prepared for her, as that may convince her differently. Michelle, extremely uncomfortable, declines. Then, he asks if he can at least email her the MP3. She won’t even allow that. At that point, our waiter leaves. We enjoy the variety of our fourth course, a selection of fresh fruit, chocolates, and Rice Krispie treats over melted chocolate, while Tom and Michelle sit in silence interrupted by her frequent escapes to the restroom. That and his occasional requests to still send her the mp3. Poor Tom.”
“Catching a flight to Iceland with my mom, sister, Dad, and 90 year old grandmother. We stopped to grab some food at Durgin Park in Logan Airport – not because we thought it would be good, but because we thought it would be fast. It’s an airport restaurant, right?
30 minutes after we sat down, our drink order was taken. My drink glass had someone else’s lip gloss on it. 20 minutes later, the food order was taken. We were already cutting it close at this point, so we asked them to bring the check right away.
Another 30-40 minutes later, our flight is boarding and we still have no food. By this point we call over the manager, who says, ‘Sorry, we would have given it to you for free, but you already paid.’
We got the food right about at the final boarding call. It was cold and congealed. We threw it out.
To be fair, our server was trying her hardest, but that was the worst-run restaurant I’ve ever seen. Each server was assigned to 15 tables and they can’t have had more than one cook back there.”
Tastes Like Chicken
“Probably the time my family went out to eat at TGI Fridays. My father orders fish and chips, table across from us orders chicken fingers and fries. Their food comes out first and the guy apparently bites into his “chicken”. It was actually fish. I guess at the time (this was in the 90s) the chicken and fish strips looked similar. So he complains to the waiter, who apologizes and takes the plate away, bringing back his chicken strips.
Not long after that they bring out our entire table of food. My dad starts eating a fish strip only to realize one of them clearly had a bite missing. Obviously from the guy who was mistakenly served it across from us. That. Is. Freaking. Gross.
Ever since then I’m always leery of not eating all the bread at the table, drinking some of a fresh drink, or generally messing up something I barely touched just so it doesn’t get taken back and served to someone else.”
Pet For Dinner
“So 13-years-old me was eating dinner at my first girlfriend’s house and we’re having tacos. I love tacos and was fairly comfortable with her family since we’d been dating for a few weeks, so I dug right in. Halfway through my second taco I noticed my GF had barely picked at hers. I asked her what was going on and in the saddest way possible she murmurs, ‘This was my cow’. As the conversation continued I would ascertain that the delicious taco beef was from a cow that she had raised, brought to shows, and generally loved since she was an infant. As if chewing on my girlfriend’s pet as she was on the verge of tears wasn’t awkward enough, however, her dad immediately pipes up telling her to grow up and accept what was inevitable. Gives her the redneck, farmer version of the circle of life speech. Oh, and he also keeps telling me to keep eating, as to not encourage her. So I’m stuck between the owner of the first chest I’ve ever played with, and a man who owns many weapons and has been very calm (so far) about me kissing his daughter.
Needless to say, I sided with the weapon owner and had a third taco. 13-year-old moron as I was, I believed I tried some consolation such as ‘well you obviously raised it well’ and ‘she died quickly and humanely right’. How I stumbled through those years I do not know.”
“Took a girl out to a very expensive restaurant, and spent extra to get a table on the patio that allows you to dine over a busy city street below. Everything was perfect, and we started hitting it off really well and enjoying ourselves.
A few minutes after we order our drinks, a crazy sidewalk preacher with a megaphone walked up right by where we were sitting and starting screaming at people passing by about how they were going to suffer in the Inferno. We could barely hear our waiter.”
Ice Cream Meltdown
“Years ago my two brothers, Dad, and I were out to eat at a crowded buffet for a late dinner/lunch (3:30 or 4:30 pm). As we were finishing up our last plates my youngest brother is up to get some ice cream from the self-serve machine. Being the ripe age of 6 and in a crowded restaurant, he asks our Dad to go with him. Now the booths were designed that were the backs of the seats and divider wall ended for other booths (about eyesight for adult), there was a privacy curtain giving additional height to each booth with a 3in gap in between the booth and curtain (curtain being about one foot tall by however long booth and seats were).
So anyways my youngest brother is operating the ice cream machine when a deafening crash of metal trays from the machine hit the tile floor. The entire restaurant goes quiet to see what the commotion was, and lo and behold it’s my little brother standing next to the machine with the lever stuck in the down position. Ice cream is spilling everywhere, all over the floor and on our Dad’s pants and shoes as he’s slipping in a pool of it on the floor flailing his arms desperately trying to gain his balance back and not to fall on his butt in the crowded buffet. All eyes are on him trying to get the lever to shut off including my other younger brother and me in the booth watching through the three inch gap, and then it happens. He sees us laughing at him, just our eyes from across the room and we just lose it. My younger brother with me in the booth chokes on whatever food he had when he looked over to see my Dad quickly losing control of the situation.
Quick enough the staff take over to relieve my Dad from this nightmare my youngest brother created for him, and when he came back to the booth he slunk down so far in his chair he looked like he was melting. He was laughing at how bad it just was and how he looks over to our booth and all he can see is our beady little eyes laughing back at him. My youngest brother made him wait until he was done eating his measly cup of ice cream before we all left, cracking jokes all the while. We left shortly after that with all eyes from everyone in the restaurant trying their best to contain their smiles and laughter the whole way out. Dad was convinced the whole restaurant broke into laughter as soon as we stepped foot outside the door, and we believed him.”
“About a dozen years ago, I went with my boyfriend (now husband) to a chain steakhouse for dinner. The waitress totally ignored me and overtly flirted with him. At first, I thought it was kind of funny. I went to the ladies room and when I returned, she was sitting in the booth and he was pressed as far away from her as he could get looking bewildered. She was writing down her number when I got to the table. She and I then had a ‘pleasant’ conversation. I spoke at length about the inappropriateness of her behavior using…colorful…terms. She turned red and ran away. A different server brought us our check.”
“More of a ‘That was unexpected’ moment. I was eating at a Chipotle. This guy walks up to me and says, ‘Sir, do you have a soul?’ I ask him what the heck he’s talking about. He tells me that he’s on the streets and hungry; wants to know if maybe I could give him ‘five or six bucks’ for something to eat. I tell him that I don’t carry cash but that I would gladly buy him a burrito, since we were sitting in a Chipotle and all. He tells me that he doesn’t like Mexican food and leaves.”
“Back in the eighties when there were a lot of Nouvelle Cuisine restaurants opening in my city, we booked into a relatively new place that had good reviews. Now, this was a work function with about 15 people going. To make things easier we pre-ordered our food from the menu, so there should have been plenty of time to prepare the food.
We arrived at 7 PM and were seated by the friendly maitre-de and ordered drinks. These came quite promptly and were consumed, then we ordered more. At 8:30 PM there was no sign of the food, we asked the waiter what was going on, he said the kitchen was unusually busy (the restaurant wasn’t full). At 9 PM someone called Pizza Hut, who delivered the food to the restaurant, we ate it, paid for our drinks, and left. To this day I have no idea what the heck the kitchen was doing.”
He Can’t Be Caught Red Handed
“Went to Last Resort in Chicago, where people throw napkins and crumpled up paper hats at each other. (Incredibly obnoxious, but I digress.) One girl in our party got fed up when someone sank a paper shot right into her cleavage, and she got up to go confront the guy who threw the wad. She walks over and starts to berate the man who she thinks threw the paper in her chest, but he insists he didn’t do it. They argue back and forth, until finally the girl throws a glass of water in the man’s face.
He silently pushes himself away from the table, and he slowly raises his arms. Not his hands. Just his arms, which both ended in stumps.”
Everything And The Kitchen Sink
“I’ve never been able to tell this story. So when I was 10 or something my family went to eat at a Charlie Brown’s. My dad loved that restaurant when he was a teen so we went. I wanted a steak sandwich with cheese. They first brought me a steak with cheese fries. Next they brought me a steak with cheese on it, but no bread. So I ask them for bread and they say ‘Oh. I’ll just take it back for you.’ So they bring it back and it’s a grilled cheese sandwich with steak fries. They finally get it right the last time. And all this time my brother (who was 8 at the time) never got any ketchup for his French fries. We never ate there again.”
“I was asked out to dinner once with a guy I met in a university course; he seemed nice and offered to pay and the whole nine yards. I hadn’t made any friends yet (I had just moved to a new city where I knew nobody) and I saw this as a good opportunity to meet people.
Knowing I had no car, he asked me to a restaurant I’d never heard of across the city (later I found out they had a location close to the university). It took me about an hour and a half to get there at the time we agreed on, and then about 45 minutes later he showed up. He was upset that I didn’t get a table under his reservation as it would ‘look bad on his credit’. He then ordered a ton of food, pretty much all the most expensive stuff on the menu, and immediately started talking about sleeping with me. Really explicitly too. He kept bringing the subject up even though I changed it.
The second I let him know I wasn’t interested in sleeping with him he lost complete interest. He ate as much food as he could fit in him, and I’m pretty sure halfway through he vomited so he could eat more. After he’d eaten about 2/3 of the food and I’d lost my appetite after only a bit he said he’d enjoyed my company and boxed up the food. I went to the bathroom while he paid, only to be told when I came out of the bathroom that he’d ditched me with the bill and taken himself & all the remaining food home.
Worst $120 experience of my life and luckily (for him) I never saw him again.”