Embarrassing yourself in public is something everyone avoids, but there's something especially awful about doing something embarrassing at a restaurant. It seems like restaurants are a minefield of potential embarrassment, for workers and patrons alike!
The Gag Is…
“My little brother (13 year age difference) wanted Fettuccine Alfredo when we went out for Italian. Since all he wants to eat is some form of bread and cheese (mac ‘n cheese, grilled cheese, pizza) we made him get some grilled chicken and broccoli on the side. He whined. After finishing his pasta, we made him take some bites of broccoli. In an act of rebellion, he pretended to gag. Involuntarily, he caused himself to throw up all over the table. Awkwardly, we had to wait for the check in the middle of the packed restaurant. I glanced over as my mom signed.
…She didn’t even tip 20%.”
You Know It’s Bad When AUSTRALIA Bans It
“Out at a Tapas place in Sydney for my wife’s birthday with about 20 others. This friend of ours has just got back from the US and brought along some pepper spray that he smuggled in (it’s illegal in Australia). Anyway, after about 20 sangrias too many, he does the tiniest little spray of the pepper spray to show another friend what it’s like.
1 minute later: Everyone at our table is coughing.
2 minutes later: The entire restaurant is coughing.
3 minutes later: The restaurant is evacuated.
10 minutes later: Ambulances turn up and start giving people oxygen. Fun times.”
She Just Had To Wear White…
“When I was 5 or 6, I was having lunch with my mom and bit into a cherry tomato without closing my mouth first. That thing was like a geyser; it shot this (small) wave of tomato guts all the way across the table and right in the perfect center of my mom’s white shirt. She was not pleased. I felt horrible.”
Things Are Really Heating Up
“I was trying to impress a date and took her to an expensive French restaurant. I accidentally set my menu on fire when I leaned it down to look at her while she was speaking. Those little candles on the table are dangerous!
We both had a good laugh after all of the excitement was over (despite the nasty looks and sneers from those around us). We’re married now.”
That’ll Give Them Something To Talk About!
“About a week ago, my father came to visit me at college and being the loving son that I am, while he was here I took him to every expensive looking restaurant in town and let him pay.
One night we went to a place called Tink’s in the upscale gaslight district after catching a movie. Tink’s is a really nice establishment, much too nice for college students, which is why we were easily the two youngest people in the place, outside of the attractive wait staff. It was a busy night and the place was filled with small groups of senile profs and their geriatric ilk. This was on about the 4th day of my father’s visit so, after making fun of all the people with walkers or hearing aids, the conversation topics started to wear a tad thin. I decided to do what I always do in such situations, excuse myself and go to the restroom, because frankly sometimes a bit of silence is nice.
For being such a posh place, the men’s room was disgusting, a single toilet floating in a sea of wet paper towels. I alighted upon the crapper and went to work at mustering a reason for being in there. After about a minute someone else tried to enter the room and, with my luck being what it is, it turns out the push button lock was purely ornamental. Low and behold in comes one of the shuffling grandpas with a walker. Evidently, he was the most senior senior in the place because he had the posture of a jumbo prawn and using his walker took such complete jedi-like mind focus that he didn’t even see me. After a second I began to wave my hand and then politely and with ever increasing desperation exclaim, ‘Um, excuse me, I’m in here already.’
This had no effect whatsoever and at this point, I realized that I had a twofer on my hands: walker and massive hearing aid, with the former working slightly better than the latter, and by that I mean at all. As a result of being completely deaf and staring directly at his own feet, he spent four minutes shuffling the three feet to the toilet before he noticed I existed, all the while with me protesting with all the effectiveness of a horror movie victim. But this gentleman was nothing but class, and when the circumstances finally dawned on him he had the quick thinking and reserve to loudly shout at the top of his lungs, ‘Ahhhhh! Oh my goodness!’ The wait staff ran over to look, thinking I assume that maybe he had fallen, and they had the decency to continue to monitor his safety through the open door for the following four minutes it took Mr. Greatest Generation to turn around and exit the bathroom. The entire time this was happening, I was still sitting petrified on the john with my pants down, and I swear, when he finally made it through the door he turned around and winked before closing it.
Well, at least for the rest of dinner my dad and I had something to talk about.”
“I was at the Olive Garden with some soccer teammates. Keep in mind I f—ing LOVE OG salads. We sat down, got situated, whatever. The waiter came up and started taking orders while I was having an intense session of playing with my napkin. He asked the typical, ‘Soup or salad?’
I heard it wrong, slowly turned my head to him with a gasping stare, and yelled, ‘SUPER SALAD?!?!?!’ The entire sector of restaurant broke out in laughter, and I didn’t get a super-salad. I was pissed.”
“Ahhh waiter stories…
1) While waiting tables at Outback, I dropped an entire tray of drinks – 10 large glass mugs – on a large woman at the table. I can still see the heavy glass mugs breaking each other as they bounced off her back.
2) A coworker was walking out to a table with 4 ranch salads each with an extra side of ranch. When he got to the table, there were 4 people at a 6 person table with no extra room whatsoever. One of the people asked him for ANOTHER side of ranch. His response: ‘Oh yeah, I figured y’all were fat………..lovers of ranch.’
3) One lady at my friend’s table was having trouble ordering. She kept asking about the ingredients in each dish and was looking very worried. She politely explained, ‘I just had gastric bypass surgery.’ Using good waiter instinct to relate to his table, but bad judgement, my flamboyant friend enthusiastically responds, ‘Oh my aunt died from gastric bypass surgery!’
4) Saved the best for last. While working at a pizza joint, it wasn’t uncommon for us to pull toppings from pizzas when they came straight out of the oven. On retrospect, it is pretty gross, but whatever, it happened. One of the waitresses came to grab a pizza for her table and did exactly that, pulled off a meatball or something. When she brought the pizza out to her table, the entire table got quiet and stared at her. She looked down, and there was a long string of cheese running from the pizza to her mouth.”
Red Lobster Won’t Put Up With These Types Of Shenanigans
“When I was around 5-6, my parents took me to Red Lobster. I was a crazy kid who pretty much had ADD. I couldn’t keep still or anything. I ended up running underneath tables, pulling the table clothes down. At the end of my fiasco, I got my head stuck in between the chairs and got my family banned. Boy, it must have sucked to be my parents.”
“I was in training as a waiter at a steak restaurant on 6th Street in Austin, Texas, and I was on the lunch shift. I had a large party of local city council people and some other unidentified high rollers. Yeah, I was pretty nervous. This restaurant had a strange system of dispensing salad dressings, which was to put them in ‘monkey bowls’ which were small metal bowls with no covers. Since I had a large party, my tray was full of salad dressing-filled monkey bowls – blue cheese, ranch & thousand island. Somehow, as I approached the table, my tray got off balance and the bowls of dressing all hit the floor and sent up a geyser of dressing that nicely splattered against some of the people at the table. The restaurant went silent and I’m standing there at the table with everyone looking at me. I said, ‘D—, I can’t believe I missed the city councilman!’ and everyone broke up laughing. That’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever said in my life, as it saved my a–.
After a tough first week, I ended up working at that place for a couple of years. I saw so many bowls of dressing land on the floor, an event we called a ‘dressing bomb.’ They never changed the system though.”
And That’s Why You Don’t Stick Things In Your Nose
“Waaaay back in my teen years: Three friends and I are at a pizza place. While waiting for our food, I start clowning and stick two straws up my nose, one in each nostril. One of the straws cuts open the inside of my nostril and opens up a GUSHER of blood, it’s all over my shirt and neck, I’m grabbing napkins from the dispenser and drenching them all will my nostril blood, my ‘friends’ think this is by far the funniest thing they have ever seen and are laughing uncontrollably and uproariously, calling attention to our table. Other patrons stare at me in disgust and disbelief. It took a good 15 minutes for the blood to stop flowing. I make the walk of shame to the restroom covered in blood with a napkin jammed up my nose, carrying a giant wad of bloody napkins to dispose of in the restroom garbage can…good times!”
Making A Real Splash
“I was bartending during a lunch shift at a horseshoe shaped bar in the middle of a restaurant. The bartender who closed the bar the previous night did not shut off the hose inside the bar. Unbeknown to me, the nozzle had fallen off the hook and was resting right under the service bar, where I was making drinks. About 30 minutes into the lunch rush I had a full bar and a miles worth of service bar drinks to make. All I remember is hearing yelling and commotion coming from my right, yet continue slave away as I had a million and one things to do. Finally, hearing a, ‘WHAT THE F— IS WRONG WITH YOU?!’ towards my direction I turned to see the hose dousing half the restaurant in water. I had been stepping on the nozzle for at least 30-45 seconds. The entire left side of the restaurant, it’s customers, the food, everything was drenched in water. Everyone who had food, had it ruined, men in business suits… soaked. Water was literally dripping off the ceiling. Looking back, it was kind of awesome to see around 100 people all giving you the rage face all at the same time.”
When Flirting Goes Wrong
“I was at an Italian, family-style restaurant in Paris, France with a high school trip. I was there with a bunch of my friends, peers, and a girl that I had been flirting with the whole trip. We were sitting across from each other and I went to caress her leg under the table while we were eating.
After a few seconds of caressing, my best friend – sitting right next to the girl – stops eating and blurts out to the entire table, ‘Who is rubbing my leg?? WHO THE H— IS RUBBING MY LEG?!?!?!’
I was so embarrassed that, as a knee-jerk reaction, I jumped back in my chair but unfortunately my head went back into a plate of spaghetti that the table behind us was eating. Needless to say, the rest of the evening was pretty awkward.”
“My dad has a great sense of humor, and was always messing around with my brother and I, so this isn’t really out of character for him, but here goes:
My family and a friend’s family are all out to eat at this swanky Lebanese restaurant, where they give you ridiculously tightly wrapped straws. As kids (we were 12-15), we loved to rip the ends off and shoot them at each other, and so we’re having a blast after we get our drinks, when I see my dad pull the wrapper slightly off the straw, and twist the end.
Now, if anyone has ever seen this, you know someone means business when they turn a straw + wrapper into a dangerously pointed arrow. So, my dad takes a deep breath, puts the straw in his mouth, and fires it at my friend. The straw ricocheted off his shoulder, the top of a chair, and then I swear it increased speed, flying across the restaurant. It hit this old, Middle Eastern woman directly in the center of her forehead.
She began literally screaming, half of which was English, and the other half (I’m assuming) was Arabic, about how the building was infested with evil flies (that was all I was able to make out, I’m sure there was much more). Everyone else in the restaurant, though, knew exactly what happened, and it was definitely a very quiet dinner after that.”
Glass And Balloons Don’t Mix
“I live in the New Orleans area and one lovely Saturday the wife and I took our daughters to the French Quarter to just wander around a bit and then have a bite to eat. While we were walking around, a Balloon Guy on the street made some balloon animals for my girls.
We sat at a small table in some little hole of a restaurant right off the Quarter. When the food came, we had a hard time shifting everything around to fit all the plates. It wasn’t even a lot of food; the table was just that small.
While shifting things around, my oldest daughter managed to knock a nearly full bottle of ketchup on the floor with a resounding mixture of ‘smash’ and ‘splat.’ Following right behind the ketchup was her balloon animal, which fell neatly onto the shards of glass. Each little tied off section of the balloon animal ruptured on its own, which produced a loud series of ‘POP POP POP POP POP POP.’
When it was finally silent, the restaurant erupted into a mix of laughter and cheers. My poor daughter crossed her arms on the table and hid her face. I couldn’t help but laugh as I stroked her head and tried to assure her that everything was fine. When she finally picked her head up, the poor kid was beet-red from embarrassment.”
The Last Straw
“I was at lunch with my then boyfriend at a local deli in a nearby town. We had started dating not long before. We sat down in the cute dining area with our sandwiches and cans of Coke and I decided that a straw was in order for some reason. So, we’re chatting away about nothing and I went to drink and talk at the same time, forgetting there was a straw sticking out. So, when I picked up the can to put it to my lips, a hard object thrusted into my nose and tears started falling down my face in pain and shock. I put the can down and there I was…with a straw up my nose, mid-conversation with the new boyfriend. Thankfully, we just laughed, but I was mortified.”
(?)”Yeah, That’s Not What Was Supposed To Happen…”
“In middle school, a group of five or so friends and I had gone down to the beach for a weekend to celebrate one of the other guys’ birthday. After some cavorting around, we decided to go to a local restaurant that the birthday boy picked out. The hostess picked out a fairly large round table in the middle of a relatively busy room. Entrees were soon sent out and a new glass bottle of ketchup was placed on the table for our multiple plates with french fries on the side. My friend Adam was having a bear of a time getting the ketchup to flow out of the bottle and was on the verge of giving up when another friend, Jay, told him about some trick that involved lightly tapping the raised glass on the neck of the bottle to coax the ketchup out. We all watched in amazement as this trick resulted in the ketchup releasing its stranglehold on the bottle and dropping onto the plate in a delightful dollop of salty ketchup goodness.
It was at this point that my 12-year-old brain thought a primal display of youthful vigor was in order. I asked Adam to pass this ridiculous condiment of doom to me as I casually mentioned how I loosen up new ketchup bottles. Adam capped the bottle and passed it over as the rest of the table sat in silent anticipation and the rest of the restaurant in an oblivious buzz of dinner conversation. So intent on making a borderline forgetful moment of diametric problem solving, I failed to observe a rather important detail about the fresh bottle of ketchup making its way toward me.
I deftly kicked my chair back from the table about a foot and proceeded to wrap the bottle with both of my exuberant little hands. I recall there was a faint murmur of ‘Wait!’ from Adam’s mouth as I began the process of vigorous condiment bottle shaking. As geysers of ketchup erupted from my hands, the cap shot off the bottle in a perfect ballistic trajectory behind me splashing down in some poor woman’s Caesar salad about 10 feet away. If there was any doubt as to where is epicurean missile had come from, there was a line of ketchup leading directly from her table to the back of my ketchup covered shirt and chair.
Upon finally realizing that things had gone very wrong and I ought not to shake this bottle anymore, I glanced around at the dropped jaws around me and very slowly placed the bottle onto the battlefield of processed tomato that used to be the table and said, ‘Yeah, that’s not what was supposed to happen.’ Had I been a touch more observant, I would have noticed that when Adam capped the bottle, he did not twist the cap and secure it in place, rather he merely delicately placed the cap on top and sent it on its fateful way.
All in all, 2/3 of a bottle of ketchup were spread about the table, my chair, floor and shirt and I paid for a half-eaten Caesar salad. Could have been worse.”
When Life Gives You Lemons…Demand More
“My mother is obnoxious. She is a complete horror to dine with in public, as I’ve found out through the years. One particular time, we ate at an Applebee’s, just me and her, when I was no older than 12 or 13. She asked for a water, and when the young boy brought it to her, she asked him to bring her some lemons for her water. A few moments after he had walked away, she kept huffing and puffing about her lemons. A few minutes pass and she is raging about them. 5 minutes goes by and she still doesn’t have her lemons and she is flipping out, telling me how awful of a server he is, that he must be new, and that she wasn’t going to tip him at all. I remember telling her that that was a stupid reason to get mad, and she didn’t say anything back.
He eventually comes back with a ramekin of 3 lemon slices, and my mom literally bursts into laughter in his face. I remember him looking at her like she was nuts, and she told him she’s going to need a lot more than that, it wasn’t enough. He apologized and went to get more. At this point, I thought he was going to bring her a pail of 90 lemons, but he brought her another dish of 3 slices and my mother absolutely blew up on this poor kid. He had to continue to serve us the entire meal knowing he wasn’t going to get tipped…because my mother had already told him… because of lemons. I still can’t figure out what was so wrong with them. I cannot eat out with my mother any more.”
Nuts For Walnuts
“We once went to IHOP back in high school. There was this super obnoxious girl, who claimed she had a ‘life threatening’ allergy to walnuts. Fair enough. So we’re ordering and I’m expecting her to tell them she has this allergy because there are some banana walnut pancakes on the menu and I figured they would have to make sure hers were not prepared on the same surface or whatever. She says nothing. We warn her she should tell the waitress but she insists that because her order does not include walnuts, it’s not necessary. I find this odd. I have a friend who has one of those death allergies and she tells everyone regardless because you never know. This girl insists it’s no big deal.
We get our food. All of a sudden I hear a shriek, like this could have broken glass. This girl starts FLIPPING the f— out, like I had never seen in my life. She is screaming at the waitress calling her names, saying she found a bit of ‘walnut’ in her pancake. She is like, ‘I didn’t eat it, but this could have killed me, what the h— is wrong with you people, don’t you use a new grill,’ yadda yadda. I’m not kidding when I tell you this was the most bats— insane reaction I have ever seen. The waitress looks horrified, this chick is screaming she is going to sue, swearing, and the waitress just stutters something about not knowing about the allergy. The girl in question says, ‘It doesn’t matter, you should always prepare things on separate grills in CASE people have an allergy!’ She was such a moron, I was SO embarrassed. We all stood up for the waitress. We flat out told her if walnuts could actually kill you, you would have mentioned it, I’m sorry but you would have. They probably give you an itchy throat or something, but you clearly do this for attention. She began sobbing about how we all wanted her dead and ran out of IHOP. We left that waitress a massive tip.”
“Like A Little Ole Tail!”
“When I was around 8 or 9 years old, a large chunk of my family (parents, brother, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmother, etc) went to eat at a Red Lobster. I was wearing some ugly green velour dress and was constantly getting popped by all the static it made, so I was already pretty grumpy about the whole deal when I excused myself to go to the restroom. Business done and hands washed, I strolled back out and sat down at the table and immediately a lady got up from a nearby booth, came over, leaned down beside me and said in a horribly loud stage whisper, ‘Excuse me sweetie, but you’ve got a string of toilet paper hanging out of your dress like a little ole tail!’
As the nasal twang of her extremely Southern-accented words hung in the air, I looked down and discovered I did indeed have a ‘lil ole tail’ of toilet paper (thankfully it was clean). The entire section we were sitting in then burst into laughter, including my whole family, and I just sat there for the rest of the meal while everyone made fun of me and strangers at other tables called jokes over. Stuff like, ‘Did you even remember to flush, little girl?’
I was later told by an aunt that I was such a good sport for not crying, so I never told my family that I cried every night for a week because they let strangers make fun of me.”