"A waiter came by my booth at a restaurant called Wood Ranch, took the barbecue chicken and soda he was holding, and purposefully dumped it right on my lap and my phone and said, 'Don't be on your phone on a date next time, if there is a next time.' I was texting my dad and about to call him because my mom just went to the hospital. His assistant manager stuck up for him, but after I asked to see the manager above him and talked to him, he apologized a lot and gave me a gift card. Yes, I got him fired."
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"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 an 'Aw, heck no!' conversation. I use 'conversation' loosely. 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."
"I went to Fuddruckers with my family. We had just sat down when my little sister screamed, 'It's a freaking rat!' Everyone turned around and there was a HUGE rat waddling 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 giving 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, then we left and have never gone back."
"Probably the time my family went out to eat at TGI Fridays. My father ordered fish and chips, table across from us ordered 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 complained to the waiter, who apologized and took the plate away, bringing back his chicken strips.
Not long after that, they brought out our table's food. My dad started 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."
"One time, when I was like 6, my family and I were eating brunch at a local diner in downtown Kansas City called 'The Corner Cafe.' We were really close with the owner. It was a great restaurant and everyone in KC loved it. One time we were eating brunch there and all of a sudden, I heard a sound of what I could only be described as a squish and scream, like a ketchup packet bursting. I immediately turned around to see a huge homeless woman (this restaurant was awesome and often gave free meals to the homeless) who was missing a few teeth and didn't have the best hygiene. She was drunk out of her mind, and her hand was brown and covered in poop. I looked at the wall across from her and saw that she had thrown a pile of her own poop at a group of people eating, missing them barely. She wasn't done, though. She kept throwing poop for about 10 seconds until the people who worked there could grab her and get her to stop. She was arrested and is no longer allowed back inside that cafe. I threw up for like 30 minutes after that. Remember I had just eaten a huge breakfast. There was poop everywhere and they had to shut the restaurant for a day to clean and disinfect."
"At an Olive Garden in Miami: Went out to eat with a few friends, and we just got our entrees when some little piss-ant of a kid jumps over the booth (from his side) onto our table, kicks the plates and glasses over, then runs to the next table. The kid made it about two more booths before someone pushed him off the table. Everyone at our table was covered in food, wine and beer. The mother of this little menace comes over and simply says, 'Sorry, he's special,' grabs him and goes back to their booth.
The waiter comes over to ask us if we are okay and then proceeds to hand us our check. We start complaining and the douche has the nerve to defend the kid's actions. I go talk to the manager, who looks at me and the mess and asks what happened. I explain it to him, and he proceeds to move us to another area and get our meals rushed back out. He then asks the demon-child's party to leave. We got comped and I got a call the next day from corporate about the clothes cleaning. They sent us 4 gift cards for $50 and apologized profusely.
Last I heard from that manager was the lady filed a complaint against the restaurant for letting kids run free."
"I was taking my then girlfriend out to celebrate the anniversary of our having met, to be followed by a proposal of marriage. It was a super upscale, penthouse restaurant overlooking San Diego. Plan A was to finish dinner inside and then move to the outside patio where, if it was empty and intimate enough, I would pop the question. It was a weeknight, so this was a good possibility. At the time, it was the most upscale, high priced meal we'd ever had, and we soaked it all in as decadently as we could. The meal was great, the service A- (felt a tad slow even though we were in no hurry) and the weather was gorgeous. We headed out to the patio, which was nearly empty except for the two of us.
Just around the time I was steering the conversation towards the big question, I started feeling not so good. Sweating, feeling sick to my stomach. I remember thinking, 'Wow, am I really this nervous?' Then I realized I was going to be sick and I RAN to the bathroom. There I spent the next 10-15 minutes being sick in more than one way. I realized at that point that I was sick-sick, not just nervous. I pulled myself together and left the bathroom where my girlfriend was waiting for me, obviously concerned, just outside the door. Plan B: I would, by sheer force of will, suck up how I was physically feeling, whisk us off to Mission Bay, and propose somewhere romantic there. We took the elevator from the umpteenth floor of the restaurant to the lobby and were almost out the door when it hit her and I realized we both had food poisoning.
No public restrooms in the lobby, so it was back to the elevator, up to the top floor and another 10-15 minutes of bathroom time, this time for both of us. I remember splashing water on my face, looking at myself in the mirror and saying out loud to my reflection, 'This is NOT happening.' We somehow managed to make it from there to the car and home in a 20 minute period that seemed like two hours. We spent the rest of the night tending to each other as recurring waves of nausea and diarrhea hit us in mercifully alternating intervals. It was months, and two more aborted attempts, before I finally successfully asked her to marry me. It was many months after that that I told her about my proposal intentions for that night. She's now my ex-wife, but still a good friend and we occasionally still laugh about it. The weird thing, in hindsight, is that we never complained to the restaurant and both ended up eating there again, although not together."
"Several years ago, my wife and I went to a Ruby Tuesday's for dinner. It's not at all busy, we were one of maybe 5 or 6 tables occupied in the whole place. I was not all that hungry, so I just had a salad from the salad bar. Meanwhile, my wife was quite hungry, so she ordered a steak. I did my thing at the salad bar, brought my less-than-healthy creation back to the table and proceeded to eat. Meanwhile, the wife was still waiting for her steak. And waiting. And waiting. I was close to done with the salad by now. Finally, the waiter headed over to our table (empty handed) and asked, 'Anything else I can get for you guys?'
My wife blinked and said, 'Uh...my steak? I still haven't received my dinner yet.'
The waiter looked at her (and the empty table in front of her) and said, 'You haven't? Are you sure? Well, let me go check on that.'
A minute later, he came back out and said, 'Your steak will be out in just a minute.' No apology, nothing.
20 more minutes pass...
He returned, 'Anything else I can get you guys?'
At this point, my wife lost her mind and practically yelled, 'YOU STILL HAVE NOT BROUGHT MY STEAK OUT.'
He looked confused, 'Let me go che-'
'NO. Bring the check out, and there had BETTER NOT be a charge for a steak on it.'
A moment later, the manager came out to the table and said, I kid you not, 'I understand you do not wish to pay for a portion of your meal? Was there a problem with it?'
Luckily, I managed to cut my wife off and started talking before she leapt over the table to kill somebody. After explaining that we never even received said steak, after being in the restaurant for over an hour and a half at this point, he finally sighed and agreed to not charge for it. I don't think he ever did believe us that it was never received.
The odd thing about this was, we were in our mid 20's, dressed nicely, polite, etc. We were not giving off that 'we're going to try and rip you off' vibe at all.
This was the one and only time I ever flat out refused to tip."
"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."
"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 by the time we agreed on, and then he showed up about 45 minutes later. 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 sex with me. Really explicitly too -- Like, 'Aww man, I bet your butt feels so good and tight. I can't wait until we try it,' and kept bringing the subject up even though I changed it.
The second I let him know I wasn't interested in sex, 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 and all the remaining food home.
Worst $120 experience of my life and luckily (for him) I never saw him again."
"About 20 years ago, I met some friends at Kings Cross train station (London, UK) after they had journeyed down the country from the cold, dark reaches of the North of England.
They were hungry so we decided to hit the nearest restaurant we could find. We weren't expecting great things, the area was pretty crappy at the time, but food was required and fast food like McDonald's and Burger King had already been ruled out.
The nearest place we found from the station was an Indian curry house across the road from the station. It seemed pleasant enough, a little ratty, but not too bad.
We were shown to our table, we ordered some Cobra beers (practically a legal requirement in the UK when sitting down to a curry) and a bunch of starters and main courses.
Then we waited...And waited...And waited...
After about 20 minutes, I called the waiter over to ask where our beers were. Oops, he had forgotten our order. Meh, mistakes happen, not the end of the world. Then we waited...And waited...
10 minutes later, I called the same guy over again, he promised to be right back with the beers and the starters. Claimed to be swamped (the place was not full, nor was there a lack of wait staff to cover the tables that are occupied).
5 minutes later, when he finally turned up with the beers, we asked how long for the starters. He went off to check, came back, '20 minutes.' WTF?
Suffice it to say, the service was awful, the food sub par, and the manager utterly disinterested in fixing the problems.
But this is not the end of the story. For, dear reader, I had paid with a credit card, and this was back in the days before chip and pin...So the imprinter machine and the triplicates were dug out to make my payment. My bill came through a week or two later, and they had added a tip to the bill...
Original Bill: £60ish.
My Tip: £0
Their Tip: £200.
Final Bill: £260ish
Now, I'm all for the comedy of opportunistic fraud, but really? £200? Is anyone that stupid, or that careless with money?
If they had stuck a 1 instead of a 2 in front of the total, well a bill for £160 would have been big, but there is a possibility that a meal for four may have come to that. But, awful service & awful food, the two things the customer cares about in a restaurant, and they expect me to forget the whole episode, while they fraudulently tip themselves £200 for my crappy experience with them?
The credit card company was not too enthralled with the tip either and reversed the whole transaction.
To this day, I am no longer a quiet English man who does not complain at bad service. I stick up for myself, and if there is no improvement, well then I get up and walk out."
"I was turning 19, and my boyfriend, who was five years older, made reservations at my favorite restaurant in San Francisco. It's a well-known steakhouse, and the food is amazing. Also, it's fairly upscale, so men wore dinner jackets, and women wore cocktail dresses as a norm. Anyway, we got there and placed our order. The drinks came and my boyfriend wished me a happy birthday. I noticed an older man sitting at a table behind my boyfriend. He was there with what looked like co-workers, or maybe other male friends. This man must have heard my boyfriend make the toast, because when I looked at him, he smiled at me, and raised his glass in a silent toast. My boyfriend had noticed I was looking over his shoulder and turned just in time to see the man toast me.
My boyfriend leapt out of his seat and began screaming at the man, in the middle of this crowded, upscale restaurant. My boyfriend was a Marine, so I knew he could do damage, which scared me. Plus, I was horrified that he was making a scene. I got up as soon as he started screaming and waiters began rushing over. I apologized to the nearest waiter, grabbed my purse and coat, and walked out.
I walked to my car, (luckily I was the one who drove that night), and drove home.
Two hours later, my boyfriend called, demanding I come back to the city to pick him up. I told him to back off and hung up. He ended up having to walk about a mile to BART and took the train home.
He couldn't understand why I just left him there. What a jerk. Anyway, that relationship didn't last much longer after that night."
"Went to Red Lobster with my family for my uncle's birthday. My uncle has a notoriously short temper.
Anyway, we're sitting at a table in the middle of the room, and I noticed two college-aged boys sitting at a table directly behind my uncle, struggling to open a bottle of ketchup. One of them started shaking it vigorously, and suddenly the top popped off and ketchup arced beautifully through the air...and landed all over my uncle's back, head, and shoulder.
My uncle LOST IT. He started looking around with murder in his eyes, scanning the entire room. Somehow the boys had managed to hide the ketchup bottle and were staring in paralyzed fear down at their dinners. Meanwhile, my uncle was yelling, 'WHO. DID. THIS?! Who is it? I will follow the ketchup trail and KILL THE CULPRITS AT THE END!' Eventually the waitstaff managed to placate him with napkins and a free dessert. The boys asked for the check and slipped out."
"When my son was 18-months-old, he was not suitable to take out into public to eat. It always went badly in spite of all we tried. One does not simply make a toddler behave. In spite of my dread, my family insisted we go out for dinner on my birthday. We all met up, around 20 of us, at a Mimi's Cafe. They are a great place to eat and kid friendly. They'll bring kids Cheerios to eat while you order, and crayons, too. We had a big, long table in the patio area, but there were others seated out there, too. Well, my son got a roll and my grandma put jam on it. This was before we'd even ordered. He ate the first bit, then decided to throw the roll across the room (he had a remarkable arm, no one would believe that sweet and innocent looking little angel could do such a thing), where it stuck to the head of a bald man. I was mortified. The room was silent, somehow everyone noticed this poor man with the roll glued to his head. All I could do was walk over and offer him a few clean baby wipes. I felt so bad, and he was just stiffly polite, which was about as nice as someone could be in that situation. I was so grateful he didn't get loud or angry. So mortifying as the mom, but now that my son is 14 and easier to take out in public, I can almost laugh about it... almost."
"Years ago, my two brothers, dad, and I were out to eat at a crowded buffet. As we were finishing up our last plates, my youngest brother got up to get some ice cream from the self-service machine. Being the ripe age of 6 and in a crowded restaurant, he asked our dad to go with him.
So my youngest brother was operating the ice cream machine when a deafening crash of metal trays from the machine hit the tile floor. The entire restaurant went 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 were on him trying to get the lever to shut off, including my other younger brother and myself. We were still in the booth, watching, and then it happened. My dad saw us laughing at him, and we just lose it. My younger brother with me in the booth nearly choked 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 torture 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 was and how when he looked over to our booth, all he could see was 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. Dad was convinced the whole restaurant broke into laughter as soon as we stepped foot outside the door, and we believed him."